And Then There Were Monsters Scene 14 – Sinhearts

Sinhearts

Also known as dire men (due to the thankfully disproven assumption that they are human men who have “gone dire”), sinhearts are one of the most dangerous and intelligent monsters we have faced in the village. They are aggressive, physically powerful, use tactics and weapons, and hunt in packs of three to ten minimum, with hordes reaching as many as a hundred.

On first glance, a sinheart looks close enough to human to be mistaken for some forgotten race of man. But what appears to be simply dark skin, like the men of black Africa far to the south, quickly becomes apparent as actually black like night. They also usually have discolored splotches across their entire bodies, which make them look diseased. If they are sick with some inhuman illness, however, they are certainly not any weaker for it.

Once one notices the odd skin color (which is easy to see, since sinhearts always go bare-chested), the rest resolves itself quite quickly. They have large ears like a bat, six fingers and toes on each hand and foot, rows and rows of triangular teeth like a shark, and surprisingly human eyes. They always begin combat with a loud, howling war-cry, both to signal others of their kind and to knock their enemy off balance.

The first thing to keep in mind about a sinheart is that they are smarter than they look. They are not intelligent enough to build their own tools, but they are spawned with dangerous swords or axes of an incredibly strong material we call “dire steel,” and they know how to use these weapons to deadly efficiency. They also use tactics, making good use of cover and the environment to corner their prey.

Sinhearts always travel in packs, but it is important to note that they do not fight well alone. As far as we can tell, there is nothing mystical about this; they simply lose their morale if they are not in a group, and become more cautious, as well as prone to mistakes. That does not mean they are harmless, however. A single sinheart can easily kill an entire squad of unprepared soldiers. In packs, they are even more dangerous, being significantly more aggressive and intelligent.

Which brings us to the next point: Their hides, and their blades.

A sinheart’s hide is tougher than leather armor, and can turn a mundane steel blade if there is not enough force behind the blow. If you must use an inferior weapon, it is recommended you use their own weight against them. Try and trip them up and make them fall on your weapon. You will find this far easier than trying to force through their skin with your own brute strength.

Their own blades, however, should not be underestimated under any circumstances. They are sharp as a razor and never seem to dull, no matter what they cut through. If you are wearing mundane armor and have time to prepare for a sinheart fight, it is recommended you strip the armor off. Fight naked if you have to. Their sinblades will cut through the metal and leather like cheese, and the weight will only slow you down.

As implied above, sinhearts do have one notable weakness: Weight. While they have the strength to remain fast as lightning regardless, the fact remains that the average sinheart weighs quite a bit more than three hundred pounds, with approximately three-fifty being most common, and four hundred not being unheard of.

Therefore, sinhearts cannot swim, as they are simply too dense. Jumping into a body of water might throw off pursuit long enough to think of a better plan, and dead falls work quite well against them, especially when sharp spikes are put at the bottom of the pit.

They also cannot resist a good fight, either against a strong opponent, or simply chasing someone fleeing. Therefore, if you find yourself facing a sinheart, it is recommended not to pick up a weapon unless you are confident in your abilities. Instead, stay still and unarmed. With luck, the sinhearts will abandon you for more interesting prey. Needless to say, this works better if said more interesting prey is within eyesight.

Last but not least is the matter of Dire Abbey. The Abbey of Saint George was the first place attacked by the sinhearts, and the beasts quickly wiped out the pacifist monks who dwelt there. The monsters have made the place their home and fortress, with newly spawned sinhearts migrating to the hilltop almost by instinct.

The abbey is now a fortress, with high stone walls and strong dire steel gates. Sinheart archers patrol the walls with keen eyes, and no one has ever managed to get inside and return. From there, the dire men launch raids, mostly on Grandsbriar to their west, but also farther ranging in the other directions. I fear there are a number of other small villages which may have been destroyed because we were not strong enough to unseat some squatters.

Cleansing Dire Abbey remains one of our top priorities, but the fact remains that we have had little success with doing so. For now, all we can do is recommend that travelers avoid the area at all costs. At least the monsters are not intelligent enough to knock down our warning signs, posted on the roads.

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