“The Armored Avenger is dead!"
"Look at him! He looks like hamburger, but his admantium armor is untouched! What could have done that?”
The young mountain sheep came charging up the trail and into the Meadow of the Elders, past the startled Elder-Guards, and stopped, panting and half incoherent. “Relax,” came a deep, amused voice in his mind. “Take a deep breath, and then share your thoughts with us.”
“Yes, Revered One.” He took the deep breath advised, then trotted forward and touched his head to that of the Elder.
The Ska'ag warrior lay in his hide, watching the intruders.
“The Makers,” he thought. It had been many generations since the last one had died, but there was no doubt. They were back. “I have to warn the People.”
“So, you want to buy a horse?” the grizzled Catfolk horse-master said.
“Yes. I'd like to buy a battlesteed and I'll pay whatever you ask,” the human replied.
“No. We never sell the Little Brothers of the Clan. Find a regular horse instead.”
“But my Lord wants a battlesteed and ...”
Swordbiters are parasites. They are long, thin and silver, and digest metal, somewhat like rust monsters, but smaller and more insidious. They resemble stick insects, but when they cling to metal they are very well camouflaged, and one can be biting your sword for a week before you notice it. They cannot be removed by hand, as they are very strong, but if the blade is inserted into fire they will leap off to escape the flames. Sometimes, old treasure hoards are infested with them, and the first glimpse you get of the "glittering" weapons is a pile of rusted swords encrusted with these thin silvery insects.