Trezkul

Physical Description

Slinking in the northern deciduous forests of Threa are the Trezkul - large, solitary kul with scales that range over the green and yellow ranges. Colored bands and stripes of more desaturated colors line their long bodies. The scales themselves are snake-like in composition; shaped like a rounded spade and interlocking throughout the entire body. They're thick enough to be considered ample armor against the claws of other kul, but are still flexible enough to allow winding through thickly-packed trunks of trees.

Along a Trezkul's spine lay ridged plates to protect the back from attacks from above and also guard against falling tree branches or debris from higher in the canopy. Similarly, along the beginning of the neck, tail and the entirety of the stomach are lined with defensive overlapping scutes. This above-and-below protection guards them against the thickets and dangers of their home territory.

Living in such variable lighting conditions, the Trezkul have evolved rounded pupils that can expand and contract to various lighting conditions. However, they are slightly better at piercing the dark than the daytime light due to the gloom of the forest. The eyes are usually variants of green or bright yellow. Above and behind the eyes lay two small horns in desaturated grey colors. Male horns are usually longer and a bit brighter to be more flashy towards females, who mostly have stunted and dim horns. These horns are useless otherwise unless a rare opportunity presents itself where a Trezkul's head is beneath an enemy in such a way the horns can be stabbed upwards. Otherwise, claws are a much more effective weapon on these beasts; they share the color of the horns but are sharp and thin, meant for slicing and rending prey bloodied and helpless.

The most effective weapon of all on the Trezkul is hidden away within their jaws. All Trezkul have evolved snake-like fangs to inject a painful and deadly venom into prey or, usually, enemies. This venom is stored away in glands within the jaw and is produced slowly throughout the day from toxins collected in their diet or put together by their bodies. The venom, once injected, causes an extremely painful burning sensation in the veins of the victim, driving them mad with pain as it locks up their conscious muscle control. A few short minutes after injection, enough venom collects in the heart to shut the organ down fully, killing the poor soul. Death, at this point, is a relief.

Thankfully, this venom is produced slow enough that it is not a weapon used very often. Furthermore, Trezkul are not immune to their own venom and so injecting it into their prey can be a death sentence for the kul itself.

Trezkul can grow to be around 2.8m tall, putting themselves near the upper end of the scale.

Trezkul are built long and somewhat lean. Their environment is very crowded and rewards agility over brute strength. Nature has lended these kul long necks and tails for counterbalance on a slightly elongated body with average sized, but very densely muscled, legs. They use these proportions to wind their way around trunks and thickets while chasing prey on the ground.

Due to their venomous bite, the Trezkul jaws have evolved to be very strong. Their crushing bite force rivals kul much larger than themselves and can easily break bones and crush vertebrae. The aforementioned long necks certainly assist the Trezkul in this biting matter, as well; the extra reach lets them snag prey that would otherwise be bounding away around a corner or over a log.

Wings on these creatures are not used as often as many other kul may, but they aren't useless; Trezkul wings are built for soaring over long distances, helping them traverse their large habitat with ease. These wings also allow them to stalk prey from above the treetops, but this is only useful if the animals are herding in fields or clearings.

Trezkul forepaws are each adorned with four digits and an opposable thumb. The hindpaws have only three digits and no thumb, however. The Trezkul's digits are generally set rather far apart to help with footing in the slippery leaflitter of the forest floor. Their pawpads are extremely thick and protective, as well. Despite having thumbs, the Trezkul really do not utilize them for much beyond holding struggling prey or foes.

Male and female Trezkul aren't very different compared to some other kul. For example, the horns vary in length and color as mentioned earlier. Females are ever so slightly smaller to make up for their bodies swelling when they are gravid. Otherwise, there is little to no difference.

Behavior

Trezkul are very territorial and solitary kul. While intelligent, they are among the most beastlike; they live more on instinct than rational thought. Encounters between individual Trezkul are very violent outside of mating season unless it is between parent and their own youth.

With this lack of cooperation, Trezkul live in the wilds without any sort of built shelter or tool. They live off of the land nomadically, roaming their territory for their next meal. When not hunting, Trezkul may laze on rocks that pierce the treetops to get the sun on their scale.

On the opposite end of the scale are the Trezkul that live in Treztown or under the domination of the Sokan Empire. The former are much more educated creatures, taking an interest to economics and horticulture. Their language is more developed and a lot more understandable to the equatorial species like the Aezkul and Blazkul. They tend to think for themselves a lot more and apply more rational thought than the instinct of their feral brethren. They pity the Trezkul under Sokan rule and have slight hope for their feral kin, hoping someday they may see civlization. However, there are few of these Trezkul.

Meanwhile, in the Sokan Empire, Trezkul are mostly mindless beasts. They are treated like mounts and pack animals and so have the world view of such; they only exist to serve their masters or face death as a useless beast. Somewhat grudgingly, they bow to the Trezlin of the Empire and serve as vicious mounts under their control. They view the Treztown Trezkul as stuffy overachievers who don't understand their place. The wild Trezkul are seen as more respectable beasts who make their own way in the wild, but do not enjoy the pleasures of plundering and battle.

Social

Since they are so territorial, Trezkul don't form many social bonds. While they can speak a gruff dialect of the dragon language, they generally prefer not to and communicate primarily with body language, growls, and hisses; after all, this is all you need to tell someone to get out of your territory.

The only real bond a Trezkul knows is when they are young and raised by their parents or are living with their siblings. Young Trezkul rely on their parents for the first four years of their life before being left out in the wilds alone. Parent and child remain on neutral ground after this for a few more years until the youngling hits sexual maturity, where they are then treated as any other tresspasser.

Siblings, on the other hand, see each other as partners or pack mates and work together towards a common goal. Again, sexual maturity usually will end up splitting these groups apart as each goes off to find their own territory and the opposite sex. Siblings that meet well into adulthood may recognise each other and have less aggressive responses, but this is rather unlikely.

Sokan Trezkul, on the other hand, have absolutely no ties. Trezkul are bred for bloodline in the Empire and the eggs are taken away from the parents at a very young age. All Trezkul hatchlings are mixed together to be raised as one group before being split up at around age two to be assigned to their future riders. From then on, they only know 'superior' and 'rider'.

Treztown Trezkul, on the other hand, enjoy the benefits of civilized socialization and have learned to make friends and allies. However, they still are rather solitary in their nature and prefer to seclude themselves more often than not.

Reproduction and Development

In the wild, Trezkul will seek the opposite sex purely out of reproductive lust rather than love or anything of the sort. Males stake out a territory in hopes of attracting of finding a female in it. The larger the territory, the more impressive the male. Once a Trezkul female is claimed by a male, they will stick together only until the hatchlings are grown enough to be on their own. Then the female will either leave the male's territory, be kicked out, or stick around depending on how the four years of growth went for the pair.

Of course, on the other end of the jungle, the domesticated kul in the Sokan Empire are forced to breed in pairs selected by the Trezlin. Trezkul in Treztown choose their mates more on emotion, but still lack a lot of the commitment other civilized kul species have.

Trezkul are hatched among five or six siblings, who all compete for care and food from their parents. Most of the time, one or two of these new hatchlings will die before ever unfurling their wings in the sky simply due to the availability of food and threat of disease and predators. They grow very quickly, easily reaching half of their full height within six years, which is when their wings have also developed enough for flight.

These kul also gain access to their venom when they are around six. At this age, the venom production can overwhelm their body's ability to store it, so they must eject or inject venom to avoid dripping it out of their fangs into their own mouths or risking a burst gland.

Once flight and venom are possible, the couple that raised the hatchlings will leave them on their own to fend for themselves. Siblings will generally stick together for a good amount of time until they reach full size around eighteen years old, which is also the age of sexual maturity. At this time, they split up and find their own mates or territory rather than intrude on their parent's territory.

Ecology

Trezkul live in a mixed environment when it comes to challenge. During the winter, food becomes scarce and predators are more desperate and vicious for control of territory for hunting grounds. With the cold temperatures come risk of hypothermia. In the summer, food is very abundant and lazing around is common.

Habitat

These kul live in the northern deciduous forests from the edge of the rainforest in the south to the taiga of the north. The seasons are very pronounced here, with winter causing a drop of leaves on the trees and very cold temperatures as well as bouts of snow. Summer is very green and can soar in temperatures in humidity. Many animals end up hibernating in the winter, causing shortages of prey, and water will freeze over, making fresh flowing water hard to find.

The trees are rather tightly packed together with the leaves often knitting together to block out the sun in many areas. Bushes and rocks are scattered across the ground, which is covered in leaflitter and detritis. Occasional clearings are covered in grass and wildflowers, attracting a variety of smaller game.

Diet

Trezkul are primarily carnivorous. They hunt medium to large game to survive, but may resort to smaller animals in the winter if desperate. Some may develop a taste for the fruits available during the summertime, but only a few are truly digestable or healthy for these kul.

Competition and Predators

Being the apex predator, the Trezkul have little to worry about when it comes to predators, but there is a lot of competition for the same prey with other large-end hunters. Chasing these predators out of one's territory - or, possibly, killing them - is one of the biggest duties of male Trezkul.

Origin

Trezkul originate from the ancient Sozkul that emerged from the oceans in the north. While many of these ancient kul stuck to the shores, some ventured further inland to become ancestors of the Trezkul, Rizkul, and Truzkul that are known today. This common ancestor developed weak venom during its time in the forest, which was heavily improved upon by the kul that remained there. Over time, their bodies and patterning morphed into the Trezkul known today.