[Thanan] Dromae Feet
Dromae and their relatives, both close and distant, have feet with four toes. The outer two digits are strong, flattened and bear the individual’s weight as they run. The claws are capable of damage but ground contact naturally blunts them and they serve primarily to provide grip against the soil (or the hide of their prey). Individuals planning to hunt particularly large and challenging prey may sharpen their running claws the evening before to enable them to better pierce skin and aid in clinging to a panicked beast. In cultures that mark adulthood with a traditional blooding it is common for the ceremony to involve the huntmaster ritually sharpening the running claws of the adolescents, or for one of their older participating family members to do so.
The second toe is held aloft from the ground and bears the lethal sickle claw the Deinonychosauria are known for. In childhood the sickle claw is of similar size to the running claws and only grows to full dimensions in early puberty. It is a weapon and all children are taught to treat it as such. In adulthood, one’s sickle claw will only be touched by one’s closest friends and family members, or by medical professionals. Many dromae with urban jobs choose to keep their sickle claws slightly dull and only trim when necessary, to reduce wear on their claw covers.
During social engagements it is considered polite to place a claw cover over the sickle claw as a gesture of peace. Traditional claw covers are woven from plant fibers and decorated with bright feathers or tassels, or carved from wood. Modern claw covers are still split into soft and hard. Hard covers better protect the claw and are often more utilitarian, although intricate designs in wood, metal or ivory are available. Soft covers are crafted from a variety of fabrics or leather and are decorated to accentuate the foot, with more fashionable varieties connecting to anklets and other foot jewellery.
In contrast, dromae who’s lifestyle or occupation requires their sickle claws as tools or weapons will devote considerable time to sharpening and maintaining the edge. Generally speaking a pocket knife will be a better tool for cutting but it can be much more convenient to use a claw to cut a small cord or a piece of tape. In rural areas the opportunistic hunting of small game is common and much more difficult if covers are being worn. Rangers, police, guards and military consider their feet backup or even primary weapons and maintain them accordingly.
The innermost toe on a dromae’s foot is small, unable to reach the ground and somewhat more flexible than the other digits. The claw is blunt and used for grooming feathers, especially on the head and neck. Between the grooming claws and the mouth a healthy dromae can, in theory, reach any feather on the body. In practice parts of the plume, the end of the tail and the sides of the neck near where it joins the chest are tricky to reach, and the areas most targeted by communal grooming.