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Some protean-blooded can create imps. These little creatures can help analyze ailments that would be too dangerous to bring into a protean's own body, but are used only when a doctor's knowledge and tests have failed, since they sometimes die in the experiment. Imps are valued as assistants, guardians, and companions. Less principled masters have also trained them as spies, thieves, and assassins.

Creating an imp takes about a week, depending on the maker's familiarity with the process. To begin, the protean gorges on raw meat, viscera, powdered bones; all parts of an animal are needed. This gory feast is coupled with several potent herbal concoctions.

Following a long rest, the protean begins carefully weaving strands of their extruded blood into a tiny humanoid shape. This is an exhausting process which cannot be interrupted or the nascent creature quickly withers. After several sleepless days, the last life-sustaining veins are severed, and, if they have crafted well, the new imp gasps awake. Very few command more than one or two imps since their creation is so grueling.

  • Generally, imps look like tiny, spindly, pot-bellied versions of their creator, only a foot or so high and genderless. Some proteans can give their imps other features.
  • Imps are usually about as intelligent as a small monkey. They a have human voice, but very little capacity for speech, seldom knowing more than four or five words.
  • Most imps have a naturally submissive and sleepy demeanor. One trained young at a task adapts to it keenly.
  • An imp shares its creator's healthy constitution. If research doesn't kill it, it will usually live between ten and fifteen years.
  • Most imps can store and deliver blood, medicine, and toxins administered by a protean. A few can generate their own doses, given a proper diet.
  • A creator has no special link to his imp, but the creature tends to regard him favorably. Some creators can exert more direct control by extruding a thin strand of blood and attaching it to the imp's neck.

Rogue imps are rare but troublesome. While not usually outright malicious, they eat quantities of food disproportionate to their size, and often resort to raiding larders and coops. Their strange appearance, potentially toxic qualities, and occasional meeping speech can haunt a region. Sometimes, a rogue will "adopt" a family or village, serving as a lookout and healer in exchange for food and shelter.