A Hook is a creature born from the carcasses of those who fight for their beliefs, but are executed for it. The body of a Hookman can't have received a proper burial, which would have eased the vengeful spirit inside the hook. In height, they are only knee-high, but their small size is made up for in immense dexterity and agility. They seek revenge against those who wronged them in life and will commit acts that fuel their desire for revenge.
A cloudy fog gathered around the city of Duergar, an unsettling drizzle accompanying the somber mood of its residents. Most gathered outside, even in this weather, as not to miss the event taking place soon. The calm wind shifted gently as a shackled man stumbled through the city, guided to his throne. Guards in emerald armor joined him on either side, ensuring that he did not struggle his fate. His throne consisted of a single, sturdy wooden slab, and his Viceroy wore a black mask, wielding a steel axe which would complete the ceremony. The crowd gathered quietly around the scene, watching intently as the chains on the man rang with his own sadness. He crawled up a small set of stairs, the crowd still growing in size. The silent rain covered his tears as he stopped to glance at his watchers; then a push from his emerald escorts continued his short path.
He kneeled before the wooden slab, his Viceroy extending a gloved hand to his neck, shoving it down onto the throne. Some young girls in the audience shuddered as the Executioner did so, hiding behind their mothers in horripilation. The bindings on his hands crackled as the man craned his head to view his doom. Another being, adorned in bright red robes, a crown of emerald situated upon his head, approached the block in front of the restrained man. The Executioner backed away, allowing the man to approach the one restrained with ease. The cityfolk held their heads down as the King spoke his solemn words. Names, crimes, and a punishment were uttered from his mouth, and the drizzling rain seemed to shift with every word. He stepped back into the crowd, a turn of the wrist ushering the Executioner to finish the ceremony. The chained man spat curses and swears at all before him, shouting in a last effort to revoke the damned government of the city. His Viceroy adjusted his mask, the rain now heavy and annoying his head. The raised the glimmering axe in his hands, and all closed their eyes as it dropped towards the earth, and a deathly crunch followed a second after. The life escaped from the mans neck, which was now bare and naked to the cringing audience.
A couple hours later, the disgusting smell of burning flesh filled the city air as ashes were flown into the air. Almost no one gathered around the slowly burning fire; all who had gone to the ceremony had seen enough. With no eyes to see it, however, the opportunity for a slithering creature was now open. Among the dying fire and the ashes, a small rustle birthed forth a tiny embryo, wriggling from the wretched cadaver of the executed. The embryo left the flames like a phoenix, sniping its way down the smooth stone of the city, and in an insignificant crack under a bakery. There, the embryo spent a full year, gorging on bread crumbs and lamp oil from the bakery, increasing in size and finalizing its shape with each meal. It soon grew so large that the widow spiders that once hunted it soon became his dinner on those cold, damp nights.
After many nights of eating spiders and grasshoppers, the embryo was now fully grown, and prepared for the dark task it had in mind. Its full appearance was appalling, although few would ever live to see it. Its large, cone-shaped head held a face contorted in a grimace like that of a tortured person at the moment of death. The lifeless, white eyes in its skull contrasted with its watered-algae skin. Claws, almost crab like, replaced the hands of the creature, and snapped constantly, looking for something to tamper with. It wore ragged clothes, and covered itself in tar so it could blend in with the night. Now that it had matured, it was time.
It first started with the water supply. The fountains were found to have rotten fish laying in them, when the day before, all was fine. The water well of the city held the carcass of a dead dog in the morning, and even the holy water in the church seemed to have urine in it. Then the nights became dark.
Torches lit earlier were now batted out, and the lanterns no longer glowed with warm light. Glowstone lights had been crushed with rocks, and the only open light source was a covered fire in the center of the city, which was now feeding on the fresh bread from the bakery. Everyone went mad. Blames and fingers were pointed all over, unneeded arrests were made. The Hook sat behind, from the shadows, laughing, loving the sweet taste of revenge. Duergar soon fell to riots and civil war, and many found that the city was abandoned soon after. The work of the Hook was done. It now roams the ocean of land, searching for another to plague.
There are multiple ways for a Hook embryo to form, but no one knows for sure why they exist.
- A man causes riots and brawls within a city, fighting for his beliefs against the government. His public execution and cremation might birth a Hook. This Hook would haunt cities and government officials.
- A sailor attempts to mutiny against his Captain. He is apprehended, and forced to walk the plank. His body, now drifting along the seas, could birth a Hook. This Hook would tamper with ships, eventually causing any that he finds to sink.
Hooks are materializations of revenge and the spurned. They seek to destroy the trust and safety of any city or ship they find, causing water and food to go rotten, and fingers to be pointed at people inside; unknowing of the secret threat lurking inside their own walls. The Hook won't stop until the city is torn apart from the inside, and nothing remains but the satisfaction of revenge.
Hooks are annoying little creatures. They are not immune to damage, what would kill a Human would kill a Hook, though it is their process of evading this damage that makes them truly hard to end. A hook is skilled immensely in going about unnoticed. If you shoot it, it will die, but often times you would not suffer the blow of damage until the hook is long gone. Poisoning crops, stealing objects, or killing a dog out of vengeance, all of these things a Hook will do unnoticed. Alternatively, Clerics are often thought of as the Hook’s worst enemy. An experienced Cleric or Priest can gather the items and remains of the man or woman who originally lived in place of the hook, and perform a ritual to abolish it. If the remains and items of the Hookman are not retrievable, the denizens of the town will have to take more drastic measures: smoking out the sewers, burning the Hook’s nest, or simply killing it. Regardless of whether the city truly does endure these things, the Hook, when convinced, will run to another city to infest them.