Chimera

Excerpted from Amadeus Finnlaid’s Analytica Chimera: A Cryptozoological Treatise (Annotated Edition)-

“…unfortunately a large amount what is known of the life form commonly referred to as ‘chimera’ is presupposition and conjecture. There exist several factors for this calamitous lack of information. All chimera observed to date exhibit extreme hostility towards all other form of life.1 Observation can only be performed by uniquely trained individuals capable of secreting their presence while documenting (and in some cases committing perfectly to memory) the behaviors of the cryptids. Put simply, most persons who observe a chimera do not survive to report the encounter. Additionally, the chimera leave no corporeal evidence of their presence upon cessation of biological function, nor any spoor or humour at all in their wake. When wounded, a chimera will briefly excrete an inky black substance called ephemera from the injury, a humour which bears traits of both a liquid and a vapor and yet is impossible to categorize as either one. Upon demise, the cryptid’s corpus evaporates into a dense cloud of the material, leaving behind undigested/unused objects that remain within its system.2 In essence, this requires all study of chimera to be conducted upon living specimens.”

“The word ‘chimera’ itself does not apply exclusively to any single species of creature; indeed it is somewhat of a misnomer, vulgar argot mined from common parlance and deemed palatable by enough hearthside academics to leach its way into . Proper terminology would liken the term “chimera” to a class of organism, containing several different branches of species within. Subsets of chimerical organisms display the traits of animal, vegetable, or a hybrid of both. Some chimera simply cannot be quantified in these terms at all. Nonetheless, the debate rages on, as more and more learned scholars argue across tables of aged mahogany rather than lead expeditions into the field. Scholars of the beasts categorize the creatures by their physiological resemblances and intelligence. 3 Current accepted orders of chimera are as follows:

Phobos- The most common form of chimera, and of the lowest apparent intellect. Most Phobos resemble animals, like the duskhound, or plants, such as the Tree of Woe. When working as a group, most species in this class exhibit simple pack behaviors and will fight until the last member falls.

Iras- This class of chimera is typically humanoid in form, either being extremely small (half a hand shorter than a typical Halfling) or extremely large (the size of a mature whitewood tree). Iras possess a greater ability to strategize than Phobos, capable of planning ambushes and identifying targets of value. Perhaps more importantly, they also seem to have some kind of survival instinct and will retreat and regroup should they lose the advantage in combat. Gaunts and slipshades both belong to the Iras class.

Oneri- The most intelligent and powerful of chimera. To date, only three Oneri have been seen, and the survivors of the encounters have not been able to disclose their experiences in any great detail. The details we are able to piece together place the creatures witnessed at about the height of a man, able to command the lesser chimera about it by no visibly apparent means, and possessed of a superb tactical mind. No species classification has been granted to the Oneri seen, as the physical descriptions and other behavioral indicators are not in agreement."

Footnotes

1) Conversely, there have been no observed incidents of interspecies violence, even amongst the vastly different subspecies of chimera. Scientific consensus rationalizes this lack of aggression in such an otherwise hostile species by positing that because chimera do not seem to exhibit any biological necessity for food, water, or shelter, there is simply no need for interspecies competition. Furthermore, because the chimera do not reproduce by any observed method, there exists no dominance structure within groupings of similar species (linguistically referred to as “Haunts”) , and thus no intergroup contention.

2) The lingering presence of matter within a chimera’s digestive pathways suggests that at some level they possess a process of cellular respiration not too far removed from our own. It should be noted, however, that such respiration does not contribute at all to the chimera’s growth and development. The chimerical organism is uniquely fluid, untethered by common laws of biology; its development process appears to be directly proportionate to the amount of destruction caused by the beast. I realize wholeheartedly that at first glance this notion appears to be pure metaphysical balderdash, yet all empirical evidence guides thought in this direction. The strongest, most developed chimera are those who have wreaked the most havoc upon our world. To scoff at this theory is to mock the efforts of those who have braved great peril, even given their lives, for us to have arrived at it.

3) The idea of chimerical “intelligence” is somewhat different from the definition we might apply towards a more common animal, or fellow sentient. The chimerical mind is focused solely upon destruction. The most basic order of chimera, the Phobos, are little more than living weapons, while higher orders demonstrate greater creativity in the exercise of their aggression. To clarify, you cannot reason with any chimera. You must fight a Phobos to the death, while you might prevail in driving away an Iras or Oneri.

Chimera

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