Lifespan: Immortal Height: 6'00"-10'00" Diet: Affection Sex: Sexless Type: Non-Pony
Zlimi are a race boasting a unique body composition of malleable slime and a core filled out of liquid Magninium. Though somewhat rare, they are well-documented and well-known, often appearing as speakers, activists, actors, hosts, and comedians, discussing candidly their race's most integral need: a steady, healthy stream of validation. Lacking a need for food and drink, Zlimi instead subsist by converting validation towards them into raw Magninium, which accumulates in their core and provides an ample source of magic and nourishment. As such, they've taken it upon themselves to become public faces - seeking the widest, most consistent supply that they can, through any means possible.
Despite being a core-bound race, Zlimi do not have a relationship with their core the way Kirin and wisp ponies do, where it is seen as something separate from the mind and body but beloved. Rather, Zlimi consider their core to be more akin to an organ, storing the entirety of themselves. They are protective of it, aware that letting others handle it could result in injury or death, and dedicate much of their lives to keeping it full of Magninium.
Many feel that they are between Beauts' perception of being "Magninium and flesh as one and the same" and other races' "Magninium and flesh as two unified halves", as their bodies are perfect shapeshifters like Beauts', but they are capable of casting magic in addition, unlike Beauts. There is also a degree of separation in that Zlimi cannot alter their body's texture, hardness, or color, while Beauts can.
A Zlimi's core is made out of a material that resembles glass and is filled with liquid magic, though it is resistant to shattering. Most cores are about the size of a closed fist or slightly larger. Each Zlimi's core is generally a unique 3D shape of some sort, and features faces like a cut gemstone. Where two halves of the core meet, there is an invisible seam - a hinge of sorts, where the core can be opened from. When opened, the magic inside will smoothly split between the two halves, so that none spills. However, if tipped over or tilted after opening, the magic can spill out - meaning that many Zlimi are not remiss to allow others to handle their core.
When removed from the body, a Zlimi must take care to keep within about fifty feet of their core's location or risk headaches, nausea, lightheadedness, fainting, and eventually death. Many keep their cores in a secure part of their slime, though typically not in the chest. They are able to move it around inside of themselves like any object stored in their body, and will often move it around to keep it well out of reach of other people.
This is due to the fact that a Zlimi's core is their only pool of Magninium; most other races have both a brain and a heart, but Zlimi only have one. It contains all of their thinking and casting magic, visible from the outside as it fills or lowers from validation-feeding.
Stroking the core lovingly or gently stirring the magic inside is often met with a flattered, flustered response. Striking the core or threatening it results in an eruption of platitudes and bargaining. It is difficult to damage the core in this state, but not impossible. Spilling or drinking the magic can result in memory loss, up to severe brain damage. Without the core within their body, they can also no longer control the slime freely as if it were clay, and are "trapped" in the form they were in when the core was removed.
Cores can fracture, break, or shatter entirely. When a Zlimi is dealt severe trauma or feels abandoned, their core may crack depending on the severity of the incident. Cracks begin appearing from the top and snake down to the bottom, lowering that Zlimi's maximum capacity for magic. If the trauma is severe enough, their core may splinter entirely, killing them.
They are also the vector of reproduction for Zlimi. A Zlimi can remove a small bit of their slime and place it within their core, which will grow a baby Zlimi - a formless ball of slime. Babies are removed from the core once they occupy about half of its size, and are stored in a safe location until they form their first body iteration about two years after removal.
Validation & Affection.
Cores are filled by a Zlimi receiving validation, praise, affection, or position attention. These expressions must come from other people - a Zlimi who practices self-love will not feel validated and cannot nourish themselves on it alone. However, they are somewhat personal; what exactly is 'validating' varies heavily between Zlimi. For example, one Zlimi may feel being complimented on their art is highly validating, while another finds it irritating and discouraging. This too can shift over time as the Zlimi's self-perception and values change. Validation does not have to be told to a Zlimi's face - if they feel that the people they are around generally like them, this often counts - but being personally informed of validating things is a definite hefty feeding session.
The act of feeding on validation is not visible to the naked eye unless looking at a core, whose liquid level raises slightly. Otherwise, the only other sign of a Zlimi feeding is perhaps their attention being turned towards the source and subtle encouragements to continue complimenting them.
This need drives them to seek public positions where they can accumulate praise - meaning particularly that they seek low-stress and low-consequence positions, and avoid controversy like the plague (unless they have a healthy relationship with criticism... which is admittedly rare). Some Zlimi prefer to find a single individual, sometimes called a host, to instead depend on for the majority of their feed, and sometimes enter into romantic relationships with this person. Whether or not a host relationship is healthy for a Zlimi (or the host) is hotly contested among them.
A Zlimi who feeds well is bright, cheerful, optimistic, engaged, and alert. They are capable of casting magic as often as they want and have full control over their bodies. However, low-fed Zlimis are often lethargic, exhausted, disoriented, sickly, and confused, incapable of casting and losing their ability to shapeshift.
This can lead to a slippery slope where a low-fed Zlimi continues to fail to feed until death, and is a known phenomenon to Zlimi often called 'backsliding'. As desperation sets in, low-fed Zlimis often resort to extorting pitying reactions from other people in order to stave off true death. It is notoriously difficult to recover from this state.
Zlimi are generally visible in the media or politics of many universes, though information regarding their feeding and cores may not be disclosed. They typically attempt to appear in roles that receive only good attention, and can be flighty if they feel public opinion is turning against them. Their assumed stereotype is that of a dedicated, generous, and creative - but self-centered - activist.
They feel a kinship with Beauts especially, as both races share a swath of similarities. This fact is not often spoken of, however, as fraternizing with Beauts is bad for one's image.
Zlimi often appear in fiction as background characters involved in politics or bureaucracy. Zlimi overall do not tend to write much fiction regarding themselves, and they are not often an appealing choice of protagonist for other writers - most stories about Zlimi are thusly centered near-wholly on their core and have little plot outside of that, or focus on their inherent possessiveness and write them as unhinged spurned lovers.
Zlimi's bodies are made of a peculiar gel that is seen nowhere else in nature save for them. This gel-slime is malleable and completely controllable, making them immaculate shapeshifters. It can be of any hue, though Zlimi typically have two distinct hues of slime and will differentiate some as "body" colors and others as "hair" colors when mimicking the appearances of other races. They are able to form it into any shape they please and move every molecule individually, allowing for a variety of forms and movements that flesh bodies could not perform.
They can slip through small entrances or cracks due to their malleable nature, provided that their core can also make the trip. More commonly, they can extend specific parts of their slime to reach beyond what other races could - thinning out their arms to a mere strip in order to retrieve something across the room without moving their body, or tucking it under a door to snatch needed documents.
Their eyes seem to be normal at first glance, but are actually also made of highly magic-infused gel, which colors them the Zlimi's magic. Thus, they have no true organs except the core - even their teeth are still soft slime. They can, however, insert sharpened things into their body to serve as accessories or sometimes as teeth - for example, painting and sharpening a pair of bones to wear them in the head area as horns. However, other body modifications, such as piercings, are uncommon.
Zlimi can dye parts of their slime with magic pigments in order to produce patterns or give themselves new colors, but this is considered somewhat rare. Zlimi slime colors are not hereditary in any way, but are decided during "birth" randomly. Some Zlimi are naturally born with significant patterns in their slime or more than the standard two colors; how they will present these additional varieties will be up to the individual.
Technically, Zlimi do not have to look like the other races - there could be a Zlimi that prefers to take the shape of a dragonid. However, many struggle to feed off of anything but the other sentient races, and therefore appear like them to make that easier.
This slime is not sticky to the touch, in part thanks to an outermost layer known as the membrane. This membrane guards against unwanted objects entering the Zlimi and is their first line of defense. And somewhere within the inner slime is their core, typically the abdomen, contained safely and controlling bodily movements.
The slime of a Zlimi's body is covered in an outermost layer known as the membrane, which is slightly smooth and cold to the touch, but not sticky. Zlimi retain full control of the membrane, which is used to dictate what can enter or exit their bodies. They can open it to absorb items into themselves or wrap their slime proper around someone. It is not actually its own substance, but is just a slightly-stiff part of their gel they have intentionally formed. Maintaining it does not cause any more mental strain or effort than maintaining their body's normal shape. Some Zlimi forgo the use of a membrane entirely, but this is rare.
It can be broken down, in a sense, through the use of several topical creams. These degrade the Zlimi's ability to uphold its slightly-separate structure, which then collapses the membrane back into their bodies, exposing their inner gel. After the cream has worked through their system and been converted to magic, however, they are able to reform their membrane. This can be used to remove stolen objects from Zlimis' bodies or seek their cores.
Parts of the membrane may scar if exposed to poison-metals. This results in it truly hardening into a visible scar of the Zlimi's magic/eye color. They can still move the slime around the affected area, and therefore pull it away from the surface, but cannot reduce or heal the scar tissue itself. Some Zlimi may deliberately abandon some of their bodies that have been scarred and bank on replenishing lost mass later through consumption of magic-rich materials.
Places where the membrane is thin may appear to drip or ooze, though they never fully separate from the Zlimi's body. This is culturally seen as lazy, unkempt, and undesirable by Zlimi unless the dripping area is the tail, which is seen as somewhat cute. Still, stable thickness of the membrane along the whole circumference is preferred.
Zlimi wear typical fabric clothing. They are constantly tasting, in a way, the world around them through their slime - a large sensory organ. Thus, familiar clothing surrounding most of their body can reduce contact with unwanted materials, textures, and flavors. Most Zlimi keep small wardrobes of well-worn, comforting articles, which become somewhat imbued with their natural own taste over time. The loss of a favorite shirt or sweater is thusly tragic indeed.
Personal style varies heavily, but most Zlimi attempt to dress smartly and neatly, taking great care that their appearance is inoffensive but stylish. Many prefer business casual and somewhat form-fitting cuts, and dislike flowing fabric.
Objects can be stored inside of a Zlimi's body, as they have no organs. This obviously displaces some of their slime, so there is somewhat of a limit to what can be kept inside, but small things such as cellies, weapons, important documents, wallets, etc., are common to find. Zlimi can manipulate all parts of their slime, meaning that they can simply push these objects from their torso out through their arm into their hand when needed, rather than "reaching inside" to pull it out.
Food or magic-rich materials stored inside will be converted to more slime/mass, see "diet" section below.
Click the image to open in a new tab. Click the names to be taken to their Toyhouse profiles.
Most outsiders may only know one, perhaps two Zlimi personally. They may know of others through media or discussions, but have likely never meaningfully interacted with more than two especially at once. Zlimi's constant visible presence in overall culture wards off questions as to why their global population oft seems so low - which is generally preferred by them. True, their population is often not the highest - helped by their natural Immortality - but there is another, simpler reason for this phenomenon: they are competitive and territorial with one another.
Validation is a personal thing, dictated by the individual and how they feel regarding specific emotions towards them or statements. However, almost all Zlimi universally agree on one tenet: sharing the primary source of one's feed means that source doesn't actually care about the Zlimis in question - a damaging and heart-wrenching realization that can, rarely, cause core fractures when first discovered.
This is the basis of the idea of Zlimi competition - that sharing feed means either a poor source or a lack of notable individuality. This means most Zlimi naturally give one another a wide berth, carefully avoiding stepping into each other's "territories" and avoiding interacting with any close friends of one another's. Most will extensively document other nearby Zlimi's networks and pay careful attention to avoid crossing streams, even accidentally. It is especially egregious to speak to another Zlimi's host if they have one.
Thus, most Zlimi do know of each other, but rarely if ever have friends among their own race, and deftly avoid anyone else already marked as 'belonging' to a Zlimi. The first Zlimi to become a public figure in an area generally becomes the de-facto "head" of the region, which incentivizes other Zlimi to leave and scatter to unclaimed territories. Occasionally, meek or submissive Zlimi may work under another more visible one, finding it validating to have other Zlimi trust them not to interfere with their source of food.
Of course, there are some unsavory individuals who would find the act of stealing another Zlimi's feed to be validating. These Zlimi seek out interactions with other's feed and deliberately either pull that feed to themselves or simply sow discord between a Zlimi and their sources.
Competitiveness does not generally extend to non-Zlimi. Zlimi oft don't see the other races as understanding the depth of attention needed for Zlimi, and assume they would never begin to deliberately seek that much and pull attention away. In fact, Zlimi often are extra helpful to non-Zlimis, even their enemies - finding it a triumph to prove themselves to individuals they've gotten off on the wrong foot with.
Zlimi only require one adult to reproduce - who places a bit of slime (theirs, or possibly another Zlimi's) in their own core. After a period of gestation varying depending on how well-fed the parent is, this bit is removed and left to grow for about another two years before becoming a toddler. Baby Zlimi do not require much care save for their parents' affection, making overall care simple. In addition, the extensive act of how to produce them means that the rate of accident babies is practically nil.
However, they do not reproduce often - as most children will end up becoming competition in their teenage years and young adulthoods. Only very well-established Zlimi feel safe enough to raise a children, or pawn them off to caretakers/nannies who will provide much-needed affection during a Zlimi's developmental years. Generally, after coming of age at 20, young Zlimi are ejected from their parents' estate regardless of who raised them and must forge their own way in the world.
They are generally fascinated by other races' children and their extended childhoods, but only in superficial ways, avoiding the brunt of caretaking. Zlimi mixed couples tend prefer to have non-Zlimi children.
Zlimi do not die of natural causes, and cannot readily be injured. They only die if their core is completely shattered beyond repair, which only happens under extreme trauma, stress, or abandonment. Intimiately aware of this, they deftly avoid those circumstances, which drives the entire point of their culture.
By themselves, Zlimi have no real rites for the dead or requests regarding the body. The core is often in absolute shards, making it impossible to collect as a memento to mourn over, and the body quickly melts into a steaming-hot, but inert puddle of melted slime. This rules out cremation for Zlimis, who generally prefer to be buried alongside their favorite host instead.
Some Zlimi in particular are grateful for the loss of local competition, and may see it as a chance to have a child and secure them a territory of sorts as they grow.
Any food eaten is converted into more slime mass for their bodies by breaking it down into constituent magic parts, but this is not required for merely maintaining mass or height - only adding to it. The more magic-rich the meal, the more mass it can be converted into, which incentivizes consumption of gemstones and plants imbued with large amounts of Magninium. 'Food' is defined, like most aspects of Zlimi, as somewhat personal - their bodies will only break down whatever they themselves think is food or edible. Otherwise, it is stored inside of their body (or they can deliberately concentrate to save for later or give to someone else).
If a Zlimi eats a large quantity of a particular food for an extended period of time, their slime will develop that food's taste. Each individual's taste is personal to them and they are highly possessive of them. They are careful to maintain their taste and take pains to avoid tampering with it.
In polite company, Zlimi may socially drink or sip water as to not appear too "off". Small hors d'oeuvre are their favorites, if they absolutely must eat.
They do require sleep, at about a reduced rate of eight hours for every fourty-eight awake.
Zlimi can survive in any climate, partially thanks to their membrane. However, they do find exceptionally hot or cold climates to be uncomfortable and difficult to uphold proper forms in, and avoid those extremes unless dressing for the occasion. Otherwise, they settle wherever there are people.
They are capable of living underwater due to not needing to breathe (except to have air to speak with), but do not particularly enjoy it or choose it.
- The debate of whether a pool of sources or a single host are preferred for a Zlimi's feeding is a hot topic among them. Many agree, however, on the concept or idea of the "ideal host" - a generous, giving, kind, thoughtful, attentive, trusting, powerful, and selfless person - being the most powerful source of feed, if they were to exist.
- Halos in Zlimis are exceptionally rare, but not entirely unheard of.
- Many people erroneously assume all Zlimis have a singular host, but this is untrue. Roughly 60% of Zlimis prefer a single host, while the remainder prefer a large sourec pool, but access to their preferences varies.
- Zlimi enjoy maintaining record books of impressive feats and skills. Unsurprisingly, these books are often filled with their own successes.