Transcript of Crypt o' Zoology

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The following text is transcluded from Transcript:Foothold.

I have lost count of how many worlds we have attempted to colonise. They all had flaws in their construction, some imbalance. We were able to sustain ourselves on such worlds for a time, but they were too new, not able to support life such as us, at least not yet, and we inevitably had to return to the Abyss or to enter extended periods of hibernation, lest we ravage these young worlds to the point of destruction.

When first setting foot on this world, however, I could immediately tell it was different. Something...in the air? No, it is deeper than that. There is an intangible quality I cannot pinpoint. No doubt, smarter minds than mine are already working to figure out the particulars. I care not for that; my instinct tells me all I need.

This world will be our new home.

It will take some doing, for this world is already home to an abundance of life, and it will not give up territory freely. We have established a foothold on a large island in the planet's northern hemisphere, a space we can tame and control, before exploring it further. This island contains a diversity of biomes, enough to suit all our needs, yet before other settlers can arrive, the local wildlife must be relocated, tamed or culled - likely a combination of all three.

This is my task.

-Varanus, Nodon hunter
The following text is transcluded from Transcript:On Varanusaurs.

While I hunt alone, I am also working alongside an Aughra mystic - 'Skeka' is her name, or so she has been dubbed by my kin. She is supporting my work by studying the various flora and fauna of this place, providing taxonomies for my discoveries, which in turn leads to a refinement in my approaches.

Take the varanusaurs, for instance, named for my discovery of the family. Her naming, not mine, for I seek not recognition; I think as she has little control over what others call her, this is an exercise in exerting a modicum of control. They are an aggressive sub-class of lizards that we call dinosaurs - they share some traits with the kin, but with an inferior intellect and capabilities.

My early encounters with them typically led to their demise in one of my traps, or on the end of my spear, but Skeka's experimentation has allowed me to turn their traits back on themselves, most notably those of the hypnotic strain. As such, I now have a stable of these varanusaurs to use as a hunting pack when tracking larger quarry.

One in particular has developed a bond of loyalty with me. I am not one for sentiment but have even given this hypnotic dinosaur a name. It feels so comfortable with me that it sometimes splays on its back, seeking rubs of its stomach area. If it only knew how easily I could use my talons to eviscerate its soft underbelly... Why does it do such a thing to a potential predator? They are truly an inferior animal yet, somehow, I have grown accustomed to having them around, and give this named one tummy scratches whenever it lays supine before me.

-Varanus, Nodon hunter
The following text is transcluded from Transcript:Rumours of the Raksha.

Parties scouting the coastlines of nearby landmasses have returned with news from the west of a being unlike any other we have so far encountered. I have become the master of the dinosaurs on this island, even subduing some of the larger specimens Skeka classifies as rexes.

This is a rex like no other, they say. Those that have survived an encounter with it describe it as larger than other rexes, more aggressive and ravenous. Its skin is a pitch black, unlike the colourful rexes we have on the island. Based on eyewitness accounts of how it hunts, it has some ability to incapacitate its prey, perhaps with some sort of paralytic venom, perhaps a defensive mechanism of its spike-covered body. On this description alone, Skeka has classified it as a hellebores rex, after the poisonous black flower - as deadly as it is beautiful.

Beyond its appearance, though, the reports suggest it to be more physically developed than other rexes, and with a clear intelligence on display, even going so far as to purposefully target our scouts' observation outposts. One of the survivors made a statement that claims it communicated directly with her, not with words or sounds, but via images in her mind. It's nonsense, of course - rexes are creatures of instinct, not intelligence. The idea of a more dangerous quarry for me to entrap fills me with excitement; me and my varanusaur pack will master this new beast.

They call it Raksha - taken from the name of a fallen entity among some of my people's older mythologies - 'The One Above All' or 'The One That Speaks' in our modern vernacular.

I call it a challenge.

-Varanus, Nodon hunter
The following text is transcluded from Transcript:The Greatest Hunt.

It is done! The Raksha is bound. This shall be the greatest achievement of my life. I know this for two reasons. The first is obvious - this is the most dangerous beast I have ever hunted, one which hunted me right back, and I bested it! The other reason... It gave as good as it got, and it has done for me. Even when captured and restrained, this beast proves deadly.

After I had it tied, I stared straight into its eyes - part of my ritual to assert dominance, but in this moment, it filled my mind with visceral images of what it wanted to do to me - of ripping and tearing, of the carnage it sought, of its hatred for me. While I was still reeling from this visual assault, it managed to stick me with one of its spikes. It KNEW the visions it gave me would not come to pass, but that they would drop my guard enough such that it could inflict this wound on me. It is not simply intelligent; it is diabolical.

My end will be slow and painful. None in the other creeds can offer an antidote or cure, and I have little hope they will be able to in the time I have left. Instead, I will use this time to ensure the Raksha will not hurt any more of my kin, and that it will serve a greater good. The Kindra wish this entity to be relocated to the burgeoning city of Orthen my creed-mates are constructing on our island home.

I find this ill-advised given the nature of this creature, but their will be done. They no doubt have plans for it beyond my understanding. Thus, I can do no more than ensure it ends up secured and restrained until this purpose has been served.

-Varanus, Nodon hunter