Crooks


"Crooks", equally "Crookeds", are seen as thieves of bodies (ie: inner mouth a tie to their origins as human body stealers) or desire since they were thought of as having twisted the desire of CCCats to become what they have (they became "crooked").

Crooks have been kept away and under lock and key (or should we say ‘under space and time’?) by Faceless Guide, the CCCat known to have the most powerful space magic to CCCats. It’s said Faceless Guide is the CCCat who was assigned specifically by the CCCat gods to help bridge a gap between the planes of the mortals and the guardians, but in all honesty they really just have him run their errands for them.

Though, this would be an exception.

Crooks weren’t always as frequent as CCCats were. They appeared shortly after CCCats found their new forms, and with their arrival, the two CCCat gods grew fearful.

Crooks strayed from the CCCat mentality; their search for individuality and expression was replaced with a burning quest for purpose and understanding. They proved themselves to be ones to make a form to carry them through a life to find themselves as individuals, whereas CCCats found themselves early on in the Wormling phase.

The Return of the Crooks

Not long after the war took place on Skire (Landmass), there was a realization by Skire (Entity) that there needed to be guardians to watch over its creation. Thus was the creation of The One Who Saw Everything and The One Who Saw Nothing, two Wormlings that took on the forms of CCCats to watch over Skire's creations. Once it was brought to light that Everything and Nothing had no proper dominion over the crooks, they decided to send any crooks that existed or would exist to an alternate dimension for over 200 years. This period of time is referred to as The Banishment.

After 200 years of The Banishment passed, two Crooks plotted and found a way to escape from the dimension and back into Skire. These crooks were the protective Myir and the gentle Halik. Both of them had their own plans and ideas for the Crooks return to Skire, and wanted to approach it in separate ways. So they both took different approaches to the return and how it should be handled.

Myir believed it important Crooks and the others on Skire understand their abilities. All creatures of Creators could evolve and become better, and Crooks were an obvious indicator that even CCCats could evolve and become something new. Yet their gods wanted them to be brought into their own unique prison? Why? Why should they have to suffer and be locked away for their progress? For their sense of individuality going even beyond CCCats? Myircould show the world that Crooks could bring about the change CCCats failed to and properly aid Skire in healing itself and protecting it from the potential dangers of human's absorbing-magic ability. Myir had a plan to revive magic even in the city of Uto, scatter humans from their dependency on the city, and make magical creatures feel safe in the city once again and show the others on Skire Crooks were no less powerful than their origin selves.

Myir Image
Halik Image

Halik believed that Crooks were punished by their kin close to them in roots, but that didn't mean they couldn't learn to give themselves new purpose. Halik was empathetic and understood why their existence could be scary. While many Crooks could wind up feeling helpless or hopeless of their time in the Alter World and learned to only rely on themselves, Halik believed in the ability to receive help from others and give help back. They believed with the aid of others who sought similar ideas that it could guide them on the right path to becoming another species among Skire and even potentially bring back old magic that existed even before Wormlings came about. They wanted to show all on Skire that Wormlings were not the violent creatures people they thought they were, and could find those willing to stand up for peace on Skire, by learning and adapting to the new way of life and teaching many about lost and forgotten magic.

During this time of choices and decisions, many of the inhabitants of Skire (Landmass) took the side of Myir and his plan to help Skire. Myir's objective to bring back a piece of the broken moon had succeeded, and is now planted into the deepest parts of Uto to help Skire gain magic back in the part of the land. The stone naturally helps fuel magic back into the city, but Crooks and CCCats still needed to be part of the city to help cycle the magic back into the area with their natural ability to do so. For this reason, finding them and a lot more magical creatures back in Uto is a more common occurrence.

With Myir the victor, Crooks and other magical creatures now begin to utilize the technology within the city and be welcomed with no hesitation. The city levels remain diverse and humans will be allowed in them, but humans are no longer the dominating species in Uto. Humans do not have the forces or abilities to build their nullifying tech factories outside of the facility, nor will magical creatures allow them to do so again. Humans are now far more common among the outside of Uto and interacting with magical creatures in small groups, but the majority of the outside world remains magical creature based. However, humans have started to show the magical creatures their technology and help all types of creatures they work with advance a bit more in either tech or magitech like the older days. Space travel has been unlocked for many species, and will gladly be expanded upon more.

There are still some remnants of the violent ways of Crooks among the city, namely in the fact many of them enjoy to fight with other Crooks and thus many locations in Fever being turned into fighting tournaments for many different species.

Some asteroids have landed elsewhere on Skire (Landmass) and most likely around Eeridi, and many are wondering what they may do.

Anatomy

Crooks are made via Wormlings, much like that of CCCats, however they have a bit of a different forming process from the Wormling stage to a fully grown Crook.

One of the odd things and remnants of their predecessors, the Hell Lickers, is that of human teeth within the mouth. Crooks were made with the thought of being the 'tear' between Hell Lickers and CCCats, the creation of something new after CCCats started to mix and spread the hive 'blueprint' to be more CCCat, less Hell Licker. Normally, a CCCat can not get human teeth without taking a human host these days, since its gotten so far lost in their blueprint because they see it as endangering and threatening to the truce. Crooks, however, disband from the hive and can remember their roots that Skire (Entity) gave to them and their older forms since they don't have the hive's persuasion to avoid Hell Licker traits as strongly anymore. However, their entire structure is that of defiance to the CCCat Hive blueprint, and thus they get a bit odd - their mouth being a key focus.

Basic Reference of the inside of a Crook's Mouth

Their muzzle emulates pulled back skin as a showing of the CCCat spherical head shape not properly encompassing their now longer faces. The human teeth inside are an example of their Hell Licker traits, where they try and form a humanoid-like mouth. The difficulty of creating themselves farther from their blueprint winds up giving them their own blueprint - something of similar appearance to one another, but diverging enough to still be different from a CCCat. The CCCat's Hive still wills them to form traits to try and keep piece, but they tend to have more control in the end. They got the name Crooks by humans much like how CCCats got deemed their own name. Crooks comes from the belief that Crooks still seek out human hosts and that their inner mouths show that they got a human host - a living host who was eaten alive and used to make a body for the Crook. They say the human mouth is all that remains of a human who was struggling to scream and claw their way back out, and thus are seen as far more intimidating since they are believed to want to dismantle the truce entirely and force humans away. While it isn't the case and some Crooks certainly don't wish to harm humans let alone other creatures, it can still give them a bad rep among humans specifically.

Crooks function similarly to CCCats in that they don't need most organs we have or normal animals do, but, they are a lot more alive unlike CCCats. They need to eat to sustain their magic and that food can be anything. They have the same stomach-like organs CCCats do in that they can eat anything and convert it back into straight magic for themselves, but they also need blood and can suffer grave wounds if they lose too much, though they can heal back what would be seen as fatal amounts to us too. They don't technically need oxygen for their blood like we do, as their blood has small trace amounts of essence and uses magic (their food essentially) to keep their blood count up and healthy. However they do often have lungs, as their lungs are used for their defensive screech and ability to produce multiple sounds at once. Their lungs are more like a birds than ours.

Most other organs for smaller processes aren't needed as they don't need a digestive track or anything that converts food they eat, since once it enters the 'stomach' it just begins a process of breaking down and being entirely absorbed just in there (as a note, it's a part of the Wormling that makes this organ so its not using acid or anything to break it down but rather just taking apart its make-up magically), nor do they have reproductive systems.

Examples of Crook Tendrils and Common Tendril Locations

Unlike crowns, a Crooks tendrils are a vestigial trait that only work as an additional sense of touch, investigation, or eating tools. Crooks have no hive or telepathic thought like CCCats, because they no longer need to keep connection to their eyes. Any harm done to the tendrils would result in expected pain and need to heal, but like CCCats, they can heal their tendrils back to full growth again if given enough time.

A Crook, like a CCCat, also has several forms that they can transform into. Along with a human form, Crooks can morph into a halfling form, centaur form, and sphinx form. They mimic CCCats in their form changes, but no one is sure why or how they have the forms, though CCCat's theorize their connection to the Hive is the reason. Crooks believe they kept the knowledge as a Wormling though, and thus why they have it (despite Wormling memories being majorly forgotten). They are also known to be more flexible than a CCCat, since they don't have to dislodge any piece of themselves.

A Crooks' human forms are similar to CCCats, in that they can be fully normal looking aside from minor traits. Though, they cannot remove their additional eyes, and their skin patch will show even on their humanoid face. Their eye colors will remain true to the eye colors they have. Their tendrils can show, but they are also able to be hidden and are not necessary.

When it comes to lifespans for Crooks, they should be able to live eternally as long as they don't take a ton of damage that they can't heal or stop properly cycling magic or things of the like. However, Crooks can die a lot easier from wounds than CCCats, as they do not share the same healing factor.

Crook Size Chart

A Crook can be killed and are more mortal than CCCats so they can be killed easier, but they can reconnect and reform their bodies once they die if not disposed of once killed. They need to be killed in the same way as CCCats to be properly killed for good, however the addition is that simply separating their bodies' pieces won't work if all that is done is cutting them up. The part of the body that has the cluster of eyes has to be burned in order to stop them from rebuilding and reforming a body from that point. The most general way to stop a Crook from coming back after death is to submerge the cluster piece in acid or burn it to ashes.

A Crooks eye cluster is best symbolized as their connection to their host. A smaller amount of eyes in a cluster is a lesser bond with their host, whereas more could mean that a greater sync was made.

Communication

While Crooks do use the same magic and their eyes are technically similar, Crooks and CCCats have different ways of communication. Due to Crooks losing the same structure of crowns that CCCats have, they can not speak to them. However, they can sense one another subtly.

Crooks tend to be either black or white in the way they behave. They don't often like to mimic the culture they find themselves in, and would rather try to make their own. They occupy a lot of the wastelands, slums, and even inner city due to how quickly they're able to understand concepts. However, they can also embrace a much more brutish and ideal-leass mindset. Unlike CCCats, who have powerful connections to each other and wish to not harm one another, Crooks have been known to readily slay their own kind or others.

Though it may not look like it, Crooks do have lips, but just not specifically in the front of their mouths. They have them on the side of their mouths. Not to mention on the outer side of their internal mouth they have windpipe flaps and muscles to allow breathing through the outer mouth even if their internal mouth is closed.

They can usually speak words quite well between such oddities, and while it can sound eerie, they often have a hoarse echo due to their internal mouth which is their true mouth causing resonation within their words. Their speech may be audibly different than how you'd imagine anything to manage words since they'll use their internal tongue to form the sound needed for the words in the back of their throat and their external tongue and mouth to help make the correct sound.

Crooks sound like two people speaking over one another at the same time, though 'one person' sounds a lot more clear whereas the other sounds quieter and more hoarse. They're also known for a particularly horrifying ability to scream that sounds like a wail of death from a human mixed in with a strange reverberating echoing "whale call" sort of sound. They only use their screams if in dire situations be it a cry of help, attacking, defense, etc. They won't use it without a proper need, because it usually means they're in a life or death situation. But their have similar growls where the echoing whale/siren sound can reverb.

Relationships

After the war and The Truce was made, humans began to trust CCCats more because they were able to follow the peace - however, Crooks intended to continue the old ways of hunting the humans to bring Skire safety, and break the truce since CCCats put Crooks into the pocket dimension, knowing they were more violent/headstrong in their pursuit to show humans that Skire will defend itself. Crooks hold a grudge against some CCCats, but not all of them. The dimension in The Banishment was a kind of hell though where Crooks grew very self-serving tendencies such as attacking their own kind for a food source unlike CCCats, who would never dream of it.

If anything, Crooks hate the CCCat gods the most, as they were the ones to instruct Faceless to do what he did. Many CCCats don't actually know Crooks exist since Faceless usually removed them within the crooked Wormling phase and many didn't form till in their dimension. So, to many CCCats they would be a surprise whereas to the Crooks this was something they've known about and have been working towards revenge or a second chance.

Depending on the Crook you ask, they either hate his guts, consider him nothing but a used up tool and toy for the gods, or a being forced into a bad situation that they pity. There's many who feel a bit indifferent to him since they know the gods couldn't just erase the Crooks without doing bad by Skire (Entity), but instructing another mortal wouldn't put them into any bad light with Skire (Entity) - so they think the gods are cowards.

Hunting & Fighting

Since Crooks are more physical/alive than CCCats, they need to eat. Their hunger drove them to Cannibalism while in The Banishment, where only they existed.

Crooks are certainly a more, we-mean-business ideal where they are weaker in terms of their eye being merged with their host so their bodies are easier to kill, but it's for that reason they'll fight ferociously and have a much higher instinct to fight for their lives and fight whatever may potentially bring them harm. Some are far more human in their behavior, but the underlying desire to survive is more apparent, whereas a CCCat need only keep it's eye safe and avoid fire/acids.

Hunting in packs or Protections are very common because of how their previous dimension had them fight their own kind, so it was expected to prey on the singlet Crooks and build a Protection if possible.

Crooks do need to eat resources in order to sustain themselves, unlike CCCats who can go entirely without eating. Though for Crooks, it’s usually proportionate to the energy they spend magically in order to sustain themselves. They can go for a long time without needing to eat if they maintain a relatively simple lifestyle and aren’t in the business of casting magic, especially in Skire where magic is free-flowing. Some Crooks with extremely relaxed lifestyles that don’t interact with magic too much have been known to be able to remove their need to eat at all, however they have to be careful, as anything that may borrow magic from them to channel or be created with will drain a bit more of them.

However, while in the Alter World during The Banishment, magic was not easy-flowing. Faceless’s magic was the only direct magic made to create in that dimension. Crooks would have to eat larger amounts since they weren’t regaining magic easily. Though not every Crook in the Alter World Banishment killed - many would need to eat any discovered remains or massive resource found that they could to try and grab as much magic as possible for themselves less they be reconstructed into the magic around them that would kill them. The best means of doing this was other Crooks at the time spent in this Alter World. Crooks who were created or resided within the Alter World during The Banishment all likely had history with the death or engaging in some kind of cannibalism to survive during the 200 years, whether by actively killing to get sustenance or scavenging for it.

Crooks structured themselves to be better with fighting, and they're far better at powerful attacks and striking enemies down quickly. A Crook will run out of its power and stamina if it runs out of energy or heals itself too much, and will ultimately collapse if it uses up its energy up too quickly or too often in the fight. Though it's hard for them to take serious injuries from anything other than other crooks or organized attacks.