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Lacunae - Bestiary - Haemophage

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plural: fAjEs
1 : one that eats
2 : virus or cell that destroys cells

Haemophages are extremely strong, swift and agile, while at the same time quite sensitive to incendiaries. Phages are noted for their tendency to develop eyes that fill with dark, bloody bubbles. As they age, these eventually cover their eyes entirely, leaving them completely black with slender crescents of red. Blinded by bright lights, their huge pupiled eyes are delicate and acute.

Two Haemophages fight for pack dominance.

All Phages develop sharp teeth, whether or not their original species was carnivorous. They are very photosensitive, burning extremely easily in sunlight. Phages rot rapidly upon being killed (their blood cannibalises the dead body in a desperate attempt to keep itself alive), which has ensured that their physiology is poorly understood. The creatures are venomous, and their various poisons aid their reproduction and hunting. Their skin contains a number of glands that secrete a colourless, odourless toxin that slows and befuddles non-Phages about them. The glands change the toxin being produced quickly, calibrating it to the purebloods in the area, ensuring that the Phage is seen as an attractive, fascinating creature. The saliva of Phages is numbing, a euphoric that is moderately addictive. While it produces no physical dependency, it has a considerable mental one.

Phages find it hard to think as they did before they became as they are, growing casually violent in their dealings with others. At the same time the have a keen emotional sensitivity, almost to the point of Empathy, to those they slay and are in effect connected with their victim as they commit the murder. This drives many Phages to madness and nearly all display a viciously dualistic approach to those around them. These Changelings often group themselves into packs, lead by a charismatic and strong individual with enough power to destroy challengers. Such packs are usually from two to four members in size, and discipline is enforced extremely harshly, with death or mutilation being a common punishment.

While most Phages are blood drinkers (thus the prefix 'Haemo'), specimins that leech the energy or emotions of others have been reported, as have those who require more disturbing fare, such as vitreous humour.

The Phage virus is rather weak, and requires a damaged host to appropriately reproduce. Haemophage blood in itself is a powerful healing agent, allowing the newly created Phage enough strength to hunt its first few meals. It also contains a stronger version of the euphoric agent present in the saliva, and is extremely addictive - packs often share their members blood to enforce loyalty. This may be similar to the way The Wired form strong groups, but there is no concrete proof.

Phages respond excellently to inhibitors, gradually losing all Changeling traits. However, their immune systems are depleted as a consequence, leading to massive tendencies towards cancers of various kinds. In addition, they may suffer withdrawl from the intoxicating chemicals that their own blood provides.