Graephs hail from the Outer Dimension

One of the oldest Outer Dimensional species, Graephs are demons that were created and
evolved by Nemaririshta. They used to lurk in the shadows beyond the Ocean of Flames, but
can now easily be found across the entire Dimension - as well as in other Dimensions where
their Hives have spread. These days, Graeph Hives can be found in almost every known
Dimension.

Graephs are reptilian Demons that are identifiable by their lack of eyes, and glowing
organ-bubbles on their bodies. They usually have long bladed tails, and stark-white teeth that
are always visible. Depending on their breed, Graephs can vary in colouration and blood
types.  (Graeph Type/Breed information can be found
here.)

Almost all Graephs are fully sentient beings, but they all lack their own individual voice. Instead
they speak through mimicked sounds and the copied voices of other creatures they've heard
speak before. This causes their speech pattern to be a mess of varying sounds, unless the
Graeph is dedicated enough to stalk a single individual in order to mimic it's voice perfectly.
Sounds they mimic are stored in their memories forever, so a Graeph never loses the ability to
speak even if they're isolated from other sentient beings for a long period of time.

Reading the mind of a Graeph is virtually useless. Their thoughts are usually made up of
screeches, growls, and other primitive noises that only other Graeph could ever understand.

Graephs tend to get along well with Outer Dimensionals, but are understandably hostile and
wary of other Dimensions. Currently Graephs are part of the Dimensional Alliance, but that's
only because the Outer Dimension as a whole currently is as well. Graephs can become
Slayers if they want to, but generally seem to avoid it unless their Hives are welcoming of the
idea. When a Graeph becomes a Slayer, they're often applauded for their natural skills and
killing ability.

All Graephs have the power to alter their Molecular Structure. This allows for them to change
their blood to various forms and colours, changing the properties from harmless to poisonous,
to downright volatile. They can fully heal any damage done to them by speeding up their
healing cycles, and speeding up their metabolisms to burn off poisons/toxins.

They can also alter the genetic make-up of their bodies to change their flesh into solid stone,
metals, shadows, water, or even dust particles. This change happens quickly, but is not
instantaneous.  They cannot change themselves into air or fire - as air requires too much effort
to reform from, and fire can cause them to lose themselves.

A Graeph's tail-blade is extremely sharp, and able to slice through even enchanted metals and
bones, because a Graeph's Aura is filled with a disruptive static-like essence that dispels
invulnerability. The tail-blade is also a gender marker for Graeph - females have a single
tail-blade, while males have two.

Graephs are primarily meat-eaters, but can survive off vegetation if they're forced to. They
absorb air through their skin, and have no need to actually breathe. Graephs have no eyes, so
they see through the world through scents, smells, and taste. The gaps in their skulls allow for
air to flow over their tongues, allowing them to taste the world around them. Their sense of
taste/smell is so strong that they can scent the entirety of their surroundings at all times, and
are rarely ever caught of guard - as living things always give off pheromones, and Graeph can
detect even the faintest of them. Because of this, even Slayer Scouts can run into issues when
trying to hide from a Graeph.

Pure Graephs do not have natural markings, but some of them do shift the makeup of their
bodies to create "war-paint" on themselves. These markings are not genetic, but often
offspring will copy their parents.

Graephs create Hives which are not like the breeding groups of other species. Hives revolve
around the presence of a female Horrorling, their Matriarch, who has the power to lay a
telegenic claim (through a bite) on other Graephs (compatible Horrorlings, Bloodlings,
Scoutlings, Gatherings). This Claim makes them unquestionably loyal to the Matriarch and her
Hive, and offers the Graephs protection from the mental manipulations of other Hives or
creatures. Being part of a Hive means survival. Rogue Graephs (those with a Hive) often do
not survive long on their own, and are always at risk of being manipulated or killed by
unwelcoming Hives.

(Graeph Hive Hierarchy information can be found
here.)

When a Graeph is born into a Hive, it's given a Claim bite by the Matriarch, but when that
Graeph reaches adulthood the Horrorling will often give the Graeph a choice: stay in the Hive,
or set out to find a different one. Generally those who opt to find their own path have the Claim
withdrawn, which leaves them vulnerable and means they're no longer protected by the Hive.
Voluntarily becoming a Rogue is often seen as a disgraceful choice, however, and other Hives
might not welcome them.

Sometimes a young Graeph is given opportunity to see the world away from their Hive, but
keep their Claim active. Those are usually done when the Matriarch is hopeful that the young
Graeph will remain with her Hive, and she doesn't want to lose them to the manipulations of a
competing Hive. It's common for Graephs to remain in their birth Hives.

Each Graeph Hive is unique and separate from other Hives, and Rogues (Hive-less Graephs)
are usually seen as the worst standing. Rogues are vulnerable, unpredictable, and often the
result of Hives that have been attacked and broken.

When a Hive Matriarch dies, her Claim also dies with her. All Graephs connected to her will feel
the absolute blinding agony of her death, and for the time it takes for that pain to fade, they're
most at risk as they can be easily killed during these moments. Because Graeph Hives are so
territorial and violent, it's not at all unheard of for them to strike against other Hives and kill
their entire populace. While some will lay Claim on the now Rogue Graephs, others are content
to kill them, or let them rot in their fear.

Male (Pure) Horrorlings are increasingly rare, as Graeph Hives have taken to killing
incompatible male Rogue Horrorlings instead of allowing the risk of other Hives having them.
Since male Horrorlings are just as vulnerable to a female Horrorling's Claim as any other
Graeph, it usually means that when a Matriarch crosses their path they Claim them - but
sometimes the two Horrorlings don't get along, and the Matriarch will kill him out of spite. Male
Horrorlings, especially Rogues, do not have a high ranking or worth outside of a Hive.

Hives will protect the Matriarch above all else, often acting something like bees who will do
everything they can to protect their Queen. When a female Horrorling is born to a Hive, she is
kept under the Hive's protection until she reaches an age where she's strong enough to set
out to start her own Hive. When that happens, she often leaves with a small number of Graeph
from her Birth Hive, so that she is not left vulnerable or alone.

Female Horrorlings can lay eggs that hatch into any type of Graeph - Bloodling, Scoutling,
Gatherling, even other Horrorlings. But she is only compatible with other Horrorlings,
Aggressor Demons, Zethn Dragons, or Horrorling-sized Hybridlings. Since only Pure male
Horrorlings can be Claimed, they're the only ones that will actively be incorporated into a Hive.
All other compatible species will often only be a fling, and will be kept away from the Hive and
it's offspring due to the unpredictable nature of Claim-less individuals.

Hybridlings are creatures that are hybrids born to a Graeph parent. They can range in size
just like any pure Graeph, and the smaller Hybridlings are often susceptible to a Horrorling's
Claim. The larger, Horrorling-sized Hybridlings, tend to be immune to a Claim and are for that
fact ousted from a Hive once they reach adulthood - as without the Claim, they're not
connected to the Hive, and are seen as a risk to it.

When a Pure male Horrorling is born to a Hive, he is often kept under the protection of his
Mother until the time that a compatible Hive can be found for him. When that happens, the
Mother will make an agreement or alliance with the Hive she sends her son to.  

Feral Graephs are, as their name implies, Graephs that lack sentience. It happens sometimes
when Horrorlings mix with species that aren't exactly compatible with them - leading to the
births of feral creatures that cannot be Claimed or trusted. Feral Graephs tend to be killed, but
are sometimes captured and used by Plateaus and other important areas as "natural
defenders". Feral Graephs are generally not seen as "Graephs" by the purebloods of their
species, as their lack of sentience marks them as expendable.
images © Alicia Brons
Graephs are © Alicia Brons