1 ft, 4 in
15 ft
75 lbs
size variance
core temp.
10,000 days
no. appearing
physical appearance

The zarodroni (/ˈzɛədrəʊroʊni/) is a pointy-faced, long-bodied stranger with thin yellow stripes and sharp, thin fingers. It cannot move its limbs, and keeps them splayed in a straight-legged, x-like formation. Despite its perpetually rigid posture, the zarodroni is a highly mobile stranger, and moves through the air via levitation. It is far more quick-moving than most other levitating strangers, and can be compared to a hovering drone in its movements.

The zarodroni's skin is smooth and displays retroreflective properties, and as such, even the smallest amount of light causes the zarodroni to appear to shine brightly, although it is not bioluminescent. Its body cavity is filled with tough, fibrous cables, which darken and crinkle when exposed to air. It possesses no regenerative ability, but tends to resist wear-and-tear, as, under normal circumstances, it never makes physical contact with any objects.

The zarodroni constantly emits a whirring, buzzing-like sound, and it stirs up air currents around it, as well. It is otherwise silent.

environment and generation

The zarodroni generates between tall buildings, over busy streets, and in the shadows of major monuments within a city. It flickers into view with a staticky shimmer, already in motion even while these small distortions coalesce to form its solid body. The zarodroni takes anywhere from eighty seconds to ten minutes to take a solid form.

behaviour and effects

The zarodroni possesses a militant demeanor, and moves in groups which float in circular, triangular, and linear formations ten to forty feet above the ground. These groups travel in patrol-like paths over roads and between buildings. The zarodroni's pulsing sound, along with its reflective properties, makes its approach easy to notice.

The zarodroni specifically seeks out and hunts sensitives. Upon finding a sensitive, the zarodroni moves downward, circling the sensitive with a relentless intensity. Its presence causes a wide range of physical symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, paralysis, muscular spasms, and, rarely, seizures and aneurysms. In addition, looking at the zarodroni causes the sensation of very mild electric shock1. While many sensitives can elude the zarodroni (which appears incapable of going indoors, or into tight, cramped spaces of any kind), any close and prolonged encounter will prove fatal to the sensitive.

"I looked out from the window across the river and to the buildings there, and as my eyes scanned the skyline, I felt a sudden jolt. Too small to see from where I stood, I saw it all the same." Ganges, Baz. Visual Accounts in Madness: My Life in Hell Mercury, 392

Exactly 16.7778% of sensitives who survive close zarodroni encounters report a phenomenon known as zarosorivritis or zaro zzyx (colloquially, "the patrolman's itch," "little ears," "true survivor's guilt," or, simply, "the sound"). Sensitives afflicted with zarosorivritis first experience a quiet, siren-like noise, just barely on the edge of hearing, which grows louder and more centralized over the course of several weeks.

Once the sound reaches full volume, it becomes so loud that all other noises are reduced to a faint, tinny hum. The phenomenon is incessant, and persists even during dreams. It has no physiological basis, and cannot be analyzed on any physical or neurological level. Sufferers have been known to carve out their own eardrums, sometimes to the point of brain damage, in the hopes of silencing the sound. Even if complete physical deafness is achieved, however, there is no cure, and the sound continues to be perceived, louder than ever in the absence of any other aural stimulus. Due to the disruption to sleep, thought, and communication, these survivors of zarodroni attacks rarely live longer than two months.

advancement and death

Aging zarodroni inevitably undergo a process known as advancement. Zarodroni which undergo advancement drift closer and closer to the ground, until finally settling, unable to move forward. After several minutes of stillness, they begin to move their limbs in a pained, crawling motion. These movements appear to cause the zarodroni a great deal of distress, and its snout parts and opens up to display a ragged, short-toothed mouth, which allows the normally voiceless zarodroni to gasp in strained, screeching motions, like an old train's squealing breaks. As it crawls forward, the zarodroni turns its head away from its hands, as if terrified of where its motions may take it.

Groups of zarodroni are drawn to any nearby advanced individuals, and circle above like vultures as the zarodroni on the ground writhes and drags itself along. The zarodroni above emit their pulsing, siren-like call at louder and louder volumes, and as their sirens grow more cacophonous, so too does the zarodroni below begin to wither away, clutching at itself and its surroundings in a desperate scramble. Its mouth opens wider and wider, and its body begins to rot alive, losing its retroreflective glow. As it dies, it melts to a silvery, x-shaped layer of metal, and it is only then that the zarodroni above cease their circling motions and return again to their relentless patrol. This puddle hardens and remains, an aluminum marker, and does not decay.