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Something moved in the darkness ahead - a rustle, the crack of a twig… and then a quavering voice in the night:
"Hello … is someone there?"
Andros swung the lantern around, doing little but make the shadows dance.
"Hello" shouted Gyb and the voice came back again
"Hello?" And something like a large dog crept into the edge of the circle of light. Then a voice behind me said:
"what the fuck is that?" and with an icy chill I realised that it hadn't come from one of us. One by one a whole pack of the things appeared from the shadows. And they all began to speak at once.
"Va te faire foutre, il y en a des dizaines. Hvad fanden er de? Are they talking? Atlak nar alih! atlak nar alih besraa!" There was a brief pause.
"Daddy, I'm scared" remarked one, to which another then replied "stand behind me baby, and close your eyes".
And then all hell broke loose.

Basic Information

The crocotta (also corocotta, crocuta, or leucrocotta) is a legendary animal thought to be derived from distorted accounts of the hyena. It is variously described as being a hybrid of lion and wolf, or other such interspecies pairings, but its most singular attributes were said to be the fact that it had, in place of teeth, a continuous ridge of sharp bone and that it could perfectly mimic the voices of people (and sometimes other animals). The legends also emphasised its cunning (although they were unsure of its intelligence) and its strength and ferocity. Medieval bestiarists also added the idea that the eyes of a leucrocotta were in fact a gemstone that could grant prophetic powers when placed under the tongue1.

The alzabo - from Gene Wolf's Shadow of the Torturer cycle has similar abilities of mimicry, but is specifically called out as adsorbing them from human prey.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Somewhat predictably this thing has made it into various RPGs.
  • Great for some serious horror if the - non sapient - crocotta, spend their time mimicking the words of those they have previously killed.
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