: Xiuhcoatl (Zee-ooh-co-aught-el)
Type of Mount
: Cut land travel time by 1/4. Can't travel over large bodies of water.
: 3 feet tall from belly to back/680(Really skinny) - 800(Really fat) pounds/40 feet from tip of tail to tip of snoot, spends most of its time not in flight coiled into a ball 10 feet in diameter. Wing span is 40 feet, but wings fold against the body when not in use. 2 feet wide.
: Specifics very depending on the region, but usually feeds on larger predators or prey.
: Varies. If raised from infancy, easy. Caught in the wild, difficult. The Sacred Forest in the Eternal Empire will occasionally give one as a gift, in which case they are pre-trained. A trained one can be purchased for 3000 GN/3 ON, but finding one for sale is rare and will require notable IC work.
: Can carry up to 250 pounds without inhibiting its flight abilities, in addition to 2 riders of up to 180 pounds each.
: Sacred Forest, Southern Region forests, Eastern Region mountains.
: Most commonly seen in the Sacred Forest, but can be found in the forests of the Southern Region and in the Eastern Regions mountains, albeit more rarely.
: The majority of the body is a truly massive serpent, solid muscle and scales. However, it has a coat of feathers running down its back that serve to help keep it warm during its flights. The most noteworthy features are, of course, the great wings rising from the Xiuhcoatl's back, gifting it the power of flight. The Xiuhcoatl has a form of natural armor on the top of it's head, as well as several spikes jutting from its back. These spikes are primarily believed to be used as a defense against predators. However, as the Xiuhcoalt lacks any known predators, this considered a theory formed due to a lack of any solid evidence of the spikes use.
: Xiuhcoatl prefer heavily forested environments, nesting in the strongest trees and preying on the forests most dominant predators. They have been known to make their home in the mountains, however, though this is rare and the reason behind them doing so is unknown, though it is believed to have to do with population control. Like all reptiles, the Xiuhcoatl don't care for the cold, though they handle it better than most due to the feathery coat on its back. Like all serpents, the Xiuhcoalt eats less than one unfamiliar with serpents might assume. If one is able to feed a Xiuhcoatl 300 pounds of food every seven trials, or roughly two deer, then the great serpent will be well content. If given the opportunity, the Xiuhcoatl will overfeed so as to avoid having to hunt again so soon, though this makes them sluggish and is not recommended for any wishing to use these great serpents as a mount.
Lifespan and Development
: Xiuhcoatl are born from softshell eggs, with reproduction taking place in the same fashion as a normal serpent. The infants are roughly 50 pounds and 5 feet long. Their mothers feed them small bits of meat, usually 5-15 pounds every seven Trials. The infants will stay with their mother for two years, during which their size and appetite will steadily increase. After two years, they will be able to fly on their own and will seek their own nest. At this point, a Xiuhcoatl will be fully grown. They can live for up to 80 Arcs, though their ability to fly and hunt is greatly diminished in the last 2 or 3 Arcs of their life.
: As a flying mount, the Xiuhcoatl excels at traveling over land that would otherwise be impassable, making travel both easier and more convenient. However, they are not the fastest of fliers, owing to their great size, and can be outstripped by the faster fliers of Idalos with regularity. That being said, owing to the noodle-esque shape of their body, they can maneuver in ways other flying mounts simply cannot, and there are tales of people flying these great serpents through buildings.
: Like most serpents, the Xiuhcoatl is a calm creature, difficult to anger and relatively quick to calm itself. That being said, they are also stubborn unless trained, frequently doing the exact opposite of what their trainers tell them to do, apparently out of sheer stubborn desire not to be trained. They are, however, loyal to their riders once properly trained and there are stories of Xiuhcoatl who have belonged to a rider since birth refusing to leave their side even after their die. They also have an odd playful streak, though this usually does not serve the rider. Xiuhcoatl saddles and saddle bags have to specially designed to account for the creatures love of doing corkscrews through the air while in flight. There is also a tale regarding a Xiuhcoalt belonging to an Imperial Marshal that regurgitated a dead Barghest onto the floor of the Imperial Throne Room in front of its riders feet as a show of affection, though this has yet to be confirmed.
However, should one manage to anger a Xiuhcoatl, they would be well advised to flee for their life. In addition to the very real possibility of being consumed whole, there is a well documented event where one of the great serpent crushed a guard tower between its coils to attack a hunter that had killed its children. And of course, they are also venomous. One should take great care to never anger a Xiuhcoatl if they can possibly avoid it.
: The Xiuhcoatl possess three main combat abilities. The first is their venom, a lethal toxin capable of slaying even the most resilient of beasts, with rumors abounding that a bite from one was able to fell a dragon, though no proof of this was ever discovered. The second is the strength of their coils, as they are able to crush stone structures in their coils if provoked enough. Finally, their relatively slow speed of flight does not translate to slow movement on the land. A grounded Xiuhcoatl can move and strike as fast as any cobra.
However, between their temperament and the fact that Xiuhcoatl scales aren't any harder than those of any other serpent, they are not recommended primarily as a battle mount.
: Like most serpents, Xiuhcoatl love to sleep and bask in the warm sun, and are generally fairly lazy creatures as far as exercise goes.
: Basilisk. Who else would write this? XD