A relic of ancient civilization, the Reapersessor is a master of targeted extermination, and adds its kills to an ever-growing vault of artificial "ghosts."
Not unlike certain arthropods, the Reapersessor is a venomous, fluid-feeding predator, injecting prey with a concoction of paralyzing nerve toxins and digestive enzymes through its razor-thin, hollow beak. As it feeds, it probes the nervous system of its prey with a network of microtendrils and duplicates a complete map of the victim's mind to one of the many redundant brains housed in its colorful throat sac.
A mind stored in a Reapersessor has no consciousness of its own, but the monster may project a detailed holographic image of any being it has consumed, re-enact their past actions and access a lifetime of stolen knowledge. Archaeological evidence suggests that the monsters were once believed to literally collect "souls" or "spirits" from their targets, recalling them from some sort of "after-life" as needed. Whether this was believed by their original creators seems unlikely, given the level of advanced, practical scientific understanding demonstrated in their design and function.
Reapersessor are simultaneous hermaphrodites and mate only in groups of five under a full moon, forming a star-shaped arrangement with each monster plunging its beak into the heart of the next and injecting genetic material directly into the bloodstream. Entering a comatose state for six days, the Reapersessors will arise one by one, deposit a single egg at the center of the star and leave silently. The first chick to hatch will typically consume its four siblings, and reach maturity in only a matter of weeks.
The Reapersessor is a calculating, usually humorless monster taking great care and pride in both its work and its physical state, spending much of its free time training, meditating and preening. Sometimes melodramatic, it enjoys few forms of entertainment outside dark poetry, theater and music usually revolving around themes of death and the supernatural.
With a hollow, slightly rubbery skeleton, the Reapersessor is both much lighter and much less breakable than its spindly frame suggests, and it can gracefully dodge most immediate dangers by mere inches with little effort. A favorite maneuver of the creature is to launch itself like an enormous boomerang, almost gliding as its spins through the air blade-first.
The Reapersessor's ghostly projections are typically employed to disorient and frighten prey, but may also enclose and camouflage small enough objects or communicate information across distances of several yards.
A Reapersessor unfortunately exhibits certain predictable psychological glitches of unknown origin, including a strong belief in forces beyond scientific explanation, a concept of "fate" and a number of superstitious fears, including a dread of touching the surface of a mirror, passing through a triangular aperture or meeting the gaze of a snake, to name a few.
BONE SCYTHE: Though preferring impalement in order to feed, the Reapersessor's beak can easily cleave through flesh and bone in a single swipe.
NERVE TOXIN: The monster can inject paralyzing venom through its saliva to immediately incapacitate impaled prey.
DATA STORAGE: A Reapersessor's many additional brains can tap into the mind of a victim and store an exact copy, giving the monster access to a vast store of information.
HOLOGHOST: The Reapersessor can project a holographic image of past prey, complete with motion and sound, to communicate with allies or confuse adversaries.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik