Among the things I’ve found odd about Cryptix is where many of them live. While some do dwell with normal animals on the surface. Many can be found in the large network of tunnels that exist underground. None of these is odder than today’s topic, the Crypticat.
Crypticat’s usually live in underground dungeons or more often tombs of long forgotten kings. Some ancient cultures believed that anything buried with them would be brought into the afterlife with them. To this end many small animals were buried with their owners in the hopes that they could accompany their masters. However, this seems to have had the opposite effect.
Crypticat’s are the old forgotten cat’s that were once just ordinary cat’s. However being stranded in tombs for long periods of time seems to have mutated them into Cryptix. If you have poor vision (like me) and forgot your glasses while wondering through an old tomb (like I did) then you would be forgiven for assuming that they are just ordinary cat’s. And they are friendlier to strangers then one might expect. I imagine it’s very lonely being trapped underground for long with no one but corpses for company.
However it should be clear to anyone once they’ve taken a closer look (or remembered the back up pair of glasses they have in their bag) that Crypticat’s have long tails made not of flesh and fur–but of long bone like chains with a sharp looking knife-like blade on the end. They swoosh (that’s the technical term) their tails like most cat’s do, so it can be quite nerve wrecking to realize that there is a knife made of bone only inches from your face (when you’d only leaned down to pet the nice cat).
One would be forgiven for expecting these odd cat Cryptix to be the guardians of the old tombs. That is what the Cryptinomicon says on the matter (not that you should ever take that dumb book seriously). But near as I can tell they could care less if you robbed the tomb right in front of them–they might even help you. The subject I encountered kept trying to give me bit’s of gold and silver from the tomb like it was trying to bribe me. When I insisted that I had no interest in such transient martial things it just tilted it’s head at my in confusion.
Oddly they don’t seem to use the knife like tail to hunt pray at all. Using instead their teeth and claws like any normal cat (discovered by using the scientifically accepted method of a laser pointer). The pictures I could find in the Cryptinomicon shows the Cat Cryptix only using it’s tail to fight other Cryptix in ceremonial battles commonly refered to as wizard duals (refer to the section of my notes on wizard duals for more information). So it is possible that these Cryptix understand the difference between fighting for fun and hunting to survive. Still it seems like an evolutionary mismatch that the Crypticat’s wouldn’t use their tail for hunting when it would very clearly be the most effective tool to do so. The Crypticat’s tail can actually stretch out like rubber stretching up to 30 feet away from the Cryptix its self, wrapping around distant objects in order to move them, it’s quite incredible.
The tail appears to be the cryptix’ primary mutation, and what differentiates it from a normal cat. As mentioned early most people believe it was mutated by being exposed to the death and decay energy from the tomb. There’s no scientific explanation for “death and decay energy” however it is true that the subject I found appeared to have been living in the tomb for some time before I encountered it, and the tomb was sealed before I opened it. As far as I can tell there is no other way it could have gotten in. I’ll keep searching for an alternate explanation, but as far as I can tell it isn’t impossible that the creature mutated in the tomb it’s self.
As one final note: as I tried to leave the tomb the subject followed me. I spent some time trying to get it to stay put. Taking live subjects from their environments is not acceptable. However it was persistent–so I did finally allow it to come with me. I don’t think it will be an issue, wizards take Cryptix from their native environments all the time and while I don’t agree with their philosophies it has not caused any undue harm as long as one doesn’t release the Cryptix back into wild in an environment where it can cause damage.
I think I’ll name her Chain–after her chain like tail.