Wormblood- The Nightcrawlers

World: Midgard

Diet: Fungi and one another

Length: Variable

Lifespan: ?

Habitat: Deepest Erebus

Activity Cycle: Cathemeral

A paper by Hengheio Kar-kashu, Scholar of the Emperor

Below our great city, there are many things. It is an ancient place, home of the emperors since Heng took human form on Crown Peak. Older layers of the city underlie ours, each more ancient than the others. The wholesome folk shelter from winter in these convenient ruins, but some also serve as the lairs of wretched ghouls, kept in check only by brave hunters. Darker things still sometimes emerge from the sewers that entangle and reach below the old city. The strange things that climb up through these tunnels at times brought light of the world below to our ancestors, that pitch-black hell called Erebus.

All I tell of this darkest land comes from the mouths of distant travelers, some who have come to me with specimens of the creatures they call wormblood. I shudder even now at the maggot-pale things that are preserved on my shelf. They are denizens of only the deepest parts of that black land, damp caverns and flooded tunnels that even other dwellers of Erebus cannot abide. These tunnels are not carved by drill and chisel, but etched into morbid shapes by the noxious acids they exude, capable of reducing all stone to slime. Their slick, hairless flesh must apparently be kept moist, and like the loathsome amphibian they take breath from both air and water.

Some say these creatures are but lowly beasts, and those who see them may be inclined to say so. They make not even the faint parody of speech that our bestial neighbors are capable of and are in fact eerily silent. In addition, cannibalism is their way, the great swallowing the small and the small swarming the great. But some malign intelligence seems to drive them, whether it be the verminous gods some say they worship or the forces of the underworld below their emerald caves. Every day I thank the gods that a mile of stone lies between us and them, and that in their blind decadence they likely know not at all of us. May it stay that way forever.

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