Savek returned to the camp as quickly as possible. Her excited description of her discovery was bold enough to spark Kosis's curiosity. Savek was keenly aware that failure to deliver on such a claim would be punishable by more than the docking of an arm.

They gathered two Dregs, but by the time the four reached the structure, Savek could see it had changed. Where once only darkness filled the space within its frame, a hint of sickly green light now shone. Tendrils of smoke wafted from the apertures, as though it were an incense brazier.

Kosis immediately strode forward and assessed the nodule crowning the surface of the barren rock. As the Vandal knelt beside the structure, she saw deformed latticework-like veins protruding through and eroding the stone, as though the object was grown rather than constructed. Kosis waved the Dregs over.

Pressure began to build inside her head, behind her eyes, as the ground rumbled. They sprang back, away from the structure; the artifice sprang to life in turn. It twisted its way out of the ground, spiraling upward and outward, spreading open like a terrible biomechanical flower. Only when the eruption halted did Kosis feel the pressure in her head recede.

It was undeniably of Hive origin, but Kosis had never seen anything of the sort. This implication, this realization—perhaps this was novel to the Spider as well. If that were true, this piece of "living" Hive technology would be worth more than Ether. Perhaps…

Kosis gestured to the now towering length of living metal. "Take it apart."


Category: Book: Call of the Cryptolith