“Fucking Nope”Haevian Nevarrus, former Legio Prime of the Legio Fulmen
Also Known as: Benangal
Habitat: Temperate to tropical woodlands
Hazard Level: High
One of the more horrific insects of Aeldos is the Vocovore, an eyeless segmented centipede that can grow anywhere from a few centimeters to 3 meters in length. On first glance the Vocovore is an awful sight; a voracious and cruel hunter which stalks its prey sound before ambushing them by launching at their face. Even more horrifying however is the later parasitic life cycle of the species. Once the Vocovore enters the mouth of a victim it latches on to the tongue and devours it while injecting a numbing and narcotic venom that keeps the prey alive and in agony. In a large enough creature the Vocovore can survive as a parasitic tongue for weeks before eventually working their way deeper into the body to consume more vital organs. In the interim larger Vocovore drag their long bodies into the stomach of their prey, using the hosts body as protection and camouflage to enable them to get closer to other prey. As a final humiliation Vocovores breed within the dead bodies of their victims, triggering mutations that allow their clutches of oily black eggs to survive and their larva to eat their way out of the corpse.
On first glance a Vocovore larvae looks like an over-sized and smooth bodied myrapod, with hundreds of relatively short but thick legs. Its carapace is smooth and colourations vary from pale to black. The most notable difference from other myrapods is the lamprey like head and four venom tipped barbs that surround it. The Vocovore uses its mouth parts to latch on to a prey animals tongue, and its barbs to paralyze the targets mouth muscles, rendering them unable to bite down. This venom eventually leaves the victim insensate and drawn towards others of the species. The Vocovore uses this to find new victims as the shambling and moaning host draws them closer. A vocovore will repeat this process through a half dozen hosts before it reaches the end of its life, the last stage of which is to lay its eggs in the final victim.
For humans Vocovore are primarily dangerous to the unarmed and unaware, creeping into camps in the night, launching from hidden crevices in caves and ruins, or dropping from above. They are strong and able to leap, but an armed human is typically fast enough to dispatch them. Unarmed victims are at a disadvantage against larger and older specimens but still apt to survive. More terrifying is the prospect of intentional use of the species. In particular, the mage hunters known as the Kadesch are fond of using Vocovore traps to disable Arcane Linguists before taking their heads.
In the absence of eyes the Vocovore appears to locate its prey using sound and vibration and some adventurers suggest remaining motionless in their presence. The efficacy of this strategy is unclear as others have suggested Vocovore senses are so keen they can actually detect heartbeats.
Some brave or demented souls do seek out Vocovore for harvest as their flesh is considered a delicacy in Ossandria. Live Vocovore can also be used to harvest their powerful narcotic venom.
The vocovore is almost assuredly a creation of the Ayr or a particularly demented First Age human. A common belief among Linguists is that these creatures were created as a tool to hunt and kill arcane linguists.