The Devils’ Hound

Deep within the jagged, icy, wind battered peaks of the The Devils’ Teeth mountains on the continent of Zastral, explorers venturing out from the Imperial Colonies there in search of natural resources to mine came across a deep valley that is almost entirely taken up by the skeleton of an enormous creature, hundreds of feet long, whose teeth alone are the height of several Humans.   No one knows exactly what this skeleton is, how the creature it once was perished, or how it came to be in such a remote area of the most remote mountain range in Kelbonnar. All those that look upon it are certain of, is that they are glad to have encountered it long after it died, rather than when it was alive.  

The Devils’ Hound Skeleton

  What exactly the creature was whose remains are now referred to as the Devils’ Hound is unknown, as no creature, not even Dragons are thought to be direct ancestors or relations of it.   The skeleton itself has been measured as being over 200 ft long, and it is so wide that its rib cage spans the valley, with its largest ribs even having been turned into a makeshift bridge, allowing the road from Port Belliotrix in the north to Borial's Haven in the south to span the valley between its subterranean tunnels without making those that travel along it descend to the valley floor and then reascend on the other side.   Researchers from the Imperial College of Arcanists have hypothesised that the creature, which is currently referred to in academic circles as the Zastral Specimen was carnivorous, judging by its long, wickedly pointed talons, its strong jaw and multiple array of sharp teeth, though they have yet to come up with a widely agreed hypothesis as to how the creature died.   Scarring discovered along the skull and neck bones and fractures found on some of the ribs and vertebrae have led some to speculate that the creature was killed in a fight with a similar entity, possibly from the same species, whilst other scholars have pointed to the scars left by muscle wastage that are apparent across the skeleton and have used this as the basis of their argument that the creature died of either disease or starvation.   What ever the exact answer is remains unknown, but a large part of the speculation surrounding the creature is driven by the fact that it has proven almost impossible to move the skeleton. Its bones are so dense and heavy as to make them impossible to transport from their remote location, and they are also so hard that it they are almost impossible to break, even when powerful magical means or Blackpowder explosives are used. The only part of the skeleton that has made it out of the valley is the talon from the creature’s smallest toe, which despite its label was still over 16ft long and weighted nearly a ton. It was transported with great difficultly up from the valley floor, through the subterranean roadway to Port Belliotrix and thence by cargo ship to Quess Province, where the talon now graces the entrance hall of the Arcanological Palace, the main building of the Imperial College of Arcanists.


As Zastral and the Imperial Colonies based there are unlikely tourist destinations in the first place, compared to other places in the Empire of Turelion, the Devils’ Hound gets very few visitors. Most of those who see it pass through the valley the skeleton lies in on their way to Borial's Haven the only Imperial Colony based in land rather than on the coast of Zastral.   Having said that, a number of scholars do make the trip specifically to see the skeleton, with a handful travelling there every year to study the creature, take measurements of it and draw it.
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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