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December 20, 2005, 11:01 pm

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Cheka Man
Mourngrymn

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The Cyahoi

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The Cyahoi are horrific undead beings created as powerful servants by the cults of the frightful Lord Sarku, flesh-eating Master of the Living Dead. They are animalistic and violent creatures whose lower, animal souls have been driven wild with spiritual starvation, and whose higher, reasoning souls are held captive in their black hearts.

The Cyahoi are horrific undead beings created as powerful servants by the cults of the frightful Lord Sarku, flesh-eating Master of the Living Dead. They are animalistic and violent creatures whose lower, animal souls have been driven wild with spiritual starvation, and whose higher, reasoning souls are held captive in their black hearts.

The creation of Cyahoi is typically a ritual entailing the mass worship and chanting of an entire congregation of Sarkukai (the faithful of Sarku). This frightful ritual involves a gathering of the congregation into one room for a long ceremony of prayer and sacrafice. At the peak of this ceremony, the high priest of the congregation extends the magic of the living dead into the gathered Sarkukai, where it seeks out and finds the priest (or priestess, though it is rare for Cyahoi to be made from the Inamoratas of Sarku) which is best suited for the making of this thing.
Within moments, the magic tears the heart from the priest’s breast and it is summoned, still beating, to the high priest’s hand, to be exhibited before the congregation, who go into a wild frenzy.

The slain priest’s body, typically hemorraghing blood, is borne over the arms of the crowd and placed upon the dais before the high priest.

All chanting ceases, and silence falls over the chamber. The high priest, with ghoulish dramaticism, holds out the heart, showing to all that it begins to blacken and bloat.
A great wave of corruption erupts from the body of the priest, and the blackened heart in the high priest’s hand slowly and then more quickly resumes beating; blood, slick and black, pours from the priest’s body.

Then, grotesquely, the body, unleashing streams of stringy, sticky blood, rises and floats drunkenly beside the high priest as the frenzied acolytes below howl and wail, leaping and orgying at the power of Sarku.

The corpse begins to cough, hack as if it is vomiting, and then it coughs forth great masses of blood and black phleghm and bile, huge sticky gobs and masses of blackened tissue. Then, horrifically, it is coughing forth it’s organs, and cracked rib bones, it is coughing forth more slick, massy blood, splattering slickly across it’s body. It’s bleeding eyes roll back, revealing the whites, and it’s jaw opens distended and wider than humanly possible. The skin seems to shrink against the bones, making the corpse more feral and fearful to look upon.

Finally, with a last shuddering retch which shakes it’s entire frame, the corpse (it’s black heart still in the high priest’s hand)vomits forth it’s intestinal entrails from it’s throat, along with chunks of shattered bone and bile, to drape abominably from it’s mouth like a curtain of grotesque bloody tentacles which waver and swirl.

The new being begins to crawl through the air, spidering across open space as if it hangs from denser and lighter sections of vapor, drifting outward with dreamy, disjointed movements, and stepping on nothingness.

The crowded Sarkukai reach out to it, screaming and chanting “Sarku, Sarku”.

The thing, like a petulant dog, flees back to the high priest, clutches like the alien corpse of a demon-ape at the high priest’s legs, draping the ground with the spewing entrails which drag from it’s distended jaw. It’s whitened eyes flash, and it’s face seems locked in an expression of animal rage.

This is a Cyahoi.

Cyahoi are among the most formidable of the living dead. Along with their ability to crawl through the air, and their disjointed, juddering movement which seems dimensionally-disrespectful, putting them at places where they should not be able to reach so quickly, they are as strong as five men, and loathsomely durable, their hardened, shrunken flesh like wood. Their hands are gnurled claws whose nails are vicious talons, filthy with unimaginable diseases. But it’s greatest weapons are it’s entrails, which extend, twist, shoot forth, crush, slap, move at the Cyahoi’s command like hundreds of prehensile intestines; it can vomit forth huge quantities of foul, steaming blood from these, and translucent acid, and most fearful of all, the Cyahoi can call forth baneful presences from the Underworld, which it vomits forth from it’s tentacle-intestines like missiles and detonate in a flash of howling souls.

Cyahoi are as intelligent as wolves, in a scheming, vicious, purely-evil way. They serve the High Priests of Sarkukai congregations, who keep their black hearts separate from their bodies; a Cyahoi’s heart is the key to controlling and destroying it. Cyahoi are usually used only as trump cards by the devotees of the Lord of Worms, and the Sarkukai are loth to use them needlessly- the possibility, though rare, that the Cyahoi may be destroyed after the immense expenditure of energy that created it is too risky. Thus, the Cyahoi are kept back and used against major threats, or when a huge statement must be made.

The key to destroying a Cyahoi is to destroy it’s heart; this is no easy thing, for the heart of a Sarku-temple’s Cyahoi is generally kept within the frightful Holy of Holies where only the High-priest may go. Cyahoi who are dismembered, burned, or otherwise destroyed while their heart remains intact reform within a day.

A Cyahoi is a powerful but short-lived undead being; the magic of the living dead which sustains it keeps it chained but a year and a day after it’s creation, at which point, the heart crumbles to dust, the body rots at a supernatural rate, and both human and animal souls flee howling to the horror-abode of Lord Sarku.



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Comments ( 5 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
January 6, 2006, 18:03
0xp
A truely nasty form of undead.
Voted Mourngrymn
January 7, 2006, 12:49
0xp
I spoke with CP on this idea and I love it. It seeps darkness and creepy.
Ria Hawk
January 13, 2006, 0:39
0xp
I have but one thing to say, and that is ew. But I think players' reactions when this is described make it worth it.
Barbarian Horde
January 26, 2008, 10:03
0xp
Nice adaptation from Tekumel!
Voted Dossta
January 12, 2011, 15:53
0xp

Very solid.  Makes me think of a scenario where the PCs are within a temple of Sarku, searching desperately for the hearts of these things while the beasts close in on all sides.  Perhaps an abandoned temple, even -- all of the priests wiped out by a plague almost a year ago, with the Cyahoi left to run wild through the hallways and the nearby countryside.

A few things that could use clarification: how far can a Cyahoi go away from its heart?  Is there a limit?  And do they need sustenance/nourishment?  All the blood, etc that they vomit forth must be regenerated somehow, otherwise they'd run out of their original fluids before the year was up.  Can they be contained?  Will walls, bars, flame, water, etc stop them?

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