The covecroni (/ˈkəʊvɛˌkrəʊni/) is a pale grey and white stranger with red eyes and lips and short arms and legs. Its skin is vinyl-like, but clammy, and exudes a thin residue of slime when touched. The covecroni's flesh is bright carmine, as are the thick, jelly-like intestines that fill its body cavity and slosh as it moves. Its presence carries with it the faint odor of blood. It is vulnerable to most cuts and abrasions, bruising when struck, and requiring several days or weeks of dormancy to heal from even skin-deep wounds, its body temperature lowering by four to six degrees during the healing process.
The covecroni speaks with a shuddering, scratchy voice. Its language is quick and chaotic, and consists, for the most part, of affricate consonants and front to central vowel sounds. Its voice is masculine in tone 87% of the time, while 10% of individuals possess a more androgynous (but not overtly feminine) tone of voice. The remaining 3% of individuals lack any voice, but mime vocal actions despite this.
Approximately 97.87776% of covecroni have knives embedded in their forehead or sides, although they are not born with these knives, and no self-injurious behaviour has ever been reported. Although in most cases, individual covecroni contain only a single knife, some isolated individuals with rows or "crowns" of knives can and do appear.
The covecroni generates in a wide variety of locations, with an undefined tendency to appear near ceramic tiles, in cold rooms, or around the color white. It first appears as a small, coiled form, and expands with quick, spasmodic undulations, until it reaches full size. Its demeanor is somewhat dazed and clumsy in its initial hours of life, but mature behaviour stabilize within half a day.
The covecroni possesses an aloof and salacious disposition. It has no home territory, and instead, spends its life on the roam. It moves at a relaxed but steady pace, and as it walks, it licks its lips with a lecherous slavering. It is a talkative stranger, and sputters forth a string of syllables from its mouth with every step.
The covecroni seeks out corpses, and is able to detect them within a 2.1 mile radius. It is most attracted to human corpses, but also combs for stranger or animal corpses (although it displays only minimal interest in the bodies of insects or rodents). The covecroni prefers fresh and firm corpses, however, and although it does move towards putrefied or mummified corpses, it always loses interest as it gets closer to them.
As the covecroni gets closer to a corpse, it begins to stutter and drool while its head lolls from side to side in hungered undulations. Once it reaches a distance of three to seven feet, however, it grows still and silent, and small, razor-thin lines appear on the corpse. These lines grow deeper into thin, but perfect slices, until the corpse is cut into anywhere from 10-87 perfect segments.
After the corpse has been segmented, the covecroni uses its hands to arrange the pieces into neat and intricate patterns. Some covecroni arrange the segments in grid-like formations, while others create spirals, and still others stack the segments into neatly-ordered pyramids or columns. Despite these individual tendencies, however, the exact pattern always differs each time.
Although the covecroni never engages with the same corpse twice, it does move towards corpses that other covecroni have already dissected, and dissevers these arrangements into even smaller pieces. Formations can thus become quite spread-out and elaborate in areas with large covecroni populations.
After it slices up a corpse, the covecroni circles the arrangement, rambling in a long, continuous stream as it does so. Counterclockwise circumvolutions are displayed by 68% of covecroni, while 32% move in a clockwise direction. This activity ceases after two to nineteen circumvolutions (with each individual covecroni always performing the same number of circumvolutions each time), after which the covecroni continues on its long, slow roam.
The covecroni does not tolerate the presence of others of its strain. Although each covecroni possesses a sprawling territory, interactions do occur when two covecroni hone in on the same corpse, or (much more rarely) during random roaming. When two covecroni meet, they face one another at a distance of approximately ten to thirteen feet, their heads shaking, and their skin twitching. As they seize, each covecroni causes small cuts appear and grow deeper on the other's body, until one individual triumphs over the other. The surviving covecroni than arranges its opponent's corpse, chattering with disrupted malaise as it does so. It is not unheard of, however, for both individuals fatally injure the other, each either unwilling or unable to back down.
Proximity to the covecroni causes small incisions to appear on the hands, feet, and face of any sensitive who comes within fifteen feet of it. These cuts grow deeper as the sensitive remains near the stranger, and spread to the arms, neck, and legs within several minutes. The covecroni shakes and twitches with slight nervousness when this occurs, but engages in no other violent actions, and does not retaliate even when attacked. This slicing effect does not cease, however, until the sensitive either leaves the area1, or the covecroni is killed2.
As the covecroni ages, it carves corpses into fewer and fewer segments, and its arrangements grow more crude and haphazard. Its steps grow slower and less steady, its voice grows faint, and its mouth hangs open, like the limp jaws of an empty puppet. After several days of this behaviour, the covecroni finds a quiet, secluded location, where it uses its last bit of strength to segment its own body, expressing a subtle relief as it does so.
The covecroni's corpse decomposes at rapid rate, becoming foul within minutes, and falling apart to reddish mush within several days.