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Famine Walker

Basic Information

Anatomy

The transition into a famine walker begins as the senses of the victim dull. Unaware of the fearsome changes taking hold on their bodies and minds, victims enter an almost trance-like state as their bodies stretch out of proportion. First, their arms and legs begin to elongate, ending with long, clawed hands. As if they have been starving, their bellies shrink to appear painfully emaciated. The skin all over the body becomes pallid, cold, and thin. Within several hours, their eyes slowly fade to opaque white and blue like that of a corpse. By the end of the first day, each tooth has stretched into a misaligned fang seeming to barely fit within the victim's pale, tortured gums. In just two days, the transformation is complete, and the Famine Walker begins his hunt.  

...As he crept forward on his hands and feet, his skin stretched taught over each rib of his distended chest. His elbows and knees bent unnaturally far from his body. The monster let out one prolonged, broken shriek, but then fell silent. Milky white eyes passed, unseeing, over her. He was not looking, but instead listening for the next victim to fill his bottomless stomach.
  Famine Walkers transition between bipedal and quadrupedal movement to best suit their environment and their prey. Famine Walkers employ two strategies: they can rely on silence, speed, and momentum, catching their victim by surprise and eating them alive, or they can lure their victim to them using the last remnants of their humanity to mimic human speech.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Famine Walkers know nothing but hunger. No matter how much they eat, they will continue to hunt, leaving half-consumed corpses in their wake. There have been reports of Famine Walkers killing and consuming an entire flock of sheep and continuing to hunt. It is unknown where the flesh they have eaten goes, as their emaciated stomachs never swell or fill.   While hunting, Famine Walkers stalk their prey for a short distance. Some say this is to best decide how to ambush and consume the victim, however, no one really knows what thought Famine Walkers are capable of having. The Famine Walker then will then employ one of two strategies. The first, more common method is to rush their prey, tackling them and using their sheer speed and momentum to catch them off guard. The second method is to attempt to lure the victim to them. This is only done on Human and Elves. Survivors report a noise that sounds "almost human", like words heard through a door you can almost make out. Those who investigate these noises are never seen alive again.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

Famine Walkers are those cursed to suffer starvation for all of eternity because of their greed. The curse was called into being in the Second Era by goddess Kaika to punish a group of humans in what is now The Northern Reach. The only way to become a Famine Walker is to commit enough acts of greed on cursed ground or to be cursed by Kaika herself.   There are isolated pockets of Famine Walkers in The Northern Reach, Dereko, and Tolatir, though they are rare. Victims are usually caught completely unaware by the presence of Famine Walkers. Locals in areas known to be infested with Famine Walkers avoid forests after dark. Those who have survived encounters with Famine Walkers return with stories of how their traveling companions were set upon and eviscerated alive. The only reason these stories exist at all is because the only way to escape a Famine Walker is to run while they are distracted by another screaming victim.

Genetic Ancestor(s)
Lifespan
Unknown
Average Height
7 ft
Average Weight
120 lbs
 

How to Survive

Those living in areas known to have Famine Walkers have the following advice. Always avoid the forest after dark. No one knows where the Famine Walkers go once the sun rises, but attacks only happen at night. If one does have to enter the forest after sunset, they are to travel in a large group, but stay as quiet as possible. Noise seems to attract them. Being able to see is paramount, so be sure to bring plenty of torches. It seems Famine Walkers rely very little on their sense of sight, so being able to see them coming will give you something of an advantage.   If someone breaks off from the group, do not go looking for them. They are likely already dead. If you think you hear their voice in the darkness, ignore it and continue moving. Do not stop: always continue moving. Your goal is not to outrun them or overpower them - both are impossible. Your only goal is to go unnoticed and survive.

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Cover image: Panoramic Nature Fog Mountain by kyungimkseo

This species has multiple parents, only the first is displayed below.
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Comments

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Shadow Malachi
Robert Kane
12 May, 2019 00:30

This article was very well done. The music helped set the mood and the amount of details was amazing. The pictures were also great. This article will surely give me nightmares! Ill make sure not to venture into the forest in your worlds.. And if i see half-eaten corpses i be sure to run away!   Great job!

12 May, 2019 02:30

Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

13 May, 2019 08:16

Yeesh, these Famine Walkers really are no joke. The music gave me a good sense of their terrible nature. If i'm correct, the Famine Walkers are based on some myth/legend/religion. I remember seeing them on some kind of video on YouTube, and i am glad someone used them into their fantasy world. I think they are horrifying; cursed people with an insatiable hunger, a desire that cannot nor never can be fulfilled. Just unsettling! Very well done, Anna!

13 May, 2019 14:39

Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed! I took a lot of inspiration from Wendigoes from Algonquin folklore and Hungry Ghosts from Chinese folklore, but there are probably bits from other mythologies as well.