The vermillieri (/vɜːˈmɪliɛrɪ/) is a tall, serpentine stranger with warm, magenta coloration and a long black head and neck. Its proportions straddle the line between ungainly and elegant, with front limbs that are thin and narrow, and hind limbs that are plump and voluptuous, both pairs possessing attenuated, toeless feet. Its skin is soft and warm to the touch, while its inner flesh is yellow, fatty, and expresses a thin oil when squeezed. It possesses a body cavity which acts as a primitive stomach, lined with slick and untextured muscle tissue. Its mouth and body cavity are filled with a sugary, acidic bile, which does not eat through the vermillieri's own body, but slowly dissolves any other organic matter with which it comes into contact. The vermillieri's mealy flesh transitions into an extremely hard, cartilaginous substance at the ends of its arms and legs, which allows its thin legs to support its bulky form. Similar thickening of bodily structures is found around the vermillieri's jaws, although this stranger possesses no skeleton. It exudes a sweet, fragrant odor from its skin, akin to rose water and wildflowers.
The vermillieri's soft flesh proves vulnerable to cuts and piercing, and it heals slightly faster than a human being, with glistening scabs present during regeneration. Warm weather speeds up the vermillieri's rate of regrowth, while cold weather slows it considerably.
The vermillieri's voice is almost always female (presenting this way 99.6% of the time), and even masculinely-voiced vermillieri speak with a high-pitched lilt. The vermillieri possesses no language, but instead speaks through softly hummed melodies that emanate from within the entirety of its body.
The vermillieri appears in expansive, wooded areas, such as forested parks, overgrown lots, and lush gardens in the middle of otherwise industrial cities. It does not appear in wide-open spaces such as fields or golf courses, nor does it appear in the wooded and undeveloped outskirts of certain cities.
The vermillieri always appears during spring and summer, and grows from just beneath the earth, rising upwards as it forms, a developmental process which takes anywhere from between 2-27 hours. Once the vermillieri is fully formed, it stands upright, shakes off dirt or debris, then uses the tips of its long, slender forelimbs to groom itself further.
Rarely, the vermillieri develops too deeply in the ground for it to survive, or develops in such a way that it is partially caught beneath tree roots or other structures. These vermillieri struggle in their earthy prisons, and, when unable to free themselves, die after several tedious weeks of agony. The presence of these trapped vermillieri appears to cause some detriment to any other nearby individuals of the strain, which exhibit slight twitches of the head and neck, as well as compulsive scratching at the ground.
The vermillieri possesses a cunning, beguiling disposition. It moves with fluid motions and a silent grace, and spends its days lurking in the underbrush, where it hums short sequences of notes to itself, particularly during nighttime hours. A social stranger, the vermillieri is often found in groups, which travel together, sing to each other, and entwine their necks and tails when at rest.
The vermillieri is attracted to sensitives, and watches them with great interest through gaps in leafy trees and bushes, always careful to keep itself hidden from sight. From the shadows, only its eye markings can be seen, and the vermillieri never leaves the protection of the greenery from behind which it stares. The vermillieri does display hunting inclinations, however, and hums soothing, lullaby-like songs in an attempt to lure sensitives into the underbrush and away from open areas.
Once the vermillieri has successfully lured a sensitive into its lair, it tenderly strokes their cheek and upper body, and curls its body around them as it continues to sing its calming melodies. It raises the pitch and intensity of its lullabies when touched, and giggles when stroked for more than a few seconds. The vermillieri also possesses the unusual trait of blushing, with lighter sections of its body turning briefly redder in areas softly touched by a sensitive.
The vermillieri rarely stays placid for long, though. Once the sensitive is sufficiently calm, the vermillieri attacks by driving its front legs through the stomach, chest, or mouth of the sensitive, after which, its demeanor immediately returns to its same nurturing disposition. As its victim succumbs to their injuries, the vermillieri makes a quiet hushing sound as it turns them over with its front legs, pushes dirt or twigs into their wounds, or picks them up in its mouth to dangle them like puppets. It sometimes uses its victim's body as a lure to draw other sensitives closer.
Groups of vermillieri often squabble over these coveted playthings. During fights, individuals hiss and smack their lips, or jab at one another with their sharp, pointed limbs. The sensitive is usually yanked or ripped apart during these confrontations, with the individual vermillieri carefully hoarding any severed body parts.
The vermillieri eats its victim only 7% of the time. After several hours, uneaten bodies are typically discarded haphazardly at the base of trees or pushed into piles of branches and leaves. The vermillieri's victims are not always dead when they are discarded, although their injuries often prove too severe to allow them to crawl away and find help.
As weather cools from summer to fall, the vermillieri's coloration turns lighter and less saturated, and its behaviour grows erratic, with the vermillieri breaking branches and roots around it, tapping its nose against its sides and shoulders, and scraping its head against ragged tree trunks to remove any nighttime frost from its skin. During winter, its colors become tinted blue, its disposition turns more aggressive, and its movements more shaky, with frequent falls and stumbles. It does still attempt to hunt, although its lullabies take on a strained and panicked tone, with the vermillieri often too weak to prove much of a physical threat.
In sub-zero temperatures, the vermillieri twists in on itself, and loses the ability to stand up altogether. It turns its aggression toward itself, and peels its skin as a deer would the bark of a tree. It continues to hum to itself, but does so only faintly, its voice terrified and sniffling.
Winter proves fatal to 98.2228% of vermillieri.
As the vermillieri ages, its flesh grows more pulpy, and small, black patches appear on its skin. With each new day, these patches grow larger, and eat inwards, as well, causing small indentations in the vermillieri's flesh. The vermillieri licks and eats at these wounds in quiet desperation as they continue to spread across its body, which caves in on itself like a rotting piece of fruit. As the vermillieri's sweet odor turns unbearably sour, it collapses under its own weight, its sides splitting open and its flesh spilling out across the ground. Its corpse liquifies into a dark, golden juice, leaving only a coyly astringent smell behind.