Suryō Spider, the Horned Hunters
Be careful: this is Suryō hunting grounds. They aren't going to try any fancy tricks that give you time to think: they will hunt you and kill you.The Suryō are large, armored spiders that hunt in packs. Fast and aggressive, they eschew webs for trapping prey and hunt by pouncing their victims with their powerful horns before delivering a potent venom. They are fearless hunters that are only too happy to add humans to the menu, making them common hazards in the wild caves of the Inner Shell.
The Suryō are spiders that stand about half the height of a human on average, covered with a sleek armored carapace with greyish-black coloration that help them blend into the cavernous darkness. Their exoskeleton is reinforced by overlapping protrusions that cover the gap between joints and reinforce their sides, though their underbellies are relatively unprotected. Their abdomens are relatively small for an arachnid, except in the case of a pregnant female incubating eggs. In these cases, the spider will have molted out of the thick carapace covering their abdomen and carry the bulbous sac of eggs attached to their abdomen. The Suryō get their name of "Horned Hunters" from the sharp horns that grow from the sides of their head. Young Suryō will have a pair of dagger-like horn that grow longer and thicker as the Suryō ages. An elder Suryō can have as many as six, sword-sized horns. The ends of the Suryō end in powerful hooks that they use to climb, though they are slow climbers compared to their speed on the ground.
The horn of the Suryō are sometimes used as stabbing weapons, usually by fastening them to a haft of hattick. Most of the time these weapons are decorated with elaborate carvings along the horn and up to the sharpened point and are worn not for use, but to display the status or martial ability of its owner.
If I had a band of warriors half of coordinated as a pack of Suryō, I'd be back in the mercenary business in a heartbeat.Suryō are aggressive hunters that rely on their speed and agility to chase down prey, then use their horns and venom to bring them down. They hunt in packs, with the first Spider pouncing on the prey with their horn to pin them in place while the others deliver the venom with powerful bites. They are undeterred by the size of prey and a pack will sometimes have multiple Suryō charge with their owns to keep larger prey down or injured while the poison works through their systems. They are fearless hunters and "human" are part of their menu. Unlike many spiders, the Suryō do not rely on their venom to liquefy their prey, but eat the meat in bloody chunks.
While heavy metal armor is usually enough to protect from a Suryō's charge and can deter the arachnids from attacking, this is not always certain. Elder Suryō have many and strong horns, capable of puncturing even armor.The Suryō weave webs to build their nests and hold their young. These nests are built together and on the cave floor, centered around a communal egg-chamber where the females deposits their eggs. When it is time for the eggs to hatch, the chamber is filled with prey for the ravenous young to consume. A pack of Suryō are usually less than ten individuals. Should a pack become too large for the area to support, the pack will begin to fall on each other in a brief cannibalistic frenzy where the older and weaker members of the pack are killed and devoured by the young and strong.
Females lay clutches of eggs about the size of a human head in the communal nests central chamber for the pack males to fertilize. There is no mating rituals, though the Suryō does care for their young by providing them with their meals until they are large enough to join the hunts. Young Suryō can be ravenous creatures and it is not uncommon for old, weak members of the pack to venture into the egg-chamber and not return. For a healthy Suryō adult though, the young pose no real threat.
It's like they can sense weakness. A drop of blood in the black and they come crawling out like mad.Young Suryō sometimes leave their pack in mated pairs to travel elsewhere, establishing nests in new part of the caves. While they generally prefer the Inner Shell, there are occasional nests of the Suryō in the Far Deep.
We hunt! Strong as a Suryō! Quick as a Suryō! We hunt!The Suryō Spiders are a dangerous threat throughout the Inner Shell - they are fast and deadly hunters that kill travelers and harry larger parties for any stragglers. Between their speed, their fearless nature and powerful venom, they are significant dangers to anyone that find themselves the target of a pack's hunt. These very same traits make the Suryō popular figures throughout Araea as totems and namesakes, with everyone from Atha to Saen-Kaw teams drawing from the lethal horned hunter. Artistic depictions of the Suryō are popular, particularly on weapons, armor or banners.
"As sure as a Suryō's hunt" is a popular saying in Inner Shell for something that is almost certain to be concluded in the desired manner. This is not nearly as popular in more rural villages and settlements, where the dangers of such a hunt is a very real and present danger.The spiders are part of mythology and folklore throughout the world, with almost every city-state having a place for the Suryō in their mind. Most often, they are devils that hunt people and devour souls. They feature in plays and stories, almost exclusively in the role of a danger or villain. Despite that, powdered Suryō horn is thought to have medicinal properties by the Deva and for those who can acquire it, the venom finds many uses. Their horns are sometimes fashioned into weapons and their carapace made into light-weight but sturdy armor. These are to be statements about the owner as much as anything else: here is one who have hunted the hunters.
Inner Shell The Suryō make their home mainly in the Inner Shell, the part of the cavernous world too far deep to ever see sunlight. At this depth many miles beneath the Surface, the caverns are much larger and the tunnels less cramped than further above. There is more space here for life to grow and it is here most of Araea's city-states are found. This space allows the Suryō to roam and hunt. Read more about the Inner Shell