|Official Name||Temple Orphan.|
|Common Nicknames||Solang Horror.|
|Current Status||Extremely Rare.|
The greatest horror that stalks the jungles of Solangeria, the Temple Orphan, is responsible for the vast majority of deaths of explorers that dare to venture into the deep jungles. Temple Orphans are relatively rare, but the Solangeria Qadir always know where to find them, or more specifically how to guide intruders towards them to certain death. The Temple Orphans are as mysterious as they are deadly. Various mythical tales as to their origin existing among various peoples who have made contact with them and survived. Temple Orphans carry their name because while passive, they emit a sound that sounds eerily similar to a crying baby. As soon as their prey comes close enough, the sound stops, the head turns and death follows shortly. It should be noted that the Temple Orphans do not actually hunt their prey. They simply seem to attract anyone curious enough for the sake of killing them. Not even for food, as these creatures have never been witnessed to consume any of their victims or indeed any food at all. It simply just kills for the sake of killing.
The first encounter with a known Temple Orphan in modern times dates back to roughly 30 AC. Some wayward merchant ship crashed on the shores of Solangeria, causing the sailors to go further inland in search for supplies to survive on the coastline. Eventually they stumbled on a nearby temple where the cries of an infant lured them closer to investigate. Not thinking any infant could possibly be alive in these deserted lands, the captain stayed back, fearing his sailors were suffering from dysentery, coupled with his own paranoia towards anything that vaguely resembled Elven ruins. The captain could only stand and watch from a distance as his sailors were ripped apart by the screeching and murderous Temple Orphan, before he eventually ran away when the creature set eyes on him. He was later picked up by a Regalian trade vessel completely driven mad from the things he had seen. While this was technically a first encounter, nobody truly believed him until a group of explorers made official documentation of the creature forty years later long after he had passed away. Elves have troughout the ages had numerous encounters with the Temple Orphans but they were often not recorded as Solangeria was simply declared a forbidden continent not to be entered.
The Temple Orphans are currently rarely seen in Solangeria. The majority of encounters result in death of anyone but the Temple Orphans themselves. A single Temple Orphan is known to inhabit a very large area, leading scholars to conclude that the actual number of Temple Orphans on Aloria is very small, and they praise whatever deity they worship for that.
Temple Orphans are built for carnage. They have long sharp black nails on long thin bony fingers and feet. Their feet resemble bird talons and they even have a long hairy tail, though it is often hard to tell whether it is a tail or just stray hair from their back due to their hunched posture. Temple Orphans have very long necks upon which a humanoid head rests, long black dead hair is suspended from their scalp and two narrow solid white eyes are rested on their face, with what appears to be the remnants of a nose and a massive open jaw with huge sharp teeth. Their eyes seem to have been crying black tar and their skin always looks wrinkled, old, and cracked. Their upper body is covered in long wiry hair and some odd feathers, though they always sit crouched or hunched forward, scraping the floor with their nails. Their torso looks emaciated, with thin bones protruding all over their body,particularly the spine, ribcage, and hips. It is hard to tell how tall they are and more advanced research cannot be performed as no dead specimen has ever been found and approaching them is lethal even for the strongest of warriors. Most Temple Orphans are assumed to be somewhat humanoid in height, though they often crouch down to the level of a Dwarf in height.
Temple Orphans do not seem to age at all. There are records in the Elven Empire of a specific Temple Orphan that lives close to the coast in the so called Upaqanxbalka ruin, with a metal arrow lodged in its head at a horizontal angle. In 278 AC, an expedition near this ruin recorded the presence of that very same Temple Orphan, be it with a much more rusted arrow lodged in its head, but it was unmistakably the same creature. Scholars dare not speculate whether they simply don’t age or are actually immortal. They move with incredible speed when they have found prey, and will try to tear them to pieces with their sharp claws and their sharp teeth. A Human can be killed within the blink of an eye by a Temple Orphan, capable of ripping their head clean off. Temple Orphans are assumed to be able to see in light, are able to climb ruined walls and ceilings and seem to never sleep or even wander away from the same location where they always are.
Origin and Diversity
Temple Orphans all look exactly the same, though some have a slightly darker tint of gray skin while some may have some wounds on them like a missing limb or the aforementioned arrow lodged into them. In total approximately six Temple Orphans are recorded, though scholars speculate at least double that number exist, the rest just haven’t had any explorers survive their encounters to report back. There seems to be no distinction between gender nor do they reproduce. The creature’s behavior is entirely enigmatic.
Life Span and Development
No Temple Orphan offspring has ever been seen. No Temple Orphans have ever been seen encountering each other or indeed wandering anywhere near 20 miles from one another. The creatures are assumed to have longevity at the very least, and practical immortality at worst.
The Temple Orphans seem to possess some sort of intelligence, though it is obviously very far gone in an almost impossible state of hysteria and insanity. In ways, Temple Orphans behave akin to how one would expect a woman imprisoned within a house of torture her entire life suddenly discovering that she could actually kill her captors. And anyone else for that matter. When the baby crying sound they make stops, they lunge and scream with shrieks and vile gurgling noises at whoever is too close, akin to a fit of primal rage. The Temple Orphans seem hostile to any living matter with the exception of plants and butterflies. Some species of butterflies have been seen resting on the back of the Temple Orphans, peacefully resting before continuing along.
Territory and Groupings
Temple Orphans normally don't seem to leave specific ruins dotted across Solangeria, which leaves scholars to assume their natural territory is those ruins. Why they specifically live in those ruins and what they do in them is unknown, all that is known is that they do not eat, sleep or even interact with most of the structures around them. They simply just kill any moving thing that comes close. No two Temple Orphans have ever been close to one another so nobody truly knows what will happen if they do meet one day. The creatures are thus assumed to be entirely solitary.
While the origins of the Temple Orphans are entirely enigmatic, some scholars theorize they are somehow the degenerate remnants of the third civilization. Something so powerful and similar to the Wind Lady statue in body build seems real of a possibility. It is not known why Temple Orphans never leave the same room/corridor/street of a specific temple complex. It is often just assumed they have some sort of connection with the place and refuse to leave for whatever reason. Solangeria Qadir have become expert at avoiding Temple Orphans, as they will not spare them either. In fact some of the older ones have developed means to attract the attention of the Temple Orphans to lure them a bit further away from their temple grounds. Strangely enough they stop making the crying baby noise when they wander from their location, and instead sound like a sobbing old woman.