Bhoke had been working all his life for this moment, whatever consequences it would bring. The stout Kadut man looked upon the massive funnel of silk in front of him with astonishment. It was a truly grand structure, seemingly neverending as it punctured the side of the mountain and many thousands of strides long at its mouth. The Méharistes and Bashi-bazouk, famed warriors all about him, had stopped and looked on at the structure themselves. Bhoke was a monk, one tasked primarily with healing the group in tandem with the few other monks in attendance. The Bashi-bazouk were warriors known for launching themselves into battle while in a frenzy. They needed as much healing as they could muster. It had been many years of skirmishes and sorties, but never had the Kadut been so deep into the northern territory, where the constant stream of Chimerae were originating. The gore of inhuman insects and insect-peoples covered the turbans and robes that each Kadut wore over their armor, though Bhoke lacked the chainmail most of the others wore. The fighting had been nearly constant as they made their way to this giant funnel, and yet now it was eerily peaceful. A calm in the eye of the storm, perhaps. Even the vampiric storms had a silent eye. Bhoke figured that the waves of chimerae were no different.
It had taken until that night to finally enter the silken structure. Several hours had been eaten up in an effort to scale the sheer cliffs of the mountain this funnel had been burrowed into, and even more to ensure it was safe to enter the funnel itself. It didn't help that the desert was cold, especially in the north, where even the typically sweltering Mwayambian climate gave way to periodic flurries and blizzards. It would not snow tonight, luckily, though there was worse in store for the battalion of Kadut soldiers. The night had awoken many of the chimerae nearer to the funnel, each of them some sort of diabolically twisted arachnid. The Méharistes made short work of these abominations, veteran and experienced as their number typically was, and Bhoke was more than happy to support them. There were perhaps a million holes, cubbies, and outcroppings in this truly awesome structure, so large was it that when Bhoke stepped foot inside he couldn't feel the curvature underneath him.
By the time they had reached what they figured to be the midway point, not even the silken ground they were treading on was safe. Bhoke had realized, as most of the others had by this point, that this was not a lair to be raided. This was a massive trap set for them as if they were prey. However, the Kadutshah named Malal had been correct when he said that turning back now was suicide. "A trap for food this may be, remember that most spiders of this kind do reside at the bottom. Are chimerae not simply warped members of our natural world?" Bhoke agreed with him begrudgingly. Most of the others did as well, though a few of the Méharistes muttered among themselves. Malal ignored it. It had also become increasingly obvious that the only chimerae found in this place were warped versions of spiders. Not insects, not specifically arachnids, spiders. All shapes and sizes. The largest so far was perhaps the size of a house, and it dropped down from its massive web with such grace it was nearly beautiful. Seven Méharistes died by the time anyone could react. Four more died in the ensuing battle.
It had to be nearly the end of the demonic funnel. The walls had closed in so far that it was almost like a typical cave now, covered in silk it may be. The group had been nearly entirely picked off, whole groups of soldiers getting swept away while they ate. An entire tent was feasted upon by a lone jumping spider as they slept. Bhoke could only pray it was a fast and merciful death. He was the last of the monks, tattered and tired. Malal had survived, somehow, but besides them there were only 14 more. An even 16, including Malal and himself. Another hour of walking, a few unnotable chimerae killed. Spiders again. The remainder of the expedition eventually found the end of the line. The funnel had narrowed to nearly being too small for a Kaduti to fit, though as they passed through the narrowest point they found themselves in a large antechamber. A hundred feet tall, perhaps, nothing of the gargantuan proportions the funnel itself was.
Malal was in the lead as the mass of eyes opened. The spider in front of them was no mere chimera, that much Bhoke found readily apparent. It was a spindly being, perhaps twenty feet tall and much more leg than torso or mandible, though atop its head was a veritable crown of eyes. Hundreds, perhaps, of varying sizes. The spider had been weaving a web as the Kaduti group had entered, and it continued still as it spoke to each of them in a voice that was eerily comforting. A mother softly scolding her children. Full of love, and yet also disapproval. Perhaps a tinge of anger. "Hello, young ones. I am surprised my children did not deter you from reaching me. You must be brave." As the demonic being (Bhoke had no doubt she was a demon in the truest sense of the word, not some sort of perversion as most Chimerae were) spoke, a few of the soldiers were whisked away as if by an invisible hand. Preyed upon by something faster than Bhoke could see. The motherly spider did not pause. "Did my daughter send you? I feel her blessings, dark as the dried innards on your skin. Does she seek to usurp her mother, after all these eternities? She must know what the Vuulari call me. The Weaver of Webs. I know what she is planning."
The Weaver of Webs was an apt name, so quickly and expertly did this awesome being shape her infinitely intricate web. It was not a large affair, but the detail on it was so minute not a single one of the Kadut could make sense of it. Three more were whisked away. Bhoke silently wondered when it would be his turn. Malal readied his throwing irons. The rest simply steeled themselves for what they feared was an inevitable death. "If my daughter seeks my station, I will leave her to her devices. She will understand how much she needs me, and what is a few millenia if it means she learns a valuable lesson?" The large black spider slowly descended from her web, setting herself directly on top of Malal. He tried to move out of the way but was skewered, his weapons having no visible effect on the Weaver of Webs. Seven others were killed in the same way, leaving only Bhoke to stare into those countless eyes. Each in turn stared at him. "Goodbye, young one. She will learn. You will not have the chance."
The funnel nearly cracked open from the force of the chimerae erupting out of it. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps more. They went north, covering entire swathes of Mwayambi. Each and every one, an endless tide of death and destruction, while yet the Weaver of Webs closed off her antechamber from the rest of Siveth. She would allow Wehl'inidia to lead for a time, but not without reminding her of her place. The Weaver of Webs could wait, after all. She had nothing but time.
Beyond the mainland, across vast oceans and sea, lie the nations and continents of the world. From the archipelago of Pentland, to the great Imperium of Alesia. Far south are the isles of Nipangu and the floating rock formations of Xiunhai-La. To the northeast lies to continent of Mwayambi. On less transient shores across the planar ley lines, one might find Tor Anan and The Elensari.
1 post •Page 1 of 1