The Unconquerable City 8

The Unconquerable City: 123456789101112

Basilisks are rare creatures, and usually not this large. They do have the power to turn organic matter to stone- which they do by focusing their eyes on it in a certain way and staring for a long enough period of time. Several minutes is usually enough. In the wild, they will turn things to stone for two reasons- one, as a defence, because there are bigger and meaner creatures than basilisks in this world (and basilisks are actually kind of slow on the ground), and two as a way of capturing food. Their prey gets turned to stone slowly from the outside in, so a quick blast will only solidify the outside, leaving plenty of edible meat inside.

This has been a presentation of Hinterland Who’s Who. *cue music*

Discussion (2)¬

  1. Hans Lemurson says:

    I’m reading back through your archives to appreciate your great work once again.

    I have a question about basilisks here. Your explanation is that they slowly petrify their prey from the outside in, and you can see the one there eating a “crunchy on the outside” ox on the ground. However, when the army first entered the city, there were people turned into stone statues.

    My Question is: Were these super-powered basilisks that could turn on their “high-beams” for instant petrification, or were those people still “chewy on the inside” and suffered an agonizing death of blindness paralysis and suffocation as their skin solidified around them?

    • Jonathon says:

      Hi Hans. When I wrote this, I’m pretty sure my thinking was that continued exposure to the basilisk’s petrification gaze would continue to spread the stone inward to the core. In other words, when basilisks are used in combat, their handler could get them to stare at a target for longer, making it entirely petrified. But, on the other hand, how would anyone (basilisk included) know when the job was done? And would it be worth the extra time in the middle of a heated battle?
      So in the end I guess I don’t know how deep the petrification goes on those people. And I don’t expect anyone in this city is too eager to find out. Maybe that explains why they’re being so careful with their remains. I will say that the petrification wouldn’t have to be very deep before you would be dead for reasons other than suffocation. It would be a horrible and agonizing way to die, but we’re talking seconds or tens of seconds, not minutes or hours.