Bestiary · Biology

Tatsu

Overview


Tatsu also called sea dragons are higher drakes that live mostly in large bodies of water, mainly the seas and oceans. They are closely related to the terrestrial dragon species. They are known for their magical affinity to the cold, which developed from their mutual relationship with ice producing microbes.

They are also the species that were bred by the deity pantheon of the Yougai dynasty, and later granted enlightened by them to become a sapient race known as the Drakains. During the final years of the Ghulat Wars, as many members of the dragon race begun to go mad and dangerous, they and their wild kin like the tastu were hunted to near extinction.


Quick Species Profile

(Drakon orients)

Life Expectancy
Typical: 500 years
Oldest:  1000 years

Height Range: 3 m (10 ft) – 5.5 m (18 ft)

Length Range: 16 m (52 ft) –  20.5 m (67 ft)

Weight Range: 1,800 kg (4000 lbs) – 2,300 kg (5100 lbs)

Creature Type: Drake Magifauna (aquatic)

Biology



Anatomy

The tatsu is a large, horned reptile with a long, scaly body that ends in a thin tail. Compared to their terrestrial cousins, tatsu are sleeker and more serpentine in form, though their four short legs are still fairly muscular. They have icy blue-green skin, and they completely lack wings, but have fins adorning most of their body and their tail.

Their head is large compared to the rest of the body, adorned with two horns and their bearded face is dominated by a wide, flat nose with cat-like eyes, cattle ears, and a pair of whiskers.

Physiological Traits


Cold Resistance: The scales of a tatsu can resist the cold temperatures of their deep sea habitat and the icy cold of the water frozen by their breath weapon. Tatsu can swim even in frigid below freezing polar seas.

Pressure Resistance: 

Tatsu are adapted to cope with drastic pressure changes when diving. The flexible ribcage allows lung collapse, reducing nitrogen intake, and metabolism can decrease to conserve oxygen. Tatsu can

 dive at great depths, as much as 2,250 metres (7,382 ft) to feed on deep sea life for roughly three hours. At those depths they can withstand 5850 pounds per square inch, roughly 8 times the pressure of the surface.



Icy Gut Flora: The GI tract of tatsu contain strains of bacteria that can form ice crystals, sometimes at temperatures above the freezing point. They form a symbolic relationship, the microbes have a safe place to live and food in the gut, and the dragon gets help with digestion and use their body’s mana to dramatically induce their ice making properties.

Amphibious Skin: Tatsu are able to respire through the top of their skin and satisfy about 25% of their oxygen requirements in this manner, which allows for prolonged dives.

Sorcery

Passive Traits

 

Healing Coma:  When mortally wounded, Tatsu will often go into a deep slumber until they recover the damage. Depending on the damage, a dragon might store away in a safe place for weeks, months, or years to slumber or hibernate.

Active Abilities

Breath Weapon: Tatsu can blow a slushy blue stream that drastically lowers the temperature of anything it strikes, typically forming ice around it. This power develops form the creature using their mana to induce the ice creating bacteria to create a cold slushy shower of their spores out of their jaws.

General Diet

Tastu are generalist carnivores, eating pretty much any form of sealife they can manage. Hatchlings are restricted to feeding on smaller animals, such as small fish, frogs, insects and small aquatic invertebrates. In addition to these prey, juveniles also take a variety of freshwater and saltwater fish, various amphibianscrustaceansmolluscs, such as large gastropods and cephalopods, birds, small to medium-sized mammals, and other reptiles, such as snakes and lizardsLarge sea dragons, even the oldest males, do not ignore small species, especially those without developed escape abilities, when the opportunity arises. 

Reproduction

Saltwater crocodiles mate in the wet season, laying eggs in a nest consisting of a mound of mud and vegetation. The female guards the nest and hatchlings from predators.

Lifespan and Growth

Tatsu are the largest extant reptilian predators in the world. However, they start life fairly small. Newly hatched sea dragons measure about 28 cm (11 in) long and weigh an average of 71 g (2.5 oz). Dominant males also tend to outweigh others, as they maintain prime territories with access to better, more abundant prey.

Ecology

Habitat

Tatsu can live in marine environments, mainly in the open sea of polar regions but also in tropical coral reefs. Despite their marine adaptations, most tatsu prefer shallow waters near land, around islands, and especially somewhat sheltered waters, as well as near estuaries. Some sea dragons inhabit mangrove swamps and similar brackishwater habitats, and may swim up rivers as far as 160 km (99 mi) from the sea.

Behavior

As its alternate name “sea-going dragon” implies, this species travels between areas separated by sea, or simply relies on the relative ease of travelling through water in order to circumvent long distances on the same land mass. In a similar fashion to migratory birds using thermal columns, tatsu use ocean currents to travel long distances.


Generally very lethargic, a trait which helps it survive months at a time without food, tatsu will usually loiter in the water or bask in the sun during much of the day, preferring to hunt at night. Despite their relative lethargy, tatsu are agile predators and display surprising agility and speed when necessary, usually during strikes at prey. They are capable of explosive bursts of speed when launching an attack from the water. They can also swim at 15 to 18 mph (24 to 29 km/h) in short bursts, around three times as fast as the fastest human swimmers, but when cruising, they usually go at 2 to 3 mph (3.2 to 4.8 km/h).  At the water’s edge, however, where they can combine propulsion from both feet and tail, their speed can be explosive.


Adult males who are not breeding live solitary lives, whereas females and juvenile males live together in groups. The main driving force for the sexual segregation of tatsu is scramble competition for seafood. Females and their young remain in groups, while mature males leave their “natal unit” somewhere between 4 and 21 years of age. Mature males sometimes form loose bachelor groups with other males of similar age and size. As males grow older, they typically live solitary lives.


Competitors


Tatsu compete with other ocean apex predators for food such as large sharks, orcas, sperm whales, and plesiosaurs. When juvenile Tatsu hunt near land, they can face competition from large cats like tigers.


Prey


As a seagoing species, the tastu also preys on a variety of saltwater bony fish and other marine animals, including sea snakessea turtlessea birdsdugongsrays (including large sawfish), and small sharks.


When diving between 300 to 800 metres (980 to 2,620 ft), and sometimes 1 to 2 kilometres (3,300 to 6,600 ft) in search of food,  they feed on several species, notably the giant squid, octopuses, and fish like demersal rays

When hunting, these sea dragons use their ice breath to freeze their prey in the flash frozen water surrounding them or stabbing them with forming ice crystals.

Predators


While adults have few predators, baby tatsu may fall prey to monitor lizards, predatory fishwild boarsrats, various aquatic and raptorial birds like black-necked storks and white-bellied sea eaglespythons, large crocodiles, and many other predators.      Pigs and cattle also occasionally inadvertently trample eggs and nests on occasion and degrade habitat quality where found in numbers. Juveniles may also fall prey to tigers and leopards  in certain parts of their range, although encounters between these predators are rare. 

History

Antiquity


Tastu were very well favored by the mortal people’s of the Yougai territory, seen as symbols of strength, prosperity, and good luck for those worthy. Their deities also took interest in these creatures, so much that a few were taken to and raised in the palace of the Jade Emperor. Many of these dragons became the attendants of various deities of the Celestial beaucracy. Certain deities used their theurgy to enlighten their tatsu which made them completely new creatures called Longryu. The Longryu were revered and honored as demigods due to their ability to bring rain when content and prevent them from causing storms and floods when angry. 

Some deities like Ryujn, Tiamat, or the Dragon Kings started out as Longryu that further ascended into true divinity. 

Ghulat Wars

During the wars, wild tatsu were either a boon or bane, depending on who entered their territory during overseas battles. The Yougai territory in particular used tatsu as mounts in part of their naval forces against the demonic forces of the Shaytan. However, the Shaytan were able  manipulate members of the Dragon race, causing them to lose their minds and lash out among their own forces. This caused the populous to lash out at dragons of all kinds, hunting dragons including tatsu worldwide to near extinction.

Personist Era

Tatsu numbers were extremely low in the wild due to their negative perception in most cultures. The attempts to hunt them decreased once the major civilizations fell but the resulting climatic changes from the people’s activity made it hard to thrive on the planet and keep their numbers low. 

Centuries after, with new civilizations rising, decisions about tatsu were mixed. Most avoided them due to their inability to fight or hunt them, but descendants of Yougai cultures developed programs and legislation to protect their populations. Overtime he tatsu are making a slow but steady recovery in numbers.

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