Call of the Vigilant
A basilisk looks like a cross between a garden snake and a four-foot-long lizard. These creatures are usually colored in gray or brown tones, with no distinguishing features save for gray, rooster-like combs atop their heads and beady eyes. The eyes glow with a fierce white light, visible only at night, and which inflicts terrible damage to any living being in its path. During the day, sunlight obscures the basilisk’s eyelight. The basilisk hunts by night, crawling out of its cave at twilight. At this time, they are most dangerous, driven to hunt by ravenous hunger. Unlike most creatures, basilisks sleep with their eyes open, lighting up their small caves as if with a hundred candles.
For many centuries, magicians and scholars puzzled over how basilisks reproduce. A creature that kills anything it looks at can hardly be expected to mate in any normal way and would most likely kill any baby basilisks it managed to spawn. The answer to this puzzle is that the basilisk does not mate, but splits. Every so often in a basilisk’s life, its tail begins to grow thicker and takes on the appearance of a second head. After several weeks, both heads look exactly the same, and the creature splits in half. The two halves begin to grow new tails, and within days there are two basilisks instead of one.
Some scholars claim the basilisk resembles the cockatrice— others believe basilisks and dragons are related. Legends abound of foolish magicians who tried to harness the basilisk’s magic for their own ends, and died from their efforts.