Worm and Fire II

A JP by Tahjerius and Ender

((Burning Indrasel Warehouse, Karavoss))

The warehouse became silent, besides the roaring flames, and the sound of insects swarming inside the walls could be heard, the thousands of buzzes of winged arthropods sung throughout the building, a lone voice chuckled, "My, my, my! Look at the mess you made!"

A swarm of insects burst into the building, joining together in a giant mass in the entrance of the room. The arthropods scurried across each other, as the mass became small and humanoid in shape. The bug humanoid mass stretched out its arms and clapped.

Once it clapped the bugs formed into a strange looking halfling, his skin looked tanned from years in the sun, however it seemed as if his skin was hard, like a tiny exoskeleton over his body. His eyes were a bit too wide for his head. All the while his lips had a split in the middle, as if mandibles were forming. His hair was stringy and an odd greenish black color, seemingly it wiggled and moved down his back. His body was relatively normal for a halfling, or it would seem so due to the ragged insect infested grey robes he wore. His hands on the other hand, appeared as if they were giant spiders acting as his hands. Gripped in one of his blackened fists was a crooked staff, created from the exoskeletons of thousands of insects, the top looking like a black wasp hive. From the hive holes of the staff, glowing purple worms resembling maggots slithered in and out.

He smiled, showing his blackened, bug-like teeth, "Hello! My name is Leo, the Hive master of Aeran, and you my big horned friend have something that the Great Brood Mother wants, or The One. Sorry I forgot who I'm talking to, the being that you call the Nameless."

Horns felt a numbness for a moment, but even still, he pressed his arms under him, and as he pushed himself to his feet, this was one of the greatest efforts he had ever made to stand in a fight. In all the times he had fallen, he has always managed to stand back up, and each time it got harder and harder. He grimaced, looking at the strange bug-infested creature as it regarded him.

"My, my, my! What terrible manners you have! I have introduced myself, yet you fail to return the gesture?!"

"Just what sort of circus show freak are you supposed to be?" Horns spoke, his expression all serious in the face of his flamboyantly pestilent adversary.

"My, you're quite slow, aren't you? Ha! I told you, my name is Leo! Servant of the-"

"I don't care who you are, fool," Horns spoke, raising his axe. As he moved, he winced, and intense pain in his waist from the wound. He looked to the three, who stood there, tired and somewhat confused from Leo's appearance. Leo followed his gaze.

"And who are these? Friends of yours? They'll have to be dealt with, I'm afraid! This battle is between me and you."

"They are not, but you will not touch them. They will leave, they have earned that."

Moving forward, Horns walked past the people he was trying his damnedest to kill just moments ago. He passed them without a glance, placing himself between them and the insect mage.

"You will leave them out of it. I will not remind you of that again."

"My, my, my! What brave words! But how do you intend to stop me?"

Leo waved his blackened hand, a wave of insects soaring past the Tor to reach for the three heroes. Horns let out a roar, and flames enveloped him as he turned. He extended his hand, a wave of flames rushing forth to meet Leo's attack, frying the insects and stopping them in their tracks. Horns snarled at Leo, fire running up his frame as if he had been drenched flammable liquid, though he didn't seem bothered at all by it.

"I mean what I said. Now face me, insect-monger, and prepare for battle."

Leo tilted his head, "Battle? What battle? There is no battle, only a capture." He grinned at Horns as the warehouse doors were busted in, multiple soldiers, all with glowing purple eyes entered, some were more fluid, as they were alive while many were janky, and showed many wounds of the dead. "I will say, the living is harder for the Crul Spawn to control, but has much better movements than the undead puppets." Leo pointed the infested staff at Horns, "Cease them, for the Brood Mother!" The possessed soldiers groaned in approval before charging full force at Horns. Leo shrugged his shoulders and watched as Horns moved to tear them apart.

Flames flying about, limbs being dismembered, it seemed no matter how many there were, they weren't a match for Horns. The only difficulty that the Tor had was making sure the soldiers stayed down, as the worms inside them made the soldiers keep moving, even when their heads were crushed. Leo sent a swarm of wasps at Horns, which they began to swarm and sting him. "You know, you really don't have to die, if you submit to the Great Brood Mother, you shall all join the hive and be blessed greatly!" He smiled cheerfully, only to be blasted back by a wave of flames, he clicked in hate as he looked up to see Horns realizing the insect’s aversion to intense heat. Horns quickly took advantage of that, breathing a column of roaring flame at Leo, before running into it. The worm mage pushed himself away from the flame on a pillar of beetles, only to turn and see Horns sailing toward him. The Tor unleashed a slash, slicing through the halfling’s torso, before landing behind him. Leo’s top half fell to the ground, and he helplessly looked up at the Tor.

“Oh, no! You’ve killed me...ha ha ha HA HA HA!” He began cackling like mad, as his top half sprouted grotesque spider legs, walking him over to his bottom half and crawling inside. He spun around, legs stationary, and once his body was realigned, he threw up his hands.

“TADA! I cannot be killed by conventional means, the gift my master bestowed upon me! So try again! Try again!”

Horns let out an annoyed exhale, “I will shut that loud mouth of yours.”

Leo grinned as the Tor spoke, and as he did, Horns felt something crawling on him. He swiped at his shoulder and then his chest, whatever it was skittered down his shirt before leaping from his jacket. Horns let out a growl, seeing a hand-like spider making off with the Mortith in tow. The damned thing must have landed on him as he slashed Leo.

Leo sneered as his spider hand retracted itself to him, "Thank you, thank you! I shall be taking this, my master requires it." He pointed his staff at Horns, "Now die." Thousands of flesh-eating flies swarmed Horns, tearing hat his flesh. Leon smirked, "Farewell." He turned his back to Horns, a fatal mistake. Horns grunted, a pulse of flames exploding from his body to fend off the bugs that assaulted it. He gripped his axe and twisted the handle, and the blade detached, reduced to a simple handaxe. He whipped it forth, sending it flying towards Leo. The bug master turned back, “What are you doing n-” He was cut off as the axe blade slashed into his throat. His hands tightened like iron claws on the book, and he winced, “STOP HIM!” he choked.

Swarm after swarm flew towards the brute as he charged, all to no avail, the cloak of fire he bore served as the ultimate shield against the insectoid onslaught. A pillar of various insects rose under the halfling as he attempted to get high ground to get away from the Tor, his short legs could not outpace Horns’ long stride.

“Bug-Mancer!” Horns roared, clenching his fist as he drew it back, bracing, before leaping into the air. The halfling cringed as the Tor’s fist erupted into flame, before Horns, sailing through the air, launched it at Leo.

He clicked, "No!" His body began to morph and transform, his entire body became bloated and spider-like, his mouth changed into mandibles while the rest of his skin became spider-like. Large spider legs burst from his back as he attached himself to the wall. The flame burned away at his flesh, causing him to screech in pain and fury, and he let go of the Mortith.

Horns, landed in a squat, before diving over to the Mortith, pulling it near his chest and clutching it tightly. He rolled, before sprinting as fast as his legs could carry him. He had to get out of here, the bug man could contend with the flames. By now the building was falling apart, Horns had only now realized how totally enveloped it had become. He continued running, all the while hearing Leo scream behind him, “COME BACK HERE! RETURN THE BOOK TO ME!” Horns had no intention of slowing down, that was until his legs began to feel like jelly. He was determined to keep moving, but with time, he found it harder and harder to keep his pace. As he began to slow, the pain that racked his body became more and more prevalent, and he felt a sharp pain in his back, something foreign pricking him there. He then remembered the blades that were protruding from it, and he realized his lethargy was not natural. He must have been poisoned by the red-haired man’s daggers. His limbs began to feel stiff as he moved, and his feet started to trip him up. He tried his damnedest to keep his balance but to no avail.

“HA! It seems the indomitable dragon orc has fallen at last!” Leo exclaimed, his monstrous form causing his voice to distort into some booming, deepened mess.

“TIME TO PERISH!” Leo shouted, raising one of his gangly spider claws, preparing to send it crashing down into the Tor. But just before he struck, the insectoid limb froze, hovering just a foot or two before Horns.

“What’s this? Why can’t I move!? Kill him! KILL HIM!”

“Another one of you damned things. Your master surely means business, doesn’t he?” A cold voice spoke. Out stepped a man with snow-white hair and eyes like red as roses. He frowned, his expression tired and pained, and cracks of light streaked inhumanely down his face.

“I’ve had it with you things.” He said, a frown on his face as he stumbled forth, throwing his hand down, telekinetically sending the monster’s arm crashing into the floor. Ponce spread his legs and braced, before mustering forth all of the strength he had left.

“DIE, DAMN YOU!” He shouted, letting forth a great stream of lighting, assaulting the monster with multiple continuous bolts. They coursed through him, his muscles tensing at the intense charge of electricity.

“GAAAAAHAAAAAHHH!” Leo shouted, trying his best to evade the sorcerer’s lighting, but he had nowhere to run. His flesh began to roast as the continuous lighting ripped into him.


All of a sudden, a flaming support beam crashed down on top of the mage, cutting him unceremoniously short.

“He is finally silenced. About time.” Horns muttered exhaustedly as he laid sprawled about on the ground.

He then turned to Ponce, who just stood there with his arms still extended, a dead look in his eyes.

“Sorcerer! We cannot rest here. We must move before the building collapses.”

Ponce absently turned to him, muttering only, “-the...the build...ing…” Before he fainted, falling face-first into the tile.

“Godsdammit, sorcerer!” Horns exclaimed. With great effort, he managed to rise to his feet, before stumbling towards Ponce, gripping his cuirass and pulling the sorcerer. Horns was so exhausted, but he knew of worse, the hard part had passed. He managed to get them both outside, and promptly dropped against a nearby wall, desperately needing a rest now. Ponce lied there, looking as if he was prepared to sleep until sunrise, possibly even longer. Horns but sighed, this was definitely starting to get old. But apparently not even this was enough, as Horns heard numerous footsteps and watched as men approached him and Ponce, surrounding them, all bearing the insignia of the Indraselian guard. Horns knew well he had not nearly enough strength left to fend them all off and escape with Ponce.

“You two are under arrest! You’ve committed heinous crimes against Karavoss and her people!”

Horns shook his head in disbelief, letting his horned head fall back into the wall behind him. Yes, this was getting very, very old.

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