Not all creatures are humble animals - there are more beastly things too, as well as odd creatures who are not born from flesh, but have far more mysterious origins. Here you can find an ever-growing list of such creatures to use in stories and art.
The charmers are curious little things that feed on admiration. Their true form is a small, fleshy ball covered in strange marks and three peering little eyes. Though they are largely harmless, they can cause "victims" some grief. You see, the charmers are shapeshifters, and enjoy taking the place of precious, beloved items so that they can feed on the admiration that the owners and onlookers bestow upon it. Mostly they seem to take the place of small items such as jewelry or statuettes, but they have also been seen to take the place of larger things such as pieces of clothing, furniture or even weapons. So one can wonder how many charmers there really are hiding around us in the world, silently feeding on our admiration...
"I held my mother's old necklace in my hand, studying it closely. There was something not quite right about it. But I put it on, and stood in front of the mirror, studying it. Remembering. Suddenly, a little eye opened up in the center of the necklace, and I yelped with surprise, throwing the necklace away. Before my eyes it warped into a small sphere, with three little gleaming eyes that looked at me. It seemed...almost disappointed. Without a sound it flew out through an open window, never to be seen again. My mother's necklace was nowhere to be found."
The darkmen are, for good reasons, the subject of many horror stories. Like apparitions made from blackest shadow they stalk the dark parts of the world, with long claws ready to rend the flesh of all living things.
Some say they are the dead that have risen again, and others say that they come from some completely other part of existence. What everyone agrees on, though, is that if you ever come across one of the darkmen you better run for your life. Though weapons may seem to harm them, they soon rise again, relentless in their pursuit of bloodshed.
"Among the trees stood a shadow, like a black void in the night around it. Only a pair of pale, merciless eyes gleamed through that darkness, piercing me with cold malice. I could hear a low growl as it started to approach me, and I realized that my time had come."
The earthwalkers are a curious sort. Every now and then, you can come across one of them on the road, silently marching across the world. If it weren't for the rough, barklike grey skin and their bandaged heads, some of them might even look human. But others are disproportionate, have extra limbs or are misshapen in disturbing ways. Though they seldom seem threatening, many find their presence frightening. More than one earthwalker has met its end at the hands of villagers who didn't dare take the chance. Others fall victims to thugs who use them as training dummies, leaving their remains along the roadside.
Others fare better, and may even find temporary homes in villages where their curious and bumbling nature is seen more as endearing than frightening. It's even said that some have learned enough to become rather useful members of society, although still mute. The true origin of these wanderers has yet to be discovered however...
"It was a strange sight, that mute, inhuman traveler. The grownups were weary of it, but the children seemed smitten by it. The darned thing almost seemed a bit intimidated by their prodding and hollering. But I kept a watchful eye, just in case. When my little girl suddenly came over and stated that this thing should come to our home and rest, it was hard not to let curiosity overcome me..."
Strange little fluttering creatures who reside in the mists of Fal Narn. They say that if you give them a sweet treat that they like, they will lead you on safe paths. But if they don't like what you have to offer, your paths may become dangerous indeed. Concept & art by Emily Gichuhi
These eerie beings may look human at first glance, but their outsides hides a very alien being. In times past they existed mostly in Javenna, but during recent years they have been seen in both Lenori and Serdanos, as well as lands beyond. They always travel in pairs, the stories say, though for what reason is uncertain. Usually, they are clothed in rags and caked in dirt and grime, with macabre designs painted on them, or carved in their skin. They may speak with enchanting words, but rarely do their words convey anything but nonsense and riddles as they speak of a blind god in waiting. But while they may seem harmless enough, they will sooner or later try to pluck the eyes out of your skull and eat them. Should they succeed, they will leave you well enough alone and alive - but blind and helpless...
- With contributions by Ludwig Sandbacka and Anders Karls
"I woke up with a jolt, suddenly being wide awake. Somewhere in the dark there was someone talking, but I could not recognize the voices as any of my companions. There seemed to be two of them, laughing and jabbering inbetween. I carefully lit a lantern and got up, weapon in hand. As I approached, the two voices suddenly got quiet and suddenly I heard footsteps running into the forest. And in the light of the lantern, the horrifying sight of my companions met me, their eye-less sockets staring back at me with endless fear..."
Few creatures appear in as many stories as the fleshshifters, and for good reason. They are both malicious and childlike, dangerous and curious. Few have seen them, but everyone has heard of them. Some stories tell of sacrifices and how they eat human flesh and bone. Others tell of people who have befriended a shifter, discovering that they are almost like naive children, only wanting to be human. But such stories rarely end well, as it is human nature to fear and hate that which cannot be understood...
They can wear the guise of both man and animal, and change between them at will. But what their true form is, no one can tell. But even though they are masters of disguise, there is one thing that betrays them - their eyes. While they can hide their true eyes to others, a mirror will reveal their true nature. Then, the seemingly human eyes will instead be small, staring red eyes. But to reveal a fleshshifter like this is a danger in itself, as they will defend themselves in any way necessary when threatened.
"There was a moment when time stood still, and those small, staring eyes just looked at us. Then, the air was filled with the sickening sound of bones being broken and mended, of muscles snapping an reforming. What had just been a young boy now stood before us as an abomination of flesh and teeth. It's arm snapped and warped into some kind of vile scythe, ready to reap us all. We drew our weapons and prepared to fight for our lives."
The stories of the foghags come from the province of Fal Narn in the Rakkhari realm. There, deep in the perpetually misty valleys you can come across these ghoulish figures that wander through the fog. Wanderers describe them as being about as tall as two men put together and covered in tattered pieces of cloth and ancient relics. Their bodies seem to be made only of skin and bone, and they seem to always carry with them some form of sack or basket. Exactly what is kept in these is anyone's guess...
But some stories also tell of a traveling merchant who in his foolishness ate poisonous flowers while traveling through the valleys. He thought he would die then and there in the fog, but awoke some time later, with hazy memories of uneasy sleep in a hut filled with strange baubles, and a tall, gaunt figure nursing him. No wanderer has yet been brave enough to confirm this hospitality though...
"We were making our way through the blue fogs, when we heard a strange groan, somewhere in the mists. I motioned to my friend to be silent, and we waited. Suddenly, a grotesquely tall figure, gaunt as a corpse, came shuffling toward us. Long, filthy hair obscured its face, and tattered rags covered a body made of jagged bones, barely held together by sickly skin. Fear overcame my friend, and he ran. I hesitated, but when the creature groaned again at me, I too turned and ran."
The forlorn are loneliness given black, pulpy flesh. They are born from loneliness and infect everything around it with it - and it is how it catches it victims. It starts with a small feeling of solitude, but the closer you get to the forlorn, the more intense it becomes, until that feeling of loneliness is all you can feel and understand. Suddenly, even the disgusting-looking little thing that is the forlorn seems like the most desirable company in the world. And when you get close enough...it feeds.
They are described as something like a small pile of black flesh, with a small, white head. There is not much of a face to speak of - only a pair of eyes that express an unimaginable, desperate loneliness, longing for company. It is perhaps these eyes that distract the victims from the horrid, pointy limbs that twitch and reach for its victim, ready to grab them and never let them go...
"As I walked I felt a feeling of loneliness creep its way inside me. The longer I walked, the more this feeling of loneliness grew, until I could barely take it anymore. Then I saw it. A pitiful thing, so small and lonesome. So misshapen and abandoned, flailing on the forest floor with its pointy, warped limbs. I had to comfort it. Oh, I could not bear to abandon it, all alone..."
The stories of the gatherers have their origin in the province of Gabbardan in the Rakkhari realm. They speak of strange beings that move in the valley of forgetfulness, stealing your memories one by one, until you do not even remember how to draw breath. They speak of tall, red-robed figures that hover above the ground, clad in ornate metal masks and three-clawed gauntlets. And they speak of an intelligence completely incomprehensible to humans. Thankfully, they seem to very rarely venture outside their valley, and few have reason to venture there, to that place that slowly robs you of all you know...
Concept by Torbjörn Anderssén
"Lliran could see the mountain range in front of him. This, evidently, were the northeastern parts of the Valley. Had he made it? If there was, indeed, a passage leading out, he would have to spend his few remaining ounces of strenght looking for it, though his body ached with exhaustion. Then, from out of nowhere, a tall, red-robed figure with a mask covering his face appeared in front of him. Lliran stopped, fear gripping him."
- Torbjörn Anderssén, The Gatherers
Though many unnatural creatures that thrive on emotions can be quite dangerous, few can kill as surely as the gloombeast. It thrives on sadness and melancholy, often trapping its victims in an unending spiral of ever-deepening gloom and darkness. Without help or support, the victim will waste away, neglecting family, friends, food and drink until they perish in silent despair.
Most tales tell of the gloombeast as a dreadful, dark thing that perches on the shoulders of its victim, folding its tattered wings around them. Several small heads on long, rope-like necks wrap around the victim's neck, almost as if trying to comfort them...
"It feels like weeks since I had last seen the sun. I no longer can remember a time before this dark sorrow that now engulfs me - it claws at my chest and tights around my throat. If I can not find my way out of this, it will be the end of me for sure, but every day I sink further and further into it's dark embrace..."
When fiery anger turns into hatred, a hatespider is very likely near. Like the noya, these creatures rarely show themselves to humans except when their influence is very strong, and even then only to those that are unusually aware of the world around them. What might start as a small sting of hatred for someone – no matter if it was caused by a hatespider or merely attracted it - can quickly grow into a deep, seething hatred, strengthened by a whole colony of hatespiders. Invisible, they crawl all over the victim, spinning their dark webs. There are tales of how the spiders in times of war have even blanketed entire towns in these webs, though one wonders how anyone could stand to live with such poisonous hatred thick in the air...
While most tales describe the hatespider as very spider-like in appearance, others say that they aren't so much spiders as little bundles of thorny legs, forming a thick blanket all over the victim, trying to eat their way to the heart...
"It was done. At long last I had my revenge, after so much waiting. He had ended my brother, and now I had ended him. But as I wiped the blood off my dagger I felt no relief, only a deep, cold viciousness. Over and over I relived those final moments in my mind. Each time my skin tingled with satisfaction..."
The legends of the Mengyonvirrhin all have their origins in Ulavi folklore. They tell off massive beasts of metal which sleep in hidden places, sometimes guarding treasure, sometimes waiting for the end of times. But all legends paint them as dangerous beyond mortal understanding. Where they come from or who built them is a mystery - some say they are abominations of science and sorcery, while others say that only the gods could have brought something so terrible to life...
How the Mengyonvirrhin look depends upon the legend and the teller. But often they are described as massive, lumbering beasts with numerous legs and gleaming eyes of light. Some have the body like that of an insect and a head like a broken circle, others are nothing more than a thorny head with one malicious eye, propped up by three thin, spiderlike legs. But one thing remains constant: the eerie light that they cast upon all that they see, a light that can put flesh to fire and turn any man blind.
Perhaps it is lucky that all they seem to be is stories thus far...
"The old stories tell of wicked things hidden in long forgotten caves and temples. Immense creatures, built not from flesh, but from metal and gems. Fearsome things that could turn a warrior to ash with hateful lights and deafen you with horrid music. So in your ventures for fortune and knowledge, take care. You never know where the Mengyonvirrhin lie sleeping..."
THE MOONLIGHT GUEST
Stories of the Moonlight Guest exist mostly in Serdanos, but has spread along with the serans. To them, it is the face of death, the collector of souls that appears when a life has ended. It is treated with silent reverence, as well as with a slight bit of fear. Few have seen the Moonlight Guest, and those who have do not look upon life with the same eyes as before...
The Moonlight Guest is described as a tall, hovering figure, clad in pure white cloth. It has no face but a wreath of eyes, and on its head rests a crown of pale light. Four thin arms carries four relics: a knife, a jar, a book and a lantern. With these, it collects the remains of the dead, leaving only a cold body behind. Where it carries them is only for the dead to know...
"Then, I saw it. The Moonlight Guest. That pale spectre, hovering by my mother's bed. And just as in the stories, it carried four relics in its hands. 'A knife for the cold corpse, a jar for the still heart, a book for the lost memories and a lantern for the waiting soul...'"
Mosstykes are harmless little beings that inhabit the deep forest and mostly keep to themselves. But wanderers can sometimes find themselves set upon by these mischievous little things, who love to play pranks on people.
Mosstykes can look quite different from one another, but most of them are small (about as high as an adults knee) and covered in all manner of vegetation. Though they could be mistaken for small human children, a closer look shows that they are far more rough and misshapen in appearance.
"The sunset painted the forest a bright, and the air was filled with the chirping of all manner of creatures. I had wandered for a good while, just soaking in the peace of it all. Suddenly, my foot got caught, and I fell with a loud thud, getting the wind knocked out of me. There was an explosion of childlike laughter from the forest, and I realized that my walk wouldn't be as peaceful any more..."
There are few things worse than being set upon by a noya. These beings feed on paranoia, and anyone in their path is sure to feel their touch. Whenever you get an uneasy feeling of somebody watching you, it's wise to speed up your steps, lest you get caught by a noya.
Those unlucky enough to find themselves as victims of one soon find that the small nagging feeling quickly grows more intense. They start to mistrust everything and everyone, shutting themselves in, far from the peering eyes of the world. By then, the noya's claws has sunk deep and refuse to let go. Unless someone comes to their aid, the victims usually die from dehydration or starvation, as they don't even dare trust the food and water anymore, believing some malicious force wants to poison them.
If you ever catch sight of the noya, it usually takes the shape of a chaotic mess of watching eyes and grasping hands, trying to sink their cold claws in the victim's heart.
"Three nights have passed since I last slept. I think. I'm not sure of anything anymore. I haven't left my house in a week. I just pace around my house. Watching. Waiting. They are at the windows, I just know it. They are coming for me, the second I let my guard down. They are coming. Any second now. Any second...any second..."
Passionblooms are rare things indeed - seldom does human passion reach deep enough to birth one of them. They are passion given form for a fleeting moment, and none who behold them can escape its glow, spurring them to great deeds. Stories describe them as a little piece of fluttering rainbow, or butterflies made of starlight, darting through the air, leaving a trail of glimmering light in its wake.
They are, quite understandably, revered in many cultures, but nowhere as much as in Javenna. There they are regarded as a symbol of divinity, a piece of the gods themselves that for a brief moment exists among them.
"We were sitting in the garden, enjoying the evening sunlight and the songs from the streets when there was a sudden flash of light among the trees. Out of the leaves came a small, winged creature, blazing with all the colors of the rainbow. It fluttered around in the air for a moment in front of our astounded eyes, before flying up, and in through a window, from where muffled cries could be hear.'Goodness!' laughed Nialjin 'Someone must to be enjoying themselves!' We all shared a laugh, oblivious to the tears of joy that welled up in our eyes. "
SHEPHERDS OF THE WAVES
Among the seafaring people, the shepherds of the waves can be dire omens or enigmatic protectors depending on who you ask. But most agree that these gaunt, lonely wanderers that stride across the high seas through calm and storm alike should be left well enough alone.
Some say that they are watchful sentinels who gather the spirits of those unfortunate enough to drown at sea or guard the places where ships have gone to their grave, whereas others say they are the shepherds of storms and fell beasts.
"My arms burned as I struggled to swim upwards, desperately fighting the currents. Finally, I broke the surface and filled my lungs with blessed, stormy air. In the distance, beyond whipping winds and crashing waves I saw my ship. Suddenly I felt that I was not alone. Then, between the waves I saw a gaunt figure striding calmly, it's eyes firmly set upon me..."
To the lone wanderer, there is nothing as dangerous as a smokespook. They are beings that seem to made of black smoke, with only the slightest hint of a ghoulish face and bloodred eyes staring at you as its touch paralyzes you and starts devouring your very essence.
Witnesses say that the smokespooks seemingly sucks the very life out of its victims as it's feeding. But while they are usually impervious to weapons, they seem to be far more vulnerable while feeding. So if you want to make sure to make it through the night unharmed, be sure to bring a companion...and hope that any smokespooks don't travel in pairs.
"By the time we found her, it was too late. She was but a limp piece of flesh on the cold forest floor, robbed of all life. Above her rose a ghastly pillar of black smoke, with two spiteful, red eyes glaring out of the darkness. It let out an unearthly scream that made our very bones shiver in pain, before bursting into a cloud of smoke, shooting through the trees away from us."
The stone giants may be a rare sight in the world these days, but whenever they wake, the world trembles. They are a relic from a bygone age - solitary creatures who spend most of their existence in hibernation for decades at a time, slowly becoming part of the landscape. Entire communities have arisen, oblivious to sleeping giants close to their settlement. Though they do not seem to be violent or malicious beasts, a newly-awoken giant is unpredictable and extremely dangerous. More than one village has met it's end at the hands of a confused and agitated giant...
Whenever someone has succeeded in getting close enough to study one of these beasts, they've given account of stone-like skin, impenetrable by normal weapons. Wether they are actually alive, or driven by some ancient sorcery is anyone's guess...
"At first, we thought the slight rumbling was the call of distant thunder. But when the ground started shaking we realized it was time to run for our lives. The rumbling grew deafening, and the forest shook around us as we dashed over rocks and logs. For a second I stopped and looked back - a mountain had stood up behind us, blotting out the sun with its gargantuan form. Then, the mountain roared and the world trembled under its might."
WINDS OF THE WOODS
The winds of the woods are the will of the forest given shape. Though it is said that their true form is the the wind among the trees, they often take on the form of a human bearing colored bands across their body. Some have said that they seem to take on the form of people that have disappeared long ago...
Wanderers who have encountered them speak of young men or women appearing out of nowhere among the trees, menacing them to leave sacred places or warning them not to harm the woods. Then, as suddenly as they appeared, they dissolve into a cloud of leaves or are swallowed by roots, leaving nothing behind but a eerie, cold wind.
Though the winds don't seem to be outright hostile by nature, they mostly seem to confront people when they feel that the forest is being harmed or threatened. It seems that the colors the winds bear in their human form hints at a certain demeanor. Some talk about meeting pleasant, almost seductive winds, while others talk off horrifying encounters, leaving them with nightmares for months. In any case, wanderers do well to tread with caution in the wild parts of the world...
"Suddenly, the wind grew loud and menacing, racing through the trees around us. It cut like a cold knife, ripping at our clothes and whipping up debris around us. And somehere in that howling wind there was a voice, low and threatening, calling out to us. 'Flee...flee...FLEE'. We did not hesitate to obey."
WINDS OF THE WOODS - FAL NARN
Far more ancient than their sisters and brothers outside Fal Narn, the winds of the woods there are far more ancient. They are also far more powerful, and with age they have become less and less human in appearance.
These beings are a rare sight, and an odd one at that. At a distance, they look like a pile of cloth that have caught on a treee branch, but when you get closer you see that the cloth is wrapped around something comepletely else. Strange mechanical and metal pieces jut out from its innards, and a small eye sticks out like the flower of some strange plant. They hover above the ground, silently traveling the world, seemingly looking for something - the eye constantly watching, taking in every detail of the world around it.
They are very elusive creatures, and quickly flee when spotted. Whether that watching eye hides a greater intelligence or some alien mind is anyone's guess...
Concept by Ludwig Sandbacka
"At first I thought it was merely a bundle of cloth, caught on a treestump. Suddenly, it moved, slowly floating down the hill and I realized this thing was alive. Curiosity overcame me, and I snuck closer to it, to get a better look."