Greatwurm of the Quaking Isle Species in Creus | World Anvil
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Greatwurm of the Quaking Isle

The outrigger that served as an open-air cafe on the Fleet was packed with Kheim, all eyes on the Quaking Isle. Isolde sat next to Alistair and handed him a mug of tea. Alistair took a sip and blinked.   "Weird that you brought them the whole crate of tea leaves, sold it to them for a profit, and we're giving them back the profit after they boil some water." The tea was an ordinary Grey from the Capital.   "Just drink." Isolde leaned back. "We're here to watch something ridiculous that's going to happen on the island any minute now." A few minutes ago, great swarms of birds had taken off from the island and were circling overhead, and the Kheim took that as a sign that a new quake was imminent. They were chattering loudly and excitedly, though not in a language Alistair recognized.   And it struck. Alistair felt the ships shift in the water, and the ships all creaked loudly, as each component of the Flotilla strained against its neighbor. The island itself began to throw up clouds of dust, likely from rockslides.   Alistair heard a low, rumbling roar, and on the Isle, a massive wurm breached the island's surface. The animal was colossal, larger than anything Alistair had ever seen back home, and it reared a good thirty feet in the air before crashing back into the ground. Farther in the distance, more wurms were breaching and roaring, and the Kheim were laughing and cheering as each wurm surfaced.   He finished his tea and stood. "I'm going to admit it. Those things terrify me. I'd rather be at the zoo back in the Capital. Are you satisfied?"   "Very much so, master wizard." Isolde joined in the cheering as two wurms began to strike at each other, their heads and necks twisting as they fought. "The more time you spend out in the frontiers, the more interesting the world becomes. If that's not to your taste, then the Capital is the perfect place for you to live out your days."

Basic Information

Anatomy

Greatwurms are similar to the common earthworm or snake in shape, but are much larger and longer. Estimates of their size from naturalists visiting the Quaking Isle range from seventy to eighty feet long, with their mouth and jaws wide enough to swallow a Power-Wagon whole. In addition, the wurms are covered in thick scales resembling ancient iron plate armor, rendering them essentially impervious apex predators of their environment.

Genetics and Reproduction

At least one Kheim has claimed to have seen firsthand a Greatwurm hatching grounds deep underground, as part of a wurm tunnel exploration done on a lark, and claims that wurms are hatched from eggs. Others have ridiculed this account as that of a braggard, noting that exploring a wurm tunnel on the Quaking Isle is tantamount to suicide.

Ecology and Habitats

Greatwurms only inhabit The Quaking Isle, an environment presumably uniquely suited to them due to their lack of presence elsewhere in the Eastern Saibh archipelago. The soil of the Quaking Isle is soft and loamy due to the constant churn from the earthquakes, an ideal soil for subterranean tunneling.   Along with the constant earthquakes, the wurms are largely responsible for the great churn that occurs on the island, with escarpments and rivulets torn apart and reshaped each time a new wurm breaches the surface of the island's upper landscape.

Dietary Needs and Habits

According to the journal of the naturalist Linnea Vostaz of The Academy of Etoile, greatwurms are completely omnivorous, eating all animals, trees, and each other with equal gusto. They are easily the fastest and strongest animal present on the Quaking Isle and have no issues chasing down their prey.

Additional Information

Domestication

While the prospect of a domesticated Greatwurm has been the subject of at least one farce at the Grand Amphitheatre of Etoile, the wurms themselves have given no indication of their willingness to tolerate people in their vicinity.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Due to their incredible destructive power, there have been speculative proposals to transport the Greatwurm somehow and unleash them on any potential enemy force. Critics of such a proposal note that the Greatwurm is both unlikely to attack only one side of any conflict, and has the potential to reproduce and render an entire area subject to constant wurm attack.   The Kheim have in their possession a number of armored chitin plates recovered from the wurms, but the plates are heavy enough to where they pose a storage hazard to the floating ships of the Fleet, and are too heavy to be used at individual arms. A number have been sold to curious collectors from the Principality of Etoile, and at least one nobleman's power wagon in the Etoile Capital City¬†features a wurmscale as a decorative element on the prow.

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Greatwurms are unique to The Quaking Isle.

Average Intelligence

Kheim oral records suggest that wurms are capable of recognizing unique individuals. One Kheim was able to avoid death twice, and swore up and down that the wurm that chased him each time was the same animal.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

No specimens of the Greatwurm have been recovered or studied, but observations (from a distance) indicate the wurms do have eyes at their fronts. Reasoned speculation says that they must have some way to detect their direction of travel while tunneling underground, as well.
Conservation Status
The Greatwurms are unique to the Quaking Isle, and no species similar to them have been witnessed elsewhere in Eastern Saibh. Nobody knows how many there are, exactly, but their size and might means that people can do little about them, for better or worse.   Given their prodigious consumption habits and the limits of size on the isle, naturalists speculate that at any time there can only be fifteen to twenty active adult wurms on the Isle, with any more starving and being consumed in turn by the other wurms.
Average Weight
Est. 25-30 tons
Average Length
Est. 75 ft
Geographic Distribution

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