|Images of byakhees|
Source: The Thrushmoor Terror, pg(s). 82-83
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.