‘‘My people’s endless wars with the Others sadden me to no end. Children of Geshua’s blessed seed we are, but is it truly imperative to claim the lands promised to us by God through the use of vicious and undying brutality? There are those ancient ones who have dwelled in these lands long before Geshua first led our ancestors out of bondage from ancient Mohjon in the desserts of the Far East. Yet the holy fathers claim that they have no right to remain in those primordial lands that have nurtured them since eternity begun. For in their eyes, all who oppose the ever onward march of Geshua’s heirs by refusing to surrender their homes and flee, are monstrous abominations, demonic offspring of The Evil One to be slain and purged of existence. But the Ancient Ones will not see it that way… And so will this war continue. Ahh, if only the Church knew of the secret that runs in my own blood…’‘
Izhat Rabi was a secretive and elusive man, confiding his most intimate thoughts to no one as he wandered the shadowy forests that as of yet lay unclaimed by the steadily encroaching tide of humanity, with not even the most intrepid daring to set foot within . Living in utter isolation and seclusion at his little hut, he was shunned by the few other mortals that had chosen to farm so close to the realm of the inhuman fey. Dark tales were told about the strange man who snuck into those accursed bastions of demonic evil as he consorted with the hideous fiends lurking within. Children would gasp in horror as their parents spun grim stories about the vile sorcerer who did horrific things such as coupling with she-ogres, and paying unholy homage to bloated fire-breathing drakes by sating their appetites with with babies he had stolen from their cradles.
The truth is a little stranger, and it is the truth we must pay attention to rather than the beliefs of the common rabble, if we are to ever understand the actual story behind the massive horror and carnage that would later befall the world.
Izhat Rabi was not a true son of Geshua. His very birth had lain in an origin strange than most. The sole daughter of a simple farmer dwelling close to the margins of the dark forest, his mother had fallen prey to the manly wiles of a passing fey that found great amusement in cavorting with daughters of men. Of course the true identity of her lover was lost to her, and when she finally bore her son, she simply took the practical course of abandoning him at the steps of the nearest Church before any could discover evidence of her secret liaison.
Named and raised by the local Fathers, his strange heritage son begun to manifest itself. Even as a child, he would take any opportunity to sneak away from the restrictive confines of the abbey and run off into the nearest woods, much to the chagrin of his guardians and teachers. But his ability to master the simples magiks they offered to their young wards was undeniable, and he soon achieved a degree of excellency that exceeded theirs. When he finally reached the age of eighteen, the kindly Abbot offered him the opportunity to further his studies of magik under the auspices of the holy sages residing in the sacred capital of Jehoa. In that hallowed place where God first promised Geshua the empire that would someday belong to his descendents, the teachers of the All Mighty would surely take his gift to the lofty level it deserved, so long as he swore to serve the will of the faith. But Izhat refused. The forest called to him more strongly than ever, and it would not be denied forever. So bidding farewell to his shocked teachers, he begun his wanderings.
In that dark gloomy expanse, he soon encountered the first of the fey who revealed themselves for what they truly were, sensing that this bold man was somehow one of their own. Astonished and frightened at first, he gradually overcame his fear of the fey and begun to actively seek them out, yearning to understand what they knew. From them, much came to him, including the truth behind his own parentage as he encountered the fey that had sired him. But most important of all that he had imbibed from them, was the knowledge of how to access the natural magik that lay within him, a gift of his unique heritage, and a deep love for the strange and wondrous beings that stalked its dark, haunted locales. The fey love for nature merged with the human need for a cause, and Izhat swore to do all in his power to safe-guard his mysterious neighbours from any evil that might befall them.
It is a pity, but the grey rats have begun to ravage the forest in increasingly vast numbers. If they continue at this rate, there will be nothing left for the other residents of the forest to eat.. I must put a stop to it somehow before calamity befalls the entire realm. But how? The vermin have been magically augmented by some phenomenen or other, which means that they are now immune to any mundane plague or parasite.. Ahh! I have it!
His clever mind had hit upon an ideal solution after much thought. For millennia, a species of parasitical fly had kept the populations of the grey rats in check. Resembling the common house fly in almost every respect with the exceptions of its electric blue hue and the wicked stinger protruding from its rear, this vicious parasitical species would fly among the grey rats in the aftermath of their mating season which was timed by some strange biological clock to co-coincide with that of the grey-rat’s. Flush with eggs hanging heavy in their sac following a successful coupling, the female flies would buzz around the massively enlarged rat populations, choosing their victims at random. Taking a unwary rate by surprise, a female fly would land on the rodent and sting it with her stinger, sending a paralyzing poison flushing through its body. Then, her subject numb and helpless for a few moments, she would release her unhatched eggs into its body via the open wound her stinger had inflicted. Two weeks normally passed as the larvae matured gradually within their unwitting host, and before long the the unfortunate rat would die in agony as the fully developed juvenile flies burrowed their way through both brain matter and skull with their newly emerged stingers.
If the newly acquired magik lying within the grey-rats now repelled the flies, he would combat with it a perfect solution. Instead of being repelled by the magic warning them away, the flies would now be encourage to seek it out and feed off it. Altering their bodies and primitive minds to ensure such an outcome come was not beyond the magikal skills he had picked up. Now all he need do was to catch a few flies to twist and warp to suit his needs. Nature would take care of the rest.
For the following weeks, the enchanted orbs burned coldly in his hut, as Izhat experimented with this breed of winged parasite. Much time and effort passed, before he finally accomplished what eh had sought. That glorious night came when he finally was assured enough of his creation to release the first batch of modified flies into the dank vastness of the forests. With the rate the insects bred, he was confident that the menace of the grey rats would soon be over.
‘‘It has exceeded even my wildest expectations! The grey rat population has dropped dramatically! Only their massive rate of breeding saves them from complete extinction now. How could they eve ever have imagined that same force which one shielded them, now encourages the tiny invisible perils eprils floating on the night sky with their wings? Truly, I have done my old teachers proud. If only they they could see what I have wrought.’’
Indeed, all had proceeded just as Izhat had envisaged. But the most grievous folly often comes concealed as the proudest victory, as those wiser than him would have cautioned..
‘‘What have I done?! What manner of monstrosity have I created! The fey scream in agony now as the clouds of death riddle their previously unblemished bodies with its filthy, squirming brood! How could I have been so blind and deprived of sense! Magik! The creatures I unleased sought our magik! And all the beings of the forest, from the mighty forest ents to the lowliest goblin, are imbued with magik! I am lost! Forsaken by God! The fey curse ny name now, aware that it is I who have invited this unnatural plague on them. Geshua, why did you blind me thus?! Was it your intention to make me the unwitting instrument for you plans to exterminate the Old Ones?’’
As Izhat begun to descend into insanity, his mind shattered by the enormity of the horror he had inflicted on the ancient bings dwelling within the forest, the dreadful after-math of its work continued unbated. Large swaths of the forest begun to perish as the fey and other magikal beings sustaining it begun to writhe in their death throes, helpless to prevent the parasites that infested them from making their relentless way to the soft, fleshy nexus above that brimmed with the enticing essence they found so potent…
In the span of less than half a year, the forest had been reduced to a ghastly waste-land, with many a lonely villager swearing they could hear the tortured screams of its inhabitants still echoing in the haunted moon-lit nights, long after their owners had been eaten from within. But still, the clouds of desolation hungered to continue their grim campaign of annihilation. And in this they were to receive aid from a most unexpected quater.
‘’ Do you still doubt the power of Geshua’s divine prophecy, oh sons and daughters of his noble seeds?! Behold! The Immortal Lord has awoken His armies of pestilence to sow death and woe upon the ranks of the accursed creatures of darkness and sorcery that have long infested lands that were promised to us. But now bear joyful witness as their loathesome kind is eradicated by the power of our noble Lord who never deserts those that belief in him..
As the presence of other-worldy creatures begun to thin drastically in the forest, humans begun to venture further afield without fear of abduction or worse. And what these interlopers discovered in those hitherto forbidden places, pleased them. Mounds of ravaged corpses of the grotesque fiends and monsters that had once terorised the forest were aplenty, seething with masses of pale maggots that squirmed out through gruesome cavities bored into their misshapen skulls.
Word of this finding was quick to reach the ears of the capital. And so it was only a matter of time before these most phenomenal tidings reached the ears of the Church Fathers. Souls rose and tears of joy flowed copiously down many a cheek, as thousands of the holy fathers praised the God of Geshua at their pulpits for having finally awarded them the lands promised to them eons ago. Truly, rapture had finally befallen the kingdom of Geshua as the Immortal Lord sent forth his vast armies to lay waste to the enemy that had troubled them for so long. Great was the rejoicing as millenia old prophecy finally fulfilled itself. For who could not revel when the children of Geshua had been raised to the complete mastery of the entire world that was theirs alone?
Their hearts and minds consumed by the delirious promises of greatness that the holy fathers had instilled in them, hundreds of volunteers set forth into the forest to capture some of the minute minions of death that had inflicted such a powerful defeat on the hated enemies of the forest. There were other places where their presence was just as vital.
In the next few years, a second front was opened as the armies of Geshua invaded the lands of the great desert wryms. Long held in check by the massive fury and power of the fearsome dragons that ruled the gold rich plains of the burning Nuba plains, the chosen of Geshua chose to strike at them now, supreme in the mastery of the weapon they now posssessed. For not even the mightiest of the forces of darkness could oppose them as they unleashed the wrath of the divine upon the monstrous heads of one of their most hated and feared foes.
Maddened and tormented by the thousands of tiny, near invisible insects that their mighty talons and fiery breath could not thwart for long, many of the great dragons fled further inland into the fiery wastes, eager to avoid the deadly fate that had fallen upon some of the mightiest drakes as their once regal heads were ravaged by the thousands of insidious foes that had infested them, despite their best efforts at warding themselves. The powerful magik glowing within them served as an irresistible beacon to the innumerable egg-bearing female insects unleashed in Nuba by the villanous hands of men.
‘‘Be warned, you faithless and wicked that hide among us. You too, are not exempt from the judgement of the Immortal Lord, for you, like the benighted enemy, have no true place among the chosen of Gesua. Be not surprised then, when the clouds of death kiss you as you lie oblivious in your slumber..’’
It is nothing but folly when man imagines he can control forces that have not stemmed from his own doing, be they divine or otherwise.
As the flies multiplied, their vast air-borne hordes reaching multitudes no mortal mind could comprehand, much less approximate, their hunger increased in turn. As the favored prey became scarcer, the search for their larvae’s sole source of sustenance became ever more urgent.
If the natural magik inherant in the creatures and beings of magik was now in short supply, they would not despair. For many among Geshua’s children wielded magik as well, even though the energy they provided was hardly as vibrant and raw, being rather diminished in both quality and quantity. Nothing could equal the natural and untainted magik the fey and the kindred races had possessed, but any kind of walking host brimming with the magik they required so badly for their spawn to live off, was not to be scorned. Even if they be the human mages wielding their inferior brand of magik.
As for the first time since the emergence of this fey-smiting plague, the first humans begun to suffer the death-throes brought about by the flies that would consume them from wihin, and the people fled in panic, barring their windows and doors against the clonds of death that now flew rampant in their own lands. Why they wondered, hahd the tool of their beloved deity turned on them, His own chidren?
Their fanatical preists, blinded by their delusions of holy prophecy, provided the answer to that lamentable question. It was only the wicked and morally lacking that the flies sought, they claimed. If Geshua was truly furious with his chidren, why then had only a comparitive few fallen prey to the clouds of doom? Nay, only the guilty and the impious need fear. And again, there was much celebration as the common people rushed from their previously shuttered homes to thank the Immortal lord for cleansing them of the enemy that lay within, much as He had with that which had once meanced them from without.
‘‘We found a man wandering in the streets today, a crazed skeletal wretch who screamed that the worms slithering within his belly, were no work of the divine, but rather a horor that he had unwittingly inflicted on both man-kind and its foes. We lost no time in putting him to the sword. Such an evil one marked by the clouds, had clearly come to sow dissent and chaos among us. It would not have done to allow any to fall prey to his foul lies and blasmephy’‘.
The prasitical larvae of the flies are drawn by magik. The natural magik found within fey and other magikal creatures sustain them best, but if need be, they will not hesitate to infest humam mages that have accquired a residual aura of magik through long use of that mystical force.
Getting rid of them once the person is infected, is something nigh impossible, meaning a painful death is almost certain. Any healing spells that are cast, only serve to heighten the development of the eggs deposited within the host, ensuring that they will slither up one’s intestines to his brain in an accelerated time-frame. So far, the closest thing approaching a cure has been discovered by certain non-human populations which have learnt that by innudating a victim with certain magiks designed to kill weaker life-forms, they can sterilise the eggs or kill the infant larvae. It is however, vital to ensure that this treatment is never given in too liberal amounts, for fear that the purging magik may harm the one whom it is supposed to save.