Lifespan: 5 years
Habitat: Fungal Jungle
Activity Cycle: None
The Fungal Jungle under Alfheim is a place that constantly produces life, and as such, constantly produces death. Fungus and animals alike are always dying, feeding a fungal floor that coats the ground. Feeding in this undergrowth are plentiful detrivores, most famously the bansai. Part fungus, part animal, the bansai litter the fungal floor, using a digestive froth to break down fungus and carrion into mush before licking it up. They are slow and supposedly defenseless, but few creatures hunt them. This is because of the layer of poisonous slime that covers their bodies. The poison numbs and paralyzes the body, locking up the jaws of predators and often making it so they cannot breathe.
These poisons are prized by the native folk of the jungle. In different concentrations, they can act as anesthetics or paralytics, useful for medicine and warfare alike. Surface civilizations have sought to replicate these results, but the cost of transport is prohibitive and the bansai seem reluctant to adapt to the surface world, dying in any conditions but those offered by their lightless, dank caverns. They are also impossible to keep in large numbers, as a bansai’s favorite meal is a smaller bansai. Bansai are totally solitary, and even reproduce without the help of others, releasing a thick cloud of spores every few weeks, each of which can develop a new, tiny bansai over the course of a few weeks.