Gargant Hadar Trunkrond
|Gargant Hadar Trunkrond|
|Official Name||Gargant Hadar Trunkrond|
|Common Nicknames||Azssrollo Uessollvo|
The Gargant Hadar Trunkrond has a well-deserved reputation as the largest turtle in Aloria. Having survived since the rise of the Slizzar and past their fall, the Trunkrond is now rare due to the damage wrought by the Chrysant War. They are now slowly making a return once more as their large size deters people and animals from hunting them. They are also known for returning to certain beaches to lay their eggs, carrying on a legacy somehow known to them despite rarely ever visiting these spots previously. Unless Hadaria suffers another disaster, these giant reptiles will still be around and swimming through the seas for centuries to come.
The Gargant Hadar Trunkrond was seen by the Slizzar early in their history. Despite its size and possibility for resources, the Slizzar did not attempt to hunt the Trunkrond as its extendable and retractable head reminded them of serpents. It became commonly branded as an unfortunately failed child of one Sea Serpent god or the other, and the Slizzar let it go about its business. The Elven Empire, on the other hand, did not. When they reached Hadaria, they hunted the animal extensively due to its size, claiming it as a prize of wealth and skill due to the resources and efficiency needed to capture and haul the colossal creature. Trunkrond numbers dwindled, but they were saved from extinction when the Slizzar began their manipulation of regional Elven leaders, which eventually led to the massive pull-out undertaken by the nation. The next to come were the Allar, fleeing their civil war, who took a blended stance between the Slizzar and the Elves.
The Allar hunted the animal minimally, the practice mainly undertaken by Cro-Allar though a small number were also captured alive for grand water gardens within some Nessrassian temples. The next significant shift came with the Chrysant War and the Regalian Empire. Their campaign of destruction damaged the local ecosystem, killing off swathes of food eaten by the Trunkrond while their destruction of Allar vessels sometimes leaked dangerous chemicals into the water which slowly poisoned these sea turtles. By the end of the war, the Trunkrond hadn’t been seen in months, and it was only in 301 AC that sightings of the animal began again. The Regalian Empire for their part, has only been interested in the animal for its enormous size and for scholarly purposes, as hunting the creature is almost impossible now since they are quick to leave an area should vessels approach. Despite all odds and several events that nearly rendered them extinct, the Gargant Hadar Trunkrond will likely recover once again and soon repopulate the waters in and around Hadaria.
As its name suggests, the Gargant Hadar Trunkrond is gargantuan and is viewed as the largest species of turtle in Aloria. Their bodies, including their front flippers, are sixteen feet wide and thirteen feet long. The Trunkrond’s head possesses a narrow skull, ending in a mouth with two pointed cusps on each part of the jaw. There is a significant overbite on the upper piece, though the mechanism is still effective in breaking into the soft bodies of octopus, squid, and other invertebrates. Its head also possesses two small nostrils on the beginning of the upper cusp and two small eyes which can be either yellow or green, protected by wrinkled layers of skin which form the eyelids. The head is attached to the large body by a thick neck, capable of extending the animal’s head at most 3 feet forward out from the body when it is needed before being able to retract it. The main feature of their body is their “soft” shell, as unlike that of other turtles, the Trunkrond’s is leathered and very rounded with one ridge running down their back that mildly pinches the surface up toward it. The ridge is also set along the shell’s curve that goes from the head to the rear. The underside of this shell is also similarly leathered. Both sides are liable to possess faded or fresh scars from attempts by large oceanic predators to eat them or hunters to capture them. Two sets of flippers help the animal move through the water. The front pair are large and solid, anywhere from three to four feet long while the rear set are more clearly webbed and often measure two feet. The Gargant Hadar Trunkrond also possesses a tail, one foot long, which is a flat point out the back of their bodies. The colorations of the Gargant Hadar Trunkrond are a soft blue-grey with speckles of dark green and dirty white along their flippers, tail, and neck flesh which sometimes also reaches the face.
The Gargant Hadar Trunkrond diversity is limited at this time, and while the species currently possesses more females than males, their natural gender binary is equal. As for their diversity in coloration, each Trunkrond’s speckle pattern is unique.
Life Span and Development
The Gargant Hadar Trunkrond begins its life inside of an egg the size of a large Human fist. These eggs, which are white, are soft-shelled and are hatched in groups of anywhere between twenty to thirty by a now absent mother. Warmed by the sand, the babies eventually emerge whereupon they head for the nearby water. Unlike other baby turtles, however, Trunkrond babies are already big enough to dissuade birds and small predatory animals from hunting them. Eventually, the Trunkrond reaches the water where it submerges itself and immediately begins to seek out food. Large predators, like Pahltu Reef Crackers or Maiar, commonly prey on them during this stage of their life, but within five years the Trunkrond has already reached a formidable size, enough to dissuade even them. They are very solitary creatures, rarely surfacing near populated areas and can go for years without seeing another member of their species.
Mating for the Gargant Hadar Trunkrond is complex. Within the first seven years of emerging, females develop a “receptive” period to coupling with males that comes and goes with time. Males also develop such a period, but it lasts longer than that of females. When two in-period Trunkronds meet, the two must swim together for at least a day before a mutual trust is established. At this point the male takes over, fertilizing the female before departing the area relatively soon afterward. The female will then head off for a beach to lay her now fertilized eggs, digging a hole for them and burying them before leaving just as her mother did. Trunkronds can mate several times in their lifetimes, which can last as long as 100 years, though by age 85 they are unable to have children.
Gargant Hadar Trunkronds fit the classic mold of uncaring titans assigned to many similarly massive animals in Aloria. To fish and other small turtles, the Trunkrond displays an indifference, continuing throughout its day on a search for food or resting gently in the shallow waves. When confronted by hostility or danger, however, the Trunkrond is surprisingly swift to try and get away or avoid the oncoming attacker. They do have one advantage in that their shells, despite being softer than normal turtles, are still quite powerful. Trunkronds have been known to fend off aggressive Maiar through a well-timed lunge outward to bite down onto an exposed limb or to swipe with their flippers. When encountering ships, Trunkronds often vacate the area quickly as they are seemingly aware of the danger of such vessels thanks to their experience in the Chrysant War. Individual members of the different Races such as Ailor or Slizzar coming alone have been known to be able to approach them as they show the same indifference towards these individuals as they might with fish.
To other members of their species, they are acquaintances at best and often swim together for a time before taking their own separate paths. When one member is in-period however, it can be tense as often the other party will resist mating. While sometimes it does ultimately take place, usually the two members eventually leave in different directions, irritated at the actions of the other. Trunkronds do not care for their young. Other than ensuring that her eggs have been appropriately buried in the sand, the mother leaves them to their fates so that she may resume her own life. This is likely due to the taxing effort involved in hatching for females, thus requiring them to leave their young for their own survival, regardless of if there even was any wish to stay. Gargant Hadar Trunkronds are carnivorous animals, but rather than hunting fish they eat a wide variety of invertebrates such as the Eelboor Man of War. As such prey is often lax or unable to move, Trunkronds easily extend their heads forward, biting through their soft surfaces to then gobble down the insides within.
Territory and Groupings
Gargant Hadar Trunkronds are solitary wanderers, never possessing any territory. They often follow their primary food source, jellyfish, throughout the warm waters of Hadaria. There is, however, one type of set territory they observe and that is their hatching grounds. There seem to be a set of beaches, scattered across the large region, which female Trunkrond repeatedly return to in order to hatch their babies. These are not direct legacy spots, as a female will almost never return to the beach she herself was born on, but the practice has allowed some beaches to be watched by scholars or poachers. Luckily, not all of the beach locations are known, and some are imagined to be on islands so remote and small, sentient races will not find them for years to come.
- Gargant Hadar Trunkronds get their main name from the observation of Moriarty Kade looking down from the deck of the Kade flagship Laridae II about a year before the end of the Chrysant War. He mentioned to surrounding people that the trapped giant sea turtle below them, surrounded by heavily silted water, looked like a gargantuan round tree trunk thus giving the turtle its modern name.
- Several Digmaan today keep Trunkrond shells on their walls or floors as symbols of their wealth and power.
- Gargant Hadar Trunkronds ultimately had limited alchemical uses to the Al-Allar aside from one extract that aided in the creation of a difficult-to-produce eye-injury medication.