Mirrors, Monsters, and Misfits

Sanimbathra-Sakh, Kamsatilu! Lahaf-Namsu, Camazotz-yuf!

Instinct, o bat-host! Wisdom, o were-bat!

Sanimbathra-Sakh, Kamsatilu! Lahaf-Namsu, Camazotz-yuf!

The Unwelcome Messenger was never without his mask. Nor, since his arrival at Zotzilaha, his umbrella.

The cavern was poorly lit, a gloomy half-glow of clinging lichens. Far away, the walls and roof of the vast cavern-realm seemed to reveal softly glowing veins in the stone – no brighter than the smeared after-image of the moon, after blinking on a dark night.

Messenger’s golden eyes met large, black ones, shining darkly in a smudge of black, stepping from a shadow. The shape belonged to a Corax, gangly but crouched suspiciously.

The Nuwisha affected a smirk, though he was impressed by the stranger’s stealth. He waited for the Corax to speak.

“Ina.” One word: ‘Leave.’

“I have business.” Unwelcome Messenger couldn’t help but lift his lip in a toothily lopsided grin – the Corax challenging him lifted his head, seemingly offended by the speech of humans in this place. “I didn’t catch your name, friend.”

The other shapeshifter lifted its stance, feathers fluffing, seeming to swell and bulge from the shadow he was standing in. “Zotzilaha engum.” A guard of this place. “Ina. Nuku ina.” He repeated, his voice betraying anger and the hint of violence.

“That’s a title, not a name.”

The Corax took a half step forward. Messenger couldn’t help but imagine the man-bird snarling – if only he had lips. “You, hombre, can call me ‘Murder.’”

Other shadows in the near-pitch of the cavern shifted. They were just a bit too far to see, and in the murky echoes of the cavern, too subtle to count.

The Unwelcome Messenger chuckled at the lame double-entendre. He got it: a Murder of Corax guarding the Umbral realm. His chuckle soon blossomed into a belly laugh when he realized that the whole bunch of them must have practiced the whole routine in advance.

No matter how far he bent to grab his belly and laugh, Messenger damn well never let the umbrella be swayed from above his head.

The guardian refused to be drawn along with the Nuwisha’s shenanigans. He waited in his advantageous position for the laughing to subside. “This is why b’rer Coyote gets his-self kill’t a lot.”

Corax, Messenger thought to himself, are rarely such serious people. “All-right, alright?” he cantered. “I’ll jes’ go on out the way I done come in…”

The guardian and his b’reren watched the Nuwisha turn and step away. Several pair of black-shine eyes couldn’t help but follow the bob and twirl of the gaudy umbrella. It was easily the brightest colored thing in the realm.

The Nuwisha stopped in his tracks. “It’s too bad!” he said, in a quiet voice addressed to no one in particular. “Camazotz athi koth lahaf namsu. Manabozho sanimbathra-sakh hithim luzak Camazotz idigathim karbhar-niha. Inim, inim sirikha.”

The Unwelcome Messenger had been heard by, perhaps, a half dozen Corax. And he had been heard by, perhaps, a half million spirits Kamsatilu, the Bat Host… and quite a few Camazotz themselves, hidden among them. It was said that no place in Zotzilaha was beyond their hearing.

He had just spoken to a million eager ears, telling them that he had returned from the desert of ignorance, bearing the lost lore of Camazotz.

Messenger glanced over his shoulder. He offered a sly wink at the inky patch of darkness, and let the umbrella sink low around his head.

Just in time.

A near-silent swish of fleshy wings flitted by, barely missing the gaudy umbrella.

Then another.

Then another hundred.

The Unwelcome Messenger laughed his belly laugh again. He spun his umbrella after a few moments, when it started to feel heavy in his hands. He took a deep breath through his mask, and howled the first chorus of his great ghost-dance. The million in his audience would hear the knowledge they sought, hidden in between his barks and his howls.

Somewhere in the near-pitch darkness, Messenger imagined what guano-frosted Corax would look like.

What a dreadful shame, he couldn’t hear their swearing, or see the looks on their faces.

Camazotz (were-bats) have five shapes.

(Please choose Metachiroptera or Megachiroptera. Not both. This will be what all other Camazotz have)
(Also please note that both of our protagonist Camazotz have Extra Limbs to account for detached wings. It’s unknown at this time if this is a common trait or a unique one!)

Homid: This is the basic human shape we’re all familiar with. No modifiers.

Apterous: This is the “throwback” or Glabro of the Camazotz. Apterous are near-human, but skeletally thin arms and legs, somewhat distorted face. Flight is relatively clumsy in this form, but they are otherwise excellent athletes.
Strength +2, Stamina +2, Dexterity +1, Health +1, Speed 5 (species factor 5), +1 Athletics.

Crinos: This is the “war form” of the Camazotz. It uses the common term, “Crinos”. This form looks like an upright, bipedal rodent, with long arms and legs.
Strength +3, Stamina +4, Dexterity +2, Size 6, Health +5, Speed +10 (species factor 5), Manipulation 0, all Perception +2, +1 Athletics

Metachiroptera: This is the “dire beast” or Hispo equivalent of the Camazotz. Unusually for shapeshifters, this is a swarm shape. This swarm of tiny bats is individually weak, but very difficult to significantly injure, short of explosives or gases. It also fills a large area, and is excellent for perceiving everything in it’s volume (option 1)
Strength -2, Stamina +2, Health +3, Perception +3, Manipulation 0, Speed +5 (species factor 10)

Megachiroptera: This is the “dire beast” or Hispo of the Camazotz. It appears as a huge bat, with a 5-foot wingspan. (option 2)
Stamina +1, Dexterity +2, Size 3, Health +2, Speed +5 (species factor 10), +2 all Perception, Manipulation 0

Chiroptera: This is the “spirit beast” or Nahual of the Camazotz. It takes the form of a normal sized bat.
Stamina +1, Dexterity +3, Size 1, Health +2, Speed +5 (species factor 10), +2 all Perception, Manipulation 0


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