To Lorekeeper Matteo,
As I had promised, I am writing you upon the completion of my dissection of the raknar corpses. My findings answer many questions, but as such things often go, more unknowns are uncovered. Of the five corpses my men were able to scavenge, all proved to be sufficiently similar to infer several general assumptions for the species’ anatomy.
The first structures I examined were the fused mandibles, unique in the arachnid family. They hinge on a jaw similar to most vertebrates, which allows them to bite and hold in a vise-like manner. A dozen tooth-like protrusions are located on the top and bottom jaws. These “fangs” are for the most part solid chitin except for two located on the top jaw that are hollow. These specialized fangs are directly connected to venom sacks protected beneath the hard chitin of the lower jaw. The sacks are positioned in such a way as to pump venom through the hollow fangs whenever the jaws are closed. In each of our samples the size of the sacks varied significantly enough to imply that each individual develops them differently.
The venom itself is fascinating. Unlike a spider’s neurotoxic venom that attacks the nerves of its victims and paralyzes them, the raknar venom is highly necrotic and hemotoxic, which begins to dissolve the flesh of their prey on contact. The venom proves to be mildly acidic, enough so that it will slowly dissolve both wood and various types of stone, but not glass or metal. I have included a sample within the sealed vial for your experimentation. A topical anti-venom would certainly be useful to the people of this region.
The raknar have six eyes in total, divided into two sets of three with one set on the left and right of the front of the cephalothorax. Each set is composed of one larger, primary eye and a pair of smaller, secondary eyes. While the secondary eyes appear to be standard single lense eyes found in most arachnids, the primary eyes are very sophisticated; I will have to study them further to determine to what degree. Unlike all other arachnids, the eyes of the raknar are recessed into sockets. I theorize it is for protection, as the eyes are very fragile and a potential weak point.
I can confirm with full confidence that raknar possess the organs required to produce a thread-like material similar to spider-web. A pair of spinnerets are located at the terminus of the abdomen, and attached internally to these are silk-glands. Variation in size of these glands is present in the samples. Also present are varying degrees of developmental sophistication of the spinnerets. The second vial in this package contains a sample of the hardened silk. It is incredibly strong given its minimal weight and extreme flexibility.
While examining the internal organs of the recovered raknar, I came across a strange anomaly. I am not ready to share what I postulate, but more samples will be required to test my suspicions. I have learned all I can from the battlefield corpses and I need to observe live specimens. The locals claim the raknar originate from a communal “hive” near-by and I have been contacted by a young hunter who believes he can get me close enough to observe them without undue risk to life or limb. I will write you again when I have learned more.
Your Ever Faithful Servant,
Keeper Bartal Talmason