There are five things native to the Satellites that are feared above all else:
Jolgon, shades, Syringes, the Desiccation Plague, and predator Xeeok.
Especially predator Xeeok.
Roughly 50% of the population is Xeeok, and each one is potentially a bloodthirsty predator looking to swallow you whole.
Fun fact; a Xeeok's stomach acid can digest steel. Chances are you won't last very long in there.
Many predatory Xeeok are picky about their prey, and select them with great care. And if you're on somebody's list, you might be on that list for a while.
Some people, such as those in the Grim family, can pass on the predatory urge genetically. With most Xeeok, the urge can only be awakened after a large amount of flesh and/or blood from another Voidborn- that is, another sapient species -is consumed. Sometimes, it only takes the sensation of having somebody squirming inside them.
So it's not too hard for a Xeeok to go predatory. One day they could be just fine, and the next they could be arrested for murder and ingestion of several people, and probably not in that order.
Predators seem to go for people they're attached to. So, ironically, they sometimes end up killing the people they love.
It's not always the hunger for flesh that drives them either. Some do end up killing with kindness.
Usually, if they say they "did it out of love", they're being totally honest.
Not all get this bad though; in fact, most seem to be able to resist it even though the thoughts may cross their minds frequently.
They have to consume blood at regular intervals though; but the blood donation program proposed by the Iyai family made doing this a little easier for everyone involved.
As long as they can digest the amount of blood they need, they can resist their more violent side.
If they can't get enough, then it gets very, very, very bad.
The longer they go without satisfying their craving, the less they're able to fight their urges. Eventually, they will reach the point where all sapience disappears, and they will devour anyone and anything with a pulse.
At this point, they usually get themselves killed, but if they can consume enough blood to fill four fully-grown Xeeok- or six or seven humans -in under 24 hours, they will snap out of it.
At this point, they usually experience severe depression. It's hard to live with so much innocent blood on your hands.
The predator spark can influence personality. Someone who was once submissive and shy can become dominating and outgoing. Someone who was once so kind can become angry and secluded. Someone who was once abrasive and disliked contact with others can become friendly and overly-huggy.
It's safest to assume it's not a phase that came up on a whim. If your Xeeok friend goes emo or something with no build-up to it, it's most likely due to the fact that they are now a predator.
Many predators are still safe and trustworthy; as long as they keep up with the blood donations, they'll be fine.
Chances are you're going to be spending some quality time in someone's belly, though. Many predators have methods of halting their digestive activity, be it through magical alteration, willpower, or pills, so it's safe to lounge around inside them.
It may seem a little strange that they show affection by swallowing you alive, but think of it this way: A hug can only bring you so close. And while that may be close enough for some people, it's not satisfactory for a lot of Xeeok, who tend to be cuddlier than humans by nature.
If a friendly predator does eat you, then don't panic. They want you to enjoy it as much as they are. They do enjoy a bit of squirming though, so feel free to move around once you're in the stomach; doing so in the throat just makes you hard to swallow, which is a nice thing to remember in case you're in a situation where being swallowed could result in something you find disagreeable.
While a Xeeok's stomach lining is impervious to their potent acids, it is lined with many sensitive touch receptors which give a pleasurable sensation when stimulated by the movement of prey inside.
Their stomachs are also made to keep live prey inside; they can hold onto their meal even better than a dragon can. The lining is very elastic and durable; it would take a lot more than a blade to pierce it, and kicking around isn't going to induce vomiting or pain.
Now for something not strictly predator-related. Xeeok starve to death after about a week, and because of this, many are of an unhealthy thinness and are always hungry. Getting between a Xeeok and its food is never a good idea.
Xeeok have always been built to contain and enjoy live prey, but the serious addiction to it wasn't always there; some time before recorded history, that characteristic had been added to them somehow, and for an as-of-yet unknown reason.
And that's that for this one. Next installment might be a while; I'm going to be talking about the various worlds in that one.