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.

 Stray 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 have use them as fodder in an unnecessary battle.
Without the protection of a Matriarch's Claim, Graephs are susceptible to the manipulations on
their minds, and they have little 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. 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 race)  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
see eye-to-eye (no pun intended, they are eyeless after all ;))  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 (male Horrorling, not required)
                                               |                       |
        
Reaper (2nd strongest bloodling)       -     Protector (1st strongest bloodling, doesn't leave Hive Lands)
                                               |                         |
                         
Soldiers (bloodling)     -      Drones (gatherling, scoutling)

 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 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.
(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.)

 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.

 At this moment in time Nemari's Hive is lead by Vrrshrl, and all descendants/members of this
Hive carry the mark of Nemaririshta.
 
images © Alicia Brons
Graephs are © Alicia Brons