We've been on Clod 9 for a couple of months now and the one thing that seems to pique most folks curiosity are the shambles.
Shambles are sluggish nocturnal creatures that have a very unusual form of ambulation. They move a bit like a slow-motion slinky, stretching their boneless, turret-like bodies forward and toppling over in a repeated arch. Their bodies secrete a sticky substance, called brime, that grips whatever they are moving over and allows them to climb up just about any surface as well.
Brime keeps the shambles well anchored during the severe windstorms that occur almost daily on Clod 9; it also is what they use to adhere to their prey when they attack. Brime creates an instantaneous bond with flesh that is almost impossible to release. Once bonded to it's victim, the shamble will burrow into the muscle-tissue with it's myriad hair-like tendrils. These tendrils resemble tiny, fine-toothed worms that slide easily through the arteries of it's victims until they reach the heart, killing it's victim within seconds of adhesion.
This is of course the reason for the distinctive high boots and wide-brimmed headgear of the citizens of Clod 9. A favorite tactic of the shambles is an attack from underneath a vehicle or to drop from a high perch above a doorway.
Another unpleasant characteristic of the shambles is their propensity to defecate on doorsteps and walkways. Their large odorous droppings are plentiful and most mornings you will find Clodians out hosing down their perimeters. The constant dry winds make watering of plants a necessity as well so this morning ritual usually serves a dual purpose.
Due to their extremely slow pace, shambles are easy to avoid if you are aware of their presence. At night they move in large groups of 7-10 individuals, know as pods. Pods slowly cruise the streets of Clod 9 at night soaking up anything edible they can find.
Shambles are extremely hard to kill. They collapse into themselves forming a hard button of tissue when attacked. This button of compacted cartilage is practically impervious to impact, fire or laceration. Thus the old saying "It is easier to avoid a shamble than to kill one".
Locals of Clod 9 have taken to avoiding the shambles as a kind of a sport. An extremely popular pastime is a drinking game which ends in inebriated Clodians stumbling around the streets at night to find the shelter that a key they've selected at random will unlock. A handful of people are killed playing this game almost every year.
Another way in which shambles are used by the local population is as a punishment for foul-mouthed children. Instead of washing the mouth out with soap, a child on Clod 9 might be forced to chew a strip of shamble jerky. The extremely tough, fibrous meat of these creature takes several minutes to chew into a manageable bite and the awful aftertaste is said to last for hours. I have observed that the children of Clod 9 are given to very polite speech.
I hope this article has answered some of your questions about these unique little beings. Remember that your generous contributions make our research possible. We are certain that 2012 will bring a new year of discovery to and that we are nearing the goal of having Blue Ruins space-worthy once more. If you have any questions about our research or this article, please feel free to comment below.