|Official Name||Triton Scorpide|
|Common Nicknames||Gladiator Scorpion|
|Habitat||Desert of Ithania|
Triton Scorpides are large scorpions native to the desert of Ithania, which have likely lived there since the time of the ancient Varran Empire. However, they remained unconfirmed as late as 85 AC due to the disbelief in Varran competency, as well as the legitimacy of half-crazed and water-parched traders who barely escaped from the creatures. They are well known today, primarily for the trident formation near the end of their tail and for their yellow coloration. They are also known for their complex mating ritual and accompanying sexual cannibalism should a male not leave their mate fast enough.
The Triton Scorpide has a surprisingly recent history considering the ancient history of Daen. Before the Cataclysm, myths and tales of giant desert beasts such as giant scorpions were spoken of, but many chalked it up to heatstroke and a lack of intelligence on the part of the Varran, who originated these tales. It wasn’t until after the Cataclysm, in 85 AC, that Ithanian Ailor traversing the desert encountered one of these large scorpions and its signature tail. The reason these men were believed is purely because they were escorting a member of the Ithanian Sovereignty's court. She told the Sovereign, who immediately sought to purge them from the major travel routes of the great desert in Ithania’s south. While these actions succeeded, the animals were able to escape some concentrated attempts, and resultantly were largely driven from populated to less populated areas. In recent years, expeditions and discovery of Varran ruins has shined a light on the possibility that the Varran were always right, as their ancient ruins show images of the large scorpion with its distinctive tail. These same excavations have also seemingly disturbed the Triton Scorpide, and there has been a slow increase of sightings and events involving them. As such, while people traveling the Ithanian desert are generally safe, they should still keep an eye out for this large species.
While the Triton Scorpide is similar to other species of scorpion, it does have some distinguishable traits that mark it as different. The first and most obvious is their size. The animal has a body length of anywhere between six to eight feet (excluding a laid-flat tail), while its tail brings it to heights of up to five feet. The animal’s “head” or cephalothorax features a set of three smaller eyes, while a pair of much larger ones are set back further upon the head. Below these smaller eyes are two chelicerae (mouthparts), while two small pedipalps (small claws to help push food into the chelicerae) can be found next to or just below the mouthparts. Also found here are the first set of limbs that are set at the side of the cephalothorax, each tipped by a narrow set of ridged pincers. The remainder of the body, the abdomen, holds the rest of the limbs as well as the animal’s distinctive tail. The limbs are all segmented and vary in size, the rear ones are the longest and are the ones that help push the animal’s rear-half up into the air with ease. The animal’s tail is then made up of five to six ovular segments that curves forward. The tail is tipped with a large curved stinger that is made up of its own segment. The stinger possesses a potent neurotoxin capable of paralysis and unconsciousness, which is commonly what the Scorpide deploys.
The animal’s most distinctive feature, however, is located just above this. Technically called a Teslon, the segment here is armored like the rest of the body but had a unique growth that has resulted in a trident or three-pronged shape to form and grow forward. This trident formation doesn’t block the animal’s stinger, but is located close enough that many uneducated members of society believe the animal to have a three-pronged stinger. The trident formation is also notable because it is black, in comparison to the rest of the Triton Scorpide which is a pale or putrid yellow tinge with light brown at the edges or along the ridges. The body abdomen and head do feature dark areas, which are the animal’s internal organs, but the majority of the animal retains this light coloration. As a result, it can appear almost translucent or like poorly made glass, however, sunlight does not and can not go through the body plating of the animal.
The Triton Scorpide is consistent across the spectrum, with an equal gender population as well as a similar appearance. The only feature that differs from Scorpide to Scorpide is their pronged Teslon growth. They have a wide spectrum, some appearing thin and sharp while others are thicker and blunted.
Life Span and Development
Triton Scorpides are born from small, silky white eggs the size of Common Farm Chicken eggs. These groups range anywhere from ten to thirty, and emerge as pure white individuals, with translucent and soft bodies that lack stingers. Their mother will then allow them to climb atop her back where she will carry them for up to two moultings. During this time, they will feed themselves on her kills and rapidly grow. By the second molting (which occurs within two months of being born), they will be a sixth of her size and she will leave them to survive alone. The children seemingly undergo a process of full maturation at this stage as they too will leave for solitary lives. Over the next two years, they will grow in size until, by the age of three, they are considered true adults.
The mating season of the Triton Scorpide is complex, as it features a male and female of the species uniting through the use of pheromones or tracking. At this stage, males and females then circle and feel each other, practically touching faces, pinching and often, rubbing Teslons as they confirm that the other is of the opposite sex as well as the same species. Males younger than three may try to mate with females during the mating season, but only females of a similar age will accept them, as larger and older female Scorpides are likely to sexually cannibalize their partner. Once the confirmation has taken place, males produce genetic material and direct the female toward it before leaving to avoid sexual cannibalization or attack by the female defending her eggs. The female then buries the eggs in the sand and waits for them to emerge so that she can carry them. The Triton Scorpide can live for up to fifty years, with the oldest publicly known to have reached the age of 48.
Triton Scorpides are surprisingly complex creatures, despite what many think of insects and similar skittering lifeforms. For starters, the Scorpide is a sophisticated hunter. It buries itself or relaxes in the sand to wait for small mammals or insects to walk near before it snaps its body toward the disturbance and either crushes the life out of the creature using their pincers or injecting it with neurotoxin. They are the fastest scorpions in Aloria in regard to their tail strikes, and only expert warriors might defend themselves from such attacks. On the topic of warriors, the Triton Scorpide does not specifically hunt Humans, despite what the urban legends might claim. Any large mammal is game for attack, and they will view a horse as just as much a meal as any Ailor. In fact, some Triton Scorpides are known to purposely avoid populated areas after bad experiences with Ailor left them damaged, fleeing away. This practice indicates to most that the animal has a memory, and perhaps a long one as the oldest Triton Scorpide known to Ithanians, Grande Clemente, constantly avoided the road that ran right through his territory after he lost his stringer trying to attack a caravan there. With other members of their species, the Triton Scorpide is generally amicable, permitting others to eat from large corpses or to live near them. This only changes in the mating season, when males tread carefully to avoid being attacked by females protecting their eggs and also females who sexually cannibalize their mate.
Territory and Groupings
Triton Scorpides are not a communal animal, but do not mind if other Scorpides settle near them. The largest cluster this species of scorpion allows is six individuals, after which original group members might move away due to a lack of space and overdense hunting grounds. Scorpide pairs only exist in the mating season, upon which the male leaves to avoid the female.
- There are some who believe the idea of the trident as a weapon originated from the Varran, who themselves would have taken it from the example of the animal. However, classists often contend with these ideas by stating the Elves had gladiatorial matches centuries before the Varran, which is largely unprovable.
- There was a sharp jump in Scorpide attacks in 303 AC shortly after the central Varran ruins discovered earlier that year were destroyed with explosives. Some biologists think the sound and possible tremors it produced severely agitated the entire species.
- Triton Scorpide “tridents” are rather exotic and rare, but fairly effective in a fight, if Ithanian merchants are to be believed.