|Common Nicknames||Black Box, Dragon Cube|
The Qarresh is one of the strangest “creatures” in Aloria with many insisting that they are an advanced machine, or calling them one of the greatest products of Magic known to exist. For the Slizzar themselves, their sole keepers, they are simply companions, one of the few pieces of home a Slizzar may possess when out and about in the wider world. As the black cube is capable of disguising itself as other Mounts, it can even aid the Slizzar who owns it by blending in, though it cannot replicate the full extent of their chosen disguises' abilities.
The timeline of events which have impacted the Qarresh is uncertain due to the routine purges of information carried out by the Slizzar following each Void Invasion. It is not even clear who or what built or birthed the first Qarresh beyond Slizzar claims that they were gifts from their god. Most assume that it was Zaalaanzaal who created them, but others suggest the single-minded focus of the ancient Slizzar on this Dragon blinded them to the origins of the cube creature from some other source. Some even suggest that the cubes are not as ancient as imagined, and might only be as old as the Fourth Void Invasion, being a gift for the new world as the nearby rise of the Altalar and Daen-based Allorn Empire required the use of beasts of burden and transportation more than ever. There are stories (or rather, fragments of tales) from the Allorn Empire which speak of “cube beasts” which were sometimes found and sent to flight, though they are often connected not with the Slizzar, but “Sariyd machines” or “Dragon rocks” suggesting that in many cases, Slizzar identities survived or remained hidden even if their animal companion was found out.
The next burst of Qarresh activity began around 250 AC, with the rise of the Essa Empire and Mananya-Manya as its leader. While they reigned, Slizzar expanded their influence across the Empire and among the Slizzar, seeking to follow her example in many instances, and also joining their inner circle of Mages and Sorcerers who sought the secrets of control over the Deep Sea Serpents. Unhidden Qarresh were viewed in comparatively large numbers compared to the past, and their transformation process was observed by Allar witnesses trusted by local Slizzar. However, when the Chrysant War came, this proved to be a negative. For the first time in perhaps centuries, Qarresh were successfully killed by Ailor soldiers as well as Allar who began to hate the Slizzar. Ultimately, the Slizzar became concerned for making too much use of their Qarresh, and in the modern day, even the more overt Slizzar may hide the use of their Race’s unique method of transportation.
The Qarresh is as alien as one can imagine a form of life in Aloria. In its natural appearance, it is a square block of black obsidian-styled stone, with side lengths supposedly varying based on the “animal’s” age, though it may also depend on which type of Slizzar is making use of it and their own physical appearance. However, it is estimated to sit at three feet long on each side. The cubes move through the air with a smooth, silent glide, slowly turning as they move and capable of all sorts of orientations while doing so. When moving, they also emanate pale-orange waves of energy, a sort of wake they leave around them as they move through the air. Their appearance stunningly changes when they enter into either of their rideable forms. The first is their natural appearance, where upon a command from their Slizzar rider, the creature will suddenly gain mass, the cube expanding, folding, and altering its shape until a geometric construct of the same black obsidian-like material emerges. Its shape is exotic, with a saddle-like middle and rods rising up for an individual to grip and manipulate to alter speed or prompt a stop. For those Slizzar with lower-body tails, a unique formation in the “saddle”-like middle allows for their tail to curl up securely. The animal’s front and back are wrapped into open, flat crescents which pulse with the same aforementioned orange energy between the prongs and within the circular hole at either end. The Qarresh then hovers off the ground, and can maneuver around with speed equal to that of a standard equine.
The other transformation the creature is capable of is their much more common disguise form, where they take on the appearance of another creature. When commanded, the creature loses mass rather than gains it like in their natural rideable form, instead folding open and spreading out, thin prismatic ropes with dangling angular pieces take on the skeletal frame of the desired animal, such as a Two-Claw Raptor. Once this expansion of the creature’s obsidian mass is complete, a sharp hiss will fill the air, and a pale blue foam-like substance will erupt from the core, which will have remained at the central anchorpoint of the animal’s mass. This foam-like substance will envelop and hide the skeleton, before after a moment, a deep sigh will fill the air and a quick gleam of orange still suddenly and completely manifest the finished disguise before any viewers. The creature will have all of the features of a Two-Claw Raptor, with only other Slizzar able to understand that the animal is a Qarresh. For both transformations, when turning back into its cube form, the same actions are simply reversed.
- OOC Note: A dormant Qarresh can be displayed IG through the placement of an Obsidian Block in a base or property home to a Slizzar with the appropriate investment to acquire this Mount.
As previously mentioned, exact Qarresh sizes are believed to be different based on the individual in possession of the cube-shaped creature. Though, much like the Slizzar themselves, gender seems foreign to the Qarresh. Even if they take on the physical traits of a female or male of a particular species, some Allar writings from the Essa Empire claim this was simply aesthetic, and all part of the desires of the rider.
Life Span and Development
Qarresh are not born, or even develop in a way many might consider normal. While intensely secret, it is known that once every decade, several "Qar-Nal Engines" across Sassrakkan will produce a handful of “juvenile” Qarresh cubes which are kept as a group known as a Qadral. These groups are shown around the city by a Slizzar and a mature Qarresh, before the Qadral are shown, and trained somewhat, in the skills of transformation. Naturally, socialization follows. By the six month mark, Qarresh juveniles can flawlessly transform into their disguise and natural riding forms, but are still “immature” in some respects. By the age of three, this immaturity fades, and they are considered adults. Qarresh age ranges, and lifespans, are completely unknown.
Qarresh, while often silent in the presence of non-Slizzar, even when in disguise mode, are known to be extremely complex and emotional beings in private. They have a wide range of vocalizations, made up of thrums and hums the cube emits as sounds, and also have certain visual motions to indicate responses as well. A Qarresh rapidly spinning on a point will mean excitement, while spinning on a flat surface generally is “sarcastic” in reply, or more nervous. Aggressive Qarresh are possibly some of the scariest things imaginable, for how alien and strange they will act. Their normally placid orange glow will flare to a bright, rippling hue, and their form will jerk, and jolt around sharply, while a hiss fills the air. They can even attack people, slamming into them with their thick, armored exterior. Qarresh do not eat food, though in disguise form, will “nibble” or lick up small quantities of food and water to sell their appearance.
Territory and Groupings
Qarresh live wherever Slizzar live, with many remaining in the city streets of Sassrakkand with an unknown number scattered across Aloria among the Slizzar living their lives either disguised or open. Qarresh within the city often remain in their Qadrals, roaming as small groups, before returning to the Engine that birthed them to rest in their silent, cube form alongside others of their kind. When one is selected or needed by a Slizzar, they travel to one of these Engines, stand in the middle of the space and wait, because as if the Slizzar have telepathy, a Qarresh will break away from it’s fellows and come to become that Slizzar’s companion.
- Dead Qarresh self-destruct when critically damaged. The explosion can be lethal, as when they explode, they erupt a splatter of the strange blue foam, now an acid, and their black obsidian-like body is also discharged as hundreds of sharp black shards fling themselves with force into the surrounding area.
- When or if their Slizzar master dies outside of Sassrakkand, Qarresh go into an extremely dormant state. They will bury themselves underground in or around the gravesite of their master, or on their master’s property. They then begin to release a sort of beacon that only other Qarresh can detect, and are always recovered alongside Slizzar remains for return to Sassrakkand.
- The Qarresh of the Anindriya Slizzar are said to not glow with an orange light, but a silver light, and are capable of a third transformation, which varies from tale to tale. It is most commonly a huge flying serpentine creature, but others suggest something akin to a Wyvern, or even odder, a giant fish-shaped submersible craft, like a diving bell but more easily controlled.