|Common Nicknames||Sand Striders, Sälesallon|
|Habitat||The Ashal Isles and around Asha States|
It is rumored that the Asha of the Dewamenet Empire rode the backs of scorpions the size of mountains, terrible beasts that could breathe fire, pierce city walls with their stingers, and tear even the strongest of lines of soldiers asunder with their claws. The Seqherat of today are not that, though the scuttling sand striders are still renowned and often feared by those who would be enemies to the Asha. Found only in the Asha Isles and around Asha States, these giant scorpions are tamed by the Asha and the Asha alone, mostly used as war mounts, and sometimes as beasts of burden or pets.
There is much debate on the early history of the Seqherat, thanks largely in part to the mass destruction of records upon the fall of the Dewamenet empire. If folktales and myths are to be believed, the Seqherat rose from the sands, sent as a blessing from Baskarr to protect and aid the Asha. Great guardians, once the size of mountains and able to support whole cities on their backs, protectors of the Asha. This theory is just that - a theory, often adopted by the particularly religious, and not by scholars. Most scholars generally accept that the exact origin of the Seqherat is currently unknown, and it’s unclear whether they were ever truly the giants of legends - but it is agreed that the Seqherat were used as steeds even by the ancient Dewamenet. Indeed, the flat-bodied arachnids appear as hieroglyphs, in reliefs, and upon ancient Dewamenet pottery. Without a doubt, the Seqherat and their role in Dewamenet society was a vital one.
Upon the fall of the Dewamenet empire, the Altalar supposedly interacted with the Seqherat in their conquering of lands and slaying of the ancient Asha. The mention of the giant sand striders is a brief one, and they are labeled "Sälesallon" by the scholars of the Allorn empire, discredited as lumbering and unintelligent beasts, vicious to the core and fit only for extermination. The Seqherat were nearly rendered extinct, are thought to have been wiped out from the deserts of modern Ithania, and driven from Dewamenet territory. The Altalar were largely successful in squashing the giant scorpions under their proverbial boot, but the Siwath-Khenu, coastal Asha tribes, were pivotal in keeping the species alive. As the majority of the Asha population was enslaved, the Siwath-Khenu kept stores of Seqherat eggs and kept the art of taming and the act of living with the giant arachnids alive.
The Seqherat played a role in the Asha regaining their freedom. For the time that the Asha had been enslaved, the Siwath-Khenu had retained the knowledge of how to ride the scorpions of burden, and were actively doing so. On The Great Journey, the Seqherat were used as beasts of burden, pulling caravans and carrying the Asha who could not walk. They trekked with the Asha across great bridges of living metal and worked for them when their machines could not. Even after the Dewamenet machinery was running and the Asha built up their society, the Seqherat still had their place.
Today, the Seqherat are often used as mounts - be it for travel, leisure, or warfare. They are still a valuable part of Asha society, working when and where machines cannot; carrying passengers between Asha states, pulling caravans and transporting soldiers and cavalry in war, and even as pets in some instances. Some outside of Asha society have tried to take Seqherat for their own, but have always been unsuccessful as the Asha keep a close guard on the secrets behind not only taming, but also riding the Seqherat. However, there are some rumors that controlling the beasts is tightly connected to Living Metal, meaning any who cannot control it could never hope to tame, or even ride, a Seqherat.
The Seqherat look like a conventional scorpion, with flat bodies covered with an exoskeleton, an arching tail ending with a bulb and a stinger, eight legs, two claws, and beady eyes. However, one major and immediately noticeable difference between a Seqherat and any normal scorpion is its size. The Seqherat are large creatures - large enough to comfortably fit two, maybe three riders. It’s typical for a Seqherat to be between ten to twelve feet in length, not including its tail - which is just as long as its body. They stand surprisingly tall, with the underside of their bellies lifted up to a foot off the ground, and with the arch of their tail included they can easily pass six, and sometimes seven, feet in height. They are not light creatures - with the lightest among them always being over 1,000 lbs, and the heaviest rarely passing 2,250 lbs.
The Seqherat have six segments to their tail, including the Telson - which is a big bulb-like structure at the end that stores their venom, and houses their stinger. Seqherat venom isn’t terribly potent - at least not when it is matured. At worst, their venom causes swelling at the sting site and stiffness in the joints, along with occasional fever. However, in truth, the venom isn’t what one needs to worry about when faced with a Seqherat sting. Seqherat have stingers that are often longer than a hand and are barbed when fully mature. Seqherat stingers are meant to get stuck in flesh, and the creatures are strong enough to remove chunks from their victims when they pull their stingers out. More often than not, fatal Seqherat stingings are the result of the victim bleeding out rather than succumbing to the venom. The stinger is not the only weapon in the Seqherat’s arsenal. They are equipped with two large claws, each large enough to be used as a shield - which is one of the uses Seqherat employs - and having enough shearing force to snip limbs off any unlucky enough to be caught in its grasp with relative ease. Upon these massive claws, and along their legs, the Seqherat have sensitive short hairs present - which are used for sensing nearby vibrations.
The Seqherat’s eyes are underdeveloped and simple, only really able to detect differences in light level and vague movement, hence the need for vibration sensing hairs. There are two larger ‘primary’ eyes set upon the top of the head, with three sets of smaller ‘secondary’ eyes along the sides of the head. The Seqherat’s head is fused to their thorax, meaning they have no defined neck. Seqherat have a smaller set of simple claws near their chelicerae (mouth parts) that they use to rip up chunks of meat as they eat.
Many non-Asha believe that Seqherat are monotonous and boring in appearance, but in truth the exoskeleton of Seqherat can vary wildly. The most common colors are dark ones - blacks, browns, and sandy tans, for example. Some Seqherat even come in dusty reddish browns, golden yellows, or even white. Typically they are a single color and have smooth exoskeletons, but there are rarer variants with very simple patterns and ridged exoskeletons. There are not many dimorphic differences between male and female Seqherat, but one of the largest telling signs of a Seqherat’s sex is their tail. Specifically, males’ telsons are smooth, while females’ are ridged.
Life Span and Development
All Seqherat are born from eggs. A mother will lay a brood of about 10 to 20, often of which only half will hatch. The young Seqherat are small and soft, with a thin, flexible, and translucent exoskeleton. Their first movements will be crawling onto the back of their mother, where they will stay until their first molt - which happens after about two weeks - when they shed their exoskeleton so they can grow larger. After the first molt, the Seqerat’s exoskeleton will be fully hardened, they obtain a true stinger, and they are self-sufficient. Often, juvenile Seqherat leave their mother after this time, though some have been known to stay near their mothers until after their second molt. Between the second and fifth molt, the Seqherat are small, comparable in size from a cat to a large dog. They are expected to be around this size for around one to three years and are used for smaller tasks such as pest control (burrowing for pests), home protection (though this is usually only in the Asha kingdoms outside the Asha Isles), and even general companionship. After around their fifth molt, when their claws start to get larger and flatter and their venom less potent, Seqherat should be a decent size and are often used to carry objects as training for riding and labor work. They are considered mature after around their tenth molt, during which their stingers obtain their barbs. It’s expected that a Seqherat will reach full maturity at around five. Seqherat are expected to live from anywhere from forty to forty-five years at most, but many often die around their early thirties or late twenties.
The Seqherat, despite being tamed by the Asha, are still dangerous and effective ambush predators at their core. However, they are also predators that are easily placated and pacified by food. Two large meals a week that are at least half the Seqherat’s weight, and occasional chunks of meat as snacks, are often enough to keep a Seqherat placated and well behaved. Failure to upkeep feeding will cause the giant scorpion to return to hunting - which often means burrowing themselves into the sand and waiting for anything large enough to come by so it can jump out and attack. The Seqherat are more intelligent than many non-Asha give them credit for - they have collectively learned that Asha are often a source of food if treated well - and thus have the natural tendency to not see Asha as potential prey despite being well within their prey range. However, to non-Asha - and any animals sizable enough to be considered prey - the Seqherat are rather aggressive, even when contented with plenty of food. As such, the Seqherat have remained virtually untamable by non-Asha, though there have been a few attempts.
Territory and Groupings
The Seqherat tend to prefer solitude - they are often described as being introverted, but not violently so. They don’t take territory but are very protective of their burrows, which they will dig into the ground to shade themselves and to molt in. Often, the Asha supply the Seqherat with these burrows in the form of an underground stable, dug down into the sand. Seqherat do not require large burrows; they only need one big enough to turn around in.
Seqherat are tolerant of their kind, but nothing more. However, this tolerance is fragile, as a Seqherat will only refrain from attacking one another if there is not a shortage of food. A well-fed Seqherat is a content one, and they will not openly compete with or attack each other when content. However, they rarely, if ever, directly work together in any sort of cohesive pack formation without the guidance of an Asha. If their source of food is removed, or if they go unfed, Seqherat return to aggressive competition and fighting, and neglected Seqherat are known to kill each other and partake in cannibalism.
- The Seqherat are thought to be extinct in the wild, wiped out by the Altalar upon the fall of the Dewamenet Empire. This isn’t entirely true, as some escaped Seqherat do exist on their own on the Ashal Isles, and there are rumors of these giant scorpions lying in wait within Dewamenet ruins within the Ithanian deserts.
- There is currently great discourse between Alorian taxonomists, there is a theory that Triton Scorpide may just be a regressed and wilder version of the Seqherat. Some scholars push for the two large scorpions to be classified as the same animal, while others claim that the Triton Scorpide may have simply descended from the Seqherat, and thus is a different species.
- Seqherat meat is sometimes described as being spicy. However, the Asha rarely eat Seqherat and consider it offensive to do so.