Zweeg Worm (Za-we-ge Worm)

All of you taking this journey need to know this about my home. There are creatures more bone-chilling than the cold out here, and exponentially more deadly.

You humans have a game I've heard of. 'Red Light, Green Light' I think it is. When we move, it works like that.

If I stop, you must stop. You fail to do so, you are dead. Understood?

— Nasyk Guide of Adventine through Faur'ridar'ru

The Zweeg Worm is a fearsome Apex predator that rules the glaciers and flatlands of Dar’ru. The borrowing creatures can grow to more than thirteen meters in length, and are capable of cracking through all but the thickest ice or concrete.

They are ambush predators, laying in a hibernation within their tunnels until their hypersensitive dorsal bristles sense the vibrations of prey. They awake within seconds, tunneling below prey to breech up and attempt to swallow them whole.

They nest below the ground, converting large open spaces into nests. Here is where the 'hoard' of the Zweeg Worm colony can be found, a regurgitated mass of flesh used to feed fledgling worms.

We set out when the sun just crested the braziers lining the mountains. As I was told, the braziers served as guidance to the weary, and as a somber warning system. If you see the braziers out, the city is in severe peril.

Thankfully today, the braziers were in full roaring bloom, visible even through the morning snow. I had a smile, and so did my brothers and sisters. Our Nasyk guides shared no such joy I noticed. Both of them stared off into the distance as they trudged, even though they had been all too eager to party with us last night.

Their somberness daunted me, humbled me even. I've only seen that look in war, it was the face of someone who knew they were marching willingly into hell.

I caught up to our front guide, and asked her what had her so shaken. She looked me over, as if seeing me for the first time.

"I like you," She growled at me, the gravelly rasp of experience almost unaudible through the thick white cloth of her mask. "We enter Zweeg worm territory, I sense death."

She tugged me in with a hand, grasping at my parka. Even through her goggles, her red eyes pierced me like bullets.

"Advice. If Zweegs attack, lay down and silently pray to whatever you believe in until it is silent. It is what I do."

I did not smile again until I saw the city brazier five days later.

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A Zweeg Worm's thrashing around a recent kill causes massive mounds in the snow and ice.

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9 Feb, 2023 15:41

That prose is so good and evocative! <3 I feel on edge just reading it. What terrifying creatures.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
10 Feb, 2023 01:08

I dunno I think they kinda cute in a pants-crapping way.

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