VENORIAN HIVE MOTHER
These telepathic beetles are somehow connected to the fungal infestation plaguing Agemonia. They seem like an intelligent species working to achieve some greater purpose. What that purpose might be remains unknown.
Venorian hive mothers form the other part of venorian hive-swarms. Gargantuan and malevolently intelligent, they control drone swarms and rarely put themselves at risk in the open. When encountered, however, the hive mothers are a fierce sight indeed.
Possessing some intellect, they have formed an alliance with the Benemite noble house of Wrathclaw from Durgane province. The creatures harvest the fungi for pieces of Blood Crystals, that Wrathclaw witches can use to enhance their dark magics. In exchange, the venorians are left to roam free in Durgane. This has caused the local fungal forest to spread so chaotically, even the streets of their capital Waneford grow poisonous purple mushrooms.
Venorian skitterers are small beetles, psionically connected to their Hive Mother, acting as her eyes and ears. While they pose no large threat when encountered in ones or twos, if you see a single skitterer there are probably dozens around. Skitterers live underground in vast caverns, which they protect with webs and poisonous mandibles, preying on large beasts.
Skitterers that lose their link to their hive mother will try to make their way back into their hives to join the psionic network, or if cornered, usually frenzy and will fight to the bitter end.
Agemonia is littered with the remnants of the devices created by the race of Ancients that left the world long ago. Among the strangest are the automatons commonly known as arcane golems.
They are indestructible being which seem to execute complex inner guidelines, often repeating sadly obsolete tasks in places long forgotten.
Perhaps one could change these instructions with the right kind of magic? Could they be stopped? Could they be controlled? Could they still be used as workers or as soldiers? If they have some kind of soul, should they be liberated?
Trusted mounts of the Benemite knights, fierce beasts of the woodlands, guardians of sacred places. These furry mammals are an official symbol of House Highweld, and something of an unofficial emblem of the Republic and the nihteegri.
There are countless folk stories, songs, and customs related to the togrel, which both praise the creatures for their strength and size, and make fun of their smell and aggressive nature. “Calm as a togrel” is one way of calling someone way too short tempered.
In the wild, the togrels’ mortal enemy is the flying lizard vespir. Vespir hunt in packs and can descend upon an unwary togrel from above. The togrel cannot outrun them nor push them off with its antlers. Eventually the vespirs will feast upon the dead togrel’s huge carcass.
Everyone knows the wilds near Reflection Range are not a good place to ride your togrel, especially at dusk. You may soon hear the characteristic Yay-yay-yay cries in the sky, as a flock of vespirs have spotted their favorite prey.
Vespirs have sharp eyes, fast wings, and strong jaws. A togrel might survive a fight with a single one of these beasts, but they always hunt in large groups. The alpha vespir will fly higher, directing the others with its cries, and its flockmates will slaughter their victim one bite at a time.
They are known to have preyed on nihteegri and other peoples, as well, although they prefer larger prey. Some travelers have even witnessed a vespir in airborne combat with a magnificient guivren. Whether true or not, it is considered an ill omen to see a vespir in the wilds. The pagans say you should touch the ground with your bare hands to avoid a horrible fate befalling upon you.
In historical times vespirs were also used as steeds by House Skyfford, and still feature in their coat of arms.
The underbrush quivers and you spot something in your peripheral vision. Did that vine just move? A cloying, sweet scent fills your nostrils, and you feel your strength of will fading…
The culprit is the asputil, a plant-like carnivorous creature that unfortunates stumble upon in the swampy marshes around Benem. Asputils are territorial and predatory, utilizing their unique abilities to lure and bring down prey. Covered in spines that drip venom, the asputil is a collection of swaying vines topped with spiky fungal-like heads. The heads can spit acidic venom and the spines can be forcibly ejected, acting as missiles topped with the same venom that courses through the creature. Despite their plant-like appearance, asputils are not rooted in the ground, but can move in a slow creep. The monster reproduces by spewing spores from its many heads. The spores also emit hypnotizing narcotic fumes, to pacify targets that they land on.
Asputils are a constant problem in marshy lands, especially in the Throyle province, where the ruling house Tabbart is fighting a slow but steady war of extermination against asputils. The venomous creepers are very susceptible to fire, so the house routinely burns down swathes of swampland to control the virulent spawning and to eradicate spores.
Some say asputils are originally a magical experiment gone awry, and lately there have been whispers that someone has been smuggling specimens into Runedale itself, stars know for what awful purpose.
Lumins announce themselves with the flap of their leathery wings accompanied by high-pitched screeches, which they use to communicate. A batlike snout with crystalline ear-horns and a vivid purple colour that does not blend well into most surroundings, lumins rarely have need of subterfuge, and they rely on swooping and pouncing on their targets, rending the poor souls with their sharp clawed mandibles and spiky tails.
Aox demons are born in the breach, condensed from pure raw aox energy. They crawl into Agemonia through the thin parts and ripples between the realms and will only persist a short while before dissipating unless they stay close to blood crystals, an otherworldly mineral that somehow keeps appearing in Agemonia.
Lumin always hunt in groups; where you see one of them, you can be sure that more are lurking about. Lumins used to be rare, but now that Ancient machines are coming to life around the world, there is a huge spike in lumin sightings, and they have become a common if unwelcome sight in the wilds of Agemonia.
Monstrous, terrifying, blood-curdling… all of these words are used to describe the ustrig. They resemble large slugs with purplish heads and a blue back with hanging tendrils. Smoke wafts from their bodies, and the last thing many folks beset by them see is the raging inferno revealed inside their gaping maws, just before the slug unleashes its fiery breath on the hapless victim. Ustrig are connected to fungal forests and appeared at the same time as the huge mushrooms started sprouting, and seemingly where there are huge fungi, one will always find ustrig.
The slugs present a large problem for the city of Waneford in the south, since they are hard to kill and are attracted by magic. Some Wanefordians say that by standing on the city wall bordering the fungal forests you can listen to the keening cries ustrig make during night. The screams are indeed frightening, because if heard up close, the screams ustrig make can paralyze the victim, leaving them at the slug’s mercy.
Rumor has it that ustrig have some sort of central hive in the since-abandoned Council of Eight headquarters of Azimut Tower at the eastern end of Durgane province. No one knows for sure why the slugs congregate there, though.
Heralded often by the rasping sound of metal on stone as their black-bladed hands drag ancient flagstones of forgotten ruins, striking sparks as the creature moves, revenants have mystified many cosmographers and researchers and continue to do so. The air seems stagnant around them, and their wispy tattered robes are always lightly fluttering in a slight breeze, even in the absence of any wind.
Revenants are usually connected to cursed places and places where magical forces collide. In the place of a face, a revenant has merely an emptiness, a resonating void that pulsates with magical energy. It is said one can say directly into the Breach when gazing into the face of a revenant.
Found all over Agemonia, many mysteries surround revenants, but no one has been successful in puzzling out anything tangible since revenants can be aggressive if approached in the wrong manner, and seem to reflect energies and attacks back at the assailant. Some tavern stories talk of larger hulking revenants, more monstrous and always aggressive when encountered, though whether rumor or truth, no one can say.
The ground trembles and the undergrowth quivers, and the snapping of branches can be heard as something roars as it rushes at you. Breaking the tree line, the gargantuan beast comes into view. Barklike skin, a squat, thickly muscled body, topped off with long-necked heads topped by what seem like open maws filled in lamprey-like razor-sharp teeth… the sight of a benaethid is terror-inspiring and for most unfortunates it just might be the last thing they witness.
Fortunately, benatehids are rare, mostly residing in far-off remote forests. They are born with just one head, and they grow more as they age. The maximum number of heads is not known, but there is a tale of a knight of house Howell called Magryn, a heroic epic in which she slew a benaethid with no less than nine heads, after the beast had gored her trustworthy togrel to death with its maws.
According to rumor House Pennark, known for its penchant for exotic beasts, has bred and trained a few of these towering monsters for war to bolster their house army. Some say they have witnessed a benaethid at the gladiatorial arena in the coastal benemite city of Kyther Point, where a specimen with several heads brutally scored off against a troupe of fighters, and the crowds were charged exorbitant sums to witness the spectacle.
Benaethid remains are highly sought by poisoners, cosmographers and healers, since benaethid bile is a powerful paralytic.