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Arboulder- The Treegrinder

World: Alfheim

Diet: Trees

Length: 35 feet

Lifespan: 80 years

Habitat: Forests

Activity Cycle: Diurnal

Alfheim is a land of balance. Where something is missing, the world itself will create it to fill the gap. In places with plentiful tree cover but not the animals necessary to keep the forest healthy, mossy boulders will be brought to life to handle the situation. With their sturdy bodies, they shove trees over and consume them in their entirety. A mossy tongue helps them work these trees into their mouths, where a set of crushing stones breaks them apart into smaller chunks to be processed by the creature’s multiple stomachs. The fully-processed remains are passed out as white, papery droppings, highly distinct markers that a forest contains an arboulder.

An arboulder stakes a relatively small territory, repelling all other members of its species via slow shoving matches, where each tries to push the other back through superior size and strength. They do not rely on others of their kind to reproduce, as even without the world creating them on its own, they release spores yearly that grow moss on small rocks, animating them as infant arboulders. They are capable of reproduction as early as their first year of age, but only reach their full size after almost 15. At their full size, they are able to ignore smaller predators, but larger ones can feed on the bright orange “gills” that emerge from behind their heads, nutritious and vulnerable to many creatures. These are the animal’s primary sensory organs, picking up on movement and scents, and the arboulder will be totally blind until they grow back.

Although Alfheim has no winters and summers, it does have wet and dry seasons. As the wet season ends, they burrow to bury most of their body, only leaving their backs exposed. Their moss dries out and they are indistinguishable from regular moss for the entirety of the season. As soon as the rain begins to fall again, they become active again, getting up like nothing has happened. However, if their moss is totally lost, being burnt or scraped off, they are truly dead and cannot return.

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