From: RJPugh@???.com Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 15:02:44 -0500 Subject: Re: Life of the Thri-Kreen (fwd)
Hi gang. This article is forwarded from the Dark-sun list. Since Thri-Kreen can be found in Wildspace as well as the desarts of Athas, I thought this would be appropriate here as well. Enjoy. Rich [mod] ________________________ Date: Fri, 10 Feb 95 14:35:41 BDB From: marcos@???.???????.br (Marcos A. Avila) Subject: Life Cycle of the Thri-Kreen (This is being cross-posted to ADND-L because I arrogantly believe it's a good read even if you don't play Dark Sun :-) I was watching an interesting documentary about the Praying Mantis the other day, when the narrator said something that caught my attention: due to its excellent camouflage, in medieval times it was believed that the Mantis was actually a modified leaf that had grown head and legs. I immediately thought "what a neat creature for AD&D", and since the Thri-Kreen is blatantly derived from the Mantis, it's the natural candidate to explore the idea. I wrote this in a similar format as in The Wanderer's Journal from the DS boxed set, i.e., as if written by a sage of Athas and not by an all-knowing god, so that DM's may use it in their campaigns whether they want it to be true or not. \ / ( ). ,~; V \\ ,~ .~ __| \~~ ,_/\ \ `/-_--~ \_ ' \ \ ' \_ Life Cycle of The Thri-Kreen The Thri-Kreen are among the most mysterious beings of our world. Although we've known them for centuries and today the more civilized ones can walk relatively unperturbed among the populace of most City-States and villages, very little is known about their more intimate habits, relations and emotions. Anyone bold enough to ask a Mantis Warrior about such things will either be attacked or get an answer like "It's not your business". The following information was gathered from stories told to me by an old and wise Halfling Chief from beyond the Ringing Mountains, who claims to have witnessed each of these events personally. Birth, The Beginning of The Cycle In the Forest Ridge, it is the way of the trees that they are constantly renewing their foliage, letting the old leaves fall to give place to greener ones. On some rare, special trees, however, the fall of a leaf means not its death, but actually the birth of a new life form, a young Thri-Kreen. Protected in between a myriad of withering leaves, these chosen ones undergo the first metamorphosis, growing head, mouth, eyes, antennae and powerful legs and arms. When the change is over, a savage green predator walks out of the pile, ready to make its first kill. Youth, And They Reign Unmatched According to the Chief, in its juvenile form, the Thri-Kreen is actually the small insect that the halflings call Mantiki. I have seen this creature personally and it is indeed very similar to the Thri-Kreen as we know them. Varying in size from 3 to 10 inches long and in color from light green to brown, they are the most formidable predators of their own realm. Walking on four legs, the Mantiki move graciously between their mother trees and blend perfectly between the leaves. With a pair of amazingly powerful arms, these solitary creatures will strike out and snatch anything that moves within range, including frogs, small birds and other Mantiki. They immediately devour the prey, usually starting by the head, and there seems to be no limit to their hunger. Adulthood, They Join to Form Nations It is unknown whether all Mantiki eventually undergo the second metamorphosis, or if only another group of chosen ones. At a certain point in their life, they stop eating smaller creatures and begin their final and greatest hunt in this phase. Within a few days they must find a suitable victim, typically 5 to 10 times their own size and many times their weight. Candidates are large lizards, rats and birds, but the Chief believes that even lost halfling children may have fallen prey to them. If a Mantiki cannot find a suitable victim, it will not return to its former diet and instead dies of hunger. But if it does, an epic duel begins. For what may extend to hours, the hunter will chase its victim and repeat a deadly ritual of moving in, biting and dodging away from the larger opponen t's counter-attack. Many Mantiki die during the duel, but each bite delivers a small amount of paralyzing venom, and the victim eventually becomes unable to move. The Mantiki will then dig or find a suitable hole, and bury itself together with the body. For an entire year, the creature will be nourished by its catch and suffer the second metamorphosis which leads to an adult Thri-Kreen as we know them. When time comes, the Thri-Kreen emerges from its hole. It is now about three feet long, with one pair of long hind legs and four arms. It is also an intelligent, sentient being, with no recollection of its former life, but many of its feral instincts still lie within. The young adult then follows an urge to leave the forest and join with its kin in the Thri-Kreen nations. This is the more well known part of the cycle to us. Thri-Kreen form hunting packs, younger ones preparing and preserving hunted food until they master the control of their own body and their exclusive weapons; older ones running and leaping throughout the world as they restlessly chase their prey. Many eventually come in contact with us or are captured and used as slaves or gladiators. Mating, The Final Metamorphosis It is impossible for us to distinguish Thri-Kreen males from females, and many believe there is no such difference, although on occasion I have seen one Thri-Kreen refer to another as "He" or "She". It could also be that differences only appear during the mating ritual, but I am now only speculating. It is well known that they can live up to about 30 years, but according to the Chief, at 20 years of age some of them, again chosen ones, will form a mating couple and feel an urge to leave everything behind and travel back to where they were born in the Forest. After a few days of searching and if they aren't killed, the couple finds a suitable place and the final metamorphosis begins. In what he described as the most beautiful of mating rituals, the pair silently engages in a slow, rythmic dance, which evolves for hours until at the climax they stand up tall, embrace each other with their arms and sink their legs deep into the soil. Only an occasional settling movement is noticed from then on, and by nightfall they are totally immobile and their bodies begin to fuse. By sunrise, all that is left is a young tree with a handful of green leaves trembling at the wind. The cycle is now closed. \|/ - O - '/!\` ! ! Mizar, the Brilliant ! ! ! ! ! "Shine on, you crazy diamond..."