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Tea and Sympathy - A report by Marius The Magnificent

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9 Lepria, 8975 Ta

Source: Marius The Magnificent

The report of Marius the Magnificent to the College of Air into the “hive mind” creatures of the area near Enchantia.


Most excellent and noble representatives of the College of Air, most mighty of the colleges of the University of Magic.


As per the vital and important mission that you, in your great wisdom, entrusted to your most magnificent student, Marius, as he kept the Protectorate safe during his time at the Enchantia border, Marius submits his most well researched and thorough report on the different hive-mind entities that inhabited this area.


There were two different types of creatures that were to be found in this area that each had a shared “hive mind” similar to that which has been proposed to be held by our common and honey gifting Bees.  These two entities (for I shall refer to each as a single entity with multiple bodies) operated in a completely different manner. 


First were the Hissard, a lowly and dastardly race that Marius (with some small assistance from his companions) fought on many occasions and who’s dastardly plot Marius was pleased to foil.

The Hissard are perhaps the closest to the bee in their structure, although unlike the bee they do not make sweet honey for Marius’ tea, but rather death (or at least they attempted to do so, not reckoning upon Marius’ stout staff and numerous companions who were of some use in battle).  They have a strong resistance to even the mightiest of spells, yes, even those as powerful as that of Marius himself. 

The Hissard have a rigid hierarchy where the lesser “drones” are compelled to obey the commands of the higher ranks.  There is no dissent allowed, although it is possible for an individual to break free from the central control as happened with the person we now know as Ronan.  It is interesting that at the same time Ronan also lost the magical protection, or at least it was significantly weakened, that the connected Hissard were able to maintain.  Marius himself discovered this.


Marius was also able to retrieve, at great personal risk, a gem that was imbued with psychic power which a senior Hissard was using.  It appears that this is a way that the Hissard are able to re-assert control and maintain contact with their “network”.

Another point of note that Marius himself discovered was that the drone Hissard appear to be, like an insect, imbued with a simple stimulus / response mechanism.  Marius has heard of an inventor of a great machine called a “Difference Engine” which is able to run a set of instructions, called a “program”, to complete simple calculating tasks.  I believe this word suits how the Hissard are designed to interact with the world.

As an experiment when I got close to a Hissard drone and they discerned my magical power they would attempt to engage me in battle, however if I backed away outside of a set distance from them (done for experimental purposes, despite what Obsydian says I was not running away screaming like a little child) they would resume their pursuit of the drone Ronan.  When I would approach again they would switch their attention back to me, run away back off and they would be back to Ronan.  I observed some of my stout and hearty companions engage a Hissard in a similar manner, with each shout of “fight me” it would turn as commanded and engage, giving the other of my party a moment to be healed and to engage the Hissard once more.  Thus two of the fighters in our party could engage a Hissard much more mighty than themselves and wear it down.  I believe such tactics could be useful to our forces, I feel that we should advise the legion to use this “Marius Manoeuvre” to great effect.  It is observed that the Hissard can slowly earn, so by studying the programming of the drones in a given area a set of local tactics could be devised to make the most of their predictability.


In the end though I feel that the protectorate should study more the psychic power that links the Hissard, the purple gem that Marius himself retrieved should prove an invaluable tool in this endeavour, I am convinced that a way to disrupt the Hissard network could be found.  Marius himself would offer to do this, but I am aware that at the same time the protectorate faces many other threats that Marius is required in the field to avert.


Another possibility is that the drones are programmed with a hatred of magic, while their senior members gladly make use of it.  Perhaps we could find a way to set the two against each other an ferment come form of rebellion internal to the Hissard hive mind.


The second of the “Hive Minds” Marius encountered was very different.  It was more social and fluid that the strict Hissard structure, I have come up with the phrase “Social Networking” to explain how it works.  I spoke at length with one of the creatures, as well as of course making contact with Zephyr and Brook.  The poor creature that Marius gleaned much information off was, sadly, slain by Zephyr during the time Zephyr was connected to the Hissard network.  It is interesting that, unlike the Hissard drones, Zephyr retained much more sentience and was able to speak clearly and articulately (and I might add clearly identified Marius as the most senior person in the room, unlike the drones who equally addressed my companions), while he was under the Hissard programming.

The creature that Marius interrogated told Marius that it was connected to a network that was like a discussion and chat in the back of its’ mind.  Instead of a single mind directing many bodies it was more convivial, where ideas, knowledge and images of cats doing funny things were shared between individual minds.  If we could somehow recreate this “Social Network” it would do much to promote peace amongst people and boost productivity.  I envisage each person linked, as though with threads of some giant web stretching wide across the world, I would call this the World Wide Marius’ magnificent web.

The creature I spoke with also told me that it was nearly 100 years old*, and that it was willingly joined to the network.  It was created by “Spellbinder”, whom Marius can only assume is a powerful magician that may already be known to the college.  It also mentioned “the puppetmaster”, this could be a title given to Spellbinder, or maybe a senior construct in the network.

These creatures are magical in nature and can weald powerful magics, are resistant (but not proof against as the Hissard are) to magical effects, and in addition they are immune to being drained of power, although they can take damage from it.


I believe that these creatures certainly mean us no harm and could prove helpful allies in the defence of the protectorate, should we handle the diplomacy with them in a subtle and sensitive manner, such as that Marius used to glean the above information, given the meeting Marius’ party arranged with their representatives in a months time, Marius of course would be willing to volunteer for a trip to the seaside, for the purposes of securing a great deal for the protectorate with these networked creatures of course (and not just to work on Marius’ tan).


I hope that the protectorate finds Marius’ information and artefacts useful, if you follow Marius’ sage advice I am sure that the Protectorate will be all the safer for it.


I remain etc, etc.

Marius the Magnificent.


P.S.  Should the college find this information useful, Marius would be open to accepting the teaching of some level 3 magics.