An adult maraegian nizari is a truly magnificent animal, rivaling some dragons in size and sporting a characteristic sail across its back. They are considered to belong to a very ancient group of creatures, and much about their lifestyle is unknown. Though their hearing is acute, they communicate with each other by flushing color into their sails and forming intricate patterns. The translation of these patterns varies like regional dialects, and sometimes individual animals can be recognized based on what colors or designs they prefer to display. Maraegian nizari spend most of their time in the water as adults, for their webbed feet and low body profile make it difficult to move about on land. The ones at the Keep can often be seen swimming in Lake Lakira, though they must be watched carefully around the smaller sharks and fishes, for nizari have ravenous appetites. Nizari are invaluable companions for combat, as they can be surprisingly stealthy despite their great size. Their ability to change color gives them a natural camouflage, especially in dense forests or murky swamps, and they can grow or shrink as needed to fit the occasion. It is even possible to carry a fully-grown nizari in your hands, if it chooses to be its smallest size, though one must be extremely careful to avoid their sharp claws.
Maraegian nizari are native to the eastern swamps of Taggelisk, though small populations of nizari can be found in nearly any secluded wetlands. These massive creatures prefer to live near deep marshes, where they hunt for turtles, sturgeon, catfish, and even freshwater sawfish that occasionally make their way upstream. Few animals can escape the jaws of the nizari, which have hundreds of sharp teeth that are constantly lost and replaced throughout the animal’s life. The teeth are covered in a magical substance similar to that which coats dragon scales, making them impervious to damage and sharper than the finest steel. This substance also coats their massive claws, which are long and curved to help them hook slippery fish. Many people once considered maraegian nizari extinct, for they used to be found in more open waters than their current habitats. If given the choice, these creatures prefer large, fresh bodies of water with plentiful prey, but will retreat into more heavily forested regions if disturbed. They have little trouble swimming through tight waterways, for though nizari are known to grow over fifty feet in length, they can also shrink themselves to be no larger than a hen.
Sprite art: Tekla | Description: PKGriffin