The Sleeper in the Snow, as known by the Remusians, is considered by many sages and researchers as a unique land ray. Upwards of two peds in length and equally wide, it seems to “swim” through snow and ice as easily as normal sea rays swim in the seas. It is found within the frozen north of Sarvonia, concentrated in the Iceland Coast region, but stories of even larger ones being found in Cyhalloi have been told. They are a predator that much is unknown, yet is much speculated on.
The Sleeper in the Snow is thought to be a type of land ray, in large part
because of its physical resemblance to rays found in the sea. The Sleeper has a
wide flat body that can reach up to two
length and being equally wide. From its head to its tail runs its trunk, which
can be about a fore in
thickness and two fores
wide, which then tapers out to the end of its wings. It does not have separate
limbs. Male and female Sleepers are roughly the same size, with males having
It has pale flesh, covered in a fine coat of silky white fur no more than a nailsbreadth in length. At the end of each wing, closer to the front, are two claws that it uses to tear the flesh of its prey. It has a tail, but it is short and thick, and researchers believe this is because it does not need a tail to use as a rudder the way sea rays do.
The Sleeper’s head consists of two pink eyes, and a mouth on the bottom with a double row of jagged, sharp teeth. This is most definitely a predator. Its nose is found further down its belly, and is not much more than a bulbous mound of flesh with four slits for air intake. It does not have gills the way sea rays do.
The Sleeper has what many researchers suggest is an innate
magical ability. Though there are disagreements
on how this magical ability is manifested. Some
argue that the Sleeper uses fire magic, melting the ice and snow before it as it
glides along. Others contend that it uses a Water based spell to change the form
of the ice and snow.
Whatever the method, the Sleeper in the Snow can travel at amazing speeds through ice or snow. In snow, it has been known to overtake a horse and rider. Through ice it is considerably slower, but a man would be hard pressed to outrun it.
In snow, one can track the Sleeper by watching as the level of the surface snow falls slightly as it passes through. It is a skill the Ice Tribes have perfected in both hunting the creature, which is rare, and trying to avoid it.
Territory. The Icelands Coast area is the only confirmed place where the Sleeper is known to exist. During particularly long winters with much snow, it is known that this area can expand greatly. There have been sightings as far south as Kuglim lands. Of course, the Tandala Mountains form a natural boundary and no sightings have ever been made south of them.
Other locations rumoured to be inhabited by the Sleeper is the far northern areas of the Caaehl’heroth Peninsula and Cyhalloi. Some stories of the creature in Cyhalloi have certain members of the species as over five peds in size. There has never been proof of this, it must be noted, but the stories point to Dying Ice Ridge on the east coast of Guldor or the Rolling Snows on Folasch as being locations this creature might exist. Some snow trolls on the Folasch island have been seen to be wearing hides of white fur that some speculate might have been from a Sleeper in the Snow.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Sleeper is a solitary creature. It is very territorial and spends its time moving through its territory searching for food and looking to chase off others of the species. Because of its reclusive nature, not much is known of its habits other than mating and hunting. It is a silent hunter, as there are no reports of it making any noise of its own. This is where it gets its name. A victim will often never see or hear its attacker until a burst of snow erupts next to them and the predator falls upon them. It is as if one has awakened the very snow itself.
Diet. The Sleeper in the Snow is a top tier predator. This means that there is almost nothing that it will not hunt. From the humble hrugchuk mouse to wison calves, it is a creature that is not afraid to challenge prey larger than itself. Though man is not a preferred food source, there have been reports of lone travelers being attacked.
The Sleeper uses stealth to hunt. It approaches the prey from beneath the snow cover. With blinding speed it can burst from the snow and reach a height equal to its body length. The two claws on the end of each wing then grab hold of its prey and it pulls itself tight against the prey. From there, its underside facing mouth is pressed against the unfortunate animal, and the sharp teeth do their business.
The Sleeper is not a combative hunter as much as it is a stealthy hunter. Though it will physically engage its prey, it holds on only long enough to take as many bites as it can before releasing itself and falling back into the snow and disappearing, only to circle round and attack again from a different angle, or attacking another animal if one is available, such as in a wison herd. This saves it from sustaining injuries, as it really has no physical defenses.
Mating. The Sleepers are solitary animals. They come together only to mate, which usually happens in spring. The male will chase down a female and mount her by laying on top of her.
The female usually gives birth to two or three live young in the fall. The young, about a fore in length, are able to follow the mother immediately. They will stay with the mother all winter, then go off on their own the next spring. Females who do give birth will not mate again until the following spring.
During the winter it must be noted that females with young are particularly aggressive as they both protect their young and struggle to feed them. It is the females with young that most human encounters occur.
Usages. Ice tribes do not use much of the Sleeper. The meat, what little there is, is very tough and not flavourful. They do use the hide, however, as a cape. The claws are fashioned into clasps and they wrap the hide around them. Young Sleeper hides are used to bundle up babies, especially for nomadic mothers who are carrying the babes on their back for extended journeys.
There are very few bones in the Sleeper, most of it cartilage and too soft for use. Teeth are used in jewelry and as arrowheads.
Myth/Lore. Note to Readers: Necteref is a strange deity in the Remusian pantheon, in that the deity often changes sex roles, appearing as a god in one myth, while becoming a goddess in others. To many this is considered confusing and even antithetical to ice tribe mentality. However, the Ice Tribes themselves seemingly find no contradiction in this and just accept each myth based on their own merit.
In the days when the gods walked the land, Chelinor, the God of Snow, fell in love with Necteref, the Goddess of Death. Necteref, however, did not feel the same about the god. For years she rebuffed his advances. Still, Chelinor was not to be denied.
One day, Chelinor followed Necteref onto the Frozen Waste. Though she tried to run and escape, she could not travel through the snow as easily as the God whose domain was the very snow that slowed her down. Chelinor was able to catch her and he took her against her will.
Afterwards, Necteref became with child. When she gave birth, she was determined that her children would not be slowed by the snow and ice as she had been, but they would bring death in the way that she could do. Thus was the Sleeper in the Snow born unto the world. Bringers of Death that glide through the snowy recesses of the far north.