Krkklia the Devourer

What remains after all has been forgotten ?

No matter how they looked at it, they were stranded. The crew tracked down the group of fugitives for longer than they expected, but they were finally on their way back when something seemed off. They followed the signature of their Sphere, only to find empty water, devoid of any life. Klekkkan turned to Lken, his communicator. He waited for her to give a satisfactory answer to his silent question, but another came from the trembling fins.   "Have you ever heard of the ghost in the deep ?"   "That old legend? What does it have to do with our situation ?"   "I can't see anything up ahead, but the skip's sensor picks a presence. There is definitely something in the waters in front of us."   Klekkkan froze. He felt something in the water as the truth unveiled before his eyes. He repressed a vain cry for help, merely reaching for Lken.   "Why can't you be wrong just once ?"
— Age of Wars
   

During the Age of Wars, many Spheres and species now extinct stroke fear at the mere mention of their name. But even among those infamous names, an existence was so threatening the common denial tried to turn it into a myth. Most of what was known about it is lost, and what remains may be an exaggeration or utter lies of lousy storytellers. It may be dead for hundreds of cycle, but the name of Krkklia, the Devourer send shivers down the spines and neural chords.

 
Possible look of Krkklia
 

Nightmarish hunter

 

The idea of Krkklia being a Leviathan is often brought up, but those who asked Memories know better. Krkklia was a Sphere, though a peculiar one, maybe half-Leviathan. For a Predator Sphere, it was rather big, but matched its lack of mobility with a handful of tools.

 

Abnormal shape

It is impossible to say for sure what Krkklia looked like, but one thing is certain, it was nothing close to regular Spheres. Rumors give it an elongated body, without any membrane whatsoever. A so-called witness reported to a Memory an enormous being, as wide as a medium Sphere but twice as long, with a mouth covered with long teeth swallowing the ocean. Incoherent records pile up, and some rationalists suggest that at the time, the sight of any abnormal Sphere was thought to be Krkklia. They seem to prefer this hypothesis to the other, way more frightening, implying that it was able to change shape at will.

Ghost of the deep

Noone was ever able to predict where the Sphere would appear, nor did anyone track it down. The only plausible explanation is that the skin of the Sphere, and even its membrane should it have one, were completely Red. It is not satisfactory, because many reports mention pale to translucent skin, displaying all its internal organs and people in plain sight. Then, there must have been something else to their outer layer, something able to suppress the natural emission of waves and heat, since only acute sensors were able to pick up its presence.

Vicious and deadly

A thing almost all records have in common is that the Sphere seemed to possess some sort of appendages allowing it to be very swift matching the speed of skips, even in close combat. The nature of said appendages is up to interpretation, though. Myriads of spikes, flagellums or fins, sometimes all of that at once. Not even the modern Sphere of Strke, the fastest of predatory Spheres, can only dream of reaching a speed that would allow them to take down any bigger fish.

 
 
Possible Look of Krkklia

Heavenly Slayer

Killing a Sphere is not only taboo, it is also very difficult to do. They have multiples hearts, a brain protected by a fortress made of bone, and there is nothing sturdier than a Sphere's shell. Even piercing their membrane will not harm them directly, although it is an effective way to annihilate its population. However, Krkklia left countless corpses in its wake, sometimes even Spheres undoubtedly bigger than the predator. From reliable sources, the husks were hollow, their blood drained out and their flesh ripped from the inside. However, the shells were mostly fine, except for one, sometimes up to five holes large enough to let a skip through but no more. Prior to the appearance of the predator, it was thought that only a bigger Sphere could destroy a smaller one through overwhelming strength. The fact that Krkklia was able to vanquish any opponent regardless of its size shook the Expanse then.

 
 
Possible Look of Krkklia
Deep Sea Fish by Joern Zimmermann
Compiling all these records highlighted yet another oddity. For a Sphere rumored to show no mercy, leaving nothing behind but the corpse of its victims, how could so many bear witness and survive long enough to tell the story? Either it wasn't as implacable as it is thought to be, or all these stories are but made up lies. The deeper I dive, the harder it becomes to distinguish between facts and fiction. Maybe I am doing it wrong. Maybe the truth lies not in the Sphere, but in its people.
— Rationalist Akllarelsllh
 

Creeping corruption

 

The Sphere of Krkklia, if it was even its real name, drove its denizens mad. The mind of a Sphere is usually a deep maze of primitive thoughts, like an abyss the spheriers stand at the edge. For Krkklia, this chasm was filled with insanity, which spread like a plague. They were supposed to be masters of the trade, experts without equals. Yet they stood no chance against the madness that flowed out of the pit, drowning their minds and turning their bodies into crazed pawns.

Was it their mistake? Did they venture too deep into the twisted mind of their Sphere, full of themselves? Or was Krkklia too much for any spherier to handle ?
— Rationalist Akllarelsllh
 

The Krkklians were probably never a peaceful bunch, but when Krkklia took over their minds they became restless killers. The Sphere hunted its kind, its army of brainwashed servants slaughtered the people. The only clue of their look comes from a dubious witness, which described them as follows :

 
What I saw wasn't a product of our Father Ocean. I think... they looked like they were a kind of starfish, but so twisted and deformed they had nothing remotely starfish. Each one of their five arms had grown into a serpentine limb. They were holding things, weapons I think. But they had no use of them, as their arms were terminated by a mouth filled with teeth. Their skin was smooth, but pale, oh so pale I could almost see through them. And their eyes... starfishes aren't supposed to have eyes, oh Father Ocean their eyes were two, devoid of life and will, but so determined at the same time. Then they killed us all. My kin is now extinct, I am the sole survivor. I don't know why they spared my life. Now don't ask me further questions, I can't answer them.

 
If only I could believe it, how big of a leap it would be! But the man said he was supposedly spared by a merciless critter that sought only death and destruction. This alone is hard to trust. Adding the mention of the Father Ocean, whose church is supposed to be founded just after the Age of War, I am deeply pained to consider this witness null. I need to pinpoint the disappearance of Krkklia.
— Rationalist Akllarelsllh

End of a legend

 

When did Krkklia disappear for good? Near the end of the Age of Wars, the number of testimonies thinned before ultimately ceasing to exist. Only wild theories can be expressed at this point, as no one has ever retrieved an abnormal corpse. Some say it faced a Leviathan and was destroyed, others that the failing of a boarding inflicted so much damage to both parties that the prey and the predator have fallen to the Abyss. But even in current cycles, it is not so uncommon for skips or small Spheres to vanish without a trace. This kind of event is often attributed to a Leviathan attack or the discrete assault of a predator Sphere.

 
Predator Spheres have a weird physiology. They feed off other Sphere, and lack the obvious means to filtrate the plankton. However, a single prey can sustain them for a whole cycle, though they wouldn't reject a bonus meal. If we consider the increasing scarcity of Spheres, it isn't too far-fetched to imagine Krkklia surviving hidden all this time. Maybe the remaining Spheres are either too strong for it to handle, or kept as a cattle of sort, to make sure it will have enough food in the long run. If my hypothesis holds true, Krkklia may still haunt our waters, preying upon the lost and alone. A final clue can be found in its descendants, which I know too well.
— Rationalist Akllarelsllh
 

Legacy

 

Usually, Spheres release their offspring at the epipelagic phase of their benthic cycle. However, such cycles are meant to replenish the membrane medium and leave the Sphere in a state of great vulnerability. It appears unlikely that Krkklia would put itself open to attacks. Moreover, no record of a strange figure under the sky. Being a depth-delving Sphere, it may have another way to stay habitable. Some suggest that it may be the cause of its predatory behavior, to siphon the gas of other Spheres. An interesting hypothesis, but not based on anything considering current predator Spheres must undergo benthic cycles despite some feeding on Spheres.

 

If Krkklia had cycles like any Sphere or not, it definitely left offsprings. Though very few, in comparison to others. From time to time, in the period where it was active, a very strange offspring was sighted. At first, such occurrence drew fear, spheriers thinking they stumbled upon the real Krkklia. But over time, this fear turned into a hunt and fighters united, seeking to wipe out every single one of these critters, to prevent the arrival of another beast. Such chases were dangerous, and many hunters set sails only to never be seen again.

 

Rumours go that some offsprings managed to escape. Anhvall, the legendary skips of the Seekers may be one of them. However, no such being has been sighted in cycles, and the very endurance of Anhvall is being questioned.

 
Anhvall exists, and it is a wonderful skip. I've been aboard, during my journey to elucidate The Genesis hatched from the End. It is nothing like regular skips, and I cannot fathom the Sphere it will become. If anything, it is my proof that Krkklia once existed, and the sole foundation of my research. It has been recovered by ████████ lineage. I won't delve here on their goals, whatever they could have been to raise such a monster. Take note, however, that if what Anhvall do is even half of Krkklia abilities, I fear the legends are nothing but an understatement.
— Rationalist Akllarelsllh

Akllarelsllh's notes

On naming and signatures

The name Krkklia remained through the ages to qualify this Sphere, but it is unlikely it was its real signature. Different sources suggest other names, for instance, Opggvalla, Nhhkla, or Vahnll. If I had to choose, the latter is the most plausible. The closest we have to identify its true signature is Anhvall, the offspring of the Sphere. Given that the signature of offsprings is close to the one of their parent, Vahnll is a name that could have hatched Anhvall. As to why history decided to keep the name Krkklia, I remain skeptical. Maybe it sounds more threatening or otherwordly.

 

On titles

This title of "the Devourer" is an odd one. It doesn't resemble the titles given to people, it is too simple. I am fairly sure it is a nickname, as I don't see a Sphere appending this term to their signature on purpose. Yet, I can't reject this hypothesis either. I have nonetheless two ideas I believe to be more realistic :

Maybe the ancient titles differed from the modern ones. After all, no titled being remains from the Age of Wars, and language is bound to evolve. Dialects evolve, as said prior, and what we understand as "the Devourer" may have a completely different meaning, or even be a part of the signature of the Sphere, making it way longer than what got to us. Could it even be that the many names are in fact parts of a unique, bigger signature?
Deep Sea by Luis Carrasco

The Obloggian Perspective

Even after my thorough investigation, a lot of unknown shroud Krkklia. However, I thought at first that I was chasing pipe dreams, a mere ghost of the past. That is not the case anymore. I am now certain that a peerless predator Sphere existed once, even if it had a different name. Now, where end the reality and where begin the fiction? That I cannot say. I tried to aggregate the various information I came across, rejecting dabbling witnesses and baseless rumors. Albeit I cannot vouch for the veracity of what I say, it is the most precise and knowledgeable treaty on the subject. As a final note, I would like to remind you that Krkklia may still be alive and roaming the Expanse, thus advising against lone navigation in uncharted waters.
— Rationalist Akllarelsllh
 
Anhvall by Rumengol

Spooky story, is it not? I guess I'm too old to believe in such child stories. Oh, I heard that one once or twice in my youth. "Don't wander too far from the Spires or Krkklia the Devourer might eat you whole." But come on now, a Sphere, not a skip, to penetrate another just to eat one poor soul? Sure, I heard this Rationalist researching about it, but if you knew what happened with his last work, you wouldn't be so eager to listen to this one. Anyway, what he found is at best a fine story for higher minds. The likes of me are not bound to delve in useless knowledge, there is always too much work for us to do.



Cover image: by Jean Chevillard

Comments

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
12 Mar, 2022 23:35

Amazing article! Those are some chilling stories if Krkklia is still hanging around somewhere... I love the idea that it could have turned against its spheriers and mind controlled them instead of the other way around XD And then it would just be a sentient and malicious sphere, farming all other spheres so that is has enough to eat...   The titles being chosen by the sphere and added to their own signature are also an interesting concept!

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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
12 Mar, 2022 23:45

I forgot to mention, your tooltip for red has some code showing inside.

To see what I am up to:WE pledge and article list.
13 Mar, 2022 09:33

Thanks! I'll expand on what titles are later on, but a thing worth noting is that Spheres don't usually have one, as they are given to people for their achievements.   Also thanks for the tooltip, looks like I messed up with the autolinker there :p

I gathered some awesome articles in my Reading Challenge, want to take a look? There's also a Reading Challenge Big List combining all mentions of authors for the challenge, maybe you're in there too!