The Savage Cannibals of the Great Worm Cult (Russian: Червепоклонники, literally "Worm-worshipers") are followers of a xenophobic and technophobic society mostly comprised of brainwashed children. They only appear in the novel, and they mainly reside at Park Pobedy, and at both mouths of D6.
The cult is encountered in the novel when a boy from Kievskaya, Oleg, the son of Anton, is kidnapped to be integrated into the cult. When Artyom goes searching for the boy, he is captured himself and learns of the malicious religion.
The Great Worm Cult was formed after a number of estranged cultists kidnapped and brainwashed children from several stations (notably, Kievskaya) to serve under their god, the Great Worm. According to the myth that is told to the children, said Great Worm was a deity who supposedly created the tunnels of the metro by burrowing, created humans from its stomach, and then descended towards the center of the earth to return in a millennium.
The primitive cultists are fiercely xenophobic and technophobic, considering any or all who enter their territory "People of Machines", enemies fit only for cannibalization. These beliefs are rooted in those of their priests, who blame the War of 2013 on technology. This combination makes the isolationist members of the cult highly superstitious and fearful of traveling into D6 on certain days of the week, so as not to encroach on the Great Worm's privacy, or, perhaps more likely, the activity of the creature at the Kremlin. The Great Worm Cult is one of a notable hierarchy, all children follow under the guidance of elderly priests and a lesser second class of hypnotists, who try to convert people they encounter over to the way of the Great Worm. While the hypnotist encountered had decent effect on Melnik and the Stalkers during their rescue and the approach to D6, Oleg was apparently resistant to hypnotism, as commented on by the priest.
By the end of 2033, the cult seems to be all but eliminated. The cult is fought off, and it's leaders captured, if only for them to deliver nihilistic confessions over their religion and warnings about the evil in D6 before committing suicide. There is the possibility that, after the events of Metro 2033, the station where the followers of Great Worm Cult reside is completely isolated from the Metro. During the retreat of the rescue team lead by Melnik, after they manage to save Artyom and Anton from the followers, they are forced to cover their escape by throwing a grenade. This indirectly causes a column that supported the station front to fall, trapping the followers of the Great Worm Cult and likely leaving them all to starvation.
- Despite the fact that the cult leader explains to the Stalkers the falsehoods of the Great Worm and his religion, Artyom is shocked by a large unknown moving object behind a door in D6. Even after Pavel suggests the idea of a drilling rig passing by to him though his doubts remain - leaving the existence of a real Great Worm a mystery.
- The Great Worm Children speak a very simplified form of Russian, probably due to their isolation.
- The Church of the Water Tsar in Metro Exodus seems to be partly inspired by the Worm Cult, with the eponymous fish replacing the Worm and a similar hatred/fear of technology. However, the cannibalism aspect is absent.
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