Carefully moving down the steps, Jack and Hasver sped after the fallen Takir, who lay still in a dark spreading pool.
Sacrificing his fine coat, Jack attempted to drag Takir away from the green scum spreading under him. This freed or wakened something down among the green kelpy nodules. It was a worm about the length of a man’s arm, as fast and lurching as mosquito larvae in their still waters. It fipped up, biting Hasver on the arm, and quickly flipping toward his back. In a frantic battle, unleashing powers both Nano and blade, the little thing was cut free and then squashed inside Jacks’ coat.
Upstairs, they discovered on the worms had already attached itself to Takir, and that he arched in agony (although remained unconscious) when they tried to remove it. Following them up from the shushing dark was a tall, graceful woman armed with gorgeous knives. Roz turned out to have also been latched onto by one of the parasites, and seemed quite vague about how she had gotten down there and how long she had waited.
One of the Skiavos turned out to have had medical training, and after some examination, did not seem to believe the parasite was immediate threat to Takir’s life. He also concluded that the burst nodules must have saved the Nano from crushing his head in the fall. They laid Takir to rest and be cleaned up.
Hasver let them in on the fact that he had been communicating with the statue of the weeping woman, called “Lily” and that she had offered to lead them through the Undercity beneath Uxphon to the “Mother of Monsters”.
With Roz in tow, they decided to accept the offer and went down into a rotting metal gulf of darkness, stairs, lights, and dizzying inexplicable artifacts.
Finally arriving like a late birth into the chamber of the Mother of Monsters, they discovered the creature called herself The Nagaina and was a massive worm creature 15 meters in length, with a face (or at least a maw) at both ends. She had an enormous scientific laboratory in which she was working, including a “test subject” for her experiments, a (turned out to be ) Nano named Simon.
The creature was soft-spoken and strangely kind – at least to Roz whom she referred to as “darling”. She explained that the parasites were … connected with her daughters, that a pale, vain man had been providing “growth cultures” for underneath the manor. The parasites would make Roz (and Takir) better – her daughters would improve them until, of course, they died. The death sentence seemed to be between 2 and 8 months typically – depending on how much the host resisted.
After much haggling, they eventually secured the Nagaina’s interest, and she agreed to remove the parasites. Required for this removal were:
- A drug called Gharolan, which they could acquire in the far-off city of Harmuth with someone called Cagyn Rild.
- A numenera device called an “Impossible Blade” which she did not know how to locate.
- As payment, she would require the group to help her oppose a hive-mind, corrupting virus known as The Insidious Choir. They had a transmission tower that made them truly dangerous by connecting them. The tower was beyond the mountain range known as the Black Riage, in a place called The Field of Towers. There was a catena in the Undercity that could take them there. She told them how to reach it from her chambers (perhaps half an hour’s walk).
Once they had agreed to these terms, she offered them the contents of her trash, which included some numenera she had no interest in.
Having plundered the Nagaina’s dumpster, they fled arduously for the surface.