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Karix

“There are many things I remember; the Ossandrian horns and drums; the ring of steel on steel; the cries of the valorous dead. But more than anything else I remember the great clattering of the Karix as they fell upon us all, heedless of cause or conscience. The sound of mechanical slaughter is very unique you see. No… you don’t. And for your sake I pray you never do.”
-Tigran Agraval, Nehepi Tariq and Thornbearer

Also Known as: Sandshark, Dust demon, Neh.-Phaedmaran (King of Snakes)
Habitat: Nehepi Desert
Hazard Level: Critical

Summary
A colloquial name for a terrifying threat. Karix, or ‘sandsharks’ are not fish, but bio-mechanical horrors that prowl beneath the scouring sands of Nehep in search of prey. What exactly constitutes viable prey to the Karix is unclear but these creatures are dangerous predators that are often only detected when it is too late to escape them; attacks are immediately preceded by a clattering, ratcheting sound heard vibrating through nearby rocks and hard terrain. Plumes of fine dusty sand ejected from the desert mark their surfacing and they attack with hook tipped whip like appendages and steel-hard bodies, bludgeoning and grappling prey before dragging it beneath the sand to be devoured. They can launch themselves from the sand and shred through carts and horses with ease, stranding their victims for later consumption. Karix are typically 1-2 meters in diameter and 3-4 meters in length, with segmented bodies that seem to be a blend of metal growing in flesh. Karix wreak havoc on trade and travel in the desert and are considered a major threat by the Nehepi who place significant bounties for their destruction.

Description
Karix have long, segmented bodies composed of vanes of sharp, hooked metal, joined by sinew covered bone. Most specimens have seven circular segments, each one with an array of blackened hooks and hardened ‘fins’ that allow them to pull through and navigate sand. The body tapers slightly at both ends. At the the tail end four sharp horizontal fins are used to drive them forward while at the front or ‘face’ they use a funnel like mouth filled with shredding and grinding teeth that both constrict and rotate laterally around the mouth, torquing flesh from prey in a truly horrific manner. Anything caught in the moouth of the Karix is extremely unlikely to survive the experience.
Karix perceive primarily through a combination of audition, electro, and magneto-reception but possess simple light perceiving eyes arrayed along the spine and sides of the face. The species colouration includes black, crimson, pale tan, and bone white.

Karix are a predatory species with a deadly but alien intelligence. They operate in packs of 5-7 and coordinate their attacks to encircle and corral prey into small areas. They use a combination of leaping attacks with their spurs and barbs, breaching from below, savaging with their maws, and careening into targets with concussive blows to injure and kill prey. Karix are known to target and disable the largest prey first before proceeding to feed on their helpless targets for days or weeks as necessary.

The most dangerous ability of the Karix, and greatest indicator of their intelligence, is their tendency to create sand traps by pulsing and grinding the substrata of a sandy desert area, creating hidden pitfalls that leave an unaware traveler neck deep in shifting sand.

They are believed to migrate between nesting areas and Karix ‘nests’ have been found, though never inhabited. These cave-like nests, made from sand that has been hardened with some strange secretion, are recognizable by the presence of armour, weapons, and other inorganic materials regurgitated from their prey.

Karix reproduction, migration, and social structure remains unclear, but the species does appear to breed on long time scales as demonstrated by the successful extermination or extirpation of the species in the area surrounding Nekhet.

While most desert travelers insist the Karix can be found anywhere in the desert some Selenian lorekeepers have recorded a strong correlation between the species presence and the presence of the scouring red sands. This is further reinforced by reports of Sikatvaya or Sandweavers of Nehep being able to summon or control the species.

Numerous factions in Nehep offer significant rewards for the destruction of Karix and the species is known to be an excellent source of desert-durable materials.

Their serpentine body structure has led some to suggest they are a more aggressive relative of the Heap Worm, though this is heavily debated by most due to the significant differences including their inability to process inorganic matter and their pack social structure.