1 hour ago
Thursday, December 15, 2011
What do you do with a gigantic, immortal monster stalking the wild places? If you’re a daring and entrepreneurial sort in Ealderde, Eura, or even the City, you harvest the living behemoth for anything of value.
Nobody knows where the Tarrasque came from, though there are a lot of theories: Staarkish Kriegsungeheuer--it’s gargantuan parts grown in separate industrial alchemical vats and melded together by cunning biothaumaturgy? An eikone given flesh, collective animus of the saurian monsters of prehistory? Alien? Elder God? There are as many ideas as the Tarrasque has spines.
Wherever it came from, the monster stalks cross Eura from Korambeck to the Arctic Wastes. It periodically enters periods of turpor lasting days to weeks, where it crouches, umoving and close to the ground. These are the times when harvesters can safely climb aboard the monster with little risk of winding up in its stomach. Once encamped, they take adamantine-tipped jackhammers and alchemical solvents to its hide. They scrap off carapace to sell to armorers and artificers, jar its ichor for alchemists, physicians, and thaumaturgists, smuggle its glandular secretions to junkies and assassins, and even trap its lice for whoever is willing to pay.
Most harvesters ship out for a few months. They erect tents in hammock-like nets affixed to the monster's hide; it takes little notice of them most of the time. Daring flyers dart in to hook dangling bags of material for sale, and eventually, harvesters headed for home.
Exposure to the creature is inherently toxic. All but the best preserved (and least flavorful) foodstuffs spoil rapidly. Plants die within days; small animals may last a week or more. Humans can last months, but many harvesters find it prudent to wear lead-lined suits. Even still, cancers and neurologic ailments are more common among those that have dwelled on the Tarrasque than the general population, and harvesters seem to age before there time.