154. The Assassination Beetle

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Whilst mining for ore near any crag, cliff or rocky outcrop, one needs to be ever watchful for the dangerous Assassination Beetle.  These giant insects seem able to subsist in almost any climate and the threat of their formidable biting, pincer like mouths potentially makes them a most deadly adversary.

The first I knew that my digging had disturbed the creature hidden near-by, was when I heard a soft clicking, followed by scruff and scuttle upon the rocks behind me.  I turned to face the agitated quarrel of a beetle’s stridulation and its blood stained mandibles opening wide, preparing to lacerate my lower legs.

I rolled instinctively away, drawing my sword and shield in one motion, and set myself ready to parry and counter.  My first strike crashed against its rock hard carapace, almost jarring my sword from my hand.  My second swing was more circumspect, directed at its limb joints.  My aim was sure and true and yet my blade cut into nothing but a cloud of silt and soil as the beetle disappeared from my sight.

I held my breath and tried to settle myself as alert, yet as loose as possible.  Within moments I felt the earth tremor behind and in one swift motion, I turned and blindly thrust my blade into where I judged its head should be.  Its mandibles snapped against my plate greaves, as my blade cracked into the husk just above its array of red eyes, sinking deeply into the soft tissue underneath.

Its legs crimped into its body and it curled into a withered ball, yet it posed one last unexpected peril in its death coil.  As I yanked my blade loose from its carcass, acidic blood spurted from the breach and bit holes into my shield and plate.

I strongly suspect that whoever eventually achieves the ruby throne, whether it be man, mer, beast, or daedra, it will be the insects that will outlive us all to conquer Nirn.

S.K

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