Template:Fauna Vicious, malicious and deadly, the Dartswimmer is the king of predatory fish. Lurking in freshwater ponds, lakes and streams, it impales its prey with the large spike on its head.
Ranging in lengths from 3-4 foot, with some specimens growing large, the Dartswimmer is a powerful fish, equipped with a tough 'spike' on their heads. The scales of the fish have a multitude of colorations, from light blues through to purples and light grey through to pitch black. It is also equipped with a mouth full of tiny, needle-like teeth.
The life cycle of the Dartswimmer is similar to many fish, but with some behaviours similar to other predatory animals. After it has spawned, it will subsist on bugs, small flies and other insects that may fall into the water and drift into its path. Once it has grown big enough, it will either stay where it is if the food source is plentiful, or travel in search of better feeding grounds.
Once a suitable location has been found, one where minimum effort can be spent in order to hunt the maximum amount of prey, the Dartswimmer will spend the rest of its life here. These locations tend to be rivers or small lakes, where the Dartswimmer can create its own lair in the foliage at the sides of the body of water, emerging when suitable prey can be found.
In terms of aquatic predators, the Dartswimmer is one of the most vicious. Any Dwarf unlucky enough to encounter one, whilst in water, should endeavour to leave the water as quickly as possible. If this is not possible, then it is advised to kill the Dartswimmer as quickly as possible in brutal melee combat. Swinging large weapons underwater will prove to be very difficult, so thin, piercing weapons that can travel through the water will be most effective.
It is best practise to simply visually check any body of water you are about to travel in for signs of Dartswimmers, or other aquatic predators.
Though not farmed for its meat, the Dartswimmer is a large fish and can provide enough food for a Dwarf for a good while. The spike that adorns the head of the fish is often taken as a trophy by those accosted by the predator.
The main product from this fish is its scales, which are immensely popular in the Western Beldoms, where they are fashioned into clothing, trinkets and accessories.
Within enclosed, freshwater bodies, the Dartswimmer is most often the apex predator. It will hunt out and eat all other smaller fish and any small mammals or birds that may fall into its path. Even if it does not prey on a specific animal, it may still attack them if it feels threatened.
As mentioned previously, Dartswimmer scales are a popular choice of material to work with within the Western Beldoms. They are most often found as linings on clothes, turned into small pieces of jewellery such as earrings or used in other, more esoteric endeavours, such as book coverings. Some notable figures, such as diplomats, sometimes have an entire ensemble made purely out of the scales of this fish. Treating the scales so they are comfortable to wear and stop producing an odour, is a cumbersome process and only fully achieved by a handful of the most capable workshops or guilds within the region. It is a sign of either great frugality or great cheapness, to be seen, and smelt, in Dartswimmer scales that have been poorly treated. To 'smell ones scales' is a way of saying that you need to cut back on the frivolities or greater expenses within your life.
There are no other pictures of the Dartswimmer.