Mandible Effect

“Memories are on the fritz. Silithid Hives across Lower Kalimdor are, depending on who you ask, either as active as normal or disturbingly busy. Likewise, no one can agree if the golden beetles found in city and country alike are harmless natural fauna or a completely new species. Either way, they’re certainly popping up everywhere.” (Prompt taken from Rage/Narcissus on the Kingdom Come Discord)

Sarah Usher was tense. It was expected: the Old Gods had, apparently, returned, and were attacking an island off the coast of Azshara. At the same time, the wards on her home had faltered yesterday, and an imp had come dangerously close to discovering it. And perhaps worst of all, her bird was missing.

Speak of the devil, she thought, as she felt a slight tap inside her mind. Out loud, she stated, “Did the dog bite you?” Inside her mind, she heard the response, Yes, but its bark was worse.

Poe’s translucent, lavender form appeared. I kinda think we should get a better password.

“Maybe. It’s good to see you again, either way.”

You too. I’ve been down in Stormwind. Some beetles are appearing, and people aren’t noticing.

Suddenly, Sarah saw several shimmering scarabs. “Like them?”

Yes, like them. One by one, the insects were crushed, using a combination of Poe’s psionic prowess and Sarah’s strong shoes. 

“How did they even get here? Do we need to reinforce the wards?”

I mean, there’s no reason not to. I don’t think there’s still a breach, but… Poe went silent. Suddenly, there was a slight psychic ripple. There was a minor one. It’s fixed now. Something was trying to attack, but it wasn’t the Archive.

“Who, then? Or, where were they?” Sarah readied an arcane blast.

Hm… I have their signal… A pause. It would appear they are… nowhere? They’ve got good shields. I could detect what they were trying to do, though: it was a memory thing.

“No one to fight, then? That’s quite a shame.”

Wow, you really are excited about figh- wait, you’re Br- Gilnean. Never mind.

“How did you forget that?”

I don’t know! I haven’t talked to you in a while!

“Why not?”

For one thing, I’ve been watching that island.

“Oh?”

They’re working on solutions to some of the problems.

“Well, that’s good, right?”

Yeah, I think so. Oh, wait, one more thing. It’s better if I show you.

“Is this some stupid joke?”

Actually, no, not this time. Although you have to admit that the thing with the moles was funny.

“I don’t have to, but you’re right.”

Thank you for finally admitting that. Anyway, I’ll find the best coordinates for you to teleport. Oh, and when I come back, it’s password 9320b. Sarah nodded, and felt Poe’s presence receding. After a moment, she muttered an incantation, a pulsating arcane orb appearing in her hand. Into it, she commanded, “If anyone other than myself, Poe, or Varlastor enter this building, assemble, alert me, then annihilate them.” She opened the building’s metal door, and walked through. Once she walked out, Poe appeared.

General Turalyon has 15 horses.

“What are they named?”

Their names are all George, except for the seventh.

“And that one is named Constantine.”

No, it’s named George too.

“Good. What are the coordinates?”

30309’/20496”.

Sarah nodded, and drew Castol’kogimcic, her staff. As she chanted the words to the teleportation spell, Castol’kogimcic began to hum with arcane power. The world seemed to fold into itself, and suddenly, Sarah was hurtling through the very Twisting Nether.

And then she was not. As her eyes focused, she felt something squish under her foot.

Wait.

No.

Around her foot. And her ankle. She looked down. Evidently, she had teleported into a location currently occupied by an indeterminate number of scarabs. She pulled her foot out, and looked up. Immediately, she saw that she was on a sandy ridge, and that gigantic tendrils were extending from the ground, and, between them, a cloud of smoke. No, not smoke. She looked closer, confirming her suspicions. The smoke was made of a mass of silithids. And, as she looked down into the hive, she saw a distressing amount of flightless silithids, skittering around. Then, she blinked, and realized that nothing was out of the ordinary. This was normal. Except it was not. Yes, it was. No, it wasn’t. Yes. No. Yesnoyesnoyesno-

Sorry I’m late.

“Do you think this is funny?”

You think I did this on purpose? When I was last here, a few minutes ago, there was barely anything. Unless…

“What?”

Aha! Yes! The same vicamematic spell as before. I’m not sure if it’s continuously being cast, or it’s a permanent enchantment, but either way, that’s what it is.

“All right. Two things. First of all, what does vicamematic mean?”

It means that the spell changes memories.

“That’s what I thought. And second, can you stop talking while I’m being swarmed by giant bloody wasps?”

Ok, yeah, fine. Poe let out a small psychic blast, pushing some of the swarm away. Sarah followed with a chain of arcane missiles, obliterating one silithid, then cast an arcane blast around her to destroy many of those nearby. One survived, however. It attacked Sarah with more force. “Bloody hell, that stings.”

Well, don’t stand so close to it, then. She could tell he was laughing.

“That wasn’t even a joke. Now, are you going to help in an actual helpful way?”

Relax, I’m working on it. Immediately after Poe said this, several of the flying silithids were dragged to the ground, buzzing angrily. More arcane blasts destroyed more silithids, but for each that died, another took its place. Many of the silithids, however, never noticed Sarah, but those that did were straining her mana. Eventually, the last wisps of arcane energy faded, but the tide of silithids did not.

Sarah drew Castol’kogimcic, and began using it as a club, but even that was not enough. Though her robes were magically reinforced, the stings started to really hurt. Then, she thought of something. “I just thought of something,” she said.

What is it?

“How high up can you lift me?”

Uhhhh… 75 meters? 100, if I’m lucky. Wh- oh. That could work. Poe had read her mind, evidently, and almost immediately began levitating her slowly into the air. As she rose, a bit of her mana had returned. She promptly expended it on a polymorph, turning one of her silithid followers into a sheep, which, without wings, went with wicked speed towards the ground, turning several other silithids into dominoes. As she reached the top of Poe’s expected height, she pulled a red backpack out of a pouch on her belt – the pouch being bigger on the inside – and put it on. A bit more mana had returned at that point, and she spent it on an arcane blast. The force from it sent her backwards. She pulled the ripcord of her backpack, eliciting a laugh from Poe, and began gliding towards the distant roofs of Gadgetzan.

As she neared the sprawling goblin city, its protectors began attacking those few silithids who had deigned to follow her. Once she was safe, Sarah ran to a public building to wait for her mana to fully regenerate. It took only a few minutes, and when it did, she used Castol’kogimcic to return to just outside her home.

Well, that went… interestingly. Still, I know about the… what was the quasi-scientific word I made up on the spot?

“Vicamematic.” 

Right, thank you. I know about it now, and I can start working on a countermeasure.

“And maybe, with a better plan, and a few more people, we could go and do some real damage to the silithids.”

I like the sound of that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go see how the people over on Varok’s Watch are doing. Password 2456e when I come back.

“Got it.” Sarah walked into the building, whispering the spell to deactivate her construct, and walked over to some filing cabinets. At the one labeled  “Lists,” she opened the F to J drawer and took out a file labeled “List of favours I can call in.” She took out a paper and began reading. 

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