Rhaphi-large cave insect.
Extracts from Alkur’s book of insects.
The best thing that can happen when confronted by a Rhaphi (Rafy) is that it will ignore you and continue on its way. They are deaf, blind and yes, dumb beasts. Their flesh, if you can call it that, as its more like the insides of a very ripe pair, is disgusting. This walking sack of gastro juices is a slow, thin but lumbering thing which seems to have no purpose in life but to transport its undercarriage of parasites, which are numerous and not exactly friendly or hygienic, from one place to the next.
Scare factor Its only claim to fame are its looks, scary, we are talking, heart stopping fear. The sort of fear that makes grown men and soldiers of death, hold their breath. The eyeless huge head , the mandibles, the spines on its legs and those foot hooks!! And all the time its crawling, every part of its body is alive with crawling parasites. If the encountered victim does have the peace of mind and overcomes their fear, its the sort of beast they love to kill. It would take some mighty slashes, its internal fluids would spurt and ooze with every hit, before it would cease to be. They have been seen beheaded and still crawling. Its the sort of beast a ruthless and mindless thug would hack into after an ale or two, just for fun.
Death by bug
Death by this bug is not likely, however there are some things one should keep in mind. First there is the risk of infection. The decaying matter it often feeds on and the parasites and dirt its covered in, are full of bacteria. A small nick can become quite infectious.
The scare factor can paralyze a victim thus making them vulnerable to other lurking nasties.
But by far the worst problem is that of the parasites. About the size of a small coin or gem they can be veracious eaters. They will eat rotten foods but prefer living flesh. They have been known to turn on their host if the host is beyond life. More often than not tho they will ride it out under the host, clinging to its underbelly until the danger is gone. Be warned tho that stories have been told of these little mites turning on the attacker or anything else that moves or is warm and in the vicinity. The parasites tend to eat from the outside in. Skin and then down through the layers or flesh, muscle and then in for the sumptuous bone marrow. The parasite larvae are also a problem. There is a good chance just being near to this creature will attract larvae or young parasites. Animals with hair are prone to the itchy rash that is a symptom of such an infection. Left unchecked, the rash becomes worse, raw and eventually in about 6 weeks the little mites are adult size. But by then your generally dead or at least walking around with no skin.
Averaging 8ft in length these brown coloured, over sized insects have the normal 6 spindly legs covered in brittle thorn like spines and ending with a foot hook. On each leg just above the second joint or knee, is a small opening, a spiracle, where the beast breaths from.It has no wings of any kind and no carapace. Its pronotum or saddle just in behind the head, is in fact the only part of the body that would offer any resistance to weapons and even that is more akin to the finest softest leather. This foot square peace of leather is probably the only useful part of the insect. Again, more for an item of fashion, then any use to a worker or sojourner. The antenna are body length in size and can either, reach fully forward of the head or lay along its back. The antenna are not as delicate as you would expect for such a deaf and blind creature, who can but only rely on them for sound sensing. They thump their way along the cavern walls often bent, broken or covered in slugs of mud. The mandibles do not come to a point like stag beetle but end in wide flat edges more for harvesting fungi or sheering mosses.
They are trash eaters, feasting on dead and decaying matter be it vegetable or animal. They especially like fungi, mosses and the like. Not really carnivorous although the mandible size would make you think otherwise.
Not much is known of these weak creatures their lack of real value or danger has meant that no one has ever really spent time researching them. Most encounters are generally leg waving debacles, where it ends up loosing a limb or too. It can reproduce its limbs within about a week, so loosing them is not a life threatening disaster.