"At last, in the salt-soaked crags beneath the lowest foundations we unearthed that damnable creature of ancient evil, a ravening beast from before not merely the Godswar, but time itself. We were in a realm of death and madness, the horror its maleficent lord; its presence was strong enough to reshape not merely our minds, but reality altogether!"
Sexes: Unknown. Perhaps hermaphroditic.
Height: 16'0"-17'4" at the shoulders. Roughly 18' from tip to tail.
Weight: Unknown, as no one has actually weighed one. Likely immense.
Skin: Bluish-green, perpetually moist and secreting a gray goo that sloughs off its body.
Eyes: Large, featureless white orbs.
Ears: No visible ears, but they are clearly able to sense sound.
Lifespan: Unknown, but certainly ancient.
Lurelings are ancient beasts from a time beyond reckoning, and are one of the most dangerous creatures encountered on Savarra — when they wish to be. With powers that match those of most major spirits, the remaining lurelings in this day and age thankfully dwell in solitude not just physically in the deepest marine trenches and underground freshwater lakes, but also mentally as they spend much of their time in the Dreamscape, which they are far more at home in as opposed to the realm of the material. While known to possess exceptional intelligence matching or surpassing that of most known races, their deep-sea origins and cultural refusal to make contact make their motivations and goals all but unknowable. Lurelings are perfectly capable of communication via psychically imposing their thoughts upon the minds of others, yet refuse to make their presence known to, much less discourse with, even marine races such as siorcanna and selkies unless the given lureling is in immediate and overwhelming distress.
What is known about them, however, is that lurelings are very large, very ugly amphibians resembling something between a frog, a snake and an angler fish, with four stubby legs propelling a sinuous body that supports an immense head. Their heads play home to a large, circle-shaped mouth filled with concentric rows of teeth that rotate like a drill, allowing the lureling to tunnel through ice and stone alike with ease. Lurelings often carve out lairs in which they can rest their physical bodies undisturbed while their minds wander the Dreamscape, wholly absorbed in their fugue state. While lurelings prefer to use telekinesis to interact with the material, owing in part to their ungainly bodies, numerous tentacles extrude from their sides which allow for fine manipulation of objects in the physical sense should they desire.
One of a lureling's most important abilities is the fact that it continually secretes a gelatinous grey goo that covers all of its body and continually sloughs off its monstrous form, eventually occluding whatever water its physical body rests in. The goo serves many purposes: firstly, it prevents the lureling from drying out on land; like many other amphibians, a lureling must keep its skin moist in order to survive. If separated from water for too long, the exterior of the goo coating forms a tough, leathery crust that locks in moisture about the beast, preventing it from dehydrating.
The second purpose the grey goo serves is as a physical barrier to blunt blows from would-be attackers, a protective shield to give the lureling time to react should its body be assailed while it wanders the Dreamscape.
The final, and most iconic property of the grey goo is that anyone who comes into contact with even so much as a trace amount has their minds touched by the lureling's psychic presence. Usually, this is imperceptible, perhaps no more than the occasional uneasy feeling in the back of one's mind, and many so unwittingly influenced go about their lives with no more harm than the occasional nightmare. However, should the lureling turn its baleful dominance upon anyone touched by it, the vulnerability created by this contact allows the beast to reach through the Dreamscape and suborn the weak-willed to its demands.
Mental Domination And Marions
This ability to dominate and control others has been stuff of legends amongst seafaring and aquatic folk, and the subject of study for the exceptionally foolhardy. Once a lureling asserts its mental dominance, the bond is usually permanent, and the victim will spend the rest of his or her life as a puppet — called "marions" by aquatic races in the know — to their lureling master, unwittingly doing anything the beast demands of them. Lureling influence can be hard to detect, since where the creatures do interfere with events in the material world, they are careful to not have their marions act in ways that would arouse suspicion unless the need is great. Since the Dreamscape envelopes the whole of Savarra, there is no distance too vast for the lureling to reach in order to pull the strings of its puppet; fleeing its influence is not an option.
Once identified, driving a lureling's influence from a marion is a difficult task owing to the beast's formidable mental prowess. Yet it is not an impossible prospect, for peoples with similar capabilities — the greatest of the avanai hierophants, perhaps — have succeeded in doing so. Even then, the victim must be watched constantly for signs of relapse, and examined periodically to ensure that the beast's influence is no longer upon his or her mind. It should be noted that even after separation, ex-marions remain extraordinarily weak-willed, easy to influence, and remarkably trusting. They are also, however, eager to please and hard-working. Perhaps the surest way to be free of a lureling's influence, once entrenched, is to slay the beast; a dangerous proposition, but it is also the only way to be certain.
The number of marions a lureling is capable of handling is dependent both on the beast's mental acuity and the degree of influence exerted: as a lureling's mental powers grow and it becomes more adept at walking the Dreamscape, it becomes capable of simultaneously directing an increasing number of marions. Similarly, the mental effort required to fully subsume a marion's personality and suborn its will might be better put to use only lightly touching the minds of a dozen individuals, prompting its victims to take actions they were already inclined towards to begin with. A lureling that attempts to control more marions than it can handle easily becomes confused and dull as its attention is divided too finely; this may be the one state in which the beasts are vulnerable, if not outright docile.
Thankfully, lurelings are surprisingly non-violent despite their psychic powers; our minds are as unknowable to them as theirs are to ours. Most recorded instances of harm to surfacers are a result of self-defense due to people breaking into their lairs; the natural psychic fields lurelings project through the Dreamscape are usually sufficient to deter would-be adventurers, so this does not happen often. When provoked to retaliation, though, the initial response is intense and overwhelming; jaws made for boring through stone and ice tear apart flesh and bone with equal ease. Any survivors are dominated and transformed into helpless marions, made to serve the beast for the short remainder of their lives.
On rare occasion, though, a lureling provoked to action may turn extremely vindictive, turning its attention to the destruction of not just those whom it feels has wronged it, but anything and everything remotely related to the interlopers — families, friends, hometowns, nations. It is not known what exactly triggers such a disproportionate response from the usually reclusive beasts, but the spiteful rage results in anything from blasted lands to mass hysteria and broken courts. Such a rampage, though immaterial in the nature of all things related to the Dreamscape, is no less destructive and is only ended by the complete annihilation of everything tangentially connected to those who incited its ire, or the beast itself.
As lurelings themselves are secretive and averse to contact with people save their marions, little is known about their habits. What is known has been gleaned through the memories of rehabilitated marions — visions of seeking mates through the Dreamscape, plays for dominance, alien recollections of what might be copulation in a sense they could not comprehend despite being touched by the beast. The stories suggest that lurelings may be hermaphroditic in the nature of some amphibians, or that they may switch sexes at will, but it is hard to piece together anything concrete from the shattered and broken minds of ex-marions. The most disturbing implication of the tales is that lurelings are said amongst themselves to be "born" in the Dreamscape before their physical bodies manifest, which raises more questions than it answers.
Only one of the conditions below must be met to unlock the Lurelings Codex entry:
- Pilfering through Master Tollus' Notes at the Second Floor of the Abyssal Depths during the events of Winter Wolf