Art by, Chimerii
Danger Level: Low
Commonly Infects: Avian species or anyone exposed to the sky.
Attack Method: The corvus rarely attacks, but if threatened, it will quickly strike its target with sharp claws.
Summary: The corvus is a strain whose infected are primarily focused on drinking water, but in doing so, it releases a feather rainstorm that hits all caught under it with infectious slime.
Original Creator: Chimerii
The corvus is a long and feathered monster, constantly in search of water to satiate a thirst it will never overcome. Upon being infected, the first physical symptoms one might notice is itchy skin prone to cracking and bleeding, and a faint thirst for water that never goes away, despite how much is consumed.
As the infection starts to take a tighter hold, the infected will experience terribly itchy and bleeding skin, and a small growth of dark-feathered, wing-like appendages from the back of the head. The infected's thirst for water will grow.
A corvus clockwork takes about a week for the infection to fully take hold on it's body. The completed creature has its body contorted to become long and slim, and will occasionally grow extra legs to support its elongated body from dragging on the ground. The wing-like appendages sprouting from the back of the clockwork's head will reach their full size, carrying stunningly dark, iridescent feathers that stay with the corvus until death.
A corvus' skin is incredibly dry, and it bleeds and peels at every chance possible. Black feathers will grow from the corvus' body at every inch, though in lesser frequencies in the spots with particularly ruined skin. The only way for a corvus' skin to heal, even by the slightest amount, is by drinking vast amounts of water. Otherwise, it will continue to bleed and peel until there is no skin left.
The corvus are quick, and their feathered legs are efficient at dragging them from water source to water source. When drinking large amounts of water, the corvus will remove that water by converting it into clockwork slime that builds up in the dark feathers of its skin. Once completely filled with slime, the feather will detach from the body. As both the feathers and the slime of a corvus are extremely light, even the slightest breeze can carry the infectious feather high into the sky.
Corvus feathers regrow extremely quickly, often taking no more than a few minutes to replace one that has been detached. The feathers will also fill with slime at an extremely rapid rate when the clockwork is actively consuming water, and enough feathers will break free from its body as it drinks to create a cloud of infectious black feathers fluttering high in the air.
These featherstorms are how a corvus infects, and they are what make a corvus so dangerous. Slime drips off the feathers as they are carried around by the wind, and despite their ferocious name of "storms" coming down as full-fledged "rain", they only take the form of a mere light drizzle of infection. Any mention of rainstorms is an exaggeration, but care should still be taken to treat the weather as if it were just as dangerous.
The clockwork drizzle infects anyone it touches, and leaves the ground for miles and miles contaminated with slime. Feathers that have deposited most of their slime also drift back onto the ground, further contaminating anything exposed to the sky with their presence. Those that remain in high enough winds tend to deposit all of their slime before finally descending, and those feathers are slightly less dangerous to touch once on the ground. The slime, should it happen to drop into a body of water, releases a chemical that allows the corvus to detect it from miles away, and mark it as the next target for the monster to drink.
These featherstorms, due to their reliance on the wind for them to occur, often have trouble initiating them in areas with low wind or little to wind at all. Due to being unable to locate and drink new water sources because of this, the corvus' skin further suffers and large percentages of its infection rate is reduced. However, the opposite is also true, and areas with high winds will find themselves at the mercy of clockwork feathers that refuse to descend until every last drop of slime has been sprinkled onto the land for miles and miles across.
Clockwork slime is also regularly produced by the corvus without water and leaks out on all sides of its body, but in far-reduced numbers than what it would produce by consuming water and expelling the slime through its feathers.
On the occasions that a corvus finds itself drinking saltwater, the slime that it creates is heavy, and the slime-filled feathers that break off the corvus' body will instead drop onto the ground, with little to no hope of becoming airborne. These feathers will often find themselves drifting off into the sea, their slime leaking into the water and suffocating the wildlife with its high viscosity. Corvus slime created from drinking freshwater does not have suffocating qualities, but despite both types of slime having far-reduced infection rates in water, they are still not recommended to touch.
Drinking saltwater also happens to have negative qualities for a corvus' skin, only contributing to its horrific dryness. If, for whatever reason, a corvus' skin happens to become dry enough, all of the clockwork's skin will peel off, leaving nothing but a raw, featherless, and bloodied lump of flesh and metal underneath. The only remnant of the clockwork's old appearance is a pair of feathery, wing-like appendages sticking out from an indeterminate location on the corvus' body, all other feathers having fallen away and the clockwork's old body shape completely destroyed without any skin to support it.
This skinless monster has little life ahead of it in this stage, and will quickly perish on its own time.
One of the most notable symptoms of being infected with the corvus strain is an extreme thirst for water. The strain will take about a week to fully take hold on the infected, and in those days, the infected will find themself constantly drinking water in an attempt to satiate this thirst. Standing full days by the tap is not uncommon.
As the infection's development advances, and feathers start to cover the corvus' body, the clockwork will soon decide that the tap or pump is too little for them, and will abandon their home to seek out a larger body of water, such as a pond or lake, to drink from.
It is by this point that the corvus strain has fully taken hold of a person, all instances of their original personality lost to infection.
The corvus in its fully-fledged development is a vile monster, though it rarely hunts others except in the most desperate of situations, ignoring them in favor of its other goals. All corvus clockworks experience an intense thirst, one that can only be calmed by drinking water at all times possible. The corvus will constantly seek out the large bodies of water to drink from, and will spend almost all of its hours consuming as much water as it can.
As the water a corvus consumes is quickly converted to airborne slime, the bodies of water it drinks will be quickly dried up with no water to replace it. To obtain meat and metal like any other clockwork, one of the rare times a corvus will stop drinking is to consume the wildlife that had once lived in the water it destroyed, and to consume any metal scraps that might have been dropped into the water beforehand.
Once a body of water has been completely dried up, the corvus will chase after the next body it can detect through the chemicals released when its feather-rain had dropped into water. Occasionally, this water will be saltwater, which contains negative effects for the clockwork's health. The corvus will continue to drink the water anyway, though the salt will have terrible effects on the monster's skin.
As a corvus is painfully aware of the quality of its skin, it will eventually realize the effects that consuming saltwater will have on it, though this process can take a few hours or even up to a day due the clockwork's limited mental ability. The increasing dryness of its skin will persuade it to move on to new water sources, as a corvus always associates its dry skin with no water, or in this case, saltwater.
The standard cycle of a corvus' existence is to drink water, consume its remains, hunt out the next source of water, repeat. If a corvus cannot acquire enough food from this cycle, it will quickly die, as the strain is not able to recognize that food can come from any source other than water. If a corvus cannot find any water at all, it will continue searching until it does, and the feathers released from such consumption will allow it to find even more water, and let it continue back on its cycle.
The corvus' primary motivation to drink so much water is to prevent its skin from completely peeling off its body. If a corvus can successfully drink water near-nonstop, this will rarely happen. However, if its skin gets so dry that it does happen, the lack of skin will cause the corvus to lose its feathers and body shape, becoming a husk of even the monster that it used to be.
Skinless corvuses, as deformed blobs of flesh, have lost the ability to drink, and as a result, the ability to feed on meat and metal. Regardless, they will continue to hang around water sources in a vain attempt to drink it. Instead, the most they will accomplish is dropping infectious blood into the water, providing some contamination, but extremely small amounts compared to what the strain can normally do. Attacking a skinless corvus is generally seen as not being worth it, as the clockwork will only attack once provoked, and will quickly die anyway due to its lack of skin and ability to gain food.
It is thought that skinless corvuses only exist as a genetic flaw in the corvus strain, but without the threat and pain of losing a skin to drive a corvus, it is believed that the clockwork would have little motivation to consume water and infect others through its feather rain.
Defeating a corvus in battle requires a slightly different approach. Physically approaching a corvus in its regular state is not a major problem, as most are too focused on consuming water to attack a bystander. However, once provoked, the corvus will strike back with a sharp beak and claws, and will also release its feathers prematurely in an attempt to infect the attacker if they cannot be defeated through battle.
If the corvus sees too much danger, or is lit on fire, it will attempt to flee by diving into the water closest to it. As the water a corvus will dive into has almost certainly been contaminated with clockwork slime itself, it is recommended to try and light the surface of the water on fire by whatever means necessary. A corvus cannot breathe underwater, and if it attempts to resurface for air, it will be burned. Otherwise, it will suffocate to death. This is one of the most efficient ways to defeat a corvus.
If one simply wants to prevent infection from a corvus, it is highly recommended to keep an eye out for any pitch-black storm clouds, as there is a fair chance that is a flurry of corvus feathers traveling through the air. Common safety procedures involve staying inside for the duration of the featherstorm passing overhead, and only stepping outside afterwards if absolutely necessary, while also wearing heavy coverings to ensure that no clockwork slime left on the ground or other surfaces can get on the body.
To protect water sources from clockwork rain, it is highly recommended that one puts coverings over all valuable water containers or reservoirs when possible. Otherwise, one runs the risk of clockwork slime dropping into the water and alerting the corvus of where it can get its next drink.
Pure skins: On rare occasions, the corvus virus will mutate to give its infected completely normal skin instead of the dry skin that a corvus usually has. These pure-skinned clockworks experience a far-reduced desire for water, and possess brilliantly iridescent feathers covering the whole of its body. Pure skins, due to spending less time drinking water, are far more aggressive than normal corvuses, and also exceptionally less infectious due to not consuming the water necessary to make any clockwork slime. They often spend their time running after people and animals like an aggressive strain of clockwork, as opposed to the vector nature of a normal corvus.
• Corvus feather rain has occasionally been reported to have frozen mid-air and dropped to the ground like hail. The largest piece of clockwork hail was reported to have been the size of a tennis ball, and had crashed through the window of a marsue. The marsue then reported that the hail was a message from his god, SugarSweet Dazzle. SugarSweet Dazzle happened to be the marsue himself, and he became infected shortly afterwards.
• The longest amount of time a corvus has been reported to live after becoming skinless was five days. The average amount is two days with little deviation.
• Pure skins display far fewer symptoms upon becoming infected than regular corvuses. Most instances involve the infected growing wing-like appendages out of their head, then feathers everywhere else, and then aggression and loss of mind. They are often harder to catch beforehand due to their rarity and lack of displaying common symptoms.
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