Spending most of its life buried almost entirely in soil, a Crystalk's luminous antennae attract night-flying insects within reach of its parasol-like ears, capable of absorbing nutrients through their adhesive outer surfaces. Only under the glow of the full moon does the monster rise to supplement this meager diet, following the breath of sleeping animals or monsters and gingerly worming its slick, rubbery limbs into available orifices to feed on mucus and digestive contents.
If discovered during feeding or otherwise threatened, the Crystalk unleashes an ear-splitting screech and oozes or forcefully sprays its own sticky, black blood from around its ocular disk. Even at a distance, the acrid stench of the inky substance severely agitates the eyes, nostrils and similarly sensitive membranes of other creatures, and close contact is debilitatingly painful. As its attacker doubles over in agony or flees, the Crystalk makes a nonchalant and liesurely escape.
Crystalk exchange genetic information directly through their blood, entwining their arms and pressing their eyes together to mate. A leathery, pear-shaped egg will subsequently develop within each of the monster's powerful sucker-like feet and shake loose in its next nocturnal hunt, ignored and swiftly forgotten by the creature.
With simple, redundant organs and an evenly distributed nervous system, a Crystalk can regenerate in an echinoderm-like fashion from any portion of its body containing one or more of its many ganglia, resulting in biologically and mentally identical duplicates of the original creature.
Unless defending themselves, Crystalk are plodding, passive, completely silent monsters, content to entomb themselves vertically in cold, moist soil between "hunts." Generally emotionless, they have few personal feelings or insights and a reputation for short, boring conversation.
Only the subject of soil appears to pique a Crystalk's interest, exhibiting both a richly detailed understanding and adamant personal biases on matters of soil quality, composition and chemistry. Wild individuals have been observed giving one another wide berth over even the most trivial of differences in soil preference, and those who have no strong opinion of soil are dismissed by the creatures as irrelevant, even barely sentient beings.
Knowing neither fear nor pain, difficult to physically neutralize and noxious to engage with, a Crystalk is a versatile and dependable monster for any trainer willing to maintain a satisfactory enough position on the importance of soil. Its sticky, sucker-like feet allow vertical and upside-down movement over any broad surface, its limbs can extend to several times their relaxed length, and the slightest wound only releases more of its irritating blood.
This same potent blood has widely applicable culinary uses, and may be diluted into a flavorful pickling brine.
ONION BLOOD: the monster's blood burns mucous membranes by sheer proximity, causing other creatures significant pain, overwhelming the sense of smell and forcing eyes to clench shut.
MANDRAKE WAIL: the Crystalk's mournful shriek is powerful enough to cause paralyzing agony and momentary deafness.
REGENERATIVE MULTIPLICATION: the Crystalk can be sliced into pieces, only for each portion to continue functioning and eventually produce a complete, identical monster.
WALL WALKER: the monster's feet are extremely adhesive.
Contents copyright Jonathan Wojcik