In keeping with my New Year’s resolution to get more done, I’m prodding myself a bit through putting up some sections of the omnibus I’m putting together for the Vein series. So, in keeping with this, I plan on putting up something at least once a month from the omnibus for you to enjoy. Keep in mind that this isn’t quite a finished product; I’ll be doing some polishing and honing here and there, but what you’ll be getting is essentially correct. So here is January’s entry for the omnibus: the dreaded creature known as the Cloud Specter, which many of you my readers have come to love! As always, let me know what you think!
See you in the Vein!
Cloud Specter-A Cloud Specter is a massive being enshrouded within a black cloud that occupies the skies of the Meridian. When it desires to do so, the Cloud Specter can emerge from its billowing vehicle, dropping from the cloud in an inverted manner, so that anybody seeing it will see the creature standing upside down, with its feet planted in the black cloud that carries it. The Cloud Specter has a body that is made from what has been described as “chiseled, swirling cloud,” as its body, though angular and defined, is alive with currents of cloud traveling across its surface, as if one were looking at cloud entrapped in a living statue of glass. The creature’s face alone measures larger in length than the body of a full-grown Talusibat, devoid of a mouth, possessing a hint of something that should be a nose, and alive with a pair of blazing yellow rings that are set in the place of eyes.
It is unknown as to how many Cloud Specters occupy the Meridian, but the general consensus is that at least more than one exists, and some have speculated that as many as five may be roaming the Meridian heavens. This uncertainty is due in part to the lack of information about the Specters given in any ancient texts, and even the Scrolls of the Sects say nothing about these heavenly giants prior to the War between the Sovereign and Balys-Crahly, which leads most to believe that the creatures either did not exist in their current form at the pre-war time, or that they acted in a way that was more recluse, thus the lack of attention paid to them.
The Cloud Specters have prescribed circuits that they take through the Meridian, the most prominent and well-known of them being the one which traverses along the Meridian’s outermost area, not far from the Edge. Lookouts in the perimeter cities of the Meridian have reported seeing the “boiling blackness” traveling along its regular route, independent of any contrary wind that might be pushing in a different direction.
A Cloud Specter is an extremely dangerous creature to encounter. The visible presence of any Being on the ground is enough to cause the Specter to emerge from its cloud and pursue whatever or whoever may be on the earth below in an attempt to kill it by slamming it into the earth in the matter that a person might swat at an insect. A Specter, once aroused by a Being’s presence, will chase down that being and attempt to kill him, but it should be noted that a Specter will not wander too far from its circuit and will break off any attack if the intended target escape’s the Specter’s “comfort zone.” This is not as easy as it may sound, for it takes a Specter only one giant stride to cross a distance of more than fifty paces, and the Specter’s ability to move with such haste makes it almost impossible to outrun on foot. Even on ha-bear or sand slither, escape is not guaranteed, and the intended target’s only chances for survival are to press on as fast as possible and hope that he is near enough to the edge of the Specter’s circuit that the creature will be dissuaded from giving chase, or to find a place to hide and hope that the Specter does not discover their location (as Clade was able to do). In the city of Sarphyx, the aircraft pilots are discouraged from leaving the city limits, as their airships lack the ability to outrun any oncoming Specters, and also because the Specters seem to be drawn to any airborne object that is not a cloud.
There is no known weapon capable of killing a Cloud Specter, although a surge delivered from a Sect scythe will cause a Specter visible discomfort and grant a momentary delay for anything in its path to try to escape. All other weapons produce no effect; the Cloud Specter’s body simply absorbs the projectile or other attack and continues its own assault. For this reason, travelers in the open Meridian are warned to not linger in one place for too long, especially if they are not familiar with the creature’s circuits.