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Cruentus Leech

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Cruentus Leech
Threat levelLow
Major featuresSwarming, Blood Sucking Mandibles
AbilitiesFlight, Pheromone Communication
Most common inNyka, the Aperture

Most encounters with the Cruentus Leech are relatively harmless. When a scout picks up the scent of blood or perspiration, it will land on the unlucky subject and latch on by hooking two slightly larger mandibles through the flesh and then sucking the victim’s blood. It will continue on this way until it is full and return its meal to it nest. But the scar leaves a pheromone on the prey that lasts for about a week, and should that prey happen across a nest of Cruentus Leeches, the hive will swarm and devour it.

Appearance and Evolution

Adapting to the Aperture’s unnatural climate has altered this highly specialized, previously independent creature. They range in colors from dark browns to crimson reds and even a few jet black, depending predominantly on their diet and surroundings. Though they appear to be a variety of flying worm, given their body shape and dual sets of insectoid wings, they are actually more closely related to reptiles. Their skeletal structure is almost identical to a garden variety serpent (though the bones themselves are hollow) and their outer layer of skin is covered in compact scales. Typically they are around 3 to 5 inches in length. When landed, the veil thin wings on powerful muscles tuck tightly against their sides over one another giving the illusion that they are stationary or slow moving creatures. They are also characterized by their oval shaped sucker mouth with an expanding jaw nad rows of sharp teeth. These teeth penetrate a fleshy part of their victims and apply a powerful oral sucker. Similar to leeches, the Cruentus Leech utilizes a stomach that can expand to store blood many times its body size.

The Valterrian forced an evolution in these small reptilian-leeches. The dark nature of the Aperture exchanged eyesight for a powerful set of olfactory sensors, and communication between the species is now facilitated by pheromones. The scouts are sent out from the hive, land on a sufficient prey and, while feeding, release an almost unnoticeable scent that leaves a trail for the swarm. The entire colony may then leave its cavernous home when the marked prey is detected. A single unit cannot possibly hope to drain a human of all its lifeblood, but a swarm could accomplish this task in minutes.

As the scouts ingests blood, they quickly void it for digestion excreting the food as scent markers, leaving a trail for the other members of the hive to follow. They have also developed what seems like a social hierarchy. The workers are sterile and they tend to the young, carry blood around the hive and remove waste from around the eggs. The scouts have a significantly smaller stomach sac and produce pheromones. The Helmer is the only male of the species capable of mating with the female Leech who are significantly larger in size and also act as personal guard to the hive. Arguably, the female Leeches are the true leaders of the species as the Helmer’s only job is to mate with the females. The females can be called away only when the hive is threatened.


The Cruentus Leech colonize deep inside caves and tunnels in the Aperture where most of their hunting ground resides, however sightings of scouts above ground are common. These scouts are easily crushed and their mark is rarely scented by the swarm, so far from their base in the Aperture. An entire hive can survive off one meal for an entire year thanks to the bacteria in their stomach that prevents blood from decaying or coagulating, making them very resilient if left to their own devices.

Credit to Ezra Crenshaw