Undead Beard Fleas
Damn 'ol thing it tis. Itches like nuthin I e'er felt. Stupid bugs, your the Poosker ye fool. Help me get rid o' these damnable things.
I hate to tell you this but you have what we liked to call, 'Puces Barbe Morts', or undead beard fleas. And the only way to be rid of them is to cut off your beard and then burn the hair.
No! Just kill me it's less painful that way.
Undead Beard Fleas
Horrible little critters in that they love the greasy, wiry habitat of a surely dwarven beard. Undetectable by the untrained eye, they are never the less a bane to any dwarf and their master work of a beard.
Dwarves are known for their pride in their beards, growing them literally since birth. A dwarf born without a beard is a human, or so the joke states. They spend their entire life growing and grooming their beard to the right size and shape, some puttingÂ elaborate tokens in them to tell tales of their victories and great battles fought, and great foes vanquished. Being as surely as they are, and not the most hygienic, it is more often then not that they can attract certain vermin that will nest in their beards and cause inconveniences.
From fleas to ticks, and mites to worms and all other manner of crawling things that don't belong there can crawl in, breed, and even thrive in a healthy dwarven beard. (A recorded grumpy old sea faring dwarf was once seen with a crab living in his beard, to keep out the sea spirits he claimed.) Some are proud of it, but most take it for granted of having a healthy and proud beard and call for a localÂ Poosker to rid them of their vermin. There is, unfortunately one form of vermin that every dwarf fears, and rightfully so.
Roughly a century ago, a particularly vile and malicious necromancer found a spot of trouble with a near by dwarven clan. The necromancer Mour Ngr Ymn was arrogant, even for his kind, laughing in the face of those he taunted and murdered for his studies. They particularly did not like his ravaging the countryside in search of bodies for hisÂ experiments, especially when the subjects he used were of their dwarven family. A short, but all out war was waged on hisÂ fortress, and while he was not killed, the dwarves left him in a heap of rubble that left him with only a few minions remaining. Unable to retrieve all of their fallen comrades, as some were eaten to nothing, and some blow into far to many pieces to carry, they left and returned home.
He plotted to take action for the dwarves destroying his work. Having worked with the dwarven dead, he knew of their particularÂ maladyÂ when it came to beard bugs. By using the bodies of the fallen and their own infesting infestations, he created a most vile and horrible creature to combat them at their doorstep and in their homes. He created a mass of them, enough to crush a small child should they been placed in one large group, and sent them forth with a small group of his new undead dwarven minions.Â KnowingÂ that they would be destroyed he was not concerned with making them powerful or augmenting them to wreck havoc. He brought them back and animated them for the sole purpose of being carriers of this new mass weapon.
They did their job, not infiltrating the dwarven cavernous cities, but transferring their precious weapon cargo to living dwarves. Soon after, those infected realized that their usual pain and irritation from their beard vermin was not normal. Those afflicted by these undead beard fleas, were experiencing symptoms of decay and rot. As if they were a form of death walking. The undead fleas do not kill, just saps the strength from their bodies.Â
While it is extremely easy to be rid of them, to shave the beard and burn the hair, most dwarves opt to be killed instead. Feeling to have ones beard cut is as close to a living death as they wish to have, they choose to go all the way.
While the dwarves have found a way to control them by using Beardspiders, it does not kill them. It simply keeps them at bay and slows down their breeding. Being extremely difficult to destroy outside of fire, the beardspiders eventually lose their battle, and more must be placed in the beard every few weeks or the undead fleas begin to multiply faster.
The purpose of these nasty creatures is not to annoy the infected dwarf, but to torture and eventually destroy them. Dwarves of all people understand the concept of a small thing being used to alter something far larger. Take a droplet of water that endlessly drips onto a cavern floor. Small at first, but eventually it wears down the stone and creates a hole that eventually can amass great depth. The undead beard fleas do the same thing. While infested into a dwarven beard they begin to feed on the dwarves life essence, unlike a normal flea that feeds off blood. It takes one feedings for one of these undead fleas to be able to reproduce others of their kind. This is why it is difficult to be rid of them.
While in adult form, the undead flea can in fact be destroyed by dipping the beard in holy water, or a possibleÂ exorcismÂ Though most respectable priest would balk at wasting time and effort into ridding a dwarf of fleas, instead telling them to just shave their beard. Possibly different outlook for a dwarven priest.Â ButÂ after they lay their eggs, the life cycle of the flea changes. They are no longer simply undead, but half dead. The eggs are in a state of half living and half death which makes conventional divine help impossible to destroy them. Seeing an adult undead flea can lay approximately twenty to thirty eggs every few days, it makes for a hard time keeping up with their cycle to kill them all.
If left unattended or uncontrolled, the fleas will continue to drain the dwarven host ofÂ theirÂ life essence, and eventually kill them. Once this happens they burrow further into the dwarfs skin and dissipate, or dissolveÂ releasing the dark magic used to keep them in a state of unlife and thereby passing this magic through the now dead dwarf which after a short period will awaken in a similar state of undead status thereby completing the cycle and the fleas purpose.
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? Responses (21)-21
I like them. Particularly the fact that a dwarf will 'live with them', rather than cut his beard. Very dwarven. I like their necromantic origin as well, as it makes perfect sense. And I like that just by adding Beardspiders to this sub, you somehow managed to inject some verisimilitude into both, if that makes sense.
A Poosker would indeed be very fearful of these things, for it reminds them of their idea of an afterlife (to be devoured forever by Girm's Swarm!) Another legend tells of the Pooskers Hell, which refers to the Great Pit into which St. Girm led the Legions of Infestation, filled with an unimaginable number of slithering, microscopic, undead beasts.
I wonder, is this sub more dwarven or more necromantic? :)
A tad bit of both.
Culturally it is dwarven, it speaks to dwarven values and behavior no? But the action is necromantic. Such is the divide between the two topics that we discussed earlier. LIke if we had a French guild and Architectural Guild, the french guild would be more culture, history and events and the Architectural Guild would be stories and items associated with the task associated with designing buildings.
Necromancy really isn't an idiom as dwarfishness will be when we are through with it. I would love to read counter arguments.
This was simply a poke of fun at Muro as we bantered in chat. Sticklers abound, it is simply for fun.
Dude I was in the in that cha
Besides the vermin itself, reading this will give my dwarves much more depth!
And the teaser is awesome
Discovered this while doing a little research on the subject.
Ewwww, so gross!
Forgot to mention, love their latinized name...Puces Barbe Morts
Man. Could only think how bad that would really suck.
And this only goes to prove that Mourn is a closet Dwarf lover that won't admit it. That is what it tells me axle. It could count as a Necro for the post and Dwarf Guild points for comments and upvotes. :)
There has got to be a better way to exterminate these things. I wonder if a cleric can turn them? :) It also seems like an odd choice for the necromancer -- 'You have destroyed my life's work. Despair, for I shall now make you itchy!'
Apparently something I failed to put in there. While they seem no more than a nuisance at first, if left unchecked they will eventually drain the dwarf afflicted completely. Once that happens, they burrow further into the dwarf and it is raised as undead. I'll fix that and add it in tonight.
Being undead, could a dwarf dunk his beard in Holy Water to be rid of these vile pests? And are they limited to dwarven beards? Can they infest other races?
Many have tried to use this in an attempt to be rid of them, and indeed it has some affect on the fleas. But like their live counterparts they are extremely resilient. While it does rid them of most of the fleas, one or two usually survive. This is unknown why. Perhaps their undead eggs are immune to the affects of the holy water being as they are not currently undead and in a somewhat live, breeding state. Something I will also add later.
Poor Dwarves. Other races could easily be rid of them, but not the dwarves without gross embarassment.
Not bad, though bravado aside, I would not expect a dwarf to die for his beard. Kill, yes. Woe to whoever visited this fate to a dwarf.
Was more of a joke to pick on Muro. It just went from there.
Updated with a few additions from commenters.
I'm not much of a dwarf fan, but I can appreciate the horror and terror that these little critters bring. They're subtle in their danger, but no less deadly for their subtlety. I approve.