Conservation Status: (Caligo) Near Threatened | (Dolos) Extinct | (Nevermore) Extinct
The Dranail, are an opportunistic omnivorous “immortal” species that reside in the world of Caligo. The majority of their diet consists of plants, but they have been known to indulge in fish, and even meat on occasion.
These are relatively large creatures, common nymphs (~100 years to ~500 years) reaching the height of 8-10 feet at the top of their shells, while ancients (~500 years to ~5000 years) never stop slowly growing and rare sightings have been recorded towering at over 3 times the size of nymphs.
Word exists of archaic Dranails, though no such being has been proven at the time of this recording. Archaics (~5000+ years) are worshipped like gods in Dranail society and are said to bear power that could rival all but Gaea. According to verbal accounts there are only 3 Archaics alive, a trinity that live in eternal slumber far beneath the earth under the Dranail’s holy caves in their motherland.
Adorned with colorful, bio-luminescent round nubbins along their bodies, a Dranails Aposematism is very striking. The nubbins are venom sacks that they can squirt when threatened, though the effect is more accurate and deadly in water than on land. Nymphs and hatchlings (~50 years to ~100 years) can recoil their soft flexible bodies almost all the way into their shell for additional defense, and the armored tail curls over their exposed extremities, also equipped with the nubbins. The venom is very sticky and once stuck to an assailant, it first causes intense burning which leads to lesions on the skin, allowing the neurotoxins in the venom to penetrate and paralyze. Paralysis is the first stage of infection, followed by death if not treated within a timely manner.
They are semi-aquatic creatures, more than 60% of their time is spent in or around water, and their skin must stay moist when they are out of water. Nymphs are often nomadic, commonly making their homes in marsh or swampland, while a favorite territory of the upper-class ancients is underwater cave systems. Most Dranails that are alive are nomadic nymphs that live in small family groups, while the rarer ancients form complex societies within cave systems. A Dranail can leave the water but must carry a large amount of water within its internal “pouch” or risk drying out and dying.
All Dranails bear this unique “pouch” that for nymphs has a max capacity of approximately 50 gallons in the muscular tissue within their massive shells, it’s main intended purpose as they age is for rearing young in a similar manner to how a marsupial would, due to their offspring being born shell-less and smaller than the size of a common garden slug and similar in appearance. The pouch is nearly impossible to see externally but loosely resembles the anatomy of a mystery snail.
Only ancient Dranails can reproduce and when they do, they often mate for life with multiple partners, typically no more than 3, but this is not required, it often just turns out trinity bonds are strongest and less prone to breakage. Each Dranail bears the reproductive organs of both genders, and gender roles in society are equal for all even though some may choose to only use one of their sexual organs or not reproduce if they would prefer, though this is not common it is also not ostracized. Gender does not play a large role in Dranail society.
An Intelligent Species:
Dranails are highly intelligent creatures with a strong connection to Gaea, and can use the tendrils on their eyebrows to help guide their telekinetic powers (moving objects with their minds.) Some theorize this ability is not of this world, and the Dranail species is believed to harbor extraterrestrial lineage. The longer their tendrils, the stronger this power becomes and since they never stop growing, ancients are known to have very long tendrils and on rare occasions even develop multiple pairs of tendrils on their necks forming a tendril “mane.” This unique creature is self aware and fully capable of solving complex math, but due to their ability to manipulate living beings and even replace memories, they are feared among sprites and have been banned from entering any royal court. The only species of sprite that interacts or attempts to communicate with the Dranail species is the Ambrites, the book keepers of all life on Caligo, Dolos, and Nevermore.
The Dranail are powerful beings capable of bending a living creature’s mind. They are not known for doing this often, but all it takes is for the power to be used in such a way for their entire species to be targeted and labeled as dangerous.
They are slow runners due to their shell, but highly defensive and capable of surviving the most environments, except deserts and areas with limited water. Water is their lifeblood and where they feel most home in.
The Dranail is a unique creature in the world of Caligo bearing mystery and an ancient history. This is a original creation by my the Mother of Caligo, Sierra ‘Ashevaili’ Rottman and with a little touch of my own imagination. However, I pay complete credit to Sierra for this amazing addition to the mythos and a big thanks to the artist Cha Wok that helped create a finalized version of this creature.
H.S. Crow has literary works appearing in all mediums of entertainment with a focus on fantasy, science fiction, and horror. He is an author traversing the breathtaking Caligo, a vast universe containing our dreams and nightmares. Notable books include Lunora and the Monster King, Stars of Glass, & the upcoming Drums of Fog.