Genders: Male and Female
Height: 8’ 0” to 8’ 8” at the shoulders. Roughly 9’ from tip to tail.
Eyes: Large, featureless black orbs.
Ears: Small ear-holes above their gills.
Tails: Lurelings have short, thick tails growing from their haunches.
Power of the Lurelings
Lurelings are a native species of the icy moon of Uveto VII, and are one of the most dangerous creatures encountered on the world - when they wish to be. Lurelings are an aquatic species of exceptional intelligence (generally believed to be at ausar/human levels or higher), yet their deep-sea origins and physical inability or cultural refusal to make contact make their motivations and goals all but unknowable. Lurelings are perfectly capable of communication, yet refuse to make their presence known to, much less discourse with, the colonists 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 and an angler fish, with four stubby legs propelling a teardrop-shaped 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 surface ice with ease.
What makes lurelings truly interesting - and dangerous - to the Uvetan colonists, however, is their native psionic ability and how they manifest it. Like several other native species (such as the frostwyrms and korgonne), lurelings have developed extranormal mental powers, and thus far all encountered lurelings possess this power, rather than only a select few individuals as with most psionically active species. Also abnormally, all known lurelings exercise the same mental power: the ability to dominate and control others.
The lurelings’ mental domination seems to be an understood and integral part of the ecology of primitive Uvetan species, and has been for many millenia. Each lureling finds and dominates a single, weak-willed surfacer by projecting its mental powers through the ice (usually while the intended victim is sleeping or otherwise vulnerable). 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 the locals) to their lureling master, following it from above the ice.
While that alone would be cause for great concern among the natives, the lurelings have asserted and confirmed their intelligence in a most horrifying way: research indicates they breed their marions, creating bloodlines particularly well-suited to serving a lureling. Specific traits such as obedience, stamina, and even beauty have been shown to take preference among species bred by lurelings. Young lurelings will often take control of newborn or young children born of their parents’ marions: some speculate that breeding puppets is associated in some way with the lurelings’ own breeding season.
The primary purpose of a marion seems to be twofold: marions provide visual information to their masters, acting as eyes above the water and helping to find food, shelter, and other resources their masters may desire. Beyond mere visual data, it seems that a lureling’s mental feedback from its marion is so strong that it can feel sensation and emotion back through its psychic connection. This leads to the second, and more curious purpose: lurelings frequently have their marions wander the frigid wastes, where they inevitably come across other humanoids: usually enessa or korgonne, but ausar colonists or human adventurers seem to suit them just as well. Upon encounter, the marion will offer herself sexually to the target, eagerly pursuing intercourse until the mark eventually gives in or flees. Lurelings appear to command their marions to do this entirely for pleasure, and some unsuspecting ausar have reported hearing orgasmic roars and tremors in the ice after causing a(n unbeknownst to them) marion to climax.
This behavior certainly explains the tendency of lurelings to breed their puppets for beauty and sex appeal, making them more likely to secure the affections of unwary colonists.
Uvetan natives have a complex relationship to marions. Most marions today appear to be descendants of purpose-bred creatures, rather than kidnapped villagers, and thus other surfacers show markedly less aggression towards lurelings and marions than was anticipated by researchers. Marions (and thus, the lurelings following them under the ice) are even allowed to wander freely in some villages, and find shelter there during harsh weather. Some natives, particularly milodan males, find it a great honor to be chosen to breed with a marion, as they believe this proves they are of exceptional strength and charisma. Other natives, particularly enessa, shun marions, and sometimes even assault them if the puppet proves too amorous for the huntress’s liking.
This more aggressive behavior is likely because the vast majority of modern-day lureling marions are of enessa descent, though many have been altered considerably after many thousands of years of careful crossbreeding. These modified enessa usually follow the same physical form of their parent race, though different lurelings seem to prefer different sexual characteristics: some marions have been bred into pure, phallus-less females; others into masculine creatures in stark contrast to the enessa norm. Others share traits and characteristics of other races such as a fur coat like a milodan or korgonne, while others (especially recently) display ausar-like traits such as patchwork fur, heavier body fat, and seasonal heats and ruts.
Despite all of this, the lureling-marion relationship does seem at least somewhat symbiotic (especially among those marions purpose-bred for their role). In exchange for pleasure and scouting, the lureling usually provides its marion with an abundance of food the creature hunts below the waters, and can be counted on to find good shelter and necessary clothing and other supplies its marion needs. Some have even been recorded providing gemstones and other precious substances from the in-world sea for their marions to trade for what they need. More importantly, the lureling provides extremely effective protection for its puppet, and few if any marions ever need fear for their safety.
A few marions have been separated from their lureling masters (including one specimen “rescued” by the authors of this codex, who broke the psychic connection by taking the marion - a young adult enessa female - off planet, out of her master’s mental reach). Those who were psychicly dominated during adulthood generally only remember bits and pieces of their captivity, and after some rehabilitation, can be reintegrated into society. Purpose-bred marions, such as the descendant enessa species, have a much more difficult time, as they have never been forced to think for themselves. These marions, however, seem to remember most if not all of their lives, and once trained to speak, do so with fond remembrance of their “papas” or “mommas.” Throughout post-separation adulthood, ex-marions remain extraordinarily weak-willed, easy to influence, and remarkably trusting. They are also, however, eager to please and hard working, and do indeed possess exceptional physical traits including strength and charisma, which may prove advantageous. For their own sake, most must be cared for by a village of their native species (or a responsible, caring researcher, as the case may be).
Despite their psychic powers, lurelings are surprisingly non-violent: if they intend to harm a surfacer, it is usually through psychic assault or domination at night. Even then, though, lurelings seem to have little or no interest in altercation with surfacers: most of their interactions are through their marions seeking sexual intercourse (sometimes in exchange for shelter or resources the marion needs to survive). The only time a lureling has ever been provoked to direct violence is when a surfacer assaults a marion. This behavior is almost universally met with instant and overwhelming retaliation, with the lureling bursting up from the ice and crushing, eating, or dragging the assailant under the ice. Perhaps this is why marions are welcomed peacefully into some native villages...
Lurelings themselves seem to have shark-like behavior, rarely staying still for any length of time. They make no permanent homes, and migrate around the ice a few dozen kilometers around humanoid settlements (particularly those korgonne and milodan villages which welcome their marions). Because the psychic connection to their marions is distance-based, lurelings must inhabit the water very near to the surface, and stay within a few hundred meters of their marion.
As lurelings themselves are secretive and averse to contact with settlers (aside from through their marions, at least), little is known about their biological processes. Several researchers studying them have, however, postulated that the breeding of marions seems to be related to breeding more lurelings, as the newborn children of the puppets are almost immediately dominated in turn by young lurelings (who themselves are only strong enough to control a young and unresistant mind). Some speculate that breeding marions may even be necessary for the lurelings’ reproduction, as this may psychically trigger some sort of breeding response in the creatures. This seems to be corroberated by several native legends and stories telling of whole families of marions encountered in secluded places in the ice-caves, raising their children as their lurelings raise their tadpoles before eventually separating.
- To be added.