Dom (bateleur) wrote,

Apophian Soulless

The villagers saw in the boggy ground to the side of the well a slow shifting of the shadows. Something wet and shiny caught the light. The night was overcast, so fearing armed vagrants or raiders from a distant village they moved forward with torches raised. The ground unfolded to meet them with a hiss. Serpent scales of black and red glittered in the torchlight and their opponent rose up, twice the height of any amongst them. The terror’s upper body might have been mistaken for that of a human woman but for the flickering red slits of its eyes. Below, its form was that of a great snake, which moved to coil about the villagers and trip them as they fled.

The thing did not pursue. It watched as the torches scattered in the night and disappeared into the huts and barns along the edge of the grasslands. Then slowly it turned and in a swift motion dived into the well. Down there in the cool darkness of the water it coiled tight about its treasure. A metal rod lay half buried in the mud of the riverbed. It pulsed softly with a cursed light as red as blood.

From its lair the soulless one reached out to feel the slow flow of life from the river, from the fields and from the villagers. It flowed downwards into the well and into the rod. And as the rod grew stronger, so too did the horror. In time the curse would consume all of this. When it did, the soulless one would need to find new sustenance, but for now it could sleep.


The Apophian soulless are creatures which mainly live in the Fault Realms, the strange jumble of fragmented worlds between the lands of humans and the wind kingdom of Aeros. They are unable to survive by eating food and are sustained only by the proximity of curses and other secrets connected with decay and misfortune.

During the locking of the Fault Realms undertaken to trap the society of assassins whose base of operations was located there one of the expeditionary forces from the Six Castles encountered the wound from which the soulless had emerged and sealed it. Consequently the numbers of soulless surviving in the world has been declining since the end of the age of wars.

Although Apophian soulless prefer to hide and sleep, if hunted down they are fierce fighters and will sometimes attack preemptively if they perceive a threat. In combat they are fierce opponents, both fast and fearsomely strong. Worse still, they wield a secret which tears at the fabric of souls in their vicinity. All living creatures nearby suffer distortion to their senses, may see strange flickering visions and will have trouble making use of any secret which relies on either senses or the channeling of energies external to the wielder.

If an Apophian soulless is not thoroughly destroyed it may be returned to life by any cursed energies nearby. This process is slow and takes anything from days to weeks, but can only be prevented by removing or destroying the source of the curse or by annihilating the body of the dead soulless.
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