Tyger (stormteller) wrote in mythmakers,

Mythical Creature: Ilkin

Generally regarded as the most dangerous member of the Imp genus, ilkin come in two varieties: the tame (those raised from infancy by human trainers) and the feral (those raised in the wild by their own kind).

Tame ilkin are dangerous, but also trustworthy, provided you follow the particular rules of behavior in dealing with them. They are mild-mannered, obedient, a popular choice as servants among humans. Unlike other servants, human or otherwise, tame ilkin will not complain about their duties or show the slightest hint of displeasure, even when commanded to perform the most menial of tasks. Indeed, they will not speak or show any trace of emotion whatsoever unless deliberately instructed to do so. They do not use magic in their housework, but are efficient workers, and have small, flexible frames that can do things a human body cannot, and so complete their tasks with speed. They will do anything their master or the master's friends command, provided it does not involve the killing or harming, directly or indirectly, of any living thing. They also refuse to answer personal questions, ie regarding their name, sex or age or personal opinions.
The danger in keeping tame ilkin, and one of the reasons for their allure, is thus: they are very good at sensing lies, and will not tolerate them. Should any person lie in their presence, they will immediately shed all restraints of decency and make their best effort to kill that person. They have the same reaction toward broken promises, theft, and other forms of dishonesty. This behaviour has led some people to keep them as a sign of their trustworthiness, performing business transactions and the like in front of them to assure their sincerity. However, the unpredictability of this particular homicidal urge makes most people wary to keep them.

Feral ilkin are almost completely different in nature, aside from their homicidal tendencies. In the wild, these creatures exist in clans of about 10-20 individuals, wear skin loincloths, and use primitive tools, especially knives, and bows and arrows, made out of bone and wood, all for the primary purpose of hunting. However, at the slightest hint of humanity, they will attack as one, working in unison to kill anyone that they can find, whether or not that person is a threat to them. There is no known way of placating them or negotiating any kind of peaceful alternative; they will attack as one until every one of them is killed. Their social structure is simple; males do the hunting, while the job of women is to bear children (due to a high infant mortality rate, females must be constantly pregnant in order to maintain the population) and do housework. The children make tools. There is also a chief of every clan, apparently the oldest male, who orchestrates their activities and tends to the sick or wounded. The chief also uses magic, partly for healing and other obscure purposes but in particular he has the ability to transform into the form of any animal. Again, however, when facing humans all social distinctions vanish and all ilkin act as one.
Ilkin use blades to cut markings into their chests, indicating their clan. There has been some incidence of clan warfare, but in general the clans are distant enough to make this a rarity.

There are many known magical traits of ilkin, and some that have never been confirmed. The most well-known of these is that if you learn an ilkin's name, and speak it aloud within the creature's hearing, you will have complete control over the thing. Ilkin under such circumstances are known as captive ilkin. This is different from the nature of tame ilkin, however. There is no command a captive ilkin can refuse. However, these commands are taken at the letter, not the spirit, and the ilkin will do its best to find loopholes in the command to allow it to bring about the death of its captor- the only way it can regain its freedom. If given contradictory commands, it will be able to ignore either or both at its leisure. A captive ilkin is automatically unable to attack its captor directly, or to cause harm to itself, unless commanded otherwise. An ilkin can have many captors. Also, if a chief is captured, its entire clan becomes captive to the one who spoke the name.

There are other traits, some more or less known, and some that are uncertain. For example, ilkin are immune to fire, though there appear to be occasional exceptions to this for unknown reasons. They are unable to lie. They are afraid of tin, and touching it seems to cause discomfort, though it causes no damage (though a tame one will touch tin without hesitation if commanded). The most common unconfirmed rumors regarding ilkin are: if one walks backwards, they are unable to see that person; chiefs can use humans' names to control them (though since they never bother to take humans prisoner this is impossible to verify); that feral ilkin, and especially chiefs, love games, and will even stop killing you to play certain ones, with any stakes you care to name; and that drinking lemon juice causes them sickness, and, if drank in excess, death.

When fighting ilkin, it is vital to kill or capture the clan chief in order to prevent his magic granting an advantage. They should be kept at a distance if possible; they can find chinks in any armor almost instantly. Their arrows are not especially dangerous, but precautions should certainly be taken. As mentioned before, they are immune to fire, even magical fire, so such methods of attack are useless.

Ilkin have no particular religion, but they do seem to worship a certain folk hero, Nafelous, the Deaf One who according to legend could not be captured no matter how many spoke his name, and used this advantage to free thousands of his kind from slavery to humans.

This creature is a class B threat [on a scale from A to F, with A being the highest, and a special S class above that].
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