by Dave Allsop[Ed’s note – a little taster of what to expect in the new Book of Unremitting Horror – the Ocean Game]
The Phantom Birds bear a strong resemblance to Earth’s Marabou Storks – spindly, ugly, carrion creatures with bald, scab-encrusted heads.
Phantom Birds tend to be much larger though, possessing all too human eyes, and the ability to talk. When found in Briny Heaven they are crowned with rusty metal halos.
The appearance or arrival of Phantom Birds is regarded as prophetic; it can mean that the Mystery Man is nearby, or that characters are approaching a region that has a strong Outer Black influence (like the Outskirts).
The purpose of the Phantom Birds as yet remains unclear. In Trenker’s diary he refers them as the ‘angels of Briny Heaven’, but he also refers to other nonhuman entities as angels too. It is possible that these avian monsters are mutated Ocean Game players. Perhaps they failed the Mystery Man in some way, or are have simply morphed into these forms after too much exposure to the Outer Black.
Phantom Birds are most commonly associated with ‘Monkey’ players as they are attracted to horror, extreme violence, and bloodshed; when their scalps bleed profusely it is an indication of their arousal.
Phantom Birds often gather on the verges of murder scenes to copulate.
Phantom Birds are rarely, if ever witnessed by ordinary people, even when they gather in large flocks.
Verbally, Phantom Birds are mostly unresponsive. They tend to dislike humans but will exchange information, trade spells and secrets for carrion, or the gory details of a crime scene they’re attending. Deals with Phantom Birds usually come to grief.
High-ranking Sallow occasionally members have a guest Phantom Bird living somewhere on their property.