The ladroni /ləˈdroʊni/ is a triumphant, parodesiac stranger characterized by its noodle-like arms, rubbery body, and the two eye markings – crying blood. A layer of grease slicks its thick, rubbery skin; the flesh beneath is pink, spongy, and ultimately meat-like. It possesses between two and four pairs of long and pliable arms, each ending in a slippery hand, and with individual fingers capable of curling and uncurling independent of one another. Though these limbs are thin, they are remarkably strong and durable; a ladroni can lift objects weighing several hundred pounds without displaying strain.
The stranger possesses a mouth is lined with sharp, uneven teeth, leading into an inner body cavity filled with a chunky chyme, giving the ladroni its characteristic sour waft. This inner bile is duplicated from the stomach contentsɠof nearby people. A constricted, valve-like structure prevents the stranger's inner contents from spilling outward.
ɠ Chunky...putting your hand into it, looking for solid pieces and finding them.
Although the shade varies depending on region, 93% of ladroni appear in yellow or orange colors, with white, black, pinkish, or pale blue varieties forming the remaining 7% of individuals. The ladroni's eye and lip markings are slimy to the touch, and leave behind a faint stain when rubbedɈ with vigor.
Ɉ Oh...it really feels like I'm touching blood.
above: variations in color. from left to right: morel, cavalier, pale, ghost, pedrolino, and noh.
The ladroni's rubbery body is greatly physically durable. It regenerates from most injuries within several days, with wounds proving fatal only when the ladroni loses every drop of its inner bile. Even should its inner chamber sustain exposure, however, the stranger is able to coagulate its fluids around the point of injury; within seven to eighteen minutes, this substance becomes thick enough to prevent further leaking.
The ladroni's deep, smooth voice resonates upwards from its throat. When it "talks", its lips flop up and down in an out-of-sync, puppet-like manner. Despite its crude mannerisms, the ladroni's language is melodic and poetic, and although this stranger does not spontaneously speak in human languages, it is capable of mimicking phrases for a short time after hearing them. The ladroni's tone always sounds happy, as though forever on the verge of laughter.
The ladroni appears in enclosed underground spaces, such as natural caves and crevices, closed-off basements, sealed-up tanks, and empty cavities left behind by less than thorough city workers. Despite this broad range of environments, the ladroni only generates within spaces which have remained untouched by humans for at least fifty-seven months,Ԃ and displays a strong preference towards locations in as close proximity to human activity as possible, such as subways.
Ԃ Come on...you don't remember what you were doing fifty-seven months ago?
When it first appears, the ladroni starts off tiny, and grows larger in swells, like a small balloon being filled with water, reaching full size in four to six days.
The first ladroni within a city always generates immediately after the first condroni.
generative habitat notes
generation observed 25/02/28 through hole in service room wall at Orbison Road subway station
1. leaking wastewater filtration reservoir
2. cement walls and floor (in disrepair)
3. copper pipes along walls - still intact!
someone should really fix the cracked tiles!
note to self: look up current copper prices
The ladroni possesses an oblivious, but joyful disposition. It spends its days squirming and writhing within its chamber; its arms caress its neck and sides, its hands grab at whatever it can reach, and its fingers slip through cracks and holes in the walls. While the ladroni possesses great strength, its motions are crude and clumsy. It turns handles, open doors, or perform other feats of dexterity only on rare accident.
Like the condroni, the ladroni is a highly social stranger. Groups of ladroni press against each other, stroke one another with lewd affection, and reach inside each other's mouths to tickle at their companions' tongues and throats.
The ladroni vomits in frequent but irregular bursts, covering itself and its companions. When one vomits, any nearby individual is always quick to lick it up in some perverse parodyʖ of social reciprocation. Though the ladroni itself appears unaffected by acids of any kind, it has a corrosive effect on the stability and purity of its surroundings. Over the years and decades, it causes gaps to appear beneath the foundations of buildings, contaminates groundwater, and raises the soil's pH to a level that prevents plant growth.
ʖ After all, it was down below that they had to live in all that grime, in the mattress barricades and subways that were now indistinguishable in smell. In all stations, a roseate crust collected in corners and in the grooves, and the walls were wet.
Alex Muto, The Inaugural Collapse.
0.01% of ladroni are born with two mouths, one on top of the other, and possess similarly duplicated eye markings, with the second eye marking appearing beneath the first. These ladroni are known as royasuvodri ladroni. A royasuvodri ladroni is capable of generating small volumes of bile in random pockets and cavities around it,Ӄ such as inside of tiny holes in the ground, in the gas tanks of cars, or inside of people's stomachs (usually in minuscule volumes, but 0.13% of the time, in a quantity large enough to cause illness). Rarely, it co-generates bile in the tear or saliva ducts of humans or animals in microscopic amounts. Otherwise, its behaviour presents as normal. There is never more than one royasuvodri ladroni within a three mile radius.
Ӄ This one fills your stomach with unease and a small bit of someone else's lunch, just a half-hour old! Around you, there's just subway walls, cavity-gaps in tile murals. Now all of a sudden there's more and more. It's coming up, it's coming up, you can't stop it as a stranger's vomit curdles on your tongue...
Ricarda Sharpe Shearer, Phenomenon Papers, issue #309.
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The ladroni appears able to perceive the location of sensitive individuals. Even when separated by a wall, it slides its hands across bricks and into the smallest cracks in a desperate attempt to reach through to the other side. When face-to-face encounters do occur, the ladroni approaches with a lolling tongue and gushing laughter, and wraps its long arms around the sensitive to either drag them forward or lift them into the air.
Physical contact with a ladroni causes extreme nausea, and the stranger appears delighted by all expressions of such malaise.
Although the ladroni tends to spend some amount of time playing with captive sensitives (sometimes inadvertently strangling them in the process), it always consumes any sensitive whom it has captured, and does so by leaning its head back and opening the valve-like structure in its throat to drown the sensitive inside its body. After eating, the ladroni displays obscene glee at its bodily contents, and laughs with pleasure as the sensitive pounds against the inner walls of its body cavity. Due to the ladroni's acidic contents, corpses always deliquesce in full, with even bones dissolving down into mushy pebbles.
Few sensitives are able to fight off even a single ladroni, as knives do little to damage the ladroni's flesh, and all blunt impacts bounce off without inflicting harm. Although gunshots do pierce its skin, the ladroni uses its long fingers to plug these holes, and its companions often join in, as well, to aid their wounded brethren. While the ladroni is not indestructible, even the most violent, gushing wound does nothing to dissuade its assault, and it desists only when its last sputtering gasp has belched up from its throat.
Ҫ don't tell me...you still want to see it, don't you?