Nava-Verse Archives #86: Creatures of Korckabost Picture

The creature entries grouped together here all represent fauna native to the planet Korckabost within the Omega Octant, a natural wasteland of a world popularly known for its unique atmospheric conditions which effectively result in the planet appearing to be shrouded by a perpetual, yet brightly-starlit, night…

• Tannyzerb: Constituting the primary (and sole) resident humanoid race of Korckabost, Tannyzerbs are, like many-to-most other intelligent inhabitants of the Omega Octant in general, commonly and rather-accurately reputed as a severely immoral and barbaric people, although among their home octant's other "evil" races, they are arguably the least-menacing in terms of their civilization's limited, due in large part to preoccupation with fighting amongst itself, hostilities toward others in the spacefaring galaxy.

Slightly-below-average in height and somewhat portly by natural physiological inclination, the Tannyzerb body prominently features a crown-like series of pointed structures at the top of its head as well as extremely large, swollen-looking lips and gums at the mouth, which is seen among Tannyzerbs as an attractive feature whose maximization is desirable, and by most other beings as a hideous deformity. The Tannyzerb animal's most notable specific feature of all, however, is its innate moistness, frequently discernible by a simple touch (depending on the area in question) and ultimately caused by multiple copious, semi-self-replenishing watery deposits throughout its interior biomass. This built-in adaptive trait serves to compensate for the relative scarcity of drinkable water in the ocean-bereft and predominantly desertlike Korckabostian environment, considerably reducing the Tannyzerb's need for externally-ingested water while, as a downside, amplifying its body's squishiness and capacity for advanced muscular development, limiting physical strength and resilience (the average durability value for a regular adult Tannyzerb is a sub-par ~700). As a result of this effect, the upper echelons of Tannyzerb civilization have, over the course of the past several centuries, developed surgical and chemical means of removing their excess moisture along with all of its effects. The initial procedure for this was very unreliable and life-threateningly dangerous, its current, more refined version remains a severely painful process, and the overall practice is generally reserved for warriors wishing or being wished to undergo physical enhancement, and occasionally wealthy and/or societally-powerful of Tannyzerb citizens whose ready access to drinking water and other vital resources is such that they can afford the resultant disadvantage to their natural hydration, and who vainly flaunt their altered states as indicators of their superior status.

Tannyzerb society and culture are infamously characterized by many stereotypically barbaric practices that remain prominent in spite of the fact that the race itself is far more technologically sophisticated than any of the other, more primitive peoples who still act in such ways. In particular, Tannyzerbs create and maintain much conflict amongst their own kind by ways of both classism - including broken systems of wealth-distribution and living arrangements designed in adherence thereto - and petty division between arbitrary, quarreling factions. Namely, there exist seven massive, walled and toweringly-elevated so-called "Arch-Cities" scattered across Korckabost's geography, each of which officially (but less-so functionally) controls a seventh of the planet's overall map as the "capital" of its own said region of dominion. Collectively, these decadent colonies house around twenty percent of all non-spacefaring Tannyzerbs, with this demographic being virtually one-and-the-same with that of the top twenty percent of all Korckabost's native citizens in terms of wealth, political/celebrity standing and other perceived societal values. Each of these Arch-Cities espouses a different flavor of subcultural identity, with varying customs and aesthetics, based in most cases around a cult of personality surrounding the city's founder(s) and their descendants/successors. More specifically and importantly, every Arch-City is constantly at competitive odds with all the others over the largely superfluous differences between their respective values, resulting in a state of perpetual, albeit low-intensity, war between all of them, with battles constantly being fought in just about every Korckabostian venue imaginable except within the walls of the Arch-Cities themselves over the allocation of each domain's borders of jurisdiction, and the Tannyzerb race, at least in terms of those inhabiting the Arch-Cities themselves, remaining bitterly divided against itself even where hostilities fall short of violent levels.

Beneath the seven Arch-Cities status-wise as well as in a literally vertical sense are dozens of smaller, yet still fairly developed, "lesser" cities which collectively house roughly a third of the total planetary Tannyzerb population, and below them are countless, generally impoverished villages built upon the desert terrain of the lowlands without the aid of advanced construction techniques, whose inhabitants, comparable in status to peasants, comprise the remainder (read: just short of half) of all Tannyzerbs on Korckabost. Nearly all of these smaller settlements are confederated, at least in theory, to the Arch-Cities whose controlled territory they reside within, which are subject to change as borders are gained/lost through the competing dominions' warring that is completely beyond the control of the lesser settlements' civilians, yet causes infinitely more suffering to them than to any of the Arch-Cities' residents, let alone their controlling officials. Disgruntlement over this unfair system among those affected by it is abundantly common, but instead of looking for constructive ways to proactively stand up for themselves and improve their world's society, most Tannyzerbs, being hopelessly low in morale as well as in morals seemingly by their race's very nature, simply take out their frustration on their peers, often including their own individual selves, living as hateful, bitter people in general.

Curiously, the most recent period of two or more Arch-Cities' cultures functioning harmoniously together, as well as the most notable throughout the overall history of Tannyzerb-kind, occurred when Korckabost was occupied, and no fewer than four of its warring states effectively unified, by members of the Dynamo Legion under the mutant Demioid warlord Dussoman from Age 756 to Age 767.

• Sorahnomom: An utterly colossal, multi-tailed serpent-like invertebrate existing in limited numbers throughout Korckabost's lowlands, the Sorahnomom not only is the single largest

organism present on its own planet, but furthermore holds the same distinction in regards to the whole of the Omega Octant. Altogether, it is the fourth-most-massive naturally-developed species of mortal creature in the entire Prime Galaxy, measuring over one hundred feet in length in its mature form, which initially-tiny newly-birthed specimens grow into rapidly once they have successfully hatched from the oversized seed-like eggs singularly planted in the sandy desert soil by their progenitors. What brief adolescence the soon-to-be-enormous beast does go through is, moreover, spent largely underground, continuously consuming mineral nutrients and small bugs whose cumulative absorption serves to trigger an accelerated series of large growth spurts until the Sorahnomom is close to fully-grown. It then fully emerges for the first time before beginning to freely roam Korckabost's sands and continuing to do so throughout the main part of its life cycle, which typically lasts well over a century and occasionally even upwards of two hundred years, thus making the Sorahnomom one of the longest-lived of all animals out there in the Nava-Verse as well. The creature's durability, meanwhile, and while still impressive by virtually any general standard, is actually somewhat "weak" in proportion to the scale of its body, being valued at roughly 4,000 on average; a Sorahnomom's flesh is, in fact, rather squishy and vulnerable, and it lacks any natural armor or other resilience-boosting features of particular note.

Sorahnomoms have no real "homes" of any description, instead wandering throughout all regions of Korckabost's lowlands, which hence serve as the (literal) "sandbox" setting for all of their ravenous endeavors, by means of rapidly burrowing forward through the sands at a level just below that of the surface. This movement produces a visible, violent "rippling" in the ground as viewed from above its surface, which is the form in which Sorahnomoms are most often "seen" by others who live to tell the tale thereafter, and is understood by all other residents of Korckabost as the distinct warning sign of one's presence, and therefore a clear indicator to get/stay as far away from the ripples as possible. Destruction at the hands (or rather, mouth) of a hungry Sorahnomom is a constant fear common to just about all of the lowland areas' impoverished Tannyzerb residents, and although the beast lacks any particular taste for the humanoids while having a very-much-active distaste for the inedible materials from which the villages their poor live in are constructed, there have nonetheless been several recorded, isolated incidences throughout history of entire Tannyzerb peasant villages being wiped off the map by a single Sorahnomom. The stories of these events have frequently been exaggerated within Tannyzerb culture at large, leading supposedly-vulnerable communities to perceive the possibility of the same fate befalling them as much greater than it actually is, fueling their paranoid, misery-exacerbating fear, largely to the indifference of their more privileged counterparts in the cities. Some especially cruel individuals and cliques among the Arch-Cities' elite have even been known to view such catastrophic Sorahnomom attacks as a convenient natural means of reducing the "surplus population".

Sorahnomoms are generally capable of swallowing any other native Korckabostian creature, and more than one specimen of most simultaneously, whole, and hence lack functionally-chewing teeth. For larger prey, such as Moofruttishes, that may prove an excessive mouthful and/or put up a fight while going down their gullets, though, they compensate for their poor mastication abilities with their tongues, which possess powerful arms of their own for wrestling any resistant food into submission. Said tongues additionally bear pseudo-faces, with marks resembling "eyes" residing above a series of embedded teeth near a fold mimicking a mouth, that allow them to be held up above the soil while the rest of the Sorahnomom lies in wait underground, so as to make other predatory animals mistake the tongues for creatures without larger bodies hiding beneath and thereby lure them in to be swallowed. This technique is seldom a practical one, however, as any Sorahnomom can just-as-easily overpower whatever prey it wishes to devour by much faster, more aggressive means.

• Nexcurmour: Considered in fauna-classification terms to be a cross between an insectoid and an avian, the Nexcurmour is a moderately large, solitary-dwelling and fairly rare beast with a bizarre form that some view as evocative of the creature possibly having Demonically-and/or-Primally-influenced origins. Standing upon six talon-bearing, very-much-birdlike legs, the Nexcurmour's main torso noticeably bears its additional pair of main arms not too far above where said legs meet its underside, and well-below any point which could be considered equivalent to shoulder-level. Such a point - level with where the upper-chest meets the head - is instead reserved for a pair of small, semi-functional wings, insufficient for any form of active flight but adequate for slowing down falls, ensuring that a Nexcurmour will almost always land safely if and when sent plummeting from virtually any height. The head of the animal, meanwhile, is recognizable by its tall, semicylindrical shape and the presence of a single, massive eye as its sole recognizable facial feature; this eye has (for reasons explained not far below) long been viewed as a negative symbol of dread, ill-fortune and general creepiness in Tannyzerb culture, and appears prominently in the context of such sentiments throughout much of the humanoids' artwork, especially in older pieces from centuries past. The Nexcurmour is a unisex organism that reproduces asexually through passive and sporadic yielding of numerous spores, only a few of which ultimately grow into viable new specimens, throughout the mature phase of its relatively limited (~40 years at most) lifetime, but is considered by those who would insist on imposing gender labels to all living things as a "female" creature due to the visible prominence of multiple pairs of small but distinctly-shaped breasts upon "her" upper chest.

Nexcurmours are exceedingly hostile and aggressive - some would even argue explicitly cruel - animals, and for their behavior are universally loathed as good-for-nothing monsters by Tannyzerbs, who, indeed, are frequently antagonized by them while also being unable to harness any component of their bodies for resourceful purposes such as food or crafting. On the nature and motivation of this antagonism: the Nexcurmours, which as a species first originated in the lowlands yet seem to have an instinctive or otherwise inherent - as well as ultimately irrational, pointless and even self-destructive - desire to bring themselves quite literally "upward" in life. To this end, some are content to make their homes within the heights of Korckabost's natural mountain ranges, sometimes coming into conflict with local Leyakhoffs, with varying results and casualties, in the process, but far, far more are prone to infiltrating and occupying places within large Tannyzerb settlements, including both the Arch-Cities and lesser cities but generally excluding smaller peasant villages. Thusly, and uniquely among all potentially threatening animals found on Korckabost, Nexcurmours actually represent more of a problem for upper-class and elite Tannyzerbs than for those of common or lesser status. When attempting to enter an Arch-City or one of its smaller counterparts, a Nexcurmour will typically do so by scaling its outer wall, making prominent use of its strongly-gripping claws in the process, until it either reaches the top from which it can descend into the city proper (usually through a chimney or other opening in the top of a nearby building) or manages to find some other point of entry, typically a sewage pipe or similar, while climbing. The beast's previously-described ability to control its own would-be free-falling via wing-flapping also commonly comes into play here, ensuring that any loss of grip will entail only a minor/temporary setback. Once having successfully set foot inside a settlement's walls, a Nexcurmour will quickly designate some nearby building or other point of interest as its own property before proceeding to aggressively attempt to secure the spot for itself, slaughtering any existing residents as well as anyone else who interferes with this intention; as such, Nexcurmour infiltrations of Tannyzerb cities invariably result in the creature being slain, though usually not before killing up to several of the humanoid citizens on top of otherwise injuring a far greater number. Though possessing no "special" means of attack, Nexcurmours are surprisingly competent and vicious aggressors in these situations as well as being fairly tough to bring down, with their durability values starting around a minimum of 1,200 and measuring in excess of 1,800 for the most physically well-endowed specimens.

Over the years, Tannyzerb officials have made various efforts to keep Nexcurmours out of their cities, mainly by installing - or at least attempting to install - additional defenses into their outer walls, including thorn traps, obstructive horizontal protrusions and, most recently, motion-sensing automated turrets. The humanoids' difficulty in readily scaling, let alone doing mechanical work while scaling, these walls, though, has limited the number of such obstacles to be successfully implemented. Ironically, those that have been installed have likely ended up saving more Nexcurmours through deterrence from their borderline-suicidal habits of invasion than those that have been killed outright by the lethal ones.

• Leyakhoff: The most populous wild mammals present on Korckabost, Leyakhoffs dwell in packs situated primarily in and around the planet's ridgy mountain ranges - areas uninhabitable to Tannyzerbs and most other local life-forms - but can, in practice, be found just-as-readily in the surrounding lowlands, into which they make frequent and necessary hunting ventures. These group expeditions notably involve carrying potentially several whole prey carcasses back into the Leyakhoffs' nesting grounds for short-to-medium term storage before their eventual consumption, and the beasts' tastes, digestive capacities and high resistance to stomach infection are such that they are both willing and safely able to eat days-old kills which would be considered rotten beyond all edibility for most other beings.

A frequent hazard for Tannyzerbs, particularly those of low status who live in the aforementioned barrens that serve as their wide-open stalking grounds, Leyakhoffs are not actually inclined to attack the humanoids out of any natural desire to make meals of them, but rather tend to turn hostile toward them out of animalistic nervousness and a quickness to perceive threats in any beings that are neither of their own kind nor understood to be easy prey. The Tannyzerbs' consequent habit of viewing Leyakhoffs as their enemies and hence attacking them on sight based on a default assumption that the beasts intend to do the same furthermore makes violent altercations between the humanoids and the animals that much more inevitable whenever they come face-to-face with one another.

The Leyakhoff is a primarily quadrupedal creature, and while moving on all-fours can run quite fast and with great stamina, but with limited control of its own acceleration and self-steering; this would amount to a major weakness, making Leyakhoffs prone to crashing into walls and the like, were it not for the barren vastness of the environments where virtually all of their long-distance, high-momentum locomotion occurs. Of visible, yet superficial, interest among its physical features are its large, double-iris eyes whose scleras are noted for their murky, purplish coloration, as well as a massive mouth, filled with many sharp teeth, whose high-arched upper lip appears at all times to be at least slightly-opened. Leyakhoffs are also somewhat infamous for their huge, protruding buttocks. A feature of more substantial relevance, however, lies in the presence of twin tails, originating near the undersides of the previously-described haunches and extending outwards to either side, which each end in two small thorns encircled by a set of ringlike structures. The latter produce an audible noise comparable to that of beads rattling inside a shaken container when they make significant movements, which is near-continuously as the tails themselves are known to almost perpetually waver around in erratic fashions. The former (thorns), meanwhile, carry a paralyzing venom that is administered to any other being whose flesh they pierce (though Leyakhoffs themselves are immune); for a Tannyzerb in its natural state, the effect of this poisoning will typically be overwhelmingly painful and debilitating, yet not fatal in-and-of-itself, with the imminent death that nigh-invariably follows instead being caused by the subsequent mauling of the incapacitated humanoid by the attacking Leyakhoff and/or its present brethren.

Grown Leyakhoff specimens tend to vary rather considerably in size, with some being not much greater in mass than a Chorelstar and others dwarfing even the most muscular of enhanced Tannyzerbs, and as such their durability values may range from only slightly above 500 to upwards of 1,000. The largest/strongest Leyakhoffs of any given pack can, in turn, be reliably expected to adopt dominant leadership roles among their brethren based on this physical superiority, which is mutually understood and accepted by the lesser specimens as ample justification for said exertion of authority.

• Moofruttish: The most peacefully-natured of all major Korckabostian organisms as well as the closest thing to a herbivore among the same set of beings, consuming only tiny and non-sentient fish and rodents in addition to local flora, the Moofruttish is conversely seen as prey by every other local creature catalogued here. This latter status is also attributable in part to the strong succulence of its edible flesh, whose bright color scheme only serves to make it look even more appealing as a potential meal, as well as more noticeable amid a wide-open desertlike space.

Only in the most strictly technical of senses, though, do Moofruttishes reside at the bottom of their world's food chain, for they, in fact, represent the planet's second-largest animal variety, boast strength levels to match and are more-than-ready-and-willing to use said strength to violently defend themselves at even the slightest sign of danger, which, on Korckabost, is very seldom a false one. Rather lazy by nature, they prefer to dwell at and around specific areas as much/long as possible, migrating only when it becomes evident that doing so will be necessary to maintain a stable food supply, which tends to be fairly frequently. Moofruttishes will occasionally form small, temporary herds to protect one another while undergoing such journeys, but are solitary beasts outside of both these endeavors as well as mating rituals, which are also short-term commitments for them. Like most other animals not specifically shaped to readily thrive in a desert environment, they are naturally drawn towards areas that are more lush than Korckabost's usual climate: although there are far fewer significant natural oases on the planet than there are Moofruttishes, every one of the former sites tends to be inhabited by at least one - and usually two or more - of the latter creatures.

Usually standing between four and five meters tall in default, upright posture, Moofruttishes are very heavy-set beings that move quite slowly as a result of both their general massiveness and the short lengths of their stubby legs, eight of them though they may have. Moofruttish arms (of which the beast has a standard two) are, on the other hand, quite opposite in quality to their aforementioned counterparts, being extremely muscular, amply long and flexible and, indeed, the creature's greatest built-in asset; the animal has even been occasionally observed to be capable of reaching/stretching them down to the ground for moderately-effective use as additional "legs" when attempting to flee from an otherwise insurmountable threat, such as a Sorahnomom. Notably, these arms originate at the sides of the Moofruttish's neck, rather than directly below, and the beast's typical upper-body posture is such that one unfamiliar with its physiology might easily mistake them for growing directly out of its head.

On the matter of the Moofruttish's head, it is noted for its large size (even in proportion to the rest of the organism's body), small tusks growing from the nose, two fang-like bucked teeth that prominently stick out through the lips, usually in addition to a drooping tongue, and bushy, bluish hairs encircling the entire peripheries of the eyes. Hair of similar composition is also present upon the upper-scalp, the only other spot on the otherwise-bald Moofruttish's entire body where it or any other sort of significant hair growth, can be found. The standard durability value of a Moofruttish is 2,000, with little variation in this statistic between adult specimens.

• Chorelstar: Repugnant, segmented, multi-limbed insectoids, Chorelstars can be found by the nest-full throughout virtually all regions of Korckabost's geography, including inside deeply-reaching underground tunnel complexes incapable of being properly explored, let alone charted, by anyone else, and even in colonies hidden within the very walls of the Tannyzerb's own Arch-Cities. Their total population may or may not ultimately surpass that of the Tannyzerbs as the largest of any Korckabostian organism; given how many of the creatures are known to reside in obscure locations and with the additional quantity of even better-hidden specimens whose homes remain undiscovered altogether being anyone's guess, it is nigh-impossible to properly determine even a decent estimate of how many Chorelstars are truly out there.

A small, horizontally-oriented animal, the average naturally-positioned Chorelstar measures scarcely more than one foot both in height and across, but typically well-over a full meter in length from its head to its evenly-leveled rear end; the durability values of different individuals can generally fall anywhere between 400 and 600. Its body is divided into either four distinct segments (not counting the head as a separate section), each of which is divided from its neighbor(s) by a hard, cartilage-based connective structure resembling a ring of beaded stones, and bears a unique pair of limbs upon either side. Of this overall set of legs, the pair of pairs residing closer to the Chorelstar's posterior are severely underdeveloped, to the point of near-uselessness, and could be considered vestigial structures, while the claw-bearing frontmost and second-from front pairs are the strongest parts of the strongest parts of the creature's entire body, and effectively sufficient for handling all of its locomotion. Despite their superfluousness in terms of active use, though, the small tentacle-like hind limbs are still largely "vital" in the sense that their destruction will cause heavy, potentially fatal blood loss in addition to proportionately severe pain in the injured Chorelstar, comparably to the effects of limb-loss in most mammals and humanoids but unusually for an insectoid; this strange phenomenon easily constitutes the beast's most readily-exploitable weakness.

Classified separately from all legs, functional or otherwise, of the Chorelstar are the pair of considerably thicker tentacle-esque appendages at its back-end which together serve as its "tail",

and at their ends each sport two holes that are near-constantly secreting a mild form of acidic slime to whose corrosive properties Chorelstars themselves are uniquely and completely immune. Being of weak corrosive intensity, such that it will do little more than stain a coated wooden floor in the event of a Chorelstar traversing one while its tailpieces ooze it, this acid can nonetheless be used to significant effect by being shot out in a high-pressure stream activated at its producer's discretion, which effectively and significantly increases its capacity for damaging both organic and inanimate surfaces and is used both in combat and for purposes of "drilling" through soil while burrowing/tunneling. Although a Chorelstar can only produce enough acid at any given time to maintain such a stream for a few short seconds, its bodily supply of the fluid will rapidly replenish itself thereafter.

Chorelstars are voraciously carnivorous by nature and virtually always attack their prey in groups which can be as large as several dozen, or even upwards of a hundred, specimens. Their putrid, internally acid-soaked flesh is not edible to any other creature residing on Korckabost, and they thusly have no official natural enemies, but they are nonetheless effectively kept in check by Sorahnomoms, whose burrowing frequently disrupts their underground nests, typically annihilating any Chorelstars caught directly in the massive beast's path and often trapping those within the den's deeper levels, putting them at risk of dying of starvation and/or suffocation if they are unable to dig their way back up to the surface in time.

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