Sauro-Taru

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The Sauro-Taru (lit. "Lizard People") were a race of semi-sapient reptilian creatures that inhabited the Greater Continent during the Mage Wars and into the Golden Age.

Physical Description[edit]

The Sauro-Taru were large, lizard-like creatures. Covered in scales, they were usually light or dark green, but sometimes blue or even brown on color. They are generally considered bipedal, but could move very quickly as quadrupeds. They possessed opposable thumbs and were quite dexterous.

Often said to be amphibious, Sauro-Taru can swim and are able to hold their breath for extended periods (believed up to an hour), but cannot breathe water.

Diet[edit]

Most contemporary accounts of the Sauro-Taru make them omnivorous, with some even claiming they were carnivores. However, modern studies of Sauro-Taru remains have concluded that they were herbivores. They subsisted primarily on crops grown by humans, which the Sauro-Taru would then steal. They were not adept gatherers, and thus could barely survive distant from cultivated farmlands.

It is believed that the omnivore conclusion was based on observations that Sauro-Taru were frequently seen killing other animals, even fish in their territory, and would always attack humans on sight. No accounts confirm that they ate the meat.

Intelligence[edit]

They were created artificially through magic, probably as foot soldiers, and as such had high-though-limited intelligence. They are capable of adapting and learning to an extent, and have a limited spoken language. It is thought that they may have a written language in the form of crude pictograms, but no pictograms have ever been accurately ascribed to them.

Culture[edit]

Sauro-Taru lived in large groups called Colonies. They would build primitive raised huts of sticks and mud, and constructed crude tools and weapons. They could weave baskets, and even had a (now lost) technique of rendering them water-tight. Where (refined) metal was available, they were known to make knives and spears (though they could not refine the metal themselves). They could also make stone points.

Religion[edit]

Sauro-Taru had a ceremonial lifestyle, and were observed to construct shrines and carry out rituals. Unlike Viverren (see main article), the Sauro-Taru possessed no known magic. Because their language was never interpreted, the names of their god or gods is unknown, and the exact nature of these ceremonies remains a mystery. Modern scholars have theorized that this practice was likely in offering to their original creators; but this is pure conjecture.

History[edit]

Sauro-Taru were created artificially during the Mage Wars, probably during the early First Chaotic Period. Like the Viverren, they were used by various factions as low-grade soldiers, easy to train and cheap to replace (also, possibly to specialize in raiding enemy foodstuffs). By the Intermediate Period they had largely become nuisances around cities and villages. Famously, the Marcon Alliance would release swarms of Sauro-Taru around enemy settlements; but this was ineffective, as a ten-year-old with a sharpened stick could usually defeat a Sauro-Taru, and most villagers were adept at killing them.

During the Second Chaotic Period, Sauro-Taru were found mostly along the Barrier Range and along rivers of the Agras Plain, and along the Sword Coast. They were seldom seen away from reliable water sources. Usually they inhabited areas around cities and villages, or even lived in sewers when available. Many stories tell of battles between the Sauro-Taru and equally uninteligent Viverren.

By the early Golden Age, Sauro-Taru had been classified as a nuisance animal, and private citizens were urged to hunt and slaughter them. As Sauro-Taru hunting had been a common pass-time during the Mage Wars, the people had little trouble seeing to it. The delibrate hunting, combined with urban expansion and the use growing use of pesticides, led to the extinction of the Sauro-Taru by A.Y. 1231.

Preservation[edit]

Numerous examples of Sauro-Taru were preserved either by taxidermy or with chemical fixing agents and very large jars. Artifacts from their colonies, and even whole nests, were still available for study well into the Ages#The Sixth Age. No live specimens were ever kept in captivity.

Possible Survival[edit]

Unconfirmed accounts claim that Sauro-Taru were seen in the Barrier Range as late as A.Y. 1787. If the creatures migrated across the mountains, they could easily be alive and well in the uninhabited territory of the former Marcon Alliance.