A Raezilian Taxonomy

A Raezilian Taxonomy

A Story by StarNinja
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To fight the enemy you must know the enemy.

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A Raezilian Taxonomy

Or a natural history of the Raezilian race for use as a quick field guide by the Royal Armed Forces

 

It is not an easy matter to classify the Raezilian race. It has been attempted many times before and by such eminent scholars that I shall not attempt to replicate their work. Instead I shall focus on detailing Raezilian anatomy as well as behavior so that military forces that find themselves staving off a raid from a local hive or, Somorat forbid, defending against a full invasion by a ravenous Raezilian swarm can be better prepared to fight.

There is no single Raezilian phenotype and to compare every strain morphologically would be a waste of scholarly effort. They are insectile in nature, with multifaceted eyes, multiple limbs, and an outer tissue layer hardened enough to pass for an exoskeleton, though autopsies have shown that they possess an internal skeleton much like our own. That is where the similarities between them ends. It is a matter of fierce debate in Imperial colleges and Royal Universities the world over of just what exactly to classify the Raezilians as. Possessing an internal skeleton certainly disqualifies them from the Insect Kingdom, yet the similarities between them and members of Kingdom Insectae make this question have no easy answers. Raezilians of every strain share enough similarities and are seen working in concert often enough that for the purposes of this paper, we can safely group them together into a single categorical species with several subspecies within that category.

Raezilians are highly intelligent, able to form societies, develop language and use tools as well as any human tribe. Raezilian society appears to be organized around a hival structure, a curious mix of hive and tribe. There is no strict hierarchy present in a hive, with loose bands of families marking the highest form of unity. Outside of specific circumstances, larger communities of Raezilians are rare as members of the individualistic species will put their survival and the survival of their immediate offspring before all others, thus fostering competition even between small bands of extended family. This keeps hives from becoming too large on their own. This all changes when a Monarch is introduced to a hive, but this will be discussed later.

It is extremely important to report any possible sighting of a Raezilian Monarch to your superior officer or the closest approximation thereof no matter the circumstances! Failure to do so could result in untold death and destruction. Do not keep quiet about a sighting, no matter how brief or unsure you are. Remember; tight lips sink ships.

Moving on, the Raezilians come in many distinct varieties. There are many you may never see on the field of battle but are included here for completion and situational awareness. The Hopper, for example, is a small type of Raezilian that you may encounter but not generally fight. They are used by Raezilian forces as scouts so if you spot one it means a raiding party can’t be far behind.

Another type of Raezilian you may see is the Bollox. These are large creatures that serve as food storage for hives. Their abdomens can expand to many times normal size, holding nourishment in reserve for hives that are seeing hard times. You are more likely to see them as beasts of burden in the field, pulling carts for Raezilian supply lines. A desperate Raezilian army will employ Bollox to pull their massive war machines to battle, but the gentle temperament of the Bollox is inadequate for such tasks and other fiercer Raezilian creatures are normally used instead.

 

Warrior Breed

The most common form of Raezilian is the Warrior. They are so called because of their fierce fighting ability and are often the first to enter combat. Warriors are bipedal and generally stand three and a half to four feet tall, though they can vary in size depending on their battlefield role. The Soldier subtype, for example, can reach heights of five feet or higher! Warrior skin colors range from dull green to dark green; the Warriors’ tough skin darkens as they age. They have two eyes which are multifaceted like every Raezilian, but the facets are so small and numerous as to appear as one solid eye. This gives them vision at least equal to and in some ways superior to humans. Their mouths are complex, with several moving parts used for biting, chewing, and cutting as their needs require. The mandibles of a Warrior are very strong and very dangerous. A full grown, adult Warrior can bite through bone as easily as we can bite through sponge cake. Take precautions when facing groups of Warriors in full melee combat as even a small group possesses strength enough to pull a man apart with their bare hands.

Their hands have three phalanges each, their feet have two. Despite this, they are quite dexterous and have been seen dueling even the most veteran swordsmen on equal terms. Like many Raezilians, they possess four arms, two large and two small, and two legs. Warriors are exquisite craftsmen, able to create deadly weapons and war platforms from the most basic of materials such as wood, bone and on occasion the dead remnants of other Raezilians. Mandibles of fallen comrades are especially valued by Raezilian craftsmen and used to make spear heads, arrow heads and even make-shift swords if enough quality mandibles can be collected. In a pinch, Warriors can also serve as engineers and architects, repairing the hive or war machines as the situation calls for, though this task usually falls to the more adept “Engineer” Raezilian subgroup known as Weavers.

The lowest form of Warrior is the Cutter. Cutters are the most numerous in a fighting force and are viewed as little more than cannon fodder by other Raezilians. They rarely live long enough to become elders in a community but those that do are given a form of reverence and respect by other Raezilians as that Cutter has proven itself very hard to kill. This is why Cutter elders are referred to as the Deathless by their peers, for to survive what a Cutter must survive is a feat that borders on legendary. Cutters are some of the least intelligent of the Raezilian family, and when pushed into a feeding frenzy will sometimes stop in the middle of battle to feed on their freshly slain enemies (or freshly wounded for the unlucky ones). Because of their station, Cutters are the most likely to become mercenaries as hival life has little to offer them in terms of social advancement.

The next form of Warrior is the Soldier. They are taller, stronger and faster than Cutters and are the equivalent of officers in Raezilian military forces. Their mandibles can grow to several feet and are the center of Soldier culture. The Soldier with the largest mandibles is seen as more fit to lead than other Soldiers and are thus given command over other Warrior squads. To insult a Soldier’s mandible size is to invite instant death. Soldiers are well muscled and are often seen carrying the biggest weapons into battle and have been known to substitute just about any object for a weapon when the need arises. Like every Raezilian, Soldiers are voracious eaters and always get first pick of enemy casualties.

Raiders are Warriors that have taken to riding mounts into battle. Whether it be beasts the Raezilians have domesticated like the flightless scorpion horse or the deadly desert centipedes, or even the prized mounts stolen from enemy commanders, Raiders are capable of riding them all. Raiders are smaller than Cutters and Soldiers and thus rely on the power of their mount to win in a fight. Raiders may not seem like much of a threat at first given their size, but they are a capable cavalry force that can overcome superior trained forces by sheer numbers alone. Raiders are fond of collecting things from the battlefield and will often be seen wearing all sorts of odd items such as cooking instruments, tent canvases, and even maps.

 

Weaver Breed

Weavers serve specialized roles in a fighting force, acting as the glue that keeps an army together and strong, hence the name. They are leaner and shorter than Warriors, standing between two and three feet tall. Part engineer, part medic, part spiritual leaders, Weavers encompass all of these roles as well as specializing further when they find which role they excel at most. Weavers understand the Raezilian body structure intrinsically and are therefore called to direct the massive building projects the Raezilians regularly undertake as the building materials usually consist of Raezilians both living and dead.

An excellent case study can be found in Richard Borkis’ eminent work on the Raezilian invasions of B.N. 656. He describes the battle of Baker’s Ford in which the Weaver’s engineering talents were most prominently displayed. On one side of the river was the Queen’s Road to Veniducci, the most populous city in the world at the time. On the other side of the river was a Raezilian swarm 500,000 strong, eager to reap the harvest of sweetmeats that the civilized world could provide. With all the natural passes and crossing points guarded by the combined Veris and Maelgan troops, the Raezilians would have to find another way to cross. Their solution was revealed at the break of dawn when Verissian sentries discovered a bridge made from the corpses of dead Raezilians. In the span of one night, in pitch darkness, the Weavers were able to build a bridge from the casualties of the previous battle! Raezilian victory came swiftly after that.

When a Monarch is born, it is the Weavers who are often the first to recognize this. They have an acute awareness of the connections that bind all Raezilians and when a Monarch appears, they become her closest advisors, waiting on her hand and foot and hand. It is the Weavers that whip surrounding Warriors into feeding frenzies, giving them preternatural strength which augments that which is already fairly impressive. Weavers come in brownish colors, ranging from light tan to dark brown.

Almost every Weaver has a knack for using missile weaponry but those who are the most expert at wielding them are known as Headhunters. They are more agile than Warriors and will act as skirmishers in pitched battles, seeking weaker targets to pick off with bows and spears. Their familiarity with the Raezilian form extends to other humanoids that resemble them closely enough and they are able to hone in on their enemy’s most vulnerable points even in the thick of battle. They are nicknamed Headhunters for their particularly gruesome habit of collecting the heads of those they kill. They will eat every other part of the body, but for some unknown reason abstain from eating heads. This behavior is not observed in any other Raezilian subclass. Perhaps it is a taboo in their culture or, as some have theorized, there is a more mundane biological reason. A Headhunter’s social status is determined by the number of heads they collect in their lifetime.

Weavers that seek to study the body further become Healers. Because of their knowledge, Weavers are commonly utilized as battlefield medics. They are recognizable by their elaborate body paint and headdresses, the materials for which they gather on the battlefield. A Healer is capable of mending even the most serious of wounds, though they don’t pay much attention to the lowly Cutters when tending to the injured. Healers are greatly prized by any Hive and are well protected by their warrior peers. 

 

Hopper

Hoppers are a timid and skittish lot, often seen scouting ahead of a larger invasion force. They stand about three feet tall though they tend to hunch over when at rest. They have large eyes and feathery antennae, which give them sharp senses. They have no trouble moving in darkness and are invaluable to a Raezilian war party. Because of their small size and speed, they are rarely ever seen. They have powerful legs which can propel them upwards and forwards many times their height, but prefer to travel by hopping short distances, hence their name.

 

Elite

The Elite sub group is comprised of the most highly valued members of the Raezilian horde. They only appear when a Monarch is born in order to facilitate her ascension as swarm ruler. The most dangerous of the Elites is of course the Monarch. According to legends, myths and certain religions the world over, a Raezilian Monarch is only born once every hundred years if the world becomes too sinful and must be purged. The fact that Monarchs have been documented as appearing with that exact frequency is not something the scientific community likes to comment on. Until the search for a natural explanation can be found, we will leave the question of frequency for others to debate, but for our purposes we will note that Monarchs are indeed born about once every hundred years.

When a Monarch appears, a Raezilian population will undergo a curious transformation. Raezilians are capable of breeding but when a Monarch appears, the entire local population of Raezilians will, through an unknown mechanism, become instantly sterile. Because breeding does not begin again until the Monarch is mature, a Raezilian population becomes extremely vulnerable and will thus make themselves scare, reappearing only when the Monarch has bred a veritable army. Every Raezilian individual then becomes a warrior in the horde, stratifying into the caste system that has been described thus far. Once again it is imperative that any Monarch sighting be reported immediately, even if it is not a birth year for the Raezilian communities in your province. Unexpected Monarch births have occurred in the past, so please report!

No living Monarch has ever been captured and dead ones are quickly eaten by the swarm. Only two autopsies have ever been performed, one of which has been lost to time. The other is an antiquarian account using sparse descriptive language and crude drawings. What we do know is that Monarchs are tall and thin examples of their species, standing about five feet tall. They are pale in color, sometimes even bone white. They appear slender and delicate and are surrounded by the fiercest warriors in the swarm.

One of these warrior types is known as the Royal Guard. They are the first of a Monarch’s progeny and are by far the strongest and hardiest of swarm warriors. They are born to defend their queen and will die before they see her harmed. Such is there purpose so ingrained that even after they have been slain, their bodies will continue to attack their enemies. All Royal Guard are born with wings which they use to deadly effect.

Another Elite variant is the Emperor Wing Elites. They are born with two pairs of wings which allow them greater mobility and speed. Even the creatures of the air have reason to fear the coming of a swarm. Emperor Wings are normally used as shock troops and it is a role they fill well, striking and retreating as the needs of the swarm require.

 

Monstrous

The last category of Raezilian I will be covering will be the monstrous Raezilian phenotypes. These are the Raezilian breeds which appear physically similar to the rest of the swarm, in fact they are almost genetically identical to their smaller cousins, but grow to enormous sizes and fantastic shapes. As mentioned earlier, the Bollox is one such creature. It is mostly found in larger hives but will be taken on the warpath when a Monarch arrives. They act as food storage units and have little in the way of intelligence.

The most likely monster you will see in the field will be the dreaded Centaurex. Do not engage a Centaurex without substantial firepower or cavalry support! They can be identified by their many legs and large mandibles. Their sinuous bodies are dragon like in appearance but their insectile features are unmistakably Raezilian. They are cruel creatures that revel in slaughter and have no qualms with wading into the thick of battle, awash in gore as they rip their enemies apart. Centaurex are devilishly clever and do not require a rider team of Raiders to operate, though at least one handler is always present to keep unruly Centaurex in line. As would be expected, Centaurex handlers have a high turnover rate.

The largest and most dangerous Raezilian breed is known as the Ripper, though they are technically known as Viscerex. These creatures have a bloodlust that is matched by few living things. It was believed for a time that Viscerex had exclusively carnivorous diets because of their famous feeding frenzies. Their true diet is a mixture of plants and fungus, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they seem to relish the carnage of battle. It is said that to lay eyes on an enraged Viscerex it to have your fate sealed. These monsters tower over common men, standing at thirty feet tall on average. In addition to their razor sharp limbs, they are also suspected to have some kind of internal chemical weapon which can cause deadly explosions. It has never been confirmed, but the trail of bodies and craters left in the wake of a band of Viscerex is hard evidence to dispute.

And that is the most basic outline of Raezilian breeds and sub races I can muster without being too general. In the following chapters I will delve deeper into each individual category of Raezilian, supplemented with medical illustrations from the ever talented Rubio Benici. I hope this introduction serves as a useful field guide for all those soldiers out there protecting the kingdom from Raezilian attack. We salute you. Now on to our first category; Warriors.

 

This manuscript was found among the author’s belongings after the confirmation of his death. It will be donated along with his other books to the fund for Survivors of Raezilian Attacks as per his will. Let this be a lesson to all who think it a wise decision to investigate a Raezilian hive on their own.


© 2014 StarNinja



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Added on July 8, 2013
Last Updated on April 25, 2014
Tags: Raezilian, bug, insect, fantasy, Deseray, history, epic, taxonomy

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