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Great River Dragon

Kuwna, Great Water Dragon, Pebble-wyrm, Great Robber, Krokdl, Crocodylus niloticus, Tearful One, Sbek's Wyrm, Dragon of Sbek, Levten, Levthan

The Kuwna, or Great River Dragon is the largest landwyrm known to dwell in the Aust of the World. They are very large, powerfully built, covered in thick armour plated scales, and have gaping jaws with 68 curved and conical teeth. The average Westfolder of the Royal-shires has probably never seen one in the flesh, but they are once again common in the Bre River, all the way from Voes-Tyr to the Aust Marshes. The elves of the Far East, and particularly those of the Wild Coast know them well, and one major elven house takes Sbek's wyrm as their totem.

The Kuwna dwells in many of the larger rivers, lakes and marshes of the Ever-end of the World, and is a source of great fear and awe amongst all the peoples of the Austlands. Although some sages speak of historical sightings of these creatures swimming into the sea, this dragon is not partial to saltwater, but does occasionally inhabit deltas and brackish lakes.

These dragons have grown larger over the years, with the average adult Bre River dragon reaching easily 16ft in length, and often up to 22ft. Ancient documents still surviving in the libraries of Stoll tell that in the Sixth Age these water-dwelling beasts had been hunted almost to extinction, falling prey to local muti hunters and dragon slayers from abroad, and had become diminished, reaching a very maximum length of only 13 or 16 feet, and weighed approximately 900 pounds (it is not known how they measured this). Indeed the Bre River was apparently totally devoid of them at some point. The Wrath then, was to the Great River Dragon a marvelous boon, and they appear to have flourished ever since then.

above: A well-hidden river dragon lurks in a forest stream

The Great River Dragon is an apex predator of the waterways, able to take down any prey with ease, and often with complete surprise. This terrible water beast is well-known for creeping up on it's victims as they walk the river-banks: it's scaly, knobbly hide and slow movements making it appear to any observer to be a harmless fallen log floating downstream - that is, until it's powerful spiny tail lashes out, propelling it's gaping jaws at great speed towards it's unfortunate prey. There are far too many terrifying tales of friends walking side by side along a peaceful river, when suddenly one of them is gone...vanished with a small splash and a ripple. This is one of the many reasons for the general aura of fear when speaking to any Hithervard inhabitant about substantial bodies of water.

The River Dragon is known to eat fish large and small, snakes, birds, smaller dragon, antelope and Wildbeasts that come to the river, and of course people. Indeed, there rumours (originating in Adamastorshire no doubt) of an eastern barbarian tribe in the Aust Marshes that sacrifices maidens to their river gods at high summer. Possibly the only creatures they could not hope to bring down are adult Elephas.

The Pebble-wyrm is a wily ambush predator, willing to wait for hours, days and even weeks for the perfect moment to lunge. The patience of the dragon is legendary. While at times appearing to be lazy and cumbersome, they are capable of sudden bursts of speed and agility. The swiftest of beasts, unless superbly vigilant, are not immune from the sudden emergence of this scaly horror from murky waters.

The bite of the Great River Dragon is extremely powerful. It is thought that no other creature on land can match the biting pressure it can apply. Its' sharp conical teeth sink into the toughest flesh, and its' massive head and neck muscles allow for a potent grip that is surely impossible to escape. The final doom of the victim is almost inevitably to be dragged underwater and drowned, or worse, to be ripped to pieces by the dragons vicious writhings.

Below is a close-up of the first image in this entry:

A huge Nile Dragon lurks just below the surface, watching with its' beady eyes, which are located on the top of the head, as are the nostrils, allowing easy breathing when in this position (which is much of the day):

A pack (known as a 'float') of lounging River Dragons is seen below:

The Kuwna is a very social dragon, and are often congregate on favoured sections of waterway, particularly at popular water-holes and fords. They are known to share basking spots and generally respect an implicit social hierarchy, with the largest bull dragons ruling the river.

Above is a large Kuwna emerging from a shoreline grove.

The scutes and scales on the back of the Krokdl:

See also

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