Bellow Reamers (called “Luutba,” meaning “pack aberrant” in Miro; or “Thris-grda” meaning “cavern terrors” in Killarnese ) are a species of carnivorous invertebrates native to the Shadowlands. They have been mentioned since antiquity, when the first peoples descended to the Shadowlands from their Alta Terran homes. Originally seen as demons, as were most of the Shadowland's inhabitants, they were largely responsible for the failure of early peoples to settle there. Their natural range includes much of the known Shadowlands, with the influx of civilization having only pushed them out of the most populated areas.
Bellow reamers are flexible, powerfully built creatures, with chitinous carapaces, and sleek, compact forms. Their body is composed of a central midsection, generally somewhat longer than it is wide, and segmented by shallow divots in it's armor into independently mobile sections, that give it centipede-like quality. The body is usually thicker at the front, while narrowing off at the rear.
From it's sides emerge six muscular jointed legs, each ending in three opposable digits, and tipped with a long straight spike. Emerging from it's front is what appears as a long prehensile neck, with two pleated creases that allow it to be folded back flush against it's back. Where one would expect a head though, is instead a large wicked talon, of a shape which originally inspired the pick ax, which with a snap forward of it's neck can skewer anything next to it with considerable force and speed. The spikes of the Bellow Reamers are among the hardest known substances, surpassing in strength even modern creations such as Celeric Carbide, and are thus highly valuable as tools. Their strikes have been known to ream directly through metal, the tales of which in part inspiring their name in the Alltongue.
Lacking proper heads, the mouth of the bellow reamer is situated on it's underside. It appears as a long, toothy slit, that runs lengthwise along it's bottom. To eat, it either crawls atop it's kill and lowers its mouth to it, or pries off pieces of flesh with it's limbs and shoves them inside. Bellow Reamers lack any sort of eyes, and are thus effectively blind, operating solely from sound and touch.
Adult bellow reamers grow to be about 1 meter high at the shoulder, with it's “neck” reaching almost 2 when raised fully. Body length varies between 2 and 2 ½ meters, and weight averages around 130 kilos. There is no noticeable sexual dimorphism among bellow reamers.
Bellow reamers normally travel in packs of about 6 to 12 members, though young reamers often live alone for the first few years of life. They nest in cave structures that they chisel out of the stone with their talons. They seem to have an instinctual sense for digging in layouts that help prevent cave ins, which are today mimicked by miners for the same reason. The packs seem to have no central authority, instead making decisions as a group, a process that scholars have yet to fully understand.
Eggs are laid in clutches hidden in rock crevices, often mined by the parents, and left to fend for themselves upon hatching.
Bellow reamers show a high level of intelligence among non-sapient species. They are documented to be able to count to at least ten, preform basic problem solving, and show excellent teamwork when working towards a mutual goal. They show great resistance to domestication though, and attempts to train them for civilian or military use have been unfruitful.
The only verified occurrence of human controlled reamers took place in -100 CE, when an unidentified madman calling himself “The Cavern King” was able to command groups of bellow reamers to attack various settlements across the Artic Corridor. As he was slain in a conflict with the Allied Freeholds of the Corridor, his methods of control have been lost.
Relationship with CivilizationEdit
Bellow reamers have long been known for their deep, resonating bellow that they use to communicate with each other. The sound has been measured to be just below our normal range of hearing, but there are those who claim to be able to make it out, though it's effects of deep discomfort are present even among those who cannot. The sound carries for some distance through solid rock, and so vibrations in the earth can sometimes be used to detect their presence.
Most Shadowland freeholds pay tribute to one of the several Shadowland city-states for protection from bellow reamers, and other Shadowland denizens. More secluded freeholds often band togather for the same reason. Trained teams of reamer-slayers are brought in to areas with reported reamer activity to deal with infestations. They carry shields made of fitted reamer talons to protect themselves, but only the most well outfitted wear armor, as producing reamer resistant armor is an extraordinarily costly task. Larger or Richer city-states also make extensive use of moon curtains, which bellow reamers will refuse to cross. The exact reason for this is uncertain.
Cited Articles: Artic Corridor