Deep Sea Serpent
|Deep Sea Serpent|
|Official Name||Deep Sea Serpent|
|Common Nicknames||Great Sea Serpent, Bane of Fleets|
|Habitat||Waters in and around Hadar|
The Deep Sea Serpent is one of the largest creatures in all of Aloria and it once dominated Oceans across the world. Spreading out from Hadar, or perhaps always present across the many bodies of water in Aloria, Sea Serpents were almost reduced to nothing by the Cataclysm, leading them to only be found in and around Hadar. They are reviled and feared by many, seen as creatures of dangerous power by most, yet for the Slizzar who have known them the longest, they are mere tools, servants of the Teal Deep Dragons and an enemy to be overcome. This has not stopped misunderstandings in the past that the Slizzar worship these creatures, they do not. Deep Sea Serpents are commonly believed to be extinct following the Chrysant War, but others know better, and it seems with the return of Dragons to Aloria, these long-formed sea beasts are stirring once more.
The history of the Deep Sea Serpents is likely older than anyone can fathom. While most would suggest an age somewhere between two and three thousand years, which is the range of the era just following the Fourth Void Invasion that ended the Meraic, most Slizzar would suggest the giant serpents instead date to the dawn of life. While their faith of Nihsereya is open-ended on most aspects of creation, the afterlife and more, the Slizzar enemy of the Teal Deep Dragons and their spawn, the Deep Sea Serpents, have been a constant part of Slizzar society for ages into the past. Some question whether the oldest areas of Sassrakkand depict the Teal Dragons or their servants, but later architecture–said to date from some 5000 years ago–underscores the length of the relationship the Slizzar have had in opposition to the Sea Serpents. Despite the antagonism of this relationship, there is little evidence of Slizzar hunts or pursuits of Deep Sea Serpents for the purpose of killing them, most likely because the ultimate Slizzar aspiration is to see the entire Teal Throne of the Dragons brought under their control.
The first outside interactions with the Deep Sea Serpents ultimately date back to the Allorn Empire and Fin’ullen expeditions through Hadar’s waters. These encounters were brief but left a notable impact. Some reports even suggested that the serpentine form said to be possessed by the Daphalar is an echo of Fin’ullen revulsion with the titanic reptiles. If the original Fin’ullen had revulsion for the Deep Sea Serpents, this faded with time into a begrudging respect, with the creature later taking on connotations of power and prestige as the Allorn Empire reached its height, and then began to decline. In this same period, the Deep Sea Serpent seemed to expand its reach beyond Hadar, though some doubt that such huge creatures were truly ever contained to that one space. Encounters with Deep Sea Serpents are recorded in waters as far north as those that surround The Skags (though this region did not exist as it did in ancient times). By the era of the Mage Wars, this expansion seemed to have greatly contracted due to the hunts for the creature led by Fin’ullen serving Archmages and other Altalar royals who desired symbols of power, and to test their prowess against such enormous creatures. It was possibly this aggression that caused the giant reptiles to lash out in response, and led to how the Minoor see them today. The Minoor viewpoint of the Deep Sea Serpents is flawed and appears to be a mix of Allorn-era prejudice against the Slizzar, a lack of true understanding of Slizzar faith, and the Minoor probably encountering hostile Deep Sea Serpents while in the waters of Hadar. The Cataclysm, however, was a fresh slate for the rest of the world’s knowledge on these creatures.
What few, if any, Deep Sea Serpents remained beyond Hadar died off in the destructive reshaping of the world, resulting in the beasts lurking only in the deep blue depths between the lush pinpricks of Hadar’s many new or transformed islands. There they would remain hidden as largely creatures of myth to the Ailor and various non-Minoor Nelfin, until 120 AC when Ailor tradeships encountered one of the leviathans. Later, six Deep Sea Serpents fell under the thrall of an unknown Magic possessed by the cult lead by Mananya-Manya, soon to be empress of the Essa Empire. Stories exist of the cult calling on the serpents to perform at religious festivals, and even engage pirates when commanded to by Mananya. But it was ultimately the Chrysant War where the Deep Sea Serpents would be on full display. While they were kept back for much of the conflict, the final months saw piecemeal use of the creatures, the largest and final example being the four summoned at the Essan capital of Huallo. After this point, the Deep Sea Serpents vanished. Only their bones have been seen by widespread groups since, in colossal aquatic Bone Horrors that rose in 304 AC though few of these monsters remain today. While most Regalians buy the official statement from the Empire that the creatures were rendered extinct in the war, few Slizzar accept it, as creatures tied to Dragons rarely stay dead. There are also the whispers from the aquatic Allar who insist the animals are stirring beneath Hadar, an unsurprising fact if the Dragons of Aloria are returning, given the Deep Sea Serpents supposed role as chief servant to the Teal Deep Dragons.
Deep Sea Serpents are incredibly long creatures, ranging in lengths from between sixty to a hundred feet, with a body radius of between eight and twelve feet. It is impossible to accurately calculate a serpent’s weight, but likely it rests in the dozens of tons. Their heads are huge, with a beaked shell of hardened scales serving as their snout, which features a mouth with two rows of flesh-sawing teeth. Their “beak” also has two nostrils, supposedly to help them scent their prey underwater but to what extent that is true, is unknown. Their large, forward facing eyes are vertically slitted, with a gleaming hue of yellow, blue or purple to the pupils, well built to see in the ocean depths. Their head is separated from their serpentine body with a crest of flexible frills between three and six feet in height, often pointing backwards but flexing forward when calm or happy (a very rare situation). The rest of their body is a sleek form that reaches to a pointed tail. There are strange reports of some Deep Sea serpents having a pair of small, three-fingered webbed and clawed hands at about a third of their body’s length, but this is unconfirmed. The animal’s body is covered in a dense layer of scales, with their color either being hues of blue, purple or green. Rare examples in myth, and one of the serpents who fought at Huallo, have all black scales, in rarity alongside the unconfirmed white scales. Their scale coloration extends to the animal’s frills and their “beaks.”
The Deep Sea Serpents have minimal diversity known to the wider world and even among the Slizzar. While some claim the creatures possess both female and male characteristics in one individual, the Slizzar insist there are male and female Sea Serpents. If this is true, then it is almost impossible to determine Deep Sea Serpent gender from external appearance alone. As a result, it has been hard to track or understand the creature’s gender ratio. On matters of population spread and coloration, Deep Sea Serpents almost entirely inhabit the waters around Hadar, cut back from their expanse across Aloria from generations ago. Their eye colorations supposedly denote their rank within Deep Sea Serpent “society.” Those with purple eyes are considered closest to the Dragons who birthed them, while those with blue eyes are the general populace, the middling group, and those with yellow eyes have regressed into a more animal nature, and are the least involved in the wishes of the Teal Dragons.
Life Span and Development
Deep Sea Serpent development and age is an area of aggressive speculation. Those who seek to divorce the animals from a magical origin insist they must be born through the laying and hatching of eggs, likely from within a feminine Deep Sea Serpent’s body. Others contend they are laid, but in a single, common space far underwater where the Teal Deep Dragons watch over them until adolescence, when the Sea Serpents are allowed to enter the wider waters of Hadar. The final theory is the oddest and claims that the creatures are born through spontaneous creation by a pair of Deep Sea Serpents, formed through Magic, and one of the few times a Deep Sea Serpent is said to feel happiness. From their stage of youth, their development appears to be slow, with Slizzar records suggesting one of the six enthralled to Mananya-Manya’s cult was initially an adolescent, though over the course of some 80 years, matured into a young adult. They are commonly believed to clear 200 years of age, but the Slizzar insist they can live forever, sustained by the power of their creators should they hold their favor.
The Deep Sea Serpent is generally viewed as a savage, brutal apex predator of the deep oceans, only approaching the surface to mate, chase particular prey, or answer the calls of unknown Magic. They are commonly seen to hunt the largest of whales, sharks, squids and even aquatic Allar, who fear and revere the Sea Serpents in equal measure. There is some care believed to be shown by these creatures to their young, as female or female-coded Deep Sea Serpents have been seen with as many as three young around them, guiding them through the water. However, the Slizzar insist on a very different truth about the Deep Sea Serpents, that they are intelligent enough to speak, capable of using Magic, and are as deceptive as their masters. Slizzar folk history is filled with such stories, and even claim these capabilities were displayed by the “leading” Deep Sea Serpent enthralled by Mananya-Manya and their cult. There may be truth in both positions, but such a thing will likely take years of searching to uncover for certain.
Territory and Groupings
Deep Sea Serpents are solitary beasts, with each Serpent having their own patch of the sea around Hadaria. These often stretch dozens of square miles underwater. Unless it is mating season, Sea Serpents who pass into each other's territories are considered threats which leads to fierce confrontations. The Slizzar, however, insist that all Deep Sea Serpents “share” the ocean as a common bounty from the rulers of the Deep Realm, and these fights are instead contests of strength and power versus efforts to kill one another over a mate.
- The Deep Sea Serpents controlled by the Deep-Domination Cult were named Navya and Nitya (twin females with deep blue scales and eyes), Nirva (another female, with pale green scales and deep green eyes), Tanmay (a young male, who matured in enthrallment, with pale purple scales and yellow eyes), and Ratan (a male with deep blue scales and purple eyes). Lastly, there was Daivik, a black-scaled, purple-eyed Sea Serpent, who was the “leader” and one of the four to die at Huallo.
- One of the most precious items carved from Deep Sea Serpent scale is held in the Imperial Treasury. A gift to the Emperor from Admiral Gerwald Theli, the large purple scale is carved with golden storks, dragons, images of Unionism and is set in a golden frame.
- The rituals used to summon Deep Sea Serpents were often complex and incredibly draining for one to perform it, which is why it was most common for groups of Slizzar Mages to perform this art together. When the Regalians won the war against their people, however, all users of this Magic were killed off and its knowledge was destroyed or captured.