Cracklings of Whazzit

Created by Marri

Singular: Crackling
Plural: Cracklings
Group: Fizzle of Cracklings

General Info: Cracklings aren't so much creatures as they are light. Some weird convolution of the PIF is almost certainly involved. Perhaps a nova was sucked into the PIF and decided it wanted a personality. Perhaps something exploded and decided ooh, let's attach to a humanoid. No one really knows. It's one of your 'Oh, the PIF did it' species. Not uncommon, not at Whazzit anyway. Cracklings move around by floating in patches — they are not balls of light, exactly, but more a collection of sparks. Now, imagine said sparks constantly following you. That's a Crackling. Those who've seen fireworks will be strongly reminded of the pretty explosions.

The more spread out a Crackling is, the better off you are. Spread out sparks imply relaxation or humor. Tightly clustered sparks mean fear, anxiety, or annoyance — in which case, cover your ears because they're about to EXPLODE! *boom!* like that. Sparks, being sparks, are about your normal size of spark — maybe a millimeter across? Two? Doesn't matter. Point of light bobbing in midair = spark. Length, big deal. In terms of intelligence, Cracklings are surprisingly so. They communicate (see below) and are extremely loyal to their chosen Bonded. They are not capable of more than basic emotions, but whatever they do feel is all consuming, and will take up all their emotional energy at once. So one emotion at once. Cracklings can be moved (sort of) by walking directly at them. If it is someone they trust, they will simply move away in the direction the person is walking. If they dislike you or don't know you… *boom!* Cracklings only seem to appear at large, rambunctious parties, however. Maybe they're party animals. Maybe they just like the noise. After all, they get to contribute. *boom!*

Personalities come in a wide range, but by and large a Crackling will either be a people person… Crackling… whatever, or very shy. As creatures of light, Cracklings prefer light — sunlight is best, though artificial will do — and can only stand darkness for up to about three or four hours. After that, they start to sulk, and a Bonded who leaves their Crackling in too much darkness can expect it go wild. Wild Cracklings are common, but hard to find, and live mostly on the open plains where there is little shade. Meep. Shade, what an unfortunate thing. Cracklings give off a colorful glow, though not enough to light a whole room, and are not at all warm. Unless they blow up. *boom!*

Emotion Guide:
High-pitched keen: Mating cry or a parent Crackling's signal of disapproval of a potential Bonded
Deep, low buzz: Sign of bonding
One large explosion/boom: Anger or hate (tinted red)
Large/small alternating booms: Anxiety, anxiousness
Multiple tiny explosions in rapid succession: Sorrow or crying (tinted blue), happiness or laughter (tinted yellow)
Tiny explosions, spaced out: Hunger, exhaustion, indication of want
Multiple midsized explosions, accompanied by fast zooming around their Bonded: protectiveness or jealousy (tinted green)
Spreading out: Calm emotions (happiness, contentment, sleepiness)
Clustering: Excited emotions (anger, rage, anxiety, fear, sometimes hyperactivity)

Mating Info: For some obscure, PIF-induced reason no one can comprehend, Cracklings will only mate in the presence of a party. At such a party, a female Crackling will start emitting a shrill whistle, probably deafening everyone in the near vicinity, and rise up to hover maybe 500-1000 feet above the ground. She will pulse brilliantly in her color (whatever that is) and even at her dullest will be about twice her normal brightness. Far more spread out than usual, her sparks will continue their pattern until male Cracklings come to join her. They will imitate her antics until she decides enough males have arrived, at which time she will cease to pulse and keen (but still glow) and will simply hover, waiting. At this point the males have to impress her. They will put on aerial displays, a light show if you will — weaving patterns, mini explosions, expanding and contracting and twisting into weird forms. They're sparks. They're flexible. When the female reaches a decision, she will mingle her sparks with the male of her choice until their sparks are dispersed almost evenly, then both expand rapidly with a deafening *BOOM!* Think fireworks. Definitely, emphatically think fireworks. Because, ah yes, they're live fireworks. They will continue to explode for about ten minutes, then they will contract back into their usual glob of hovering sparks — but extra little globs of sparks will be ready and waiting to go find a Bonded. <3

Bonding Info: Young Cracklings (Crackles) are very picky. And very close to their party-mates. The entire group of Crackles will typically stick together in one large group of spark-globs, though they can move around freely if they so choose. The parents watch closely as humanoids approach to examine their children, warning off anyone unacceptable with their high-pitched keen. Crackles are attracted to light (whoever said opposites attract?) so bright colored clothing and light sources — flashlights, candles, glowbaskets, whatever — are highly recommended. Some Crackles prefer their own color, some prefer opposites, but it all depends on the Crackle. When a Crackle sees possible Bondeds, it will bob away from its party-mates to examine the offerings. When it makes up its mind, it will buzz softly, very very low, and then it will follow that person around for the rest of the night. And for the rest of its life, of course.

Ranks

Both male and female look the same; females favor warmer colors (red, orange, yellow) while males usually appear in cool colors (blue, green, purple). There are no visible differences between genders other than the colors, and sometimes even then it is difficult.
3 PSP