The condroni /kənˈdroʊni/ is a blue and black stranger covered in hundreds of eye markings. Its bulky head and tail only make its arms and legs look even more thin and weak in comparison.Ƚ The condroni's soft, smooth skin causes a faint buzzing sensation when touched, much like rubbing one's palm across the surface of a CRT television screen. The condroni's inner flesh is black and oily, and its body cavity is filled entirely with a monoform substance identical to human brain tissue in appearance, although lacking the specific structures or symmetries.
Ƚ But, there's something regal about it. You want to stand there, in awe of it.
Despite its large size, the condroni is slow-moving and physically vulnerable.ȶ Its flesh can be cut apart with ease, and blunt impacts cause its eye markings to bruise and become bloodshot. When injured, it regenerates slowly (taking several days to heal from even a two inch deep cut), but without scarring or other lasting effects.
ȶ If you could reach it, you could do anything you wanted.
But you can't reach it.
The condroni emits no odors, leaves behind no residue on its surroundings, and does not speak or make noise in any way.
Silence, as you notice a continuing ringing in your ear.
The condroni appears on the tops of skyscrapers and other tall structures of above fifty feet in height. Within an infested city, the condroni can always be found atop the tallest 0.5% of such buildings, as well as 36% of the tallest 5% of buildings. This strain also appears on any radio or broadcasting towers able to support its weight, its tail coiled around the lattices and cables.
When the stranger first generates, its form is flickering and holographic. It takes anywhere from several minutes to several hours until it takes on physical solidity; this shift is abrupt, but visually unremarkable.
The condroni tends to appear in groups of up to thirty individuals. The size of the group varies depending on a number of factors – the height of the structure, the number of antennae or satellite dishes nearby, the density of cellular signals, the number of neon words of over two car-lengths in height, and so on.
The condroni and ladroni are the only two strangers which appear in 100% of infestations. Thus, when there are no valid structures of suitable height, stranger infestations cannot occur.
generative habitat notes
generation observed 25/02/27 atop Nokoriac transmissions tower
1. noticeable electrical buzz
2. 2x modulation regulators (scramble-locked)
3. 123+ electrical lights of various colors, sizes and types
4. general sense of malaise
tower height is approximately 142 feet
they're showing up further and further into the sprawl!
The condroni's disposition is intelligent and omnipotent. It remains motionless most of the time, keeping its tail curled around its body or nearby objects, and its head upright. The stranger adjusts its positionə in random and infrequent intervals, and very rarely, uses its thin claws to scratch small, but intricate linesɘ into nearby surfaces.
ɘ Almost like...maps?
ə Almost like it's being puppetted.
Groups of condroni lay either in curling piles, or (with less frequency) in complex but ordered formations – i.e. rows or circles. Individuals occasionally engage with others of their strain across long distances using hand gestures similar to manual alphabet signing, but otherwise, interactions between individuals tend to be either minimal or unobservable.
𐐉 Just relax your eyes, you can hear the words on the radio say.
The condroni's presence disrupts and distorts waves on the electromagnetic spectrum between 10Hz and 750THz – a range which includes television, AM and FM radio, visible and ultraviolet light, mobile phone, wireless data, infrared, remote control, radar, and sound waves.Ƹ
Ƹ "Among many other exciting options!" ...I think someone once said.
The condroni's brain matter absorbs, mutates, degrades, and retransmits waves which pass through it. After passing through the condroni's brain matter, all signals manifest with anomalies. Television images may appear to freeze or move backwards, or single words within a song on the radio may repeat themselves over and over (even as the background instrumentals continue). The majority of abnormalities are subtle enough to either go unnoticed, or be dismissedƃ as a side-effect of fatigue, stress, or inebriation. Thus, the condroni's censorship of humanity remains minute and insidious.
ƃ You're starting to get the picture, right? They're breaking the whole thing down. And they don't want you to know that you can break the whole thing down, too.
Each individual condroni disruptsƧ a certain range of frequencies, with the range of frequencies affected and area of effect increasing with the age of the individual. A condroni that has reached the halfway point in its lifespan affects a range of between 167 and 700 feet, while the oldest individuals influence an area several miles in diameter.
Ƨ "Lean back, relax your eyes until you're hypno, hypno, hypnotized." The jukebox hasn't been turned off, though the words are muffled.
Ramirez Interiano, Guiltlands.
𐐥 So...nothing can stop you from wanting to see it.
Animals wearing radio collars or embedded microchips are susceptible to the strain's influence. These affected animals may show aberrant changes in behaviour, such as growling at inanimate objects, running in circles, or refusing to leave a specific corner of the yard or room of the house. This effect fades once collars or microchips are removed from the animal.
The condroni specifically appears in places that cannot be easily reached - leaving few opportunities for direct interactions. When approached, it grows somewhat more animated, but does not move.
Despite the condroni's physically vulnerable form and lack of defenses, this strain is difficult to assault due to its effect on the human brain at close proximity. Within one hundred feet, it causes anxiety and paranoia; at close range, causes audiovisual hallucinations, delerium, and seizures.
For many sensitives, however, very close encounters with condroni are calming and cathartic. Even sensitives with the most murderous of intentionsƕ may find themselves placatedζ by the condroni's presence.
ƕ If not of my choosing, it was a crown I accepted.
Jackaly Troska, Gezel.
ζ "When we came face to face with one another, I raised the pipe above my head, and prepared to bring it down. My arms shook with anticipation. It was now so clear – at last, my mind would be my own, and only mine alone.
But the sweat rolled down my arms, and the pipe grew heavy in my grip. I no longer had any intention to swing it...for I knew that someday even the sun and moon would blot themselives out, and it would be just me and them, and after that, though my heart might still beat, it would only be them..."
Ricarda Sharpe Shearer, Muralia Lost.
For a small minority of sensitives, however, the condroni's presence causes panic, terror, and in speedy culmination, a complete detachment from reality. An affected sensitive may allow themselves to fall to their death, permit or engage in extreme injury to their body, or be reduced to cowering stupefaction before the unmoving stranger. Even those who manage to attack and kill the condroni cannot truly be called "victors", as their behaviours remain distorted.
Once removed from the condroni's proximity, affected survivors may build elaborate mechanical structures, design blueprints for massive towers, or record hundreds of hours of film or audio focused on a single subject (for example, a particular wall, traffic signal, or section of a building), or fill hundreds of journals with page after page of indecipherable codes and diagrams. Long-term planning appears disrupted, as does, for many, the ability to determine cause and effect. The end result is the complete dissolution of any ordered higher functioning, and the loss of socially integrated behaviours.
As they age, 0.001% of condroni become emperor condroni. The presence of an emperor condroni eats holes in the brain tissue of sensitives within the stranger's area of influence. These holes are usually microscopically small, and thus, it often takes years for sensitives to exhibit side-effects. The locations of these holes are random, and as such, symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis. Side effects of prolonged emperor condroni presence include behavioural changes (including sudden onset mental illness), early onset alzheimer's, and increased rates of brain cancer, among others. The severity of this effect increases at close range, however, and a sensitive who approaches an emperor condroni rarely survives long enough to reach its body.ƥ
ƥ Mindless...so to speak.
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there's not really a maze... there's nothing to escape!
The condroni is ambivalent towards most human corpses, but will always turns to face a sensitive's corpse. Its uses its hands to sign continuously until the body is either removed, or until the corpse's brain decays to a suitable point.
The condroni's brain tissue grows continuously over the course of its life. Eventually, it becomes so dense that tumors and other physical abnormalities develop – leading to aneurysms and seizures. A seizing condroni broadcasts signals powerful enough to short out electronic equipment within its block, it dies with a final outburst, the last pulses of its brain causing a blackout within a 0.8-1.7 mile radius that may last several hours. Following this event, the condroni's sides split, and its brain matter spills outwards. Rarely, the condroni remains alive following this massive injury, and makes weak attempts to hold itself together, even as its jerky motions slow. Its death is expedited by neighboring condroni, who grab handfuls of brain matter and smear them upon the ground in a halo-like formation around the fallen companion's head.
The dead condroni's body decomposes at a brisk rate. The flesh turns grey and shrivels up beneath the skin, and the eye markings fade away. Within six to thirteen hours, only the skin remains. Other condroni press their hands against the scraps that congeal into grey sludge, then raise them to the sky, before returning to their silent affairs.
iconic design, easy to recognize
you can see them from basically anywhere
takes forever to draw
overall sinister vibes
might eat actual holes in your brain