Pahltu Reef Cracker
|Pahltu Reef Cracker|
|Official Name||Pahltu Reef Cracker|
|Common Nicknames||Pahltu, Coral Crushers, Crackers|
|Habitat||Hadar, Snake Bend Sea|
A fearsome predator of the sea, the Pahltu Reef Cracker is one of the largest fish to currently exist in Aloria. With tough armour and a seemingly obstinate need to destroy, these fish are found scouring the reefs around Hadaria, endlessly seeking out their next meal. Part of their name came from the term given to them by the Maiar, however, the rest was decided based on their behaviour. While people have attempted to use them as food, this has been concluded to be not worth the time; they aren’t very tasty and have a layer of armour to get through before they can be considered edible. Their numbers have been dropping considerably due to the amount of prey in the waters decreasing, both from their predation and due to commercial fishing, causing a lack of sustenance to maintain their large bodies and stay alive.
While no definitive accounts of the Pahltu Reef Cracker exist prior to the Chrysant War period, myths from Elves, Slizzar and Allar spoke of a great stone-shattering fish with a thick skull. However, the first to discover the fish were not these civilizations but the Maiar of Hadar, who also had myths of its existence. When the Slizzar’s increased worship of their gods and use of unique magic awoke the Deep Sea Serpents, they chased both the Maiar and this species of fish to the surface. After a few years, their existence was acknowledged and recorded by other races, granting them their full name and the one they’re referred to by most. At the arrival of the Chrysant War, the once peaceful seas were all of a sudden interrupted with a barrage of ships, upsetting the fish. In retaliation, attacks on the soldiers became more common, making coastline combat an occasional hassle. Following the destruction of the Essa Empire, the animal was named a water hazard as it soon became clear they were here to stay, especially with their nomadic travels bringing them close to ports and harbor areas to try to feed on dead fish and living prey. It’s uncertain how much longer they will be around given how Regalian Empire interests in the region see them as a pest that needs exterminating alongside most other Hadaria-based races.
The terrifying part of the Pahltu Reef Cracker is their vertical head plates. These plates act like a mask over their faces, particularly thick in the forehead region, and then extend round to the nape. Used for ramming and smashing, the armoured fish is the bulldozer of the sea. Also, connected to this head plate are two pairs of serrated, bony plates around each side of the lower jaw, replacing any teeth. They grow to be an average of fifteen feet long and weigh around one ton. Their bodies would be considered wide compared to most fish species. However, they aren’t noticeably flat, simply big. They have a two-part armoured exterior, making them rather slow swimmers because of the weight, however they have wide, strong tails to make up for this. The armour tends to be a light, grey colour, while the flesh underneath ranges from dark greens to swampy browns. No Pahltu Reef Crackers has proper scales, instead possessing a sleek body. They also only rest for an hour at a time, and within this hour they will be found completely stationary.
The only difference between the sexes of the fish is in its armour. The underside of a female’s body will not be covered with armour, which gives them room to expand after mating.
Life Span and Development
A healthy Pahltu Reef Cracker can live as long as 30 years, their lives will often be cut short due to starvation. Like most fish, they start as eggs released onto the seabed, with females producing approximately 20 eggs at a time. Their early life is spent without the armoured exterior, however the first part to grow in are the plates for biting, and from that point forward their lives are much easier. They only spend about two weeks by their mother’s side before they disperse to different parts of the sea, looking like miniature versions of the fully grown Pahltu Reef Cracker as the armour grows in within the next month.
Not many people domesticate fish, and with the Pahltu Reef Cracker, it’d be impossible. It attacks anything it feels threatened by, or anything it can eat, which makes it an incredibly hostile creature. It is a highly solitary and violent fish that commonly battles over food, even with its kind. It is perpetually searching out food to sate its hunger, leading it to destroy most coral beds on its travels, hoping to find hiding prey. The Pahltu Reef Cracker is carnivorous and eats most types of fish and several types of echinoderms, however, it isn’t smart enough to differentiate between animals that will kill it upon consumption and those that won’t. These fish do not learn from experience and have quite low intelligence, not understanding positive or negative reinforcement.
Territory and Groupings
The Pahltu Reef Cracker doesn’t bother to make a sense of community with others of its kind due to its aggressive nature. To add to this, the Pahltu Reef Cracker is not territorial, preferring to explore the watery depths of Hadar as a nomadic creature. This is achievable for the Pahltu Reef Cracker above all else, as it can run off just one hour of sleep a night. Additionally, they will stay with a different partner for approximately five days, three times a year, and then continue alone for the remaining time.
- Their head plates are sometimes used as decoration for walls or shelves.
- Broken legs are the most common injuries caused to people by this animal.