[Another late one. Working nights sucks. Luckily that’s my last shift before I’m done with this challenge, so the rest should be on time.]
They called themselves The Imperial Arm of the Royal Blood of Her August Majesty The Empress Eyrun, but we called them the swarm. They flooded south out of the desert, lance-warriors riding monstrous insect-beasts, men who seemed part lizard tearing through our forces with their razor sharp teeth and claws, spellslingers who turned the earth against us. There were massacres. All was lost.
Then it stopped, for no reason. The swarm simply didn’t turn up one day.
After we had buried our dead and repaired our homes, we sent spies north across the wastes, hoping for a hint of what was to come, an explanation for what had happened.
We found their cities, nothing more than mud and stone huts on the surface that gave way to vast networks of subterranean passages and caverns. All were abandoned, as though the empire had simply decided one day to get up and leave.
The biggest city, the one we deemed to be their capital, was a perfectly-during cylinder that sank deep into the earth. Our spies came back with tentatively drawn maps of the first level, but hadn’t dared venture further than that. Something was moving down there, they said. Something old, and big. Something that might return one day to finish the job.
[Click to embiggen]