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Harimou are medium sized cryptids that resemble humanoid cats on digitigrade legs. Most accounts report that they are similar in build to vykati, in that they are slightly taller and broader than the average human and can walk both upright and on all fours. Fur color varies, but tend more towards tans and grays than their wolf like counterparts.

Sightings have been sporadic since the first sighting, but there has been a definite increase in reports over the last century. Originally they were only seen on the Western Continent, but there have been numerous claims of sightings on the Eastern Continent since the end of the Conquest of Steel and Lightning.

History of Sightings

Early Dwarf Records

The first recorded sighting of a Harimou was about 3500 BH, by the dwarven explorer, Marcia Rametope. She had been exploring the area surrounding what is now (whatever that GB dwarf city is. I'll look it up later) when she came across a series of crude huts covered with leather. The huts were arranged in a circle and there was a small fire between them.

She later wrote: "Sitting over the fire were four large figures, looking a little like a family with two children. As I approached the fire to get a closer look, I could see that their faces were shaped like a cat's and that their legs also resembled the back legs of that animal. Just as I got close enough to see that they were wearing clothes of sorts, I saw the eyes of the largest of their number reflect the light of the fire in a way that made them appear to glow. It let out a roar, like a lion's, that clearly said I was not welcome there, so I left as quickly as possible."

There are no other accounts until well after the continents split. In 1523 BH claim records show that a dwarf named Gestin Marcel staked a claim for a gold mine on the southern part of the continent. A note annotated to the claim warns against seeking out the mine. "Gestin stopped by the claim office today to warn against anyone going to his mine. His daughter supposedly was captured by some cat people and held prisoner in their caves. She was not harmed and they provided food and water, but every time she attempted to leave, one of them would block the exit. After about ten days, they motioned that she was allowed to leave and she hurried back to her father. Probably just doesn't want anyone squatting on his claim while he goes on vacation, but protocol says that we make a note of it, so we have."

In 1277 BH, there is a random report of a dwarf named Belfue Berlax claiming to see a nursing mother and her cub. Also in records for the time is the police ledger noting that he was kept in the local jail for two days so he could sober up. While the two events are months apart, it does make his testimony is little suspicious.

The next sighting did not take place for another 342 years, in 935 BH. A couple of nameless trappers in the far north got caught in a blizzard. They claimed that just before they froze to death, a group of three harimou, two males and a female, pulled them from their ice cave, wrapped them in furs and carried them to a small shelter where a fire was burning. The two awoke in the morning and there was no sign of their rescuers.

From this time forward, the sightings have become much more frequent, but just as impossible to substantiate. There is not a decade from this point on were there weren't at least three sightings and most have had up to 20. Up until 36 BH, all the sighting had been noted on the Western Continent or at least on that side of the continent before it split.

Eastern Continent Sightings

In 36 AH, in the northern part of Zenache that is now part of Therfass, a native, Barclane Faus claimed to have shot and killed a harimou. A couple of nights later, as he was heading home to show off his prize, he says he was attacked by a group of the creatures while he was sleeping. They broke his bow, stole his rifle, and then took off with the corpse of their own kind. Barclane was found, weaponless and heavily drunk the next day as he wandered into the hunter's station nearest him.

Of the sightings that have taken place on the Eastern Continent since then, roughly 80% of those that have claimed to have seen a harimou have been drunk at the time.

Current Sightings

According the International Harimou Research Society, a group of fringe biologists, there are between 400-500 reports of sightings each year since the end of the Conquest of Steel and Lightning. The society dutifully tracks each sighting to the best of their ability and concludes that over 95% of those reports are completely unfounded.

Current Controversy and Theory

If there were such a thing as a harimou, most biologists agree, it would be impossible for them to have survived as a species, being as large as they are, without having a noticeable impact on the environment for quite a distance around where they live. As such, there is no chance that they really exist.

The fact that most of the sighting are made by drunk people doesn't help any argument against that. As a matter of course, it is usually assumed that the existence of this cryptid is the result of overactive imaginations, fueled by alcohol, when a person happens to see a vyakit under less than clear circumstances.

Further hurting those that would argue in favor of this cat race's existence is the fact that no sane vykati, drunk or sober, has every claimed to have seen one. This is most likely because their sense of smell and familiarity with their own kind makes them know what they are seeing. The fact that very few vykati drink might also have something to do with it.