A non-sapient animal native to Tarkas IX. The body of this predator resembles a very large Earth wolverine, covered in brown fur. However, like most of the mammals on Tarkas IX, the razorbeast has large bat-like wings set just behind its shoulders. These are secured with an enormous knot of supercharged muscle (the “second heart”) and capped with blowholes for extra aeration. Their span can reach five metres. The wings are covered with short fur and studded with razor-sharp metallic spines. Even with relatively light bones and a long, cartilaginous tail providing stabilization, this 500 kilogram creature can’t actually fly, but rather leaps into a long glide.
The razorbeast is uniquely suited for life in the lush mountain forests of Tarkas IX, where it preys on hexapedal herbivores. Tarkas IX is a light-gravity world with an anomalously thick atmosphere, and it also boasts an energetic magnetosphere. This increases the charged-metal content of the air, and thus the water and plant life. Most of the lower life-forms on Tarkas IX can metabolize or safely excrete the metal; mammals usually allow it to build up in their bones, then “shed” it through the skin in a painful moulting process (typically occurring in spring). With the male razorbeast, though, the metal is somehow accreted into long, razor-sharp spines, similar to dagger blades, which emerge from the spinal column and the pterotarsal bones in the wings. Male razorbeasts use these spines in mating battles, and to defend their nests, which are built in rocky declivities. Female razorbeasts do most of the hunting, swooping down on small mammals and fish. The Tarkassian hexapig is among their preferred prey; Humanoids are too large (and smell too strange) to be hunted. If a female’s in heat, though, a nearby male may attack a person approaching too closely. Similarly, any visitor to a razorbeast nest, Humanoid or not, will suffer a fanatically fierce attack, particularly if there are cubs present. The male razorbeast maintains a pride of five or six females, who adopt a new mate when theirs dies (male life-spans are less than half those of females, possibly due to metal build-up in key organs). The new male is selected after a ferocious all-comers battle between hopeful competitors.
When she was a child, Guinan had a Tarkassian razorbeast as an imaginary friend. In her mind it had dark brown fur, gold eyes, and enormous wings that let it fly so fast no one but herself could see it. The beast protected her and made her feel safe; when she needed support or comfort she imagined herself lying on its stomach, listening to its purr. Eventually the image of the beast faded from her mind, but the idea remained. Long after she became an adult, Guinan still found its memory a great source of comfort, even talking to it in times of fear or confusion.