|“||I play the game of genocide.||„|
|“||Sleep well, little human, I'll see you in your dreams.||„|
|~ Crayak's ominous words to Jake|
Crayak is a recurring villain in the Animorphs book series. A reality-warping entity of immense power, he strives to extinguish life wherever he finds it, encouraging conflict and genocide between races with the ultimate intention of reigning supreme over the one surviving species.
He is locked in a state of permanent conflict with the Ellimist, a benevolent creature of equal strength: because both of them are too powerful to battle openly without inflicting massive collateral damage upon the universe they have pledged to either police or dominate, they act only subtly, making use of indirect stratagems and proxies to further their game plans. As such, the Animorphs are drawn into conflict with Crayak when the Ellimist enlists them in his struggle against his opponent's millennia-long plans for galactic genocide.
Crayak's physical appearance is often described as horrific and alien even by the standards of the creatures encountered over the course of the series - to the point that human observers find him difficult to process. From what little Jake was able to observe during their brief meetings, he appears as a gigantic, limbless biomechanical red eye sitting on a throne miles high. He communicates through thought-speak perceived as deafening screams. However, Crayak rarely deigns to speak to others in person, and often prefers to interact with others through his chosen emissary - a reality-warping trickster known only as the Drode.
Prior to his ascension, Crayak's original body took the form of an imposing body equipped with immensely muscled arms and his distinctive cyclopean eye; upon witnessing his physiology, the Ellimist suspects that his species evolved for subterranean life. However, by the time the two beings meet, Crayak has already begun the process of mechanical augmentation that will ultimately lead him to omnipotence, having essentially fused his biological body with his ship's internal systems in much the same way that the Ellimist himself has. However, where Ellimist spreads his consciousness across an entire fleet of specially-made vessels, Crayak cloisters his mind in one massive planet-sized ship, as if to emphasize his selfish, egotistical nature.
The Ellimist Chronicles
Much like the Ellimist, Crayak began life as an organic being in a distant galaxy, amusing himself with intricate games of skill and strategy, eventually driven to empower himself by mechanically-enhancing his body - ultimately fusing himself with the planet-sized construct that was his starship and roaming the galaxy as a mechanized demigod. However, where the Ellimist used his technological prowess to save lives and encourage peace, Crayak used his starship body to destroy life wherever he found it; in the end, his actions drove the dominant power of his galaxy - an as-yet unnamed omnipotent being - to exile Crayak from his galaxy, casting him out to wander the stars for all eternity.
Angry but not overly inconvenienced by his defeat, Crayak continued his games across his new dominion, destroying life and manipulating peaceful civilizations to apocalyptic wars. Eventually, he became aware of the Ellimist's presence in the galaxy, and decided that he would make an amusing challenge in his ongoing game of genocide: having discovered his future opponent's efforts to end wars and preserve endangered civilizations, he set out to undo his work one planet at a time, in one case going so far as to cultivate a crop-destroying parasite just so it would reduce a peaceful species to cannibalism and eventual extinction. Then, once the Ellimist became aware of him, Crayak challenged him to their first game: three sentient races, each situated on a different planet, two out of three doomed to extinction via an asteroid; after forcing his opponent to choose which species was to survive, he then revealed the game was rigged, killing the surviving race anyway.
For many thousands of years, Crayak led the Ellimist on a deranged pursuit around the galaxy, pausing only to start additional games in every system they visited - games that always ended with Crayak beating him and claiming a death toll in the trillions. In the end, the Ellimist was so disheartened by his losing streak that he retreated from the battlefield to reconsider his approach, even going so far as to briefly retire from his spacefaring lifestyle in favor of a simpler life on the Andalite homeworld. However, to Crayak's surprise and anger, the Ellimist returned to space with a renewed sense of resolve - and began beating the seemingly victorious gamer at his own game: for every species that Crayak had annihilated, the Ellimist created two to replace them - even creating a race of benevolent proxies known as the Pemalites to nurture life throughout the galaxy.
A millennia later, the two opponents met again: however, the Ellimist had spread his consciousness across an entire fleet of vessels, and Crayak's single gargantuan warship could not best them all; in the end, the battle became a hurried flight across the galaxy, the two foes strafing each other with immensely powerful blasts of energy - the two technological demigods destroying countless worlds in the crossfire. Unable to to defeat the Ellimist, Crayak set a trap, luring his enemy into the depths of a black hole vast enough to consume the bulk of his fleet and destroying the surviving ships one at a time.
However, as a result of the countless technological augmentations and zero-space connections he had made over his long lifespan, the Ellimist somehow survived his destruction, transcending mundane reality to become a nigh-omnipotent being. Once he began aware of this, Crayak was eventually able to replicate the Ellimist's transformation, becoming a similar entity. However, they soon realized they couldn't destroy each other, and their continued attempts to duel head-on would only end with the destruction of the entire universe; with Crayak unwilling to live in peace, the Ellimist challenged him to a new game - one that was to be fought through proxies.
One such proxy was the race known as the Howlers, a genetically-engineered species created solely to kill; over time, these being succeeded in wiping out the Pemalites - along with countless other peaceful races across the galaxy. Unknown to Crayak, the Ellimist arranged for a new group of proxies to act in his stead - a group of individuals that would eventually be empowered with the Andalite morphing technology and become known as the Animorphs.
Events of the Series
Crayak’s presence is felt for the first time in The Capture when Jake, the leader of the Animorphs, is infested by the Yeerk known as Temrash 114. After the other Animorphs manage to fatally starve the Yeerk of Kandrona, the parasite's death throes briefly grants Jake a psychic glimpse of Crayak himself, sitting on his throne, staring down at him; from then on, he relives the experience in his nightmares, the giant eye always proclaiming "soon." Doubly terrifying, the true nature of Jake's vision is not explained until much later in the series.
The Ellimist eventually reveals Crayak's true nature and purpose when he chooses the Animorphs as his champions against his foe's team of Howlers. The Animorphs eventually manage to defeat the Howlers and to "reprogram" the entire race, so as to remove them as a threat. Since Crayak mercilessly destroys all the Howlers who come to realize the horror of their game, it is heavily implied that he erased the entire species from existence.
Crayak then appears several times to the protagonists, offering to grant their wishes or make them supremely powerful should they pledge obedience to him; naturally, he never fully respects his part of bargain. He eventually gains an interest for Rachel, the most violent of the Animorphs, attempting repeatedly to sway her by his side to no avail. He also struck a bargain with David, offering to free him from the rat form in which he was trapped if he could play Rachel into his clutches, but ultimately used him as a pawn.
Crayak's fate at the end of the series is left unclear, but it is heavily implied that the Howlers’ destruction and the Yeerks final defeat allowed the Ellimist to gain a definite advantage over him.
Crayak is a dictator and a sadist by nature, regarding other life forms as either toys in his galaxy-spanning games or inconveniences to be eradicated. Furthermore, he also makes it abundantly clear that even his devoted servants are little more than tools to be discarded if their deaths will serve his purposes - or if more useful pawns have been located; in the event that they fail him, his lackeys will be annihilated without mercy. Any promises made to lure others into his service are nothing but extravagant lies, discarded as swiftly as their lives should they happen to outlive their usefulness.
Reveling in destruction and suffering throughout the galaxy, Crayak took great delight in undoing the Ellimist's attempts to foster peace throughout the universe, annihilating the species that he had worked so hard to save - in one case going so far as to destroy edible crops on a planet and reduce its inhabitants to cannibalism in a futile attempt to save their own lives. When he finally met the Ellimist, the first game he challenged him to required him to save one of three doomed races - only for Crayak to reveal that the "game" was an impossible task that ended with all three species being eradicated. Crayak's sadistic, genocidal behavior reaches its logical conclusion in the form of his ultimate goal: as the events of The Attack make clear, he wants to pit all races in the universe against one another until all sentient life has been obliterated with the exception of a single victor species, which will then be made to worship him as a god.
Befitting his nature as a sadistic gamester, Crayak is also extremely petty and does not take losing well: quite apart from destroying any pawns that fail him, he is prepared to go to any lengths to eliminate those who have bested him, no matter how briefly, and spends considerable effort to get back at Jake for defeating one of his major assets. It is also stated that he wants revenge against the all-powerful being who exiled him from his own dimension, and has held this grudge for many thousands of years prior to the events of the series.