The souleater is a dragonlike creature forged of dragon souls and hellfire. They appear to be large wyverns with tattered wings, silver-red hellfire burning along different parts of their bodies, and sharp, jagged features. One of the few known species to be able to harness and control true hellfire, they are very dangerous, and often go beyond their task of keeping dark spirits in check.
Average Lifespan:: 30 years
Average Height:: 15 feet at the shoulder
Average Weight:: unknown
Location Found:: Originates from Hell.
*all statistics based on averages; extremes in any direction, or found in odd locations, are always allowed.
Reproduction Souleaters are living creatures, originally granted life by a Spirit King and the former god of souls, Shiranui. They reproduce quickly, sometimes to the point of overpopulation; females generally lay a clutch of two to three hellfire-burning eggs, every few years. Most adults do not engage in courtship and rarely bond beyond mating, and hatchlings are left after only a few days to fend for themselves.
Aging Souleaters grow at a rate that, for the first several weeks, can actually be seen. They reach adulthood at sixteen years of age, and can begin breeding just before. Most begin to deteriorate from their own hellfire around twenty years of age, and natural death occurs anywhere from thirty to fifty years of age.
Species info credited to Blazeh/Verridith.
Appearance Souleaters are large, reptilian creatures closely resembling wyverns. They have broad chests and a pair of large, webbed wings, often tattered to the point of hampering true flight. Their faces are twisted, with long, beaked faces and fused, sharp teeth, and small eyes that shimmer in a multitude of colors. Often, souleaters may have a second or third set of eyes located anywhere on the upper portions of the skull. Souleaters may have any horn, spike, or frill decoration, but feathers and fur are unheard of. Their base scale color is often dark and dull, most often grayscale, though any desaturated tones are possible. Markings are often subtle, if present at all.
A souleater's most spectacular feature is the hellfire that burns within them, and vents from between scales along multiple portions of their bodies. Usually, a souleater will have a fiery mane and tail-flare of hellfire, though it may also vent along the sides of the neck, chest, flanks, and the sides of the tail at any point. All hellfire is silver in color, edged in red, and does not vary in hue; it may be seen glowing silver and scarlet beneath the scales of the chest, and give a souleater an ethereal quality in dark areas with little light. It's known that they have few internal organs, and consist of hellfire at their very core. Older souleaters may begin to break apart, and those that reach the end of their lives smolder and burn as beasts made almost entirely from hellflame.
Culture Forged from dragons in the depths of Hell, souleaters are completely and utterly loyal to the Realm that is their home, and the Spirit King that reigns there. In the presence of their King, they will remain silent unless directly spoken to, and hold a reverence that does not allow them to look upon their King unless ordered to do so. They will go to any length to protect Hell and its leaders, and will grieve for a fallen King for years before they accept the next in line entirely. They will not avert their eyes in reverence until respect has been won, and not until that point.
Otherwise, souleaters are the guardians and protectors of Hell, and the purifiers of corruption, evil, and darkness amid the undead masses. When an undead of any level, or a dark spirit confined to Hell, becomes corrupted, they will burn it away with hellfire, and cleanse what little light there is of the soul that remains. They hunt down and devour dark spirits, and bring the living that have broken Hell's laws to justice - often to a violent end.
In times of few spirits to hunt, however, souleaters may turn upon one another for sustenance - they may turn to attack each other without warning, and devour the spirits of their fellows before any hellhounds or cerberi can step in to stop them. Few become maddened by hunger and attack anything within reach, and must be dispatched immediately before they break free into the Living Realms. Such souleaters are marked as impure by the reigning King, and other souleaters may be sent to kill the beast before its chaotic mindset destroys too much to be recoverable.
Among other denizens of Hell, souleaters are feared but respected, and they tolerate both the souls of the living and the dead as long as they are not corrupted or impure. They are somewhat irritable creatures, and easy to anger; they will tell whatever is bothering them to leave them alone only so many times before attacking, whether the offensive one is pure or not. Most souleaters share an intense dislike for spiritbeasts, and may attack without warning, perhaps due to their incredible amounts of reiatsu.
Abilities Souleaters are gifted and powerful, refined to the task they were created for. They can see and sense aura in grayscale; souleaters cannot see color, and strong auras may blind them for their brightness. Other senses, such as hearing and smell, are very strong, where touch and taste are almost nonexistent. They cannot turn their aura-sight off, and may become irritable or outright angry when around an individual with a powerful reiatsu, unless that individual dampens or seals their reiatsu away.
All souleaters have the capability of Hell's unique reiatsu; they can breathe hellfire, and are immune to the hellfire of other souleaters. The older they grow, the more intense their hellfire becomes, until it begins to eat away at their bodies until they are no more. This hellfire is inexplicably hot, and hellflame burns never heal completely. A hellfire scar will continue to hold the sensation of burning forever, and cannot be banished by any known magic.
They need to eat souls to sustain their existence; a souleater who hasn't dined upon a spirit in several months will begin to starve, and the ravenous hunger may drive it insane. They are able to clutch and rip at spirits with any part of their body, and have the unique ability to stop any sort of ghost or soul from phasing away.
It is said that souleaters were once dragons; that they were the spirits of the deceased, those evil enough to be dragged down to Hell. And while part of this is true, the souleaters were never formed from the spirits of the deceased; but by those so evil to be entrapped by the Lord of Hell before their time. Souleaters were once malicious dragons in Hell's darkest depths, yes; but they were, and are, very much alive.
Once, when Lord Kairn reigned as Hell's Spirit King, he watched ambitious dragons filled with ill intent come into his Realm seeking power. As they were overcome by his countless undead, he reflected upon Hell's overburdening of souls and pondered what to do with the malicious beasts; all who came sought power, but were inevitably overcome with the sheer mass of dark souls and shambling undead. Perhaps, he thought, he could offer them the power they sought.
But at the cost of serving Hell forever.
The first dragon he captured - a black wyvern with purple markings - he brought immediately to Castle Oblivion, locking him away in one of the castle dungeons. Pondering, the mage considered what he would need to do - and what the dragon would need to be capable of. A devourer of souls, perhaps similar to the eater of dreams he had seen a few times, created by one of his ancestors; one who hunts the darkest of the dark, eradicating them… and of those, there were plenty. But, should it have too great a power, and too large an appetite, then it would become a nuisance needing to be slain.
Slowly, a plan came to him, and he sought counsel with his god, Shiranui, the divine being that lorded over all fragments of the Spirit Realms within the Void. With the god's blessing, he returned to his captive, and began working on spells that would alter the wyvern's shape. Shiranui's power filled him, and the magic came as easy as breathing; his reserves became limitless, and Kairn tasted godhood, which would haunt him for the rest of his days.
It became thinner, and longer, with wide and strong wings; he forced upon it spells of loyalty, and burned rebellion out of its mind. Finally, the Spirit King gave it the gift of hellfire, and watched as vents opened in its hide, spouting Hell's reiatsu as all but the core of the beast's original soul was burned away. Hellfire burned from these vents, curling in the new beast's maw, and glimmering from angry eyes. I will aid you in making more of these, a voice whispered in his head. I will help you create more souleaters, until your population can sustain itself. Remember, Kairn; do not over-create, nor misuse my gift unto you.
"I will not, my Lord," Kairn breathed. He went on to capture and change twenty others, with Shiranui's power; each one changing like the first, shaped into sharp-bodied wyvernlike creatures who burned with hellfire in their souls. At last, he had thirty individuals, over the course of several years - a nearly even split of male and female. The first hatchling born cracked from a large egg in a burst of hellfire sparks, and thus did the souleater species begin to expand.
Though souleaters now live very short lives, they are some of the most feared of all predators; for to destroy a soul is a sin in of itself, and should only be used against the most sinful of all who dwell amid Hell's darkest depths.
This species did not have an Ancient First.