Long ago, the Tarkis Desert was a lush, verdant paradise. With lakes and greenery everywhere, waterfowl were just one category of animals in a cornucopia of bestiary entries. Life was good, food was plentiful, and the ecosystem was thriving.
But nothing stays the same forever, and eventually the area began to experience intense drought. Herd animals moved on, migrating birds flew elsewhere, and other species just died out from lack of resources. As ecosystem diversity diminished, so too did the land's ability to fight off the effects of drought. Trees died out, grasses withered, and lakes dried up.
Those creatures that remained began to adapt to the changing conditions, including the ancestors of the modern-day sand duck. As the area withered under the grip of desertification, those ancestors began to mutate and change into a creature well-suited to the harsh sandscape that Tarkis would eventually become.
The sand duck is very reminiscent of traditional waterfowl. It retains the general form factor of a migratory bird, and even has the same general bill structure. One major difference is that the sand duck has evolved a multitude of sharp teeth to replace the less-than-useful pecten that normal ducks use to filter their food out of the water.
While still retaining feathers, the sand duck has more stiff and dense feathers to help protect against abrasion from the constant wind-blown sand of the Tarkis Desert. Down is roughly the same as with normal ducks, as the desert nights can get just as cold as more wet climates.
Of particular note is the plumage they display. While many waterfowl have a mating plumage and a basic plumage, sand ducks do not moult twice a year to switch their plumage. Instead, they retain a single set of the stiff and dense feathers mentioned previously. The exterior of those feathers is a mottled tan and brown coloring, to better provide camouflage against the desert sands. The underside of those feathers, however, is a bright holographic mass of shimmering reds and blues. The underside coloring is hypnotic in its effects, allowing the sand duck to both capture prey and stun predators so the sand duck can take wing and escape.
The sand duck has a similar diet to it's water-loving cousins: plants, insects, and small lizards. It uses the hypnotic effects of its plumage to distract insects and lizards alike before devouring them with its razor-sharp teeth.
The sand duck is a delicacy in local cuisine, easily commanding prices ten times over a normal meal. It tends to be served on a bed of its own holographic feathers.
The feathers also command a good price if sold to the proper buyer. They are an excellent reagent for illusion spells, and mix with some herbs and spices to produce a mildly hallucinogenic drug.
When you are under siege, you have nothing but time. But the abundance of time is just as much of a weight as the enemy outside the gates. It is time for the Citadel to develop a creative Stimulus Package to support the Strolenati during this unique time. After no deliberation and no votes, the following will be the procedures followed through the the Citadel Stimulus Quest. (Subject to change, amendment, and adjustment as needed.)
- Every Monday a minimum influx of $40 will be added to the Stimulus Package to keep the Creative Citadel Economy out of a Recession.
- The Stimulus Package will accumulate $40 weekly until there are 5 unique author submissions.
- Authors can write as many submissions as they like and each will be considered on their own merits.
- On the Sunday after the 5 author requirement is met, the 5+ submissions by 5+ authors will be weighed and measured by the Strolenati.
- Whomever is determined as the winner(s) will receive funds (as determined by the Strolenati) that have collected in the Stimulus Package.
- On Monday, if winners were awarded, the Stimulus Package will be re-established at $40 and the quest will restart.
- The quest will continue in this cycle until such a time that the Strolenati Council has deemed the siege over.
Current Stimulus Package: $160 Next Update: Apr 8 Contributors: Strolen, Murometz
Round 1 completed May 10: 7 Weeks - $280 in Stimulus reserves. Since it was the first round, and the amount was enough to pass around, we decided everyone who took the time deserved something. So sayeth the Strolenati.
1. Scrasamax - $115
2. Ted - $75
3. manfred - $50
4. Siren no Orakio - $20
5. valadaar - $10
6. Aramax - $10
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? Responses (5)-5
I don’t dislike anything about this lovely creature.
I liked the belly colors and reasoning behind them. I'd eat it and the make a hat.
Lovely little bit of local 'color' :P