Byakhees are a race of interstellar aberrations that hail from Carcosa and serve Hastur.[1]

they can access drivespace

Table of Contents


Byakhees have hideous, vaguely humanoid bodies combining the forms of carrion birds, insects and mammals. Their bodies hold bizarre organs and masses of unknown tissue that seem to serve no purpose and get stranger the farther into a byakhee corpse one explores. Portions of a byakhee's body appear to be decaying or rotting away, even if the creature is alive. A byakhee is six feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.[1]

Byakhees were created from the ancient humans of the city of Alar. When Alar declared war upon its neighbour Carcosa, it was absorbed and transformed by Carcosa the next dawn. Alar's inhabitants became the first byakhees, and they have unwaveringly served Hastur ever since.[1]

Byakhees like the taste of blood, but do not actually need to eat or drink. Nonetheless, byakhees still feel hunger, albeit driven by a mental impulse instead of a biological imperative. It is theorised that this hunger is some sort of ancestral memory of starvation that drives them to drink blood even if they physically do not need it. Once a byakhee has bitten a foe, it has difficulty thinking of anything other than latching on and drinking them dry.[1]

Byakhees are capable of flying through space, and are often called upon by spellcasters who use forbidden magic to take advantage of such transport. However, unlike shantaks, byakhees offer no protection from the void to their riders and delight in carrying ignorant spellcasters into outer space when foolishly commanded.[1]

Young byakhees are hatched from noxious, leathery eggs and mature after a few weeks. Byakhees can live for centuries, but most are killed before attaining such an age.[1]

Byakhees are driven by an ancient compulsion to serve Hastur and Carcosa. The rare byakhees that manage to ignore this urge are particularly hated by other byakhees, who spare no efforts in the pursuit of rogue byakhees.[1]

Once called by priests of Hastur to a new world, byakhees are quick to establish a colony. Once a local byakhee population reaches a few dozen, they lose the drive to procreate entirely. Only in rare cases, such as within Carcosa, or on worlds fully under Hastur's control, are byakhees encountered in significantly larger numbers.[1]

Byakhees are as smart as the typical human and much wiser and charismatic than most. They find the presence of natural creatures unpleasant at best, and often become barbarians, psychics, sorcerers, or clerics of Hastur.[1]

The byakhee are creatures of about three meters, capable of flying carrying a rider and that can move floating at will in space and moving at light speed. According to Sandy Petersen's Guide to Mythos Monsters, this is possible thanks to an organ called "hune", which protects them from extreme temperatures and allows them to slightly alter the magnetic field around them, facilitating movement in the middle of a vacuum.

Byakhee need not breathe, and do not appear on Earth unless summoned by sorcerers or called by their master, Hastur. Still, there is a chance that they will go down to any planet if they need to hunt for food.

The byakhee are organized into herds and all of them answer to Hastur, who acts as their lord and patriarch. They can also submit to some magicians who summon them and act as their mounts.

The byakhee are, in short, beings who were born to be slaves.

In Litany To Hastur XXI The Unspeakable, Lin Carter has the Byakhee dwelling upon the "cloudy shores of Lake Hali"; whilst in Carcosa Story About Hali, he mentions nests of the Byakhee on the planet Carcosa. In The Festival, they are present at a cult celebration in a cave beneath Kingsport. Other sources, such as The Things That Flap Above imply that they dwell in the city of Carcosa. Some sources indicate that they can be found dwelling on various planets in outer space. It is probable that "the winged races of the Hyades" in The Colour Of Death are the Byakhee.

"Byakhee were once intelligent inhabitants of a city drawn into Carcosa, an experience that drove the species mad. Some say they made a deal with Hastur to support them in a conflict that led to their homeworld's destruction. The byakhee now dwell in Carcosa and interstellar space, though they have been known to frequent Yuggoth and other worlds.

"Byakhee serve the Great Old One Hastur… They are also served as mounts that may carry a rider between the stars…

"Call of Cthulhu has taken its description of the Byakhee from the creatures in Lovecraft's The Festival, but it uncertain whether Lovecraft and Derleth's creations are one and the same."

The Byakhee may be the winged race of the Hyades that are waging war against beings that may be identified as the Migo.

In Lovecraft’s “The Festival” it has been hypothesized that the strange winged beasts would transport the inhabitants of Kingsport to a parallel universe, possibly the Dreamlands. Evidence for this was presented in the previous article. The winged beasts may have carried the strange inhabitants into an alternative Kingsport through some underground caverns underneath the city; in fact, the protagonist of the tale may have visited this alternative Kingsport.

In Derleth’s stories individuals drink a golden liquid called “space mead” and go to sleep. In their dreams the byakhees are called with a whistle and a chant. The summoned byakhee can then transport the individual to another time or place, which may also include a parallel universe. According to S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters (Sandy Petersen, Tom Sullivan and Lynn Willis, with Peter Dannseys, E.C. Fallworth, L.N. Isinwyll and Ivan Mustoil; Chaosium Inc., 1988), the byakhee have an organ called a hune that is “attuned to the galactic magnetic field.” In interstellar space the hune can generate a space-time pattern called a keim. Within this keim field the byakhee can supposedly travel up to 400 times faster than that of light. Beyond this very little else is known about the keim field and how it is generated by the byakhee’s hune.

It is unlikely that anything in our universe can travel faster than the speed of light much less 400 times faster than light. Even if Derleth’s winged beasts are from another universe with alternative natural laws, it is still highly unlikely that they travel 400 times the speed of light. Assuming this 400 times faster than light is based on the collection of actual empirical data, an alternative hypothesis would be that the winged beast can travel through higher dimensions outside of our space-time and then re-enter in a different time or place. Such interstellar travel in the blink of an eye would appear to be faster than light, similar to Keziah Mason or Walter Gilman’s ability to travel within and between universes with the aid of higher forms of inter-dimensional mathematics. Thus, the hune organ within the byakhee may naturally preform the same function and through the generation of the keim field. A clue to how the hune accomplishes this task may be in the phrase that this organ is “attuned to the galactic magnetic field.”

It is interesting to note that while the galactic magnetic field is mentioned in Peterson’s Guide (1988), actual confirmation of a galaxy-sized magnetic field was only recently discovered in June of 2015. An optical / radio telescope study of the galaxy IC 342 (approximately 10 million light years away from Earth), identified a magnetic field coiled around the galaxy’s main spiral arm. These observations help to explain how galactic spiral arms are formed and also how gases can be funneled toward the center of the galaxy, which possibly contains a black hole that uses this steady flow of gases to generate new stars. The study also helps to support the idea that gravity alone could not create the spiral arms of a galaxy; thus, magnetic fields must also play an important part in the creation of spiral arms. This work was conducted by the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array Telescope and the Max-Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. The first image below is a combined optic and radio image of Galaxy IC 342, while the second image below is radio wave image of Galaxy IC 342.

Astronomers estimate that there are at least one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. If each one is generating a galactic magnetic field, with the definition of a field being a physical quantify in space and time that has energy, that is an incredible amount of energy generated in the cosmos. Maybe the byakhee take advantage of these magnetic fields, lining up (or attuning?) with the flow of the field, receiving a sufficient amount of energy to “unfold” the higher dimensions of space. The use of the galactic magnetic field, by a biological entity to travel faster than the speed of light is interesting hypothesis that should be tested.

Finally, a brief mention of the strange space mead; based on the Derleth stories, an individual needs to drink the mead before traveling on a byakhee. In the first story (The House on Curwen Street) the space mead appears to put the individual into a particularly unique state of slumber that allows one to travel inter-dimensionally. However, in the second story (The Watcher From the Sky) the space mead was still required but it was not explicitly associated with sleep. However the space mead works, maybe it makes the individual more resilient to the stresses of inter-dimensional travel. Thus, if Walter Gilman drank some of the mead before his inter-dimensional travels maybe he would not have experience alien sunburns and punctured eardrums. It would be interesting to conduct a chemical analysis of the space mead.

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