When we last left our heroes they had fled the catacombs of ancient Kra’adumek, trading them for a far more perilous venture. The gullet of the Demon Worm itself, kept quiescent by freak ice storms, held a far more promising reward. Perhaps salvation could be found in the creature’s heart?
The journey continued onward. Erstwhile companions were forgotten, remade by time and the vagaries of the multiverse. Who can say whether what passed was a continuation of what came before, or merely a reflection in some distant, undiscovered realm. Sages say that there is no place where one Plane ends and another begins, each is merely a continuation of the next. Only Nomad and his companion Quintus remained unchanged or perhaps changeless, a thousand incarnations of the same being.
Two heroes and a hideous alien creature, the psionic chicken-hybrid Kylo Hen, did venture forth into Kra’adumek, searching for the creature’s heart, or perhaps for greater meaning in the universe. What happened to the rifles they found before, who can say?
“Come my sorcerous companion, let us not question this newfound companion too greatly and venture forth into the bowels of this hellbeast!”
Our heroes stalked forward, quiet as cats, towards a great clangour deeper in. Kylo Hen, a queer and inconstant companion, scouted to the left, our two companions took the right, chancing upon a man with a big glistening orb and a woman giving birth.
Quoth Nomad; “Greetings friend. A strange place to give birth, amidst all this death.”
Interrogating the pair, who sought only shelter from the cold in the luminescent bowls of the Demon Worm, they were sent away in safety, for the worst of the cold had abated. Our heroes passed on, finding Insect Men locked in deadly combat with an amorphous horror of the Demon Worm, which contained entire menageries in the contorted dimensions of its gullet.
Quintus stepped towards Nomad and gestured to the fighting: “The Insect Men are winning their bout. We should do something lest we become their next target.”
But Nomad was adamant: “Nonsense friend Quintus. The Insect Men are friendly and gentle. We will aid them in vanquishing this Shapeless Horror of the Void, and thus become their friends and gain their trust!”
Arriving just as the Insect Men had lain waste the shapeless nightmare, our heroes attempted to gain their friendship. “Fear not Gentile Insect men,’ Nomad bellows, “Nomad, Quintus and Chicken are here to vanquish evil alongside thee!”
“What took you so long?” One says. “Who are you strangers?” says another.
“We are Enemies of the Demon Worm. I am Nomad, Prince-Exile, Quintus, Sorcerer Supreme and Mega-Ultra chicken, psionic space warrior.”
“This is our cavity, we have won it from the abomination. Are you scavenging? Do you seek your own cavity within the worm?”
“Your Treason will avail you naught Insect Horrors!”shouted Nomad as he drives a blade into the insects chest. Though his rash act of sudden murder-make did take the creatures by suprise, his sword proved ill-suited to cut tough carapace. Kylo, quick to leap in also, scratched nothing but air!
“Their chitenous hides are proof against a Blade,” shrieks Nomad. “Use FIRE AND SORCERY.” Hurled Masonry rebounded off the hides of the Loathsome Insect Men, known for their treachery and unquenchable hunger for human flesh. All seemed lost, our heroes overcome until Quintus cast the enchantment of Sleep, casting them into the Abyss of Morpheus.
Examining the now unconscious bodies, the three discussed plans. “Butcher them?’ asks the Chicken. “All but one” speaks Nomad. Quintus nods. The Chicken wants death. “The brood will grow strong on the backs of the Formians.” A shrug. “The chicken has spoken,” say our heroes. Nomad finishes all but one by snapping their necks.
And thus our heroes did help themselves to the strange, glowing orbs of the Insect Men, though what these devices meant they knew not. Kylo, confused by the fog of War, did chop and heave at the last of the Insect Men until it perished.
“These orbs contain the power of the olden days”, exclaims Quintus. “There is great power in them to make the ancient devices work again.”
Collecting the glistening orb for the Chicken creature, the trio strode onward, further into the Maw, approaching a band of degenerate cultists paying homage to their alien gods in front of a stone face. Afore they approached, Quintus employed the power of phantasmal force, conjuring forth the image of a vast laser-armed tyrannosaur to walk alongside them, Kylo in the van.
Naked savages, faces painted with orange squares, armed with ancient rifles, awaited them in front of the stone face of their god. The image of his bearded face was upon their helmets. Upon seeing the Lasersaurus, they prostrated themselves for a new god of glamour and techno-prehistory. What business they had in this fell place?
When the Worm had devoured their erstwhile deity, brooking no rivalry for its flock, these worshippers of Zar’daz, called Brutalitarians, had joined him. Quivering insolently, they spoke of the great boon of death the god bequathed upon them to cleanse the land of his enemies in the promised time.
But as the three prepared to execute the cultists before they saw through the glamour, they were approached by the fair Sufa’at, a Sun Elf, beloved on the slave markets of A’agrybah. Of his fate, only this:
“I was sacrificed to the Demon-Worm weeks ago, and have been cowering in fear all this time, not wanting to die.”
Nomad nodded. “Kylo Hen decides your fate then.”
The Chicken leered and clucked, weighing incomprehensible factors on a scale none could fathom and decided to grant a mercy beyond mortal understanding. Caution was thrown to the wind, and on the count of three, our intrepid heroes opened fire on the cultists, killing all of them.
“Death to the opposition!” cried Quintus. Our heroes picked over the bodies like vultures, gathering more ammunition, and finding rations and an 8-track of Black Sabbath. As they quibbled over the spoils, the Chicken crept into the stone idol, taking all of worth, and sharing none of it.
Such is our lot on Cha’alt.
Join us next time for the continuation.