The land of Dracori contains many magical creatures. One of these is the Firespline Landfish (also called a Terrakanthes).
The Terrakanthes looks like a chubby lizard, with a ridge of magical spikes along the backbone, and a crest of spikes at the back of the head. These are called firespines.
Firespines are made of solidified flame. They are red-hot and form on creatures with a lot of fire energy. The spines are durable but brittle. They tend to shatter when struck. Shattering like this can cause a magical reaction.
What are Reactions?
Forces of nature interact with each other, and so do the different kinds of magic. For example, when a Fireball meets a water spell, the water may boil or outright evaporate in what's called a Steam Reaction. Because Firespines are made of solid flame, creatures with Firespines cause A LOT of Reactions, all the time.
The only relevant Reactions here are nine in number; Steam, Burn, Melt, Purge, Thermal, Devastate, and Conduct.
Steam kicks in when a Terrakanthes is splashed or submerged. It causes clouds of steam to arise when in air, which telegraphs the unfortunate Terrakanthes' position, but in water it not only obscures their position but creates a protective bubble of searing water around them.
Burn is what happens when a Terrakanthes tries to move through forest environments, or when some idiot nature mage tries to use a plant spell like Crashing Chestnut (don't laugh, it's a powerful spell) and hits one of the spines.
Melt should be self-explanatory, but it's a little more complicated. This Reaction turns Ice and Ice spells into Water or Water equivalents, which if they hang around, will cause a Steam Reaction.
Purge is an interesting one. When Poison hits Fire magic, the Fire magic burns, or Purges, out the Poison, effectively neutralizing it. This Reaction is a very good way to make a poisonous monster have a very bad day, but given how powerful Fire monsters are already hot enough to cause Purge reactions on contact, this can't be why firespines have developed.
Thermal is less a one-time thing and more an ongoing process. Thanks to the magical principles of Balance and Flow, Firespines give out heat but also draw heat in, creating a feedback loop that keeps things nice and toasty around them, and this causes air to heat and rise around a Terrakanthes. This Reaction is also useful for making someone's Air spell fly up instead of into you.
Conduct is less a Reaction and more of a natural transfer; when Metal or Metal magic touches a Firespine, the metal Conducts the heat through itself, which can cause pretty heavy burns to wannabee knights who think a metal shield or armor will protect them, or to a monster hunter who's too careless with their weapon.
Finally, the best for last, the reason Firespines are so dubious. Devastate. Have you ever heard the phrase, "When two fires meet, they consume whatever feeds their fury?" Well, perhaps this principles is why when Fire meets Fire, there is a devastating explosion. This Reaction makes Firespines not only problematic but life-threatening to those monsters that possess them, because if a fire-wielding rival hits these spines, they'll explode and leave craters in that monster's body.
Our mages have been studying these things and have become utterly stumped, so now we ask you, the noble Explorer's Guild, to explain. If Firespines are such a liability, why do monsters have them?
What We've Already Figured Out:
Fires generate heat, and so does Fire energy. Thus, Fire monsters naturally generate heat, which thanks to the principle of Balance, then diffuses. Then, thanks to the principle of Flow, drawn to the heat released, more heat and Fire energy rushes in. TL;DR: Firespines cannot be to supply Fire monsters with a power source.
Fire monsters are also protected from fire, smoke, ash-being around or in fires just doesn't harm them. In fact, it seems to strengthen them, making them hit harder, move and heal faster, grow bigger.....does this sound like a contrast, like being in fire should cause a Devastate Reaction? Oh, no no no no. A fire monster entering fire won't cause an explosion. But, if said fire monster releases some of their Fire while in natural fire, there will indeed be a Devastate Reaction. We're not sure why this is, but we have lots of theories!
Anyway, this means firespines are unlikely to exist for the purpose of drawing fire away from a fire monster, to control where the Devastation occurs, especially considering their general locations.
- LocationFirespines are located generally along the spine (like a dragon's ridge), protruding from joints, along the limbs, along the tail, along the sides, and on the face, along the back of the head.....forming ridges, horns, and frills. This is automatically a problem, as if any of these Firespines got Devastated, it would cause serious or even fatal injury. This is the biggest problem with Firespines, and if they exist, there must be a reason for them. What is it?
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