April 12, 2011

Creatures of Syrene: Fever Toad

The fever toad is a carnivorous toad native to the swamps of the Narvari River basin.  It is  the size of a calf, with  a huge ugly head that is more than a third its body length, and a mouth that can stretch wide enough to swallow a human being whole. The Lakhonese peoples tell many tales of finding human remains inside a slain fever toad, and detest it as a killer of children.  The toad is extremely slow and clumsy, so awkward it's easy to think it could never catch a man or any other creature, but it makes up for this with its poison. 

The creature is called the fever toad because its skin secretions cause a violent fever within minutes of contact, and it deliberately oozes this poison onto the ground and vegetation.  Passing creatures that touch a contaminated object fall sick, thus becoming easy prey.  Hunting the toad however is a tricky thing, as its skin is not only as tough as chain mail and very hard for arrows to penetrate, but any hit with a hand weapon is likely to spray the attacker with poison.  If one gets into a rice field, it can poison the entire crop with its secretions, so as soon as one is seen the Lakhonese call a hunt, using torches to drive it into an enclosure where it can be killed safely.

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