by A Concerned Tyro

Brain Wasps reproduce by implanting eggs in animals and letting them gestate, favoring humanoids and especially spellcasters if possible.  While a hive can slowly reproduce with only animals,  they can only truly thrive by using humanoids.  Brain wasps attack from ambush, implanting their eggs and then leaving the host.  Over the next few months the host proceeds through a number of stages.

During the first three days the infection is trivially easy to cure, however it often goes untreated.  The growing egg causes amnesia, disorientation, and a desire for isolation.  Many victims forget the attack itself or fail to seek help, dooming them to proceed to the next stage of the infection.  A well trained doctor can easily remove the egg at this stage, although most brain wasp hunters are forced to use a more extreme measure when alone in the woods.  There are a number of poisonous herbs which can be brewed into a tea, that which drunk causes a incredibly pain followed by a coma, at the end of which ideally the egg has died and no longer poses a threat.

The next stage is when most people receive treatment, as the condition is obvious.  From about the fourth day to the end of the week the victim is totally incoherent and mostly sedentary.  The egg is far more difficult to remove but can be done.  Aside from this the victims are very susceptible to suggestion and will quietly follow anyone who leads them.

Starting with the second week the condition has become essentially terminal, only great magic or a vastly skilled surgeon could save someone at this point.  The host grow an insatiable hunger for raw meat.  In a total haze they violently rush any other person or animal and consume them raw, hunting down birds, sneaking up on deer at night, and devouring other people.  During this stage the wasp gains size and strength.

This ravenous hunger lasts for a week to a whole season, with the shortest periods occurring during the warmer seasons and when the host can find enough food to consume.  Once the wasp has enough nourishment the final stage begins.  The host feels an overwhelming compulsion to climb atop the tallest area they can find, typically a tree but stranger locations have been seen.  The host’s bones dissolve and their skin turns into a pallid cocoon which adheres to whatever they’ve climbed in to, two days after this a fully formed brain wasp bursts from their back.  Humanoids give rise to regular brain wasps, while spellcasters give rise to a queen.