Species Entry: Evil Shapeshifter
An Evil Shapeshifter is one of the many kinds of shapeshifters who appeared during the Shadow Wars, between the Great Technological War and the Deunification of Earth, circa 3874 AD. They are one of the most humanlike shadow beings from this era, which almost spelled certain doom for the Shining Human Alliance, causing many nations to be ravaged by their enemies, the Shadow Beasts.
Evil Shapeshifter is, of course, just a rough translation of their actual names in their vile native language. It's actually pronounced something along the lines of "Tsthskhsss tz ssfpsth" (as, it has been discovered, most species of Shadow Beasts and their allies lack the ability to form vowel sounds, owing to the distinct lack of pulmonary function) or, as a more scholarly translation from the Latin says, "Shadowed Traitor." Some scholars hypothesize that Evil Shapeshifters have evolved to actually feel some semblance of human feeling and thought - however, this is unproven and highly controversial. The accepted theory is that they only feel the basest of thought and desire - hunger, pain, etc. - and everything beyond that is merely a mimicry (much like a parrot) in order to draw closer to their prey, us humans. To this day, it is unknown what happened to them following the Shadow Wars - it is assumed they fled from the Shadowy Armies and began masquerading themselves as humans, waiting for the right moments to attack good and righteousness and light everywhere the might be. Every few years, a crazed farmer or a nearly-dead traveler tells tories of how they met one out late at night and barely escaped with their life.
Their appearance is as fluid as water, but it is always humanlike. They can change their own body to look however they wish it to be. Exactly how they do this is unconfirmed, but some old research notes from hundreds of years ago may give us some clues: It was written that they can grow bony spikes at will, reshape or recolor their skin, produce deadly amounts of electricity, secrete poisons and flammable gases from their glands, and even quickly regrow removed vitals. From experimental data, it appears only exhaustion can prevent them from fully utilizing their powers to escape capture. Records also suggest high levels of pain or stress - or, alternatively, a removal of their unnaturally high levels of Natural Chaotic Energy (NCE) - cause them to mutate uncontrollably. The reason for this is unknown, but other lab studies may shed some light on this mystery.
Some blood and DNA analysis was difficult due to the samples quickly mutating beyond study. However, it was shown that their blood contains several unknown proteins which can rapidly alter any exposed strands of DNA and other proteins. However, this does not explain how they can control these random mutations - which is why I, Lucas Q. Vilca, legendary explorer and wordsmith, hypothesize how they work: I believe, based on evidence I have uncovered, that their large amounts of NCE (known by the vulgar folk as the common word "magic") which courses through their veins controls and dictates which cells and proteins to mutate, giving them immense control over their beastly bodies.
If you are ever to meet an Obumbrata Proditorem, or Evil Shapeshifter, remember this: They are incredibly deceptive. At a moment's glance, they will betray and devour you. If you suspect that you met one, do not trust it. Do not turn your back on it. Kill it as soon as you can.
Thank you once again for listening to Lucas Q. Vilca's radio edition of A-Z Deadly Monsters. Thank you, and remember to tune in next week for the legendary Ewarkii.