Asthu’oc) is a three-shelled mollusk living in
waters off the coasts of Southern
including the Yanthian Gulf and the Gulf of Maraya. They prefer hot to mild
environments in oceans, whose constant motion keeps them supplied with food. The
Trysters are also known for creating pearls.
Appearance. An Tryster is a large trivalve mollusk, about the size of a male human hand. The creature actually resembles three hands cupped together at the palms and fingertips. Its formal name comes from the Styrásh "asthar" (asthár), meaning "three", and "thu’óc" (thu’óc), meaning "shell", but human fishermen usually call them Trysters. The exterior is a soft gray color, heavily ridged and studded with darker bits of grit, which have been incorporated into the calcium buildup as the shell grows. The interior is coated with nacre, or "pearl-father", a shining iridescent substance, which protects the tender animal inside. Any grit that makes its way past the delicate fringe that edges the shell openings is also coated with pearl-father and eventually turns into a pearl itself.
Picture description. Tryster Mollusks thriving on rocks of a Southern Sarvonian Coast. Note the mermaid in the background the artist has snuck in. Image drawn by Bard Judith.
Though there are no extremely fascinating processes or acts that the Tryster
exhibits, many are astounded that, like the oyster,
the Tryster can neither see nor hear nor smell, and must depend on its feelers
to respond appropriately to changes in its environment. With so many
disadvantages plaguing these three-shelled mollusks, it’s a wonder that they,
and the oysters, have
Territory. Trysters, like their cousins the oysters, thrive in warm to mild climates, and thus congregate along the coasts of Southern Sarvonia. They are found to the greatest extent in the Yanthian Gulf as well as in the Gulf of Maraya, where they can be found in the same beds as oysters. In some beds, the oysters and Trysters are so closely packed that they will end up growing on top of each other, connecting themselves to one another’s shells.
The Trysters can withstand hotter environments than the oysters and are thus found along the coasts of the Burning Sea. Because of their natural animosity for colder environments, they are only found as northward as the island of Nommeros.
Diet. Like the oysters, the Trysters feed through a filter system that depends upon the ever-constant motion of the sea. As fresh water comes in, the Tryster will open its three shells, sometimes appearing as a three-petal ocean flower, to let in the seawater, then close again. These shellfish then filters out the nutrients and food from the water before spitting the water back out into the ocean. Sometimes bits of sand and minerals will become trapped within the Tryster. The mollusk produces nacre, also known as "pearl-father,” and coats this bit of sand in order to keep it from scratching up the tender insides of the Tryster. These little lumps of sand and nacre eventually form into pearls. A Tryster may hold as many as three pearls at one time!
Mating. Like the oyster, the Tryster begins the mating process in early or mid spring, which lasts until the end of summer. The male Tryster releases his sperm into the sea water. Like the oyster, the Tryster has extremely efficient sperm with the capability to swim for miles and to last for days. However, after a week, the sperm dies and is no longer suitable for reproduction.
Because the mating season for Tryster and oyster overlap, female oysters are constantly receiving sperm from male Trysters, and vice versa. Usually these female mollusks will treat the foreign sperm like food and ingest them, or she may choose to spit them out. However, there have been rare occasions where she has indeed taken the sperm into her body. The result is a shellfish containing two prominent shells and a third existing as a sliver down one side. Such shellfish are incapable of reproduction.
More than often the female Tryster will be the one to take these sperm and use them for reproduction. Within the week, eggs have been created within her and she spits them out into the waters. Tryster eggs look almost like oyster eggs, and are indistinguishable to the naked eye, though researchers insist that Tryster eggs are a tad larger than oyster eggs and have a slight gray tinge to them. These eggs will hatch within 12 hours and, in 24 more hours, will have begun growing their three shells.
The first week or two of the Tryster’s life is spent swimming and floating in the sea water, sometimes fighting with oyster young for food. Many baby Tryster’s fall victim to predators such as crabs and fish. During this time the Tryster, like the oyster, will grow a foot to help it maneuver about in the water and help it to avoid danger. They will keep this foot until they find a place to settle, usually among other Trysters, and will glue themselves to one place. They tend to stay in one place for their entire life unless something forces them to move.
These young Trysters will grow extremely quickly. After the first month, they will be approximately 5 grains in diameter, but by the end of their first year, they will have increased to nearly 3 nailsbreadths. They will grow about 2 nailsbreadths each year for 1 to 2 years, but will continue growing in small amounts after that, as well. The largest Tryster ever found was a little more than a fore across!
Usages. When the shells are pried apart, even if no pearls are to be found, the reward is a soft, pinkish meat, which can be eaten raw, smoked, or fried. It has a faintly fishy taste with an overtone of salt, ginger, and oak. Trysters, unlike their poor cousin oysters, are considered delicious, and are often served with a Brown Wine sauce by the more renowned cooks in the larger cities, but roasted directly in their shells by the fisherfolk on the beach. They can be found almost anywhere along the coast, in slightly deeper water than oysters prefer. The Avennorian people of Southern Sarvonia harvest them by diving, armed only with a prybar and a legsheath knife.
Origins. The Tryster is believed to have originated from oysters by a genetic defect long ago resulting in three valves. Some researchers believe that, as time progresses, Trysters will eventually starve the oysters out of existence. Others argue, saying that time will also cause the Tryster to move farther south while the oyster will move more north, maintaining the existence of both.