Rise of a King

Read Time: 2mins

I see it, Vela; that glint in your eyes, a hunger to understand the unknown. It has driven our people for generations, but tonight I fear your quest for knowledge will result in little more than stern words from your father.

Oh, child, already you know how to get your way, you know this old lady loves to share a tale or two. Very well then, one last story before you sleep.

Maybe you’ve heard it at night when the world is at peace. The scratching that comes from deep within the earth. Or perhaps you’ve felt the ground moving, shifting like the tide, if only for a moment?

Earthquakes? Oh no, child, those tremors are not caused by anything as simple as the world’s breath; it is the march of the swarm.

Yes, the mantix. Once they would break through the soil in small packs, hunting for food. Now the earth teems with their presence. Versatile and deadly, the mantix have long found ways to adapt themselves to whatever environment they find themselves in, but now they move as part of a greater whole.

But what has brought about this change? Well, that is simple, their king has stirred. Do not look at me like that young lady, I may be long in years, but my mind is as quick as a corvid. I would not have believed it either, had I not gazed upon him myself, and what a creature he is!

He towers far above his subjects, wielding a blade as longs as a tree, his crest home to a crown of horns. The mantix follow his every command without the need to utter a word. His eyes, glowing with the energy of the Rift. But that is not the most terrifying part of this story.

I have heard tales of entire villages, many no smaller than this, left deserted. Men, women, and children missing, but not a single object out of place; as if the very ground swallowed them up as they dreamed.

All of this leaves me with one uneasy thought: is the king truly the leader of this swarm or does something else lurk in those tunnels?

Wait, what is that I hear? Oh, I’m sure it’s nothing. Sweet dreams, granddaughter.

Grandmother Cassini

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