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A Spectral hive is a breeding ground and hideout for Spectres. Hives are used to create more Spectres, give injured ones a place to hide, hold and torture ghostly prisoners, and to establish unease and hostility in the living world by their mere presence.
Early Spectral hives were little more than places where Spectres gathered; they offered little protection or aid, and while they had a detrimental effect on the area around them, it was only a minimal impact. All that changed the night that over two hundred pigment addicts died en masse because of a batch of pigment tainted with strychnine. Spectres hurried to gather these hapless souls, and after midnight, destroyed them all at the same time. The massive wave of Spite that resulted ripped open the Stormwall and allowed a horrid pustule of Spectral matter to cross and form the first major hive in Mayfair Greens.
Since then, hives have sprung up around the world, usually in places that are already full of decay and dark intent. The presence of a hive usually forces the area into further decline; violence increases, sensitive residents move or commit suicide, and crime runs rampant, all making for future Spectres and hive fodder.
Hive Structure Edit
Hives are made of ghostly plasm, from both regular spirits and hues, and from Spectres. This renders them solid to ghosts, an unusual property that some projectors and spirits, such as those with Lazarus Redux, have utilized to make Spectre-safe hideouts. The walls look to be made of some diseased organic material; the appearance of the hive's flesh ranges from coated with a thick black ooze to resembling diseased and rotting tissue. In fact, from the outside, the hive resembles nothing so much as a giant tumor, clinging to nearby buildings and structures and emanating feelings of dread, grief, and sadness. Black veins spread from the hive, holding it in place and feeling along to enable it to grow even larger.
Aside from the Spectres themselves, there are a number of means a hive can use to defend itself. Delicate tendrils with tiny teeth at the end are the first line of defense; any ghost who brushes these will have their Vitality drained from them. Because they are small, many ghosts do not realize what is happening until it is too late. Following this are hordes of Spectres, ready to rip into and consume any ordinary ghost that attempts to walk among them. Later evolution of the Spectres produces a breed called Outflyers that serve as aggressive sentries around the hive's territory.
Hives are also notable because they serve as a crude tunnel through the Stormwall into the Shadowlands. A ghost or projector could conceivably journey through a hive to reach the Shadowlands, if they're willing to deal with copious amounts of Spectres to get there.
It is almost impossible to get rid of a hive completely. The only real way to destroy a hive completely is to destroy the buildings it clings to. However, it goes without saying that Spectres are not going to passively sit by and wait for their hard work to be obliterated by mere mortals with construction equipment.
Hive Society Edit
Inside, a ghost is guaranteed to find Spectres. Despite the violent nature of all Spectres, there is a decided pecking order within hives. A Reaper or Lawgiver will almost certainly be in charge. Frighteners will sometimes serve as their assistants, and those Spectres that extend and maintain the hive will come next in the order of things. The rest of the Spectres fight and scrabble for the attention of their masters below these types.
The three types of Spectres that maintain the hive, the Chitters, the Spreaders, and the Hawgs, rarely leave the hive. Spreaders and Hawgs take the gauze that other Spectres have collected and form it into the fleshy hive walls, while Chitters work in swarms to guard the hive from physical damage. It is because of their constant presence and large numbers most hives grow out of control, a situation that is not helped by the later creation of the Carpet Crawler, a kind of Spectre dedicated to feeling out new territory for a hive.
Hives eventually become divided into factions, those who are controlled by the Malfeans, and those controlled by Grandmother. Because of the warfare between these two factions, the influence of hives indirectly spread as the Spectres in each fight for turf to claim for their side. Anything in their way, living or dead, is dispensed with as quickly as possible.