The Ancythrian Bladed Serpent (or simply "Bladeserpent") is a large sea-snake living in the depths of the Ancythrian Sea, about the size of a large ship and purportedly 2-3 peds in diameter. The serpent received its name from a blade that is attached to its head and tail, lending it fierce looks and a dangerous weapon. The beast's existence for a long time had been doubted and there was great speculation, and it was generally assumed that the tales of the serpents were mere myths created by weary sailors. Until the discovery of its giant eggshells floating inland from the sea convinced the most dubious researchers...
Picture description. The feared Bladed Serpent living in the depths of the Ancythrian Sea showing its characteristic blade. Image drawn by Seeker.
Appearance. Not much is known about this deadly creature, as many of those unfortunate enough to cross its path have not survived to speak of it. Many a vessel has been lost in the mysterious Ancythrian Sea and the Bladeserpent for sure is responsible for quite a number of them. What little is known about this Bladed Serpent, we have gathered from the account of various sailors who certainly have been blessed by Baveras to survive such a horrible encounter.
While the Serpent is indeed very unfriendly, it is one of the most beautiful creatures to be seen by man. An account of one of the few sailors surviving an unexpected encounter is quoted as follows:
"After the beast wreaked considerable damage upon our vessel, it popped its scaly head above the surface, to mock us. I must say what I expected was a horrendous looking creature, but was I in for a surprise! Even in the moonlight I could see her clearly. Her scales were the most beautiful colour, the colour of the sea itself, with a bit of green mixed in. They sparkled in the moonlight, and the silver blade running down her head like a mane of hair was a wonderous sight to behold. Indeed I was stunned, and for one moment forgot all of the trouble she had caused, and became lost in her beauty when she glided over the ocean waters. Then she rose up several peds above sea level, uttering up an ear-piercing shriek and shooting down again in the cold depths. And within moments the sea was silent again as if the worm had never appeared."
As one has not been found dead, it's exact size is not known. However another account tells us the following: "I first saw the blade alongside my vessel, I had heard tales of this beast before and very quickly ordered my crewman to pull back, so that the beast could not slash us with the blade on its head. However, we were very surprised when the tail of the beast struck the bottom of our ship from behind! The beast had to be at least as long as my vessel in order to do such a thing! Even longer! But not by much, because the creature had to be fully extended in order to make such a manuever, and it seemed to jerk a bit when its tail pierced the hull."
To fit this description, the beast would have been somewhere between 35 and 45 peds in length. Also, in order to perform such a maneuver, the monster would have to be very lithe and graceful, a fitting attribute for all of its beauty.
Special Abilities. The Bladeserpent was named so because of a long silver blade attached to its head, which extends for a short distance down its body. Another blade is reported to be attached to its tail. Both blades have been used to slice and thrash into the hull of ships passing through, causing them to sink very quickly. It is interesting that these blades are in very peculiar positions for a serpent. The blade on the head is not apparently practical for hunting purposes, yet can simply be a defense mechanism. The tail blade however, is more than likely used as a spear to catch its prey and bring it to the serpent's mouth. A situation where this would be used is when the prey is somewhat below the serpent, and is not able to be simply swallowed from behind. Nevertheless, these are mere assumptions.
The monster is also known to create rather large whirlpools, quite possibly in multiple fashions:
"The night was as calm as any could be on the sea, and I had no reason to suspect any trouble. As I looked ahead, I noticed that a bugger of a whirlpool appeared outta nowhere, and I thought it quite unnatural. Next thing I know we were all scrambling for our lives, as the beast came swimming from beneath the whirlpool and attacked."
A whirlpool obviously can be created simply by the beast opening its mouth wide enough for suction. It can also be assumed that during its ascent to the surface, the serpent swims in a circular pattern causing the whirlpool to form, which would explain the beast attacking from beneath the whirlpool rather than sticking its head out from above it.
Territory. It is rather fortunate for sailors all over Caelereth, that this beast is only known to reside in the Ancythrian Sea. There is no doubt that the creatures reside close to the Enclave of Alvang, along the area known as the Blood Reef to the southeast of the enclave, and the Black Reef to the south. These places are generally avoided by sailors, yet sometimes mistakes are made due to bad weather conditions, and they sail into one of these reefs. Once they become too close and a npotrious Bladeserpent is nearby, it is already too late for them to turn back without being noticed in most cases.
Habitat/Behaviour. The creature has not been seen doing anything other than wrecking ships. However, the occurrence has been rare, so it is safe to assume that the latter is not the beast’s only pastime. It is likely that the Bladeserpent is in fact amphibious, due to its serpent like nature, and the fact that it showed no sign of suffering while above the surface of the water. The beast could make its home then in an undersea cave of any sort, and it is most likely there are caves within the reefs where they reside. All known encounters with Bladeserpents have been during the night, so it can be safely assumed that the creature is nocturnal. Or it can be assumed that sailors have rather bad luck during the daytime to encounter one; though by no means should looking for the famous Ancythrian Bladeserpent be the primary pastime for a bored sailor.
Diet. The only thing that the serpent unfortunately is known to eat is... sailors. Other than that, it is possible that it feeds on the Ancythrian shark, the largest - or second largest - predator, in the Ancythrian Sea. What seems for sure is that it is a carnivore monster with a pretty large appetite. An account tells us:
"Our ship was destroyed and what the beast did not smash to bits was left as flotsam. I clung tightly to the few planks I was on, glad to know that the monster had left. Or so I thought. Seconds later, the beast, out of nowhere surfaces and swallows nearly all of the debris and most of the surviving crew with a giant whirlpool. I barely made it, as the creature stopped shortly before I was pulled in."
Mating. We do know that these creatures in fact, lay eggs. The eggs shells found supposedly belonging to the Bladeserpent are rather small in comparative size to the adult beasts, at about 6 fores. They are very thin and fragile, and are pearly white, and almost as beautiful as the beasts themselves. It could be assumed that these creatures mate in the same manner that a serpent upon the land would. However, speculation here arises because the blades of the serpent, along with the currents of the water would make such mating quite awkward.
Myth/Lore. As mentioned before, the sailors who encountered the worm, were a bit too far north for their own good, too close to the cursed isle of Alvang. Perhaps the beast is a warden to keep sailors away from the enclave? And/or perhaps formed from whatever dark magic was used there? At least there is a lot of superstition at port towns like Elsreth and Cavthan in this respect.
A pretty well known story throughout the province of Enthronia regarding Alvang and the beast was that the creature was actually one of the reasons so many were killed at the legendary battle in the famous “Witchking's Night”, when an attempt was by an alliance of several races to reach the dark wizard Saban on his fortress located in the center of the Ancythrian Sea.
Though no one knows for sure what was used to devastate the army under the guidance of the elf Serveran (except the presumably fantastic accounts given in the famous Santharian myth of the "Avaesthoría", the "Book of Paths"), a plethora of stories arose to explain it. These stories are discredited for the most part by historians, but are still quite common and mainly used to scare children and too ambitious and daring sailors away from the enclave. A passage from the Cavthani tale, “The Witchking’s Knight”, is given below to emphasize this:
“In a flash of light the beast appeared, and what a sight it was to behold! We all were caught in it’ beauty momentarily, and it even put on a little show for the soldiers, slithering around slowly and gracefully, rising to a position that feigned peacefulness. It was utterly entrancing, up until the point that it struck. With a flick of its tail, and a bob of is massive head, hundreds of men were killed either by its massive blade or by being devoured in mass. Once it struck, the soldiers naturally tried to defend themselves, yet the creature was too fast. It slaughtered them with great efficiency and speed, though it was greatly wounded in the process. At the end of it all, the beast slithered into the sea with its wounds, and its blood, along with the blood of many fallen soldiers, tainting the nearby waters. Over time, the small amount of coral there built up and was stained red by the blood of the fallen, and thus Blood Reef came into existence.”
Some historians, those who believe that there is dark magical activity on the enclave, also argue that the beasts were created by dark elves on the isle to prevent anyone from interfering with their plans.
Information provided by Chronusian