I have not included the contents of this thread in my Origins of the Locust thread because of the different methods used to obtain my results. Whereas the other thread uses word-based statements from throughout the series to back up its points, this thread uses things that are not written, but rather seen.
Conclusions reached in my other thread form the basis of arguments made in this one. For information regarding the Sires, New Hope and the age of the Locust as a species, please see my other thread.
Origin of the Kantus
“And imulsion did cause mutations in humans. He knew that all too well now, as the COG had known for years. But the process by which it changed from an apparently biologically inactive fuel to a live pathogen remained unclear, as did finding parallels between imulsion’s teratogenic effects and its behaviour as a pathogen. Adam suspected they weren’t linear stages of the same thing but evidence that imulsion was evolving, diversifying just like the first life on Sera had done.”
- Adam Fenix’s thoughts (The Slab – Chapter 13)
This is crucial when it comes to understanding the differences in nature and ability between all the different classes of humanoid Locust - not just the Kantus, but Drone, Boomers, and Berserkers too. The lambency within the descendants of the Sires did not create a single template - instead multiple mutations could be witnessed. All the different types of humanoid Locust are different evolutionary routes taken as imulsion diversified. Since the Kantus have been singled out as the exception we will focus on them, however, this evolution and diversifying of imulsion helps us to understand the foundation that created all the different humanoid Locust sub-species.
“The Forefathers of the Locust, these beings are neither fully Human nor Locust. Sires are to the Locust as Neanderthals are to humans. Whereas the Locust take cover, give orders and are generally organised these bipeds are savage and attack with hand to hand attacks.”
- Design document on the Sires from Gears of War 2, viewable here.
The Sires were the forefathers of the Locust, the first examples of lambency in humans and the basis of everything that came after. This limits the Kantus, like all Locust, to being roughly 100 years old. How then can we explain the nature and the abilities of the Kantus? In many ways they are so different from the Drone class of humanoid Locust that they could be considered to be a different species.
- 100 years ago, the first examples of Lambent humans began to appear. These are the Sires.
- The children, or descendants, of these Sires were raised in Mt. Kadar. These are the Locust.
- As imulsion evolved, the already mutated cells of the Locust changed further. These are the Lambent.
- As imulsion evolved, Lambent humans 100 years later were different from the Sires. These are the Formers.
Taking the above into consideration, where do the Kantus fit in?
The biology of the imulsion-infected races comes into play here, and multiple physical characteristics can be seen that allow one to trace a natural line throughout the species.
Let's begin with the Sires. These are the first studied examples of lambency in humans. Note the thin, skeletal nature of the left arm when compared to the bulkier, more Locust-like appearance of the right. Observe the multiple spike-like protrusions that extend up the left arm, something later witnessed in the Formers. We can also see that the feet have changed shape and form and the heel has lifted, and the digits on the left hand are long and thin
Next we have the Kantus. Of note here are the large, bone-like protrusions present on the elbows and shoulders as well as the unique nature of the feet when compared to the other Locust. These larger, three-toed feet are similar to those seen on the Sires as are the similar long, skeletal fingers.
Next is the standard Locust drone. Their rough, patchy skin above the chest and shoulders can also be witnessed on the Sires. The major features are their increased muscle mass, the up-turned, pug-like nose, and the heavy, protruding bone structure present on their brow.
The Lambent Drone is a mutated version of a Locust Drone as opposed to a human, as can be seen by the presence of the up-turned nose and bone-structure along the brow. Of note here are the elongated fingers and the change to the outer flesh as witnessed on the Formers.
Finally, we have the Former. As can be seen, Lambency has caused the formation of large, calloused areas of toughened skin over the head, arms and torso, similar to the Sires. Another common feature with the Sires is the presence of spikes and jagged protrusions on the upper arms and shoulder. Also note the skeletal disfigurement of the arms, especially below the elbows. Finally, the presence of the sharpened claws at the end of each digit is visible.
Obvious similarities arise when analysing these images. Certainly we can expect the Sires and the Formers to share many common characteristics - both are humans mutated by imulsion at different stages of its life cycle, but it is the similarities between the Sires and the Locust that are of note. Present on the Sires are physical similarities with all of the other races – the feet and elongated digits of the Kantus, the twisted skeletal structure and bone-like formations on the outer body possessed by the Formers and the Lambent, and the absence of ears and increased muscle mass embodied by the Locust.
Now let’s compare the Kantus. When observed closely, the Sires and Kantus share similar feet, something all the other races do not. Lambent Drudges, and presumably other humanoid Locust, still possess a five-toed structure. The Kantus also possess long, thin fingers, something that is present in the Lambent but not the Locust. In addition, the bone-like exoskeleton present on the Kantus can also be witnessed in a more severe form on the Lambent humans and Locust.
A pattern emerges. When a creature begins to turn Lambent certain traits carry; a hard bone-like exoskeleton forms; the skeleton itself is twisted, elongated, the body becomes taller and extremities on limbs are lengthened.
Finally, compare the clothing of the Kantus when compared to the Sires. They possess similar bandage like wraps around the upper thighs, both wear a basic crotch-guard, both wear similar articles of closing on the upper arms and calves.
When compared to the Formers, Locust and Lambent, the Sires and Kantus have much in common. They have further imulsion-colonisation within their cells than the Drones do, and they err more on the Lambent side of the scale than the human.
This is all well and good in theory, but physical comparison only gets us so far. To add credence to the idea that the Kantus are more imulsion-infected and therefore more Lambent than the other Locust on a cellular level, their unique abilities come into play.
Abilities of the Kantus
“It is not known how the Locust direct or guide the Riftworms towards their targets. Some believe that pheromones are used: others maintain that explosives are detonated to “encourage” the worm in another direction.”
- Design document on the Riftworm from Gears of War 2, viewable here.
It is shown in Gears of War 2 – Act 2, Chapter 4: Sinking Feeling that the Kantus priest Skorge is the one responsible for controlling the Riftworm. Control is maintained through the use of chants, the same chants that are employed by the Kantus of the battlefield to reinvigorate injured comrades. As can be evidenced in the Beast Mode portion of Gears of War 3, these Kantus chants are capable of healing not just humanoid Locust, but also Wretches, Tickers and other beast-like Locust.
So we're barely 30 minutes in the Hollow and I've already found irrefutable,
incontrovertible evidence that the Locust are, absolutely, without a doubt,
insane. Like I didn't already know that, but hey, when you find a scroll made
of human skin, well...
I'm still trying to decipher all the Locust runes, but from what I can tell,
the scroll has something to do with communicating with 'worms.' Yep, that's
right... haven't figured out the first part yet, but the second verse says:
'The' Worms answer, my name is Horde, for we are many with...' It cuts off
after that, and there's also a glyph I've never seen on the back, but I'll
have to figure that out later. But gut-check here, guys: Our enemy talks to
worms. if they're outsmarting us in this war, then we probably deserve to be
- Kantus Scroll collectible (Gears of War 2 – Act 2, Chapter 2: Indigenous Creatures)
It would also seem that Kantus interaction with the Riftworm extends beyond simple control or issuing of base commands, the communication between Kantus and worms seems to work both ways.
It can be seen in Gears of War 3 – Act 4, Chapter 5: Bon Voyage that the Armored Kantus exhibit a noticeable luminescent glow from within their throats when they chant, a trait that is shared by all variations of the Lambent. The Armored Kantus, therefore, are more Lambent than their regular Kantus brethren – imulsion has colonised their cells to a greater extent. The Kantus exhibit a similar glow when they chant, though not to the extent of that featured by Armored Kantus or the Lambent.
The Kantus chants are used to control and communicate with multiple different variations of the Locust, from Riftworm to Wretch, including the humanoid Locust, and this action exhibits Lambent qualities. What do all of these creatures have in common? They all have significant imulsion colonisation within their cells.
Imulsion exists as a single organism. As seen in Anvil Gate, Coalition’s End and throughout Gears of War 3, imulsion can detect imulsion, it is all connected. Taking what we know about imulsion, and the physical qualities of the Kantus chant, it can be argued that the Kantus chant is in fact the ability to stimulate the imulsion cells within other creatures.
Physiology of the Kantus
A theory has now been formed - the Kantus are different from the Drones because they possess a larger amount of imulsion colonization within their cells, leading to differences of appearance and ability. But while they are different from the Drones in some ways, certain common features arise. In addition, they are similar in many ways to other humanoid Locust.
Kantus - Front and back
Hunter - Front
Hunter - Back
Berserker - Front and back
Skorge - Front and back
Compare the Locust Hunter with the Kantus (easiest if compared to the Skorge image to get a full torso shot). The Kantus are not all that different from the Drone from the front, both possessing the same smoother while-flesh like skin and the hollow indentations present on the chest, but very different from the back. The obvious differences between Kantus and Drone are the hardened exoskeleton, second row of teeth, forked tongue and Sire-like legs. Now compare the image of Skorge with the Berserker. Notice the similarities? The same exoskeleton is present on both the Kantus and the Berserkers, specifically the back and arms of the Kantus. The Berserkers also have 4 toes on each foot, something unique to them, while the Drones have 5 and the Kantus have 3 (prominent ones at least, like the Brumak and Wretch).
To note is that the Kantus and the Berserkers have more in common from a physical point of view than the Drones and the Berserkers, the Kantus possessing traits present on both Drone and Berserker that are not shared by both.
Next, the Kantus are not the only Locust creatures that have a second row of teeth.
The Leviathan has a second row just like the Kantus. The Leviathan, however, is clearly an entirely different type of Locust from the Kantus, so what is the connection here? The Leviathan lives near imulsion, much closer in fact than any other Locust species. In Gears of War 2 - Act 3, Chapter 5: Displacement, the Leviathan swam right through the imulsion when it was following Marcus and Dom, whereas the Locust on the gunship made a deliberate effort to avoid it? The Leviathan, I argue, is another of the more Lambent members of the Locust, like the Kantus.
Brumak - No armor
Brumak - Armored
Lambent Brumak - Face
Here’s a quote from the Destroyed Beauty booklet that came with the Limited Edition version of Gears of War;
“DNA analysis indicates these were bred by the Locust Horde from smaller native apes.”
- Brumak section of the Destroyed Beauty booklet (Gears of War Special Edition)
Notice the feet on the Brumak and Wretch? Exactly the same as the Kantus feet. All apes have a five-toed structure - and the Brumak's have definately been bred by the Locust from smaller native apes. If a five-toed ape can be exposed to imulsion and mutated in a way that produces a Brumak, then is it not so surprising that a five-toed human can be exposed to imulsion and mutated in a way that produces a Kantus; similar physical traits emerge. Also, if you look at the unarmored picture of the Brumak, the rock-like toughened skin progresses much further along its back than can be witnessed on most other Locust, something else that conforms to the idea that the more lambency has colonised the cell structure, the more the exoskeleton progresses (also seen on things like the rockworm and in a more profound form on Lambent Drones and Drudges).
Compare the Brumak against the Lambent Brumak. In Gears of War 2 - Act 5, Chapter 5: Closure, the Brumak grew a second and even third jawline in the process of turning Lambent, something that can be seen in the images. But most intriguing is this – the Lambent Brumak has a forked tongue like the Kantus. Compare the “Brumak - no armor” image against the “Lambent Brumak – Face” image. The Brumak clearly has one, single tongue before it went Lambent, and a Kantus-like forked tongue after it went Lambent.
Nexus and the size of the Horde
A popular idea concerning the Kantus, originating from TAO Devil's Locust Origins thread, is that they were the original Locust, existing underground for millennia, and it was them who constructed Nexus and began worship of worms long before the fleeing refugees from New Hope moved into Mt. Kadar. This idea, while not impossible by any means, is not indicated at nor supported anywhere in the Gears of War series. There is just as much evidence pointing toward the Kantus building Nexus as there is pointing towards the Tickers building Nexus - that is, none. The reason for the popularity of the idea is threefold;
- The Kantus are too different from the other humanoid Locust to be related.
- Nexus is too large and looks too old to have been built within one hundred years.
- The population of the Horde is too large to have been formed in one hundred years.
Let's look at the size of the Horde. The Locust are descended from Lambent humans who worked in depth with imulsion - Imulsion miners. Considering the Gold Rush and the fever that consumed Sera in its grasp for imulsion, there would have been tens of thousands of imulsion miners in COG territory alone. Imulsion was the cause of the Pendulum Wars, and both sides would have been trying to stockpile as much as they could. The numbers of imulsion miners would have been far higher than the fifty or so Sires seen at New Hope. Dave "Nashtyboy" Nash once made the following comment (see Origins of the Locust for more information).
This gives the distinct impression that the "some of those subjects" referred to are in fact the minority of sufferers. That would make the Sires the most extreme cases of Lambent humans, the majority of the infected would be more like Adam Fenix - walking, talking and capable of higher thought. The Locust as we know them may not have come along until later, meaning that when New Hope evacuated and moved to Mt. Kadar, their numbers were already in the thousands or tens of thousands.Originally Posted by Nashtyboy
In Gears of War 2 there are no Locust children in Nexus but there are no old Locust either. The killing of children is a subject avoided by most video games, but we see a child at the beginning of RAAM's Shadow get eaten by a Corpser. We also see loads of oldies; Hoffman, Bernie and whatnot, and even older, infirm people like Chaps. But not with the Locust. With the Locust we don't see any young or old. And sure, if there are Locust children they may be born and raised outside of Nexus, but what about the old?
Lambency will ultimately infect and kill all life in Sera, but in the 100 years since its discovery it is still in a period of evolution and expansion. It is not until recently that imulsion entered the critical stage of its life cycle. Imulsion doesn't age, imulsion isn't affected by disease, and imulsion cannot be killed except by a targeted radiation weapon. The Sires were put in stasis, but they also didn't age or decay while they were there. The point is this - what if Lambent creatures do not age?
Imulsion mutates stuff. After it appeared on the surface 100 years ago it began to mutate humans; years before that it appeared in the Hollow and mutated natural Hollow-dwelling creatures; but what about even earlier than that? In the book Anvil Gate they notice that the Stalks come through the mantle as they break through the surface, meaning the bulk of liquid imulsion is actually very deep inside Sera, far deeper than the Hollow. On its journey to the surface the first place it would emerge would be the same as volcanoes here on Earth - deep sea trenches and geo-thermal heat vents in the oceans. As deep sea dwelling creatures Leviathans could well be the oldest naturally mutated form of Lambent life. Since imulsion as an organism does not seem to age this would mean the lambent are able to live for far longer than humans, at least until imulsion enters the critical stage of its life cycle and everything dies. Some of the Leviathans living in the deep, dark places of Sera are the same Leviathans from hundreds of years ago, and in the same way some of the Locust from New Hope are the same Locust we see now.
Imulsion exists as a single organism, a hive-mind-like entity, and elements of this have transferred to the Locust - such as their almost telekinetic communication ability witnessed in RAAM's Shadow. The Locust, therefore, age at a slower rate or may not age at all so that even though the Locust are not having children, they are also not dying of natural causes. That means that for the last 100 years the population would not remain level or steadily increase, instead every time they kidnap humans, or create lambent humans to breed and create more Locust, there population would only go up, and up, and up. After 100 years of that, the population would be huge.
This is relevant now that we look at Nexus. Consider now that the patients from New Hope were Lambent humans, not Locust, and their numbers would have been quite large. The fact that these humans are Lambent does not detract from their abilities - namely, that of miners. There are now thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of skilled manual labourers with in depth experience of turning an underground cave into a functioning hive of activity. In charge of these people stands a team of experienced bio-geneticists looking to secure hope for the future, and all of these people would have been born and raised during the Era of Silence - a period of unnecessarily ornate construction.
The sewer was one of the grand old Age of Silence wonders, an amazing construction project for its time, but it was showing its age. The brick lining of the vaulted ceiling had crumbled away in various places. // The pillars and walkways along the length of the sewer were beautifully decorated with stylized flowers and rope-edged borders. It did seem a waste of effort. "Because they could," Dom said. "Kind of proving how rich and sophisticated they were."
- Dom's opinion of the Ephyra sewers (The Slab, Chapter 13)
Nexus is exactly the same. A large scale project created by a segment of the elite who were convinced they were setting the foundations for the future of humanity. The size and scale of both the Locust Horde and Nexus can both be accounted for even if both are 100 years old. For arguments sake, let's assume that the Kantus have existed for millennia and did construct Nexus. If this is the case then we can expect to see signs of their history littered throughout the Locust stronghold.
I think this thing's like the Locust equivalent of a calendar or a clock... it
says something about 'every season having its opposite,' and I also see some
glyphs for 'Nexus,' 'queen,' and maybe 'Imulsion'... can't quite tell.
I'm guessing it has something to do with the ebb and flow of Imulsion, but I'd
have to do a lot more research to confirm that.
Considering that I'm about, oh, 3 kilometers deep, right square in the guts of
the enemy, you'll have to forgive me if my vast empirical skills aren't exactly
at their finest right now."
- Locust Calender collectible (Gears of War 2 - Act 4, Chapter 4: No Turning Back)
It can be seen here that the Locust adhere to a 12 season calender:
Queen - Imulsion
Fire - Water
Drone - Human
Leviathan - Kryll
Danger - Secure
Nemacyst - Seeder
There are a few things worth mentioning here. First of all, the fact that humans are on this calender at all is surprising. This means that the Locust are aware of humanity, either because this calender has only been in use since the last 20 years (after meeting Adam Fenix) or because the Locust were aware of humanity before then. If they were aware of humanity before then, how? Why are they considered the opposite of Drones? The Queen is the opposite of imulsion; the Queen representing everything great to the Locust, the imulsion (and lambency) respresenting everything bad. The Queens presence gives an indication as to the age of the calander, since Myrrah was the only person to adopt a monarchistic title;
“Queen Myrrah. It was an odd choice of title. It smacked of termite colonies and ants, an analogy he knew she’d find offensive, but he suspected she’d chosen it in an attempt to make herself feel more embedded in Sera’s history, more Seran than the humans who’d long since discarded their monarchies. You know that’s not true, Myrrah. You know all about your origins. But this is no time to argue that with you.”
- Adam Fenix’s thoughts (The Slab – Chapter 4)
The calandar is only as old Myrrah's claim to the title "Queen". Since this was before meeting Elain or Adam Fenix, and because she places herself as the opposite of imulsion or lambency on the calander, this means she must already be aware of humanity and lambency by other means. As a descendant of the New Hope scientists, Myrrah knows about humanity and the Pendulum Wars from the stories passed down to her by her parents, grandparents etc from New Hope, and that's why she's drilled the "superior race" mantra into the Locust and believes humanity is only capable of destruction.
The important thing here is this - where are the Kantus?
If the calender is one of the cornerstones of Locust society and the Kantus are the original Locust that lived in Nexus for generations before the Drones came along, why are the Queen and the Drones on the calender and the Kantus are not? As argued in Origins of the Locust, the Locust do not breed - I still argue this, not just in the case of the Drones but the Kantus too. If the Kantus are an ancient race then, because of their genetic imulsion-based nature, they would also struggle to breed. The lack of humanoid Locust children applies to the Kantus just as much as the other humanoid Locust, if not more-so.
To go full circle - all the different types of humanoid Locust are different evolutionary routes taken as imulsion diversified; Drones, Boomers, Berserkers and Kantus. The Kantus, like the other humanoid Locust, trace their origins back to New Hope. Their unique characters, while separating them from the Drones, are present on other artifically created Locust. Their biology conforms to the idea that the more Lambent on a genetic level any type of Locust is, the more differences of a physical nature can be observed. This also helps explain the unique physical characteristics of the Berserker, something that has never truly been questioned nor explored. Kantus, Berserker, Wretch, Leviathan, Brumak and even the Tempest with its imulsion-like beam - these particular types of Locust seem to have greater imulsion colonization within their cells when compared to the standard Drone.
A parting question - the Armored Kantus possess a Lambent-like glow in their throats when they chant, and their voices are quite deeper and harsher than the regular Kantus, almost Drudge-like. Ever noticed how the Armored Kantus is covered literally head-to-toe in armor? The actual Kantus under there cannot be seen. If the Armored Kantus are, as I think they might be, Lambent Kantus, do you think their ability to stimulate imulsion-based cells allows them a greater degree of self control than the other Locust? Enough to keep their free will and loyalty to the Queen instead of going full glowie? Before thinking "If the Armored Kantus are Lambent Kantus surely they would have much more Lambent qualities than just a glowing mouth, like the Lambent Drones, Lambent Berserker and so on", observe the Wretch -
Food for thought...