The World Of Khoras - Fauna and Flora - Fauna - Subterranean

Flesh Fungus

Other Names None
Climate/Terrain Any
Frequency Uncommon
Organization Solitary
Activity Cycle

Any

Diet Carnivore

Physical Description

Flesh fungus looks like a patch of thick, blue moss. Although this creature appears to be a form of vegetation, it exhibits some intelligence and scholars are not sure whether to classify it as a plant or animal.

Combat

Flesh fungus does not engage in battle in the normal sense. It lives by consuming the flesh of other animals. This is its only means of attack. It has no means of defense or evasion. Flesh fungus does position itself strategically to surprise its victims. This often involves hanging from ceilings and droppings onto creatures or laying on the ground in the middle of a trail or path and waiting to be stepped on.

Habitat

Although rare, flesh fungus can be found anywhere that people and animals are found: forests, jungle, caverns, battlefields, city slums and the like.   It is very common in certain poverty stricken slums where whole groups of beggars are infected. This is particularly true in the city of Stovikar where a subculture of victims known as "fleshers" live in the sewers. In areas where this creature flourishes, it's not uncommon to see a victim with one arm completely gone and a rotting bluish mass of flesh fungus at the shoulder or some similar debilitation.

Ecology

Flesh fungus lives by consuming the flesh of other animals. It does this by physical contact during which it "infects" the animal. Once the fungus has taken hold, it will begin a slow digestion process - consuming the animal inch by inch. The fungus will consume approximately two pounds of flesh each day. As it consumes all the flesh in one body area, it moves to the next. The progress of this digestion varies greatly depending on the location of the "infection". Often, a curious creature will poke at the strange looking blue fungus with a hand (foot, tentacle, wing, flipper) and become infected on that extremity. The fungus will progress up the appendage, and over the days, will consume skin, muscle, fat, blood and bone as it goes. Only warm-blooded creatures can become infected by this creature. Saurians are immune.

A host creature can typically survive between 20-60 days until the fungus reaches the torso/rib cage and starts eating internal organs. Once vital organs are infected, it is only a matter of a day or so before they too are consumed and the host dies.

Once the host is killed, the flesh fungus will continue to feed until the host animal is completely digested. Afterwards, the fungus will crawl away to find another meal or a comfortable place to hibernate. In between meals, flesh fungus enters a self induced state of hibernation during which it can survive months without food. Even when hibernating, flesh fungus is aware of its surroundings and will "awaken" if a warm-blooded creature approaches.

Flesh fungus is asexual and reproduces by fission.

The process of being digested is completely painless as the digestive enzymes of the fungus have strong pain-killing properties. In addition to this, the fungus stimulates the production of endorphins in the host creature which creates a pleasurable, euphoric sensation which increases in intensity as the consumption of the host creature progresses. Some victims have been known to refuse treatment, having become addicted to the high. Victims of incurable painful diseases have been known to intentionally infect themselves with the fungus to spend their last days free from pain. Some city healers are known to keep small specimens for just this purpose.

Flesh fungus can be cured (and killed) with certain powerful healing spells. Also, some healers have found that large doses of blood root will slow the progression of the creature.

This website was last updated November 14, 2017 . Copyright 1990-2017 David M. Roomes.

Contact Webmaster