The creature stirred in its cave. It had no idea why it was now awake; indeed, there was no thought at all. It simply found itself raised from slumber. And hungry. The emptiness in its belly was of utmost concern. Not just any food would do; this sort of hunger could only be sated by a very particular prey.
Its long, slender body uncoiled as it began to search for the scent of what it craved. Though it superficially looked like a serpent, small suckers lined its underside. Any remaining resemblance to a snake was shattered as a dozen thin, spindly legs unfolded from its body, lifting it off the ground.
The creature was a mana worm; the mage who named it had not seen its legs. In legends, it was known as a mage devourer, a designation it had earned many times over. They were forces from the realm of magic, nearly mindless, operating on instinct. A single worm could destroy an entire tower of mages by itself. They were entirely unknown by humans who had no connection to magic. These days, most mages did not even know of them.
The worms had been nearly exterminated after countless mages had lost their lives to them. The few that remained had retreated to forgotten depths to sleep undisturbed. Only a handful of written records of the creatures existed, and all of those were forgotten in private collections. A few people had heard legends, but these were little more than fairy tales. Not many people had heard of them, and no one believed that they still existed, if they ever had.
Yet, this one still existed. Someone had known about it, had even known how to wake it. None of this meant anything to the creature. It knew only its hunger and the scent of a mage that had been left behind. It would feed as soon as it could find that mage.