Mabolmaeglimath (S. "Skillful grasp-fish") or Festiqan (Ga. "Death claws") were huge creatures with eight appendages. They resembled a cross between a crab and a squid and inhabited the inland seas of Rhûn, Nûrnen, Dushera and the sheltered coastal shelves between the Bay of Helcar (in the Romenëar) and the Bay of Ormal (in the Haragaer). Because they were enamoured of rich, somewhat briny water, though, mabolmaeglimath could thrive in any marsh, delta, lake, or ocean where there was a little salt. They were most common in Mordor and in the waters off Arg-Simorîg.
Mabolmaeglimath fed on starfish, shellfish, and submarine worms, but they would attack any animal that came within reach of their four nimble, steely claws. Each of these pincers was 1 -2 feet in diameter and could crush a Man with ease. Together, they presented a frightening array. Actually, they were simply the creature's four forward, grasping appendages, and were used to immobilize prey. The mabolmaeglim tore its victims apart with nine inch mandibles and four pairs of mouth parts.
Like their crab relatives, sharp-claws propelled themselves backwards when they swam, but they moved much faster, often at speeds of up to fifteen miles an hour. Generally, though, they preferred to burrow and remain inactive until their prey happened by. Their ability to lay an ambush was legend, especially among the slavefishermen of Núrn. After all, mabolmaeglimath were huge, bright purple denizens that one would expect to see with relative ease. By using refined instincts and the cover of their burrows and murky waters, however, these beasts hid very well.
Sharp-claws made excellent feeding machines. They 'heard' with sensors in their four legs and could smell and feel with their three foot long antennae. Pain did not affect them. (They could not be stunned.) Once a mabolmaeglim sensed a prospective kill, it darted forward and embraced its victim with one or more pincers. Then it smelled the prey with its feet, analyzing the pinioned creature's worth as food.
Original form in MERP:Mabelmaikli
- Retrieved from [Realms of Arda]; original reference: [ICE MERP 2012]