Due to extensive damage to the primary source of information regarding Cardur Vanastor, the Imperial Archives have launched a bounty to gather more information on these insects and their colony the Fire Slime
. I have done my best to restore the entries of the journal written by Krateo Swralt
. He was and still is the foremost expert on Fire Slimes, but his disappearance has greatly slowed the gathering of knowledge concerning Fire Slimes. What we know for sure is that Fire Slimes are made up of many thousands of insects in order to be an active colony.
Excerpts from the notebook of Krateo, the notebook was found abandoned in his belongings after he escaped highwaymen (headings have been added for legibility):
These blobs are a pest with a large range. They specialize in exhibiting the characteristics of flames. Either flames as smoldering smoke clouds or flames on surfaces the colony is traversing. From what I have observed, these colonies are well coordinated and have the ability to mold themselves to any surface they are resting on. Subjects also observed taking flight and restructuring the colony into a structure that mimics smoke in its movements. I have been assigned to study these pests and develop countermeasures of both the arcane and mundane. These "Fire Slime" as the locals call them are proving to be a growing problem due to a lack of predation.
Hunting and Aura Observed
I have observed the blobs settling onto animals and consuming them. What is intriguing is these masses, whatever they are, don't consume prey in the traditional sense. They seem to absorb all the heat from their victims. This theory is correlated with the unnatural cold that permeates the close vicinity of the blob. I am only able to detect this sense of cold thanks to the sensory panel's readings. My physiology may prove to be a limitation in this study.
My Alpha series of experiments is to determine the nature of this creature. Initial observation confirmed that the subjects are made up of multiple organisms. These organisms require the magnification attachment on my sensor panel to properly visualize. This first experiment was to determine if the colony, for I believe that is what these creatures are, is in fact a colony or merely distinct species co-habituating and co-operating. I will utilize field-grown crystal sieves to separate individual specimens. Sieves may require multiple iterations to function.
The bravo series of experiments instituted after confirmation that subject is a colony of individuals. I have confirmed the colonies exhibit predatory behavior, but I have not been able to ascertain the hunting mechanism nor the prey criteria. These experiments will seek these answers.
The notebook was heavily soiled and damaged by the circumstances of its discovery. The next discernible entry is as follows:
At this time, I think it would be prudent to summarize my findings. I can't shake the feeling that something is about to happen that will disrupt my research. To soothe this sense of paranoia, the summary of my work is as follows:
The Alpha series of experiments made it all the way out to A035. I have learned that these insects form colonies centered around a Breeder population. The Breeders receive resources from the Siphons, and the Sensors guide the hive as a whole. It is the Sensors that ultimately home in on prey, and it is the Siphons that actually kill the prey and consume the resource the hive is after. These insects are only interested in one resource: heat. They need energy to reproduce, much akin to my own kind. In the case of these insects, I've observed they harvest readily accessible heat. Whether it comes from a life-form or a heat source, these insects only exhibit a preference in the intensity of the heat. Something like a torch or a campfire is too much heat for the swarm, but a candle or an animal is not. There, now my mind is at ease.
While there are multiple scraps of legible writings, nothing is overly coherent. It appears the robbers deliberately damaged this book specifically. While I won't name any conspiracy here; I will state that this book has been deliberately damaged by someone. The final entry reads as follows:
I have learned all I can in a field setting. Further experiments will have to be run in the lab. To accomplish this end, I have managed to capture enough specimens to start a colony in captivity. Hopefully, my research thus far will prove helpful.
Tonight, I rest uneasily. I have noticed some Humans watching me from the cover of trees since I made camp this evening. They seem a little too skilled at sneaking. They also seem to have a uniform of some kind. Whoever they are; they are watching me with far too much attention.
From the scraps throughout the book, I have learned that Krateo named these creatures: Cardur Venastor
. This means Heat Hunter in the common tongue. He never changed the colloquial name. It appears that Krateo came to appreciate and agree with the name "Fire Slime" for the Cardur Venastor
colonies. Another note is that Krateo did not observe anything hunting the Fire Slime. This severe lack of competition in the ecosystem made Krateo suspicious that the Fire Slime is not natural in origin. He theorized that the bugs had been synthesized somehow, but by whom or for what purpose he had no guesses.