Friday, July 29, 2016


The edges of the high desert are riddled with colonies of giant ants and their erstwhile symbiotes, the antherder clans. Pheromones mark them as friends, and keep the soldiers from antherder living quarters. Antherders can be recognized by their carapace gas-masks, which which keep the stinging sand from their eyes, and built up pheromones from their lungs.

The relationship between the colony and the antherders benefits both. The antherders are immune to the diseases and fungi that occasionally plague colonies; in the very old colonies, with very old relationships with antherders, the workers will bring them corpses, malformed larvae, and rejected food. The antherders gain food, protection, and items for trade. All of the clans practice their own styles of chitin-work, bending it into everything from armor to woks.

Sometimes a small child will saturated with the right mix of pheromones, and the ants will recognize it as a larvae. They will be taken and raised by the colony. They do their best to mimic the giant creatures, learning their values from observation. Sometimes they learn human languages by stalking and eavesdropping on antherders. When they are old enough, and lose their fear, they may reintroduce themselves to the human community. Their thoughts are now too different to ever be an antherder, but they are encourage to try to explain themselves, and their words are recorded.

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