A fomorian’s base form is humanoid with animal features, the most common being goat. Cow-based, deer-based, and sheep-based fomorians are also common; canine-based fomorians (dog, wolf, fox) are relatively normal as well.
However, fomorians are shapeshifters, and can take on many other forms. They tend to favour bestial forms, especially chimaeric ones combining parts from multiple species. It’s certainly within their power to appear fully human, though.
There is one weakness to their shapeshifting. No matter what they do, they are unable to change the colour of their eyes, which have a black sclera and red or orange iris. By this, they may be identified no matter what form they take.
Fomorians reproduce similarly to humans, in that they are viviparous, but a female fomorian can only reproduce once every five years, and generally bears three to five children at once. Juvenile fomorians are unable to control their shape until around the age of thirty. No fomorian has been known to live beyond the age of sixty-five, but since the majority of interaction with them has been in times of war, it’s likely they can live significantly longer – perhaps eighty years or even more.
Fomorians will eat almost anything they can get their hands on, but they tend to have preferences corresponding to their base form; so, for example, a cow-based fomorian may enjoy chewing on grass, while a dog-based fomorian will tend to prefer meat.
However, physical sustenance alone is not sufficient; they also feed on emotions, especially fear and hatred. Some emotions are poison to them, including but not limited to love; however, tricking them into feeding off such emotions is very difficult.
The main special ability of fomorians is their shape-shifting. They can take almost any form imaginable, provided it has at least one eye; also, they can’t control the form of any of the eyes their chosen form possesses.
However, they have a few other powers as well. Since they feed on emotions, it is possible for them to drain all emotion from a person (assuming they have primarily negative emotions), leaving them an empty husk, which generally results in the victim simply giving up and dying. It’s possible to recover from this state, but only if positive emotions can be called up.
In addition to this, they can shoot a disintegrating beam from their eyes; however, the beams from each eye interfere with each other, dramatically limiting its strength and power. This is more noticeable in fomorians with significant binocular vision; as a result (for example), dog-based fomorians typically have a weaker beam than goat-based fomorians. Furthermore, a fomorian with only one eye (or, perhaps, with two eyes that face in opposite directions) has the most powerful beam of all.
Fomorians can procreate with other species by borrowing the form of that species, but such children generally get nothing from their fomorian parentage; a half-fomorian human is just as human as a full human. Occasionally the half-fomorian may have some particular talent for mind-affecting magic or even for magical leeching.
Society and Culture
Fomorian society and culture is poorly understood, due in large part to their lacking a significant role in the modern world, but what is known is that they seem to favour a “strongest rules” sort of monarchy. It’s rare for a monarch to survive more than a year, and those that do must overcome multiple challenges for the position. Fomorians don’t form lifelong commitments; typically a female wanting children will look for a suitable male, stay with him for long enough to become pregnant, and then leave.
A history of the fomorians is practically a history of Ireland, as they were a scourge upon that country for many millennia. They colonized the island now known as Ireland not long after the world flood (which was around ??? years ago).
The first to contest this was Partholon and his followers, who settled Ireland and eventually came to blows with the Fomorians, defeating them in battle; but the Fomorians were crafty, and spread plague through Partholon’s people, decimating them. Thus the Fomorians were the true victors.
However, this battle drew the attention of the Fomorians’ mortal enemies, the Danaanites. Led by Nemed and Danu, the woman who gives the people their modern name, the Danaanites occupied Ireland and, after a series of battles and even a near-defeat, forced the Fomorians back into the Shadow Realm.
The Danaanites also returned to the Shadow Realm to harry their enemies, leaving Ireland unoccupied and free for the taking. The Fir Bolg, Fir Domnann, and Fir Gálionin were three human peoples to take advantage of this and settle here. Little did they know that the Danaanites had laid claim to the land upon the defeat of the Fomorians.
Now led by Nuada, the son of Nemed and Danu, the Danaanites returned from the Shadow Realm and drove the humans off the island; unfortunately, the fomorians follow, and war breaks out again. This conflict contains the only recorded case of a fomorian eye beam being put to use. However, the fomorians lost this conflict (despite Balor’s eye ray) and limped back to the Shadow Realm, leaving the Danaanites to rule Ireland until later driven out by humans.
Besides the fomorians of Ireland, a few are known in other parts of the world. The chimaera of Greek myth is widely believed to have been a fomorian, for example. Some believe that the reports of chupacabras are in fact fomorians taking on a reptilian form, though the reported behaviour of chupacabras does not quite fit what is known of fomorians.