A lesser son of Makuta, the Parakuka is a slug-like parasite. It latches on to sentient beings, and thereafter develops a long-term parasitic relationship with them.
Parakuka are slug-like, resembling Kraata, but with heavier armor in adulthood and numerous hooks on their undersides for latching onto the flesh of their host. They are blind, having no eyes; instead they feel their way along the ground. Parakuka’s mouths are ringed with numerous needle-thin mandibles, which are the initial way they hook onto their hosts. They are resistant to the elements (and elemental attacks), and make sharp shrieking sounds when in distress.
Parakuka feed directly upon life energy; they cannot eat food or sit in the sun to feed. They must be attached to a being in order to survive, and can only survive for a short while without a host. When provided with hosts, however, a Parakuka can live seemingly indefinitely.
The Parakuka slowly grows larger and thicker-skinned as it ages and stays on a host. Once attached, the Parakuka is almost impossible to physically detach. It starts at the base of the neck and progresses down the line of the spine. Parakuka exist in a variety of muted colors and mottled combinations.
Relationship with the Host
Most of the time, the Parakuka is drawn to sapient beings as hosts. After linking to the spine and brain of its host, can and will communicate telepathically with said host. The Parakuka does not use words, but images and emotions, to communicate. The older a Parakuka is, the more experienced it becomes at this communication, and the better its host will understand it, even learn to reply in turn.
Parakuka require energy to live, and this is consumed from the bodies of their host, but the Parakuka is also an energy generator that will give its host, at least for a while, more than it takes. It grants its host great strength, speed, and agility if “activated”, meaning that the Parakuka gives its host extra strength from its own energy reserves. This energy makes the host faster, stronger, and more agile than normal beings.
When bonded to a host and activated, the Parakuka will transform the host’s appearance slightly. This new appearance will vary from host to host but will generally be monstrous and intimidating. Most of the time, the Parakuka makes its host resemble a pseudo-Rahkshi: hunched, spiny, with red eyes and powerful limbs. The host is still just as vulnerable to attack as they were before activation.
As host and parasite develop a physical and mental relationship, the host slowly becomes more dependent upon the Parakuka. The older the Parakuka becomes, the more life energy it will need to survive and the stronger its activations will become. This is a generally neutralizing process: the Parakuka will draw more and more energy from its host and as such, even though it has a stronger activation, after a time the activations will only serve to balance this growing energy deficit. Eventually they will not even be able to do that.
Parakuka hosts will die from their slugs. If the being hosted a younger, weaker Parakuka in the beginning, this cycle takes perhaps half the normal life cycle of the host in question. If an older or stronger Parakuka was latched on from the onset, this time period will be protracted. Parakuka themselves can live seemingly indefinitely.
Parakuka are almost impossible to physically remove from a host, and attempting to do so would have extremely distressing effects, both physical and mental, on the host.
Development and Bonding Process
Weakest when they are young, the Parakuka are small, slow, and pale, without exoskeleton. They generally keep to dark places and water, where they will stay alive and grow large enough to trap better hosts by consuming what is available – rats, fish, it doesn’t much matter. Most Parakuka die in this infancy period.
After the Parakuka first bonds to a legitimate host by latching onto their neck, they will cause the host to fall into a two-day sleep. During these two days, the parasite will acclimate to the host’s body, aligning with and hooking onto the spinal cord, feeding off the energy of the host, and creating the first mental connections with their new host.
When the host awakes, the parasite and host together are at the peak of their combined power, but the host will inevitably attempt to regain control of their body during this initial phase. The war of host versus parasite will exhaust both parasite and host. After this struggle is over, the Parakuka will be incredibly weakened and must slowly regain its strength. The host will also be disoriented and physically weakened.
Before the host can think to destroy the parasite on its back, though, the Parakuka will present the best argument it can muster against such action – it will activate with what little energy it has left. The host will feel immediately reinvigorated, and revel at their new form and incredible power. Most often, curiosity of and/or satisfaction with their active Parakuka form will stop a host from doing anything to harm the parasite until it’s too late.
The first activation past, future activations will happen voluntarily, normally by wish of the host. As the host will discover, too long of an activation will make them fatigued.
- Parakuka absorb elemental energy and ruin the mental concentration of their hosts, preventing them from using mask, vision, and elemental powers. It reacts violently to any foreign technology and will actually prevent the host from even coming into contact with it.
- A Parakuka can only be active for about ten minutes at a time. Should it remain active past this time, the host's body will begin to shut down due to the physical stress caused by using the parasite, eventually resulting in death.
- Attacking a Parakuka is incredibly painful for its host and can be fatal.
- The longer the parasite is active, the more the host will be weakened and tired following its deactivation. In addition, as the parasite grows naturally stronger the host will become physically weaker - to the extent that they no longer have enough strength to move without activating the parasite.
- The Parakuka will alter its host psychologically. The more they use the parasite, the more they will be drawn to darkness; the host generally becomes more aggressive and mistrusting of others.
- The parasite is not unchangeably evil – though its nature is one of darkness and destruction, it can be taught right from wrong and can ultimately even gain a conscience. Younger Parakuka are easier to condition this way; old ones are steeped in evil and stay there.
- Should the parasite die while still attached to its host, the host will die as well. However, if the host dies, the parasite will live for a very short time, during which time it must bond with a new host in order to survive.
The Parakuka were first introduced in May 2012. After kidnapping the Turaga, Makuta interrogated the village elders in his lair. When they refused to give him the information he sought, Makuta had the Turaga pushed into pools containing Parakuka, which subsequently latched on to their new hosts.