The immune system is constantly walking the razor thin edge between doing sweet fuck all and killing you as collateral damage in an apocalyptic war. -- RecklessPrudence
They said that humans were much like their own immune system. Q'voth took that to mean that they were proof against anything that wanted to kill them. There was no way that a direct attack would work.
Therefore, Q'voth played the long game. Ingratiating her people with the humans. Infiltrating their everyday life. Whittling away their resources. Campaigning to turn their own laws against them.
Acting like a cancer against them. Flying under the radar.
What Q'voth didn't know, until it was far too late, was that the humans were like their own immune system. Which was also a self-immolating maniac that was very capable of a scorched earth policy. Humans could survive on far less than the T'rnathi. They could survive in situations far more dire than the T'rnathi.
And they could sabotage their own environment to the point where no T'rnathi dared set foot in it.
The message was clear. They would literally rather die than be dominated. And they would make certain that the ashes of defeat would be all that any enemy could claim from a technical victory. They even had a name for it. Pyrrhic victory.
The winner wins, o yes. But what they win is so ruined that the victory is no victory at all.
Q'voth was very careful to ensure things were entirely fair from then on.