The parzelaro (/pɑrzəˈlɑroʊ/) is a ruddy, handlebar-shaped stranger with elongated eye markings and four tapered limbs ending in toeless feet. Its skin is coarse and cool to the touch, and it leaves a reddish-brown, dusty residue when rubbed. While its flesh is grey and supple, its body cavity is filled with brick-colored, tangled fibers reminiscent of wire sponge. It exudes a faint, but not unpleasant, ferrous odor.
The metallic skin of the parzelaro makes it impervious to scratches and cuts, however it still is susceptible to being dented or even crushed via blunt force. It possesses no regenerative ability.
It communicates through voiceless huffs and clicks of varying pitch.
The parzelaro generates in wooded areas. It rises from beneath the undergrowth, near the roots of very large trees, as a small pile of rust. As it coalesces it becomes larger, firmer, and more defined over the span of 45–72 seconds. The fully formed stranger then snorts, shakes the dirt off of its body, and steps away from its parent tree with ingratitude.
The parzelaro will only generate in areas with average annual precipitation levels between 28 and 78 inches. Additionally, only one parzelaro per thousand square miles of woodland may appear every 26 days.
The parzelaro possesses a steadfast disposition. It wastes very little time after its birth to set out towards the nearest human settlement. It moves in a straight line towards its target with fast, sure-footed steps, and it keeps its snout and tail pressed to the ground at all times, giving it its signature curvature. It has a preference for rainy weather but will travel regardless of precipitation.
When faced with a stationary obstacle, such as a rock or a small tree, the parzelaro uses its weight to try to crush or otherwise destroy it. These voluntary blows do not cause any damage to the stranger. If the obstacle cannot be taken down, the parzelaro huffs in irritation, changes its otherwise straight course to move around the obstacle and resumes its journey.
Once it reaches an urban area, the parzelaro hones in on outdoor areas with an abundance of metallic objects, such as parking lots, playgrounds, and construction sites, where it encounters others of its strain. Upon meeting for the first time, two parzelaro grind their snouts against one another in a "sniffing" motion. Acquainted parzelaro often spend time huddled together in linear formations, occasionally conversing in clicks and huffs. Groups of parzelaro are indifferent to the presence of other strains within their environment.
The parzelaro has a catalytic effect on nearby plant life and certain metallic objects in that it increases the rate at which oxygen-based chemical reactions occur. Direct physical contact with the stranger further accelerates such processes.
Underbrush plant growth noticeably accelerates in the presence of the parzelaro, while taller trees show signs of overwatering, such as yellowing of the leaves, mold formation, and root rot. Wherever the stranger passes, the canopy layer decays while shorter vegetation, grass, and wildflowers take over, creating a grotesque pathway of luxuriance and putrefaction. Upon noticing the ruin it brings to plant life, the stranger stops, becomes agitated and clicks frantically for up to three minutes before appearing to forget about what it has seen and continuing on its travels unbothered.
Within human settlements, the parzelaro seeks out steel and iron tubes and girders. It grinds its snout, sides, and tail against them, ensuring that they oxidize and weaken at a much faster rate than normal. In stark contrast with its displays of fear towards its impact on flora, it seems to enjoy the sight and feel of rusted metal in its environment, and surrounds itself with as much of it as possible.
The parzelaro can generate minuscule globules of rust in the blood vessels of any sensitive in a 33-foot radius. Groups of parzelaro generate multiple rust globules inside the same sensitive. This will result in rapid-onset blood clots and a reddening of the field of vision.
Leaving the 33-foot radius will make the rust disappear without further effects, but the visual anomaly will persist for one hundred times the time spent in the area of effect of the parzelaro (5 minutes for 3 seconds, 1 hour for 36 seconds, and so on).
Sensitives with preexisting cardiovascular conditions who linger too long are especially weak to the parzelaro's effect. Without adequate medical intervention, such sensitives will succumb to complications related to the foreign bodies in their bloodstream.
As it ages, the parzelaro becomes less mobile, its effects less potent. It pays no mind to such changes. At the very end of its life, the parzelaro stops moving with a final, drawn-out huff. Its companions huddle around its body and grind their snouts against it until it is reduced to rusty residue on the ground. If a parzelaro has not yet reached an urban area, it dies alone in the forest, its corpse standing like a monument, before it is reclaimed by the dirt it came from.