"It is said that standing on any square feet on Mira, is standing on the buried remains of a thousand corpses"
excerpt of a xenobiologist's journals.
Mira is a distant planet avoided by most intelligent spacefaring races, due to its humid climate and high temperature. Its terrain is filled with peninsulas and islands that only barely rise up out of the misty lakes and seas. Large mushroom-like spires tower into the clouds, littering the otherwise flat landscape. These spires are home to Mira's dominant species, an insectoid race known as the "Qualzi'k Ziss".
These Qualzi'k Ziss, highly territorial, killed off most of the rivalling species and grew at an explosive rate. Where life on Earth took millions of years to evolve and adapt, Mira's evolutionary cycles takes a few centuries because of the short lifespan of the inhabitants. Even though biological evolution happens rapidly, the Qualzi'k Ziss seemed inept to develop technological advancement. Instead their societies bloomed under a matriarchy similar to Earth's ant population, with different castes performing their duties within society. The worker drone caste construct the great spires and hallways within, while the warrior castes act as armies. At the top of the societal pyramid is the queen, who controls the other castes and dictates the course of action for the whole hive.
Due to the rapid evolution, each hive slightly differs from another based on the surrounding environment. These mutations, among others, include wings for use in the scarce mountains, larger bodies and mandibles for sheer strength for physical labor, or gills for the hives on the coast. Each mutation is a racial and geographical trait upon itself. The Qualzi'k Ziss initially used body language and nonverbal communication to coordinate their efforts, but eventually developed an ability to communicate verbally. This what they call the "tell-tale”, prefixing a noun to better illustrate that what they want to communicate. A "mad-tale", for instance, speaks of imposters or heretics, while a "mother-tale" is used to indicate the words of the queen. The Qualzi'k Ziss call this "the will of Qualzi", named after the revered first great brood mother Qualzi. Qualzi, in her younger years, spoke with the many different queens to unify them under her wisdom and understanding, which led to the thriving of the species as a whole. After her "passing of age", Qualzi's burial mound is now a sacred and neutral court where the queens gather and discuss further course of action or to forge alliances.
After her "passing of age" her remains were turned into a husk, her organs long since decayed. Her location is only known to the older queens, hidden away far from all the subjects. Qualzi's burial
mound is now a sacred and neutral court where the queen sometimes would gather and discuss further course of action or to forge alliances.
Lacking the ability to write, the "tell-tale" is passed down from generation to generation through the queens, from the highest ranking members down to the lowliest castes of their insectoid utopia. Because of this verbal passing, the stories started to change and differ over the centuries. Each "past-tale" favored the ruling queen in an effort to glorify herself, making sure she isn't overthrown by her subjects.
This sparked an almost religious worshipping of the queens and the fanatical wars that would accompany it. All over the planet, hives fought each other for the glory of their queen. Similar to Earth's ant colonies holding millions of members, entire hives were subjugated to genocide. This conflict had lasted for over thousands of years until a new, more dangerous threat gave rise.
During Mira's World War, some hives witnessed a bright light falling out of the sky. Some interpreted this as a sign that the great mother Qualzi was reborn and fanatically started to spread the "mother-tales", while others described it as an apocalyptic end of times. As the War continued, a change could be seen in some hives which, at first, could not be understood by their rivals. These changed hives would no longer kill their fallen and wounded enemies on the fields, but instead started taking them back to their spires.
Those returning from captivity found their ability to speak had been gone and could not relay to their hives what had happened to them. Soon after, these "mutes" would show strange behavior and reek of confusing pheromones. Emitting mucus in the unhatched egg chambers, trying to mate with the queen while not having the proper social standing and frenzied assaults of other hive members, all these peculiar traits were usually noticed too late for the hives to react to in time. These outcasts would often be carried out of the spires and killed, but the damage had already been wrought. It wouldn’t take long before more and more hives fell to this strange behavior as entire hives killed of their queens. They started cross-breeding between castes and violently attack the non-affected. While this had ended the World War, each hive had to keep fighting this new mysterious enemy.
After only a few unaffected hives remained, surviving queens sent messengers to other spires with "peace-tales" and offerings to solidify their relations. This eventually led to a moot at Qualzi's Sanctuary. Here the "union-tales" were spoken, queens shared their wisdom and spoke of unification in these dire times. These "union-tales" would come a moment too late however, as an affected queen had shown her true self by speaking of the "end-tales". These tales spoke of the visitors, travelling here through the falling light. The "New Masters" only required the other queens' cooperation to end the suffering of their subjects. The unaffected queens would not heed the "mad-tale" this imposter told them and slew her in the Sanctuary.
In a moment's notice, waves of infected, malformed and mutated Qualzi'k Sizz stormed the court in an act of retaliation. Only a handful of queens escaped with their lives, while the Sanctuary of Qualzi was destroyed in the process. The newly unified queens returned to their hives and immediately spread their new "tell-tale". The tale, which up until this day all Qualzi'k Sizz, be it the queens or lowly worker drones, honor and live by:
"Defend your owns, be it Queens or kins alike... And never... Never... Kneel to the court of the False One!"