|Official Name||Eartheater Skall|
|Common Nicknames||Settlement Mauler or Stone Gummers|
The Eartheater Skall is a worm native to Ellador, with white, matted fur, and tissue dense enough to endure the ragged drag of the underearth it crawls in. The now-absent Dakkar treated Skalls like mundane pests, while the Dwarves struggled against the creatures since their discovery. The Dwarves of Ellador took arms against the Skall, but stumbled upon the realization axes and swords were of little effect to the Skall’s resilient hide. Scholars accredit the Skalls as a major power player in the downfall to the Dwarven Empire of Ellador, with many leather workers accrediting the Skall for their hides.
Before the dawning of the Cataclysm, Eartheater Skalls nestled themselves deep below Ellador’s surface. Even with the upheaval of the cataclysm, the Eartheater Skall withstood the testament of time, remaining one of the predominant few animals impervious to its magical tremors. Having predated even the cataclysm, records of the Eartheater Skall can be traced back to Dakkar oral stories and myths. Many of which put emphasis on the Skall’s capacity for destruction, as stories tell of entire Dakkar strongholds having caved in on themselves due to the “Stone Gummers:”a moniker later conjured by the Dwarven foreigners of Ellador; insensitive tunneling that would weaken the structural integrity of Dakkar encampments.
When the Dwarves of Ellador unhatched the doorway that would finally bridge the Dakkar to the rest of the world, their insidious pests accompanied them. During the lopsided war between the Dwarven Empire and the Dakkar, the Eartheater Skall made its debut, having sprouted from Aloria’s underground during one of the cataclysmic wars. The Eartheater Skall smashed both Dakkar and Dwarf without scrutiny or prejudice between its fibrous gums. Countless Dwarven structures fell, concave in unnatural cavities formed by a passing by herd of Eartheater Skall. Historians have laid into question why the Eartheater Skall only took to the surface after the rupturing of the Dakkar’s paradise. While no light has been shed on the matters, with most theories being chalked up as nothing more than backwash dribble and gossip, the question is still at large.
With most of the dust settled in Ellador, the Eartheater Skall has steadily grown dormant, as encounters with the Skall have grown increasingly rare. Many of these interactions either include an Eartheater Skall springing up from the ground to nab rotten corpses or spoiled flora laid strewn and chilled by Ellador’s howling winds. Conversely, the erstwhile warren, a network of interconnecting tunnels, the present Eartheater Skall can be seen as enormous spherical gouges carved from the earth, which are distinguished from your typical sinkhole due to the inorganic shape it leaves behind. These warrens can be inferred as the Eartheater Skall lodging during the daytime hours.
Eartheater Skalls have a prominent set of characteristics. What differs them from other worm-esque creatures is their pastel, seemingly ghastly white skin, matted with mud-capped fur that lines the body of the Skall. The purpose behind this fur stumps poacher and biologist alike. When soaked and dried, the fur develops a white hue that has been adapted into Ithanian fashion. As of late, speculations among the scientific community has conjectured the idea that the Eartheater Skall had once roamed Ellador’s tundras and the fur served to insulate body heat. The Eartheater Skall can crawl out and grow anywhere from five to ten feet. Numerous factors play a critical role, such factors include region, food, heritage, and other unaccountable elements. The mock face of an Eartheater Skall is dotted with curving in orifices lacking the should be eyes and nasal cavity. These orifices serve the purpose of sensory devices, capable of detecting the repugnant scent of a decaying corpse, and burrowing and navigating subterranean edifices they create.
The Eartheater Skall makes use of its sturdy jaw, having it able to break bone down to the marrow and crumble supple plots of stoney earth, channeling their vast tunnelways by devouring stone with their gummy jaws and later void of it. The stone does not run through the digestive tract of the Eartheater Skall, rather, it has a unique original system that mills the stone with corrosive acids, reducing it to a gelatinous yellow bile left as residual footsteps for the Skall. Another component to the Eartheater Skall aptness for subterranean life that leaves it unscathed even with its steady tunneling of treacherous ground, is its hide-like skin, resilient enough to reduce an otherwise fatal collision with a chunk of jutted out stone into nothing more than a glancing blow. This hide-like skin has made hunting an Eartheater Skall incredulously difficult, with it being immune to most sword slashes. Even though the Eartheater Skall is a hermaphrodite from birth, they undergo a transformation upon reproduction, as each partner is delegated either a male or female role. After reproduction, the male winds up comparatively unscathed from the interaction, as the female experiences bouts of severe growth, now bearing the cocoon of the larva Eartheater Skall on its back, mollycoddling the larva even after conception and into its early adolescence.
A commonplace misconception with the Eartheater Skall pertains to their size displacement between genders. At its peak, Eartheater Skalls can reach lengths of ten feet, however, only females can reach such extremes. Most fully developed males range from five to seven feet, which is why to the inept eye, they may be mistaken as being fresh from the cocoon or a runt. Moreover, the hide of the female Skall is choicer than their male counterparts, valued by collectors and leather workers owing to its dense yet malleable give. For that reason and the hassle involved in slaying an Eartheater Skall, the material is considered a luxury only obtainable by nobility or by those tantamount.
Life Span and Development
With no Eartheater Skall being observed from start to finish, their life expectancy is a toss in the air, yet scholars pin the number anywhere between five to ten years. Once conceived, the Eartheater Skall develops in a sack packed with nutrients vital for its survival. The childbearing Skall will then cart the larva sack until it hatches. Even in infancy, the Skall can stretch base to base a foot long, bristled with just a hint of the fur to come. While an Eartheater Skall may not fend for its newborn, it does not outright abandon it. Now hatched, the larva Skall will tail its parent, burrowing alongside it up to the point where it can fend for itself. There are cases where larva are ploughed over by their parent, left behind, or even mistook for grub and incidentally devoured. In any predicament the larva’s mortality rate skyrockets. This bout of survival for the larva stretches to its first year of life, where it can reach an adequate bulk to defend itself and, by most definitions, consider an adult.
When they first punctured the soils of Ellador and laid waste to Dwarven settlements, many thought to domesticate the Eartheater Skall. This proved a fruitless endeavor for several reasons, one of which were the difficulty entailed with trapping an Eartheater Skall and nurturing away its panic. Food and other variations would prove an obstacle if they overcame this hurdle, but those were dilemmas they never ran across. Despite this failure the Dwarves unveiled an unrelated tidbit, which revealed the Eartheater Skall to not be innately hostile but only when provoked.
Many fame the Eartheater Skall for their vast, abstract web of tunnels, daring to say they carve their tunnels without rhyme or reason. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Eartheater Skall uses both present and late tunnels to navigate the under earth, operating much in the way an invisible highway would.
Territory and Grouping
The Eartheater Skall more often than not live nomadically and away from other Skalls, although this does not connote that junctures between Skalls do not crop up when need be. During times of heat, Skalls are known to cluster in what is classified as herds where a hectic battle for both partners and sexual designations are fought for. Other than this annual occasion, the Eartheater Skall sparsely convene. To that extent, the Eartheater Skall are known to cluster under inexplicable circumstances. A result of these episodes, when herds of Skalls gouging out huge apertures of earth below settlements, oftentimes triggers the ground below cities to give way and drop them to ruin.
- The pelts of Eartheater Skall, both being unfathomably expensive and troublesome to procure, are tanned and furnished to fabricate some of the best leather armor to score.
- When the Dakkar came into existence by the meddling hands of Dwarves, those who were less informed initially confused Eartheater Skall to be Dakkar. Since then the misconception has been cleared up and is fitfully regarded as a driving point for historians to accurately depict newfound species to avoid a similar incident.