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The vast forests of the ringed planet Sor’ are by no means safe during the day but with the right knowledge and through sticking to ones own territory a sentient can usually avoid the dangerous predators that stalk it. By night however…all chaos breaks loose as the skies become a total blood bath, the ferociously violent hunts of aerial predators being so frenzied that one would assume such hunting activity would create a totally unbalanced and unsustainable food chain what with how many creatures (both grazers and hunters themselves) are consumed, but days and nights on Sor’ are shorter than on earth meaning there is less time for the carnage to ensue.
Underneath the forest canopy where cover and hiding places are more plentiful the terrifying assortment of life forms that roam the eerie night have evolved to be more stealthy and devious in their nature. Many have developed hyper advanced senses and are so stealthy one might never see the predators sneak up on them before their flesh is literally being torn into – even if the creature in question is vast, such as the huge Hairy Truppon in this picture. For some scale of its size the spiral shaped vegetation seen both at the edges of the picture and close by it are around the size of a tall human.
This particular individual has encountered a group of the much smaller Drakar’ or Dragons whom were taking shelter in a cluster of the mysterious centuries or more old cylinder shaped ruins that litter certain parts of the forest along with other relics and mysteries. The function of these huge structures as well as the identity of whichever race that built them remains a mystery.
The Hairy Truppon despite its insect like appearance is actually of the same reptile like animal class (though this family possesses mammal-like characteristics such as being warm blooded and suckling their young in a manner) as Triphons and Dragons. However it has traded in its toes and fingers as well as wings for six limbs that each end in - and are mostly made up of a huge razor sharp barb that it walks on. These vicious replacements for feet not only elevate it off the ground to appear even bigger than it already is so as to intimidate would be predators but because of how small the tip of each barb is – when it moves the hunter is literally as silent as an insect scurrying along the ground and cannot be heard – even when sprinting up right behind you… on the rare occasion that it needs to sprint at all…
If one looks closely at its head they’ll realise it is simply the devolved upper jaw of what was once a reptilian face that now lacks a mouth completely (skin has grown over what would have been the roof of its mouth). Skin has also grown over where its eyes, ears and nose would be. To breathe gill shaped openings are at the back of its head. Replacing its eyes, nose and ears is a cluster of excruciatingly sensitive sensory organs for smell and hearing, concealed within tubes that are withdrawn into pores in its head when not in use as the price for their sensitivity comes at being incredibly delicate. These hyper advanced sensory organs can sniff out the exact location of prey hiding in the trees up to a mile away and its said amongst locals that Hairy Truppons don’t look for their meals – they merely walk about for a while already knowing where everything is hiding but simply trying to decide who to eat tonight.
Hairy Truppons (the largest species of the Truppon family) get their name from the excruciatingly long thin white hairs covering their bodies that both silence their approach further by gently brushing vegetation aside and are also covered in sensitive nerve bundles so the creature is aware of its surroundings despite lacking vision. To further the animals knowledge of its surroundings it also travels along sensory trails that its advanced smell sensors can detect and through these it is able to know exactly which part of the forest its in – its phenomenal smell also comes in handy when avoiding its own predators and rather than possessing many defences Truppons simply sprint away whenever they catch the faintest the faintest whiff of a distant predator.
Because it lacks sophisticated hunting techniques and is a solitary animal its intelligence is not incredibly high but it is still roughly as smart as an intelligent canine though possessing a different mentality due to not living in a pack. It can communicate with other members of its kind to a rudimentary level through releasing hormones but this communication is almost entirely limited to attracting mates, warding off would be rivals and releasing a warning when predators are close by.
A Hairy Truppon is relatively weak for its size, and though they will sometimes take prey out in the open they are mainly adapted to in fact cornering maternal prey that has taken shelter from the night in their dens. An individual sniffs (and occasionally hears) out its prey and after honing in on its location it then creeps up towards the creatures den with an eerie knowledge of the preys line of sight so that it can stay out of it until the last moment when it must position itself in front of the hidden dens entrance. It then rears up on its hind legs and digs its front four barbs through the side of the shelter to lock its body against the den before pressing its entire chest against the entrance to seal off escape.
Grotesquely its chest then bursts open to reveal its stomach which has evolved rubbery lips that can part like a mouth, and through millennia of mutation excess intestines now uncoiled and slightly hardened, ending in claw like teeth whip out with lightening speed to grab prey and drag it towards the ominous mouth stomach. Although prey might loose much of their skin to the serrated teeth its usually still alive and screaming as its thrust into the mouth shaped stomach to be digested alive.
The Hairy Truppon is a truly terrifying predator feared by all for its uncanny ability to sneak right up to the entrance of ones shelter without notice despite its vast size, and the unnerving belief that even when you don’t know where it is out in the forest- it always knows where you are regardless of whether it chooses to eat you that night or not.
The Shades of Red saga is in the second stage of editing, after three years of being written, and a website with more information will be up soon. All elements of the Shades of Red world, including the Triphons are copyright by Alex Hatton. For additional information as well as to see the rest of the sketches for the saga contact firstname.lastname@example.org