|Doing fun stuff with giant monsters is a great excercise in insanity.|
Alias: Kutabe, Bai Ze, 'White Marsh'
Alignment: Lawful Good
Rank: 2-3 Kaijin/Megafauna
Race: Yokai/Holy Beast Servitor
Length - 9-36 ft.
Height - 6-24 ft at the shoulder
Weight - 18,000-72,000 lbs.
Living Encyclopedia - A Hakutaku is one of the most intelligent, wisest and most outright knowledgeable Yokai in existence. It knows a great deal about just about all things in creation, at least concerning the material and Toho Planes. A Hakutaku literally devours information, storing it away in the three brains inside it's body like a tri-fold super computer. A Hakutaku can do some fairly supernatural things with any kind of data, though they have a special nostalgic fondness for scrolls and books. They can 'hide' this information by devouring it. They can convert material objects and living things into data and likewise store this data. This allows Hakutaku to hide a village by making it seem like it never existed in the first place. They can release this same data to put that same village and its residents back where they came from or someplace else. During full moons, a Hakutaku can even change and alter the data that they intake, effectively rewriting that data's 'history'. There are certain limits to how far back they can alter said history of data they intake and Enigma is always a factor but this allows Hakutaku to correct or alter situations largely as they require. Of particular note is that Hakutaku know of every Yokai in existence, rumored to be around 11520 different species at the very least. Hakutaku know the strengths, habits and weaknesses of ALL of these Yokai. They also have significant knowledge of medicine and sacred arts.
Invisible Watcher - Hakutaku have the foremost task of observing and recording history. They have nine eyes, three on the head and three on each side, that allow them a nearly 360 degrees of awareness and visual acuity. Their horns, while more than capable melee weapons also sense patterns and pressure in the atmosphere, enabling them to predict weather patterns and phenomena, even supernatural ones. ESPECIALLY supernatural ones. Their hearing is likewise extremely powerful, able to hone in on the heartbeat of a gnat miles away. This makes sneaking up on a Hakutaku nearly impossible. To further aid in their task, Hakutaku can turn their entire form into animated ethereal gas, effectively vanishing from physical sight while still analyzing their surroundings, unnoticed and uninterrupted. This form hides their Enigma signature and only a Kaiju with very powerful senses can detect a Hakutaku that doesn't wish to be found.
Holy Flames - Hakutaku, on their flanks, tail and around their hooves, have motes of spiritual fire that is akin to pure positive energy in the form of a cloudy, swirling flames. These flames are anathema to Yokai with wicked natures (any sort of straight Evil alignment) and such Yokai are loath to engage a Hakutaku knowing the danger of being purified in a fashion that could be considered total personality deletion and regression into a Hito-Dama. These flames also allow a Hakutaku to effectively walk on air, allowing them to change locations on a whim without having to bother with terrain. Thus a Hakutaku can travel and fight if necessary in three dimensions or more.
Caved By Ex Bull - While they don't LIKE fighting, a Hakutaku is a massive juggernaut of celestial might if need be. Their strength and mass is what you'd expect of a massive bull of their size...combined with the ability to fly, wield flames of pure positive energy and can devour their foes by converting them into information. If annoyed a Hakutaku will not hesitate to headbutt someone that offended them or those they serve, resulting in a headache at least and a concussion at its least lenient. If a Hakutaku truly wishes to kill, it has no qualms with using its massive horns to disembowel and gore the sorry bastard that provoked it. Often aiming for the scrotum and anus as it tosses its target over its shoulders and onto its back spines, often resulting in redundantly fatal impalement to be later burned or bucked off. That is, if the victim hasn't been 'purified' or trampled into paste by the possible 36 ton divine bovine. It's tail, long and tipped with a lock of fur, can also serve as an effective and long reaching whip that can billow into a lash of holy flames to scour it's foes if they attempt to overpower it with numbers or attack from behind.
Intolerant of Evil - Hakutaku though to a lesser extent than their superiors, have a strong distaste for moral corruption, physical filth and mental illness. A land saturated with these things is not one that a Hakutaku will voluntarily enter and never will it reveal itself to the inhabitants of such a country unless it has very important or direct orders to fulfill in doing so, such as saving or protecting something that would otherwise be destroyed and lost forever that it wishes to preserve. Being forced into the presence of such a location or person makes an Hakutaku livid and as terrifying as any other Yokai, perhaps more so. For the most part, a corrupt country with a corrupt ruler never sees a Hakutaku and while the Hakutaku may observe it from afar, it will not lower itself to interacting with it in positive or negative way.
Captivated by the Wise and Righteous - In a reverse of the former weakness, Hakutaku find the appearance of a truly wise and morally sound ruler to be auspicious and a great rarity, one that they will entreat with in order to give that ruler the tools necessary to bring the most benefit and prosperity to that land. In the past they shared information on an unified language and even the full if now out of date knowledge of Yokai which was written in a book called the Hakutaku-Zu at the request of the Yellow Emperor. While such a work has been lost to the ages, a Hakutaku can impart this knowledge to those it finds worthy and capable of making a difference. It may also share information that can spare a small population from disaster if it wishes to for a greater purpose. Regardless, a Hakutaku will not willingly harm a good person and it can sense this spiritual qualities much the same way an Otoroshi would though a Hakutaku has a much wider spectrum of senses that key into these qualities, able to read such people at a glance from miles away.
Defensive - Hakutaku rarely if ever go looking for trouble. They are well equipped to get out of it and aid others in doing the same but Hakutaku do not have a true killer instinct and even when in a righteous rage will calm down rather quickly and keep its damage to a minimal. Such are the expectations heaped upon Hakutaku by their overzealous and proud superiors. Hakutaku are creatures of law, compassion and order. Terminal and Captial punishments are matters left to others with more straightforward and extreme temperaments than them. One has to be actively trying to harm the Hakutaku or something the Hakutaku is trying to protect before it gets violent and the Hakutaku ends the matter in the most expedient manner possible. Either by fleeing the encounter or through overwhelming force.
Enigma Resistance - A Hakutaku's powers are not much of a threat to Kaiju that are larger than it is. The sheer quantity of Enigma would overload a Hakutaku's ability to even consider trying to carry. An Enigma Sensitive would have better luck resisting a Hakutaku's powers but it largely depends on that person's nature. If they are a good person the Hakutaku prefers to settle any dispute with reason. If wicked the Hakutaku prefers to simple spy on and report its findings to something that is much more aggressive. Failing that, a Hakutaku will relentlessly run down such a morally corrupt Enigam Sensitive, on the idea that it's Enigma Reserves are stronger and will last longer than that of its opponent.
Day 21: Of Wise Oxes and Thunderous Chimeras
The next day was strange mix of bright sun and a looming thunderhead, heavy with the promise of a wrathful storm. Kaitheros stared up at this strange sky for a long while, reflecting on the various nuances that tied him to the Den of Predation. Nature was a fickle mistress but a kind one when it suited her. The fall rains were not about to come fully into their own soon. Then there would be no end to the rain as winter began its siege. The upper mountains would grow a pristine white and the lowlands would become somber and quiet with occasional flashes of the old ritual between predator and prey, the old and infirm picked off to make way for the budding young and those that survived would be stronger still. Kaitheros remembered that Yokai followed this dynamic as well, as even Yokai have their place in the order of nature. While he could alter the Ark in many ways, the complexity that it sometimes showed him when he allowed it to simply be still evaded his rational thoughts. The rest was more like a feeling or instinct, something he couldn't put into words but simply understood as truth. Yokai likewise were a part of this cycle, a part of history and the spiral of time. The sometimes opposing forces that swirled overhead made him remember the few times he'd seen some of the most powerful of Yokai, both a great celestial creature that imparted great wisdom and another whose arbitrary nature fomented destruction and chaos. While the sun still shown, he made up his mind to share the former over the latter first.
Ruki came into the lair looking mentally exhausted, some recently dusted scrolls tucked in a satchel. Evidence of the impending 'progress report and census' that Kaitheros had asked her to do. While her young mind found it hard to concentrate on nothing, when she actually put herself to a task she was remarkably thorough. The sight of the beleaguered Miko made the theropod Kaiju a touch nostalgic and just a little proud.
"Hard at work are we? Am I to be surprised this day?" He ribbed her, earning an exasperated sigh.
"I'm almost done, I thought I'd the last few scrolls checked with the reports from the scouts I collected a few days ago. I'm glad they keep an eye out for this stuff." Ruki explained as she took a seat at her desk once more.
"The pack has more eyes than the leader alone. It is good that you've realized that for yourself little Miko."
"You can sense most of everything going on in the Den right? Couldn't you verify for yourself how many of whatever species are in a certain area and then I could just record it?"
"I am aware of 'most' things that happen in my Ark Ruki, not everything. Sometimes it pays to have the eyes of others seeing the location for themselves. A lesson that you wouldn't have learned for yourself if I had done all the searching for you. Which reminds, did you know that there was a certain event that was much like you just described except it dealt with Yokai?"
"Alright...you got me hooked. What event would result in a Miko or maybe a bunch of scholars jotting down information from a Yokai?"
"Being greeted by a Hakutaku, little Miko."
"'White Marsh'? Was it some kind of swamp monster Yokai? Maybe...naw, it couldn't have been like him, that would be way too humanoid for something like that." Ruki mused, trying to decipher the meaning. Kaitheros just laughed.
"The name comes from the original Chinese term for the great beast, also known as Bai Ze. The name has a more to do with its mane of thick fur and its white body, as well as the ethereal and vaporous way it materializes and disappears from sight."
"So...what is it. It sounds familiar but I can't put a face to it."
"The Hakutaku is like a very large ox, with two more pairs of horns upon it's back and a set of eyes on each of its sides. Each set of eyes numbers three with two horizontal and one in the middle vertical. Thus it has nine fold vision. It's tail is much longer than that of any mortal ox and it's flanks, tail and forelocks are enveloped in motes of Holy Fire, which is basically Enigma with a blisteringly pure and positive charge. It has very slight human elements to its face as it can speak nearly every human language, fluently."
"Wow...so does it get as big as an Ushi-Oni?"
"Not quite, but it is no slouch when it comes to strength and size, not that it has the demeanor to wantonly abuse such strength."
"You said it has 'Holy Fire', does mean the Hakutaku is an actual 'good' Yokai?"
"Indeed. Hakutaku are Holy Beasts and servitors of the Kirin. They're primary task is to collect information and archive it for them. Much like the work you have been doing but over areas as large as countries. It's senses are remarkable even among Yokai able to feel, hear, see, and even taste its environment for miles around in near 360 degree radius. There is very little that escapes a Hakutaku's notice. 'History' is something Hakutaku take very seriously and they have cataloged so much raw data that there is very little in the Material Plane and the Toho Plane that a Hakutaku does not know."
"So their super smart huh. Smarter than a Satori?"
"Definitely. Hakutaku have three brains located in their bodies. These brains connect and share information, allowing a Hakutaku to store VAST amounts of information within themselves and recover it at a moment's notice. You could say it would be like having three Satori brains in one Yokai but it doesn't bother to read your mind, it's wisdom eclipses the need to read your surface thoughts. It can figure out everything about you in little more than a glance."
"I dunno Thero-Kun, these guys sound pretty intimidating for 'Holy Beasts'. I mean, if it's smarter than three Satori put together, what chance does a human have against this thing?"
"Conflict with a Hakutaku is something that occurs very rarely, just as rare as the creature itself really. Half the trouble with a Hakutaku is just finding one as when they don't wish to be found even I have trouble detecting them."
"What do they turn invisible like an Otoroshi?"
"Yes but in a different manner. Hakutaku earned their name from the way they disappear and reappear should they wish to. They can turn their body into a ethereal and gaseous like state that is much like a shimmer of heat or-"
"Very good, yes very much like marsh gas. Hakutaku for the most part travel the Material Plane invisible to all physical sight so that they may conduct their surveying and information gathering in peace."
"I could I use your sight to see them?"
"Yes but only faintly, a light outline that shimmers and fades would be all you would get and even then an Hakutaku would take notice of you noticing it. Getting the jump on a Hakutaku is not really feasible or advised. Frankly it's kind of rude."
"Sounds like you actually like these Hakutaku."
"They are one of the few servants of the Kirin that aren't utterly self righteous. Largely because they spend so much time watching the mortal realm that they still have a solid degree of empathy and compassion. They are not only intelligent but very wise creatures that like any large and powerful herbivore are defensive in temperament. Unlike other Yokai a Hakutaku is held to 'higher standards' and does not go looking for conflict, in fact it does it's level best to avoid it."
"Well that doesn't sound too bad. It is kinda creepy that they can spy on you from miles away though. Not sure if I like that."
"The knowledge they obtain is extremely valuable and thus so are they. It is a truly fortunate moment when a Hakutaku decides to share its knowledge or its decide to actively help humans. As Hakutaku know more than any creature that with great knowledge comes great power and with great power comes-"
"Great responsibility. Next thing you'll tell me is that they don't help because they are too busy brooding under the rain about how their uncles died."
"Forget about it, so what makes a Hakutaku share all that knowledge?"
"Ahem, Hakutaku are extremely picky about mortals they speak to. A Hakutaku will only reveal itself to a wise and virtuous leader so that it can impart its knowledge to that leader in hopes of maintaining further prosperity and order. If a land is not ruled by such a leader than the Hakutaku will continue to observe from the remote sacred mountains in which they usually dwell. A corrupt land heavy with strife and turmoil is intolerable to a Hakutaku and it will refuse to even set one hoof on its soil unless it has some important mission or objective to be achieved there."
"What kind of knowledge would a Hakutaku share?"
"Hakutaku are considered one of the greatest of good omens and great fortune for their knowledge can easily lead a country to prosperity and happiness should it be followed. Hakutaku have been known to share knowledge of certain charms that can turn aside natural disaster and it was a Hakutaku that first taught humans how to best Yokai."
"Really?! A Yokai sold out all the other Yokai?!" Ruki exclaimed.
"That's how many of the other Yokai would see it but Hakutaku serve a 'higher purpose' and knew that this had to be done if mankind was to have a fighting chance. Around 2697 BC, the Yellow Emperor himself was performing a tour of his lands when he climbed a mountain and beheld a Hakutaku waiting for him. It told him the habits, strengths and weaknesses of 11520 Yokai. The Emperor had his scribes record every word. Those words were compiled into a book called the Hakutaku-Zu, a manuscript that was the very foundation upon which Yokai extermination, sealing and pacification was built. Used by many of your ancestors and passed down many generations."
"That's...that's amazing! That book would solve all of my problems! Please tell me it's somewhere!" Ruki shouted in jubilation. She quieted when Kaitheros simply shook his head.
"Alas the book was not only stolen several times but ultimately destroyed. Much of its incredible depth of knowledge about Yokai was lost, never to be recovered. No leader has emerged among the masses of mankind that provoked the Hakutaku to share their profound knowledge on Yokai again. Leaving many of your ancestors to try and rebuild the knowledge themselves so that at least a modicum of it could be harnassed."
"Wait...doesn't writing a book about that many Yokai also validate the existence of that many Yokai?"
"It's why the Hakutaku-Zu was seen as a necessary sacrifice by many wiser Yokai and other Holy Beasts and servitor Yokai. Simply knowing how to defeat a Yokai doesn't mean that you will, but always being aware of the existence of Yokai is something that helps them retain their identity which is very important to a Yokai. But more destructive and chaotic Yokai found the book to be the ultimate betrayal of their kind and something akin to blasphemous. They would strike at any leader said to have it or a copy of it in their possession. It was a very tense time filled with all manner of calamities. The height of the Yokai's predations on mankind." Kaitheros answered grimly.
"Wouldn't the Hakutaku have taken the worst of it for leaking that information? Is that why they are so rare?" Ruki asked, feeling sorry for the big ox monsters.
"A direct assault on a Hakutaku rarely ends well." Kaitheros grinned. "They are well equipped to escape their predicament should they need to. For one they can fly."
"Okay, how does that even work?"
"The Hakutaku's flames allow it to 'walk' on air, literally running into the sky. They are among the few Yokai that can travel or fight in three dimensions and four dimensions if they decide to travel through the inner planes as well."
"These guys are starting to sound really cool." Ruki grinned.
"I thought you'd say that. Their flames are also a major deterrent, such positive energy is the bane of any evil creature it comes in contact with, purifying their ego from their bodies until only a mote of spiritual energy is left. For Yokai this often means a regression back into a Hito-Dama."
"That's pretty serious, being a Hakutaku must be amazing."
"To add to those flames the Hakutaku is a physically indomitable beast in its own right. Trampling, headbutting and goring anything that truly provokes it. It has a rather frightening penchant for aiming its horns at the genitals and anus of those that enrage it. The aftermath is rather grisly." Kaitheros grimanced.
"...OWCH. Just as ornery as any ceratopsian has right to be." She cringed.
"There's more." Kaitheros added.
"What do they have on top of ALL THAT? Do they shoot lasers with their minds?"
"Something even more mystifying, Hakutaku have the power to devour information."
"wha-what?" Ruki looked up at Kaitheros utterly befuddled.
"Literally." He tacked on.
"What does eating scrolls and books and stuff have to do with being scary?"
"Oh it's very scary. You see, Hakutaku assimilate knowledge very quickly and they love nothing better than literally ingesting physical representations of that knowledge. They prefer older methods but I doubt there is any form of data collection or literature or history that would not whet an Hakutaku's appetite, which in terms of capacity is vast."
"So you shouldn't let them into your library...kinda like a big goat hihihi." Ruki giggled.
"I don't think you understand the gravity of this Ruki." Kaitheros warned. "Hakutaku eat 'knowledge' and everything they can sense creates data which in turn becomes knowledge. A Hakutaku can convert nearly anything before it into 'data' which it then stores by eating it. Starting to see why this could be a problem?"
"...Oh Kami...how much 'stuff' could it store? Theoritically?"
"An elder Hakutaku could store an entire town and all of its people within itself and still have plenty of room for more." He replied "But simply storing things and turning them into data is not even the worst of it."
"Does it delete the data and everyone inside of it?"
"It COULD, but that would take a great deal of time. Hakutaku are capable of making people, towns, items, anything it can convert to data and devour disappear from history. It would be like they never existed."
"So...an Hakutaku could kidnap you, spirit you off to somewhere in the Toho Plane, cough you back up and no one would remember you?"
"Yes. Though if it simply puts you back or somewhere back on the Material Plane than you would resume your place in history. Most of the time they can only 'hide' something from history, usually with the intent of protecting it or spiriting off somewhere so it will not be lost forever. Hakutaku's use their powers to promote stable and orderly societies, not destroy them."
"Whew...okay, so it can just hide things right? Kinda like...moving data on a computer to a different computer."
"Not sure what a computer is but that sounds about right. Except for the only hiding and moving things part."
"During full moons the Hakutaku can alter the information it has collected. That means it can change key details about said data...or erase it entirely. Now you have a good idea on why most Yokai would not raise a claw to a Hakutaku unless they greatly outmatched it in size or power. Then there is also the possibility of Kirin growing offended at the loss of one of its prized living encyclopedias and you have a recipe for nothing but pure annihilation of the perpetrator. Thankfully the Hakutaku does not use its power irresponsibly and knows how powerful just sharing a single bit of its knowledge can be, let alone altering the history of a person or a place. There are also limits to the what a Hakutaku can do with such a power."
"Hakutaku are limited by the Enigma capacity of whatever they attempt to 'store'. A Kaiju of my size would be too big for them to even attempt to take in."
"Like a Nozuchi?"
"Yes, with the added need to convert that Kaiju into data first. Enigma Sensitives like yourself would take a great deal of 'time' to take in so there is plenty of opportunity to escape or fight back. Conflict is not something a Hakutaku enjoys as it will usually try to debate or talk it's way to a solution first. It only engages in violence to protect itself or something it wishes to preserve...that is if you are a compassion and just person."
"If you're not?"
"It will either leave immediately and send word to something that is much more aggressive than it is to deal with you or it will relentlessly run you down, depending on its larger Enigma reserve, knowledge and power to whether the assault and pulverize the offender. At which point it is turned into data, devoured and-"
"Deleted." Ruki finished.
"Yes, nice bit of finality to that term. Very clinical." Kaitheros mused at the more digital terminology.
"So Hakutaku are the rare good guys that you don't want to mess with. But what if they are doing something that is causing a problem? Like hiding a whole village?"
"If you are confronted with a Hakutaku, debate and discourse are your best course of actions. They will not harm a genuinely good person though they are captivated by truly wise and benevolent rulers. If a Hakutaku reveals itself to you, it's a good idea to at least hear it out and if its goals are at cross purposes than your own, you should learn how or why. There was one time, one mind you, that a Hakutaku found one of your ancestors to be truly captivating and wanted to take her home with it. The resulting debate over whether or not it could turn her into data and spirit her off to the holy mountains of the Toho Plane took nearly three hours. However, it was eventually convinced that she could do more good on the Material Plane than in the Toho Plane and it left her with a warning of disasters to come before disappearing. That was the only time we ever had real 'conflict' with a Hakutaku. I believe it wanted to preserve her somehow as it feared her line would be lost without its intervention."
"No, but after dealing with those disasters she was not long for the world as they had taken its toll on her. She did manage to produce one child before she passed. I felt the Hakutaku's presence on a mountain overlooking the area though I imagine it let me. Once it was clear the child would be fine, it left."
"Wow, I didn't think a giant flying ox with nine eyes would act more like a guardian angel then well...a guardian angel." Ruki pondered aloud.
"Before you ask, no Hakutaku will have absolutely nothing to do with a Night Parade, though I can easily see a Hakutaku warning of one."
"So a Hakutaku only appears to good rulers...what about bad rulers? Is there something that shows up before them?"
"I'm not certain if 'bad' is necessarily a requirement but there is a Yokai of near equal standing with a Hakutaku that is its opposite in every way. A living calamity of terror and chaos known as The Nue."
I'm a aspiring artist from Washington that specializes in traditional drawings and digital coloring and effects. I've had semi-professional experience with tattoo, graphic design and illustration with some basic knowledge of commission work.|
A lot of what I do centers around classic fantasy, mythology, giant monster related science fiction (kaiju) and critters of all kinds.