Much like the rest of the denizens of this land, the Curd are primarily quadrupeds. They move about most comfortably on four limbs, but are also able to stand erect and move in an erect gait, but without the same speed and surety of their four-legged gait.
The average Curd is 14 to 16 feet long, with about 1/3 of that length being tail. They do not have the same lizard-like splayed legs of a terran crocodile, but instead have their legs under their body like a mammal. This gives them significantly more ground clearance. They also have a central ridge in their spine where powerful muscle groups are anchored. This allows the curd to stand on its rear legs, and move its heavy upper torso. During the mating season, male curd will rear up on their hind legs and crash head first into one another, mouths agape in a display of masculine power. This is resolved in the manner of a game of chicken, or until a potential rival submits to the dominant male. In normal life, this sledgehammer attack is irresistable to opponents.
Given the soft-skinned nature of amphibians, the Falling jaws attack crushes bone, shreds flesh, and even a glancing hit can cripple an Anura warmaster for the rest of its life.
The Curd tail deserves mention. It is heavy, and flexible, but not the loose flexibility of a monkey tail, but the heavy articulation of a tank tread. The tail is used in a sculling motion to propel the curd through the water. It can also be used as a third point in a tripod stance that curd take when standing but not moving. In times of hostility, curd will often use the tail as a battering weapon. This is to ensure their own survival, as mating contests do not end with the death of young curd. Coupled with the superior mass of the curd, the tail is able to bowl over any of the other resident races.
Ancient traditions and way of life
Traditionally, the Curd have been simple hunters and fishers that live in small family groups, wondering the vast swamps that they call their home. Each family group typically consists of a male Curd with his mate and offspring, congregating together in large groups only during the seasons of mating, when young male Curd warriors spar with each other for the hand of a desirable female. The victor was then subjected to careful scrutiny by the female and if she was satisfied, they would join together in a simple but profound bonding ceremony symbolised by the twin tooths that each of them extract out of their own respective mouths.The agony that ensues when the a tooth is ripped out from their gums, serves to remind them to honor this bond through even the hardest times. For this bond is eternal. Curds mate for life and neither will take another mate, should one die.
Their faith is extremely primitive, mostly revolving around the worship of ancestral spirits and the guardian nature spirits that are said to look over each family. There are no shamans or priests,with each each head of the family being able to call upon his ancestors and guardian spirits when in need due to the innate bond with the spirits of his ancestors that is carried in his blood. Daily prayers and offerings are often used to to let the deceased elders understand that their descendents have not forgotten them. All Curd live in fear of a vengeful elder returning as some dangerous form of nature to strike them down for their lack of filial piety. For this reason, worship to the memory of one’s elders is never neglected, forming the closest thing they have to a true religion. Even the spirits that rule nature are never shown this attention, for the spirits of nature are capricious and self-absorbed, their ears closed to whatever prayer or pleas the creatures of the earth might offer them.
They are extremely fond and protective of their children and will kill anything that threatens them. This mean that one would not wish to find himself between a male Curd and his hatchlings. This is due to the fact that throughout her life, the female Curd only lays five eggs. To even lose one to to predators would be a crushing blow. For this reason, the death of a child is considered an unforgivable crime and the father will never rest until he has collected the head of the killer as a trophy, be it beast or sentient being. If the father fails to accomplish this in his lifetime,the blood debt is passed on to his sons who must now carry on the task of finding the killer of their sibling. Hence their deep and powerful hatred for the murderous priests of the self-proclaimed Brave People that callously use Curd females and infants as victims for their foul sacrifices. Many Curds see in these foul rituals a cunning plan to eliminate their race, given the low rate of reproduction that their race is afflicted with, at least in comparison to the teeming numbers of of the others peoples that wander Tarrod.
Possessed with a powerful loathing of any kind of potent power that stems from the work of anything other than the simple forces of nature, they are unsurprisingly terrified of anything that appears unnatural in their innocent eyes, viewing it as the work of evil summoned into existence by their hated oppressors and are quick to blame any unusual disaster that befalls them on the sinister clerics of the Eshal. Almost anything, from devastating outbreak of disease that kills the heart-breakingly precious infants, to savage attacks by some monstrous horror hitherto unseen within the darkness of the swamps, are attributed to these accursed sorcerers among the enemy.
And yet the supposed atrocities inflicted on them from afar by the Eshal priests simply cannot compare to those which the more secular among the ranks of those feorcious and ruthless people have imposed on them. Uprooted from an ancient way of life by hordes of Eshal settlers slithering into swamps wrested from the hands of the Curd, many of of the swamp aborogines are now forced by Eshal warriors to live in squalid, cramped settlements, as their traditional fishing grounds are stripped of anything edible, or dammed so that gold on the river beds can be collected. Curds that resist the enslavement of their race by fighting back are punished by being forced to witness the Eshal slay their mate and brood slain outright or reserve them for the far grimmer fate of sacrifice. As far as the Brave People are concerned, the Curds with their very conspicious absence of what most would term material civilization, are scarcely better than most of the other beasts lurking in the watery wastse of Tarrod.
The Curd abbhor this as a mortal insult and crime, one that further fuels their obssesive urge to honor the traditional vendetta. Escaped male Curds that have seen their mates and offspring taken away by the Eshal priests, now bond together with other vengeful male Curds in the deepest parts of the swamps and form war-bands of resistance that ferociously attack the concentration camps and free their prisoners. All Eshal defeated, are quickly slain and their heads are taken as ritual trophies by the Curd fighters, with especial preference showered on the much hated priests found among the enemy. The rest of a fallen foe’s body is mutilated and left behind as a warning to their oppressors, one that demonstrates that a the male Curd who looses his family will not be denied his sacred revenge. Driven by grief and hatred, these bands are utterly fearless and will not hesitate to take great risks that sometimes border on the sucidal.
Language and technology
Curd build large mounds to make the defence of their eggs easier, with there being multiple mounds in a given area. Eshal often have to hunt through a dozen or more mounds before they can find the eggs or younglings they seek for their sacrifices.
Much larger and stronger mounds are erected and scattered throughout the domains claimed by a Curd family. These stronger structures imitate the basic cone-shaped design of the ones built to shield the eggs from Eshal raids, but differ in some significant ways. The mud employed in their construction is reinforced with large chunks of driftwood and river boulders that afford them protection against any dangerous rise in water-levels as they make various stops along the shores of their aquatic hunting grounds. Should they be deemd adequate for habitation , a narrow tunnel is dug deep beneath the mounds, serving as an netrance htrough which the Curd family can crawl through and shelter during the nights when sleep overtakes them. Should the parents wish to leave their offspring behind prior to embarking on a somewhat risky trek, a large rock is rolled across the entrance, barring all entry to would-be raiders, and a series of small holes for ventilation are scooped out from the top of the mound, allowing some air to enter. Though undoubtedly lacking aesthetic appeal to the eyes of any viewer, the Curd would shrug off such an opinion, attaching as they do, very little importance to what is merely a temporary lodge to these mobile people who often swim wide and far in their native waters.
This crude variety of Curd innovation also extends to simple but effective tools carved out of cypress wood, which is a resource plentiful in their domains. A favorite one is their all-purpose long spear that is crafted from cypress wood. Huge and heavy, they are tipped with a razor keen flint that can penetrate even the tough hide of a Dunkleosutous, and require tremendous arm strength to wield. A Curd warrior employs this massive weapon with lethal ease, making good use of his powerful arms to impale his quarry right through the body, be it a large armored fish or a puny Eshal standing in his way. Extremely proud of their huge singature weapon, Curd warriors on a quest for vengenace have often been known to mock the weaponry of their enemies by picking their large, snaggled teeth with any weapons found on Eshal that they have slain.
In keeping with their cherished status, these spears are often strung around with river clam shells, a practice that is borne out of the Curd belief that by doing so, a hunter might attract the attention of a deceased but benovalent ancestor that upon espying the dangling clam shells, understands that his descendant is in search of the river’s bounty, and intervenes appropriately by sending a suitable meal in the way of the former. Should a hunt end successfully, the grateful hunter never ceases to reverently offer thanks to his many ancestors, wary as he is of accidently leaving out the one who had brough him such good fortune.
Contrary to what the Eshal belief, the Curd do possess a language, one that consists of numerous growls and whistles, each varrying in pitch and thus carrying a different meaning, ranging from the hungry cries of a hatchling to the enraged bellow of a male Curd whose wrath has been incurred. Though a usually quite people, the Curds never hesitate to create a cacophony of shrill whsitles and deep growls when offering a prayer to the ancestors. Elaborate embellishments on the victories of the dead are often favored, with the Curd intoning them non-stop, ceasing only when his breath threatens to run out. Such a pointed display of reverance
is often looked upon with much affection by the ancestors.