Gorgon Species in Kald | World Anvil


Anatomy & Morphology

Here’s the typical idea of a gorgon: a serpentine humi-shaped creature, where in place of the humi’s hair are hundreds of venomous snakes. While this is the most common form of a gorgon, the Myths (descendants of Miftyanya) vary from region to region. All gorgons have scales and multiple mouths on stalks (which appear to be snakes at a glance) with eyes and scents too alluring. However, their body structure is whatever the apex predator of the region is. This tends to be the most populous rela (see Creatures).

Gorgons are not quite as adaptable in their forms as other Mythical creatures. Their change in form occurs only while egg-embraced. Once they hatch, their base form will no longer change and they will only grow larger as so many other species.

During incubation, their soul wanders across the brood’s territory and slightly beyond (if they are curious), observing the most dominant creatures around. The observation changes them, their soul sending information back to their developing body to mimic the dominant species. And, as intelligence typically makes a creature higher on the food chain, rela are the ones mimicked. This change is hidden to the world, their eggs are hard mud-green speckled spheres which the brood keep deep in their chambers under a layer of warm, wet dirt.

When they slither from the wetness of hatching, their scales, the color of stone, quickly harden. But only so much, even adult scales are soft and warm to the touch, if a creature were so inclined to risk their lives.

Gorgons evolved relatively in the same region as humi, on the west side of the Rot Saegri ending where the Akua mountains begin. Gorgons thrive in swamps or damp caves (or a damp cave in a swamp) with plenty of moisture. More arid mountains dry their scales and dampen their scents, they do not last long.


Gorgons have serpentine bodies with torsos of the most dangerous rela of the area. They can not change their form as much as other Myths, scales and tails existing with whatever form they take. This is easier in some forms, such as the second most taken form of tsohtsi who have migrated east. Which is interesting as though gorgons can more closely resemble birds, their wings are scales and too heavy to fly.

Many have thought their mimicry was to seduce those creatures to feed on them, as the tails say. Modern science, and conversations with gorgons, have found that it is for self defense. Though their venom is dangerous, they are slow and can easily be prey to other larger oql creatures. If they look dangerous, at least at a glance, others will be more avoidant of them.


Gorgon’s mouths are always at the top of their heads, above their eyes. This has had scholars believe that their ancestors, missing between ancient miftyanya and modern gorgon, were ambush predators. They would wait under the swamp mud, springing up as a tasty morsel would wander too close. Gorgons use their many mouths as mimicry, looking like thick hair of a humi or the crest of a tsohtsi.

Their mouths’ esophagi join into one larger esophagus behind their eyes. This is also where their vocal cords are located. Their speaking slightly vibrates their eyes, making it harder to see. This does, however, also cast a hypnotic effect for anything looking into their eyes. Their eyes are shades of violet, slit pupils, their irises glinting with shreds of what’s dissected to find as metal.



Gorgon’s use mimicry to fend off other predators. They would rather not waste their venom protecting themselves when they need it to feed. And the creatures that do feed on them are larger, needing more venom.

In ancient times, gorgons were depicted as beautiful witches of the woods. While this could be an exaggeration, as even children can tell a humi apart from a gorgon, some believe gorgons used to be more accurate with their mimicry. Scholars are unsure as to what benefit losing such mimicry has provided them.

In addition to their physical mimicry, they also mimic the scents of their creatures. Gorgons can replicate the hormones of a humi or tsohtsi, disguising themselves further in the dense humidity of their swamps. Nel have come to learn that rela creatures typically won’t bother them, as rela have plenty of food with farms. So this allows the gorgon to use that learned unawareness to ambush their prey, or at least get quite close.


A gorgon’s venom is what is most well known about them. Their venom acts fast, paralyzing a fully grown humi within minutes of a single bite. Because of the gray discoloration and rapid paralyzation, myths say that the venom turns beings to stone. While there are creatures that do this, gorgons are not among them. Their venom acts within minutes (so quickly it looks like the creatures are turning to stone). Mostly for feeding, but can be used in defense.
(15, Eeyrz, 7963 \ 03:06) Patient 071 arrived 7 minutes since the bite. Patient’s arm has been tied, preventing the spread of petrification as performed by the person they were with. If the operation is successful, scheduled in 3 minutes, it may be only the arm they lose.
— anonymous nurse’s notes at a hospital in Brivem

Kept in special glands in the “brain” of their “snake hair”, gorgon venom is quite deadly. If it reaches the heart or lungs, the victim's fate is sealed. They will use their venom in self-defense if provoked, but they would rather save it for prey. Once a mouth bites and releases it, it takes decades to make more venom.

Gorgons are born with their venom through a mysterious process that occurs within the eggs. It’s still unknown what the venom is made of and it may be that each gorgon has a unique strand.

Tool Use

Gorgons do not create their own tools. Instead, they steal, barrow, or, for the more civilized, trade for tools from nearby villages. If they come across a weapon, they will take it to use in territorial disputes. If they find a bucket, and see a rela dredging a well, they will try dredging when the rela is asleep and attentive. They can learn that a tool can be used for a specific purpose, but it takes years of training to show them how to be creative and make a tool for their self-invented purpose.

Tools that a gorgon can not figure out a use for are re-purposed to beautify their brood dens. A shiny coin, a silky Murn, a rusty plow, all make great garnishings to gussy up an otherwise drab cave. Gorgons are not known for their artistic talents, and most expeditions into a gorgon cave can leave the audience befuddled.

Dietary Needs & Feeding Patterns


Gorgons are strictly carnivores, eating anything they can catch. They will only catch live prey and will completely ignore anything not paralyzed by their venom. This leads to brood dens weighing heavy with half-eaten corpses and bones.

To hunt, gorgons leave their dens one at a time. There will always be at least one gorgon in any given den. They roam their territory, gliding smoothly through the water, their eyes and mouths the only things above the murk. When they spot their prey, they call to it in smooth hums echoed through each mouth in self-made harmony. Since most creatures look to see what the danger is, they lose themselves when locking eyes with a gorgon. The gorgon entrances just the one target at a time, able to take their time waking up to the victim. If the victim is among a herd, the others will abandon them, not wanting to risk an encounter with gorgon venom.

When the gorgon is upon their victim, they don’t bite right away, not usually. Gorgons play with their prey, flaunting how they had outsmarted them, forcing the victim to tell them how gorgeous they are. If the creature grows wise or by some other means starts to break the trance, the gorgon, already smothering them, will bite with as many mouths as possible. It’s only the first mouth that makes contact that injects venom, but they do not want to miss.
Tell me I’m pretty. Now tell me what about me makes me beautiful. It’s my feathers, my pretty feathers that are pretty. You need to know I'm pretty, pretty like a bird.
— Carrissa, the most popular gorgon at Oqnulyiv zoo
After paralyzation, they drag the corpse back to their dens for them and their sisters to devour.

What Eats Them

Gorgons are very prone to parasites, especially jairoth. If a gorgon, vigilant for their next meal, sees a jairoth, they think it easy prey. Unfortunately for them, when they try to lock eyes with the flames, the flames hypnotize them instead. They will then ignore the jairoth, and continue on their way. But the jairoth will follow, slowly eating their soul. This can lead to the entire brood being infected by jairoth if the unlucky gorgon brings it back home. Other common parasites are leeches.
There? That's my big scale, my good scale. Big is power, it shows I’m strong. See sisters have them too, we are big. Make great armor in fight, not even hurt if it hit. What is leech?
— An interview with a gorgon on a routine brood visit
Gorgons are also prey to larger, more intelligent creatures. While their venom is deadly, they are slow in their movements. Any creature that knows to avoid the mouths, to kill it before it notices them or can strike, will be rewarded a nice gorgon meal. Particularly, a subspecies of boshat make regular meals of arrant gorgons. They use their exoskeletons to take the brunt of the fangs, maneuvering their soft parts from being bitten.

Among rela creatures, gorgon meat can be a delicacy. The most prized is the stomach muscles which are surrounded by fat, or a gorgon-steak. Some obscure or expensive restaurants serve gorgon-steaks, seared in garlic butter and topped with a garnish of ovvar leaves. And if you know to ask, caramelized gorgon strips are a dangerous, but supposedly delicious dessert.

Mating & Social Structure


All gorgons are hermaphrodites. During their mating season, Kerzrz (see Climate & Weather) as is typical of so many creatures, gorgons will leave their territories in search of mates. They travel down-river, whichever river their swamp is a part of and gather en masse where swamps end and lakes begin.

This ritual happens once per year, the one time gorgons don’t try to kill members from other broods. Instead, they mingle, trying to seduce the plumpest, shiniest scaled, and most seductive gorgon. After days of interaction and enchantment, couples will emerge with the more beautiful gorgons pairing off first.

The pairs will leave the mass of bodies, finding a secluded area to compete. The two will stare into eachother's eyes for hours, trying to enthrall the other. The victor is the one that gets to be the male for that mating and will bite their partner’s hip with a specialized mouth. The fertilized eggs will be carried in their body to be laid in their dens. Gorgons would prefer to be the male as it’s the female’s brood’s duty to care for the eggs, spending time that could be used hunting.


Young gorgons are treated as adults as soon as they hatch and banished from the den as soon as they're hatched. Hatching involves the young scraping at their soft shells with their fully-grown (and comically oversized) teeth. They are guided, surprisingly lovingly, from the den and into the wild by their mother.

They must fend for themselves during their formative years. Either, they must find a brood in need of members or band together with other young stranglers and form their own brood. The latter often leads to territorial disputes between three broods, as the stranglers are in both mother’s territories (somewhere midway between). These broods have a chance to end swiftly as when they defend from one end, the other takes their den. And they will assuredly lose if they try to defend from both fronts, due to lack of members.


Gorgon broods have no hierarchy between their three to five members. They live together to defend their territory from other gorgons and to have better chances of getting food. if one gorgon has a bad day of hunting, their sister may bring back enough to share.

Broods rarely interact, keeping to their own territory. When they happen by eachother, or if one finds a foreigner in their territory, a fight will ensue. Not right away, the two will first shout at eachother, trying to scare the other off. When they part, they will rally their sisters to invade the offenders territory. Both sides think the other is the invader.

They will then both, typically around the same time, march with their brood to instigate a battle. If one of the broods is inattentive or slow, the invader will enter their den. If it gets that far, the fight will be deadly. Most of the time, the two broods meet at some random point between territories. They will shout, scream at one another, flaring scales, waving mouths, and otherwise trying to hypnotise the others. The gorgons will not approach, each keenly aware of the danger that poses. Though they may end their opponents and take their territory, self-preservation is more important.

When the battle is won, the victors take territory from the losers. This often seems arbitrary as territories are never defined in totality. There are marks on trees and missing creatures, but no scents, patrols, or borders (neither physical nor astral). What the fight does leave, however, is the knowledge that there is a nearby brood to worry about.
Primary Reln: Kag
Intelligence: Oql

Interaction With Rela

Nearby Towns

As an oql species, there is a bit of interaction with civilization. The most successful broods are found near towns, so the area around towns is hotly contested. They call themselves town-gons, which has been adopted as their actual name to the giggles of naming officials. However, town-gons rarely go near the town, the excess food, farm animals, bountiful food, and protection are well worth the potential threat of rela. Protection, as rela often clear away any large threats to them, that would also be a threat to the brood.

Intermediaries of these villages have robust communication with their neighboring town-gons, their danger too big to ignore. If the town-gons grow too bold, they may have to be exterminated. These towns have tales of missing children. They provide, however, a defense against other threats, their venom being so terrifying.

Town-gons relations with intermediaries have grown lax in recent years. They have learned that rela should not be considered food and they will provide good things when appeased. This leads to some town-gons growing bold and all but moving into the town to the apprehension of many.

In Civlizaiton

Town-gons who have adapted to life in civilization are under constant surveillance. They try to be helpful, offering whatever they can for what a butcher would otherwise throw out. They have found work as maids and pets. The rela who take gorgons as pets often do so with two criteria: they are rich and they enjoy the hypnotic effect of gorgons. They are considered dangerous pets and a part of the exotic trade. For rela to own a gorgon must have a license and insurance.

Broods who live in a town live in slums or sewers. Their territories are considerably smaller than they would be in the wild and they make themselves scarce from view. It’s also the parts of town that don’t have enough money for as much intermediary protection that have gorgons. Rela who live with gorgons find them annoying but not dangerous enough to call for an exterminator. Town-gons are far less aggressive, even farel ones, when compared to their wild cousins.

If a gorgon is taken in by a household as a maid, pet, or worker, the house must take in the entire brood. Gorgons refuse to leave their sisters, even when offered bounty and lavishness. Nobles, CEOs, and otherwise wealthy homes may have a brood of gorgons dusting their priceless vases and providing entertainment for guests. Pets also are often de-fanged, despite the protest of animal rights groups and the gorgons themselves. Though the gorgons do protest, they find their easy lives worth the price of admittance.

There are a number of reputable dealers who breed gorgons for sale. This is frowned upon by many, though no legal action is ever taken.


Gorgons are also kept in zoos, quite content that they don’t have to fear being killed by the apex predators, free meals, and can freely attract zoo-goers without any repercussions (other than not being able to feed on them. They are okay with this as they still get plenty of food). Zoo-goers also find the gorgon’s gaze charming, some saying it’s like a high. It’s all a luxury as far as the gorgons are concerned and they bring in plenty of money for the zoo, making the zoo-owners happy as well.

For zoo-grown gorgons, their parents ignore them for the first years of their lives, forcing the caretakers to give them extra attention. Once fully grown, they are usually adopted by their parent’s brood. The parents know they’re their children, but they don’t seem to care.

Gorgons rarely want to leave the zoo. But, when one does, they are swiftly detained by the zoo-keepers and convinced they want to stay. There is no shadiness to this as gorgons can be quite gullible. The zoo-keepers do not alter their mind or soul, they just talk with the gorgon and persuade them that they want to stay.

Frequent zoo-goers who visit the gorgon enclosure can create a friendship with gorgons. And, if that individual is wealthy enough, even purchase a gorgon (if a deal is struck between the zoo and the individual). Since gorgons aren’t uncommon, just dangerous, zoo-owners will negotiate purchases. However, they will never advertise any of their kept creatures as available for purchase.

Genetic Ancestor(s)

Cover image: Gorgon by Projectedric

This species has multiple parents, only the first is displayed below.
All parents:


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