Artist: GlassWalker - w/edits by Munin, DarrkestDrow & Xenomorph
The small tail escaping this egg thrashes about angrily.
Unlike adult sohbeks, these little ones move at lightning speed, though their short legs force them to move in a strange slithering pattern. As they age and grow, sohbek hatchlings roam around on land less, preferring the agility swimming gives them. Younger hatchlings run around the castle freely, poking their snouts into everything. Eventually, they'll have to be confined, lest they disrupt everyone. Sohbek hatchlings are not friendly little beasts, and have difficulty bonding with their magi. They have a wicked sense of humor, and find it great fun to bite a boot and not let go. The strongest magi in the world could not pull a sohbek hatchling off of their shoe – it's necessary to go to the kitchen and tempt the little one with a bit of meat.
If one isn't paying attention, it's easy to mistake an adult sohbek as a harmless log, instead of a predator lying in wait. As soon as an unknowing animal wanders too close, the sohbek springs into action, attacking its prey and dragging it into the water. These ferocious companions can grow large enough to swallow small deer whole, and it's not surprising that most people choose to remain far away from these companions. When travelers decide to visit the sohbeks, they are usually discomforted by what they see. When a sohbek reaches its first year of life, it learns to master an odd ability. Their strange purple eyes never close, not even for a brief moment. An adult sohbek watches its surroundings with those vibrant eyes even when asleep, and will snap awake if anyone passes by. As for their appearances, sohbeks do not change much as they age, other than growing quite large. Their coloring is well suited to their environments, a muted green. Male sohbeks grow much more quickly than females, and are much larger. Females, however, are much more intelligent, and use their smaller sizes to their advantage by moving faster than the males. Adult sohbeks do mate for life, but are mostly solitary, and zealously guard their territories. Though these companions do not create homes, their eggs are placed in soft nests made of grass and guarded most carefully by the mothers.
With their small legs and large bodies, most assume that sohbeks can't move very quickly. This seems accurate when one observes a sohbek; they remain still for much of the day, staking out their favorite rocks and basking contentedly in the sun. Watching a sohbek is not a very interesting pastime, as they are usually asleep, waking only to lazily swish their tails. When they grow tired of napping, sohbeks slide slowly back into the water until nothing can be seen of them but their brilliant purple eyes. They are patient companions, able to remain perfectly still for days, lurking. Passing prey don't notice nearby sohbeks until too late. Sohbeks lunge at great speed, and once their powerful jaws close, they never let go. Although tame sohbeks don't attack humans, they still find it quite amusing to scare magi by startling them. For this, and other reasons, sohbeks are confined to their own winding river. If they were allowed to wander, sohbeks would terrorize local herds and make themselves nuisances. Fortunately, these companions are content with the land given to them, and allow their territories to be limited. In the spring, sohbeks get restless, and often fight one another to relieve their boredom and fight for mates. No one is mad enough to go anywhere near sohbeks when they're in these excitable moods.
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