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Nightmare Fuel / Dragon Calling

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Dragon Calling is an expansive, adventurous fantasy series. And while considered Light Epic Fantasy, it certainly has its fair share of dark and disturbing creatures and moments, as revealed on this page. Be aware, all spoilers are unmarked!
Creatures of sadistic violence and chattering madness.
  • We get a first look at antagonistic entities (in the series) in the form of the Don-Chease. Although small in stature, they are vast in number and bring down their victims/ enemies by swarming them. They're described as being rodent-like (a little larger than a possum) with greasy black fur, large eyes that gleam red and large mouths filled with needle-like teeth. If that wasn't relatively unsettling enough, the sounds they make include raspy screeches and rapid chitterings and chatters that have a 'psychotic' tempo (making them sound rabid).

  • The poetic citation at the start of Chapter Ten of Kin Seeker is super creepy (epitomising the Don-Chease).
    A twittering, a chittering, all sanity sent a-skittering
    For as I walk along the path, my neck begins to tingle,
    From red eyes that watch the single, lonely figure walk the dark.
    A hiss, a shriek, my legs are feeling weak,
    I glance wide-eyed as walls of black begin to come alive, and move in for the feast.
    All is lost! All is lost! What devilry is this?
    That I should fall into the claws and gaping jaws of those Abyss-born Don-Chease.
    All is lost!

  • The Don-Chease cacodemon—summoned when hundreds of Don-Chease swarm together, sacrificing their bodies to merge into an amassed mound of matter for an evil spirit to possess and take physical form. The resulting creature is a terrifying giant of black muscle and purple fire, with a skull-like head crowned in branching antlers of black fire. It is able to smash its ways through stone pillars and full-grown trees, and the sound it makes is like metal scraping against metal.
Vile, subterranean serpents with a lustful killing drive.
  • For those who don't like snakes, the Ash-Banes are a nightmarish concoction of large, red-scaled serpents with gangly forearms tipped with long, hooked claws, and ugly goblin-esque features framing an enormous mouth filled with curved needle-like fangs and saliva that emits a putrid stench. As if they weren't freaky enough, the ancient Lore binding them to the forest of Caprine adds to their disturbing legend—they are cursed to rise during every half-moon, to terrorise the inhabitants of the woodlands as penance for stealing one of the original woodland manna weavers and dragging her underground to her death.

  • The giant, bulbous citrine-coloured monstrosity that is Sotaik. It's a mindless, broken mutation—the result of a failed attempt at creating a cacodemon—and would almost be pitiable if not for the fact that it kills without thought or remorse. One of its most disturbing features is the extensive root-like tentacles encircling the base of its neck. They are extremely flexible with an elastic-like quality; meaning even if you managed to keep your distance or attempt to keep some trees between you for protection, it could still shoot out its tentacles and snatch you up from a significant distance away (as it did with Maikor and Ubi).

  • Laeka'Draeon's company's first encounter with the harpies. Laeka'Draeon is woken by a panicked Ghinzel and the group gathers tightly around their campfire, unable to take pre-emptive action as the sounds of fluttering and pitchy cackling closes in from all directions. Take into account that they are in a dangerous, dreary marshland that's permanently enshrouded in fog, so they have no secure way of making an escape, and—due to the fog—no effective way at detecting where (and how many) the harpies are. That and, all we ever get to see (and hear) of them at this stage, is faint, hunched silhouettes, ghoulish pale eyes and freakish bird-like hisses, cackles, and screams. Also, the way the harpy interrogator speaks is downright creepy.
    Inquisitor: Fair is foul and foul is fair, in this place where the sundark never sees starlight.

  • Az-Thorz is a nightmarish antagonist in the fact that he can create illusions, is completely sadistic, and delights in tormenting other creatures. Then there's the fact that he's a flesh-eating water horse of great speed and strength and dwells in the deepest, creepiest part of Mistwood: the Labyrinth of Tears. Also, his inclination toward taste-related adjectives is quite disturbing.

  • Laeka'Draeon's traumatic experience being transformed by Kushal into a hemlan. The description via his POV is quite awful (the feeling of being on fire along with muscle contractions so intense it feels like his bones are about to shatter), and if you really think about it, the experience would be akin to a human being turned into a featherless chicken.

  • Aubrianna being forced to watch Vagel brutally torture her comrades to death. Not only that, but he feeds their corpses to the flesh-eating Med'neth'dast. Right. In. Front. Of. Her. This is the kind of thing that would break someone's spirit for life. The fact that she refuses submission is an incredible testament to her fortitude. Still, one can imagine her never being able to fully recover from the experience.

  • And mentioning the Med'neth'dast—they are basically animated corpses revived by necromantic magic that are voracious devourers of flesh. Not muscle, not organs, just the flesh. They are bound entirely in purple swathes of material—like the bandages wrapping a mummified body—save for their eyes, which are glittery and black, like beetle carapaces. They also can't be killed by anything other than purified balefire; any sort of physical attack against them will just result in their body parts fusing back together. Thank goodness they seem to be securely locked down within the deepest depths of the abandoned dungeons beneath Rellornen.
One of the vilest and filthiest creatures in Valadae.
  • The harpies themselves are grotesque and vile enough (revealed in full during the Shoumeign Arc in Book Three)—physically ugly and filthy (wounds made by their teeth and claws cause infection and blood poisoning) and truly malicious in nature (indiscriminately snatching up innocents, both from the city streets and from inside their houses and tearing them to pieces). Then there's their Matriarch, Mothuurdresh. The epitome of a horrendous, nightmare-inducing monster five-times the size of a normal harpy. Her description is particularly vivid, from describing her bulbous body and scabby flesh, to her milky lidless eyes and lower protruding jaw hanging open, dribbling saliva and bearing sharp, crooked teeth. She is one creature you do not want to encounter. Ever.

  • The Parasite/ Yurek'stelin is an eldritch monstrosity (that emerged from a meteorite hundreds of years prior to the story's plot) whose manna is so perversely abnormal, it is capable of destroying and contaminating anything it touches. All efforts to destroy it in the past failed—the only course of action left to the inhabitants of Elrathil was to seal it away in a death-like slumber. Their efforts came too late to save Elrathil and most of its inhabitants, which ended up becoming Darks Whelm thanks to the Parasite's taint. Not only is the creature deadly and near-invincible, but its appearance is grotesque and bizarre, with a massive crocodilian maw, multiple bulbous eyes, and limbs thick as mature trees covered in deformed scales and growths. As if it wasn't bad enough, the Parasite is also the 'mother' of the Don-Chease, which it literally spews from its mouth, after it 'sings' them into existence from a dream-state.
A truly nightmarish creation.
  • Thrawn. Nevermind that he's an unnatural amalgamation of creatures, infused with manticor bones and transfused with blood from the Parasite—the creature is visually terrifying having a four-legged reptilian-beast body with a second 'armoured warrior-like' form protruding from the centre of its spine (like a mount and rider). Not only does Thrawn have strength and speed, but with its Parasite blood it is immune to Light magic and can create barriers of corrupted energy. Oh, and its arms are capable of multiplying and changing shape to form ghastly claws and sharp serrated edges.

  • The Black Sand within the Void of Storm and Fire is a mysterious and frightening force that seeks out living energies and invades their being, targeting their minds in order to induce them in a state of hallucinating their deepest fears. As if that wasn't terrifying enough, if an individual fails to stand their (mental) ground and succumbs to a mental breakdown, the Black Sand violently ejects them from the Void (aka sandstorm). The risk of injury is very high; the risk of death, moderate.

  • What happens to the Shade Senders when Vagel forces them to consume/ intake manna-terra. To start off with, the hobgoblin captain smashes his fist (which is holding crushed manna-terra) into Fordon's chest. Instead of dying, Fordon is thrust into an agonising transformation where manna-terra infects his entire body and his mask (previously an enchanted accessory) literally becomes fused to his face and takes on grotesque animalistic features. Not only that but, since Vagel was the one that initiates the transfusion, Fordon becomes bound to his will. A similar fate befalls Curdilis and Hulborne.

  • The muulta bugs. While they could be considered 'pretty' (with their glossy silvery-plated bodies) and are predominantly placid-natured, they are utterly terrifying when riled. They swarm like angry ants and will chase the agitator/s relentlessly until either they are caught (and presumably killed) or they manage to make it out of muulta territory. Oh, and don't forget their size—these are beetles that are roughly the size of a small dog (think jack russel terrier, not chihuahua). Those with entomophobia, be warned!

  • The Tainted Shadows are by far the most nightmarish entity within the Dragon Calling series. It's not specified exactly what they/ it is, other than being a presence (or force) containing legions of pure malice and malicious intent. The entity lurks within the tainted areas of the Deep Ways, like a wraith anchored to its haunt. Any living thing that garners its attention becomes a target, and once engulfed in its 'living darkness', they are subjected to mental afflictions so horrendous they are driven to madness-induced suicide. What's even worse is that it's heavily implied they are some form of creation from the Parasite, which likely makes the Tainted Shadows an un-killable force. Pure, terrifying evil.

  • Biekrel'Sorgh is a demon that (once a cacodemon) was stripped of its physical form and sealed away inside the tallest peak of the Nemblem Mountains—right underneath the northern Beacon Throne (likely because the Throne's power helped to subdue the terrible entity). Whenever it awakens, it is able to manipulate the elements and weather of its mountain prison (creating storms, causing avalanches, hurling giant boulders like slinging pebbles). That's frightening in itself, but it gets much worse when the northern Beacon Throne is destroyed. Biekrel'Sorgh shows up in swathes of shadows that drip and stretch to form the shape of eyes, claws, and fanged mouths. It moves through the air with a physically weighted presence that can only be seen in reflective surfaces. And when it screams, there's a delayed second or two before the noise carries from its sealed (prison) dimension, into the physical plane.