There was an awful smell within and a figure stood in the lightless gloom. It stood so still that Burren began to doubt it was a person at all. He brandished his club and shouted a challenge. Moving slowly and apparently untroubled, the figure moved away from him towards a dark hole in the floor of the hovel. There was the sack! Emboldened by this proof of wrongdoing, Burren leapt forward to swing his club. Before he could do so, a terrible dizziness overcame him and he fell to the floor.
Burren found himself outside, being dragged by one foot towards the river. He had lost his crossbow and his club and felt mud caking his tunic, trousers and hair. Still the dizziness became worse, but in the dim light of the moon he could see the figure was not a person at all but some great, white worm in a jacket and cloak! Its pale skin was wet and its blunt, featureless face seemed to sniff the air.
With a splash Burren found himself in the river and struggling to reach the bank. By the time he did, wet, muddy and cold, all thought of the missing sack was gone.
The Dashi are a race of wormlike creatures who live in large groups underground. They have a complex caste system with a queen at the apex. Dashi queens operate somewhat like bee or ant queens in that they alone lay eggs and the entire nest ultimately exists in their service.
Dashi naturally wield the spider mind secret, with the queen and the elite Garun Dashi caste being exceptionally strong in this regard. Few human masters of the secret could match a Garun Dashi and none could overcome a queen.
Although Dashi can survive in isolated locations, they much prefer to live close to human communities or large animal populations, whose resources and waste they then exploit. On occasion entire human populations have been all but enslaved to large Dashi nests.
Dashi find it difficult to migrate, since they are vulnerable above ground. For this reason, Dashi occasionally implant eggs inside other living creatures, relying on their migration to begin new nests elsewhere. This process is invariably fatal to the host not long after the egg hatches.
Worker Dashi are about seven feet in length, but because they fold themselves into an s-shape to move around they stand only four feet high. The Ari Dashi warrior caste are almost twice this long and much bulkier. The Garun Dashi fall somewhere between the two. All Dashi have humanoid arms and are capable of tool use, but only the Garun Dashi routinely carry personal possessions.
It is only the Garun Dashi who ever leave the Dashi nests except during the migration of a new queen. Consequently it is a common false belief amongst those who have met Dashi that they are demon sorcerors of some kind rather than mortal creatures.
It is very unlikely any human would ever meet a Dashi queen. They have limited mobility, with their eight tentacular legs being used primary to support their considerable bulk. Dashi queens have multiple large eyes arranged vertically up the trunk of their body. These vary in number, with three to five being typical.
It is said to be possible to extract an essence from young Dashi which can awaken the spider mind secret in humans.