Pursuit of eternal life is not encouraged by the sages, for the Blue and Golden Souls must return to the universal cycle for spiritual harmony to be achieved. Attempting to cling too long to the body and the mortal world is considered a grave mistake, as such an endeavour is believed to negate one’s divinity and can pollute the Four Souls beyond redemption. This is not to say, however, that none have tried to pursue immortality. Many have chased such a corrupted dream over the millennia, and it is widely believed that the dreaded Xanthous Fungus is the product of one such experiment.
Where most fungus is an agent of decay, a method by which the Alabaster Soul escapes the corpse, the Xanthous Fungus is an agent of reconstruction and resurrection. The yellow spores germinate in dead flesh and begin to rebuild. They renew life, after a fashion, but the fungus rebuilds in a way no human craftsman could consider harmonious, melding flesh with rot and conducting unlovely improvisations upon the proportions of the body, and the corpse-being that results from the infection is known as a Xanthous Mycomorph. Twisted and deranged, unable either to truly live or truly die, these creatures are highly dangerous and are shunned by all forms of life.
The spores do not need an intact corpse to do their work; even the smallest scrap of dead flesh will suffice. A severed finger is quite enough womb for a small mycomorph to be born from, and the fungus constructs appendages and sensory organs with joyful abandon. Once the creature is ambulatory, it will seek new flesh to grow fat upon, and it has no hesitation about killing in order to obtain this food. The rate of growth, if the being can access a large supply of cadavers, can be truly staggering. A mycomorph can grow to the size of a small bear utilising the raw material provided by one human corpse, and Xanthous Fungus creatures have been recorded that were larger than an adult sandworm.
The larger the mycomorph grows, however, the slower it seems to think, for the creature’s neural pathways are distributed throughout its body. While small mycomorphs are quick to react to stimuli and can pursue and hunt prey over long distances, when the creature grows larger than a bear, it becomes sluggish and dull-witted, eventually losing the will to move altogether. Truly gigantic mycomorphs are entirely static, and no longer seem to notice living creatures.
In battle these beings are formidable, seeking to choke their prey with gouts of spores while lashing them with acid-coated tendrils and crushing them beneath their fungal bulk. Their regenerative capabilities are high, and they will reconstruct themselves if not finished off with flames or corrosive chemicals. Mycomorphs are blind, but are highly sensitive to sound and vibrations, and so are difficult to surprise.