Great Reef Masscar
|Great Reef Masscar|
|Official Name||Great Reef Masscar|
|Common Nicknames||Sea Slaughterer, Grand White Shark, Masscar’razz|
Great Reef Masscars are some of the largest sharks in Aloria and populate the tropical reefs found in several oceans. They have a very unfortunate reputation, saddled with mostly Ailor-generated imaginings of a bestial creature lacking complexity or thought, though these are false. Instead, the creature is social, avoiding conflict with Ailor and other Races, and mostly feeds on the formal foods pursued by sharks.
Great Reef Masscars have been known since the Altalar entered the reef-filled waters of Hadaria and Corontium’s tropical islands. However, due to a lack of underwater interest, most observations by the Altalar were done from the surface, with those few divers generally focusing on other organisms or objectives. Some were hunted and consumed as The Consolidation came to an end, but on the whole, the Altalar did not care for the creature. As for the inhabitants of Hadaria, Slizzar knowledge of the sharks is unknown due to their generally unknown history prior to the arrival of the Allar. But when the Allar did arrive, their focus on alchemy compelled them to capture and kill members of the species in order to fully investigate their potential in future concoctions. The creature proved lacking, though its meat was nice, and the animal was once again left alone. It was only much later, with the Ailor, that the animal got its characterization as a “massacring beast”. Part of this is derived from the Allar name for the creature, Masscar’razz, which to the Ailor sounded like a version of the word massacre. Add to that its sharp teeth, large size, and carnivorous nature, the animal didn’t make many friends among the Ailor of tropical Corontium.
However, the offenses began to wrack up. Attacks by the creatures against Ailor increased from 120 to 200 AC, and many blamed the creature’s aggressive nature on these attacks. As a result, the animal was extensively hunted, almost to extinction in Corontium, but with the Regalian Pessimism, such efforts were no longer fiscally possible. During the Chrysant War, the animal’s reputation did not improve. Ailor and Allar sailors alike reported attacks on small craft and the open consumption of the dead, earning the creatures even more ill-regard. Today, the Great Reef Masscar is generally considered a brutal creature, though attacks against the sentient Races of Aloria have vastly diminished in the past two decades. It is nearly extinct in the tropical reefs of Corontium, but it still thrives in the reefs of Hadaria, competing with other predators and serving as a constant for many in the destruction and chaos that was seeded by the region’s conflict.
Great Reef Masscar’s are some of the largest sharks, and indeed fish, in Aloria, sitting anywhere from between eight and fifteen feet, though certain members have been seen to grow up to twenty feet in length, with weight varying accordingly. The animals have a sleek form, with a pointed-snout head possessing large black eyes and a wide, curved mouth on the underside of the head. Proceeding back, the next features to be hit are the five slits of the gills. These are located right next to the pectoral fins, slightly curved and triangular maneuvering features that are pointing down at a slight angle from the body. After that, the top of their body has a short triangular dorsal fin with a slight curve, but only along the top. The animals have several smaller fins further along their body, a small secondary dorsal fin, a small pelvic fin on the animal’s underside, with two small anal fins also existing on the underside. The tail that ends the animal is broad and forked, with a thicker and slightly longer fork on the upper prong. The animal is covered in smooth skin, with a white underbelly and a pale grey back, the line between the two sitting along the animal’s side.
The Great Reef Masscar possess little to no visual variation, though individual specimens may grow scarred or have varying sizes based on their lives. However, generally speaking, female Masscars are the larger members of the species, but this is hardly a reliable form of sexual dimorphism. The population is suspected to be distributed equally, but due to their location underwater, the truth is unknown.
Life Span and Development
Great Reed Masscars are unique as fish, in that they are live-born, existing inside their mother as eggs before hatching as pups. They are then released into the wild from the mother’s womb, with these pups being extremely different from their parents. They are very pale, with only white spots on their underbelly, and lack the same hard, triangular fins as their parents, and generally are between a foot and a foot and a half long. However, they do possess teeth and will rapidly get to work as independent organisms hunting and eating, with their mother generally ignoring them. They mature slowly, reaching physical adulthood by the age of ten, at which point most cease growing in size. For the particularly large members of their species though, they continue to grow past the age of ten. Great Reed Masscars can live up to 35 years, though the oldest known specimen, and also one of the largest, is nearing 40, which may suggest an older lifespan possible for the largest members of the species
Great Reef Masscars, despite their reputation as brutal killers and predators, possess a myriad of unique features observed over the centuries. The most significant one is their general social behavior. Groups of up to twenty Masscars will gather and sometimes even bask in the sun from late morning to early afternoon in more shallow atoll waters before returning to lower depths. These groups, if formed, then disperse at night as that is when the creature is most active in its hunting practices. Despite their pension for being “murderous”, the fish normally goes after the customary food of sharks, cephalopods, bony fish, and crustaceans. The Great Reef Masscar has been observed to perform a curious action known as “twisting” when they are aware they are being observed, or are approached by Humans and other Races. They stiffen and warp their bodies, the heads pushing up, the fins yanking down, and the body sharply twisting to the left in a near U shape. Some suspect this is a bizarre attempt to play dead, triggered by the presence of “greater creatures” but others contend it is a warning gesture, to get the other individual to back off. This doesn’t happen between different members of the species though and is solely directed at outside or non-species individuals. The one species that Great Reef Masscars have a unique relationship with are the Maiar, the near-sentient aquatic creatures periodically peacefully living alongside and then, when food gets scarce, eating Masscars. Some suspect that the species developed this “twisting” mechanism to specifically ward off Maiar.
Territory and Groupings
Great Reef Masscars are not territorial, and as previously mentioned, even form loose “Reef Groups” to sun themselves or simply swim around lazily during the daytime. However, when a large, titanous member of the species approaches, other Great Reef Masscars hide, as the practice of species cannibalism is a valid threat, and pups are sometimes even eaten by their parents or members of the Reef Group if food is limited enough. The Great Reef Masscar usually resides in and around reefs, obviously, with a particular fondness for drop-offs.
- The oldest known Great Reed Masscar is the absurdly named “Doris”, easily identified due to being struck by a ship’s prow in 269 AC, which left a large, obvious gash in the creature’s side which has since healed. She is found in the tropical waters off Corontium, specifically off the northern coastline of Solacia.
- The longest Masscar ever said to exist was seen by Altalar sailors well over two centuries ago, shortly after the Wildering, with the beast said to be the length of the Altalar vessel which it passed by slowly. In terror from the supposed sight, the crew rapidly maneuvered themselves into a shallow bay. Some have suggested though that the creature was a whale, and the crew of mostly young Altalar gripped with paranoia and fear, stressed on their first journey, panicked over nothing.