“If you ever smell or see a Touched Shbor, just try to leave the area as fast as possible without alarming the beast. I don't think even those gifted in the soul department should take touched anything lightly, evermore touched legendary monsters of Ladvolja.”
Touched Shbors are a special variant of Shbors and are similar to them in many ways. They are created by crimson berries when they get planted, usually out of Shbor’s corpse, on the ground with soul influenced by The Five.
Other ways of creating Touched Shbors are if a Shbor gets exposed to the influenced soul while eating and regrowing, and if The Five give their touch to already existing crimson berries. However, new berries being planted and becoming infected before growing Shbors is by far the most common.
By being exposed to The Five soul, crimson berries get touched and then create Touched Shbors as a form of protection. As such, Touched Shbors have no mind of their own, but are completely controlled by sentient berries, basically serving as their extension. They are created out of plants, with branches for bones and vines for muscles, and they mimic the forest wildlife.
Crimson berries are rare magical berries endemic to the forests of Northern Ladvolja and they only grown in places rich in soul. Ladvoljan people believe they have powerful healing properties and can even bring people back to life. While there are many myths about them, in reality they hold only one power and that is enhancing magical properties of potions.
Unlike Shbors, Touched Shbors’ bones are made of dead kralreve wood, which is softer and more brittle, but over time gets thinner and sturdier. Their skeleton is more fragile at first, but over time gets much stronger than that of the regular Shbor. Their bodies are covered in unknown moss with easily recognizable unpleasant odor. Also, their saliva is highly acidic and reacts with most man-made and natural materials (highly reactive with carbon based compounds).
Touched Shbors aren’t as elegant or beautiful as regular Shbors, but they are stronger and more aggressive.
Table of Contents
In Ladvoljan language, word “shbor” would roughly translate to “evergreen tree of the forest”.
“Touched” is a way of saying something is transformed from their usual form, meaning “enchanted” or “granted power”
There isn’t as much in legends or folklore about them as about their regular counterparts since they are a relatively new species. Usually, people who encounter them are told they’re just imagining things or, if they’re religious, they see them as a bad omen or a sign that a world is ending.
Dead kralreve wood isn’t found in such form anywhere in nature and is impossible to create artificially, so Touched Shbors are the only source of it. Even so, they aren’t hunted for it since people are too afraid, most not even believing in their existence.
Touched Shbors are about 1.7 CH in height and between 30 and 40 CW in weight.
They walk on all fours. As Shbors, they have pronounced ribs that sprout through their backs, but they are able to cope with it for much longer. Since they’re more aggressive, they tend to break their ribs before they can overgrow and throw them on their backs. However, they can’t escape it forever and in the end their ribs immobilize them completely, making them slowly die of starvation.
Despite not being real animals, they have real senses, but none of usual ones really stands out.
However, Touched Shbors sense vibrations through the roots in the area, so they are easily alerted when someone is approaching.
Touched Shbors don’t reproduce sexually but leave crimson berry seeds after they die. Their corpses sprout new bushes of touched crimson berries if they die in an area with enough magic and those bushes create new Touched Shbors.
Touched Shbors are herbivores and will eat any plant besides crimson berries. They often regrow their body using the material from food they consume, eating not for nutrients but for regrowth. Their saliva is highly acidic, so they can harm nearby plants and ground when they eat.
4.2. NATURAL PREDATORS
They have no natural predators. Usual animals wouldn’t be able to hurt them even if they tried but they mostly understand Touched Shbors’ purpose and don’t get near.
Overall, most creatures are deadly afraid of Touched Shbors, and with good reason. They are natural predators to other soul beasts and will attack anything magical. They can stray much further from their crimson berries than regular Shbors and they use that advantage to attack.
They live wherever touched crimson berries are. Crimson berries are an endemic species to the forests of Northern Ladvolja which are very cold and soul infested. Berries need huge amounts of soul to grow and thrive so they’re very rare, touched kind growing only in places of soul infected by The Five.
5.2. SOCIAL STRUCTURE
They have no social structure, every bush creates two or three Touched Shbors that aren’t dependent of or interact with each other.
Touched Shbors don’t communicate among themselves because there is no need for them to. They only communicate with their bush that controls them, so all of them share the information through the united mind of berries.
5.4. LIFE EXPECTANCY
They die natural deaths after being immobilized by their own bones. Their life expectancy is unknown.
6. INTERACTIONS WITH HUMANS
Touched Shbors have a low frequency of interacting with humans.
Ladvoljan people have a lot of stories about crimson berries, but they connect them with Shbors rather than Touched Shbors. The most famous legends are about Kings bringing their heroic sons back from the land of death using the power of crimson berries. Crimson berries were believed to hold great healing properties and that they’re infused with pure magic.
Touched Shbors are much rarer than usual Shbors, who themselves are rare, so people have incredibly low chances of ever encountering one. If they do, they are more likely to run away immediately than to engage.
Their existence is kept a secret since The Five are kept a secret. They are considered only a legend in the world, with some religious groups having their own iterations of them.
Touched Shbors use plant magic. They can manipulate roots, vines, branches and all other plant forms in the area, but after they had controlled them, plants withers and die, spreading the soul of The Five in the area. Areas where their attacks took place are recognized by dead vegetation and possibly mutated plants, which transform into new species.
The most common use is attacking a threat from below, tripping them on roots and trapping them with vines. Once a target is immobilized and if the attack itself wasn’t enough to kill it, Touched Shbors attack their enemies with their bodies.
Since they’re more aggressive than Shbors, the way of killing is usually more brutal than simply clawing their enemies. It usually includes breaking their bones and crushing their skulls by jumping on them or dissolving their bodies with acidic saliva.
one of Ladvolja specific creatures
the first created touched species
Written & edited by: Worldbuilding by: Cadence Nocthonax