Today, with Grant's help, I caught our mysterious helper.
I was right. It's a young Basilisk: Or, more accurately it was a Basilisk. I'm not quite sure what it is now.
Terrified, I think.
Grant managed to hit it dead on with some advanced immobilization magic just as I got in position under the ledge. I'd been scaling that wall and waited for a full hour, just there under the snake's field of view. It didn't suspect a thing.
We've put it in a magic barrier at out camp, and rigged it to draw power from a few of the crystals Grant has been keeping in his pouch. There's no way out, and even if there was, I think it knows better than to try.
Soon as that barrier is gone, the snake would fall through and touch the Sanctuary magics on the floor. No doubt in my mind those would torch it with short notice.
Thus "Terrified." Monsters inherently know that sort of thing. There's a reason most of them stay far away from safe-zones. Some Beast Tamers have told me that their Partners can feel it, like a noise or a resonance. It's something they instinctively avoid, so I imagine that's the same for both tamed and wild monsters.
That noted, this is a really strange Basilisk.
It's not very big, for starters. Probably less than four feet long, no thicker at any point than my wrist. It has no venom glands, no corrosive breath, obviously not on its way to becoming one of the behemoths that sometimes get spotted along the dark Chasms of the Northern depth-zones. Honestly, it looks almost harmless.
But its scales are a deep blue. Close up, I think that they almost look like crystals, if they weren't so small. Grant thinks it's probably because of all of the mushrooms it was eating. He joked that if he got hungry enough, he'd probably find out the hard way.
Strange as it is, the tiny snake didn't seem to like when Grant laughed about that very much.
Together though, we did a delve to try and figure out more about the creature. Faith magics can dig deep, and Grant knows more about magic than anyone I've met outside of an Empire-university library, so I think we did a half-way decent job at it. The [delving] spell did most of the work anyways, Grant just threw in some extra tricks to go along... and then he almost threw up. Only halfway through the [Delving] and he had to stop to dry-heave.
Grant wouldn't even join back in until he'd gotten a drink of water, and even after he looked a little green in the face.
Apparently, this snake has more toxin in its body than any living creature has a right to have and still be breathing. It took Grant by surprise, but crazy at that might seem: that wasn't even a fraction of what really shocked him.
It's also most definitely got magic. A lot of magic. Very, very strong magic.
Grant made me add another few layers to the barrier after finding this out, sticking a couple more crystal shards to it for good measure. Muttered something about rebounding theories and soul-air element bindings, he worked on the barrier-cage for awhile after that.
Needless to say, from what I could gather: he doesn't think it's only the fireball spell we need to worry about.
I'll trust his judgement.
Still, all in all I've never season a monster like this, and there's something to be said for that. The farther down you go, the stranger things get, but a dungeon creature that eats poison and uses magic is uniquely bizarre. To top it all off, though, it's practically docile.
Which actually might be the weirdest thing of all.
Every living creature that comes from the Dungeons will inevitably try to kill people. With the exception of the few monsters taken up to the surface and tamed (and that's topic some might argue doesn't change a thing) the monsters of the underworld try to murder humans. Ten out of ten times, if you run into a monster: it's going to try to kill you if it thinks it can get away with it.
This Basilisk though, hasn't made a single threatening move towards us though the barrier since it woke up.
No aggressive posturing. No lunges, no teeth, puffs of magic, or violent struggles against its confinement. Instead it just watches us, turning to face whoever is talking as if it's trying to understand.
Really, it's as if some Beast-Tamer died down here and left their Partner behind. The snake is acting as if it were a pet, and not a wild creature known to murder people and occasionally swallow them whole. I've even heard the larger ones can paralyze people with a weird hypnotism skill, and eat them alive.
Yet here were are, and with an utterly tame example of the opposite. A deep-dwelling monster with zero interest in attacking humans.
Whether Grant agrees or not, I've decided: we're taking this thing back to the surface.