Art by, Chimerii
Danger Level: Medium
Commonly Infects: Smaller or insectile species.
Attack Method: Attacks with its large mandibles, and will commonly call others to it during a fight, overwhelming the prey with its sheer numbers alone.
Summary: Myrmekes are insectile monsters that are weak on their own, but commonly group together and manage to survive together, as well. Highly territorial, straying too close to this territory can attract the ire of every myrmeke within.
Original Creator: Chimerii
Insectile monsters covered in a sturdy, reddish-brown shell, with two prehensile tails and that are unshelled and dripping with clockwork slime, and are thus a myrmeke's main weapon for infecting someone. Due to the large amount of infectious slime on these tails, they are the main method for building a proper hive for their clockwork strain. Myrmekes may grow many extra limbs and gain mantis-like arms across their body. These limbs are without shells as well, but also end in sharp, dark red, keratinous points. The unshelled flesh on these limbs and tails is an unsightly and raw reddish-gray color.
All myrmekes have a pair of antennae that allow it to sense the location of other myrmekes. All the eyes the infected had will become smooth and black. Their mouths will gain large and powerful mandibles, a myrmeke's most valuable weapon for hunting and killing.
All newly infected myrmekes grow thin and bug-like wings, mostly clear and commonly refracting the sun. While these wings are functional and how the newly infected travel to a hive as quick as they do, they are also very fragile, and break away from the body of a myrmeke within weeks, or even days. If the infected is too heavy to fly, they can break off in mere hours. Soon, these wings will leave only short, useless stumps of what they used to be on their bodies. How much a myrmeke wing has worn away can be a good indicator of how long someone has been infected.
Upon the first few days of being infected, a myrmeke will begin to retreat into whatever home it had before to begin the rest of the infection process. This is a crucial step, as living without a shelter will cause the myrmeke strain to peter out and kill the infected before it could ever fully develop.
Once safely within a shelter, the myrmeke will begin to enter the stage where its rates of infection and clockwork slime production are at its highest, and the shelter that the myrmeke is living in will become slathered in the clockwork's infectious slime for up to weeks on end. Any outsider trying to enter a shelter during this process will likely escape alive, yet likely infected as well.
The process will go on until nearly everything inside has been covered in clockwork slime, and once it has, the myrmeke's slime production will lower to its normal rate, and the shelter itself will become what can only be known as a hive.
However, those first few steps can be somewhat bypassed if there is an already-existing hive in the area. Using their psychic antennae, a myrmeke has the ability to detect other myrmekes that exist close to itself, and will forgo building its own hive to join up with the hive that the other myrmeke has already built, even traveling there through flight if its wings are still intact.
Once met up with another myrmeke and its hive, the newly infected will still undergo a state of high infection rates, but will instead choose to expand on the other hive instead of build its own. The myrmekes inside will tolerate each other without conflict, and once out of its stage of high infection, the myrmeke will begin to leave its hive to hunt, kill, and infect like any other clockwork, yet will almost never stray too far from the hive it lives in.
The hives are like a home base to the myrmeke, and can provide it shelter from particularly dangerous weather or clockwork hunters, as myrmekes will typically run instead of fight if threats get too high, an oddity for an aggressive strain. If enough myrmekes manage to congregate together in a hive, the hive can grow up to thousands-large, overtaking even cities if allowed the time to grow. These thousands-large hives are known across the universe as megahives, and are extremely dangerous to approach.
The area around a hive will be considered the territory for the myrmekes that live inside it, and stepping inside the territory will likely result in all myrmekes there being alerted to anyone's presence, all chasing down the person until they are killed and subsequently eaten. If not enough people have strayed close enough to be eaten in recent times, the territory of a hive will expand until it can sufficiently feed itself once more.
Due to the sheer numbers that a hive can have, they can be near-impossible for a single person to take down if. Luckily, due to how saturated a myrmeke hive is with clockwork slime, it and all the myrmekes inside it can be easily burned down long range fire bombs.
None / Unknown.
Flight: Most newly-infected myrmekes have functional but fragile wings that will almost certainly break off in a few week's time. However, as most newly-infected myrmekes are non-combative and instead are focused on building an infectious hive, the average person will luckily not have to deal with being chased by a flying clockwork, so long as they do not anger the myrmeke too much.
• Aside from the usual weakness to fire, myrmekes also possess an unusual weakness to a fair number of pesticides, which melt away at the clockwork's shell until it is likely dead. Spraying these at a large group of myrmekes is generally considered a less destructive weapon than fire if used in small amounts.
• While myrmekes are generally not cannibalistic, they will begin to eat each other if outside food sources are too low. This can lead to an entire hive being eaten from the inside-out, leading to the fall of even megahives if a group of myrmekes goes without food for too long.
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