Chapter 5: The Emergence of the Inxikrah
While most of Mythron’s creatures dwelt on the surface, some that sought refuge underground during the cataclysm of the star seed’s impact simply never returned. Nevertheless, the magic petals of The Great Tree of Eyos found their stygian world as well, drifting down into the dark crevasses and shattered chasms of the continent Styxus. There, they transformed a subterranean world of stone into a wondrous nexus of luminous crystals that extended throughout the vast network of caverns.
The iridescent petals also found a pale, snake-like race of sentient creatures called the Inxikrah, or the Formless Faces. Adapted over the millennia to their underground world, these scaly, albino predators released clouds of psychoactive toxins that paralyzed and controlled their prey. The Inxikrah had become extremely sensitive to daylight – they would desiccate and burn if exposed to the sun for more than a few hours. They explored the surface only at night and showed no desire to cross the vast, swirling oceans separating them from Mythron’s other developing civilizations.
The underworld was deadly and treacherous, and the creatures that adapted to it were equally so. But the Echoing Depths offered immense treasures as well — ancient crystals formed during the first bloom of the Great Tree of Eyos: smoky purple gems that formed alongside the plant-like Inkhorn, black Amethysts that accompanied Dark Creep Moss, and even the rare Ghost Azaleas and their potent, concentrated magical energies. The Inxikrah had learned that these crystals would imbue them with properties of their prey through a transformative ritual they called Krah’Zul.
During each shedding cycle, the Inxikrah created ever deadlier forms of themselves, incorporating the most lethal elements of their previously consumed prey. Over time, as the Inxikrah continued to absorb their prey, the species began to diverge. The males sought as quarry the most dangerous predators, and grew more and more vicious with each generation. The females hunted not for sport, but to feed themselves and their young. While they could be devastatingly violent in defense of their brood, they never developed the Krah’Zul- heightened malevolence of the males.