Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

A Digression on Monsters [timeless]

Several of you have asked about chromodons and nendrai. As a prelude to the next section, here's what I know about them off the top of my head. It may or may not be wholly accurate.

Both creatures are among the most fearsome monsters of the World Tree. Do not think that all our monsters are like this!


A chromodon is a pack of eight housecats, or housecattish things with big jaws of sharky teeth. Each pack is a single person, one mind split among eight bodies. Actually you don't usually see all eight bodies together -- they usually spread out for safety. "Spread out" might mean a thousand miles between bodies!

They're smart. Their bite is poisonous, I'm pretty sure.

Oh, and they have some magic too. Like, they can improvise spells comparable with my best spell or better, using any combination of arts at all (or at almost?). At the rate of three or four a second. It takes me eight or ten seconds to improvise one spell. And chromodons never run out of cley. And they do this coolly and collectedly and sensibly.

So fighting one of a chromodon's bodies is like fighting a small horde of pretty decent sorcerers, who are all casting spells intelligently.

Now suppose you win that fight -- you kill the one body. (Which is pretty hard, 'cause the chromodon can keep casting spells on it for a little after it's dead, and can teleport it around or heal it or stuff, I think.) Anyways, suppose you've killed the one body. There are still seven more bodies to deal with.

And those seven are very, very upset. 'cause a chromodon needs all eight bodies to reproduce.

You've just castrated but not otherwise inconvenienced a very powerful monster. The remaining 7/8ths, plus zir unhappy mate, and any other creatures that a very powerful monster might recruit as allies, are now on your tail. And you don't even know where they are, 'cause they're a few hundred miles away somewhere.

The best advice on dealing with chromodons: go a long long way away and outlive them. They only live forty years or so. Even non-Zi Ri do that.


Nendrai are worse.

They're big ugly lizardly sorts of people -- even the smaller varieties are the size of a large Gormoror up to a small horse, and the larger varieties are pretty big. They like getting things from primes. They have long lashy thin tails. Some of them have multiple heads, which is bad, or forked tails, which is far, far worse.

They're pretty scary just physically. They have ridiculous vitality -- a good warrior could stand being stabbed through the heart five times before dying, say. A small nendrai could probably handle ten times that. A big one could probably handle a hundred.

But the real danger is magic. They can improvise Mutoc spells -- spells of change -- at degrees of complexity ranging from "exceedingly good" (complexity 40! With my best spell being 20.) on up, and with power to match. They have only two restrictions: (1) no Healoc, and (2) the nendrai casts the spell on the target by touching the target with its tail. Like chromodons, their magic doesn't cost cley.

Which makes them really nasty enemies. There's an awful lot that you can do with a complexity-40 Mutoc-plus-anything-but-Healoc spell. Like ... You can turn a rainstorm into a rain of poisoned hail. You can turn an acorn into iron. You can turn a forest's acorns into darts and make the trees hurl them at your enemies. You can disguise a town as just about anything. You can teleport several people dozens of miles. You can graft a spell instantly. You can wholly transform someone's loyalties. You can turn a fire into a devastating, semi-controlled fire elemental. You can change the recent past, e.g., unscrewing-up a screwed-up attack. You can turn someone's armor into scorpions. You can turn someone's memories of their native language into scorpions too, I think, which renders them (1) stung about the head by insects, and (2) incapable of conveniently asking for help.

On second thought, that's maybe a bit more than complexity 40. 40 will turn a person to air, but turning a person to fire is 45. Turning a specific set of memories to living animals is more like complexity 60. Which is beyond the reach of many nendrai. Vaisessasilmin living by us is a member of the species N. magus, which Broon said was the kind that's good at magic. She might well be able to do it.

This does not please me greatly, having someone physically and emotionally capable of such... sitting at the bottom of the Verticals selling trinkets to farmers.

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