The norodrole (/ˈnɔːrədroʊl/) is a black stranger that appears as a translucent, blobby mass, and lacks all solidity. Its shadowy body drips perpetually from its head, tail, and eye markings, which, in addition to the occasional bubbles seen inside its body, gives it a liquid or gel-like appearance. This dripping does not cause any loss in mass, and all droplets dissolve into nothing shortly after hitting the ground.
The norodrole cannot be interacted with using physical means, as all solid objects go right through its body without affecting it beyond a temporary wobbling or rippling effect.
The norodrole dwells in cavernous, underground locations, such as parking garages, subway stations, and underground roadways, where it can spend its life unnoticed in the darkness, undisturbed by human beings1. The norodrole almost always appears in large groups, which first appear as a pool of shadows on the ground, from which various individuals flow and emerge, as though stepping out of water.
The norodrole's disposition is amicable, if not subdued. It displays a tendency towards sociability above all else, and loves being in a crowd of its brethren. Individual norodrole pace and wander at random, bodies wobbling unsteadily with each movement, and always congregate with other norodrole that they find. When an individual sees another norodrole for the first time, it trots over with excitement and greets its new companion with emphatic but subtle gesturing, as though re-uniting with a long-lost friend. Once norodrole are within a group, they tend to stay in one place, with smaller bands wandering more than larger groups. Regardless of group size, norodrole never disperse, and as such, group sizes tend to grow quite large as time goes on.
Groups of norodrole stand in clustered arrangements, and display numerous social behaviours towards one another. It is common for individuals to touch each other's hands or faces with brief strokes, or gesture to each other with nods and quick hand motions. Because of its shadowy body, the norodrole's form appears to merge with those companions whom it touches, thus making it difficult to tell where one individual ends and the next begins. Large enough groups appear as nothing more than rows of faces emerging from a sea of black2.
The norodrole occasionally displays curiosity towards objects, but as it is unable to interact with them on any physical level, its actions are limited to inquisitive stares and tentative strokes. The norodrole sometimes sits on top of certain objects, such as cars and boxes, which causes it to adopt a pleased stance and curved expression of the eyes.
Animals elicit a great deal of fear from the norodrole. Individual norodrole move away from even the smallest of insects, while larger groups of norodrole form tight clusters and face inwards in a frightened, defensive posture when stray dogs and cats lope past.
The norodrole speaks in either a hushed, quick whisper, or in song. When it sings, it emits long, droning tones in simple, recursive melodies. Unlike its human-like speaking voice, its singing voice bears only loose resemblance to human vocalizations, and more closely resembles a voice synthesizer.
A singing norodrole's looping melodies echo with a haunting timbre against the walls of the underground around it. Few listeners would find these tunes as anything less than euphonious to the ear, for at no point does the norodrole's singing voice ever become over-loud or discordant. This vocalization is pleasant to listen to regardless of whether the norodrole sings with a group or by itself, as a lone norodrole sings a gentle, minimalistic tune, while groups sing complex, calming, structured melodies.
The norodrole possesses exceptionally low stability, and is unable to withstand any contact with living human beings, shriveling away to nothing when sensitives get too close. Despite this, groups of norodrole appear to enjoy observing sensitives from a safe distance. When a sensitive calls out towards a group of norodrole, the group sings that same pitch back at them.
Despite their distanced friendliness towards people, groups of norodrole cower and pace away from any sensitives who move towards them. When cornered, clusters of norodrole press with tight insistence against any surface around them, until one-after-another, they dissolve into large black stains on the walls, like a nuclear shadow. A norodrole almost always murder itself by compressing its body against a solid surface in this way rather than face the dissolution caused by proximity to a sensitive.
Although most norodrole display a strong degree of wariness, rarely, individual norodrole do approach sensitives without regard for their inevitable death, their voices weakening to a low buzz as they walk closer, and evaporating before they reach their target. Other norodrole reach out and try in vain to hold these individuals back, and cover their own eyes as their more outgoing companions vanish into the cold underground air3.
Although the norodrole cannot survive contact with living humans, it is unaffected by corpses, and always climbs on top of any human corpse it finds. Groups of norodrole all attempt to climb on top of a corpse at once, and may stand at such a density that the corpse itself becomes completely obscured by swarming, shadowy bodies.
It is only when in contact with a corpse than the norodrole's melodies take on a dissonant tone, their careful rhythms degrading into chaotic, distorted grates, although their mannerisms remain as happy as ever.
As the norodrole ages, its shadowy form grows more transparent, and its edges less distinct, until it fades away to nothing at all. Other norodrole gasp and display some shock when one of their friends disappears, but return, after several minutes, to their normal social interactions, unfazed by the loss of a single companion.
While groups of three or larger display no lasting sadness at the death of one of their companions, individuals within pairs become greatly affected by their partner's death. The surviving individual displays intense sadness, and its songs take on a haunting, plaintive tone before this survivor curls up on the ground, as though too bereaved to continue on. Once an individual has been stranded by the death of its partners, it never moves on its own again, and remains in this prone, forlorn pose until found by another wandering individual, or, more commonly, when it disappears and dies, itself.