Monsters in Riiga go by many names. In Benevis they are called monsters, fiends, demons, and sometimes beasts. The Eber call them sisral, which means "from the deep". People from Qarbak call them mhukur, "people-killers", or qime, "unnatural". Yvabirans call them anomyara, "anomaly", or monnas, "murderers". The Dunin call them curiq, meaning "disturbing ones". Temaneans call them yuo mosu, "end of man". Vamans call them mahar, "demons". Remdorians call them horrors or demons. Other cultures have other names for them as well, but the only thing that unites all these descriptions is that monsters match a set of conditions.
A monster in Riiga is something that matches the following conditions:
- It is not part of the natural order. Monsters show no consideration for fauna and flora.
- It cannot breed. Monsters are made by other beings, not a result of mating. They are consequentially considered genderless.
- It hates humans. Monsters will go to any length to cause destruction to humans and hybrid races. Records of monsters showing hesitation or mercy are almost completely unheard of.
- It is mortal, and can die.
- It can be reproduced. If only one instance of a monstrous thing exists, it is not considered a monster, but rather a being of some kind.
- It will fight alongside other monsters, given the chance.
According to the Red Temple, monsters are made by a particular being who obeys the god of destruction, Garukavar. While Garukavar himself has the ability to create monsters, he leaves it up to his designated monster-crafter. The being called Votorin, or sometimes simply "The Enemy", was first described to people around 800BD, when Nikina first revealed himself to the people of the Nor Vastin Kingdom. It was explained that monsters emerge from the ground -- either from well-known caves referred to as "pits", or from non-specific areas such as sinkholes, lakes, cracks caused by earthquakes, volcanoes, or anything that would offer access to the abyssal depths -- and that these monsters would stop at nothing to bring destruction to civilisation. It is not a war to be won, but an unnatural force against humanity that should be defeated at every opportunity. This idea became central to the unification and growth of the Nor Vastin Kingdom, and the same idea carries right through to the Benevis Kingdoms of the modern day, almost 2000 years later.
Given that occasionally monsters will attack in unison, there are several major orders that are dedicated to fighting monsters. Two of the largest surviving orders are the Venquis in Benevis -- a secret order of divine knights who operate under the influence of the Temple -- and the Nhorcean Order in Yvabira -- an order of monster-slaying knights that has become so influential and wealthy that they govern lands as large as a kingdom.
On the other hand, the largest order which has actually supported Garukavar and monsters of darkness is the Templars. Though they have had only a few human followers historically, they are made up of other powerful beings deemed to be as strong as demigods, such as Votorin, Toryalnor, and the Black Whale that supposedly caused the Darkness in 0BD.
Though not monsters in a strict sense, some hybrid races seem to show nothing but contempt and violence toward humans and humanoid people. They are regarded as monsters by some.
Karithians of Yrtkuam.
Fanorans of Jindiara.
Modeoa of the White Islands.
Cullashin of Solcul.
Hamakro of Iyakel Islands.
Bokoro of eastern Moonlight Island.
Fothrozz of the Beasten Mountains.
Gliroch of the Blightlands.
Areas frequented by monsters either currently or historically. Many unknown or unexplored areas are also believed to be inhabited by monsters.
Northern Yaele near the Vastin Kingdom.
Archaios such as Velena, Dalmuver, Etlas, Sefu Nas, Na Hangme, and the Abyss of Aiaosia.
Bay of the Dead off the shore of the Mintar Kingdom.
Lake Mancisa in Batur.
Beneath the Mezil Pyramid in Eber.
Northern Grave Island.
Central Augair ocean.
Lake Ewkar in Jadar.
Lagsi Island north of Batur.
The southern Great Dustlands near the Braqai clans.
The southern Totani Sea.
Anomeyl forests in northern Armalia.
Anywhere Black Storms appear.
Types of Monsters
There are many recognised varieties of monsters, and they all seem to match a particular role in opposing humans, much like one would expect to see specific types of soldiers in warfare. Below is a list of the known types of monsters, in order from the smallest and weakest to the largest and most powerful.
Some of the smallest and weakest monsters, Folang are short man-wolf creatures. They often have grey or white thick fur, the head of a wolf, a slender tail with spikes on the end, and long claws, and are often seen donning rudimentary armour and weapons made from hide, wood, or bone, or stolen from humans they've slain. They often try to make themselves appear more intimidating by wearing spikes and human body parts. Though not skilled fighters, they are extremely aggressive and have very little sense of self-preservation as adults. In large packs, they will never back down from a target.
Folang dwell underground but nearer to the surface than most other monsters are thought to lurk. They burrow under human settlements, tunneling under farmland and city walls alike. Sometimes small child-like Folang are seen among fighting forces. They are thought to be either stunted variants, or younger less "developed" Folangs that have been dragged out to fight. It is for this reason that some think Folang are made as pups, and don't emerge until they are fully grown.
The only known Folang city is known as Ethenem City, and is found within the cliffs overlooking the Shard Sea, just east of the Senyn Ranges in Yaele. In around 450AL, a local child playing atop the cliffs accidentally broke the weakened surface of a cave and fell into what turned out to be a vast network of carved caverns and corridors. The villagers from nearby explored further than the child had, and it was discovered that the city was made of several hundred rooms arranged in many layers and networks, with several points overlooking the Shard Sea. Some areas were reinforced with timber, and there were traces of clay pots and stone tools. The skeletons there were part wolf and part human, thought at first to be Gruitin. It wasn't until a larger band of adventurers delved deeper, down into the labyrinthine tunnels where no sunlight would ever reach, that they found Folangs still dwelling there. They were forced to retreat. Ethenem City is a place that is now under surveillance, as people expect that one day the Folangs there will emerge in an explosive assault.
Lamius Vulpes, commonly known as the Vampire Fox or Batfox, are small to medium sized, omnivorous monsters. Vampire Foxes have upright triangular ears, a pointed and slightly upturned snout as well as a long bushy tail. Their rear legs are representative of a wolf. Additionally, upon their forelimbs are wings like that of a bat and black razor-sharp claws that can slice through the hide of a boar. Vampire Foxes are known to reside in forests in northern Armalia and Baracsa, and tend to pursue vulnerable targets during monster attacks like livestock and children.
Vampire Foxes are known to hunt in packs, and make use of their exceptional sense of smell, hearing and sight. They can walk silently in the forests they reside in and usually hunt during the dark usually starting around dusk. They use the underbrush as well as trees to hide in wait till the opportunity to attack. They are known to have powerful jaws -- not at the same level as a wolf but strong enough that a grown man could struggle to pull away.
Vampire foxes use their razor-sharp teeth and claws to tear into and grab on to prey. They can cut through soft leather and cloth, so hard armour or multiple layers of dense padding are recommended when in their habitat. They communicate with each other through different barks and yelps, though it has not been established what each of these barks mean. There are claims that the Vampire Fox has a paralytic poison, but it has yet to be proven as they are dangerous to research, and due to their intelligence and ferocity they are good at escaping captivity.
Belbuga are toad-like monsters that emerge in temperate or swampy regions near bodies of water, especially in northern Baracsa and western Armalia. They can be up to 1.5 meters (5 feet) in height, and can grow to weigh around 200-400kg (440-880lbs), making them large and powerful enough to swallow children or small livestock, and sometimes tear limbs off adults or large livestock. Their tongues can reach 2-3 times their body length, are muscled and prehensile, and are covered in a slimy coating that can inflict paralysis if the Belbuga is large enough to produce potent enough chemicals. When a tongue is cut off near the tip it regrows, but if it is cut off near the base, it can regrow into two tongues. This doubling of tongues can be repeated many times, but the more tongues a Belbuga has, the less prehensile and dexterous the tongues become.
They have very large and strong foreclaws which they use to burrow into the soil. They are thought to live below the surface in underground bodies of water, emerging with their eyes and top of the head showing, where they lay in wait for prey to come along. They are slow, clumsy, and are slow to turn, but have been known to jump unexpectedly and sometimes land on victims, crushing them with their bulk. Additionally, they have armour on the tops and sides of their body, with thick hide covering most of the rest of the monster, aside from the flexible skin of their throat sac. They can inflate this sac and unleash a noise which can be loud and sudden enough to stun victims and throw people off their feet. Despite all this, they are often cowardly, and will retreat if they are injured rather than fight and risk further injury.
With a body no bigger than a lion, bat-like wings, bird-like beaked heads with jagged beaks, and a long crest of dark feathers, and a single horn protruding from the forehead, Uniphons are terrifying things to behold. The front two feet are like a bird of prey, and the back pair are like a wildcat. They travel in packs of up to a dozen and are one of the few monster varieties to kill one another, though it mostly seems accidental due to how violent and sporadic they are. Despite this, their single horns are often displayed as trophies, a sign of accomplishment for anyone claiming to be a monster slayer. They are very fast both on foot and in flight, and will attempt to eat almost anything.
Chimakors are winged monsters with the body of a mane-less lion but often between five and seven meters (16 - 23 feet) in length, wide membranous wings, a long thick spiked tail, two large tusks protruding downward from the upper jaw, and three spines atop the head. Some also have two arcing spines coming from the side of the skull and pointing forward. They are large and strong enough, with powerful forelimbs they can use to pick up cattle and horses, and usually use this method to defeat mounted knights by picking them up and dropping them from heights. They are often solitary, but will join in monster attacks. They aren't good flyers, and use their wings to glide or make bounding leaps, rather than to remain airborne for extended periods.
They seem to have a fondness of forests and fog, and have a call which sounds like a gargled scream, striking terror into the hearts of any prey nearby. Some say the Chimakor can summon a fog cloud if it winds up alone and unable to use its wings for some reason, as a method of defending itself and scaring away anyone who might be trying to hunt it down. Despite the way Chimakors will pick up and drop mounted knights, being on horseback tends to be the best way to combat a Chimakor, as they have a habit of quickly moving from area to area to try to confuse its foe and keep the terrain in its favour, so catching up to it becomes an issue for monster slayers. Regardless of their bold and reckless nature, they will retreat if the circumstance has turned out to be unfavourable.
Dreturel are reptilian monsters, but have bodies made of overlapping bony armoured plates with tough scales along the underbelly and back of the limbs. The long tail has blade-like spikes on the end, which it uses like a razor whip. Their claws are especially long and hooked, and they have a mane of clumped, tendril-like appendages. They are proficient burrowers and are usually known to emerge from soft, fine dirt like desert sand to attack. They seem to have an aversion to moisture and water, and will avoid emerging near beaches. Sometimes they lie in wait by disguising themselves as an animal skeleton; their bone-coloured armour helps add to this camouflage. When a victim gets near enough, they will lunge forward with either their jaws or tail and ensnare or slash at their target.
They are very tough and are not perturbed by fire, with armour that shrugs off most human weapons. The only effective methods of defeating them seem to be the crushing or penetrating force from large artillery weapons, or find a weakness in the armour, which is no small feat -- even the insides of their mouths have tough, dry material which is hard to puncture.
Ferehen are similar in size to Chimakors, but are a bit larger and much lighter, having more of an overall bird-like appearance. They have a beak and crown of feathers, four legs with curved black talons, broad feathered wings with hidden spines, and a long tail with a gathering of feathers at the end. They are covered head-to-toe in dark vertical stripes on top of their earthy orange-coloured feathers, much like a tiger. Ferehens are unpredictable, wild, and very violent; they will attack any other living thing without hesitation, and their superior size over most fauna means it will usually emerge the victor. Despite their fearlessness, they are sometimes deterred by large projectile weapons such as a hurled rock or scorpion bolt.
The most peculiar ability of the Ferehen is that they can create shockwaves by beating their wings in a particular way, and can summon whirlwinds by circling a target repeatedly. Given that the effects they can create don't seem possible for a single monster to do, it's believed that they are using some sort of innate wind magic to perform these dangerous tricks.
Anomeyl are tree monsters which dwell in remote forests in northern Armalia. They are able to perceive and experience their surroundings, and when rooted they look like a tree with a split in the trunk containing a beating human heart. The sound of the heart resonates through the wood of the tree and is amplified. Anomeyl hearts always beat in unison when they are grouped together. Young anomeyl are thought to grow from seeds and become sapling-type creatures which somehow trick dour and miserable people into giving up their hearts in exchange for peace. Once the infant anomeyl acquires the heart, it gains the ability to root itself and become part of a beating forest, where it can produce its own seeds. The victim's fate is uncertain. Some say it becomes another type of monster; a man-eating tree-person sometimes called a vatnin. Others say the victim's soul becomes trapped in the anomeyl and the body is left behind as an empty carcass.
When anomeyl gather in large enough groups, the unified sounds of their beating hearts are believed to drain nearby life; anomeyl forests are often void of other forms of life including both fauna and flora. Sometimes anomeyl roots are found grasping bones and rotting corpses, suggesting that even once they root anomeyl are capable of attacking and killing other living things within their reach. There are some groups of people who go around with special axes chopping down rooted anomeyl and hunting their sapling infants to prevent them from taking over entire areas. They often wear certain kinds of protection across their rib cages to deter anomeyl from trying to steal their hearts.
One of the mightiest humanoid monsters, Giakdon are gigantic beings, usually standing closer to ten meters (33 feet) in height. They only seem to show up during coordinated monster assaults against civilisations, and come wielding giant weapons and armour, forged in some unnatural place deep below the surface. Their most distinctive features include the thick metal helmets they wear which are long and beak-like, the two curved horns that protrude in the same manner as a mature bull, and the mane of blood red hair that flows down their backs. They are known to have hides too thick to penetrate with handheld weapons, and will try to brute-force their way through fortifications by smashing into them repeatedly with great axes or hammers. Even orders of monster slayers will usually back away from an encroaching Giakdon; they have no known weak points, aside from the high-up narrow slots in their helmets through which they see.
It is rumoured that a Giakdon without its weapon will charge on all fours like a bull. It's also rumoured that their flesh is poisonous, but this has not been confirmed. A Giakdon's horns, helmet, or bones make for extravagant trophies worth ridiculous amounts of money to the right people. They have never been known to speak, despite their somewhat humanoid appearance.
Stonejaw is the common name for a monster that has not been seen for many centuries. It shows up in similar circumstances to the Giakdon -- during coordinated assaults against humanity. They are usually described as very large reptilian creatures that walk on two or four legs, with long, thick tails, impenetrable scaly hide, a back covered in jagged spikes, and a mouth covered in armoured plates that opens wide enough to swallow carriages whole. They are cumbersome, slow, and stupid, but a single crunch of its jaws can break a castle wall into fragments.
Another distinct feature Stonejaws possess is the ability to produce sound that is felt more than it is heard. They can make a rumbling vocalisation which can travel quite far, and is said to be able to shock, paralyse, or even kill people if it does it loud and sudden enough. The sounds of earthquakes are often associated with stonejaws, and some folk people think they are caused by herds of stonejaws moving around underground.
Xelevikenar are monstrous war generals of The Enemy. They have only been seen a couple of times throughout known history. Nikina warns people of the danger of Xelevikenar -- that if one should ever be sighted among a monster assault, that the end is nigh. They can be large giant humanoids, standing tall enough to peer over a castle's walls despite their hunched appearance, and are covered head-to-toe in thick, jagged plate armour of grotesque design. They have never been heard speaking and have three arms. Whether the third arm is on the left side or right side seems to vary. They always join battle with a shield and one or two other weapons.
They are said to have unrivalled intelligence, skill in combat, and magical prowess compared with humans. Additionally, the weapons they possess usually appear to be enchanted with powerful ancient magic. Nikina also describes the Xelevikenar as being fallen Shimteak of great ability who were stolen by Garukavar and corrupted, turned into weapons to be used against humans. There are six known Xelevikenar in existence, each with its own name, gemstone (which is embedded in the chest-piece of its armour), and aspect.
Onuxutex helmet. Right hand: shield. Left hand: sword, Terihkoma. Second left hand: hammer, Atarigen (lost). Rhknar's faction uses the gold pyrite and represents strength.
Chimakor helmet. Right hand: staff, Khabem. Second right hand: flail, Remiksen. Left hand: shield. Kavika's faction uses the green reserorka and represents possession.
Nuinrari helmet. Right and left hand: sword, Miesich. Second left hand: shield. Veriviet's faction uses the blue kijisilira and represents knowledge.
Cmarla helmet. Right hand: axe, Ibhkimasula. Second right hand: trident, Kornuhk. Left hand: shield. Ashmah's faction uses the red carnelian and represents creativity.
Mavara helmet. Right hand: shield. Left hand: mace, Vahmeaka. Second left hand: halberd, Eangen (lost). Iethyer's faction uses the black hematite and represents wonder.
Yrmbaro helmet. Right and left hand: hammer, Vasteatagu. Second right hand: shield. Vigoruhn's faction uses the white latilheris and represents mortality.
A monster of legend, the Orkatang exists only in old tales and is arguably not a monster. According to these stories, Orkatangs are the size of a small mountain, but other than that the descriptors are vague. To some people, the Orkatang is not a being of the past, but a symbol of a world-ending event to come. Others argue that it is the same entity as the Black Whale Murluron that brought about the Darkness, given the apparent colossal size and apocalyptic power of both entities. The most famous old poem about an Orkatang implies that at least one existed, and was divided into eight parts which were scattered about the land. The poem is as follows:
And I bid ye heed me, O Orkatang
I ventured through the mountains looking east for your toes
O'er the grey fields in bitter cold for your fingers
And under the heavy seas of the Nest for your wings
But ne'er did I find your tokens
I am unworthy
I am unworthy
Devour my mind for I am unworthy, O Giant of Winds
And I bid ye heed me, O Orkatang
I ventured through the deepest woods of the Red King for your tail
O'er the crescent of the heart for your horns like pines
And under the stars which dance with clouds for your tongue
But ne'er did I find your tokens
I am unworthy
I am unworthy
Devour my heart for I am unworthy, O Giant of Winds
And I bed ye heed me, O Orkatang
I ventured through the winding depths of the dead white for your fangs
O'er the dusty ash for your eyes
And under the dead holes for your heart
But ne'er did I find your tokens
And so you watch from afar and still waiting
Torn apart by the Grand and still waiting
Buried by the palace and still waiting
Bound by magics and split by magics, O Giant of Winds
And still waiting to become one
I am unworthy
I am unworthy
Devour my soul for I am unworthy