After his untimely death two decades ago, due to an unfortunate encounter with a belligerent spectral armadillo, myself and a few senior members of the Curious Wildlife Department gathered at his home on Sage Street, in the neighborhood of Braintown (whimsically named due to the large number of the Institutes professors and students who reside there) He lived for many years in a dilapidate carriage house behind Gordon’s Metaphysical Emporium. Our plan was to sort and catalog his research for inclusion in the Institutes archives. Much to our surprise we discovered numerous cages and terrariums housing beasts none of us had ever encountered or even imagined.  We were flummoxed as to how Professor Coggshall had acquired this amazing secret menagerie. After reviewing his papers and formulas we realized that he had, in fact, created most of these creatures through some form of arcane otherworldly animal husbandry.  We were shocked and torn as to what to do. What Professor Coggshall had done was highly unethical and the edicts of the Institute strictly forbade the creation of new organisms real or unreal, but it did explained much of the odd behavior he exhibited towards the end of his life, as prolonged, direct exposure to thaumatalogical wildlife can have detrimental effects on the brain and body.

All us assembled in that damp, shabby carriage house knew that morally we should destroy Coggshall’s zoological collection, but, we couldn’t.  We were men and women of science and parascience, exterminating these creatures was something we could not bring ourselves to do.

We secreted the animals out of Braintown and hid them in the barns and hutches that constitute the Curious Wildlife Department.  There we catalogued them and studied their extraordinary properties. Though we did not encourage breeding, many still survive today.

What we didn’t realize that night was that in our urgency to smuggle out the animals we missed something. Something Coggshall allowed to roam his home unfettered, a curious creatures Coggshall had named the Luminous Avahi.  More than likely the Avahi watched us confused and anxious hidden in some dark recess of the disheveled carriage house as we cleared Professor Coggshall’s experiments and effects. Eventually as food ran out, they ventured out into the streets where they multiplied and lived off human refuse.

How did we miss it?  We where thorough when we gathered Coggshall’s belongings, leaving virtually nothing behind.  Coggshall’s accommodations were not particularly large with very little areas of concealment.  It as if the Avahi was invisible.

Fifteen years ago the residents in the neighborhoods Braintown and nearby Hexton began to notice a new inhabitant, a curious nocturnal rodent-like creature of unremarkable color with large yellow eyes, that, when agitated appeared to glow blue. It roamed the streets and alleys at night, digging in the rubbish, scavenging food and generally making a right mess. When dawn would break the creatures would disappear from the streets and alleys, leaving behind the chaos of their nightly foraging. Over time they moved from the street and sewers into homes, crawling in the rafters, burrowing into cabinets, nesting in the disused attics of the cottages and student boarding houses. Since they were first sighted their numbers have grown and they have been discovered throughout the city, even in the halls and towers of Trench Castle, much to the King’s annoyance.  Nobody, myself included, ever made the connection to Coggshall, until their strange abilities were brought to our attention in the Curious Wildlife department.

Though most residents of Azure City see them as vermin, many have made attempts to domesticate them as they have a certain appealing “cuteness” despite their fondness for rubbish.  Those who have adopted them as pets observed strange behavior concerning the petite primates, which they reported back to us here at the Udenland Institute.

People claimed that during daylight hours the Avahi would vanish, in some secret den, but literally vanish. They would briefly emit a bluish bioluminescence then grow transparent until they were completely invisible.  This certainly explained why we did not discover it the night we empted the carriage house. We reviewed Coggshall papers and did find reference to the Avahi and learned that he had employed some rather dodgy procedures to create it, involving arcane and distressing magic. We were quite surprised that a creature we had quickly dismissed was in fact a complex hybrid of several animals and esoteric magic. 


The Avahi possess many characteristics associated with the species, Lemuroid: a small raccoon-like creature, which lives on the remote island of Vazimba.  Bioluminescence is generally associated with deep-sea creatures, certain insects and dragons. After all these years how Coggshall combined the disparate species is still beyond my understanding. But, the most astounding piece of this puzzle is the invisibility.  The manifestation of invisibility, not some inventive camouflage, but genuine corporal disembodiment, is the most remarkable achievement of Coggshall creation, as it does not occur naturally. Because of this, Coggshall must have used profound enchantments to imbue the Avahi with this trait.  This is the bit that is worrisome since Coggshall resorted to the occult as elements of his embryo biotechniques, the Avahi may contain unstable metaphysical traits.

Though in its current form it appears to be a docile, engaging little beast, it may over time, due to accelerated preternatural factors, evolve into a menacing monstrosity, instilled with feral magic. Since Coggshall’s notes are uncharacteristically vague concerning the Avahi, we cannot know how long it will take or what form these powers may take.  My intention is not to cause panic among the citizens of Azure City, we do not want to see a reckless slaughter of these modest little primates. 

In fact a recent homeowner in the Hexton hired the contemptible Sara Waxpoint and her crew of degenerates to exterminate a nest of Avahi residing in her attic.  The resulting chaos left three buildings in flames and a crater the size of a Troglodynnian Hippopotamus in the middle of Garnet Avenue that has yet to be repaired as of this writing.  This is not a scene we wish to see repeated throughout the city.  Because of the lack of specific scientific detail in the Professor Coggshall's research we cannot be certain anything sinister will happen to Avahi, they may simple continue their meager existence living off our cast offs. Though all signs do seem to indicate some eventual disturbing and twisted manifestation of paranormal energy, we cannot be certain and should not be alarmed.  We should enjoy their amusing antics as they playfully romp alleyways and rooftops of the city. Though, really, the odds are pretty good that they will, at some point, transform into a horrendous, flesh eating, limb pulling, and demons. But, it is important that we not dwell on this possibility, and as I have mention there is a chance, a very small chance, that this may never happen.  I’m sure we will be just fine.
 

Luminous Avahi


Also known as:

Indri

Trash rat

Coggshall’s lament

Henchwoods Guide

One of the most infamous professors ever to teach at the Udenland Institute was Professor Terence Coggshall, a truly singular man. Known throughout the zoological community as great theorist and a complete nut. When I first proposed forming of the Curious Wildlife Department to the board of regents at the Udenland Institute, I had to convince them that I would invite the most respected men and women of the field to teach new approaches toward magical flora and fauna research and classification, creating a program that would be heralded as a leader in innovation within academic circles.  With their blessing I sought out and hired the most gifted thinkers in the field, thus establishing one of the most academically rigorous and intellectually ground breaking departments at the Institute. One of my earliest and most controversial hires was Terence Coggshall.

Terence was well known in the field, particularly for his focus on thaumatalogical properties of mammals. He traveled the world searching for unique breeds, doing extensive research and making copious notes that are still considered indispensible in understanding the fundamentals of organic magic in wildlife. Though his contributions were appreciated, many believed his zealotry towards the subject was misguided. He often made dangerously cavalier pronouncements that human beings were an inferior, parasitic species within the ecological community and that we should treat other species as our equals and distance ourselves from the need to dominate the natural and unnatural world. We may find this obvious now but in the less enlightened early days of the Institute, this sentiment caused anxiety among the Institutes scholars and board members who opposed the hiring, fearing him to be a bit of a radical. I understood that though Terrence’s ideas were extreme, he would be a valuable asset to the facility, plus, I thought he had a wicked sense of humor, the board eventually relented and Coggshall became a important and influential member of the faculty.

For several years his work was exceptional, his research was unorthodox to be sure, but he made such astounding discoveries that it was hard to not see his genius. He was popular with his students and even his fellow professors came to admit that his was a considerable contribution to the department. At some point his behavior began to seem, well, downright bizarre. As his grasp of reality became more distorted his eccentricities became more acute. Often he would be found unwashed and living in the pens and cages of the various creatures housed at the Institute.  So engrossed was he in his research that he would arrive at to his lectures in a state of undress and putrescence, not noticing the retching and hasty exits of his students. I must admit I grew concerned.

 

The scandalous Professor Coggshall

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