Numenera - Merlin

Tastes Like Crack Chicken

Happy that they were all still alive, Penelope took Ox to see an ornate archway in the wall of the cave where they could spend a romantic night together. Also happy but dealing with the ordeal in a different matter, Doc and Siri decided to get extremely drunk, although noticeably away from each other.

Waking the following morning, Ox took a closer look at the archway. It was inscribed with ancient writing that read “The Road of Origins” and a road did indeed lead straight up to it. A cave-in had been intentionally caused to seal it off, however. Curious, Ox decided to force Siri and Doc to wake up. Begrudgingly, they gathered a team of miners and mercs and returned to the arch with him.

They excavated their way through the rubble and followed the ancient roadway deep into the mountain. Along the way they encountered tunneling creatures that caused the death of half their team. But despite the losses, they decided to continue on.

About halfway along the dark road, they came across a large chamber with massive stone figures at both the entrance and corresponding exit on the other side. The giant statues on the side they entered from appeared to be humans with their hands covering their faces. The statues at the opposite end appeared to be beautiful humans with great wings at their backs.

When they tried to pass between the statues at the other side, the statues raised a hand and spoke to them in an ancient language. Ox realized that he could communicate with them using Abbithean and learned that they required a password of sorts to allow passage. Additionally, he learned that they believed him to be a Black Knight, who apparently was part of something called the Steel Guard. Ascertaining that this gave him some sort of position of authority, he convinced the statues into telling him the required phrase and they allowed the mining team to continue. Interestingly, the pass phrase had to do with leaving the sun behind and walking into darkness.

They eventually came upon another ancient city. Although similar in exterior design decorations to the last, the buildings of this city had great rounded dome roofs. Doc decided to explore the closest building but could not see anything on interest. Feeling twinges of misgivings however, he began to cautiously back away from it.

Meanwhile, Siri decided to consult her egg, although unfortunately somewhat loudly. The egg stated that there were many life forms nearby, and with the noise, that they were starting to come closer. The miners considered running, but it was too late. Several guards in ancient, tattered armor emerged from the building. They looked surprisingly young, perfect even… but had great bat-like wings.

They moved sluggishly, as if awaking from a great slumber, but seemed to wake when they caught a scent on the air. They sniffed with increasing fervor, and eventually locked wide eyes upon the single remaining miner the team had brought along with them. The winged men launched themselves through the air with amazing speed and ferocity and tore into the miner, consuming him. Oddly enough, they ignored the others and even seemed repulsed by Ox’s scent.

Afterwards, they actually seemed embarrassed; apologetic even, as they sheepishly addressed the team. Also able to understand Abbithean, the guards conversed with the team, who learned this city was the original home of the people who had lived in the other ancient city. Because of the bloodlust the winged people had for the humans, there was some sort of conflict so the humans left to try to reach the land under the sun.

Still a bit unnerved by the guards even though nobody was eating anybody at the moment, especially considering the guards seemed so interested that there were more humans living out beyond the other city, the team returned to tell the others of what they had learned. The rest of the vampire city was being awoken, however, so the team decided the first thing they should do is examine the ancient records they had found to see what more could be learned.

Within “The Book of the Sun” the team discovered some relevant tidbits of information. The humans had indeed evolved from the vampires. It seems that as the vampire city had grown, it increasingly had difficulty feeding its populace. The vampires pursued several areas of research to fight the famine. They made a portal to another plane through which they gained much power and knowledge, but unfortunately they did not find anything to feed their hunger. They learned to the secrets of eternal life, and even how to raise the dead, but that also did not quench their hunger. In fact, it only increased their population. But they also developed a genetic virus to allow them to venture out into the sun, and inadvertently, they found a food source.

After a long list of test subjects disappeared from the lab which was developing the virus, the rulers of the city discovered the delicious beings that were being created by the sun serum and eventually decided to spread it through the population in order to quench their hunger. A bloodbath ensued with most of the turned humans being eaten. A small number were saved to be farmed in a secure facility, but eventually they escaped and formed their own community far away from the vampires.

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