Talak the Devourer

What doesn't kill you makes you hungrier.  
— Talak the Devourer
An Hākari-Kaia of great renown and even greater appetites, Talak is an explorer of the culinary arts and the boundries of what can - and should - be devoured. With famine as his eternal foe, he has travelled far and wide across Araea in a fanatical quest to eat or drink everything it has to offer. There is perhaps no other human who have sampled as many of Araea's monstrous creatures or cave-dwelling flora, or suffered as many bouts of indigestion, food-poisoning, and worse. He has cooked, brewed, pickled, fermented, sliced, and filleted or tasted raw everything from terrible the Devil-Shrimp to the Gar'ro'dah, the pet rocks, and documented every last bite. Everything has a place on the platter, and everything can be bent to conquer the specter of starvation that have always haunted mankind.  
Talak believes with all his heart in the saying to eat what you kill and let nothing go to waste - human or not.
  Talak is a tall man, towering over most others, with a strong and wiry build, and large, scarred hands that are missing an index finger to the first joint. He keeps his head shaved, to keep any hair from getting into the cooking, with his head lined with scars of old battles or unfortunate mutations from one meal or another.   Of those, Talak has suffered quite a few, ranging from minor to life-threatening, and he is fond of telling the stories of them and the accompanying meal. He has reinforced his teeth with iron and smiles like a shark. With a well-deserved reputation as a cannibal, he has put flight to bandits or would-be challenger with a hungry grin.
Immensely strong, Talak's bite can break bone and it is said he can stop bleeding from a dismembered limb just by clamping his hand around the stump.
Despite that, Talak is a friendly, excited man, fond of people and always ready to cook a good meal or tell a tall tale. Those who know him well speak of him as a gentle giant, respectful of others and keenly aware of how people suffer. A story he often tells is from hard times back home, when the poor and vulnerable were simply left to die - or devoured to satisfy those with wealth or power. It has made him single-minded in his quest, and once he has set his sights on a meal, few forces can deter him.    

Ever-Hungry Journey

Everything is trying to eat us, why not return the favor?  
— Talak the Devourer
Now, Talak's quest have brought him to Patala. An unknown region, full of wonders and fresh discoveries, all waiting to be seasoned, cooked, and consumed. Like the smell from a delicious meal, such temptations lured the devourer to the depths of Patala, where he has begun his great work. Together with his band of allies, twenty strong from the start, Talak has descended into Patala and started to collect his notes in a great work; the Palate of Patala; Danger, Opportunity, And Culinary Exploration.  
Talak has set up camp in the Grey Halls of Patala, not too far from Nindra. From there, he hunts, forages, grows, and cooks, frequently visited by explorers who come upon the smell of something cooking.
  With it, he hopes to help people make living - not just surviving - in Patala a little easier. If he and his friends have to get violently sick in the process of figuring it out, then so be it. It is a small price to pay.
Hākari-Kaia   A specialized breed of Kaia, the Hākari specialize in furthering the bounderies of culinary exploration. Let others worry about glittering gold and mundane riches - the Hākari know the true treasure to be food, in all its form.   In a world where famine and scarcity are facts of life, the Hākari know there is a difference between living and surviving.   Read More About Hākari-Kaia
by Midjourney

Feast & Famine

In the harsh world of Araea, humanity has been endlessly inventive in how to make things edible. Life or death is often separated by as little as the next meal, and necessity has been a most desperate muse.  
Cuisine in the Caves: Overview
Generic article | Sep 5, 2020

You'd be surprised what can be edible.

 
Araea Cookbook
Tradition / Ritual | Apr 24, 2020

A collection of dishes and drinks commonly enjoyed in Araea. Well, "enjoyed", in some cases.

Children


Cover image: by SCP 077

Comments

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20 Jul, 2022 21:29

A gentle giant, lover of food? This is a man after my own heart!

Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
23 Aug, 2022 21:23

I love the duality of being both the person who has tasted the most and suffered the most, too (indigestionally speaking, of course).

Check out the Bekiskpan — originators of the chain mail bikini and my entry for “On the Shoulders of Giants.”
24 Aug, 2022 07:30

As someone who grew up around surströmming, I can tell you that food can most certainly be attached to suffering. :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
27 Aug, 2022 01:54

I have a feeling this article is showing up in a *lot* of reading challenge pages. It's very well made! Talak is a unique character who takes a mundane hobby (cooking) and takes it to an extreme. I have to wonder about his near-inpenetrable stomach if he's managed to avoid dying to the various poisons he's eaten, or if there's a point where he becomes so immune to what he eats, he can't tell that something's actually dangerous anymore.

27 Aug, 2022 05:46

Thanks! :)


Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.