The Koringkriek are a race of nomadic cricketfolk. While mostly solitary, they may at times coalesce into groups for hunting, mating, and migrating. They inhabit many different realms, climbing throughout the Great Chasm to explore the realms it leads to. Although they are usually attracted to warmer, dryer realms in comparison to cold or moist ones. Unlike other cricketfolk, they are flightless, and their wings are fettered by their spiked elytra.
“Koringkriek” is a word originating from the Koringor language which translates to “Armored Travellers”. Like some other arthropoid species, they are sometimes called Prawns, Katydids, or Bugs in a pejorative manner. Although in a similar manner to Bentharians, they take no offense to any of these names and often refer to themselves with these terms.
Koringkriek are a robust species and tall species. Unlike other cricketfolk, the majority of their height does not come from their primary locomotion appendages. Instead, these limbs are rather proportionate in comparison to the body. The pronotum is elongated, and gives the creature its height. The mesothorax and metathorax are proportionally sized, and the entirety of the organism is armored with grey, brown, or white chitinous armor. This armor is adorned with conical spines and ridges.
The back is heavily armored, with many layers of armor plates. The volume and durability of the Koringkriek’s backplates allows the creature to shrug off low caliber weaponry. However, the Koringkriek’s defensive plating fetters its leathery wings and elytra. In exchange for a paramount defense, this species loses all of their aerial mobility.
The face of the Koringkriek is heavily armoured, although it lacks any conical spines. The face has two compound eyes, which are usually maroon or indigo in color. The sharp mandibles are extremely powerful; able to bite through bone, flesh, and steel with ease. Which allows the Koringkriek to feed on tough herbage or carrion, or defend itself in a pinch. Koringkriek have two locomotion appendages, resembling those of other cricketfolk, albeit armored, and four grasping appendages.
Aside from their protective carapace, when it comes to defensive mechanisms the Korinkriek have the ability to autohemorrhage from large pores in their exoskeletal armor; and some may even practice the dark arts to manipulate this blood in combat. Both males and females have alternative defensive/offensive capabilities, the most well known among females is their recycled ovipositor: repurposed into an enormous stinger. While non-venomous, it has the strength and size to cleave and impale a great deal of protection. In addition to their larger size and greater overall strength, male Koringkriek have acidic blood which they can autohemorrhage. While all individuals can autohemorrhage their vital fluids, only male Koringkriek have genuinely harmful blood.
Koringkriek do not lay eggs via an ovipositor, instead, females have a cloaca used to give live birth. Which is why the ovipositor has developed into an exclusively offensive organ.
The Koringkriek diverged from their common ancestor millions of years before Aesoteric reign, and their closest relatives are the Cooloola. An actual description of these common ancestors is unknown, however they have been described in Cooloola legend as large and powerful, a mixture of both the Koringkriek and Cooloola’s zeniths. This species would eventually suffer a great cataclysm, their temple-cities fracturing into smaller city states until eventually, all was crumbled ruin. The surviving populations would later develop adaptations to their environments, the Cooloola’s ancestors continued to inhabit the cities’ ruins, while the Koringkriek migrated outwards and eventually spread outside of their realm.
As the Koringkriek are not a unified empire or group, their histories diverge when the first migratory swarms began to leave their temple homes. Now, the Koringkriek inhabit many different realms, scaling the Great Chasm’s crags and venturing into enigmatic planes of Ja’luhhor’Alotha.
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The Koringkriek are nomadic, usually travelling alone or with around a dozen other Koringkriek. They use their tough biological weaponry and defensive mechanisms in their frequent pillaging expeditions. Singular Koringkriek are known to attack and overpower small camps and villages. While larger groups of Koringkriek, known as hordes, would raid small towns, fortresses, and even Aesoteric strongholds. While warmongering, the Koringkriek also have a somewhat peaceful side to them.
Koringkriek cuisine predominantly consists of dairy products, meat, and animal fats. Almost all of these food sources are ovine in nature. Equine meat, milk, and fat is considered a delicacy and the ideal food. However, the usefulness of horses in the Koringkriek’s lifestyle prevents them from consuming the beasts. Koringkriek are strictly carnivorous, and cannot metabolize plant matter. As such, vegetables and fruits are not found in Koringkriek cuisine. Spice is not found in Koringkriek cuisine. In the harsh environments that the Koringkriek roam, nothing was wasted and even bone marrow was consumed in addition to curd.
Koringkriek are less prone to consuming their livestock, as they are hard to breed and their other resources can be of great use in the long term. The average meal consists of aged cheese, curds, and milk of usually ovine nature. In addition, a small amount of insects may be added to the dish for protein. This meal, known as Goingar (translating roughly to: Yummy Cheese), is often served on a platter or stirred in a bowl.
If a herd-beast dies of natural causes, or becomes too slow to keep up, it will also be consumed. Koringkriek kill such animals by cutting open its chest and squeezing the heart or cutting an artery. In this way, no blood was lost and could be used to make sausages. Another dietary supplement is any animals caught as a result of hunting such as deer, antelopes, wild boars, marmots, wolves, foxes, and many wild birds (using snares and falconry). Freshwater fish are also sometimes eaten when possible but don’t appeal to most, as Koringkriek usually avoid bodies of water in fear of parasites.
Dairy’s importance in the Koringkriek diet is paramount. The majority of livestock are kept for their dairy based products, as dairy is one of the only non-meat products that Koringkriek can digest. Butter is made and stored in leather pouches to preserve it, and it is a common snack during hunts and battles where appropriate meals can’t be ingested. Dried cheese is an incredibly important part of their diet.
Koringkriek do not have a specific meal-time; instead eating whenever convenient. Something that the Aesoteric would later adopt into their schedules and doctrines. Usually, these meals consist of small cheese chunks or curds. During celebrations the Koringkriek will consume large quantities of meat and alcohol, specifically fermented fleshberry wine. Which is easy to produce and quite scrumptious.
During coming-of-age rituals, Koringkriek juveniles will drink a cocktail of sheep-blood. Lone Koringkriek travellers usually consume easily preservable foods, such as kangaroo jerky and wine.
While Koringkriek do wear clothing, they depend on their natural armor for the majority of their protection against damage. As such, they do not wear any artificial plate armor, although general protective garments are often equipped. Even out of combat, Koringkriek garments are based upon combat and self-defense.
The average Koringkriek wears a heavy coat fastened at the waist by multiple leather or buckskin straps. Which also holds the Koringkriek’s basic equipment, including their weapons, elixirs, and storage pouches. The coat is usually lined with insulating fur or moss for protection during cold weather and general comfort. Beneath the coat, a long sleeve chainmail undershirt is usually worn for extra defense. The grasping appendages, which are either less armoured or not armoured at all, are protected by chainmail sleeves extending from the undershirt and out of the coat. While the antennae are protected by a leather or steel cap.
The boots are made from felt and leather and, though heavy, are comfortable and wide enough to accommodate the thick buckskin or leather trousers tucked in before being laced tightly. They are heelless, though the soles were thick and lined with fur. Worn with felt socks, the feet are unlikely to get cold. Although far outclassed by the armor of the Cooloola, and the hide of Aesoteric neophytes, the Koringkriek’s clothing maintains the creature’s agility, and extra defense in addition to their natural carapace.
Koringkriek hordes have been known to be far less advanced than other societies, their weapons consisting of swords, gunpowder weaponry, and arrows. While their weaponry is made from exceedingly strong ores, they are not strong enough to damage Aesoteric machinery. With the advent of Aesoteric advances into Koringkriek territory, reverse engineered Aesoteric technology is quickly becoming a standard among Koringkriek hordes. T These technologies may include plasmatic swords, electromagnetic crossbows, primitive shielding, and other combinations of Koringkriek and Aesoteric innovation.
Currently, the majority of Koringkriek technology consists of imitations of Aesoteric technology. Although there are multiple hordes that have successfully combined both their technology, and that of the Aesoteric, to create a new form of architecture and innovation that will likely become the standard.
Traditional Koringkriek architecture is generally non-existent. Instead, Koringkriek are exclusively nomadic, inhabiting tents and temporary burrows. Koringkriek will use primitive alloys, shed carapace, and bones to create their warmachines and structures. Koringkriek are generally awful at constructing permanent structures, and their burrows usually collapse within hours after abandonment. Their warmachines are far sturdier because of their durable construction materials. Traditional Koringkriek tents are usually made from leather, which is externally plated in shed Koringkriek carapace and decorated with bones.
Multiple Koringkriek hordes have begun to create a new form of architecture, a combination of their traditional construction and that of the Aesoterics.