The adroni (/ˈeɪdroʊni/) is an elongated, aquatic stranger characterized by its bright, contrasting coloration, as well as its vivid blue lips and red eyes. Its moist, slick skin is muscular and textured to the touch, much like the surface of an eel, and it exudes a thin, translucent mucous to protect itself from dehydration. Its flesh is dark and oily, and waterlogged to a point where it can even be pulled apart with one's bare hands.
"I pulled the dead one out of the water, and began the autopsy. Although the knife I had on me was very dull, its skin cut open as easily as jelly, and its inner flesh parted just as easily. I searched for some kind of cavity – expecting to find little dead fish, or bolts plucked from wreck-ed freighter, or maybe some poor boy's fingertips, but, there was nothing, and before long, my knife hit the wood of the dock below.
I kept fishing through its meat, though – the way I might paw beneath my couch cushions to find a lost key. Its inner flesh had a dull, blue-grey kind of color to it – it reminded me of the harbor, and, just like the seas of the harbor, it was growing blacker by the second. I pushed on it with my palm, and where I touched it, something much like blood seeped out, and it smelled like blood, and I pushed the creature off the dock, and into the water, and left on my own way." Chihun, Maeng. personal journal #3, 786
Although the adroni spends much of its life underwater, it does possess small, short limbs, which are, despite their size, strong enough to support the adroni's full weight when it stands. The adroni keeps its body held upward when it moves on land, and does not allow its underbelly to drag along the ground. It is able to regenerate from cuts and abrasions (with deep gashes closing up after two to three days), but must come on land to do so, as contact with water appears to exacerbate injuries.
The adroni speaks through long, droning trills, bellows, and whines. Its voice also carries across infrasonic frequencies, theoretically allowing the adroni's calls to be picked up over SONAR systems.
The adroni is found in a wide range of murky, aquatic locations, both natural and man-made. Pipes and water tanks are common homes to an adroni, as are lakes, rivers, and bays. While the adroni tends to prefer locations which are part of a more extensive aquatic network (such as the drainage systems of a city), it is not unusual for adroni to appear in small, isolated bodies of water as well, such as ponds, wells, or swimming pools.
The adroni always generates in the darkest depths of the waters in which it appears, where it starts off as a small, mouthless, tadpole-like creature, which grows legs and elongates as it swims. The adroni always grows to fill the space in which it lives. Thus, individuals that appear in small pipes and water basins never grow more than a few feet in length, while individuals that live in rivers and reservoirs often grow many dozens of feet long. There is no upper limit to this growth, with adroni in excess of one hundred feet not unheard of, lurking deep beneath the surface of harbors and bays in certain infested cities.
The adroni possesses a sprightly, edacious temperament. It swims from place to place with quick, eel-like movements, keeping its arms tucked to its sides. It lives in darkness, and always moves towards lower light levels. Even when an individual appears in an immense, natural body of water, it tends to lurk in the shadows and mud along the bottom, emerging only on the cloudiest of nights. Although the adroni is capable of surviving for short periods of time out of water (provided that its skin retains enough moisture to keep from drying out), it requires water to survive, and, when displaced, always seeks out a new body of water in which to live.
As it swims, the adroni hunts fish and crustaceans, snatching them from the water with its quick, dextrous hands. It only rarely consumes its prey, and instead snaps the spines of fish, cracks the shells of crustaceans, and crushes jellyfish in its palm. When it hunts, the adroni exudes blood from its gums in a salivary manner, and this substance drips from its lips in copious streams, staining the water crimson around it. The adroni's oral cavity does not connect to any larger inner cavity (with its throat ending in only a shallow pocket), and thus, this stranger must regurgitate all consumed objects in periodic and garish expulsions.
The adroni is able to unscrew valves and screws within seconds, and uses its nimbleness to sabotage man-made structures, such as underwater drainage and sewage pipes, as well as aquatic vessels, such as ships and submarines. It is particularly attracted to oil tankers, and compromises their structural integrity by pulling out rivets and peeling back side panels.
The adroni is a social stranger, and groups with other individuals of a similar size. Groups of adroni swim in loose, school-like formations, and even play games with one another by grabbing each other's tails, competing over fish, and chasing one another through pipes and other tight openings.
Large adroni lose social behaviours as they grow, and thus, while small individuals form sizable groups, bigger individuals appear only in pairs, or by themselves. The largest of adroni display cannibalistic tendencies, as well, and often devour whole hordes of younger individuals with voracious satisfaction.
While underwater, the adroni displays playful tendencies towards sensitives, and nips at their ankles, pushes its body against their side, and splashes water onto them. While on land, however, it displays complete indifference, with only, perhaps, an errant head-turn here and there in the most curious of individuals. If attacked, the adroni responds violently, but otherwise, is not overtly aggressive.
Despite this, encounters with the adroni are not without hazard, as its presence causes water to develop in the blood of nearby sensitives. Although brief encounters are non-fatal, encounters of longer than twenty minutes are dangerous, as the blood both thins and becomes pressurized, veins swelling with excess fluid and eventually bursting.
The adroni reacts to human corpses with destructive delight, and squirms in joyful, dancelike motions as it either rips them apart, or carries them from place to place until the corpse is destroyed. Groups of adroni turn competitive and fight for possession of any corpse they find, and large quantities of human corpses cause manic, insatiable feeding frenzies as individuals gather, with larger adroni seizing the opportunity to prey on their smaller companions, as well. The adroni's water-generating properties do extend towards the corpses of sensitives, as well, which become grossly distended, flesh starkly blanched regardless of the sensitive's complexion in life.
As the adroni reaches the end of its life, it expands in width, as though bloated by water. This deformation progresses rapidly, each movement causing further expansion. Its skin sweats profusely, and its hands paw furiously at its eyes and mouth. When an adroni reaches this stage while in or near a group, it is always attacked and eaten by its companions, which react to it with the same appetence that they show towards human corpses. Otherwise, its sides eventually burst, exuding blackened, sludgy fluid. Its corpse grows soft and watery, and melts away to nothing within several days, leaving only a blackish puddle.