Will o’ the Wisp

Ghost stories and superstitious old folk will tell you that a will o’ the wisp is the soul of the restless dead, leading travelers astray in the night with the glow of their little lanterns so that death will claim the poor fool and the ghosts will have more company. In fact, Tyrion Roon of the Enlightened conducted an extensive ten-year investigation into the mysteries of the wisps and found their existence to be somewhat less than fantastical.

Will o’ the wisps are actually large insects, their size on par with a banana, which build little floating nests for their young in the middle of sink bogs and swamp holes. When their young hatch they are no bigger than a cherry pit and greatly resemble maggots, both in appearance and the way they mass together, writhing for food. They are born famished for meat and will quickly clear the area of unwary fish, snakes, and even turtles. Will o’ the wisps care for their young as a colony, all the members of which are desperate to provide the young with as much food as they can desire. The wisps have one means of doing so, and it is a traveler’s doom. Each adult wisp resembles nothing so much as an oversize, corpse-white firefly, and like the firefly they have abdomens capable of putting off a bright glow to attract others to them. By means of this glow, which is a flickering illumination similar to a lantern light, the wisp hopes to entice animals (be they beasts or People) into the places where their children dwell. Oftentimes the natural environment is enough to kill the unfortunate creature, either by drowning in the bog or becoming injured and diseased in the swamp. Should the land fail to kill the creature, however, or simply not do it quick enough, the young wisps will swarm the animal and burrow their way inside the body, devouring it from within.

A native of swamps and bogs, some claim that will o’ the wisps have spread their territories. It is said they have formed a frightening bond with the undead creatures which sometimes stalk old battlefields and desecrated grave yards. There the undead will make short work of an unwary traveler, and the young wisps are given the scraps to do with as they will.

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Posted October 26, 2012 by Evoru

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