|Common Nicknames||Big Mosie, Cúälis’saó lín’nasöa-llajiá, Lizard-sharks|
The Mossassarios is a primeval terror primarily found beneath the Western Calms, stalking the waters in search of prey. This marine reptile bears some similarity to lizards, with four limbs and a tail. For as anyone can remember, the Mossassarios have been a danger to the ships around the western landmasses since the early Elves and Allar first took to the waters. To hunt such a beast is a dangerous undertaking, but those who manage to bring one down can be greatly rewarded. Mossassarios have not made much of an impact beyond the west, but are a risk any sailors in those waters may face. Currently, they’re most infamous for the sinking of merchant vessels in the area.
Although the first true discovery of the Mossassarios lies with the sea-dwelling Maiar, the first recordings were made by the Altalar Elves of the ancient Elven Empire. For centuries, the Elves didn’t bother to study the beasts, and simply avoided areas they were known to hunt. The Al-Allar were the first to perform a complete study of the reptiles by examining the rare bodies which washed up on the Sendrassian shores. In the modern day, these bodies still wash up as a result of hunting by Regalian leisure ships, though they are still quite uncommon given the difficulty of hunting such an animal.
When Mossassarios are hunted, it’s generally done by young thrillseekers, or those looking for bragging rights. Spotting one is an uncommon occurrence, typically only a few a month, with ship sinkages being about the same as a sighting is a sure sign of the attack to follow. The absolute worst time to be attacked by one is during the mating season. Even if the first Mossassarios fails to sink the ship, many more will follow.
The Mossassarios is brutish in appearance: long and powerful with terrifying, bone-crushing jaws. From snout to tail, most Mossassarios range from thirty-six to forty-three feet, though rumors exist of greater lengths in the southernmost waters. The head of the Mossassarios can be described as a cross between a shark and a crocodile, with its mouth filled to the brim with a double layer of long, sharp teeth. The beast’s eyes are small and beady, only useful in the upper, lighter levels of the ocean, whereas in the darker depths, it relies on its keen sense of smell. Like a lizard, the Mossassarios has four legs that end in thickly-webbed feet, rather than more lizard-like clawed toes. The head itself often reaches around five feet, and the general width of the creature is between ten and fourteen feet across from the broadest part of their torso. Its tail takes up a large part of their body, around fourteen feet with larger Mossassarios having fittingly longer tails. Their scales come on a spectrum of dull ocean colors, from green-blues to murky browns, often camouflaging them within the waters they inhabit. This color is not universal across the body, as the beast’s underbelly from the tip of the chin to the tail is a stark white.
The female Mossassarios is typically larger than the male by several feet, with greater strength that allows them to protect their young more effectively. There exists one variant, the Sendrassian Mossassarios, which has a much more lizard-like appearance, harboring flipper-like feet tipped with reptilian claws. This suggests that, like so many other giant reptiles, the Mossassarios originated from Sendras.
Life Span and Development
Unlike many reptiles, the Mossassarios gives live birth, and nearly always to a single infant. In the result of twins, the second-born is always found to be eaten by the mother. The young Mossassarios are simply a miniature of the adult, with their teeth already protruding at birth. Although fully formed, the infant is small and vulnerable to larger predators, and remains with its mother until adolescence when it is roughly fourteen feet long. Mossassarios reach this adolescent state at one year, and are fully grown at two years. They have a typical lifespan of seventeen years, though this has been hard to study due to their aggression.
The Mossassarios is a completely untamed beast, and so far no attempts to raise one in captivity has been made. Mossassarios have shown no signs of advanced intelligence, and seem to rely solely on instinct, which serves it well in hunting. Except for during the mating season, Mossassarios are aggressive to just about anything, including other Mossassarios. Territorial disputes are rare to witness, but are considered a spectacle by lucky sailors who manage to witness the beasts thrashing at the surface of the waters.
Territory and Groupings
For the majority of the year, the Mossassarios is a solitary beast which controls a patch of sea that typically varies in size, given how viciously they defend their territory against others of their species. The one exception to this territorial nature is during the spring mating season, where hordes of up to sixty Mossassarios come together to breed in a giant pod. After this, the beasts disperse to their individual territories, with the mothers left to raise their young alone.
- The skull of a Mossassarios isn’t a rare sight in black markets around Aloria, where they are sold as Dragon skulls from ancient times.
- Though originally known in Imperial Elven as Cúälis’saó lín’nasöa-llajiá, the Zasta name coined by Al-Allar scholars, Mossassarios, was what stuck around.
- The larger the boat, the more likely it’ll be attacked. Mossassarios protect their territory by being the biggest thing in it, so any large ships are deemed invaders.