THE LISDRA "WITCH" SNAKE

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

The Lisdra Snake ("Lisdra" being used as the plural also), famed as a luxury pet for the "despicable witches of Marmarra", is a creature of both elegance and brutality. Notorious for its unannounced mood changes and for acting on its assumptions and instincts, the Lisdra can be found living in the wild in the eastern parts of the beautiful plains of Zhun. This particular snake has always had associations with arrogance, intolerance and vanity, and as such has been compared to Marmarrans many a time by the other Zhunites. Shining in their purple scales, these creatures have constantly possessed an aura of odd beauty about them that was only overshadowed by their ferocity in hunting.

Appearance. The Lisdra itself is not much larger than other snakes found on the Zhunite plains or other locations on Nybelmar (it in fact holds similar dimensions to that of exotic lukrinam snake of the Shar peninsula). The Lisdra, from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail is normally just over a ped long, similar to the length of the lukrinam. However, unlike the spraying jungle snake, the Lisdra is notably thinner. At the centre of its body, the Lisdra is only a few nailsbreadths less than a palmspan in width.

The Lisdra’s skin is decorated in deep, raw bloodstone purple scales that are rough yet flowing to touch, similar to a freshly cut gemstone. Each scale seems perfectly oval in shape, layered over each to create a flawless armour against the attacks of the Zhun predators, but also to create a visage of unnatural eerie beauty that both lures you in but tells you to avoid the snake. Set in the creature's head are two vibrant yet mysterious yellow eyes with ambiguous, thin black pupils that convey a sense of power over you if you stare into the snake’s eyes for too long.

This beast also bears two magnificent fangs in its head. Though each one is no longer than a man’s thumb, the brilliant white hue that the razor-sharp fangs possess is almost blinding. The fangs, the purest part of these creatures, are said to be kept so clean by a fluid produced in the snake’s saliva. Many even say that the fluid is highly acidic, but the Lisdra is willing to bear the excruciation for the stunning teeth they bear.
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Special Abilities. The Lisdra, like most snakes, is a very efficient predator. Unlike other snakes that rely on either paralytic poisons or death-inducing toxins to kill their prey, the Lisdra relies on a remarkable muscle structure that allows the creature not only to move at amazing speeds, but also (in a horribly cruel way) to crush the air out of their prey before consuming the breath-starved remains.

"I saw it there, the small vulnerable rodent rustling in the grass. Though from my safe distance I couldn’t see precisely what the miniscule mouse was doing, I assumed from its frantic arms and neck movements it was eating something. The rodent though was taking too long to consume its meal.

From my high vantage point I could see, in the distance, a slowly approaching Lisdra. The creature though obviously wasn’t hunting out of hunger, I could tell from the apparent bulge in its almost perfect form that it had recently eaten. The spiteful beast was simply hunting for fun.

Whilst the mouse continued to slowly chew and munch about whatever it was it was holding, but my heartbeat, almost like a drum, was drawing the snake closer. I could feel each heavy beat that pounded in my chest, and each one seemed to give the snake some kind of indication of the mouse's location. I watched, in some kind of awe, at the mouse, oblivious to his fate, and the snake slowly approaching. I felt some kind of empathy for the rodent not knowing its steadily approaching fate. This wash of empathy I felt forced to do something that ruined the observation. I threw a rock at the mouse, to warn it of the approach. At the sound of the fateful rock hitting the ground, the mouse fled at speeds a man could never catch. But the snake almost transformed. In a blink the snake had travelled at least five strides and had wrapped its muscular body around it. The snake had spiralled almost its entire body around the poor creature, and it appeared to be... releasing it. The twisting body seemingly began to loosen, but then I realised, it wasn’t letting it go. It was preparing.

The snake’s body then slammed tight, crushing the rodent under the terrible pressure. A small yelp was heard before the snake effortlessly straightened himself, and swallowed the creature whole."

-- Anonymous Writing

In addition to the creature’s remarkable hunting abilities, it is considerably resilient to attacks on itself. It is in fact commonly stated that to slice a Lisdra in two is impossible (leading to the phrase "Tough as Lisdra Scales"), due to its sturdy and durable scales that even the finest Zhunite arrows can’t pierce. There have been many attempts to put these scales to use as armour, but due to their small size and high rarity, it is almost impossible to create a full suit. Many also believe it to be remarkable that the Lisdra’s scales are so strong, yet the creature itself is so agile. They say that each time the Lisdra jolts forwards (see the above extract) its scales dig into its flesh, causing horrible pain. The Zhunites believe this displays the creature’s grim determination, but towards what is still quite mysterious.

These creatures also are thought to possess near-sentient paths of thought. Due to the way in which they act seemingly solely on their assumptions and impressions, they are believed to have similar capabilities at analysing emotions and situations to that of humans. Though many scholars dispute this idea, believing in either luck or experience, it still remains that these creatures have a potent level of intelligence- sentient or not.
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Territory. Lisdra Snakes reside wildly in various parts of the Plains of Zhun, and researchers have noted that it seems to prefer grassy areas to the harsher desert terrain (where due to its colour it stands out incredibly). More Wild Lisdra are noted to be found in eastern parts of Zhun than the west, being more common in Marmarran territory (and the territory of Marmarra’s vassal states). Despite the above, the snakes are still very rare.

Lisdra also have a primary use as pets for the Marmarrans of the Zhunite men, famed for their horribly powerful Witch Queens that are obsessed with nothing more than gaining more power. Lisdra and Marmarrans seem to find a kinship with each other, each of them being highly suspicious and never afraid to act (normally quite drastically) upon them.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Lisdra is a notoriously independent animal, which is odd for a pet, due to the fact that it sees others of its kind as too much of threat to associate with. In fact, the Lisdra is famed for acting entirely on its instincts and impressions of other creatures. As such, the Lisdra commonly tends to analyse everything around in a peculiar fashion in an especially curious way. It isn’t uncommon to see Lisdra snooping around new creatures that it hasn’t seen before.

Lisdra also are known for their cruel and somewhat sadistic nature when dealing with creatures they deem below themselves. Lisdra will consistently hunt (well, attack, since "hunt" entails they need to eat them) any animals regardless of whether or not it needs to eat, as if it enjoys the killing of other creatures in some kind of twisted way. To what criteria Lisdra compare animals against to deem them below them is unknown, but the arrogant snakes are believed to consider anything herbivorous or smaller than them a lesser being.

Despite this love the Lisdra seem to have for inflicting pain, Lisdra (particularly those kept as pets) are able to show respect and even be affectionate in company they admire. Lisdra therefore are believed to gravitate towards Marmarrans rather than the other Zhunites due to the similarities in personality. Marmarrans and Lisdra are believed to share many characteristics - arrogance, hate of the weak and willingness to use whatever necessary methods to attain what they want.

Normally, a Lisdra will be found prowling around the grassy areas of the Zhun plains looking for food (though victims sounds more fitting), which is one of the few things they do to occupy the part of the day they don’t spend in their sparse sleep. Lisdra also have the habit of attending to their scales by licking them clean, expressing the vanity that a majority of Marmarran noblewomen can find kinship with.

However, if a Lisdra becomes the possession of a human, it generally spends most of the day sleeping. The part of the day they spend awake they tend to play peculiar games with their owners, which include staring competitions or teasing the snake with food to make it achieve a "dancing" effect.
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Diet. From observation, it is difficult to say what the Lisdra eats and what it simply hunts for fun. However, various researchers have concluded that in the wild the creatures tend to dine upon rodents, large insects or lizards. Some have suggested also that the creature is capable of taking down birds that land on the ground due to its brilliant speed.

However, if the Lisdra is lucky enough to have been made a Marmarran’s pet it is showered in luxury and dine upon the rarest foods around. From the highly allusive lukrinam meat to the exquisite kechit Steak, these favoured Lisdra are said to eat better than some of the poorer Marmarrans.
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Mating. Mating is the only time that Lisdra overcome their aversion to their own kind, due to necessity not choice. In fact throughout the entire encounter the creatures seem to be trying to evade and escape, but their bodies seem to be acting beyond their control.

A female seems to send out signals when she is ready to mate (which is not affected by seasons unlike some creatures, she seems to mate on a whim), that - as some have suggested - take the form of vibrations through the ground produced when a female subconsciously quivers. Males can pick up on these signals whatever they are, and they seem to uncontrollably move towards them.

When the two meet they immediately, if not somewhat reluctantly, intertwine. The two creatures spiral in a way that seems beyond their control, as if their own nature works against them. It was discovered that the male snake in fact bears an odd organ that works in a similar way to that of a penis, despite the fact it bears spiky attachments to latch onto the female. It is thought that the snake fertilises the female using this organ, and then it lays its eggs. A Lisdra is likely to lay around three eggs. They are notably large in comparison to snakes of similar sizes, making them prime targets for scavengers. Though the snake buries the eggs, normally two (if not all) are lost to predators. The mother immediately abandons the unborn young to resume her normal, secluded life. The eggs will hatch after around four months, at which time the small, worm-like snakes will scamper off. They grow at an alarming rate, being adult size in less than a year.
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Usages. The Lisdra has one developed use, in which it acts as a pet for the eerie and odd Marmarrans of Nybelmar. The dark side of the Zhunites, these people adore these snakes to a remarkable degree. In the snake they tend to see attributes of themselves, though many would take joy in remarking they see cold-hearted malice, in reality it is believed that they see the snake’s lust for dominance and sheer power, traits most Marmarrans share.

Many also say that the Black Orcs of Orcal prize these snakes also, but as a delicacy not a pet. It is thought that this is one of the reasons Marmarrans oppose the tribe, though it could easily be a rumour conjured to incite conflict.
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Myth/Lore. Despite being quite remarkable, the Lisdra has very few myths and stories surrounding it. One though, due to its uncanny similarities to the lukrinam is that the Lisdra originally followed the first Witch Queen, Eluda, out of the Jungles. They say it followed her through the expansive plains until she arrived at the Inami ruins. The Lukrinam was then transformed by the presence of the powerful magics, into what we now know as the Lisdra. The new creature, confused by its change, sought refuge with the Witch Queen. It is said even the cold-hearted, malice filled Eluda could not deny its charm, and as such she kept it as a pet.
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 Date of last edit 6th Passing Clouds 1667 a.S.

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