The Solitary Wing (Lower)
Before the Eclipse: Compared to the constant sounds of life in all the other wings, the silence in this wing is unnerving. Unlike the other cells in the complex, these all have solid wood doors to keep their inhabitants from communicating with those outside.
Inside the cell is an empty room with a hole in the floor, an oubliette. The interior of the oubliette is empty. With the doors closed, the prisoners are stuck in pitch black, a sensory deprivation that turns most into residents of the Mental Ward.
Anyone here is either a serious troublemaker within the complex, or has secrets of some kind that the Powers That Be don't want spreading. Getting an actual audience with someone in solitary is nearly impossible.
After the Eclipse: The darkness filling the cells has grown to encase the entire wing, seeming almost alive and malicious. Torches are shattered to uselessness, and constant skittering can be heard all around. Anyone who comes here will quickly find themselves assaulted by dozens of the shadowborn insects. The presence of light will only further enflame the swarm, some sacrificing themselves to bodily snuff out torches and shatter lamps.
The central 4 solitary cells are the most interesting part of this wing, and the part that every beetle in the complex will defend to the death. Each of the cells is packed full (oubliette included) of the shredded remains of the bodies the beetles have been collecting. Buried within that shredded nesting material is the multitude of eggs from which voracious larvae will soon hatch and begin feeding on their gathered nesting material.
A few have already done so, and the quick larval stage means that within a week of unchecked activity, the beetles will swarm through the rest of the complex, annihilating everyone left before tearing apart the entrance door and emerging into the tunnels beneath Shardis.
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Dog-sized creatures with thick, scaly skin, long claws and double-rows of razor teeth. They charge to bring down their prey, biting through calf or thigh with their terrifyingly strong jaws, though occasionally they'll hammer a large creature with their long tail to knock them over. Once their victims are downed, the creatures claw and bite without mercy, tearing out large chunks of sweet, delicious flesh to devour. Their bite is poisonous, quickly leading to paralysis and sepsis, presuming the prey lives that long.
The Ebony Octopus
It creeps from shadow to shadow, finding entry through the smallest of openings. Shadowy tendrils snake from around corners and beneath grates, grabbing ankles and dragging victims screaming into the darkness. What happens next is best left unsaid.
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Notably, these tendrils seem immune to the normal corrosive effect of light upon the denizens of the Primal Shadows, retaining their form and power despite direct illumination. This makes them a huge threat against the unwary, who naturally assume that being in the light protects them from the dangers lurking in the lightless reaches. Only the core body itself is vulnerable to radiance, though trapping it long enough to fully destroy it is quite difficult; much like it's waterborn compatriot, the Ebony Octopus is hard to pin down.
Fell creatures near the top of the food chain, shadowbeasts are a hairsbreadth away from being shadow incarnate. Their form is extremely fluid, shifting and changing as actual shadows do, becoming larger or smaller as needed. If seen with dim light (full daylight would annihilate it), it will appear as an amorphous mass of shadows, clinging to and creeping along the ground.
Cunning predators, they prefer to ambush their prey and drag it off into the darkness, enshrouding it with their caustic shadows before tearing it apart to release the essence of life within.
Like all creatures of this plane, light is a potent weapon against a shadowbeast. Enough light will kill it, as will sufficient application of magical damage. Physical weaponry, however, is next to useless in fending one off. Torchbearers should be cautious, however, for a shadowbeast will make it's first priority the removal of light and any who carry it.Go to Comment
The Onyx Serpent
A great creature of black, stony skin, whose slithering across the ground sounds like the grinding of mill stones. It has piercing eyes of gold and teeth that glow with a ghostly pale light, with a hiss that sounds like crumbling mountainsides. It's size belies it's speed, however, and this snake eshews venom, preferring instead to crush and swallow prey whole.
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The hide is an organic obsidian composite harder than any known rock, easily capable of deflecting both blade and spell. Of the various fauna that exist in the Hell of Primal Shadows, this is the one that all others fear. You do not confront it, you sidestep it and pray it finds something tastier to go after.
Every ecosystem has its parasites; the Hell of Primal Shadows is no different.
Living, writhing shadows, Aphotic Worms clump together and swarm unsuspecting creatures, wriggling and sliding their way into any orifice they can. Once they've infested their target, they take full control over its actions, using their new host to hunt and kill prey. Non-sentient, the worms will flee a host when it has been rendered unconscious, immobile, or dead.
Their danger lies in numbers and hosts. The worms themselves are easily killed with the smallest of lights.Go to Comment
I'd like to note that, while not required, it should be extremely hard, if not impossible, for a mage to use more than one style at once. Otherwise it opens the field to powergaming of a nasty type. Perhaps the shape of the energy used in each style interferes with that of the others, or some similar reason.