Desert Worms are colossal subteranean beasts with the capacity to lay waste to an entire city with little effort. They are extremely rare, spending decades at a time in hibranation. They are unintelligent, wild animals, whose complete indifference to humanity causes exstensive damage to any attempts of a well-established society. Despite being the apex predator, they are rather docile, mostly gaining sustanence through massive mineral deposites and volcanic vents. They are extremely sensitive to vibrations, though, often awakening from their slumber to devour a couple elephants or a group of helpless humans. Nevertheless, little is known about these creatures, and though they are the larges creatures on the planet, they are also some of the rarest.
The origin of desert worms is unknown, though the first recorded evidence of their existence appeared at around the same time as the birth of the shifters, but many scholars predict them to have existed even earlier. Many desert tribes worshiped the worms as gods of the winds and destruction, providing human sacrifices to please the worms. They saw the eradication of another tribe via worm as a holy and justifiable cause. Though most rational humans deem it to have been legend, as it probably is, it is said that one tribe managed to appease the worms to the point that it gained the ability to form a spiritual link with the creatures, enabling them to summon and ride them, though this would hardly be beneficial, since worms move under ground. With the exception of a few tall-tales, there is zero evidence that they have provided any positive, purposeful interaction with humanity.
The nature of the desert and the behavior of the worm has protected a save few, though. Though the surface is bombarded with constant dust storms, intense heat, and droughts, a few meters below the surface lies a large collection of volcanic springs, algae-rich silt, and wet, sulfur-dense sludge. While the harsh climate prevents human life from lasting, the deposites of minerals and water below the sand and rock can sustain an individual or small tribe, until the sun and desert winds dry it up. Men cannot pierce this layer, but Worms thrive beneath it, and upon surfacing, can occasionaly provide access to an underground spring, though not likely at all. No empiracle examples exist, though it is highly probable that a worm's surfacing has provided a desert creature with the means to survive long enough to escape the desert.
In the now-extinct native religion of Momaqui, the worms are seen as extensions of a universal essence. It was said that the White Eye wept upon seeing the barren desert, causing rain, while the four winds howled in dismay. The combined forces and subsuquent fluctuations in the field of being-ness caused the earth to split and release the worms, which were worshiped as gods. But Momaqui is a dead religion that has long been discredited. Those who follow the new gods believe the worms to have been the product of Edera. They believe her to have brought forth these stupendous beasts from an unknown plane to wreak havoc upon the mortal men, believing that these collosal and near-indestructible monsters would devour the world. But the gods managed to isolate them in a barren wasteland so that they may never again threaten humanity.
Worms have been known to be very territorial, though their territory is very expansive. One worm may claim a portion of land for itself that's many miles in diameter. The majority of Desert Worm population consists of younger worms, very few ever making it to adulthood. Desert worms have been known to eat their children, siblings, and even mates.
Desert Worms have long, thick, tube-like bodies covered in coarse brown "plates" of sorts, similar to that of the pangolin or the snake. Though the desert worm has the appearance of a worm, it is more closely related to a reptile, though it's biology is entirely different. It neither sweats, pants, nor basks in the sun, disregarding heat regulation altogether, for the excess heat produced is used to fuel essential chemical reactions that create vital nutrients and sugars. Any leftover heat is radiated through the skin, softening the stone and dirt to make digging easier. Their exterior is coated with spines and barbs that give it traction while burrowing through the tougher surface layer or the even tougher rock layer many meters below, while not being too obtrusive as to prevent streamlined movement through the moist silt and sand trapped beneath the crusty and dry surfsce layer. Their massive head narrows to a point, it's mouth taking up most of the head. The creature's maw splits into three segments when it eats or digs. It is eyeless and completely blind, but is extremely sensitive to vibrations, temperature, and electrical current.
Atributes and Weaknesses Edit
Worms have unprecedented speed and stamina, able to travel great distances in little time, though this is mostly due to their size. They are exceptional at burrowing and can "swim" through softer material and sand with ease. Worms are immensely strong, for they are essentially gargantuan tubes of muscle. But their most devastating feature is their clever hunting skills and surprise attacks, often hiding beneath the ground until their sensitive organs detect vibration on the surface, causing them to lunge from beneath the sand and devour it's prey, though it mostly survives on mineral deposites and swarms of sand-dwelling creatures and algae.
Little is known about how to defeat a worm. They aren't inherently resistant; the younger ones have skin no thicker than a crocodile's. But their sheer size and allusive nature makes them difficult to defeat. They are extremely sensitive to vibrations and electrical current though, making them weak to an abundance of very loud noise or electricity. They can also be marooned. If a desert worm is lured onto the surface of a tough enough stone or material through which they cannot dig, they become too cumbersome to move away. They are designed mostly to dig and swim through sludge and sand, not squirm on hard surfaces. Once trapped and unable to dig, they will thrash violently before running low on energy, in which case a well-placed sharpened tree thrust into its softer inner flesh can kill it. If blast with enough force from a ballistia, or if hit with a projectile from a catapult or trebuchet, they will flee; they do not partake in fights that they cannot win with certainty.