Behold, Their Terrible Shapes
The Color-Wraiths, lost in an eternity of lifeless solipsistic madness, have long since shed any semblance of humanity. Their ectoplasmic forms are semifluid and amorphous, melting and shifting in a constant predatory dance, sometimes spastically morphing and othertimes languidly flowing into new shapes. They generally retain a few certain characteristics, resembling the general outlines of some kind of strange extraterrestrial squid, with a round, blind bloated headbody and a multitude of loathsomely-jointed or tentacular limbs (some armed with mangled hands or talons, others alien pads of fluttering cilia, others stabbing insectile claws). The Color-Wraiths' unwholesome bodies sometimes manifest strange staring eyes like those of crabs or men, or bloom forth purposeless, unnatural organs which hang horribly lank from their molten bodies. They constantly drip a slime of pleromatic filth, visible only from certain angles, which stains the air translucently before evaporating away into nonreality.
Of course, the Color-Wraiths' most noticeable feature is their constantly shifting, hypnotic hues. At all times, a Color-Wraith's oozing flesh is patterned in kaleidoscopic, brilliant colors- virulent greens and purples, broiling pinks, muted loathsome yellows, the dark reds and browns of rotting meat, screaming electric blues, and a myriad of other tones. This ever-changing panoply is a disgusting and yet hypnotic spectacle, which leaves many witnesses to these otherworldly horrors dumbfounded and stupefied before the ghosts' hungry tentacles.
Color-Wraiths seem to have an inherent sense of mortal life. When they perceive it, they seek it out, silently hunting and drawing near until they can envelop the unsuspecting prey and consume it, consuming and recycling its matter into its own. When the Color-Wraiths eat, they leave behind only blood, streaked and spattered through their hunting ground; the red fluid seems useless to them, unlike the rest of the mortal body.
The bodies of Color-Wraiths are only pseudo-present, like an ectoplasmic shadow or shell which is splattered on the fabric of the mortal world. Mortal weapons cannot harm them. Only sorcery, fire, and the light of the sun can blast apart the awful corpuses which the disembodied entities draw about them, and even then, only for a while. A destroyed Color-Wraith does not die (and perhaps it cannot ever die) but will linger without presence, watching, waiting to cannibalize the matter of a dying mortal being or suitable mass of living or once-living material and transform back into a bloated, shifting, amoebic mass.
Gor-Kashesh The Haunted
It is in the haunted burrows of Gor-Kashesh that the Color-Wraiths drift, stalking through the shattered hallways, silent galleries, and blind passageways, weaving squidlike through arcades of ancient pillars straining to sustain the weight of ages, and sucking silently in low alcoves and desecrated tombs.
A city so ancient that the land has grown over and above it, Gor-Kashesh lies buried deep within the grey slopes of great Mount Kashesh, which rears its gleaming white head above the Tlorkal Badlands. The city strains to hold up the tectonic weight of the peak above it, and periodically, earthquakes and great slides will rearrange the face of the sprawling catacomb which once was a mortal metropolis.
Silent, cold, hungry beyond human measure, the Color-Wraiths, ghastly remnants of the ancient and nameless doom of Gor-Kashesh, roil in eternal waking through this sleeping world of dust and abandonment, their un-minds bound in a web of unfathomable madness. They have been awake so long that they have forgotten what it is like to sleep, for a night or for forever, and in the cold embrace of unlife they have forgotten what it means to be alive, to be mortal.
The nomads who herd goats through the wilderness and the villagers who scrape a pitiful sustenance of hard-shelled squash from the stony foothills of Mount Kashesh shun the blind mouths of the dead city's tunnels, kept away by ancestral fear of the darkness within those crushed galleries. Even the promise of the timeless riches buried within cannot dispel the sense of nameless horror which surrounds the tunnels into Gor-Kashesh like an ominous shroud. On occasion, foolhardy adventurers, swollen with mercenary pride, or scholars of the Empire of Flowers seeking ancient magics, will enter the sunken pits of antiquity. Some come out mad and are never again the same; most never return.
What Do They Want From The Mortal World?
Who can say?
It seems that the Color-Wraiths are driven only by hunger, aimless and drifting until they sense the vibrations of a fluttering mortal lifeforce, which excites them into a state of twitching predatory fervor.
And yet, at times, their strange madness seems not so much like madness, but more like something driven by an unfathomable intelligence, a mind which sees not into this world but into a world hidden within every angle, a world in which, perhaps, the Wraiths are the masters.
The Color-Wraiths never leave Gor-Kashesh, not even to drift down the slopes of Mount Kashesh (which they might certainly do at night), but neither do they seem overconcerned for the ancient dust-choked glories of the galleries through which they wander or the piled remnants of ageless treasure which they leave unmolested on the claustrophobic streets of that burrowing place.
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? Responses (8)-8
I dunno', I just like it
not spirits to mess with. 5/5
Truely excellent. I was thinking of subbing a critter that looked like what I see when I have migraines, and this critter fits that bill!
vividly described, and certainly unique.
I kind of like it, too.
These creatures bring some questions with them, especially about their relation to the ancient city... is it their natural home, a place they are bound to for some reason, or is it a gate of sorts, between their world and ours...
But Captain's posts often pose questions that are better left unanswered. :)
A pleasantly eldritch horror from beyond space and time!
They're an interesting breed of vaguely Lovecraftian spooks; they leave me wondering whether the original dwellers in the city had anything in common with humanity.
Perhaps these spirits, ancient beyond reckoning, are the remnant of a race as incomprehensible and shapeless as they, a cephalopodal species whose strange appendages were reshaped as needed: Some ending in clusters of sensitive cilia, others swinging jagged ripping claws. Instead of being more horrifying than the forms they originally wore, the Color-Wraiths are actually less so...
The first things that come to mind are barrages of questions, such as what was the Doom of Gor-Kashesh, what are the goals and desires of the Color-Wraiths, and other such things. But in proper Lovecraftian fashion, learning the answers to these questions fall into the realm of things not meant to be known by man, and perhaps it was these answers that destroyed Gor-Kashesh, and drive the madness of the Color-Wraiths.
Curiosity killed the cat, as the expression goes.
Ah, I was looking for something like these. Gotta warp your fallen city into my setting though. I don't do others' settings ;)
Definitely gonna use it! 4.5/5