Graeph Hives

One of the most important parts of Graeph society are the Hives. Unlike Raveen Kat Prides,
and Azama Packs,  Hives are more about survival than just a grouping of mated/open pairs.  
Without a Hive, a Graeph doesn't have protection against the manipulations of outside sources
or other Graephs. Those not tied to Hives usually have a shorter life expectancy than those
who have the protection of an entire Hive behind them.

Rogue Graephs tend to have brutal run-ins with Hives, as the Hive Matriarchs (female
Horrorlings) have the power to manipulate the minds of Unclaimed Graephs. She can cause
them to go insane, kill themselves, or even force them to attack others. Without the protection
of a Matriarch's Claim, Graephs are susceptible to the manipulations on their minds, and they
have no defense against it.

Claimed Graephs have been marked by Matriarchs, in a manner similar to that of
Blood-Marking. The Matriarch injects a type of telegenic venom into those Graephs she claims
as part of her Hive, and this offers protection against the threat of other Horrorlings/Hives, and
makes it so the Hive is always aware of the health of all of it's members. If a member of a Hive
is attacked, the rest of the Hive is immediately aware of it, and able to shadow-shift (provided
the attacked Graeph isn't in a shadow-less area) to that location straight away. This allows for
immediate retaliation against enemies, and makes wandering into a Hive's Territory a Very Bad
Idea.

Hives work two ways. One, they work as protection and safety for those Graephs who are a
part of them --  and Two, they also work as breeding groups.  Hives can be a mix of Mated,
and Open, pairings. Not all Graeph types are inter-breedable, and non-Graephs are not
permitted to join Hives.

Graephs are hatched, not born. So usually in the heart of Hive Lands unhatched Graeph eggs
will be protected by the Hive. Female Horrorlings can birth any type of Graeph, so when a
Matriarch joins a Hive it's important to keep her alive and breathing. Because the rest of the
Hive can be possessive towards their Matriarch (she basically ensures the survival of them,
and their species)  they generally don't allow for her to leave the Hive Lands without an
entourage of Bloodlings.  Sometimes they don't even let her leave the Hive Lands, instead
bringing her the necessary prey she'd need for survival.


Hives are devoted to the protection and health of it's members. So even if two members don't
get along, they'd still help each other out in times of need. An attack against one member of a
Hive is generally seen as an attack against the entire Hive.

Hives have several rankings, with the Matriarch being the highest of them. These rankings are;

                                                  
Matriarch
                                                        |
                                        
                                         (Rook (pure male Horrorling, not required))
                                             |                       |
      
Reaper (2nd strongest bloodling)       -     Protector (1st strongest bloodling, doesn't leave Hive Lands)
                                             |                         |
                       
Soldiers (bloodlings)     -      Drones (gatherling, scoutling)

Outside of a Hive, Graephs do not have ranks and all considered Rogue Graephs (no matter
their breed/type).

While there can be more than one female Horrorling to belong to one Hive, it generally only
happens when the two Horrorlings are related (usually Mother-Daughter). And this type of
set-up only lasts until the secondary female Horrorling branches off to create her own Hive.
Not unlike bees, when a Horrorling leaves her birth Hive she'll take a small smattering of
Graephs with her.

Rooks are not required, but these day are most desireable to have as part of a Hive. Rooks
are pure male Horrorlings who have been Claimed by the Hive Matriarch, and  those below the
Matriarch in status will generally protect him just as they would their Matriarch to help ensure
the survival of their species pure bloodlines. They won't follow the instructors of the Rook,
however, if they're not also instructions given by their Matriarch.
(Horrorlings almost always end up with
pure Graephs being born of them when they don't branch off into other species, so male Horrorlings are viewed as important to
the Matriarchs.)

If a Matriarch is killed, a Rook cannot lead a Hive - and is left as vulnerable and exposed as
any other newly Rogue Graeph is after their Matriarch dies.

Hives are very Territorial, and will never let Unclaimed Graephs into their lands. They are
usually killed on sight if they attempt to cross into their territories; unless the Matriarch has
allowed them passage.

The rankings in Hives can vary, and fluctuate, like crazy. Where the strongest two Bloodlings
hold the highest Blooding ranks, they can often lose their high status to younger Graephs and
end up dropping into the Soldier ranking quite easily. So nothing is ever "set in stone" for them.

Graephs are, as previously stated, hatched. Not all Graeph Eggs hatch at one time, so a
Bloodling/Gatherling/Scoutling/Horrorling can have several offspring at one time, or only have
one or two. Generally when a Graeph is born it's protected by the Hive only until adulthood.
When the Graeph is old enough it's given the option of joining it's parents Hive, or leaving. If
the Graeph leaves, it doesn't have the protection of the Hive Matriarch as she'll break her
Claim on that Graeph.

Though it is rare to come by, some Graephs can have such brutal disagreements with their
Hives that they'll leave them. In this case the Claim on them is usually broken by the Matriarch,
but sometimes she'll keep the Claim in place in hopes of having that Graeph return to her one
day.

When a Hive Matriarch is killed, her Claim is destroyed, and all members of her Hive are left
exposed to the things the Claim previously protected them from. It also leaves them disoriented
for a few minutes as the death of a Claim is a painful experience. Sometimes Hives can be
decimated when the Hive Matriarch is killed, as the Hive members are left momentarily
defenceless.

In the Outer Dimension there's a well-known Graeph Hive that's feared for it's fatal nature.
Generally Graephs will avoid this Hive at all costs, but some do seek to join it as the protection
offered through Nemari's Hive goes beyond that of the regular Hive. Nemari's Hive was the
first Graeph Hive to be established in the Outer Dimension, and has many times had it's
Queen Matriarch killed off and had another female Horrorling take it's place.

Those of Nemari's Hive always carry her marking on their body somewhere.

Hive Alliances

Graeph Hives can create Alliances with other functional Hives through familial bonds, and
"arranged marriages" of a sort. Naturally occurring alliances happen when a Matriarch has a
Horrorling daughter; as the Hive she leaves with to start her own is made up of progeny from
her birth Hive, so Mother and Daughter end up with their two Hives being allied through blood.

Chosen Alliances can be made by one Matriarch having their Horrorling son agree to join
another Hive and become it's Rook. This joins the two Hives in an alliance of blood, and so
long as the Rook survives, the alliance between them holds.

Promised Alliances happen when two Matriarchs of formerly competing Hives agree on a truce,
and a future alliance through blood. This is based on an agreement that when either Hive
produces a pure Horrorling it will complete a traditional alliance. Sometimes this can surface as
one Matriarch producing a female Horrorling, and the second Matriarch producing a male
Horrorling, and then having these two offspring come together to start a new Hive. Other times,
a Matriarch might produce a male Horrorling before the second Matriarch has means to
reproduce pure Graephs, so the male Horrorling is then "married" off to the second Matriarch
instead.

It is because of the nature of how these alliances work that Rooks have a specific worth to
them, and a target on their backs when they have no connection to a Hive. Without a Rook, a
Hive Alliance isn't possible, but if the Rook lacks a Hive - then it also means there's no alliance
on offer.

Because Hybridlings are often immune to Claims, they can't be used in alliance negotiations.
images © Alicia Brons
Graephs are © Alicia Brons