Finally, we reach the topic of matrons.
These are perhaps the most dangerous of the skree, and also the most elusive. Thus, I know very little about them and what little I do know is based on notes others have made as I’ve never seen them.
It’s probably the reason why I’m alive.
So, as I mentioned in my earlier overview of the skree, matrons appear to be their leaders.
And, given how unbelievably dangerous the skree are, it stands to reason that their leaders would be no different. And, if that’s what you think… you couldn’t be more correct.
The reports I have of them are hazy at best. It seems they spend most of their time behind the scenes, perhaps giving orders and creating battle plans. Maybe they even bicker amongst each other the way our own leaders do?
If only I could get one of them to talk…
If there is a skree that could tell us more about their society, then it would definitely be the matrons. But, while there are numerous reports that they are capable of speech… none have ever been captured.
They’re far too dangerous to take in alive, and that’s assuming you could ever be in a position to do so.
The reports I have put them at thirty to sixty feet tall. And, while people are given to exaggeration, I think that leaves a lot of room for them to be utterly terrifying. Especially when you consider that brute force is not where their strength lies. But, we’ll get to that in a moment.
Damn, I wish the dwarves had taken the time to give more accurate descriptions… though I suppose I can’t fault them for it. I’ll just have to do the best I can with what I have to work with.
Most reports describe matrons as being larger than scuttlers, a lot larger, and possessing an almost humanoid upper body complete with a pair of hands. Though they’re said to have more fingers than we do.
The reports disagree on how many exactly. Some say six fingers to a hand, others say thirteen. I guess when you’re running and fighting for your life counting fingers on the thing murdering you, and everyone around you isn’t your highest priority.
Aside from these humanoid hands, matrons have six legs which end in barbed claws. And, while their legs aren’t the sharp, blade-like weapons of the scuttler they can crush a man in plate armor like you or I might squash a roach beneath the heel of our boot.
Ironic isn’t it?
They also have a long tail, reminiscent of a scorpion’s. The reports disagree on whether or not it contains venom. Some say it does, some say it doesn’t, and others say it doesn’t matter because being hit with the damn thing will kill you either way.
There have also been reports that they have a set of wings hidden under the thick, armored carapace on their backs. But, I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. Given that they’re said to do everything from breathing fire like a dragon to turning into beautiful women and seducing unwitting dwarves, I think we can safely assume that there’s a lot of rubbish mixed in among truths.
Really, getting anything conclusive on these things is damn near impossible so take what I say with a grain of salt. Or, perhaps, a bucket.
Now, finally, we get to what makes them truly threatening. Yes, the deadly tail, enormous physical strength, and possibility of flight are just the gravy on this dish of nightmares.
It’s true threat… is magic.
They are the only known skree to cast spells, and their spells are unbelievably powerful. Their magic has been said to rival that of the most powerful wizards to ever live. Given how those wizards reached near-godlike power… I’m not sure that’s true. If it were, the dwarves would’ve fallen ages ago and the rest of the world with them.
But, while they may not be quite that powerful, they are still not to be trifled with, and one thing every report I’ve come across can agree on is that when a matron arrives… the battle is over.
And, not in a good way.
So, this begs the question then… why don’t they get more involved? What stops them? Do they have other enemies we don’t know about? Do they suffer from infighting? Pride? Greed?
A being capable of wielding magic and commanding others would definitely indicate a high intellect, but how high? Do they have emotions? Friends? Lovers? How different from us are the skree?
Many of these questions may never be answered, but one that can be is: Are the skree dangerous?
Without a doubt, yes.
- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University