Filthy, flatulent and spineless, this slow moving, offal-eating and shallow-minded creature perceives itself as all knowing, all powerful and magnificently beautiful, a perception it can spread to other sapient beings through the infectious cells it constantly sheds in a miasma of fine dandruff. Victims become easily transfixed by the bird's luminous snood, and highly susceptible to suggestion by its mental broadcast, convincing the infected that Pride is not only the most supreme and perfect of all entities but that they can share in its greatness if they only cater to its every whim. Unfortunately, the infection rapidly deteriorates the mind and body, causing a pestilent rash and plummeting mental faculties until the victim wastes away and expires.
Except for its powerful beak and a rudimentary spine, a Pride's entire body is extremely soft and elastic, allowing it to stretch into a nearly wormlike shape or contract into a tight ball. When excited, it sweats a sulphuric mush resembling curdled milk, which it enjoys as a seasoning on such meals as fresh dung, spoiled entrails and molded fruit. Its incessant singing has been compared to the sound of bagpipes in a garbage compactor.
The Devilbird of Pride exists in a state of perpetual happiness, deeply pleased that it exists at all. Its survival is highly dependent upon its vassals, as a Pride does not typically believe it can be killed until the moment it has been mortally wounded. Even then, its final thoughts are usually a smug satisfaction that nothing in this or any universe, as far as it is concerned, will ever approach its majesty ever again.
As long as a Pride is already feeling pampered, it sees no need to rely on infection, and can eventually develop a trust or even affection for comrades who at least appear to respect it of their own volition. It will even gladly follow orders if convinced that it came up with them first, which it is already strongly inclined to believe by default. With the proper care, it can make a devastating bioweapon and lifelong ally.
PRIDE INFECTION: organisms inhaling the Pride's ambient skin cells are vulnerable to its telepathic enslavement, during which they physically deteriorate.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik