Among the monsters that have entered our world from the Shadow World, the vandals rate among one of the most brutal and aggressive. Of course, this leads to the perception of them as evil monsters – a common reaction to the supernatural races. Harbingers are natural born hunters. Brutes live by strength. Devil-beasts… Well, okay, they are pretty bad in both action and intent. Vandals, however, are not as singularly cruel as many humans would insist upon. They are fighters, conquerors, adapters. A strong rival to the ambitions of super-soldiers and cyborgs, not least due to their large numbers. Vandal hordes have plagued the world for some time.
Vandals have some similarities with brutes – physical power is admired, bravery in combat is demanded – but they are not the same. Vandals are more intelligent. They have learned the ways of humans and mutants, and so are often found using their weapons. They still prefer melee weapons, especially bludgeons, but guns are just too damn good at killing not to be admired. While brutes care about how a fight is won, that the combatants must face each other and win by strength alone, vandals care only about the result. Winning by cunning is just as worthy as by skill or force.
The vandals are also quite egalitarian. While females are the ones who give birth, they are required to fight and work along with anyone else unless incapable. Parenting is not a responsibility of individuals. All young are the property of the horde. Fathers and mothers are only such in a biological sense, and rarely does this matter at all. The young among a horde are raised together, taught the same lessons their elders were raised on, trained to produce strong fighters and clever leaders, regardless of gender. Siblings have a tendency to remain close, either in support or rivalry, but rarely are there lines of succession. Everyone can succeed. If they truly want to.
A feature of the young that vandals prefer to keep quiet is that they are born with soft skin. Adult vandals have green, tough, leathery skin, layering their stocky frames, with solid horns jutting from such places as knees, elbows, shoulders and foreheads. This means they are among the toughest warriors to face. But their young have to grow and develop this skin. Some think this could be why they relish their own resilience when full grown. As children, they have to be protected and nurtured, if in a harsh fashion. Once matured, they have little to fear. Most poisons are like spices to them. They can chew even wood with their wide, solid teeth, and also digest it. Vandals can cross all kinds of terrain, endure all sorts of weather, and survive most hardships.
Not all vandals live in the traditional hordes, though. Many have adapted fully, settling in places like Trade Island, where their natural benefits make them easy hires as mercenaries and bodyguards. Many move across Europe in small bands, sometimes mixed ones, either raiding settlements or offering their services to those who need a strong force. Wherever there is conflict or gain to be had by the ability to kill others, vandals can be found. Often these vandals are more worldly than the common type. Knowledge is a weapon, after all. But their natural ruthlessness and their enduring physiques mean that anywhere, any time, vandals are feared and respected as destructive creatures.
Their name has been well earned.