THE DARK STRYKE SHARK

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOUR - DIET - MATING - USAGES - MYTH/LORE

This deadly and mysterious beast has been a source of fear and myth on the northern seas for many years. Nothing can bring about as many nightmares, yet nothing is so prized in its capture as one of these Dark Stryke Sharks. Found in the northern oceans, and said to be created by the Gods Aleshnir in her struggle against Zundefor, these beasts will leap up to 6 peds from the hidden darkness below to capture their prey and can be considered extremely dangerous to its environment, fish and men alike. Fin soup made out of the Dark Stryke Shark on the other hand is said to increase male virility, and is sought-after by many a Remusian.

A Dark Stryke Shark

View picture in full size Picture description. The Dark Stryke Shark - source of fear of the area around the Peninsula of Glandor. Image drawn by Seeker.

Appearance. This creature is about three to five peds in length, and three peds in girth. It is very much designed to be quick in the water, with smooth skin and a long body without many protrusions. It has a tall dorsal fin midway along its back, a smaller secondary dorsal fin halfway between the first dorsal fin and the beginning of the caudal fin, and then the large caudal fin itself. To each side, behind the gills and before the dorsal fin, are its two pectoral fins. The Dark Stryke Shark has a large mouth, filled with three rows of very sharp triangular teeth. Above its mouth is a large round set of eyes. Surprisingly, there are no eyelids. Because of this, they are rumoured not to sleep. This is one explanation for the dogged determination these feared animals display while on the hunt. Between the mouth and the pectoral fins are a set of gills.

The colouring ranges from nearly black, through the hues of blue, to a green. This colour is darkest on its back, and lightens as it goes to its underbelly. The tips of the fins are nearly always black in colour, but occasionally a dark blue. The eyes are very nearly black, though rarely a dark blue.
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Special Abilities. These dangerous animals are notorious for their ability to leap. Many a sailor has been pulled off of the deck of a ship while carelessly staying too close to the edge. These sharks have been known to leap up to 6 peds out of the water, grab a man’s arm, and pull him, or in some case only the arm, back into the dark water. Several of these sharks sometimes work together to hunt carteloreen, and can be seen leaping out of the water around the carteloreen, as they hunt the giant creature. This has led some researchers to speculate that they have a limited form of sentient mindset, as the tactics they employ are quite advanced.

Deep water is not the only place these creatures are feared. They have been known to throw themselves on to the edge of ice floes, and onto the shoreline, to catch their prey. They then use their powerful tails to work their way back into the water.
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Territory. The Dark Stryke Shark seems to be a cold water animal. They have been seen only as far south as the Peninsula of Glandor on the western side of Sarvonia, and the Peninsula of Kr’uul on the eastern side. They are usually found in the deep water areas, but this is in no means the rule. They often come into shallow waters to hunt pinnips and penguins. The only restriction on them, is that they only live in salt water, and do not venture into the rivers or lakes.
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Habitat/Behaviour. Very little is known of the Dark Stryke Shark behaviour. Most of its time is spent far below the surface, and it is only seen while hunting. During this time, it has been confirmed that they have a very keen sense of eyesight, for they can come out of the water at great speed, sail through the air, and grab prey off the deck of a ship, before falling back into the water, even while the ship is under high sail.

It was on the 4th day of our journey that disaster struck. My first mate, Hanz Sterm, was out on the foredeck. We were providing armed protection for a group of small whaling vessels. A carteloreen had been taken, and was being carved. The blood in the water must have attracted the devils, for they came at us fast and hard. The first one lept from the water, and caught Hanz' arm. In a blink he was overboard. Poor bastard was not dead right away, but his arm had been ripped from his body. We tried to get a rope to him, but another shark dragged him beneath the waves. In total, six men were killed that day, one of mine and five from the whaling vessel. As well, the carteloreen that had been so laboriously won, was lost to the hungry beasts. It was one of my last trips to sea. I had had enough."

-- Excerpt from the memoirs of Admiral Jukolyn ben Fureth, Remusian Navy (ret)
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Diet. Though it can only be guessed at what this creature eats in the oceans depths, there are a variety of animals that it regularly eats while hunting near the surface. The carteloreen seems to be a favourite meal of the sharks. As well, so are humans, and other races that venture out on ships or boats. Though not a main food source, the Dark Stryke Shark is one of the few creatures that actually seems to actively hunt people, and goes out of its way to hunt them.

Close to shore it feeds on pinnips, seals, as well as wison during the migration over the channels in spring and autumn. Low flying birds have also fallen prey to these creatures.
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Mating. Very little is known of the mating habits of the Dark Stryke Shark, as they have not been observed breeding in shallow waters or near the surface. All that can be said with certainty is that there are male and female of the breed, and that the females are the larger of the species. As well, they give birth to live young, as more than one female has been captured, and when cut into, has had up to three fully formed babies within. Return to the top

Shark Fin Soup

Picture description. The fins of the dark stryke are used for great soup. Image by Bard Judith.

Usages. The meat of the Dark Stryke Shark is considered a delicacy, by the Ice Tribe people, due to the rarity of actually killing one. It is high in fat content, and thus provides a rich meal.

The teeth of the shark is used as arrowheads, and is the preferred medium, where metal is hard to come by. The more nomadic and primitive Ice Tribes use teeth in this way exclusively.

The thick skin of the shark can be tanned and used for shield material. It is naturally leathery and can withstand much abuse. Likewise, it has been turned into a type of leather armour as well, by the most prestigious of the tribe.

Shark fin soup has been known to increase male virility. For this reason, shark fins have been known to sell at twice their weight in gold.
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Myth/Lore. There is a tale that is told in the Ice Tribes region on how the Dark Stryke Shark came into the world:

The Creation of the Dark Stryke Shark. Ages long gone, when the gods were still upon the face of the land, it had come about that Zundefor had given to Necteref, the caracal, as her personal familiar. He had done this to gain favour with her, and get her as an ally against Aleshnir. Without allies of her own, Aleshnir knew that Zundefor would be able to best her, and gain dominion over the animals of the sea. To this end, she created a gift herself, that she gave to Asendin. This was the Dark Stryke Shark. As fearful in the water, as caracal was on land. Seeing this new alliance, Zundefor knew that he would no longer be stronger than Aleshnir, and so a new peace was garnered.

The relation between the Dark Stryke Shark and virility is also recounted vividly in the following tale:

About the Uses of Shark Fin Soup. Long ago, when the Remusians were still a primitive people, the same as the other Ice Tribes, there lived a lanrul, Ierytumen. Now Ierytumen had 73 wives, but none of these wives had children. At first, he had blamed the wife, but after the 54th wife, it was becoming clearer that perhaps it was Ierytumen who was at fault. Fearing that his lack of virility might lead some to question his authority, or maybe to challenge him for the role of Lanrul. He consulted the shaman of the tribe who meditated for several days. Then in a dream, he saw his lanrul, with several children, ruling over a vast land. The next night he dreamed that Ierytumen had gone hunting at sea and had speared a Dark Stryke Shark. After a long struggle, Ierytumen finally landed the beast, cutting off the fins and eating them. The shaman knew what needed to be done.

Ierytumen and the bravest warriors then rowed out to the deep water. As if waiting for them, a lone shark was spotted, and the battle was on. Two warriors were dragged under when the shark leapt onto their boat, capsizing it, but Ierytemun was able to pierce the beast with his spear, killing it with one blow. They brought the beast back to shore, where the fins were removed. That night, while everyone fed on shark meat, Ierytumen ate only the fins, boiled in water to make a thick broth.

A mere month later, 6 of his wives were pregnant. Jubilant, Ierytumen again went hunting, and again, caught a shark. 4 more of his wives became pregnant. Continuing this, Iertymen would only eat shark fin soup each night, until each of his 73 wives had given birth. From then on, it has been known that eating shark fin soup had effects that were desirable to males without children.
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 Date of last edit 23rd Fallen Leaf 1667 a.S.

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