|Habitat||South-western and Central Daen|
The Grashobaig are a species of huge and deadly snails. They are slow and docile creatures with a powerful defence mechanism in the form of toxic secretions in their slime trail and in their saliva. They are normally found along the southwestern coastlines and central regions of Daen (roughly speaking made up of Hyarroc and Daendroc), slowly moving forward in an endless quest for new food sources. The gastropod is extremely diverse, from their colour to the shape of their shell. It’s these shells as well as their venom that have driven the Grashobaig into rarity, as each product can be sold for a hefty price.
A very old species, the Grashobaig has had a rather stagnant and stable history, though there is a lack of information on their existence before the Cataclysm. Some believe them to be animals affected by the Void in the Fifth Void Invasion while others think they emigrated from the Far West or another landmass destroyed by the Cataclysm. A few radicals even believe they were a form of sea slug who left the water for the land. The Orcs were the first race to discover them, landing in Daen after they fled their homeland. At first, the creature was left alone due to its docile nature and bizarre appearance. It was only months after, when Orcs looked to hunt them for food, that many died, underestimating this beast’s defensive capabilities. They quickly learned of the animal’s dense shell and the deadly nature of the venom they leave in their trail as well as in their spray. It was after these initial attacks that the Orcs began to see the Grashobaig as something else: a challenge to overcome. Over time, Orcs began to hunt the creature to show their skill and gain favor, due to the difficulty of killing one. Within 50 years of this event, the first Grashobaig reached the borders of some of the Inheritor States of Rie. So disgusted were the Alatalar that for once, they performed the same act as their enemies, hunting the creature. The Avanthar also hunted the animal once they encountered it soon after and its grand population swell died off. The species is now rare into near extinction, and it is said that no more than a thousand are currently left roaming the fields and plains of Daendroc though some fear the day such a statistic is proven very wrong.
The Grashobaig is a massive snail, reaching up to seven feet tall and twelve feet long with a dense weight of over 1000 pounds. The head of a Grashobaig is much like any snail but enlarged, except for its four red, bulbous eyes on long eye stalks that allow them great flexibility. The creature’s body, meaning its skin rather than its shell, is slimy, waxy and comes in many tones ranging from a mellow orange to a vivid green. This skin is wrinkled and folded, mainly towards its lower body - or ‘foot’ - but is tougher than the average snail’s, giving it the general appearance of wet leather. The shell of a Grashobaig is one of its most infamous features and is notoriously valuable for many reasons. Averaging a diameter of six feet, a rounded Grashobaig shell is almost 20 feet in circumference and therefore makes up the majority of the creature’s size, as well as - potentially - its beauty. The shell has an almost iridescent, pearly coating but can be darker, nearing purple rather than pink and appearing in either a spiral-shape or a conical formation. Their texture is often smooth but can have spikes emerging along and around the base or possess bumps and knobs. The shell of a Grashobaig is incredibly strong and capable of withstanding most blunt attacks, attempted piercing, immense pressure and even large falls, meaning when a Grashobaig hides in its shell, it is incredibly hard to kill.
An equally infamous part of the Grashobaig is its venomous trail, originating from glands in the snail’s tail and mouth. Like most common snails this creature leaves a trail of slime in its wake as it travels, but the Grashobaig imbues this slime with the venom it produces. This means any creature that touches, ingests or likewise comes into contact with a Grashobaig’s slime trail, suffers from the effect of the venom. The venom this creature secretes is incredibly deadly to most Fauna in Aloria, as well as most Alorians. In high doses the venom constricts the muscles in the neck and throat, asphyxiating the victim, while in low doses it can simply lead to fainting or long-term breathing problems. The creature’s trail is not its only source of offence, however, as it is also capable of forcibly “spitting” this venom through a collection of short tubes in the skin around its mouth. The trail also serves another purpose, as it is corrosive to organic matter, in larger amounts including fauna, and helps the Gashobaig in breaking down plant matter as it eats. This is also done to animal carrion if the Grashobaig lacks its traditional plant diet.
Grashobaig are hermaphrodites, meaning they possess both sets of reproductive organs, so there is no gender distribution nor sexual dimorphism. This does not mean the species is not diverse, however, as there is instead a large amount of intraspecies variation among all Grashobaig. The main noticeable variation between the species is the shape of its shell (conical or spherical), but its skin tone can also differ from yellows to oranges, to greens.
Life Span and Development
Grashobaigs who are given the role of the female during mating lay a cluster of up to ten fist-sized ovular eggs after breeding, setting them safely in tree hollows or holes until they are ready to hatch. They hatch relatively quickly, taking just up to a week in most cases. The babies that emerge are miniature versions of their parents and grow rapidly, approaching full size within five to ten years of being born. During this period, they also share the same area as their siblings but around or at the age of three, they move out into the world as the area they live in is unlikely to support such a large toxic group of animals for much longer. Later in life, should two Grashobaig seek to mate, one will take on the role of the male and the other the female (as they possess both sets of organs) before the process repeats itself over again. The only noticeable physical change that occurs when Grashobaig age is their skin tone, which fades each year until their death. When a Grashobaig dies, they also stop secreting their natural poison and their skin becomes safe to touch. Most Grashobaig corpses are harvested and eaten out of their shells by other animals or those working for collectors and merchants. The shell of a Grashobaig barely degrades through weathering and time even once their owner has died. While most are taken in and used by Humans, some are claimed by the surrounding wildlife and used as habitats for other, smaller animals. The Grashobaig can live for up to 30 years.
While the Grashobaig is a wild animal, and cannot be tamed, many see them as a relatively passive species. Not inherently hostile, the Grashobaig usually only acts in self-defence, or passively kills other organisms through their venomous trail. They are slow, as most common snails are, sleeping for almost twelve hours a day and spending the rest moving around to find grass and other fauna to eat. To many, the species is therefore rather boring, as they are so big they need to preserve energy sleeping (and are therefore mainly seen standing still), and when they do use energy, it is only to eat. Being an omnivore, a Grashobaig is capable of digesting both Flora and fauna as well sentient Races, but usually only does the last if no other food source is available. In all cases, the creature breaks down the organism with its toxic secretion first, before consuming it. When provoked, the Grashobaig will behave either defensively, offensively, or both, and it is rather unpredictable which it will choose to do. If threatened, especially by attacks outside of their sight range, most hide in their shells due to their almost indestructible properties. Others may begin spitting venom at their attacker, or spinning quickly to spread their corrosive slime in a defensive barrier around themselves.
Territory and Groupings
The grouping of the Grashobaig change as they age. Younger and smaller members of the species usually travel in groups of three or four after the age of three. Older and larger Grashbaigs tend to isolate themselves and act more independently, mainly so they do not need to compete for territory or food with others of their species. As the species constantly need to eat, food is often scarce among larger groupings, meaning Grashobaig occasionally journey in so-called ‘flocks’ of three to ten members to find new, more bountiful pastures.
- Almost every part of the Grashobaig is valuable, but mainly its secretion. Incredibly effective at its job, but very difficult to harvest, the slime is obviously incredibly rare and therefore expensive. *The shell of a Grashobaig is also valuable. Some shells, with their almost ivory like pearlescent properties, have aesthetic value to a wealthy buyer, while other, spikier shells are broken up and used as exotic armour due to their incredible durability and resistance to blows.
- A simple technique for killing the Grashobaig was discovered in 253 AC when an Orc managed to temporarily blind the great snail with fire. Proceeding to cut off the eyestalks, it was then an easy task to drive a spear through the snail’s flesh.
- Many Orcs believe that the toxic atmosphere from Guldar caused the deadly venom to develop in the Grashobaig. However, Guldar is hundreds of miles away from Daen and some believe their belief is a hint that the animal is also native to Guldar, or at least was when the Orcs were last there.