May 6, 2011

Creatures of Syrene: Tainted Hyena

It is said that among the plagues the Sekhmetians loosed against Palmaria and Axuma are the tainted hyenas of the southern deserts.  The Sekhmetian necromancers are said to have fed some hyenas with human flesh over which dark spells had been cast, thus opening the beasts to possession by evil spirits.   Some of these still survive, and have interbred with natural hyenas to produce more of their evil kind.  A tainted hyena may be a little larger and stronger than an ordinary hyena, and on close inspection its eyes may look a little different, but otherwise there is no way to tell them apart.

Unlike normal hyenas which run in packs, the tainted hyena is a lone hunter,.  It stalks the desert alone, always on the lookout for human prey – solitary travelers, small groups, herdsmen or villagers – and uses its magic to lead them farther out into the open desert where it can kill and devour at leisure.  A tainted hyena’s gaze has the power to fascinate and rob human beings of their will, causing them to follow the creature wherever it goes.    

Sometimes a tainted hyena will maul livestock and leave a trail to follow, enticing villagers to hunt for it, and then ambush its hunters one by one.

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