I've been toying with stories of emergence of intelligence. Situations when a seemingly un-intelligent being or group of beings acquires consciousness and a new form of mind emerges. Now the story here is not 100% original, instead it is inspired by a short story by sci-fi author Alistair Reynolds.
It is about a large colony of worms which exchange chemical messages with pheromones. The worms are simple life forms with no intelligence. But the whole community of worms exchanging pheromones and reacting to one another is indistinguishable from neurons exchanging fast electric signals. The result is an intelligent being which has a perception of time way slower than that of any normal biological creature. In order to have the equivalent of a 15 minute conversation, a person needs to stay there and communicate with the worms for almost one hundred years. The lore includes ways in which the adventurers may do just that. But it comes at a dear price. Someone must be willing to sacrifice one hundred years of their life in order to do it. Perhaps the information to be acquired is worth the effort.