At over ten meters long and armed with shearing plates instead of teeth, an adult dunkleosteus is a near-unstoppable force in the volcanic waters where it resides. Though not particularly fast swimmers, dunkleosteus can open and extend their jaws to snap up prey before an onlooker can blink. These massive fish have forgone sharpened teeth for a bladelike bony projection that extends off the lower jaw and parts of the cranium and allows the fish to easily pierce through the toughest hides. Abyssal dunkleosteus are unusual in that they are not animals as much as they are living rock. They are thought to have originally come from volcanoes, somehow made living through a very ancient earth magic related to that which produced vitons and amphipteres, though much darker. Eggs are rare, but unlike the adults and hatchlings, can withstand cold waters, and even be taken on land. An older dunkleosteus may sacrifice some of its own magma to produce an egg, but this is done so rarely that their population grows slowly. If the volcanic regions where a group of dunkleosteus live become dormant, the group will travel to the warmer surface and migrate to a new location. They can only go for a month without volcanic heat, even if warmed by the sun, before they begin to freeze. The heat of the abyssal dunkleosteus is also potent if used to heat magical potions, though the only potions able to withstand the heat are those of forbidden dark magics.
This egg appears to be made out of rocky plates.
Unlike many hatchlings, abyssal dunkleosteus hatch out of their eggs fully formed and able to take care of themselves. They receive no care from their parents, but may swim around larger individuals to stay warm, as their smaller size means that they cool quite rapidly. Already the youngsters sport their own heavy plates that allow them to crunch through the rocky shells of magma globules that bubble to the surface through volcanic fissures. They do not seem to care much about land creatures and almost never travel to the surface, though they will occasionally change after small fish and marine creatures. The hatchlings are expressly difficult to care for without naturally-occurring marine volcanoes, and only the most complicated spells involving both fire and water magics can keep their pools suitable. This, along with the scarcity of their eggs makes abyssal dunklosteus rare companions at the Keep. They are not especially affectionate, which is probably a good thing; their skin is hot enough to burn nearly any material, and no gloves or saddles have yet been made that can withstand the heat for more than a few minutes.
Abyssal dunkleosteus are among the most ancient of creatures, thought to have modeled themselves off the ancestors of modern bathyal dunkleosteus. Their affinity is less with the water than with volcanoes, for they are made not of flesh, but of molten stone, so hot that it can be seen briefly in liquid form between their plates as red and orange magma before it is once again hidden by the rocky crust that surrounds the fish. The hard plates and scales that make up the creature’s skin are the same magma cooled to be hard and durable, and to insulate the fish’s body against the cold waters where they live. Abyssal dunkleosteus are found near marine volcanoes, and will consume magma as it bubbles up, incorporating the material into their bodies to grow. Their skin is unbearably hot to the touch, and they much frequently ingest heat in order to keep their liquid innards from cooling. Should an abyssal dunkleosteus become isolated from an active volcano, it will slowly start to solidify and become unable to move, sinking to the bottom of the ocean to be buried by sediments. Aside from cooling, however, nothing can kill an abyssal dunkleosteus, so they may be used to guard ancient marine temples, if given a constant magical heat source from which to feed.
Obtained from: Shop, Dark Shop: 7700 gold
Renaming cost: 2000 gold
Release date: March 5th 2017
Sprite art: Tekla | Description: PKGriffin