"There once was a hunter who split himself in two so he'd never be lonely again~"
◈OUT OF CHARACTER INFORMATION◈
Intent: To give force sensitives soul-bound, loyal hounds to summon as companions & weapons
Image Credit: [X][X][X][X][X][X][X][X]
Name: Eldritch Hound
Designation: Force Spirit
Origins: The Eternal Hunt
Average Lifespan: Lifespan of Host
Estimated Population: Semi-Unique
Description: Ethereal Form | Attached to Hosts Shadow | Bright Eyes | Phantom-Like
Average Height of Adults: Varies
Average Length of Adults: Varies
Eye color: Varies
Body color: Varies
Force Sensitivity: All
◈DISTINCTIONS◈Extremely little is known about the mysterious spirits who were known to accompany many powerful hunters born into the accursed Vycan bloodline. Thought to mostly be a simple myth, a tale of a shadow that hunted alongside its caster these ravenous creatures are all to real and their very presence is so palpable they can be felt in the bones of prey as dread radiates from their essence. These creatures are believed to be the spirits of departed Vycan who have long since joined the afterlife alongside The Allfathers in what is known to their kind as 'The Eternal Hunt'. Going by many names and told in a number of Vycan fables and folklore, these spirits are often varied in visual appearance and design depending on the host it is bonded to but always have the same overall traits regardless of whosoever soul they are bound to at the time. All hounds do possess three main forms or 'shapes' that they have the ability to phase into at will depending on whatever scenario they happen to be in. These three shapes are detailed below as followed~
Nightstalker: The second and more specialized from these spirits can take which allows them to act independently of the host as its own shadow-like entity. Capable of traveling along surfaces as a shadow and venturing around within a limited range from the hosts, this form is ideal for scouting ahead or following any potential trails and is what the Vycan primarily used these old beasts for. When split from the hosts however it consumed a large amount of mental, physical, and force energy to maintain, especially at longer distances. The hound may also take a form unique to itself, complete with eyes, shadow-like fangs and ect. Additionally, when separated from the host they no longer possess a shadow which is a visual cue that they are either on the move or watching from a distance. When in this form they are capable of mildly interacting with the world in behalf of their host. One such ability they possess while in this state having the power to directly push, pull, drag, or physically interact with an item if they are able to access the items own shadow. Such as fetching a sticks shadow in midair and thus causing the stick itself to levitate as if it were being manipulated via telekinesis. Additionally, while in this specific form they can be warded off by bright lights and sunlight if the rays are powerful enough to disrupt them. This form is at its most effective during the night or dark areas and is often used as a surveillance or fetching tool hence the name given to them.
Sentinel: The final and most powerful form they can take is their natural spirit form which can vary in size and build depending on the individual spirit. This 'Guardian Form' allows the spirit to emanate from the hosts shadow directly and temporarily adopt a metaphysical phantom-like form around the host which allows them to defend their hosts from potential danger or attack unsuspecting foes. Easily the most dangerous shape to take when in this form they are vulnerable to many forms of attack and taking damage can have lasting and severe effects on the host. When in this form however the hounds gain an ethereal body which can be felt and touched. Highly durable and capable of sustaining extremely destructive damage without perishing these beasts make wonderful shields for their hosts and equipped with powerful jaws and sharp, razor-like fangs they are fully capable of devouring most forms of matter. When in this form their insides and stomach act almost like that of a snake, consuming meat, bones, blood, metal, wood, or anything else and swallowing it into its body which can grow and expand as its insides slowly burn away whatever it ate. Additionally, when within this form the hound cannot separate from its host and can only expand itself further or higher within a very limited range. This form also consumes much more energy from the host and is by far the most difficult to maintain, taking a heavy toll on the host.
◈STRENGTHS & BLESSINGS◈
Me & My Shadow
Bonded by soul and by blood these creatures are always found attached to the essence of a force sensitive Vycan and are valued companions among their culture. Capable of providing company, being a consultant, a simple scout or a defender should times get hard their versatility is by far their greatest strength. Their intelligence and sentience allows them to act of their own accord separate from the will of their host which comes with its own blessings and curses. Not requiring any complex ritual or ability to summon, these beasts will remain by their partners side until death strikes either of them.
Eldritch Hounds are notorious for constantly being on the verge of starvation and thus will devour almost anything that is brought to them. When in their Sentinel form an Eldritch Hound is capable of devouring almost any kind of physical object and can chew through most materials as its stomach acts like an incinerator of sorts. Additionally, these hounds favor the life essence of living creatures and if allowed to devour them can drain them of their essence and feed from them rather than feeding directly from the host.
These hounds are exceptionally dense and powerful in the sense that harming them is no easy task. While they have their own weaknesses which can be very easily exploited they are incredibly elusive most of the time and tend to remain shrouded with their host until absolutely necessary. Having complete resistance to energy based weapons and showing incredible resistance to traditional items such as a common blade or slug based weaponry. Blunt force trauma tends to be the only physical force that can truly faze them and that is only under extreme amounts of physical force.
◈WEAKNESSES & DRAWBACKS◈
These phantom spirits share a direct link with the dark side of the force and as a result are known to be incredibly vulnerable to abilities such as Force Light which can obliterate them with the simplest of ease. While these creatures cannot fully 'die' until the host themselves die, they can be destroyed from the physical realm but be reattained in the future via a ritual. Killing an Eldritch Hound however can only be done by destroying the host in which it is bonded to.
A common tale in folklore and fables about these beasts is their almost overwhelming hunger and instinct to hunt and kill. Hailing directly from an afterlife where all they did was hunt and eat being attached to a host and maintaining presence in the realm of the living causes them to always have an itch to kill. Pestering the host and sometimes splitting from the host to hunt its own meal regardless of the will of their partner. This can cause clashes of interest and has been known to lead to the deaths of many loved ones due to the unpredictability of these spirits.
With their minds, bodies, and souls all linked into a single form, doing harm to one will always effect the other. Cutting the host will also cut the hound and harming the hound will do the same to the host which creates a whole world of risks for both parties. Capable of feeling each others pain and agony is something that can be easily exploited by the observant and cunning. Killing the host will destroy them and their hound but surprisingly the destruction of the Hound alone will only result in a near-death experience for the host which can be recovered from in a short time. Giving the host a chance to reattain their loyal hound should they possess the ability to do so.
The only weapons which are proven to have any lasting effect on a hound are weapons heavily imbued with the force and effective against spirits, phantoms, or other force sensitive entities. Most notably a blade made of pure silver and enchanted with the force is by far the strongest weapon against an Eldritch and can be used to easily cut through its hide with little to no resistance. These blades can harm the hounds no matter what form they happen to be in at the time which makes it impossible for them to hide.
Keeping these creatures linked to the realm of the living is something that requires the Host to sacrifice their mental, physical, and force energies in order to maintain their hound. These beasts will slowly drain their host of their life unless checks and balances are made to ensure both the host and the hound are as healthy as possible. The more the hound is forced to do the more it will demand of its host which can lead to any number of issues. For example, when an Eldritch takes on its Sentinel form it takes a heavy toll on the host. Making their head split, their body grow weaker and slower as well as limiting their force abilities while activated. The only known remedy to these issues is having the host feed their hound the souls of other individuals to keep them maintained so they don't have to devour the life energy of their host.
Will of My Own
While Eldritch are clearly directly linked to their host one would be a fool to think that these hounds are 'pets' to be commanded. Possessing their own wants, needs, and independent thoughts these hounds are fully capable of doing whatever they please without the consent of their host. For example, if a hound wishes to feed while the host is attending a party then the beast may just take its Sentinel Shape and start attacking some random bystander rather they be friend or foe. Making them extremely dangerous companions to have around populated areas. It is possible for the hound and their Host to bond and reason with each other is the host thinks they can convince their companion to do their bidding. An Eldritch Hound and its Host are almost always in a struggle for dominance over each other which comes with a set of risk not many are willing to brave.
Diet: Physical Matter (No Sustenance) | Life Essence (Main Sustenance)
Communication: Vycan Language
Technology level: Nonexistent
Religion & Culture: Vycan Religion
One of their main behavior quirks is their apparent predatory nature. These beasts are very easily distracted by scents and sensations which can cause holdups and confrontations. Often enticed into chasing rodents or attacking bystanders should the instinct to do so ever strike them which is usually the cause of a lot of friction between the hound and its host. Additionally, because they were once Vycan back in life they are almost always cursed with a thirst for blood which can never seem to be quenched. Requiring constant feeding and killing to satisfy their violent urges and satisfy them for a short amount of time.
Eldritch Hounds are also creatures of habit and because of their bond with their host can directly effect their mood and energy levels. For example, a Hound may be nocturnal and prefer being active during night but their host is the opposite. The hound can choose to sleep during the day and as a result bind their host to a single location rather they like it or not. Draining their hosts energy to make them sleepy or overwhelming them with anger to entice them to violence against someone. An Eldritch has just as much control over their host as the host has over them and the two can often be heard arguing with one another over the most mundane.
Hounds are also extremely needy and will pester their host for attention or affection during almost every waking moment of every day. Not the type of creature to leave alone or ignore for long periods of time unless you want an agitated companion, these beasts are not afraid to push themselves in front of their hosts or their hosts friends just to be noticed and loved.
In the Book of The Hunt it is said that when a Vycan completes their journey in life and have been judged by The Allfathers that only the best of them are granted passage into the afterlife referred to only as 'The Eternal Hunt'. A phase of the spirit where along with their kin and the Allfathers themselves travel the stars as they chase their prey. The great sky the field and the stars themselves as the prey. Shooting stars as said to be fearful prey, attempting to escape the ravenous spirits of the Vycan who wish to devour them. And when a star vanishes from the sky it is prey that has been slain and devoured by the great spirits. Commonly believed that during the day the spirits remain close to the earth to watch over their sons and daughters left behind in life while during the night, the hunt begins and they take to the stars to herd the constellations into place.
But during the witching hour, when the line between the living and the dead are at its thinnest there is said to be a phenomenon that occurs. Whispered among elders that when a Vycan child in born, a spirit stands beside them. Guiding them along their path and acting as a spirit guide and adjudicator to the young Vycan. And when the child grows to maturity are take part in the Blooding ritual during that special hour it is possible for the Vycan to have a vision quest where they commune with the spirits of their ancestors. During this hour they will be able to meet the spirit that stands beside them, and should the young one by talented enough in the force, can make a deal with the spirit to bind their souls into one.
The spirit can agree, enacting a bonding ritual going back generations as the two bridge the gap between their worlds and the Hound is pulled from the stars and makes a home within the shadow of their bonded. And when the witching hour comes to a close and the vision quest is completed along with the blooding ritual, a Vycan will awaken with an ancient ancestral spirit attached to their life essence. Providing them with wisdom, companionship, and judgement in the eyes of the Allfathers as they walk alongside their bonded hosts.
"Oh bonded mine, may our hunt never end~" - Book of The Hunt