Several years ago, I had the debatable fortune of running across a similar specimen: a nesting mother, with her brood. I was returning to Remiliciggio after a day of fieldwork in the mountains, opting to take the low roads through the marsh to save time. Grilgoras tend to bury themselves in the muck during the day, their skin prone to drying out in the sun as it is, before emerging at dusk to hunt or spawn. Twilight loomed as I picked my way across the islands, and distracted as I was by the beautiful shoreline I failed to hear the warning bellows. Despite their size and ornery demeanor, Grilgoras are rather considerate creatures - they attempt to warn off intruders in their domain before attacking - but those manners rely on the uninvited guest actually paying attention.
Grilgoras are known for their powerful hind legs and long tongues, both of which they use to close the distance between themselves and their prey. Allow me to personally assure you in the audience that these tools are, indeed, effective. Her splashing around finally got my attention, in barely time enough to roll aside as she leapt at me. Having exhausted all of my reflexes for the next few days in one go - I am hardly the picture of athleticism, you’ll agree - my new friend easily lined up her shot and got her tongue around my arm from well over her own body length away. Terrifying, with a deeply unpleasant sliminess besides, and it left quite the painful welt afterwards. But in the moment, I was quite unsure if there would indeed be an afterwards.
When I am in eastern Ithero, my work is mostly with the carrion birds that dwell in the seaside cliffs there. It is often hours of unglamorous toil, digging through the remains of their previous meals to study the greater ecosystem. Alright, yes, the work is usually more involved than that, but it creates quite the mental image, doesn’t it? Particularly since I tend to go without gloves, as they limit my ability to swap between pen and tools. You’ll understand why I carry - and liberally apply, in such circumstances - a potent disinfecting salve for my hands and arms. Through the wonders of modern alchemy it has a terrific odor, perhaps in exchange for being as effective as it is, and apparently a similarly odious taste. This I know because the Grilgora that had hold of my arm released her tongue almost as quickly as she had deployed it, making quite the noise as she did so.
I did not remain in the area to question it, and indeed I didn’t put two and two together until I was calming down in the bath at my hotel. But adrenaline is a peculiar thing, and as it faded my naturalist tendencies resurfaced. A Grilgora’s back scutes - or keels, commonly translated from Ither - absorb midday heat to keep them warm. They also have a tendency to collect elements of the creature’s habitat, acting as camouflage and sometimes protection. Rarer Grilgora sub-populations that inhabit inland caves tend to collect sand and rock in these ridges, by virtue of their digging. Algae tends to bloom in the ridges of the marsh-dwellers. But my adversary on the day had a veritable fungal colony on her back, shrouding her in their choking spores as she moved.
Make no mistake, these are all the same species. But this new observation led me to wonder: how disparate are these populations? Are these regional variances happenstance, or learned behavior? The known examples are decidedly mundane, but how might arcane forces change the discussion? Research is early yet, but a greater understanding of the impact the environment has on animal behavior and physical presentation will certainly be gained in its execution.
Now, moving north to the Trovhedan ranges, I would be remiss if I didn’t address…
Learn more about the Grilgora and how it appears within the game world of Lumenshard, along with details on it's models, variations, animations, and combat mechanics here.