— Prickly spark insects are so pretty! Since the magic they acquire during the violent storms in the Orage Mountains makes them sentient, I'm sure I'll be able to communicate with them and make a deal!
— Aline, you foolish child! Don't listen to what Jean told you! Those insects are murderous, and you'd never be able to keep a ward up long enough to get the most aggressive ones to get bored and leave! And that's not even mentioning the magical storms that are going to kill you before you even see your first spark!
— A mother to a child without any survival instinct
Biology and ecology
The prickly sparks are large insects living in the Orage mountains. Young sparks are the size of a human hand while adult one can grow up to be the length of a forearm. They have a thick segmented trunk that makes their main body, with their head at one extremity and a dart at the other. They have two antennas on their head and big mandibles they can use to break up the body of their preys. They have three pairs of legs, with the foremost ones that can be used as arms to manipulate objects, while the other two pairs surround a pair of wings and are used strictly for walking. Their wings are translucent and looking through them makes magic briefly visible.
At the base of their head, the sparks have an organ that allows them to feel the magical current and predict the weather. This is an ability that all lifeforms in the mountains possess because of the violent magical storms occurring there. So as to resist the magic of the storms, the sparks have developped the ability to store magic in all of their cells and more particularly in storage tissue located on their trunk. This strong concentration has led them to developed sentience and what can only be guessed to be a strong culture, although this can only be guessed at by humans.
But the sparks are intelligent! All the stories are just superstitions about the mountains. I'm sure we can communicate with them provided that we don't insult them and are patient enough!
— Aline who knows the sparks better than everyone else
During magical storms, the sparks fly out in the middle of the magical currents to fill up their magical store. This makes them glow a bright blue and gives them fluorescence, which is at the origin of their name. This fluorescent is not uniform over their bodies, it is mainly found in the trunk where it forms interesting patterns that are shown off to potential mates during courting season.
Outside of storms, they use their magic to fly swiftly and enhance the poison in their dart, allowing them to catch up and eat other insects and even small sized animals. They live together in swarm and a full swarm has even been known to kill the bigger and most dangerous animals leaving in their mountains. They are thought to communicate with each other through body dances like bees and through emitting different smells.
The sparks ought to know where the storm mushrooms are growing, with how their spores get everywhere during the storm! It will be easy for them to show me where to harvest them, and then fortune will be ours!
— Aline explaining her brilliant plan
Relationship with humans
While intelligent, communication between humans and the prickly sparks has been extremely limited. They do not seem interested in a dialogue, but if the human visitors have strong enough magical shield or ward that they can support for a long period of time, the sparks will get bored and figure that the human are not worthy enough to be a meal. After such a time, adult sparks will leave while young ones will often stay behind out of curiosity for those new creatures they have never met before.
On such occasions, it is possible to attempt to communicate and make a deal with them and get them to lead people to interesting plants and mushrooms in exchange for something that catch their attention. This can be help killing a big and valuable prey, or more surprisingly, silk imbued with magic that they can use in their nest since silk worms are not found in the mountain. The sparks are able to see colours and prefer bright blue silk that match their own colouring or string red that can be easily seen through the forest.
Look, I have it all planned! I'm going to bring along the corpse of a cow. The sparks are sure to smell it and come out to investigate even if a storm is not imminent. I'll just go to the foot of the mountains, sit down with the cow and me under the ward and wait. No danger!
— Aline, still stubbornly insisting on her plans
The other element of their name, "prickly" comes as well from the numerous little spikes covering the body of the sparks, as well as for their extremely susceptible behaviour. Thus, any visitor is warned to stay extremely polite to the spark to not catch their hire, but to also not go to the other extreme and be too exaggeratedly complimentary and sound fake or to be too slow and overeager to please in an attempt to not seem like a threat. Any of this will indeed cause the sparks to become bored and create their own amusement at the humans' expense.
The sight of prickly sparks during storms is legendary for its beauty and the fact that very few humans have survived it - both due to the danger of the magical weather as for the sparks themselves which are particularly aggressive during those moments.
— Have you heard what happened to Aline? They found her bones at the foot of the Orages! Not a scrap left or them, and even all the clothes and artefact on her were taken!
— Pfff, those damned sparks! Why all children nowadays think they are so clever that they can disregard all of our advice? They can rebel by wearing strange southern clothing, no need to go into the mountains.
— Well, at least that's one imbecile less in the village...
— Villagers from the region next to the Orage Mountains