Shataina, the Fair and Forgiving Maiden, Lady of Legends, tells the tale:
The night quill was a cream-coloured animal about two feet in length that roamed the eastern taiga of the North. In appearance it resembled a blue-eyed hedgehog whose quills were well over three feet in length; in habits it was nocturnal, mated for life, and gave birth by laying eggs. It was also a gentle and herbivorous creature, which depended primarily upon its long quills and tough hide to repulse attackers. Sadly, this did not protect it from the determined human hunters that drove it to extinction.
At first the night quill was hunted because that rascal Verdigris claimed, for reasons of his own, that the spines, when ground in an extremely specific way, might be used as an ingredient in an alternative, easier method of casting the Kaskuri Rite of Essence-Bindry. Verdigris, persuasive as ever, managed to convince a large number of people of this fact, and the night quill's population suffered greatly for it. However, the fad passed soon enough for the remaining animals to recover somewhat and for the population to continue for some years.
The final blow was the creation of the Quaighs of Lost Luminescence. These minor artifacts were a great fad during the latter parts of the Cascade Years, most often kept as a symbol of devotion to Mars. But they were made using at least 15 woven, carven and enchanted night quill needles, and this caused the night quills to die out. Resuscitating the species by means of sorcery was disallowed by the Council of Magical Constructs, which ruled that to re-create an extinct species in such a manner was to overstep the bounds of the Chosen and that such a rebirth would be the domain of the gods (who also chose to do nothing). The verdict stood and was obeyed, despite a plethora of rumours that Lord Verdigris had had an illegal influence upon it.
The Dragon-Blooded Lady Grieving Curtain of Flame has sometimes been called by the epithet Night Quill, this being a somewhat tasteless reference to her terrible suicide, which she accomplished by swallowing a large number of sharpened night quill spines -- yet another event with which Verdigris's name is associated, albeit obliquely.
See also Shataina's other Lexicon entries