THE SANTHARIAN DRAPE-SILK SPIDER

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

Drape-Silk Spiders are pretty large arachnids, nearly half a palmspan or more in size. Their fuzzy bodies are a mottled mix of ithild and barad dusk. They live deep in the heavy woods across southern Sarvonia. Drap-Silk Spiders are known for producing a web that is useful as a bandage, and their venom is serves as well for numbing pain.

Appearance. The Drape-Silk is a large arachnid growing to a little over a half a palmspan in size. They are ithild in colour with mottled spots that are a slightly darker shade of barad dusk.

Eight rear limbs are, proportionly thicker than on most spiders, roughly a nailsbreadth. The legs are only five or six nailsbreadths in length while the front legs are thinner, roughly half a nailsbreadth, and longer, eight to ten nailsbreadths in length. The front legs are pointed and sharp along the inside like small blades for use in cutting the webs. These longer front legs give the Drape-Silk a strange stance while walking, elevating the front of the body. This gives the spider a better view of its surroundings when moving, allowing it to better detect predators.

Unlike most spiders the Drape-silk has ten eyes and legs. The eyes are situated in an hourglass pattern with two larger eyes to the outside of the middle. The two larger eyes are designed to detect movement while the others are meant to give the spider a full view of its surroundings.

When prey gets caught in the snare the spider moves in quickly injecting its victim with its paralitic poison. The poison has a rapid onset, paralyzing the spider's prey within a half a minute.

However, when the spider bites a humanoid - a rare occurence due to their fairly solitary nature - the venom produces an euphoric state similar to drunkenness. It also causes a general numbing of the subject and has been found to be benificial in the treatment of wounds.

When prey is caught in the web the spider uses its front legs to slice a circle out of the web, then uses the circle like a bag to transport its prey back to its lair or nest where it consumes its prey at its own leisure.
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Special Abilities. The spider has a venom that paralyzes its prey without killing it, keeping it alive for feeding and maintaining freshness. In addition the venom has beneficial uses for treating wounds.

The tightly woven webs that hang like sheets or drapes, have given rise to the common name of the Drape-Silk. The spiders generally suspend their webs between branches of trees to snare small birds and other flying creatures.
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Territory. The Drape-Silk resides in heavily wooded areas across the southern half of the Sarvonian continent, responsible for giving it the addition "Santharian". Their unique webs hang thickly in the forests of the provinces of northern Sanguia, Southern Vardưnn and through most of the forests of Enthronia and Xaramon. They have also been found as far north as the Calmarios Forest in Nermeran and as far south as the Sharadon Forest in Brendolan.
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Habitat/Behaviour. These spiders are solitary and maintain large amounts of territory, up to three or four dash in radius from its central lair. They defend their territries fiercely and have been known to attack those disturbing their catch webs. While most creatures larger than an elfcat are not paralyzed by the poison of the Drape-Silk, a bite can still be dangerous due to the numbing effect. This numbing can cause other injuries to go unnoticed for long periods of time which can lead to sickness and death in animals. This has an advantage as well by attracting insects and beasts to the area that may become trapped in a catch web and thus become a meal for the Drape-Silk.

Drape-Silks tend to build their catch webs shortly before dawn and an hour or so before dusk. It is therefore shortly after dusk and dawn that are the best times to harvest the webs. They will build anywhere from five to ten catch webs in their territory and will travel between them to check for prey.

The nest of the Drape-Silk is usually found in the hollow of a tree. The nest, heavilly covered in silk, is then covered by layers of leaves around the opening to help prevent rain from getting in. The interior is covered several nailsbreadths thick in silk.
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Diet. The Drape-Silk usually feeds mostly on insects such as the red diamond butterfly and the Golden Seean. However they have been known as well to feed on small mammals and birds such as the kuatu (or quirrl) and the aelirel bird.
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Mating. The spider's mating habits are interesting to watch. When the males find a female they perform a series of strange dances like movements while slowly circling the female.

The dance is a spiral that slowly leads them closer to the female over the period of half an hour or so. Once close enough the male slowly extends his front legs and uses them to caress the female while still circling. Upon spiraling closer he uses his fangs to caress those of the female. The mating then occurs.

Afterward the female and male depart back to their own territories and the female lays her eggs in her lair. It takes two weeks, give or take a couple of days, for the eggs to hatch. During this time the female stocks a fair amount of food.

Anywhere from thirty to fifty spiders are born from the egg sack. Roughly ten percent are slain by their brethren the remaining ninety percent eat what food is available, then fashion small bags that they use to catch the wind and glide to new locations. Another thirty to forty percent are caught during this flight and eaten by birds and such. This insures a survival rate of fifty to sixty spiders out of a hundred.
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Usages. The webs of the Drape-Silk are long and thick, a rather lovely shade, similar to the spiders themselves, like the hide of the Mithral wolf. Their thickness and shape makes them excellent for use as bandages. In addition they easily break down over time this allows them to be used to bind wounds without having to worry about removing them. When exposed to liquids the web begins to break down and completely dissolves within four or five days.

The
spider is also captured and raised by some healers for its venom. The venom has an effect similar to strong drink but with the added benefit of numbness (see journal entry below for a detailed description of the effect in a human). However, the effect of the poison has been discovered by others and is sometimes used and abused like heavy spirits. It can also be used as a sort of truth serum because of the euphoria it creates. This has led to a market for the venom, which is closely controlled by the Maeverhim elves.

A Drape-Silk Encounter. During recent travels through Santharia, more specifically the forest of Goltherlon in Vardưnn, I came across a most interesting spider. While the web of the spider is interesting in that it is long and wide and generally thick enough to be used as a bandage, I was amazed at the effect of the spider's venom.

I had been wandering the forest looking for unusual things when I first saw the arachnid. It had just captured a small bird in one of its webs and was moving it. Having never actually seen what I later learned to be the Drape-Silk spider before, I moved closer to get a better view of it and noticed it was rather pretty in shade and shape. It reminded me of a Mithral wolf in colour with barad dusk spots. However when I touched it, it got upset and bit me.

A few minutes after the bite I started to feel strange - very happy actually, like I had drunk a few tankards of good ale. A few minutes later I started having trouble with my vision, things kept going in and out of focus and when I would close my eyes I would see vibrant colours and images. Shortly after this, I am not sure how long because time began to seem to slow down, I discovered that I could not feel anything. To test this I poked and slapped myself, I even took my small eating blade and poked my finger. While it bled I could feel nothing. This effect lasted for several hours and I was fourtunate to have made it back to my camp before the effects had fully set in. I estimate that at least eight or nine hours passed of which I remember very little.


-- Excerpt from the journal of the traveller Seldranis Mor'cal
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 Date of last edit 5th Rising Sun 1666 a.S.

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