Stone Forest Snake
|Stone Forest Snake|
|Official Name||Stone Forest Snake|
|Common Nicknames||Stone Snake, Basilisk Servant|
|Habitat||Llíü’raëth in Hyarroc|
The Stone Forest Snake is often feared by the wider public and the inexperienced scholar as a fierce beast made of stone that haunts Llíü’raëth, the stone forest of Hyarroc, and serves as the vanguard to the even fiercer serpent, the Basilisk. In actuality, it is an underwhelming creature when singled out due to its tendency to hunt small prey rather than the uncommon larger creatures who mistakenly wander into the stone forest of Llíü’raëth. However, they are in the Basilisk's thrall and can aid in restraining or driving such larger animals somewhere desired by the much larger snake. They also possess a camouflage ability, though only against rocky surfaces, that make them difficult to spot and feed the myth they are made out of stone.
The Stone Forest Serpent has been known to Hyarroc for centuries and is depicted as one of Elvenkind’s first discoveries of the continent. The serpent has generally been ignored by most since then as its abilities linked it to Asceá’tíë, the god of persuasion and cunning, a long ignored and forgotten god itself. It is also unknown when the Stone Forest Snake became enslaved to the will of the Basilisk. Early tales of the Basilisk, impossible to properly date, claim the beast had control of stone and earth which is likely a reference to the Stone Forest Snake but for all scholars know these tales could be 300 or 3000 years old. What is certain is this: the Stone Forest Snake is a living creature eternally tied to a single location and a single beast that lives within its rocky walls. Within the past 20 years, numerous Stone Forest Snakes were pilfered from the edge of the forest for research purposes by local scholars. The initial hope was to test and dissect the serpents so they might find some reason for the snakes’ behavior and drive to follow the Basilisk constantly, but all studies have so far been inconclusive.
A Stone Forest Snake is between two and a half to three and a half feet long with varying widths and an average weight of three to five pounds in maturity. The head of the serpent is quite narrow, flush with the body of the snake, coming to an end at an even more narrow snout. A Stone Forest Snake’s eyes are a dull yellow/green with round pupils. Like most common snakes, this creature has a jaw that can be unhinged to swallow prey, and it is armed with a set of short, venomless fangs. The body of the snake has no apparent pattern; their scales are a wide spectrum of grey broken up by arbitrary black lines. Research has shown the snakes have no intrinsic magical powers. However, there is a “diluting” effect produced when the animal doesn’t move or moves slowly. This effect allows their rock-grey bodies to meld into the stonework more easily and the only way to see through this “air dilution” is through the use of Stonepetal. Additionally, the serpentine weaving pattern of their movement in large numbers, often spotted around the Basilisk, can cause dizziness and headaches if viewed for too long.
Female Stone Forest Snakes are less common than their male counterparts, but they are also around three inches longer than the males. Since all Stone Forest Snakes are born in the Llíü’raëth forest, they do not vary in appearance. Scholars have been unable to confirm if being born closer to the Basilisk has any relation to the variation in their appearance.
Life Span and Development
The Stone Forest Snake has not been observed for any substantial amount of time, resulting in most details of their life remaining unknown. They are believed to birth 20 to 30 eggs every few years, with the mother leaving her eggs unattended. Within a few weeks, the eggs hatch and the snakelets move out into the forest where they will grow to maturity within two years. Their diet consists of smaller vermin who wander into Llíü’raëth forest; rats, mice, and occasionally their own young. Furthermore, the number of Stone Forest Snakes seemingly randomly fluctuates and whatever natural predator they have, is unknown, making it hard for scholars to figure out why their numbers change so much. Their maximum age is unknown, and any specimen in captivity will gradually slow down and stop moving altogether within a month if it is not returned to the forest.
Stone Forest Snakes are not tameable and are incredibly hostile. They lash out at everything; prey, predators, and even each other from time to time. Their mindset is incredibly simple, many blaming the mental manipulations of the Basilisk. The snakes seem to follow a basic rule system in a simple order: follow the Basilisk, hunt, and breed. The serpent seems to lack all self-interest and attacks indiscriminately at anything surprising or threatening. These attacks do little to harm people as their fangs are non-venomous, but they have been observed to perform “advanced” tasks like twisting people’s legs or arms near the presence of their master.
Territory and Groupings
Stone Forest Snakes often travel in large clusters within 300 feet of the Basilisk. Snakes outside the 300-foot radius are often spread out, in trios at most. Stone Forest Snakes live a life constantly on the move, following the Basilisk and seeking out small animals to eat. The serpents only ever leave the stone forest of Llíü’raëth if the Basilisk does (which has only reportedly happened once), otherwise sticking to familiar ground.
- Stone Forest Snake skins are rare and sell well in marketplaces due to their connection to the Basilisk and their strange mind irritating abilities. These abilities are most potent with the skins of ten snakes together on one individual.
- Despite rodents being a Stone Forest Snake’s primary food source, the forest of Llíü’raëth still attracts hundreds of such animals each month. How or why this occurs is not known.