The Great Beasts are powerful creatures that are the result of natural magic as opposed to mutation through Bacteria Z.
At one time the entities which CLEA now refers to as the Great Beasts were largely through to be creatures of fiction and myth. The initial dismissal of the existence of these powerful animals came from a time before the agency had become aware that magic was real. Even now many in the agency do not believe in magic.
When the Great Beasts were first sighted in “modern” times the agency concluded that these unusually powerful creatures where simply the emergence of new Species Beta hybrids. As the last reported “story” of any large creature that could be considered a Great Beast had been in the early nineteenth century, confusing them with Species beta was an easy assumption to make since their reappearance started with marine creatures which coincided with the appearance of animals such as Deep Blue.
Only in recent times after gaining magical allies such as the MI5 team and other sources has the agency found that there is a difference between large Species Beta hybrids and the Great Beasts, the one thing that separates both groups being that the latter are infused with magic. Much of the data though is open to speculation and none of it can be proved or even disproved.
The Great Beasts are divided into two subgroups
- Legendary Beasts – are the types of creature that have chosen to either ignore or work alongside humans. Despite the fact that most are predators they do not consider humans prey.
- Darklings – are a type of Great Beast that are highly aggressive in nature. The sole drive is for power over their brethren and will eliminate their own kind to attain that power.
There are many possible hypothesis from where the Great Beasts originated. One theory is that they came from a parallel universe whilst the most popular one is that they evolved on our Earth. Whatever the source of their creation they have never appeared at any one time in great number and have been around for thousands of years.
Since Demon’s control dark magic and come from the Dark Realm, and Angels control light magic and come from the Light realm and together they create balance, it is believed that the Great Beasts were “born” in the mortal realm as a natural form of balance. Since most Great Beasts are Apex predators this would fit the theory.
Whatever their origin, it is believed that throughout history the Great Beasts like most predators in the animal kingdom regularly competed with each other. If they entered each other’s territory then conflict would often ensure.When they first encountered humans the Great Beasts generally ignored them, considering mankind insignificant but as centuries past and man evolved they were forced to see that whilst humans were small they had great potential and could be both an ally and a threat.
Where the Great Beasts lived in harmony with each other, in places such as Asia they formed a positive association with humans. Here people actually revered and respected the Great Beasts. Though they had no interest in being worshipped it allowed both of their races to live peacefully. For descriptive purposes they are known as the Legendary Beasts.
The same though could not be said in the west where the Great Beasts were often in conflict with each other. Powerful and aggressive and desiring power over their brethren, these creatures became known as the Darklings to the Legendary Beasts. Humans often became collateral damage with their territorial clashes. Sometimes the more intelligent Darklings would use humans as pawns against enemies that showed no desire to harm mankind. Likewise powerful mages found they could control Darklings and Legendary Beats alike through use of magic and force them to do their bidding, in effect returning the favour. The outcome of all the death and using each other saw most people in the west consider all the Great Beasts to be feared.
This led to the many legendary stories of Knights killing dragons as they eliminated what mankind saw as unwanted menaces. In time even the most hardened of the Great Beasts realised that as technology improved they were becoming endangered. Though most of the Darklings had either killed each other or been killed by humans, the damage caused by them had led humans to target the entire race regardless of whether they were altruistic or not.
In bid to save their race from being destroyed by mankind the Legendary Beast and Darklings decided on establishing a truce with each other. Since humans were the great threat the only option they had was to go into hiding, sleeping, until such time that the threat had passed. However for the truce to work it meant all of their kind, needed to act as one. None of them could remain awake. This was the stipulation of the few remaining Darklings who still had a penchant for violence and conquest and feared a rival might take advantage of a situation and kill them in their sleep.
Until they awakened Great Beasts were still periodically seen, mainly small ones, after their hiding places were disturbed but on each occasion had chosen to return to their slumber, hence no sightings of unexplained creatures after the early 20th century.
For a long time many people considered that when the Great Beasts had decided to sleep until the threat from humanity has passed, by waiting until humans had wiped themselves out and at that point they would awaken and reclaim the Earth. Recent data concerning the Taniwha suggests an alternative theory, and that is the Great Beasts chose to slumber until humans became enlightened at which point they would no longer be a threat to their kind. Once that time arrived then they would be prepared to work with humans to deal with threats common to both races.
This hypothesis might explain the very rare instances of some Great Beasts “disguising” themselves as humans, acting as watchers. Without them observing humans the others of their race might not know when it was safe to awake. By the same token a Darkling “watcher” might have similar motives but only for waking his/her allies.
Since the Great Beasts all possess magic to a greater or lesser extent each of them seems to have special abilities that makes them more formidable than just their size and strength alone. Though each creature is unique they all have similar abilities in common brought about through their alignment with natural magic and these include:
- Longevity – if it were not for mankind killing them they would be near immortal
- Stealth/Camouflage – depending on the Great Beast each of them has a means to remain hidden. For some this is invisibility whilst for others they can blend into the natural environment.
- Magical Detection – they have the means to “sense” the presence of other Great Beasts by their ability to detect the “special” magic they all share. This ability seems to be passive in operation.
- Magical transformation. A few Great Beasts are now known to be able to shift form to resemble humans. In such a disguise they lose many of their “unique” attributes but would appear stronger and more resiliant to damage than ordinary humans. The amount of effort it takes to shift form would seem to use great amounts of energy so unlike animal hybrids than can quickly change between forms and back again, Great Beasts able to shape shift lack that rapid transformation and remain stuck in a changed form for some time. This might explain why they would often “wear” their human guise until a threat becomes life threatening and they need to adopt a more powerful form.
The first of the large creatures that CLEA has identified as not being species beta and as being Great Beasts are a group known as the Leviathans. It is believed that during the first Merlateenan incursion their presence was detected by the Leviathans. Despite being thousands of miles from where the Merlateenan had chosen to establish their foot hold, natural instincts of the giant underwater creatures kicked in.
Unlike other Great Beasts on land, the Leviathans were far less easily disturbed than their land counterparts due to the limitations of the environment. Having less encounters with mankind meant that they were not used to “detecting” a possible threat which was why they were awakened despite being nowhere near the alien invaders.
Upon being awakened the Leviathans all detected the presence of magic in the water, the Taniwha. Since each member of the Taniwha was an Avatar, being creatures who possessed magic, the Leviathans were drawn to them. After the Taniwha were able to prove that they were not responsible for disturbing them the Leviathans were happy to find a new place to return to sleep. The vigilante team though persuaded them to help against the alien threat.
Unfortunately the activity of the Leviathans triggered an awakening of other Great Beasts. Since they had agreed to awaken together it would seem that the Darklings were not happy with the actions of the Leviathans. Since few of the Legendary Beasts had been roused from their sleep , rather than demand that the Leviathans return to their places of hiding, the Darklings have tried to take advantage of the lack of competition and return to their goals of claiming power. In the modern world rather than fear mankind’s technology they have chosen to obtain technology of their own by allying themselves with “evil” human factions.