|Number of Limbs||
Sentient; Volcanic skin; Hive-mind; Projectile metallic claws
|Behind the scenes|
The Familiar (hallucination)
Howlers or Crayak's Children are the alien shock troops of the nearly-omnipotent Crayak.
Howlers have cracked, black skin that resembles hardened lava; beneath the black, in the cracks and creases of the flesh, are bright, red lines. Humanoid in appearance, their bodies are split in two at the waist, and the two halves tethered together by elastic skin; this bearing allows them to turn their upper body all the way around and keep themselves in the fight permanently, even when thrown away. They have two arms with humanoid hands, with retractable claws attached to the wrists and huge heads with large, expressionless, robin's-egg blue eyes, which have the ability to make out major organs within their prey.
Their most fearsome weapon is the howl that gives them their name. The howl is modulated to affect the complex, intelligent brains of sentient beings, and will almost instantly disorient and cripple those who hear it. Howlers are very fast, extremely resilient, and highly talented at combat. In The Attack, a single Howler was capable of holding back and crippling all six of the Animorphs in their primary battle morphs. Their super-fast regenerative abilities allow them to quickly overcome even the worst physical damage. The Howlers operate as a hive-mind; the experiences of any one Howler are shared amongst all of them, so that every single one may become the best possible combatant.
Behavior and Evolution
Being the tools of Crayak, this race's sole purpose is to travel through the universe and destroy peaceful civilizations. But while Howlers may seem brutal in their killings, the Animorphs discover that they are in fact unaware of the severity of their actions; they seem to be unaware that the people they are killing are actually real, sentient beings capable of feeling emotions or pain. The Howler mind is, in fact, similar to the mind of a dolphin in its playfulness. The Howler collective memory means that any experiences of victorious combat are shared throughout the race; but it will also share any experience of defeat among them, something Crayak cannot allow, which is why no Howler has memory of ever having lost a battle; Crayak does not allow those memories to poison the collective pool. The species is manufactured, and a Howler lives for only three years of its childhood before dying. This makes sure that the Howlers never stop thinking it's a game because they are always children and have never been adults.
The Howlers are responsible for the extinction of several species of aliens including the Pemalites, Graffen's Children, and Folk - in fact, the were created by Crayak as shock troops for that purpose. Despite this, the Howlers were on good terms with the Iskoort for quite some time, mainly because of the Iskoort's interest in the Howler's memories. Likewise, the Iskoort seemed to be one of the few species that the Howlers were aware of as being "Alive". After sending memories into the Howler's Collective Memory the Howlers became aware of the severity of their actions and have since become far more peaceful. They were aware of the Chee's existence, and while they are the ones who wiped out the Pemalites, both species are noted for wanting nothing more than to have fun. After absorbing the Emotion of Love into their collective memory, the Howlers became useless to Crayak.
Collective Mind & Individuality
The Howlers have a collective memory, meaning that the memory of one Howler is shared by the rest. However, this also means that any form of emotion that the Howlers may experience could be uploaded to the Collective Memory and thus spread to the entire race, an unwanted side-effect for Crayak. To stop this, a Howler must be destroyed before the memory can be uploaded.
The Howler's mind is similar to a dolphin's in its playfulness, and it sees the destruction of other species as a "Game" of sorts, and were unaware of the severity of what they were doing, until the memory of Cassie and Jake kissing was uploaded, giving them emotions.
All Howlers are very childlike, and have relatively short lifespans, each Howler dying after only living for three years of childhood. This is done so as to continue the "Game", but it means the Howlers are, in effect, children. with the mentality of a child. At the same time, it gives them the learning capacity of a child as well, in particular in terms of language (toddlers don't need textbooks to learn how to talk).
Despite all of this and everything else, the Howlers are not a hive-minded species as one would assume, but rather they retain a portion of individuality, and are very capable of understanding any emotion that is entered into the Collective Memory.
Howlers in Animorphs
The Howlers are first mentioned in the Book #10: The Android, when the Chee Erek King explains that it was the Howlers who destroyed the Chee's creators, the ancient, dog-like race, the Pemalites. They made their appearence in Book 26: The Attack, when Crayak and the Ellimist have a contest between seven of the species and the Animorphs, along with Erek. In the fight, the Animorphs manage to download their own memories into a Howler---causing the Howler to realize that humans and other species are, in fact, sentient beings with feelings and emotions. Crayak quickly destroyed the infected Howlers, to keep this information from reaching the collective memory. However, a single memory ended up getting through---a memory of Cassie kissing Jake, who was in a Howler morph. The Ellimist informs the Animorphs that this, in effect, destroys the Howlers as a threat, as a memory of love makes them useless to Crayak. For Jake's role in this, Crayak has great hatred of him, and has worked harder to destroy him than the other Animorphs. At some point in history, the now friendly Howlers greet the Sharf Den by kissing them.
Howlers are known to have wiped out several species, including the Nostnavay, Graffen's Children and most notably, the Pemalites. They can, in effect, be seen as the opposite of the Pemalites---who were created by the Ellimist to spread life---though both species, interestingly, are noted for wanting nothing more than to have fun.
Howler's final appearances were re-enactments of the events of The Android, in both The Next Passage (an Elimist revisit in an alternate timeline) and a hallucination of the falling Howler in The Familiar.
List of Races Exterminated by the Howlers
- The Howlers seem similar to Wolverine from X-men as they both have retractable claws on their hands.
- Howlers are an enemy in the game Animorphs: Shattered Reality