Trials of Ascension

Bartal’s Bestiary – Nightriller

Post has published by Pat

Named for their nocturnal habits and high pitched, trilling cry, Nightrillers are medium-sized lizards that weigh anywhere from 15 to 20 lbs and grow up to 24 inches from nose to the base of the tail. Tail length varies between the genders, with males having shorter tails than the females. They have a scaled hide that comes in an array of dabbled colors, from green to brown, to grey. Eye color varies based on gender; males have yellow irises while females’ are red. Both genders possess excessively long scales, similar in appearance to bird feathers, on their limbs, tail and as a ruff around their necks. These specialty scales come in a range of vivid colors, including red, orange, purple, and blue. While their teeth are not very large or particularly dangerous, they do possess proportionally large claws, which provides them superior traction across a variety of terrain.

Nightrillers can be found throughout the jungle regions of TerVarus. They require warm, humid nights to hunt their prey and prefer to rest in cooler areas during the heat of the day. They are extremely sensitive to the effects of cold and will quickly develop symptoms similar to frostbite if they are exposed to temperatures below 50F degrees.

Nightrillers live in large packs that range from 10 to 25 mature animals. They use their numbers to their advantage by overwhelming their prey. Packs are usually all related, though it seems that an established pack will accept new members under certain circumstances.

Nightrillers have excellent low-light vision, making them superior night predators. They often seek out prey that have gone to nest for the night and fall upon them before they awaken and escape. They must rely on ambush tactics for large prey, since they do not possess any great speed.

When agitated, the nightrillers extend their scaly ruffs and rattle them to produce an unnerving sound, similar to that of a rattlesnake. They are also known to use this behavior to distract potential prey, allowing their packmates to launch an ambush.

A pack of Nightrillers can take down prey up to 4 times their size and weight. In addition to what they hunt as a pack, they also consume large quantities of insects, small mammals, and carrion which designates them an important aspect of their ecosystem. Nightrillers have been known to attack and consume humans who are foolish enough to wander into their territory at night.

Nightrillers have few natural predators due to the safety provided by their numbers. However, they are particularly susceptible to predation from raptors during the day and owls at night. Nightriller eggs are considered a delicacy by the locals, however I believe this is due to the difficulty in acquiring them rather than any special culinary flavor they might possess. The colorful specialty scales on the limbs and neck of the nightriller are popular with jewelry makers and tailors.

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