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.
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
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.