Euthoran Shapeshifters (Latin name Fera Mutat Speciem) are a race of sentient beings, native to Euthora, that can change their form at will.
Shapeshifters have no set appearance, due to the very nature of their species.They usually stay in the form they were born in, however. Eye color and hair/scale/fur/feather color stay the same between all forms, even if the coloration is impossible in nature- for example, the shapeshifter Jason Shaver has green eyes and black hair in his human form, and thus has green eyes and black scales in his Darkwing Firedrake form. Most shapeshifters have bright, luminous eyes in all forms.
- Primary Color:
- Secondary Color:
- Tertiary Color:
It is unknown how shapeshifters gained their abilities or what they evolved from. Some Euthorans speculate that the species was directly created by Kuu, the water spirit, rather than allowed to evolve.
Shapeshifters may be found absolutely anywhere that can sustain life. However, they seem to prefer areas away from human civilization, especially mountains and forests.
Shapeshifters are solitary for the most part, and highly territorial among their own species. Should two shapeshifters meet in the wild, they would inevitably battle for dominance unless one were to back down. The fight ends one of three ways: one combatant backing down, dying, or reverting to another form(a built-in defense mechanism and a show of weakness).
Otherwise, shapeshifters are in general aloof, antisocial, and defensive, especially around humans. Their intelligence often makes humans forget that the shapeshifter is still a wild animal, hence the application of the Latin word "Fera", typically only given to mammalian species found purely in the wild, such as the Euthoran wolf(Fera Lupus) and the Lupynn(Fera Tempest). This is characterized by a heightened hostility when endangered, their habits of hunting for food rather than accepting human-made food, and their preference of the wild over civilization.
Shifters tend to be claustrophobic, due to their wild and free way of life. Shapeshifters who have been confined in too small a space for too long have been known to be more reclusive than is natural, sometimes suffering from anxiety when in a building or anywhere they can't see the sky. They may become manic or even feral. Shapeshifters are very in-tune with nature and are said to be one of nature's balancers.
Shapeshifters have the ability to heal wounds when they shift, in addition to the following:
Senses and ReflexesEdit
A Shapeshifter's senses are nearly unparalleled by any creature native to Euthora; the only exception is the distance vision of most Wyverns and some Firedrakes. They are hypersensitive to all five basic senses- sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste- as well as having a sort of "sixth sense" for danger which merely comes from their heightened survival instincts and reflexes(detailed below). Lowlight vision and hearing are especially acute, perhaps 2 or 2.5x the strength of that form. However, this also makes them especially vulnerable to attacks that assault the senses, though they have a high tolerance for pain.
Reflexes, on the other hand, are nearly precognitive. This gives them their aforementioned "sixth sense"; a Shapeshifter will dodge an attack without thinking, and have been known to suddenly leap away without knowing why, only to turn and see a potentially lethal blow sail harmlessly past. This also makes them have a very high combat potential, especially when given bladed weaponry, where the holder's speed, agility, and reflex will aid in close-quarters-combat.
A Shapeshifter's incredibly high metabolism is both a blessing and a curse. On the upside, they are very high-energy and almost completely immune to toxins and illnesses unless the toxin is intentionally strengthened. Foreign chemicals, as well, will only have an effect for one to five minutes. The downside is that Shapeshifters use up energy very rapidly, and must eat their weight roughly every three and a half days. However, it is impossible to tell if a Shapeshifter is starving until about four hours before it would simply die. A special chemical known as Asyentine supplements the Shapeshifter's energy, providing them with the strength to hunt or get out of whatever situation keeps them from eating.
A shapeshifter has three types of forms.
- Basic Form: This is the form the shapeshifter was born in. It serves as a "default" form- if a shapeshifter is in a primary or acquired form(below) and is knocked out, dies, or something similar, it automatically reverts to the basic form.
- Primary Forms: These are the forms the shapeshifter was born with, though not in. These forms have the most influence on the shapeshifter's personality and may later influence what aquired forms the shifter later gains.
- Acquired Forms: These are the forms the shapeshifter gains as it lives its life, usually starting anywhere from fourteen to eighteen years of age. Potentially limitless, the shifter gains forms until it dies. Some of these may be difficult for the shapeshifter to control.
Shapeshifter Feral FormsEdit
Some naturally powerful shapeshifters or shapeshifters under a lot of stress may gain more powerful versions of forms, often right around the time that they start acquiring forms. The shapeshifter's eyes glow a different color(usually red or amber) in this form, and they are often decorated with intricate markings. Feral forms are often uncontrollable and will attack anything that approaches them. They run entirely on instinct, and will neither understand nor listen to reasoning until they have returned to their senses.
DNA Structure and Shapeshifting MechanicsEdit
A Shapeshifter's DNA structure is easily recognizeable- three loosely connected strands forming a triple helix molecule. This structure is unique among Euthoran animals and is crucial to the shapeshifter's ability to change form.
When stimulated by a chemical known as Asyentine, the DNA molecule momentarily "unravels" into a double helix and a loose strand. This loose strand then recodes itself and reattaches itself to the double helix, causing momentary instability as a second strand detaches, leaving the two connected strands incompatible while it recodes as well. When it reconnects, however, the third disconnects, leaving the shapeshifter's form stable enough so that the third strand, when recoded and reattached, repairs any damage caused by the brief instability. This entire process takes a few seconds on average. Shapeshifters are able to control this process to an extent, choosing which form to take, which areas of their bodies are shifted, and how far they go into the chosen form.
Asyentine is a chemical naturally produced by the shapeshifter's bloodstream and replaces the similar chemical Adrenaline. Like Adrenaline, Asyentine is produced in response to Fight or Flight, and gives the same effects, such as increased strength and reaction capabilities. As detailed above, however, it is also crucial to shapeshifting. The entire process takes energy: Asyentine gives the shapeshifter the energy required, and is shot into the bloodstream in a short burst to provide it. Longer productions of Asyentine allow the energy to fight. A stressed, angry, or frightened shapeshifter will produce a large amount of Asyentine in a short time, resulting in reflex shifts and Feral forms. This is difficult to control without training.
- Just because a being can change its shape does not mean it is a true shapeshifter, at least in species.