Vol. 109: The Animus
At a glance: The Animus are a race of humanoid animals. They encompass animals of every type: Dogs, Cats, Birds, Mice, and nearly every other animal that exists throughout the multiverse.
Appearance & Lifestyle: The Animus look like large humanoid animals. They can look like any animal but by far the most common are: Dogs, Cats, Mice, and Birds. (There are a shocking number of Blue jays in the bird group.) These make up about 80% of all Animus but animal types of all other kinds exist. Pandas, Kangaroos, Platypus, Hippos, the list goes on. The Animus has become a sort of “catchall” for any and all humanoid animals that are happened upon in the multiverse. Even humanoids that just have “Animal Traits” are often accepted into the Animus community with loving paws. But there are a few exceptions.
In general, reptilian races do not fall into the Animus race. This is not due to any segregation, but the fact that most reptilian species are actually their own separate race OR they prefer to be associated more directly with the Lizard People, or even the Naga, who associate with many other reptilian races and usually live in environments more suited to their biology.
The same is true for insect humanoids and perhaps a few others. But it should be noted that the Animus are very accepting and if a reptile or insect humanoid, or other, asked to be part of their society they will almost always acquiesce.
It should also be noted that the Animus does NOT include the Werefolk. They are a separate race with very distinct powers and biology that does not match with the Animus. And there are others like the Man Scorpions, Minotaurs, and more.
Animus families are quite diverse. This has to do with their incredibly unique biology. Animus have Magically Charged DNA. (This has led to them being highly experimented on, especially in the past by the Graze. The modern-day Graze have apologized to the Animus many times for these transgressions but even now most Animus are wary to be around the Graze.) This Magically Charged DNA seems to be what allows them to exist in such a diversity of different animal types. There is only a 25% chance per parent that an Animus child will be the same animal type as the parent. The other 50% could be any other animal! That being said MOST Animus children will be Cat, Dog, Bird, or Mouse. But there is still incredible variation here! A Dalmatian dog father and Manx cat mother may have a Blue Jay bird son and a field mouse daughter! OR A Dalmatian father may have a dog son but a Terrier. The Manx cat mother may have a kitten but Tabby kitten. The Animus seem to not care at all. It has always been this way and they see their diversity as strength. They also do not reproduce in litters. Animus generally have a single baby at a time with a similar gestation period to humans. Though their instances of Twins and Triplets is a bit higher than that of humans.
Heights and weights vary greatly with animal type. But in general, most Animus are human size, with the Mice and Bird Animus being slightly shorter and smaller. But there are extremes. A Giraffe Animus may stand 10’ or taller, and a Hippo Animus may be quite wide and stocky.
Their fashion is quite functional. They are especially fond of pockets; hidden pockets are a favorite. They do like to dress in colorful styles if they are going out but for their everyday lives, they tend to wear dark muted colors. Extremely dark blues and purples are extremely popular. They are fond of jewelry but prefer to wear 1 striking piece when going out rather than many pieces. A single ring or necklace may be they only piece of jewelry an Animus will wear out, but it will usually be very expensive and designer. The exception to this is earrings which the males and females are both fond of. Animus without pierceable ears (Like Bird Animus) will usually opt for eyebrow rings instead.
The Animus are mostly a space faring people. Throughout their long history they have had difficulty maintaining home worlds. Added to this they have been one of the hardest hit races by the Oblivion. Most Animus communities are clusters of often vary large ships that travel together. Often called Space Packs or S-Packs, these fleets of Animus ships can be 100 or more strong with multiple supermassive Denships, that act as central meeting places and Motherships for them. They have mastered the art of docking ships, even multiple ships simultaneously. They call this skill Sherding, and it is a skill they begin practicing at a noticeably young age. They will often dock 6 or more ships together to make traveling between them easier. They will sometimes even dock these clusters of ships to a Denship.
Powers & Abilities: The Animus’ powers vary greatly and usually depend on their Animal type. Most Animus have at least 1 Supernatural Sense. For example: Dogs have a supernatural sense of smell (But many have poor vision or eye problems). Birds usually have supernatural vision (But may have frail bones, especially later in life). Some have powers that are more extreme functions of their animal types environment. For example: Penguin Animus have supernatural resistance to cold (But don’t do well in the heat) Camel Animus have a supernatural resistance to heat and thirst. (And convexly abhor the cold). There seems to be endless variation.
Most bird Animus can fly or at least glide impressively when naked. And even nonmagic using bird animus seem to be able to learn the Fly Spell. (50% of bird Animus have this ability, cast at level at NO COST. Once a minute. Can only be cast on self.)
Claws, talons, super sharp teeth, fangs, tusks, night vison, and more are all also possible depending on the Animus’ animal type.
Besides these many options, Animus don’t really have any other innate supernatural abilities. Animus can become mages, but it is a difficult path for them. Their Magically Charged DNA seems to interfere with the weaving of arcane energy. They seem to do better with abjuration and conjuring if they choose to take this path. They make adept psionic users if they are born with the talents for it. Animus of any kind may be born able to use psionics, but Siamese Cats, Bald Eagles, Black Rats, and Great Dane Dogs seem to possess psionic skill the most.
There are MANY subclasses for Animus. (Enough to fill 2 books at least one day.) But today we will just review 2.
Bamboo Warriors: These Panda Animus are large, chubby, and adorable! They have shiny, white, heart-shaped eyes that look perpetually sorrowful. But despite their appearance these warriors are quite deadly! They can summon insane amounts of bamboo on command! They fight with bamboo staffs they summon, using them at quarterstaffs, spears, and more. They can also summon fantastically large complete structures completely made of bamboo. Giant bridges, Towers, Walls, and much more can be summoned making them not only deadly but quite utilitarian.
Flamice: Flamice (Flamouse singularly) are mouse Animus that possess fearsome Pyrokinetic abilities! These powerful psionic users can summon and manipulate fire with intense power. The problem with the Flamice is when they activate their powers it burns off all their skin, surrounding them in pure psionic flame! The transformation is quite painful and most Flamice are completely crippled when they activate their powers each time. Low level Flamice will be crippled for 1d2 rounds each time they activate their powers. Mid-level only 1 round. High level Flamice recover in a single action.
Animus Security is considered to be the greatest in the multiverse. Their prisons are inescapable, their restraints unbreakable, their defense systems unmatched. It should come as no surprise then that many Animus make great engineers. They also tend to prefer careers in military and policing. By far the Animus make up the largest single group actively defending Elysium 12.
History: The history of the Animus is a bit hard to trace due to their extreme diversity and frankly their utter decimation by the Oblivion. Some claim that the Animus people were the first to ever encounter the Oblivion, with references to Oblivion like instances dating back to their oldest folklore.
But perhaps because of all this, Animus make very enthusiastic historians. (Not only for their own race but other races and the multiverse as a whole!) From their copious notes and writings here is what the Animus believe about their past…
Their earliest histories talk about a time when they were great in number. Some say they were just as populace as the humans in these very ancient times. They also note that they seemed to exist on worlds WITH humans sometimes. Interactions between the two races was mixed but it does seem that on most of these worlds one race would eventually wipe out the other.
Their history is also replete with imagery of UFOs and the Graze. It would seem their ancestor were often collected in great numbers to be part of the Graze many biological experiments. The Graze are the only known other race to have magical energy infused into their DNA. This is because they took this genetic ability from them and infused it into their own DNA. But all of this is something we can talk about another time…
But this constant visitation by the Graze allowed the Animus to do something else. Rebel. The Animus are a strong-willed people and despite the Graze’ vastly superior technology, on many worlds the Animus fought back and won, often capturing (or killing) their Graze captors and their technology! Captured Graze were conscripted into teaching the Animus about their technology, math, and science. Soon the Animus were no longer easy prey and with a still weak multiverse out there the Graze moved on to lower hanging fruit. But the Animus had evolved. They had become spacefaring.
For many many lifetimes they did just this. Despite the ancient tales of the Oblivion in their past it didn’t seem to come up again. Many tales of the Oblivion in their culture seemed to have been lost and soon it was a forgotten phenomenon. Stray stories remained about “killer fogs” consuming cities or moons and such. But they did not encounter the Oblivion again for a very very long time. (It should be noted many Animus still consider fog and even smoke to be “bad luck” and will avoid it when they can.)
Though they were spacefaring now they did not travel far from their home worlds. They instead chose to use this technology to build around their planet. Huge space stations and more. They then moved to moons and eventually other planets near them but as a rule generally never left their own solar systems. But living in space became natural to them, despite having viable home worlds at their feet. Over many more lifetimes it seemed their species PREFERED to live in space exclusively. Multiple generations of Animus were born, lived, and died in space never going to a planets surface. They would instead just visit their home worlds for the raw materials they needed to build bigger and better Space Cities.
Before the start of the First Crush the Animus had begun traveling more in their home universes and galaxies. They were a peaceful people and when they encountered other races they were generally helpful. They took great joy in helping other races, and would protect weaker races they came across if they were being bullied.
Animus loathe killing accept to eat. So, they preferred to use nonlethal force in almost every encounter. But this led to many prisoners being taken. Too many to handle. As such the Animus began building Mega-Jails. These jails would often be the size of cities or even larger. They housed the worst of the worst in each universe and eventually the multiverse. It became common knowledge that if you needed to take a criminal somewhere they couldn’t escape, you took them to an Animus Mega-Jail. (No one wants to go to an A.M.J.)
But another surprise was coming. A terrible surprise. The Oblivion. Somewhere near the time Raine the Older first began documenting the Oblivion, the Animus began to see it in force. In universe after universe the Animus called home the Oblivion came with stunning alacrity. Whole universe wiped out in rapid succession. It is estimated upwards of 90% of the Animus in the multiverse were wiped out during this time.
No one knows why the Oblivion seemed to appear in these universes with such alarming frequency and hunger, but it was the case. Most chalk it up to sheer misfortune. It was so common though that many other races began to harbor a prejudice against the Animus, saying: “Where the Animus go, the Oblivion follows.” Hanging around and Animus was thought to be bad luck. Animus where often shunned and turned away at a time they needed help the most.
There are huge gaps in the Animus history from the proposed start of the first crush to the second crush. It is theorized that this is because most of their population was on the run from the Oblivion during this time!
Presently, as we near the end of The Panic the reputation of the Animus has changed greatly. They are a race that has sprung back from the jaws of extinction. They are considered stalwart protectors and guardians of justice. Without them, Elysium 12 would be lost, and with it most likely the Multiversal Senate. They are the lodestone on which much of what is good in the current multiverse is built. And they are proud to be that foundation.
About the Illustrations: Here we have a cute but deadly Bamboo Warrior and a Flamouse activating his powers!
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