The smoldroni (/ˈsmoʊldroʊni/) is a heavy, hollow stranger, inside of which burns a raging fire, giving it a core temperature of approximately 2,408°F. Its furnace-like body is composed of a substance similar to iron, which cannot be pierced or dented by normal means. Despite the smoldroni's high inner temperature, its flesh displays excellent insulating properties, and while its outer surface is burning to the touch, its hands and feet are not. The smoldroni possesses no regenerative ability.
The smoldroni's deep, blaring voice bellows forth from its mouth and hollow eyes, each of which leads directly into its body cavity. This voice, although human-like, is too heavily distorted for words to be discerned, as though blasted out through a series of unseen pipes and trumpets. This stranger's presence is also accompanied by the crackling sound of its inner flame, amplified by the smoldroni's metal body.
The smoldroni appears in a wide range of interior locations. The presence of iron seems to significantly raise the likelihood of a smoldroni infestation, and it often generates near furnaces, ovens, and large fireplaces. Otherwise, it displays a tendency towards old buildings, empty rooms, and, especially, bare brick walls.
The smoldroni starts off as a pile of hard iron, from which its body forms, head pointed upward and its tail curled tightly around it. It grows larger over the course of several days, and spends the first few weeks of its life in a dormant state, with its eyes and mouth closed, before it awakens, the fire inside it sparking to life with a sudden blast of flames out the eyes and mouth.
The smoldroni possesses a slow, methodical disposition, and moves with leaden, lumbering motions, each step accompanied by the screeching sound of twisting metal. It roams over the course of its life, wandering building-by-building through blocks of homes, apartments, and shops. It constantly exudes a thick, black smoke from its mouth and eyes, entirely blackening all surfaces around it. Despite its size, the smoldroni prefers small-to-medium-sized rooms over large, open spaces. It moves at a slow and regular pace, and displays no emotion of any kind.
The smoldroni must consume objects in order to keep its internal temperatures up, and is killed when the fire inside it burns out. Although wood provides better fuel than metal, the smoldroni does not display a preference towards better-burning objects, and instead seems to select objects at random. Like many strangers, however, it does appear drawn to the human form, and always consumes human-shaped objects, such as ivory figures and dolls. Some smoldroni also appear able to recognize two-dimensional images (such as photographs or paintings of people), with 47% of the total population displaying this behavior.
Although the smoldroni is dependent on objects as fuel to survive, even a single object can provide enough energy to sustain life for several days, and thus, smoldroni do not generally starve to death. When not wandering or eating, it spends its time at rest with its head pointing upward.
The smoldroni does not deliberately cause fires, with those that do occur ignited by the stray sparks and embers that billow forth from the smoldroni's mouth and eyes. The smoldroni lingers in these fires, a smile upon its face and its body unharmed by the flames, even as high temperatures turn its flesh red-hot.
The smoldroni remains for some time after the fire has subsided, and once its body cools down, it searches for undamaged photographs, jewelry, or other sentimental keepsakes, which it crushes beneath its feet before continuing on in search of fuel.
When two smoldroni meet, both move to face each other, and then, in unison, point their heads upwards and sit down indefinitely. When this occurs, no other behaviour takes place, and neither smoldroni responds to any further outside stimulus. Smoldroni remain in this position until death occurs. This behaviour only occurs in pairs, and subsequent individuals who encounter these pairs display no particular interest.
The smoldroni approaches all sensitives it sees, plodding towards them with a weighty inevitability. Once it is close enough, it firmly grabs at its target, dragging them forward in an attempt to eat them. It is relentless, and cannot be dissuaded by violence or loud sounds.
"It grabbed the man and dragged him forward, and he struck the creature's snout, as one might stop a shark, but all this did was make a loud clang, like a bell after church. It pulled him forward and his clothes caught on fire immediately as he went in, head-first. The creature kept pushing him further down, and once the man's feet were inside, the creature laid down, closed its mouth and narrowed its eyes. The man kicked and kicked and kicked, and with his hands he tried to pry open the creature's eyelids, but the stranger did not move.
The man cried out, "¡ayúdeme!", and the words bounced off the beast's metallic sides and came out more like brass than speech. He screamed and gasped a few more times, and although his continued pries against the creature's eye-holes made it shake its head from side to side, it did not open its mouth.
The kicks finally stopped – a bell grown quiet – and as the stench of roast pork filled the room, the creature closed its eyes and fell asleep." Saenz, Ines. personal journal ("Rougi"), 174
The smoldroni can only be dissuaded with water, with large quantities proving fatal to the stranger.
As the smoldroni ages, its body cools down, and its movements grow more sluggish and disinterested. Once the last embers within it die, so too does the smoldroni sit down and pass away, leaving behind its solid iron corpse. This corpse can remain for several years, but does eventually rust and break down, persisting only as a pile of black flakes.