A few days ago, during my travels, I started to notice weird black painted signs looking like pawprints on the walls.Spirits of nature see a lot of changes during their life.
I think there is a pattern to them. The paw is always missing one of the fingers. I have to know what this is all about or I won't be able to sleep like before.
Smaller spirits hunt each other, change and hope to become as big as them at some point.
But sometimes, when the small spirit wanders too close to humans and starts to live near them, it changes.
It starts to take on more and more human characteristics, parts of their look and behaviors until it changes into an urban spirit or something closely related to humanity.
But if that change comes too quickly, it can be forever stuck in a state between two forms, warped, and shunned by other spirits. Those spirits, Wildlings, are outcasts of the spiritual world.
I think I figured it out! So simple and yet so inventive!
Each missing finger leads to the picture of another paw. It could be dangerous, but I have to follow these clues. For academic purposes (and to sate my curiosity).
Anatomy & Morphology
Wildlings take on very various shapes, some looking almost completely like an animal that would live close to humans, some like a mix of those animals and some look almost completely human, with some parts of animals.
One shared characteristic all Wildlings have is that the border between the human and animal parts is unnatural as if glitched or grafted into their body. As if someone stuck random patches to cover the hole in their bodies. So one of them could look like a human with deer limbs while another could be a wolf with human eyes.
When dealing with humans those who could almost blend in often will cover their "weird" parts.
Growth Rate & Stages
A lot of Wildlings try to either reverse their change or go through it completely. Both those goals are impossible for them to achieve, but they can push some changes in their bodies towards one or the other side, opting human or animal looks. They do so by living permanently in the wild or in the city.
The young ones (those who changed recently) are often way more warped than specimens who lived for hundreds of years.
It seems like I also caught its attention. It signed to me to come closer.In most cases, Wildlings are involuntary loners.
It praised me for figuring out the clues. Its voice was very raspy and quiet and yet I understood everything it said. Then it asked me if I wanted a guide.
I declined, saying I'm more interested in research. Something under its hoodie moved (ears?). It told me it could lead me to more of its kind as long as I would share some knowledge with them.
I agreed and we shook hands.
However, the interaction they go through when they meet another one of their kind is really unusual for the spirits.
Most of the spirits of the same kind try to devour each other or dominate one another.
But Wildlings become really happy and start to socialize with each other like one would with a friend or family member they haven't seen for ages.
They form clans and tribes that try to be as pacifist as possible. Additionally, Wildlings seem to really like humans, often trying to befriend them. They will often sell their services as guides, scavengers or bloodhounds for some symbolic fee or the permission to feed on human emotions for the time of the journey together. They even created a system of signs that lead humans to places safe from dangerous spirits.
Wildlings possess near-human intelligence.
They can easily speak in the language mostly used in the area they live in and even read.
Some of them, out of the need to not be alone, form tribes and build their own tents and campsites.
If taught, one of them could use firearms, but most of them use simple weapons, both melee and ranged resembling those used in the Stone Age.
Any contact with humans furthers their knowledge dramatically.
As soon as I entered their territory, a flock of Wildlings surrounded me. They were wearing so many colorful clothes, my head started to spin a little. They were asking hundreds of question, touching my suit and equipment. One of them even left a mark of its tongue on my visor.
I could hear Loreley laughing behind me. She then told me that the dinner would be ready in an hour and that she and her people would be very happy to share it with me...
As spirits, Wildlings are incapable of reproduction. Senses:
Depending on what their body parts look like their senses will be the same as those of the animal that that part would belong to. Dietary needs:
Wanting to change their form, Wildlings often will eat anything they can. Taboo:
No matter how human or animal they become, Wildlings cannot forget what they are. If they will try to completely ignore their second side, they can tear themselves apart from within. As such they must act accordingly to both of their natures.
The clues led me to the bar.
Somehow, with all the spirits around the area, it kept its old function and was filled with patrons.
One person caught my attention. They were wearing a hoodie covered with hundreds of necklaces and amulets.
But the weirdest thing was what was under their hood. In the dim light, I could see fox muzzle!
NamesNames of Wildlings are very varied.
Those living in nature don't bother with the names at all.
Those living in the cities either name themselves after the animals they used to resemble (Raccoon, Wolf, Pigeon), the sounds they made (Howl, Bark, Hiss, Snap) or try to take on human names, with surnames pointing to their origin (John Wolf).
It, or rather I should say, she, introduced herself as Loreley Renard.
I have to say she was an amazing guide, never leading us into a dead-end or a hostile spirit. She was also great to talk to. I haven't met anyone so curious for a long time.
As she promised, she led me to her tribe. I think I will spend more time here, researching them and study their habits.
ClothesBefore they meet a human, most of the Wildlings will walk completely naked. They catch on very fast that the clothes are something that is used to cover the body and not just look nice on the mannequins.
Their taste in clothes varies, but a lot of them will start to either dress in clothes with hundreds of colors or they'll use a lot of accessories to make themselves stand out.
CelebrationIt seems like when the Wildlings start to live together in tribes, they start to create some rituals and holidays never known by humans.
During their celebration, they will dance, sing, and make as much noise as possible. They even give gifts to each other, something the humans didn't teach them.
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