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The text below is a first attempt at providing some background to the world of Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan and will probably be rewritten, moved, re-templated, moved again, re-designed, rewritten again and then scrapped.

Nightmares

From Professor Storbjørn Rásdondr's Presentation on the Nightmares at Gnomian Capital University, presented a year after the events depicted in the Invasion storyline:

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Nightmares is the diversity of their physical forms. And yet, this aspect eluded most of the people who were in any position to observe them, largely because they were too busy being eaten or carted off to slavery on distant, Nightmare-run worlds, but also in part because in the initial wave, only two types appeared.

Figure 1

Figure One shows the two types, with the outline of an adult human shown to indicate size. The smaller creature is of the type designated as "Spawn"; eyewitness accounts describe these as destructive but mindless. Note that this creature has a mammalian head, but with two rows of eyes.

The larger creature has mandibles unlike those seen in any earthly vertebrate, only one pair of eyes and a luminescent organ in what is sometimes refered to as the "Third Eye" position. It may in fact have been a light-sensing organ, or a light-broadcasting organ. The larger creatures are known, somewhat inaccurately, as "Sergeants". In the Invasion, they gave orders to the Spawn, usually by pointing and hissing. However, there does not seem to have been a conventional military command structure as the name "Sergeant" implies; the smaller creatures were not divided into units and any individual took orders from any individual "Sergeant".

Figure 2

I have been able to secure a skeleton from one "Sergeant" killed in the attack as well as a brain. My institute was unable to preserve the brain, and the skeleton degraded quickly before we found a formula to preserve it. However, one of my assistants made this drawing immediately after the materials were delivered to my lab, showing both the skeleton in the brain as they appeared before they degraded. Note that the skeleton is considerably more complex than the creature's outward appearance suggests; far from being snake-like, the sergeant has a fully-developed pelvic bone, as well as a short ribcage with a sternum such as one might see in a mammal.

The presense of the pelvis is particularly puzzling. It would seem to be entirely vestigial as the creature has no hind limbs. But the reports of a single specimen involved in early stages of the invasion, but separating itself from the war later, raise another possibility.

Figure 3

Figure Three, a sketch found in the Dungil Fens monastery after the Nightmares' sudden retreat from there clearly shows that this individual walked upright on two hind limbs. In addition, it has a thin tail. Presumably, the arrowpoint tip of the tail is an embellishment by the artist, based on the local legends about so-called demons – creatures which were seen as the personification of evil and often depicted with similar tails.

As I mentioned before, the skeleton my institute received decayed rapidly during the first hour when it was in my possession. The preservation process we eventually stumbled upon made it impossible for us to determine what the bones consisted of; it is entirely possible that they were of a very different material from ordinary animal bones. Perhaps the creatures could develop new limbs quickly to adapt to different environments? I have devised a series of tests in which a live Nightmare could be exposed to extreme conditions requiring it to shed, grow or alter new limbs to ensure its survival; unfortunately, I do not have a live specimen at my disposal at this point. While it would perhaps not be ethical to hope for another invasion, it would at least offer the prospect of more specimens to investigate...

Figure 3

Of course, it is entirely possible that the invaders were all of different species. The two specimens depicted in Figure Four show an even greater range of shape and colouring; however, these two specimens were only sighted by one person, a Gnomian merchant with a reputation for telling tall tales. This reconstruction should, alas, be treated as highly speculative.

The Professor continued his talk with various speculations on speciation and hybridisation between the alleged species, as well as a detailed description of the lost brain.

Illustrations by Ben Fleuter and Calvin Bexfield.


A few notes on Nightmares. The URL of this comic is http://www.rocr.net/?p=NightmaresCreatures



Comments

Fascinating.
Posted by Zixinus
Storbjørn, that's 'big child', right? Nice touch! I also like the skeleton drawing! The human outline in the first picture is puzzling. It looks like someone wearing a modern costume, with straight trousers. Hardly an illustration I would expect to go with the writings of a supposedly Medieval professor. The second line above the fourth picture reads 'a live specimenT'.
Posted by Michiel P
the skeleton is great, i love the detail. though it reminds me of the one boss in super castlevainia 4 at first glance.
Posted by bjh
No, Storbjørn does not mean "big child".
Posted by Styrbjørn

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