|Official Name||Fendar Rotbite|
|Common Nicknames||Desecrator, Corpse-worm, La Pourriture|
The Fendar Rotbite, while not particularly dangerous, is certainly an unpleasant creature. This vile arthropod thrives on rotting bodies, the cause of its loathing. Rotbites were first discovered on Fendarfelle in 263 AC by an Ithanian logging company, whose workers called it “La Pourriture”. They make homes for themselves in graveyards and the dense jungles of the region. In modern times, the bugs are fairly uncommon due to their reclusive behavior, but still a nuisance that most graveyard workers must deal with.
The Rotbite was first discovered in 263 AC by Ithanian loggers from the Fendarfelle colony, who reported mounds of animal carcasses, and the eerie sound many-legged things scuttling beneath the ground. Guards stationed in the colony were quickly dispatched to the forest, where the mounds were burned and the ground was dug up, exhuming a swarm of agitated Rotbites. It was a fairly easy skirmish for the guards, though not without several decaying wounds. This earned the newly discovered bug the name “La Pourriture”, or the Fendar Rotbite. For some months after, the logging business had mostly ceased, loggers refusing to work with such a dangerous creature loose. Only after scholars proved the Rotbite’s more or less placid manner did the business resume, though precautions were taken to avoid rousing such a swarm again. Since then, Rotbites are known as an occupational hazard to loggers and cemetery groundskeepers alike on Fendarfelle, but one easily avoided.
These vile bugs resemble giant millipedes, with their hideous amount of legs. Not counting the head, a Rotbite’s body consists of thirty segments, each holding two pairs of stubby, eight-inch legs ending in two stubby claws used to grip when climbing. Each of these segments is externally identical, topped with a smooth, though jagged-edged, chitin plate. These plates overlap all the way from the head plate to the spear-shaped end of the last segment. This carapace is a mottled mix of green, grey, and brown, meant to blend in with their forested homeland. Its underbelly is similarly plated, though with a somewhat lighter tone. This coloring has slight variations based on region. A Rotbite in a mountainous region would likely be greyer, a jungle-dweller would be greener, and so on. This is the result of a century of natural selection, giving them a slight camouflage ability to gradually change colors to suit their environment.
End to end, Rotbites are more or less three feet in length, with no gender-based difference. The head of the bug is shaped like a blunt arrowhead, splitting at the front into two pairs of sharp mandibles, used to spear bits of rotting meat and pull it towards the mouth. Each one is tipped with a venomous barb, causing necrosis in the affected area. Additionally, a bite would likely cause some foul infection from the rancid remains of its meals. The Rotbite is, of course, immune to all these corpse-borne diseases. The Rotbite has two pairs of beady black eyes located on the sides of its head, and a third pair set in the middle of the forehead. Sprouting just above the mouth is a pair of long, waving antennae which act as the ears and nose of the bug, used to sniff out food and predators.
Rotbites have no outward gender differences aside from genitalia, and it’s assumed they have a fairly even distribution. Despite their lack of physical differences, males have been known to be more aggressive, and will attack in situations where a female would retreat. This aggression peaks during their mating season in spring.
Life Span and Development
During the spring mating season, females will lay a clutch of twenty to thirty round, dull yellow eggs in the carcass of a dead animal. These hatch after approximately three weeks into similarly colored larvae resembling an eight-inch long, less armored, and less legged adult. In this state it gorges itself on the putrid material of its nest, as well as its smaller siblings, in preparation for the coming changes. After two months since hatching, these larvae are a foot long, and begin developing the segmented body and legs of the adult. At six months of life, it has reached a full adult form, and reproductive capability, as well as a length of two feet. Rotbites reach their full length within the year, and have a lifespan of ten years.
The Rotbite is completely apathetic to the world around it. Aside from their own survival and reproduction, these bugs have no interest in anything. As long as they are not disturbed, a Rotbite will tolerate any sort of being in its vicinity, making it very easy for scholars to observe them. However, when disturbed, a Rotbite will certainly turn to violence. Males are more prone to this, but females can be quite the terror when thoroughly riled up. This sort of behavior has caused many to liken them to moody teenagers. They aren’t overly feral as one would assume by their diet, yet so far not a single one has been truly domesticated as they attach no loyalty or value to their captor, and simply continue behaving in their apathetic, unobtrusive way.
Territory and Groupings
These bugs are quite territorial, despite having no interest in protecting the land they consider theirs. Instead, a Rotbite will, like clockwork, methodically scour a specifically chosen area for new corpses. Within this territory, they dig a deep burrow, to which they drag their food for later consumption. If this food supply ever runs dry, the bug will abandon its home in search of a new one.
Rotbites can be found living in both solitude and in large swarms, though it is much rarer to find the latter. A chance encounter between two Rotbites may lead to them being too uninterested in the other to shove them out of their territory. This leads to other Rotbites who wander into the territory sticking around for the safety in numbers, leading to a snowball effect in which a swarm is formed. Aside from the spring mating season, Rotbites within a swarm rarely even socialize, with the exception of occasional squabbles over food.
- With their natural immunity to disease, the bodily fluids of Rotbites have found use in various medical alchemical products.
- Rotbite corpses are very rare out in the wild, as they are typically eaten by their brethren.
- When corpses are unavailable, Rotbites will turn to fresher sources of food, and hunt down small mammals and reptiles, as well as other younger, more vulnerable Rotbites.