Post by Immortal_Dragon on May 30, 2016 23:25:29 GMT
Pardon the incidental double post, got another one.
Five pearlescent, bulbous eyes stared out at the trees and swamp land, only able to discern the features of the plant life closest to them, otherwise it was all a blur of various colors mixing together.
Their owner's attention, however, was more focused on the surface of the water rather than the stilt-rooted trees that dotted the muck and cast shade practically everywhere while keeping the humid air somewhat cool. His three primary arms, each equipped with three wide but flat digits at the end, carried him along while ensuring that he did not sink and get stuck in the shallow mud. His secondary arms brushed atop the water's surface every so often, creating a small pattern of ripples in his wake. He kept his attention primarily on where the roots of the stilt-trees met the water, while toxic to his kind, it was not the case for those within the liquid that he and his kind hunted.
There, around the roots, more ripples as some of them now fed on the roots. He knew their shape well, long and slimy-skinned; with a powerful tail for swimming and large eyes for discerning shapes through churned up mud. His single quill quivered and twitched in anticipation below his eyes, the muscles tensing in preparation for release. His beak held on the bottom of his body, surrounded by his primary, secondary, and final tertiary arms clicked and clacked in some joy of his find. His movements slowed, becoming more serene, churning up less water and mud. As he got within seeing distance of the feeding group, he stopped completely still, letting them get used to his presence. It was like he had become frozen.
Eventually, the group of prey had continued their feast, unaware of him. Slowly, without disturbing the water's surface, he tilted his body until his small and rounded mantle hovered over the water's surface. Bioluminescence soon started to light up the surface of his skin, creating a bright flashing show of colors as the chemicals within shifted between various mixtures. The ripples of the prey's movements below soon slowed as they noticed the flashing colors above them. Soon, curious heads began to bob out of the water, bulging eyes focused on the lights racing across his mantle. His quill Belgiumed upward, pointing right amongst the throng now gathering.
His quill launched from its anchoring point, a small squirt of his dark blue blood following it as it lanced out towards the prey at high speed. A sphincter closed off the now vacated orifice to prevent him from bleeding out. The quill struck true, faint red now coloring the water as the prey scattered, water frothing as the struck one thrashed in pain. He knew the venom contained in his quill was now working its way through the prey's system, preventing any sort of healing as well as enhancing the pain of the wound.
His primary arms stepped around the spot of frothing water, secondary arms reaching into the water as he lowered his body on the primary limbs. His secondary arms searched the water for the prey, then wrapped around it and lifted it out of the water and towards his tertiary arms. The prey's blood made its slick and slimy body even more slippery, but he kept his hold tight as his tertiary arms removed his spent quill from the prey's body, then his secondary arms handed the prey off to his tertiary arms to push the prey into his beak. Soon, the prey was aligned then pushed head-first into his waiting maw, where it clamped down and his throat muscles pushed it upward towards his stomach, where everything but its bones and fins would be digested, the leftovers spat out as a ball held together by his bile.
There he stood, letting it digest in the shade of the stilt-tree, when his hearing picked up the sound of approaching splashes. He swiveled, searching, trying to make out where the sound was coming from. A grey blur amongst the other splashes of color soon resolved into another of his kind, another male. The newcomer's mantle began flashing bright, primarily blue and purple, a challenge to his territory. He flashed his own challenge to the newcomer, approaching, though his quill had yet to grow back. The two stopped two body widths away from each other, continuing to flash their colors, releasing short warbling barks at each other.
Vwoort Vwoort! Vwoort Vwoort!
The two continued their posturing, raising and lowering on their primary arms, trying to intimidate each other. His quill would still take some hours to grow back, so he took initiative, charging.
He collided with the challenger head-on, pushing the other male backward slightly, the challenger not wishing to be pushed over and into the water. He pushed forward again, hoping to get his opponent into a deeper part of the swamp or scare him off before then. He ran into the challenger mantle-first with another thud and again pushing the challenger further. The other male returned the favor, pushing forward and colliding with him, thud.
The two continued their shoving match for a while longer, the defending male slightly bigger than his opponent and able to push him further per charge. However, neither noticed they had approached a deeper section of water, and danger.
The water erupted as a massive beast breached the surface, jaws shooting outward and hooking the smaller male, hook-like teeth latching onto one of his primary arms as well as the secondary arms on either side of it. It's leg-like fins dug into the mud, anchoring it into place as it attempted to drag the warbling challenger into the water. The smaller male readied his quill to try and shoot it into his attacker, but it suddenly yanked on his limbs, twisting him around. The quill shot off and stabbed into the defender, who wailed in pain as the venom from the challenger entered his body via a primary arm. He went down.
Soon after the beast had finished with the challenger, they'd find the defender just as tasty a meal.
The beasts on display:
Thy'nerae Strider: An organism that appears much like a squid or octopus, with multiple long limbs that are used for food collection as well as movement through the shallows of the Thy'nerae swamplands. Has five short-sighted but color-sensitive eyes for sight, and uses bioluminescence in its mantle to attract food items.
Root-eater: Fish that live in the Thy'nerae swamps, a foot and a half long, lacking scales and secreting mucus, they are immune to the toxins contained in the roots of the stilt-trees that they call home. They are the primary prey of the Striders.
Deephook: A species of fish that are on their way to becoming amphibians, Deephooks are characterized by their extendable jaws (much like those of a goblin shark) that have four primary "hook teeth" that are used to grab prey. They are easily over 2 meters long and can weigh hundreds of pounds. They prey on whatever they can fit in their mouths.