Within the terrifying dominion of Hosok, The Hand That Sees, within the ghastly monumental cities and strange pale villages of the worshipers of the Handgod, the bodies of the dead are not buried or burned, but are resigned to the long clammy hands of the Priest-Things of Hosok. Felled by disease, starvation, and the predation of Hosok's strange servants, these bodies are taken by the cart-full into the darkened depths of cyclopean temples of Hosok. What happens to these bodies is unknown, but one can only guess at what nightmarish magics and ancient mechanisms create the horrors known as the White Children Of Hosok, the twisted bodies of men inhabited by the undead spirits of strange and unknown beings.
These beings resemble in outline the bodies of the human beings from which they are raised, thin and mummy-like, with flesh drained of pigmentation to a chilly alabaster and shrunken against the knobbled bones. With long thin limbs and clawed digits on hands and feet, and a sharp-standing ribcage, the White Children of Hosok appear predatory in body. But atop the shoulders of these human shells rests the head of no man. The skull of a White Child of Hosok has been split and deformed by the being which has been implanted inside it, known to the people under the dominion of Hosok as a fingergod, and now resembles something more like a hideous grey-black plant with hundreds of twitching tendrils, or perhaps more aptly, a deformed hand with far too many wriggling multi-jointed tentacular fingers, armored with fragments of warped cranium. Through strange, vile, and mysterious rituals and practices, these fingergods are joined with the bodies of men- two dead fleshes combined in one. This awful hybrid is endowed with a spirit, an undead alien presence from beyond the stars, a nightmare ghost drawn from the same voidsome well in the sky that Hosok Himself arouse out of from the grip of death.
Clutches of four to six of these wasted, whitened risen corpses, crowned with hideous, black, alien hands and filled with vengeful and murderous unliving spirits, emerge from the towering pale temples of Hosok at the tolling of the prayer bell each week, when the cowering masses go to debase themselves before the altar of the Hand That Sees.
These awful creatures are named by the Priest-Things before the crowds; this naming of new White Children of Hosok is an official part of all weekly ceremonies, and takes place after debasing and recitation, but before the public tortures. After being named, each White Child of Hosok is given a black robe in which it wraps its naked, shriveled corpse, cowling the waving fingers of its malevolent head in a deep hood. From this point forward, these undead abominations are the enforcers of the Priest-Things of Hosok, the police of the temple-nation of the Hand That Sees. Wandering the chilly squalid streets of the Alabaster Lord's domain, the White Children of Hosok see all. All those who dwell in the ecclesiastical fortress-cities and bone-white mastaba towns of that terrifying region know the fear of the fingergods' eyeless gaze.
The White Children of Hosok police the cities and towns of Hosok's tyrannous nation and enforce the edicts of the Priest-Things and the vile encyclicals of the Handgod Himself. Those who break the laws of the Hand That Sees, those who blaspheme against the Alabaster Lord or damage His images and monuments, those who oppose the will of their betters (some humans are valued more than others- these are the Elect; but even the Elect must not sin against the less human creatures which are the favored servants and children of the Hand That Sees), and the manifold criminals and trespassers common to all societies- all of these meet the cold vengeance and insane rage of the Handgod's undead gendarmes.
Lawbreakers, outlaws, and dissenters are punished by these beings in unimaginably terrifying and horrific ways, usually publicly. Even the least of offenders, such as pickpockets, who are captured by the White Children of Hosok are tortured agonizingly and disgustingly, and often raped before their deaths. Those guilty of worse crimes endure punishments to frightening to describe. All of the guilty are devoured afterwards.
The White Children of Hosok are supernaturally strong and tough, belying the frailty of their mummified bodies. Though usually stiff in movement, they can engage in occasional bursts of terrible speed and strange alien agility. They can see without eyes and need no light or sound to pursue their victims. Those who they touch are often struck by a black infection of the skin which also fills the lungs with fibrous fungal masses. If they wish, the fingergod which is their head can wrap its awful alien digits around any human skull and peel back the layers like the skin of an orange; the consumption of the brain will make them party to all knowledge possessed by the unfortunate consumed. Children of Hosok can consume nearly any biological matter by tearing it into tiny pieces and swallowing it through a miniscule mouth in the palm of the fingergod. The Children of Hosok make no sound and speak no human tongue. Though they may seem like mindless beings, they are possessed of fathomless undead minds driven to madness by eons of bodiless rage, jealousy, and sorrow. They have a strange smell like the scent in the air after lightning has struck nearby, combined with a pervasive odor of wet rot.
Some among the Children of Hosok have especially strong fingergods; these are known as Hounds of Hosok, and they are the Mindseers and Truthsayers of the Priest-Things of Hosok, endowed with fearsome mental powers which can match those of a powerful sorceror.
The Children of Hosok are fearsome indeed, and deadly in combat, but they can be successfully defeated, should the combatant be skilled enough, and not muzzled by fear (a trait which most subjects of the Hand That Sees cannot claim). The fingergod, like a human head, is a locus of soul and mind, and should be the target of attack. Like all abominations born of the Handgod, the Children of Hosok are foes of the light and will avoid it (though it does not harm them, it drives them away). Fire and heat is their foe, and living wood and plants will sting them and burn their flesh. Immersion or contact with a great amount of water, however, causes them to explode forth clouds of disease-causing spores. Perhaps the Child of Hosok's greatest enemy is salt. Salt causes terror and repugnance in the fingergods, and if their corpse bodies come in contact with it, they will suffer greatly, their drum-tight skins cracking, splitting, and oozing thick congealed black ichor. If the waving implanted head is touched by salt, it will shriek and implode, and the creature shall die immediately.
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? Responses (18)
These are certainly abnormal and loathsome to picture; I dare say that many are those who avoid Hosok's domain on the power of these monstrosities alone. Their weaknesses are intriguing as well - if someone were so inclined, he could outfit an army of peasant slingers with small bullets of salt from a salt flat or the like and bring these things down to wonderful effect.
Is the fear effect an actual ability, or is it the terror of what happens to those who've defied Hosok in the past that keeps the people under his sway cowed by the Children?
...Also, for some reason (probably evidence I should go sleep), when I saw the title, my mind read 'Chicken' instead of 'Children'. Strange mental images ensued.
Good work, Cap'n!
Well, the psychic Hounds of Hosok could probably create a fear effect, but in the case of the general White Children, the human populace of Hosok's domain is so cowed by centuries of domination by a horrific alien dictator that they are simply instinctively fearful of the White Children.
Ooooh, finally a use for rocksalt shotgun shells! :)
Nicely done Captain! In all your gory glory!
I'm drooling to use them! Awesome, Cap! fascinating background, great descriptions, evocative to the nth degree and nice touch on the salt weakness. I really like this!
Finally broke your writers block? And these oozed out?
The write up gets a little difficult to follow in spots. The beautiful (but its ugly... well, maybe well executed is better) imagery gets a touch repetative here and there.
Still a nice bit that you have to back install into your world.
At least these things keep the crime rate low.
Well, I dunno'. I guess the real conflict is, would you rather be murdered and raped by human beings or by hideous hand-headed zombies?
Actually, it seems to me that they also keep the population count down... also a way to fight crime.
As always, the Captain delivers a dose of horror that would enliven any game it is used in.
I suspect that the mere possession of salt is suspicious within the lands of The Hand That Sees, drawing the attention of informants and those eager to buy the favor of their revolting overlords. Those preparing for battle with the dreaded White Children may learn that the hybrid undead aren't the only terror within the land, only the most infamous.
This is a good one, deserves to be brough out of storage once again.
What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!
H. P. Lovecraft
Excellently done sir, my hat is off to you. I dont know why I overlooked this submission but I am glad that I did read this. The imagry is perfect, and the minions are sublime in their horror.
I... I gotta say this, mate... I think I just shat myself when reading this. I mean, tortured AND raped? Ugh, that's disturbing imagery, especially given what these damn things look like and how they act. It's like you're about to be executed, and the commander of the firing squad asks you for your number- in that it's totally f*@d up. You know what? I think I'll stick with my dystopian Imperiums and overly optimistic Star Trek universes rather than deal with these bastards, thank ye kindly.
Then again, it would be kind of funny to see Lenard Nimoy and William Shatner kick one's ass. :)
Yeah, those are pretty creepy, heh. Excellent description and setting. Hosok is also a great name, rolls off the tongue, like its moniker, the Hand That Sees.) This reads like an Edward Lee monstrosity.
Argh, once again one of those subs that I have read many times over and enjoyed each time but somehow failed to vote and comment on. A really good CP piece, from the name down.
Id like to thank MJS for commenting on this so I came up in recently commented otherwise I may never have found this. Its, dark, creepy, with a twist of what the hell went wrong here that these people just gave in to it?
Perfect place for a stop over for unsuspecting adventurers running afoul one of these and not understanding what they did wrong by saying the guys in the cowled robes smell funny.
Thanks guys for bringing this up - the imagery is simply excellent, I'd put it up there with Guillermo del Torro.
It evokes the feeling as if the human corpses it wears are but a flowerpot to the monstrous thing blossoming out of it..
Makes one wish for a salt-shaker on a ten-foot pole...
Wonderful stuff. Great names, great flavor. Leaves you wondering how their shadow fell over these chilly streets.
But why would they rape you?