Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ruhk Eggs of the Chalk Quarry

High cliff walls cascade down the western edge of the Plateau of Gnaeun into a reservoir of chalk quarries. These ancient quarries were once home to a benign race of albino chalk-caked dwellers whose name has long since been forgotten. These dwellers quarried lightly within the cliff walls and traded their fine chalk for amenities which they desired. They had unfortunately attracted a flock of Ruhks which took it upon themselves to nest in the quarry and feed upon the inhabitant who had no where to flee but deeper into their shallow caves.

The Ruhks found the chalk-dwellers to be a scrumptious meal and hunted them vigorously when they sought a delicacy. The dweller did strike back however, digging deeper caves and drawing the Ruhks into their domain, caking their feathers with chalk dusk as they feasted. Over a period of years the Ruhks were able to fly less and less because of the debilitating dust. Those Ruhks that remained eventually became non-fliers and tore out the majority of their feather so that they may more easily slip into the chalk caverns and hunt their favorite meals.

This battle continued for decades and descendants of the chalk dwellers carved out a marbled labyrinth of passages, huge and small behind the cliff face. They are no longer an easy meals for the featherless Ruhks which chase them clumsily through the quarry and into their caves. Both the dwellers and the Ruhks have adapted considerably and each picks up a new vicious tactic to deal with the other ever few years.

The chalk dwellers have large silvery eyes and a thin humanoid body which is perpetually caked with chalk dust. Their face has a small mouth and no ears or nose. They have carved large caverns over the years and they are now fearful creatures, timid and quick to beset upon interlopers. They raise chalk-crabs in the depths and consider food from elsewhere to be delicacies, including humanoids. They have a small city that clings onto a ceiling of a huge cavern like a barnacle. It is vaguely chandelier like and contains hundreds of the chalk dwellers.

The Ruhks are mostly featherless and appear diseased to some extent. Their flesh has cancerous sores, their eyes are heavily cataracted and they are a desiccated version of their former selves, although still huge at 40 feet or longer in length. The Ruhks nest in the open quarry and have circular patterns of large bones and skulls all over the area. The Ruhks are far from simple minded and have adopted the primitive customs of the chalk dwellers out of instinct. The Ruhks guttural crow even sounds like a tortured chalk dweller. There are around twenty Ruhks total which nest in the quarry and hunt within the cave and the surrounding area. They lumber awkwardly after prey and quickly tear it to pieces. There are few creatures they do not consider food and most beings in the surrounding area are adept at hiding from the loathsome things.

The Ruhks build nests in a mockery of the chalk dweller abodes. Layered like building with nodes that vaguely look like windows and doors. They lay their eggs in these nests which are usually sickly, thin and sopping with yellowish drippings. A layer of chalk-crabs quickly envelops the eggs to feed upon the nutrients but also hardens and protects the eggs. The chicks however are sickly and twisted things and few survive beyond a few days. Enough do survive to perpetuate the Ruhks of the chalk quarry however.

* Ruhk Egg is of course from MtG, and Rukh is the persian name and precursor to Roc. Those clever designers from Arabian Nights.. Rukh I will use as an apex predatory that perhaps only dragons would have a hope to take one down. I would surmise their great stature is from the fruit of the World Tree, so perhaps some races worship them as semi-divine. The ones above are twisted versions of their wholesome cousins and are greatly feared rather than worshipped.

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