Guardians of the dead Pharaohs of Egypt for thousands of years, the Custos Crypta have long served the Egyptian Priesthood as creatures of power and a connection to the Gods. In form they are closely related to the Scarab and many believe they were sent by the God Anubis as a death icon due to their voracious appetite for flesh.
Their numbers have to be closely monitored by the Priesthood as they only have a short life cycle, less than a single year but towards the end of its life each one lays eggs for the next generation which have to be harvested. After careful study it was found they did not even need to procreate, that they were an asexual predator. Even just one released into the populace could be very dangerous due to their short lifespan and the large crèches they produce before death.
In numbers, with their scythe like blades and powerful jaws, the Custos Crypta leaves only the skeletons of their victims in their wake. This has made them a perfect guardian for the dead Pharaohs of Egypt. When carrying out the final seal of a Pharaohs tomb a number of slaves are left alive in its maze like passageways, not realising that they are not alone. Over time the growing young find and feed on their victims and anything else still alive until only their brethren are left. With no other food source and no need to procreate it seems only then do they turn on each other until only the strongest remains.
But that was during the time of Egypt’s power. For nearly 5000 years the life cycle of the Custos Crypta has continued in the isolation of the tomb. Their only food sources those others that survive the birthing process. For five thousand generations they have been trapped within their own ecosystem. They have evolved to become more predatory, their bodies growing in size to be better able to fight and also provide more food when dead; their instincts have been honed to a razors edge, almost giving them the appearance of intelligence. A new threat to Humanity happily contained within stone and secrets, protected by mazes and traps. Or so we thought.
But Humanity in its curiosity has ventured back to Egypt, has begun to unearth those hidden places in its search to know what came before or in its greed for the gold and riches that were placed with the dead Pharaohs of Egypt. The outer chambers have been breached; people have died in the maze and traps never reaching the tombs heart. The scent of blood and new noises reach the latest form of the Custos Crypta, the last of this generation. From its favourite ambush point it views this new prey but with the intelligence it’s form now possesses it doesn’t rush in but calmly watches the creatures below.
With the archaeological team directly below it flexes its long legs and drops silently, arms ready to rip. Flaring its wings on landing it goes strikes fast and hard, in less than a second the four bodies lie upon the ground, a growing pool of blood extinguishing the crude torch they carried. Stopping only long enough to eat its fill the Custos Crypta traces back along the path of this new food source and for the first time in 5000 years one of its kind slips into the star filled night, a shadow of death.
Within the chamber containing the Pharaoh, electric blue gemlike orbs shiver at the touch of the cool air as the next generation of Custos Crypta enter the final growth phase before hatching.