Vermin in the Castle and Friends in the Forest.

Vermin in the Castle & Friends in the Forest

They travelled south through the lush tropical forests for six days cataloging and indexing one of each new species they came into contact with. The morning song of the Poecile Atricapillus filled the warm morning air, and the star designated Utax-C131 had crested the eastern horizon when Xuvats arrived at an open clearing in the forest with a small, rundown stone castle at its center. They moved forward to explore the structure, it being the first humanoid dwelling they had come across on this mission.

"This must be the Forsaken Tower, Rondell spoke of." They thought as they made their way stealthily toward the structure. They could see that the stone walls of the once heavily fortified manor were heavily pocked and scarred with signs of a siege or battle. On the ground, about twenty feet from the mostly ruined outer wall, Xuvats found and collected a litre-sized opaque glass bottle of liquid. It was laying in the grass near a similarly empty bottle and a pair of very old humanoid skeletons.  Inside the wall was a small courtyard that was filled with the stone rubble of the tower's collapsed upper floors. Beyond them, Xuvats could see what remained of the main floor's round outer wall with a large hole in the northeastern side that opened to the building's large main chamber.

Xuvats took on the form of a bugbear and stepped quietly through the opening into the room. Grass grew up from between the uneven flagstone floor that could be seen beneath the dirt and fungus. The rotted remains of a tapestry hung loosely from a bowed rod on the western wall, and next to it was an open archway, at the foot of which lay the long rotted remains of a door. There were three similar doors along the east wall and a final, collapsed doorway in the southeastern corner of the room. Through the northeasternmost archway, the corridor opened to a small thirty-foot square room. An altar of some kind sat in the northeast corner of the room, and a rusted chain lay on the north side of the room.

The plasmoid continued through the archway opposite them and followed the corridor right toward a firelit room. The long room had a sloped pit lined with iron spikes poking out along the west side of the room between the two doorways, and a briny odor filled the north side. The moment they came through the entrance Xuvats was met by one of two fire beetles inhabiting the room. The insect lashed out immediately, followed quickly by the other, but Xuvats recoiled away from them.

Natural 20 - Dexterity Check


The alien easily dispatched the insects, Skewering them onto sharpened pseudopods. They collected a single thorax for cataloging and Indexing and continued on. The west end of the seventy-foot-long room held three entrances but just as Xuvats began to cross the floor, briny water poured from vents along the north wall and the alien had to quickly morph out of the way to avoid being washed into the spiked pit along with the beetle carapaces and scum. Two of the doorways lead back to the large main chamber, so they took the western entrance on the south wall of the room to a thirty by seventy-foot room.

Natural 20 - Constitution save against being Poisoned

Xuvats spotted three of the four giant rats immediately upon entering the room but the fourth approached from the corner and nipped at his gelatinous bugbear heels. The alien had had several encounters with giant rats in the few days they'd been on this planet and had already grown to despise the rodents; being bit sent Xuvats into a frenzied rage. Their left hand sloughed into a globulous bludgeon that crushed the small beast into the floor. The squeal-ending crunch drew the attention of the other three and they swarmed the Plasmoid.

Still enraged Xuvats rushed the exit in the west wall following it south and then east to where it opened to the courtyard through another gaping hole in the wall. Across the rubble, they could see two other passages that lead back into the building, and the plasmoid stretched its legs to move across the rubble to them. They both lead to a fifty-foot-long room, a toppled statue lay along the east wall, and several pieces of rotten leather were scattered about the floor. As Xuvats moved through the room centipedes crawled out from under all of the bits of leather and swarmed the plasmoid.

The centipedes climbed up Xuvats' gelatinous bugbear legs and bit at their ankles and calves as the alien tried to swat or smother them. They'd killed nearly half of the insects when a louder chittering came from behind the statue and a giant centipede emerged. Xuvats pierced the insect through the brain before it could cause any damage and then destroyed the remaining swarm. The insects were cataloged and Xuvats returned to the large main room to rest and tend their wounds.

As they rested Xuvats indexed the fire beetle thorax and examined the corked bottle. Inside the bottle was a fermented solution of fruit sugars with a rather appealing sensation when metabolized. It was also somewhat effective at assisting in removing the rust from the spikes and chain they had collected.

The door in the western wall of the main room lead to another smaller rectangular room which, aside from some fungus and dirt, appeared to be empty. Beneath their bugbear feet, the plasmoid felt one of the flagstones shift with a click as a scythe swung down from the ceiling, and the plasmoid practically split itself in two to avoid the trap. Once the trap fired, a trap door in the south end of the room opened, revealing a wooden chest. As Xuvats approached a shrill shrieking rang through the room. It echoed off the walls, preventing the alien from locating the source.

The lid of the chest was locked but using the techniques they had learned from Rondell of extending narrow pseudopods into the keyhole and trying to align the pins within. Despite the distracting noise, Xuvats was able to open the chest after only a few attempts. It was filled with silver coins and a bone coffer engraved with draconic scales that contained gold ones.

As they approached the southern door the shrieking got louder and the alien was able to deduce that the noise was coming from a fungus growing above the doorway.  The alien bashed the fungus with a globulous bludgeon until it stopped making noise, and then cataloged the fine, spore-filled powder that remained.

The doorway opened to a room as large as the first room they'd discovered and the moment Xuvats passed through the archway another shriek echoed through this room as well. knowing what to look for, Xuvats dispatched this Shrieker with haste and went about exploring the room, finding only some copper coins and another glass prism.

There were two other exits from this large chamber in the southwest corner, one was collapsed and nearly impassable, while the other ran one hundred and thirty feet along the south end of the building, ending in a stairwell that lead up to the next floor. This second floor was an open patio, its walls littered across the courtyard.


The star designated Utax-C131 was high in the sky and the air was warm as Xuvats climbed down from the second-floor patio of the destroyed tower and continued south across the clearing and into the forest beyond. The alien travelled beneath the rainforest canopy, through the day and into the evening. They were just starting to get hungry when the Plasmoid came upon two curious objects a few feet apart. The first was a dart whose tip appeared to be stained with a combination of blood and Trichloromethane, a few feet away Xuvats also found an empty mead bottle with a small roll of parchment tucked inside.

"To whoever finds this,
The weight of this omen, the devastation to come, is too much to bear. 
They are hunting me now ... for what I know.
If they find me, I will be hung for treason, and there will be no one to stop them.
They mean to ... "

The note ended abruptly and Xuvats tucked it into a storage vacuole for safekeeping. The ground about the bottle showed traces of something large being dragged off to the southwest, where they found traces of several large hoofed beasts. The hoof tracks continued southwest and Xuvats followed them until it was too dark to continue.

Xuvats made camp in a small cluster of rocks, building a foot-high, semi-circular wall of stones, building a fire within them, then pooling up in a rut at the back of the wall, absorbing the heat through the stones while avoiding the open flames. Over dinner, the alien indexed the two types of centipedes that it had encountered in the Forsaken Tower and lamented the loss of their bugbear companion. Though their mission was of the highest priority, those first few cycles travelling with a sentient companion were already their favourite.

"Perhaps I will make a new companion," Xuvats thought, "They can join me on my mission to knowledge & exploration!"  The plasmid went into stasis for their infradian cycle imagining what type of friend they might make and what types of things they might witness together.

Xuvats had only been in stasis for 6 hours when they were roused by the sounds of clanking nearby, like that of steel on steel. The plasmoid remained close to the ground, almost assuming the shape of one of those giant rats they detested so much, and continued through the forest toward the noise. For nearly a hundred feet, the further Xuvats ventured the further the sounds continued to evade them before the alien realized that the noise was circling them. Finding a spot between some fallen trees to hide behind, Xuvats called out to the combatants. 

Natural 20 - Persuasion

"Hey, I'm over here!" From their hiding spot, Xuvats heard a break in the fighting, followed by a grunt and footsteps approaching at a run. Stretching out its long, pseudopodic rat tail, Xuvats wove a tripwire a foot high through the trees for about twenty feet. They grasped a small birch tree as an anchor, waiting to ensnare any who pass through.

Natural 1 - Guard Dexterity Check

A figure came barreling through the trees and underbrush, their foot catching the tripwire tail, and they tumbled through the underbrush with a cry. A second figure, chasing the first, also tripped over Xuvats pseudo-tail and slammed hard into a tree before falling prone; clutching his collarbone. The alien retracted the trip wire while assuming the form of a bugbear.

"Hello! I am Xuvats, of Thoth M-99!" The plasmoid greeted their new companions. The first, a young female with soft, slender features and aburn hair, screamed at the sight of bugbear Xuvats, scampering backward across the ground until their back was against a tree. The other, a stocky male lay on his back with a bone protruding from his clavicle, raised his good hand toward Xuvats and they watched as a ball of fiery plasma formed in his palm, which he hurled at the plasmoid.

"That's not very nice!" Xuvats exclaimed, easily avoiding the attack. They dodged a second fireball with a "Hey, stop it!" before a third made contact, singing the plasmoid.

"I said STOP!" Enraged, Xuvats thrust a sharpened pseudopod through the man's throat and into the ground beneath him. Retracting the weapon,  the alien turned to the female who was wide-eyed against the tree, and taking on a form similar to hers, they introduced themselves again. "Hello! I am Xuvats, of Thoth M-99!"

"H-hi! I uhnn, I-'m N-Nerudilye." The woman said nervously. Her eyes darted from Xuvats toward the sounds of others moving through the forest nearby and back.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Nerudilye!" Xuvats said with enthusiasm. The figures moving through the trees nearby began closing in on them as the alien continued, "I am looking for a travelling companion, Would you like to join me on my Mission?"

"Please, They're going to kill me!" She said quietly, glancing at the dead man a few feet away and then at the sounds of people breaking through the trees next to them. "Can you help me?"

Two more human males burst through the trees and Xuvats impaled them each through the throat before either could make a sound. As the dead man had, the young woman on the ground hurled a fireball, and blasted one of the mages back into the forest shadows. The other, with a dagger in this hand and a pseudopod through his neck, almost holding him aloft, stabbed limply at Xuvats. With a thought, the pseudopod through the man's neck suddenly grew three more points, the jutted through each side of the man's neck and a third straight up through the top of his skull.

"Your pursuers have been dispatched," Xuvats declared, helping the woman to her feet. "Will you be my travelling companion now?" The woman began scavenging the bodies of the men who had been chasing her, As she left each fallen combatant, Xuvats approached them, taking an eye from each for cataloging and indexing later.

"Thank you! What did you call yourself, again?" The woman asked, tucking three daggers into her belt.

"I am Xuvats, of Tho..."

"Can you help me get off of this Gods forsaken continent, Xuvats?" The woman began looking around the area now, before moving toward the smoke from Xuvats' now smouldering fire.

"If you have a bearing we can begin immediately!" Xuvats exclaimed, excited at the prospect!


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