Skulks are shadow like creatures that live in hollow items. Immaterial, they can grow two horns and multiple sets of claws from hardened sand. This way, Skulks can physically interact with their environment and use them as an other defence mechanism.
They are famous for having an external core that resembles a lump of Dysnomian Gold . They can grow to impressive sizes in addition, it is important to note that a Skulk’s core will grow likewise. This state is very unique and induces the creature to change their hiding spot once their core grows too large. They can « possess » their hiding spot, moving it or using it to fight back.
Due to the fact they have an external core, Skulks have an obsession to protect and hide it at all cost. An obsession so deeply rooted into their very being that all choices and attitudes are dominated by the very thought that their core is vulnerable.
This makes them by nature cautious and will actively seek hollow items to use as a « shell » calling it their home.
No matter their size, they never grow out of their extremely aggressive behaviour towards any thing coming too close to there core and so, their home.
They tend to band together as security and food becomes easier to acquire. However Skulks seem to respect a sort of “safe distance” between them, never letting the others have an easy access to one’s core, and always competing for the best hiding spots.
They tend to collect gold and precious items around them and in their homes. This helps camouflage their golden cores.
They also use this hoarding technique to attract future Caress sources. Larger Skulks use the gold as bait, for example, an avid Pirate allured by the Skulk’s wealth may fall victim to a crippling blow. As the prey suffers and tries to escape, the creature enjoys a lavish feast, draining the sailor's Caress. Sometimes for weeks.
One can find a large demographic living at sea, close to Nyctaspire zones. However, Skulks can be found all round Dysnomia. They may live in remote places, rejoicing in isolation or thrive in more Caress rich places like on a ship, in a house or a cave. There may be one in your ship as you read this, hiding in an item that you have not used in a long time. Like a lost cup, or pot. Maybe some thing even bigger…
They come in different sizes. I have taken the liberty to classify them here :
Note : The larger the Skulk, the clever it is. Starting with standard understanding of its needs and its vulnerability, to an evolving intelligence capable of understanding their environment and even primitive language.
Small : The small Skulk finds refuge in small items like cups , pots, flasks... etc. Usually with tiny or no horns at all. They prove to be no threat at all and are more of a nuisance. Feeding of excess energy in the atmosphere around it.
Medium : Finding refuge in bigger objects due to the size of its core like in barrels, chests and draws, these Skulks can be harmful to other living beings physically with its claws and energetically. Using an open wound to tap to its prey’s Caress.
Large : Large Skulks are dangerous foes. Hiding their cores in places like entire rooms and large storage spaces. This type of Skulk will most likely murder you for just entering its habitat. Able to To drain Caress like the smaller sizes however Large Skulks can now drain living beings and cores with out wounding them. By this time, the creature may have large horns and possibly multiple sets of claws. Making them an impressive threat on the physical and Caress level.
If encounters with the creature happen on a daily basis, elimination or taming the creature will be necessary. Lack of action over a long period (years) will result in a huge Skulk.
At this point basic conversation maybe possible.
Huge : A rare event, at this point, the creature needs a huge place to hide it’s core the size of bookcase. Taking control of entire cave systems, Ships, or houses. Avid hunters will desire the treasure hoarded over decades by such a beings. Artisans crave to work with a Huge Skulk core as prestige is assured to their craftsmanship.
However Clever and aggressive slaying one is extremely dangerous. Not to mention you will will be entering its playground. Notoriety will attract more and more treasure hunters into their habitats, forever feeding the Skulk and growing its stash. Noise of non-returning Sailors will attract more into the mouth of the beast. Completing a viscous cycle.
Skulks have two types of uses for sailors. The first is when it’s alive, the second are the remains (loot).
The greedy and cunning Sailors of all-times have used livings Skulk to guard passageways or insure the projection of their possessions.
Indeed, the natural desire to hide and its vulnerability when young permit a person to move a young Skulk without too much trouble. The Skulk will love the projection of chest or a dark passageway, quikly making itself at home. The possible coins of a chest, for example, will also permit the creature to camouflage itself.
It is important to mention that this creature can be somewhat tamed, there are different ways to tame this beast, details on which would require a dedicated tome.
I can however cite them here by interest, one can domesticate a Skulk by feeding, donating gold and other precious items, hexing the creature and bargaining / befriending...
All have there advantages and drawbacks.
The remains of this creature are remarkable.
Artisans have found uses for all components of the beast.
Its horns are used in potions. They are said to grant longevity once ground down and used in a specific potion.
It’s shadow can with the right spell and timing be conserved in a flask. Used to create a Fabled potion called « The shadow’s swig», be consumed in a dark ritual in order to transform oneself and acquire spectral features.
The claws, depending on the size are frequently used as trinkets or weapons. Sometimes as very specific projectiles.
A core is used like others. However due its potential size, equipment can only be souled with a fragment of the large or huge specimens. Or a blade of pure core must be forged. This is called a “PureBlade”.
Ship souled with the larger cores are rare and powerful. Mostly due to the diffuser, the later must be specifically designed to exploit to the fullest this type of core. Artisans with this talent and craftsmanship are hard to come by and this process does not come cheep.
Small and medium size cores :
Good for equipment and ships of Destroyer and Cruiser size ships.
Equipment can grant Caress drain, sharper edges, weightlessness, a sense for treasure while reducing your natural caress consumption. Can cause increased aggressivity and greed
Ships gain the same types of bonuses with better night movement and some sort of self-awareness.
Large and huge cores :
Good for very specific equipment usage and crafting and ships of Battleship and Dreadnought sizes.
Rare « PureBlades » can be forged, here with extreme Caress drain once it penetrates the victims flesh. Most PureBlade are Spears tips or harpoons because an easy connection between the user and the target is preferred to maintain the draining effect.
Ships with special energy diffuser rooms inherit a spectral form. Taking a great deal less physical damage and are capable of draining Caress around them. Once must know that the ship can develop a sort of conscience or an echo of the Skulk’s personality.