|Type||regional lore - Hive|
A hive swarm is composed of non-intelligent and sometimes intelligent insects from the Hive region. These swarms are predatory and very dangerous. Even the non-intelligent of them have an intelligence that is higher than normal. This is because in the middle of the Lith-Crillion Era, the Auhtai had reached a masterly understanding of the working of many types of insects. They experimented with them and found ways of reproducing their toxins and other aspects.
Most of the time, the researchers got their bug collection in Rônnahar. Given the nature of this inhospitable desert, they found that those in this area were more docile, easier to catch since many were near their end. At the research centers in Seirsteutu and Tyn'calli, the Auhtai learned how to produce powerful elixirs by using various bug parts. From a large insect called a knell beetle, they learned how to make its rattling sound even after it is dead. This led to the development of simple tubes and devices to make sound. After a decade of research, they had perfected and weaponized the use of sound, terming it Päiki-Synhö.
Perhaps their greatest breakthrough was discovering how to marshal large numbers of insects together, a swarm. The first so called hive swarm was composed of flying desert beetles. The early swarms of Auhtai-make were small and short-lived. Those that survived various tests were used to rebuild the next colony. This was done for one particular batch of insects called Lot 396. This colony went through a hundred or so generations and was subjected to numerous experiments involving alchemy and psionics. In the early morning hours of 12 Bloom 1512 HE, Lot 396 gained some kinda of awareness or perhaps had already achieved (c.f. Mindwrack) this and was waiting for an opportune time, that time came and the swarm escaped the research center at Seirsteutu. It killed small animals and several Auhtai as it made its way out of the city.
In the bio-spheres of Senaisan we never let the swarms reach critical mass. We culled the insects with fire and smoke to keep them manageable. We feared that splitting after reaching critical mass would result in two swarms that would battle for domination of such small containment areas.
We lost one lot, this was Lot 396. Rangers were sent out to track it down and terminate the batch. One ranger made it back from this expedition, the rest were killed after they witnessed Lot 396 splitting. The survivor said the two swarms did not attack each other, but instead used cunning and pack-like tactics to chase down his fellow rangers.
- excerpt from an Auhtai journal
Auhtai records indicate that Lot 396 reached critical mass a month later. It is now thought that the hundred swarms that attacked and depopulated Seirsteutu had Lot 396 as their ancestors.
Hive swarms are sometimes accompanied by monstrous insects. The swarms possess an intelligence that is not normal for their kind. Even though some are still considered unintelligent, they still have enough brainpower to do things that can be unexpected for an insect.
Hive swarms last from weeks to a few months, in a few cases they have lasted years. When the swarm breaks up, they spread out over a large area. Why they break up and reform, can only be thought of as realization that food is not always plentiful. They seem to know that a swarm can take down much larger prey and provide sustenance for many and succor the next generation.
In the Locust Encroachment (1412 - 1694), the Azrik empire Ba'lith was under constant attack. They lost considerable territory to the Hive Swarms, from the northern reaches of Yandôr and into the southern tracts of Vetoubahr. Two of the biggest defenses that were put in place to stop these bug invasions were the defenses of Moralk and the Bug Obliterators.
In 1698, a Hive Swarm unlike any other destroyed a Sonic Horn and then tore a path across Azrik. This swarm was a ruin swarm. This massive cloud was devastating. It left a zig-zag trail of destruction from Bithiemeth to the walls of Merorarg. The ruin swarm was taken down when Emperor Raxcvillibus came out from the city and slew the terror.
Some hive swarms coalesce into linked swarms and become something akin to an intelligent organization. They tend to settle in areas and establish areas of control. They raid other swarms and organizations for food, slaves, or to prune their population.