The Granous are cowardly, scheming predators that resides in the Topaz Territory.
Granous have roamed the Os-Mine Hills for years and appeared in the story of the Seven Goblins. When the remaining six goblins were roaming the Land of Dragons, one goblin lagged behind the group and was snatched by a group of Granous. The five other goblins couldn't rescue their companion, but heard the Granous discover the goblin’s puzzle box before they fled.
Cavern of the Fear
Lief and Barda entered the Os-Mine Hills with Jinks, led by Fury, in search of Jasmine and Glock. Jinks panicked when Barda suggested that they leave their horses because of the rough landscape, reminding the guard that they were in "Granous country". Before Jinks could argue further, a pack of Granous ambushed the group. The Granous were unimpressed when told that they had captured the King of Deltora, seeing this simply as an opportunity to match wits with a king.
As the Granous pack leader presented Lief with his riddles, all of which Lief answered correctly, Jinks managed to slips from his bonds and flee into the Hills. The Granous pursued the acrobat, leaving Barda and Lief to be freed by Vine-weaver Birds. Jinks managed to evade the Granous and return to Del.
Lief, Barda, Jasmine, and a contingent of guards from Del journeyed into the Os-Mine Hills once more, this time with the intention of waking the last Topaz Dragon, which had hidden itself in the Hills. On the way, they came across the same pack of Granous they had encountered before, toying with their latest victim, a Capricon. Lief, unwilling to leave anyone to the Granous' tormenting, insisted that they rescue him, and fed the Capricon the answers to the Granous' riddles to buy time. The Capricon, however, panicked and gave away Lief’s hiding place. Barda and Jasmine managed to slay two of the Granous, but the leader of the pack moved to kill Lief. At that moment, the Topaz Dragon, awakened by the Belt of Deltora, snatched the pack leader into the sky. The Granous scattered in fear and the Topaz Dragon spent that night feeding on the creatures, regaining its strength.
Barda recovered the puzzle box the Granous used in their game and kept it with him for the rest of the journey, toying with it in his free time.
Granous are cowardly creatures that will stalk their prey for days, waiting for a moment of weakness to take advantage of. Granous have been known to avoid attacking if their prey has a visible weapon or appears powerful, but they are easily frustrated and will eventually attack if their target lingers. Granous live and hunt in packs ranging from six to ten members, and some pack leaders are bolder and more aggressive than others.
The most notable trait of the Granous is their fondness for riddles. Granous often offer their captives the chance to play "the Twenty Questions game", wherein they ask one captive to solve a riddle within twenty seconds. If their prisoner fails to solve the riddle, the Granous eat one of his or her fingers, and one finger from any other captives. If the prisoner succeeds in solving the riddle, then the Granous howl and groan with frustration before moving on to the next question without taking any fingers. When their playthings run out of fingers, the Granous begin eating toes. After all twenty questions have been asked, the Granous supposedly release their captives, though this has not been observed. No game of Twenty Questions has been seen successfully completed in the series. It is possible that the games the Granous play vary depending on the pack.
Granous often salvage things from their more intelligent prey, such as the goblin's puzzle box or a wooden board of letters, and recycle them for future riddles. The Granous leader seems to be responsible for asking the riddles and the rest of his pack will often criticize his choices if they are answered correctly. Despite their cowardly nature, Granous are reasonably intelligent, able to speak to humans, use tools, tie captives to posts, and think up complicated riddles.
The Granous pack most frequently seen in the series employed a number of riddles and puzzles in their game of Twenty Questions. Some include:
- The Granous presented Lief with a beautifully carved wooden board – stolen from a previous victim - with letters on its face arranged in 5x10 rows. The leader of the pack then asked Lief a question: "What are the only useful things about you?" The answer, spelled out on the board of letters, could run up, down, sideways, or all three. Lief eventually managed to discern that the answer was "Ten fingers and ten toes."
- The Granous leader offered Lief this riddle:
"A king dined with his sister,
- The Granous arranged eight sticks into the crude shape of a fish swimming to the left. The challenge was to move exactly three sticks – no more, no less – and make the fish swim to the right. Lief solved this riddle for Rolf when the Capricon panicked and gave up.
- The Granous leader presented a puzzle box, which he admitted to Rolf that none of his kind had been able to open before. As revealed in Tales of Deltora, the box originally belonged to one of the seven goblins. Barda later succeeded in opening the puzzle box in The Sister of the South.
Granous are typically about the same height as a Dread Gnome, but are much bulkier and covered in matted, gray hair. They are ape-like creatures with pointed, yellow teeth and beady eyes. Their hands sport long, wiry fingers with yellowed claws and wet, black noses.
Granous live exclusively in the Del territory, specifically in the Os-Mine Hills. Granous live in underground dens throughout the Hills and travel through a network of hidden tunnels. Though normally forced underground by Dragons, the Granous can be found above ground much more frequently now that dragons are so scarce. They grew to "plague populations" in the absence of their only predators, the Topaz Dragons.
Granous are carnivores that normally prey on Vine-weaver Birds, rock rats, wood mice, snakes, and young Dragon Lizards. Granous enjoy the taste of human and horse flesh, particularly human fingers and toes, which they feel are the sweetest part of their prey. Granous are some of the favorite prey of Topaz Dragons, but have no other known predators.