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Dan has to deal with some pretty nasty stuff at work...here are a few of the nicer creatures he has the pleasure of frequently interacting with.

Night Terror (ugly horned due at the top)- Night Terrors are related to Phantasms in that same way that monkeys are related to humans. If ever you need to insult a bogeyman, compare him to a night terror and you will have done your job admirably. Night terrors are dirty, rude, and absolutely foul smelling. (Even though humans cannot pick up their stench, a phantasm can smell one from 500 yards off.) They can be adequately described as under-evolved phantasms, and serve much the same purpose as their more civilized bretheren in the dream realm. It is their purpose to scare humans, but they carry out their job with a sort of crude efficiency. Unlike phantasms, who are careful and organized in their efforts, night terrors lash out at their victims whenever the fancy strikes, leaving racing pulses and cold sweat in their wake. They are not very bright, and speak in grumbling, often unintelligible pig-latin. That they have picked up any language at all is miraculous, as they really are no more intelligent than howler monkeys.

Phantasms often run into trouble with these fellows, as night terrors are extremley territorial, and are difficult to drive away from a human home once they have settled in. Even though they would love to convince you otherwise, bogeymen don't drive away other monsters away from humans purely out of the goodness of their own hearts. There are lots of phantasms who need to sustain themselves on the fear of human children, and they really don't like competing with other beasts from the dream realm. They dislike night terrors as much as humans hate rats, and constantly find themselves in battle after battle with them.

Luckily, night terrors are easy to defeat. Drench them in a glass of warm milk and they'll beat a hasty retreat. (They think it's disgusting.)

Carrion Alaunt (the nasty mutt on the bottom left)- Carrion alaunts can be found anywhere where there has been violence or bloodshed. They feed off of pain and terror, and are often found chasing ambulances or lurking around morgues. In the past, they used to be found all over the human realm, but now they tend to live in cities where the crime rate is high. Humans can't see them very well, and often mistake them for oddly-shaped shadows. More observant humans see them as emaciated strays.

Although carrion alaunts cannot physically harm humans, they can deal out great amounts of emotional damage. Alaunts often prey upon victims of crimes for weeks after the crime first took place, and can drive the weak-willed into a state of deep depression. Unlike humans, phantasms can be torn to bits by by an angry alaunt, and most of the regular bogeymen stay far away from them. The hounds generally don't attack other supernatural creatures unless provoked, but they can be absolutely merciless if driven to attack. Ocasionally, alaunts will amass at the scene of a major accident, and then it is up to the Figment Law Department to deal with them. Since they are such vicious, intelligent pack animals, they should never be taken on alone. (Unless you're feeling brave...or stupid.)

Lesser Jabberwock (dragon...thing)- Jabberwocks generally don't stray out of the dream realm, and they have become increasingly rare as Fae and Greymalkin poachers have hunted them to a state of near extinction. Although they are not capable of true speech, they're very good at mimicking, and can repeat phrases much like a parrot. They used to be kept as pets by the richer, city-dwelling Fae until it was realized that they like to eat children. Kind of an oversight there. Some exotic pet fanciers still keep them, though, as stupid as it sounds. Jabberwocks are huge, and need a whole lot of space. When you live in a city setting, those sort of needs are difficult to accomodate.

Occasionally, Dan has to chase down an escaped pet before it chomps on somebody's kid. He doesn't like them very much. Whenever jabberwocks mimic his voice, they have the tendency to exaggerate his southern accent in a very unflattering way. Some people think their mimicry is cute....Dan finds it less than endearing.

Lesser Eastern Gryphon (chicken thing on the right)- Humans have long portrayed gryphons as noble, intelligent creatures in their mythology. Phantasms know better. Gryphons are malicious, cruel beats who care nothing for the feelings of the other denziens of the dream realm. Although it is true that they are extremely intelligent, it is a rare gryphon that will share his hoarded knowledge with the rest of the world. Gryphons are large predators, and usually prey upon deer, oxen and unicorns, nevermind the fact that the latter are sensitive, sentient creatures.

Gryphons (thankfully) keep to themselves most of the time, but since the Faes have started hunting big game for sport in the eastern forests, some gryphons have been forced to move out of their usual ranges. This is not a good thing. Farmers don't like it when ferocious beats with thirty-foot wingspans swoop down to steal their prize milk cows, and so they call on either the Crimson Guard or Figment Legal Department for aid. The phantasms who work in the legal department wish that the faes would take care of their own problems and not bother them, but...well...it's not as if they have much choice in the matter. Generally when there's a rampaging gryphon on the loose, it needs to be taken care of quickly and quietly. Otherwise, the animal rights activists will go wild, and the press in Crimson City (goverment center of the dream realm) will have a field day. Gryphon-rights activists go absolutely bonkers whenever one of their precious beasts is felled by an arrow or blade, since (in their view) gryphons are wise, intelligent beats that deserve the full protection under the law...you know, trial by jury, Miranda rights and all that jazz. Of course, most of these animal rights activists have never met a gryphon face to face. If they had, they'd realize that gryphons don't really give two shits about the laws other creatures have laid out. If you tried reading a rampaging gryphon its rights, it'd probably eat your face.

Dan has dealt with three such gryphons in his career, and thankfully, he managed to convince two of them to cut out the cow-killing with some clever rhetoric. As for the third gryphon, he told Dan to 'stop with the fancy words and go to hell', which wasn't really the effect he was going for. The fight that ensued left Dan with some memories that he wishes he could repress, but at least he managed to survive it without losing any eyes or limbs. Being stuffed halfway down an animal's throat is not a pleasant experience, especially when it has a razor-sharp beak and a set of gleaming, bacteria-ridden fangs. Luckily he managed to kick off one of his shoes, which the gryphon proceeded to choke on. Afterward, Dan decided that he was just going to have to spring for a new pair of wingtips...there was no way he was going to try to retrieve that shoe.

(12-30-05: Pen and ink, about an hour and a half.)
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