The hissump is an extremely venomous creature found in ruins-littered regions of the Wood. It is a subterranean lifeform and an ambush predator consisting of many serpent-like “heads” that slither up through holes and cracks to strike at passing prey.
Little is known of the monster, as few who have witnessed it have ever survived the encounter. Hissumps can have hundreds of “heads” (which may actually be arms, since no one knows what the body of the creature looks like). Each of these appendages is extremely fast and long enough to strike at prey several yards from where it emerges. Furthermore, the monster can occupy an area several hundred yards in diameter, and often waits until its victim has wandered well inside its territory to strike, making it almost impossible to escape.
The venom of a hissump is extremely toxic and can kill almost any living thing almost instantly, even in very small doses. It’s also extremely valuable, if one is able to find a way to gather some of it without becoming a meal for the monster. In certain, knowledgeable circles, the venom of a hissump can fetch a fortune. The buyers aren’t interested in its lethal qualities, however. When properly prepared, it can induce in a person an extended, comatose-like state of sleep in which the victim (or the volunteer) will find themselves in an extremely vivid, hallucinogenic, dream-like state of consciousness. It is said that, in this state, it is possible to live out any fantasy you can imagine, with complete, god-like control. However, if one should lose control of the fantasy, or if the toxin isn’t prepared perfectly, it’s also possible to find oneself trapped inside an unending nightmare capable of literally scaring the unfortunate dreamer to death in his sleep. Attempt at your own risk.
The hissump is considered one of the deadliest creatures in the known universe. Under no circumstances should a known or suspected nest be approached.
Additional: it is believed that the hissump may have given rise to the Greek myth of the hydra, the legendary, serpent-like monster known for its ability to grow back two heads for each one that it loses in battle. If you were lucky enough and skilled enough to defend against the hissump’s first strike, you would only find yourself surrounded by more of its relentless “heads” making it seem as if it were multiplying.