Art by, Space Dorf
Danger Level: Medium
Likes: Clattering to itself, Moist areas, Stalking
Dislikes: Fire, Refusal to acknowledge it
Attack Method: The protaint chases down its prey after setting up specific patterns or messages. Should the target not interpret these correctly, it will trample over the person and flee out of viewing range. It only kills large prey by accident, while smaller ones get stuck and drowned in its goo.
Gelatinous yet firm, the protaint is a sleek gooey quadruped, seemingly entrapping a skeleton within. It is deer-like in shape, lacking a tail. This skeleton is the creature itself, with the bones being thicker than the norm. Within these bones are a special organ that creates the slime that will build up outside the structure. This slime is of cooler colors, with greens and blues being common. During its active phase, the slime covering its skull sloughs off. This skull comes in many shapes, and the protaint will steal from fallen creatures to replace their current head.
All the goo on the creature can be removed. Doing this makes it more susceptible to damage and infection. Without its gelatinous body, it can still move and recover back to its original form if allowed large volumes of water and plants. Its slime is both scent and flavor-free and is not recommended for consumption due to its low nutritional value.
Unable to vocalize, the protaint clatters its jaws together to make sounds. Specific amounts of clattering can single danger, happiness, or warnings, as the protaint has a surprisingly robust range of emotions. It uses its clattering to signal when a test will begin to their understudy.
Unknown to the N-eo classes who innocently pick this creature, the protaint is an animal that makes the owner feel like they have summoned a beast of the gods upon them. It's advertised as the perfect beast. Friendly, but tame. A silent protector who will fight by the owner's side against all danger. A helpful "study guide," a feature that the creature distributor will chuckle about but never explain. A child who knows not to trust things that are too good to be true will turn away from the creature at that moment, but many who are infatuated with the idea of a perfect creature will be caught.
The protaint is all of those things. Not one of them is a lie, but unfortunately for those who obtain it, a feature that is not explained is a feature to fear.
Much like the offerings of the limbo gods, the protaint is a trap.
When away from woodlands, a protaint only shows hints of its true colors. Suddenly racing away and watching their owners from the shadows occasionally, playing games where it stalks and surprises those around it, even drawing simple patterns in dirt with a stick. Odd, certainly, but not harmful.
Not yet anyway.
Once the child enters the woods, the protaint enters its active state and runs off one final time. While many children consider this a horrible event, it is only the start of the onslaught to come. These children will awaken to symbols of the limbo gods drawn in certain ways, each giving hints to specific stories or actions from the book of the limbo, typically those of repelling a limbo god. Should a child not catch onto these antics and do nothing, or even fail "repelling the gods" with the correct chant or action within a timeframe, the protaint will appear once again. It will attack the owner for their inadequacy. No lasting harm is caused except in the cases of multiple back-to-back failures.
Still, the attacks leave a lasting emotional scar and a need to memorize all ways to repel the gods. These N-class children become experts at symbols and signs of godly disturbances. Every correct repellent is rewarded with food, supplies the protaint found, or the creature leading the child to a better spot to camp. Those who perfect the act of repelling the gods can live on the goods they are rewarded.
N-classes who grew up alongside this beast of omens are masters at repelling anomalies. They are near impossible to scare and are hyper-aware of their surroundings. On the other hand, they are known for being untrusting of others, usually scoffing at the idea of assistance. They are lonely notails who are sent on smaller yet still vital missions, where a group of social N-classes would have been detrimental.
Unfortunately, these notails are known for depriving themselves of sleep. While the horrors of god do not scare them, many of them drift into unconsciousness only to wake with a start a few hours later, unrested. Many are too proud to admit to the visions they see in their dreams that startle them awake.
They do not fear the gods, but in their dreams, their forgotten pet makes them scared children again.
Melting priest: The melting priest is on an initial glance, a failure of a protaint and only given to Ranger-class children. Its slime does not get firmer after being secreted by the bones and instead becomes a viscous substance that leaks upon the floor. What seems to be an error is actually intended. This slime has a much sweeter smell to it, attracting all manners of creatures to it. When consumed, it causes calming hallucinations. This allows the owner to dispatch any under the effect of the gel immediately. While melting priests follow their owners diligently most of the time, they are prone to suddenly mumbling incomprehensible gibberish before fleeing the area. The owner is then forced to track it down and soothe it back into their control.
Inherent memory: All non-subspecies protaints are born with an inherent memory. This memory is the same protaint to protaint and is why they feel compelled to create omens. As one can assume, this genetic memory was carefully put into the species during their change into becoming a capture creature. As memories are not infallible, even those "naturally born" will rarely incorrectly create an omen, an annoying event for the person attempting to solve it.
• Some protaint have gland issues and may have some organs that produce two colors of slime. This can create some delightful smoky-like effects or muddle the colors into something bland.
• Many N-classes return their protaint after leaving the woods, no longer wishing to deal with being awake in the middle of the night with trapped in a twisted puzzle. Some aliens find the fauna "quirky" and are quick to rehome them.
• The nightmares N-classes face after owning this creature are not anomaly-based. The long-term fear, and then their self-isolation leads to a situation in which the problem compiles over time. Those who do reach out for help can overcome the events, but most will never consider such an action. Unfortunately, N-classes who have owned a protaint live for five years less than the notail average. Their most common cause of death is an illness brought on or worsened by stress.
No art currently, maybe you can help.