From the tight and dank passage Adressa could hear the droning buzz of hundreds of sizable insects. The walls and floor progressively became slick with a sort of slime. She could barely see into the larger chamber ahead. Every so often she could see the things flitting back and forth, driven on by an unknowable instinct to perform the various tasks around their hive. The smaller ones buzzed past her ear. She could feel their feeble attempts to bite and sting her, to attempt to harm her toughened scaly skin. Adressa swatted a few of the pests aside as she emerged into the chamber. The walls had long been covered in the slime and resin that made the nests of the foul things. Many sacs hung from the walls and even the ceilings. They bulged heavily with the things as they slept, fed or generally worked to propagate themselves. The air, though cold, hung with an unpleasant moisture. The constant buzzing surrounding her gave her the sensation that a thousand smaller insects were all over her.
Adressa tapped the butt of her staff to the stone. It splashed the thick and slippery slime with a dull thud before the orb affixed to the top of the twisted wood lit the room bright enough for her to find a way from this place. And across the hive she saw it. A staircase, covered in the treacherously slippery ichor that promised a way out of this hole full of crawling, buzzing, biting, stinging creeps.
But as she took her first steps forward, she heard a much louder and angrier buzzing before feeling a sharp pain in her flank. Adressa saw it for just a moment before it flew out of the small circle of light her staff produced. A much larger version of the bugs, probably one that lived for the sole purpose of defending the lair, had stung her. It had stung her! Soon she heard another, and felt a similar pricking pain at her tail. She lashed the limb in frustration. She felt her tail make contact and knock the offending creature away. Soon she could hear more. She was an invader here, and these things did not care who she was or why.
Adressa hastily rushed for the stairs, hearing more and more of the hive's defenders being roused to action and feeling her natural defenses fail her in various places. One of the things flew too close to her ear, startling her. Adressa lashed out wildly to protect her face and felt her foot slip in the slick slime. She hit the cold, wet sticky stones and felt that would be enough. Bringing herself to her feet she drew her sword, now looking for the things. Sure enough, one roughly the size of a plum made a beeline at her from the shadows, just at her line of sight. She slashed out at the thing, felt the blade make contact and watched in fall as its insides smattered onto the ground.
Another came at Adressa before its companion stopped twitching. She swung at it, missing the strike but forcing it to veer off course. Its stinger like a small thin spike was poised and ready to strike as it redirected itself to her. Again she swung at it and like the previous one, this buzzing menace also was felled. More circled around the edge of her light as she began to climb those dangerous steps. The buzzing was louder than ever and Adressa could see more of those sleek dark bodies filling the air. The hive was awake and on full alert, and the only way out was up.