"In the waning years of the Mage Wars, Durnthar, Lord of Ignorance and Oppression, struck out as he fell, and from him were born the Scions of Ignorance, the Wraiths of the Fist, the Ink Drinkers. And they fell in swarms upon the tomes of men, and all but that which was in stone, was no more."
- Excerpt from "A History of the Mage Wars", Seran Translation
The Ink Drinkers are petty demons of Durnthar, spawned in great numbers in the last moments before the Fallen Gods were sealed behind the barrier, in a final desperate strike. While the Gods were struck behind the Shield of the Void, their denizens remained on earth, yet heeding their master’s calls. The Ink Drinkers, though weak, were one of the worst.
At first glance, the Drinkers seemed to have been harmless ghosts. They are snake-like wraiths, made of a sort of watery gel that shimmers and undulates as they fly through the air. They have the heads and faces of men, pulled back in open screams, yet they have no eyes. Still, though they are frightening to behold, they cannot harm the living. Our swords and hands pass through them just as their horrid visages pass through us. For their true purpose was not to harm men - that duty fell to the thousands of horned and hooked abominations of the abyss. No, the Drinkers were born to take the history, knowledge, lore, and learning of men out of their very hands, destroying centuries of work in a single sweep. The Ink Drinkers descended in great schools and swarms upon the schools, studies, libraries, and archives of the world, slipping under doors and into the pages of tomes and records, sucking the ink from the pages and leaving them as though they had never felt the quill. They left fattened and bulging with the dark liquid, squeezing their pulsing bodies under doors and escaping into the night to feed once more. Again and again they struck, and it was to the horror of the men of the script that their hands did not grasp them, their swords did not cut them, and their staffs did not break them. Only the fire of the heart of the gods would touch them, and where it did, the wraiths would howl, erupting in showers of dark ink as they tore themselves into ribbons, sinking into the shadows. Yet still their work was done, and by the time the cleansing fire had purged them from the land, the archives of the world held only blank pages. Where word and learning had once coursed across pages, only a dead white silence remained.
"And so it was that the races of men were plunged into the dark ages, and the only light of learning was found in that which was written in stone."
- Excerpt from "A History of the Mage Wars", Northern Translation
These days, only a few Ink Drinkers remain, and while they are hunted and despised wherever they slither through the air, they are endlessly elusive, much more so than remembered. Some have even thought that they sensed their rarity, and their value to their lord, hence their self-preservation. They dwell in ruined, dark areas, always near to civilization, as without the writings of man, their blood, they would wither to dust. At night they slither under doors and through windows, flattening themselves out and squeezing themselves between the pages of books to feed. If one were to witness this, all one would see would be a thin, throbbing tail emerging from a book, gradually filling with wisps and whorls of ink as the pages are swept clean. The process itself is fairly silent, and only a soft hissing, sucking sound can be heard. Once filled with ink, the Drinker will move, albeit much more slowly than before, back to their lairs, where the ink will gradually be absorbed into their bodies, turning back into the watery gel they are formed of.
If one should try to grasp an Ink Drinker, one’s hand will simply plunge through the wraith’s aqueous body, and will leave feeling numb and ice-cold. Likewise, should a wraith pass through you, the same sensation will be felt. Swords, staffs, and other weapons and objects will also pass through them. Should the Drinker be gorged on ink, the object or body part passed through it will be soaked and splashed with it. Some Drinkers have even used this to their advantage, flying into other’s faces and dousing them in ink - however, this greatly weakens the creature. In most cases, in the face of threats they will simply flee as fast as they can. The only thing that can truly harm them is magical fire, or any weapons enchanted by a spell of elemental heat or fire. Mundane fire, such as that from a torch, causes the creatures to shriek and twist in pain, sometimes "bleeding" ink, but does no true damage to the wraiths.
Ink Drinkers are not the feared swarms of destruction they once were, but they are still the bane of archivists and magi alike. Many a key document or spell has been devoured by the creatures, and even one is enough to cripple a kingdom’s records or library system. Magi and clerics hunt these creatures mercilessly where they are discovered, and it is common custom to write all essential or rare documents in stone, or, when less important, engraved in wood or hide.
Pronunciation Guide -
Durnthar - Doorn-Tar
Note - I must confess that the name of these vile creatures is not COMPLETELY original. While working in a library last week, I came across the children’s book, "The Ink Drinker". I have no idea what it was about, but the title gave me the idea for this submission. Giving credit where credit is due!