Xuanicli

 

 

It was 7th Prevaen and the Wayfarers were heading north-west, away from Grailstone and into the Pytharon Empire, They entered an area of land where the vegetation was strange, made of clumps of jelly-like material, with the occasional larger, bulbous tube. The air smelt rank and like vinegar. Their pack aneen started to get jittery, despite Sonny’s attempts at calming it down. Suddenly, the ground opened beneath their feet …

 

They passed slowly through a suffocating, spongy mass until they fell into a globular chamber that smelt strongly of vinegar. The walls were sickly white and translucent. A diffuse light came from somewhere beyond the walls and occasionally dark shapes could be seen moving about. A screaming assaulted their ears!

 

“Xuanicli! Xuanicli!”

 

The sound came from a large fleshy toothless mouth in one part of the wall. Hovering around it were three tiny hexagonal machines, armed with a battery of nippers, scissors and scalpels, which they were using to pick apart the mouth. A hasty discussion on what to do resulted in them trying to negotiate with the machines. The machines intent was obvious as they started to attack the Wayfarers. However, they were no match; Galadiir froze one in a Stasis Field, Judson took one out with a superb arrow shot and Harrylock destroyed the last one. He examined it and found that several of its parts could be used to repair him. He gathered as much as he could and Sonny did some repairs.

 

The mouth was still saying the word “Xuanicli! Xuanicli!” No-one had any idea of what it meant. Next to it, hidden in a fleshy fold in the wall, was a bivalve, open and large enough to walk through. Galadiir elected to take this route; the others decided to be swallowed by the mouth*

 

Harrylock, Sonny and Judson entered the mouth; with an audible ‘gulp’ they were swallowed; pushed along by peristalsis down a twisting passage; through several chambers, to exit into a globular chamber similar to the one they had left. A number of flagellum were writhing around; they opened tri-partite mouths and lunged at the Wayfarers. Sonny drew his Varjellen sword and struck at the nearest; he hit it, but felt a sharp pain on the pack of his leg as another bit him. A poison coursed up into his brain and he felt an overwhelming urge to climb back into the orifice they had just emerged from. Harrylock ran for one of the exits; a bivalve again; he was bitten but the poison did not affect him. Judson jumped over the flagella and grabbed Sonny; shaking him hard. Sonny snapped out of the trance and they both ran for to join Harrylock. Pushing through the valve, a few drops of an acidic substance fell on them, burning their skin.

 

Galadiir made his way along the tunnel, emerging into a circular chamber that was a pleasant green colour. Piled around the chamber were small green fruit, like very large grapes. Galadiir examined one; then squashed it. It gave off a pleasant, sweet odour. He started to collect some; the walls began oozing yellow-white liquid and a large glob of an acidic substance fell on him; doing a chemical burn to his exposed shin. There was another bivalve exit; he went out of this one, into another passage. He noticed that the walls and floor were becoming moist.

 

“Whoah!” Judson teetered on the edge of a sheer drop. The tube/passage ended at an ovoid chamber. About twenty feet below was a roiling mass of yellow-white liquid and rivulets of yellow liquid dribbled down the walls. There were two exits, but there was no obvious way to get to them. Judson took the Merkadian blaster-sword that he had found** and jabbed it into the wall. He was rewarded with a spray of caustic acid full in the face; outside a shape moved towards the wall and a protoplasmic creature oozed in and repaired the damage.

 

“It’s a white blood cell.”

 

“I think we’re in the stomach of whatever this thing is. Falling into that down there would not be a good idea.”

 

“We need to go back and try another way out.”

 

They retraced their steps; noticing that the passage was becoming moist. A couple of drips of acid fell on them as they reached the flagella / snake chamber. Judson and Sonny used their Speed to good advantage and weaved and dodged across to the other bivalve. Harrylock was not so lucky; he was bitten several times but somehow shrugged off the effects of the poison. As he reached the valve and entered the tunnel his head jerked up.

“There’s something else in here with us.”

 

Galadiir entered a globular chamber to see a disturbing sight. In the centre sat a humanoid, obviously alien creature. It had large purple eyes; glazed over, an exposed brain, and stunted limbs with no hands. It was surrounded by a myriad of jelly-like globes, of all sizes. *** From the ceiling descended a long stalk that plunged deep into the exposed brain. Dimly outside could be glimpsed a huge black mass.

As he stood there; without warning a crippling mental assault stripped his mind. Galadiir realised that this foe was beyond him to tackle. There was another bivalve exit; he ran for this and got there; not before suffering another crippling mental attack. Galadiir fell into the passage; his head on fire. Dimly, he heard voices: – it was Judson, Harrylock and Sonny.

 

“Don’t go that way!” they yelled.

 

“Oh! I was about to say “Don’t go that way.”

 

Galadiir took some time to rest, even though the tube was now dripping with fluid. They decided to take on the tentacle-snakes again; Galadiir was bitten as was Sonny. Galadiir climbed in through the orifice and found him thigh-deep in a burning acidic substance. He managed to shake off the trance and dived back out into the chamber. Harrylock sliced off the top of another snake; the others abruptly pulled back into the floor, leaving no trace of their passing. Galadiir examined one of the ‘dead’ ones to see if it had a poison sac or gland; the poison seemed to be delivered through a narrow tube from somewhere else.

 

“We need to find a way out. This place is too frizzin weird.”

 

With the withdrawal of the flagella, some objects became visible. Despite being hurt, Galadiir the numenera expert took a look at them. There was a red hexagonal crystal; a Retaliation Nodule, designed to be fixed to armour; what looked like an artificial index fingernail that would create a Monoblade. The final device, a small serrated disc with a small switch on it, he couldn’t figure out. In the end, he just pressed the button. The device buzzed into life, swarmed up his arm and gave him a perfect close shave; then shut down. Galadiir was a bit annoyed; he had been rather proud of his ‘wizard’s beard’. He tricked Judson into having a shave as well.

 

Galadiir had been hurt by the acid and was Impaired. Despite the trick that Galadiir had pulled on him, Judson offered to carry him. Heading back to the chamber with the liquid; the place Judson termed “the stomach”. There were two other exits; fleshy orifices like the one they stood in. The only way was to climb.

 

“Don’t puncture the walls,” warned Judson. The walls were rubbery and damp. He judged the climb to be difficult if he was carrying Galadiir as well; he called on all his training and skill and completed it successfully.

 

“If I fall in there, I’m dead”, declared Harrylock ****

 

Of course, they had no rope of any kind. Sonny raised his arms and, with a crackle of discharging electricity, rode the lightning across the chamber to Judson and Galadiir. Harrylock shrugged and attempted the climb. To everyone’s surprise (including his), he made it easily.

 

A short passage led to a horizontal ovoid chamber. There was another bivalve exit, but in the narrow end was a closed tricuspid valve.

 

“That’s got to be the way out. Come on!”

 

As they ran across the chamber; huge acidic globs started to drip from the ceiling, spattering them with burning damage.

 

“The valve’s closed. How do we open it?”

 

“Stand back,” said Sonny. He charged up his verred and touched the valve, which bunched closed, then sprang open in a reflex action; then shut again. He did it again and again; Judson, Harrylock and Galadiir got out. Finally, he did it for the last time and got through; burnt badly from the acid. The other side was a narrow fleshy tube that they had to crawl up; the climb got steeper until they crawled out from the top of one of the bulbous tube-plants. They were not far from where they had fallen in.

 

“Tyrannohorse!” cried Sonny. Their aneen was lying on the ground, dead. Something had sucked its head off.

 

Not wanting to stay around, they moved on to where the vegetation seemed normal, then rested overnight.

 

During the night, Galadiir had a strange dream; he woke because somebody whispered “daddy, daddy” into his ear.

 

END

 

XP = 1

—————————————————————————

GM:

* Again, they have split the party up

** During ‘In The Key of Time’

*** A Quotien, although Galadiir failed to recognise it. This was its hiding place, until the Brain Drainer found it.

**** In any Game, climbing is not Harry’s strong suit.

 

This adventure was written using my Quick Adventure system. The Wayfarers really enjoyed it; however I think it would have benefited from some visuals; illustrations to show them. I love the ‘Show-em’s’ in ‘The Devil’s Spine’ and ‘Weird Discoveries’. I would certainly be interested in a sourcebook simply full of art that could be used.

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