The Sac-laang, Ash-Laa and Osakar Legend

Printer-friendly version

by Eric "iggy" Winsor

 

The Sac-laang, Ash-Laa of Osakar legend?

from Random Creatures by Tysho

Tik is fascinated by the osakar and their homeworld.  Now I know dozens of dralasites that would debate for hours and even days that their species is the most biologically unique of all the species in the frontier.  I must however side with Tik, a bug, that the osakar are the most unique species and biosphere discovered so far.

The osakar world is dominated by “cloned” life forms.  Biodiversity is frozen in its tracks on Osaka.  That at least is the prevalent belief in the frontier.  Tik however didn’t buy that and had been pestering Dwain and I to visit Osaka for years.  Well, Dwain got the two of us delayed on New Pale.  So Tik took off to Osaka to investigate some rumors he had heard about a very rare and strange osakish creature that dispels the frontier belief in the clone model of osaka physiology.  He left tickets for us to join him on Osaka when we were finished on New Pale.

On Osaka Tik meet with Sahng Sh-laund VooZhoo professor of taxonomy at Osa SiVa University.  Sahng took Tik deep into northern Osaka to the singing forests to find a sac-laang, an osakish creature that borrows DNA from its’ victims.  Anciently the osakar hunted it into obscurity so it took Tik and Sahng several weeks to hike into the dense remote location Sahng keeps secret.  Dwain and I caught up with Tik far into the singing forests.

The sac-laang is now considered mythical by most osakar.  They were prevalent on Osaka at the dawn of their civilization and a few remained when the osakar embarked on their age of discovery and colonization of their world.  Now only 17 are known to exists of which 3 have mysteriously disappeared in the past few years and 1 was destroyed by fearful osakar who discovered it.  The existence of the sac-laang professor Sahng lead us to calls to reevaluation the myths of many different osakar people.

Mythical Osakar Tribes

Osakar mythology tells of the ancient osa tribe being the dominant tribe of all osakar.  The osa looked exactly like all osakar of this day.  The other tribes were each different.  Their color was different or their height was different.  Some had golden eyes, some had shorter necks or legs.  There was racial variation among the osakar people.

Legend says that tribes worshiped a god that would give rebirth to any that offered themselves to it after a worthy life.  The elderly would come to Ash-Laa and be devoured by it.  If they were unworthy they would only be devoured.  If they were acceptable they might seed again as a mindless puppet of the Ash-Laa. If they were worthy they would seed again and have a new life.  In some cases the new seed grew into a new osakar with a new variation blessing them to be different than all the osakar of the tribe.  They would have a longer face or smoother textured skin, bigger stronger arms, different coloration, or any other variation available in osa species.  Thus the god granted them freedom to be a new tribe.  If they lived worthier still they were granted seed at the age of reproduction.

Legend says that all osakar tribes were spawned by the gods Ash-Laa.  Each tribe worshiped their own Ash-Laa and new tribes would only come to being if the one of worthy rebirth both had seed of its’ own and nurtured a seed of Ash-Laa for the new tribe to worship.  All tribes worshiped their Ash-Laa except the Osa.  The Osa came from the south-lands and had no Ash-Laa.  They knew no Ash-Laa.  They dominated the south-lands and migrated into the greater lands of the north, east, and west seeking room to grow their vast tribe.

When they meet the first tribe outside of the south-land they were shocked that they were different from the osa.  They feared the wild savages and distrusted them for their difference.  They had conflicts and arguments.  The osa attempted to teach the savages and bring civilization.  The highest of the osa, H-Ze-Ler, arranged a union between her most favorite osa offspring, Re-Vo, and the most influential osakar of the savage tribe, Do-Ta.  But many of the savages resented their tribe member joining with the osa and secretly murdered Re-Vo.

H-Ze-Ler was furious and sent her hunters into the savage villages seeking the murderers of Re-Vo.  The savages resented the searches and accusations.  The secret murderers held their tongues.  Then when one of their own was captured the others came and murdered the hunters to protect their secret.  H-Ze-Ler armed and trained her remaining hunters to be warriors and fought back, bringing the secret murders into the light.  The secret murderers responded by turning their savage tribe members against the osa and arming them too.  And so began the first war of osakar.

Do-Ta campaigned among the savage tribe to end the war, join with the osa, and bring the murders of Re-Vo to justice.  But none among the savages and the osa would listen so Do-Ta wrote a letter to H-Ze-Ler, the osa, and her fellow savage tribe members that if they did not end the war she would feed herself as a sacrifice to the savage tribe’s god Ash-Laa, thus forsaking both tribes in an attempt to become the first of a new and different tribe.

Some among the savage tribe supported Do-Ta’s sacrifice to become a new tribe.  None among the osa supported the sacrifice and perceived it as a defilement by an impure and wild creature.  H-Ze-Ler himself lead an army deep into the savage tribe’s lands to stop the sacrifice.  The battles to reach the savage tribe’s Ash-Laa were fierce and most of the savage tribe were destroyed as they rallied to protect their Ash-Laa.  H-Ze-Ler arrived in time to see Do-Ta reborn as a new osakar with red eyes instead of black.  Fearing that the new Do-Ta tribe would be evil H-Ze-Ler slew Do-Ta as a seedling.  This so enraged the surviving savage tribe members that they rushed H-Ze-Ler and killed her, ripping her limb from limb.  The osa warriors retaliated by hunting the remaining savage tribe members to extinction and burning their Ash-Laa to ashes.  Thus commenced the dark ancient age of the osa tribe sweeping the whole world, wiping out all other savage tribes and burning their Ash-Laa to dust.

When the osakar developed writing and started recording history the story of H-Ze-Ler, Do-Ta, Re-Vo, the savage tribes, and the Ash-Laa were already legends.

The Rediscovered Sac-laang

When the osakar commenced their age of world discovery, exploring and bring trade to all of the osakar they found a strange creature deep in the northern continent.  This creature lured prey to it by first devouring a small prey animal and then later dropping a replicant of it to grow beneath it.  This replicant would then wander around the creature, venturing out and returning in attempts to draw larger prey in close enough for its’ fast tentacles to grab and bind a victim for consumption.

The explorers greatly feared this creature because of its’ great stamina and speed of attack.  Many an early explorer into the northern continent meet a horrible fate, dismembered and consumed by what became known as the sac-laang.

Many explores regarded the sac-laang as Ash-Laa of legend and branded it a demon creature.  Osakar religious leaders sought out the sac-laang to study it.  They allowed many elderly and ill to offer their dead bodies who hoped the legends were true.  The clergy dismissed the creature as Ash-Laa because they never witnessed it drop a seed that became an intelligent being from all of the dead osakar offered.  All that was ever verifiable to the osakar was that the sac-laang was a voracious deadly creature that ate anything that got within grappling distance.  The religious leaders also labeled the sac-laang an impure demon creature only worthy of destruction.  Thus the osakar settlers that later opened up the last of the northern continent routinely destroyed all thy found for safeties sake.  So to the sac-laang became a myth, poorly recorded with obscure stories of the clergy and explorers.

Then thirty years ago some scientists venturing into the singing forests to collect specimens of fungal spiders found an old osakar with blue-green villosulous hairs on her arms, living in a tree.  She was very old, could not speak, did not recognize other osakar, and was even fearful of the scientists at first meeting.  The old osakar was very territorial about the tree and made regular trips to a downed branch where the scientist discovered what they determined was the rotted remains of a sac-laang.

Attempts were made to teach the old osakar to speak but to no success.  The old osakar died soon after her discovery.  Her body and the remains of the sac-laang were brought to Osa SiVa University where Sahng Sh-laund VooZhoo began studying the remains while still a student.

Early studies established that the old osakar had osakar DNA with traces of the sac-laang DNA and DNA of a singing forest tree dwelling prey creature with blue-green villosulous hair.  The autopsy of So-Ol (the name they gave the old osakar) revealed that she was sterile and could have never had offspring.  Sahng used these studies to gain her professorship but the event faded from popular science because no other sac-laang were ever found.

Then five years ago Sahng returned to the site of the fallen tree limb and found a sapling sac-laang growing from a nearby branch.  Further searches revealed a total of 17 saplings growing in various other trees within a 5 km radius.  Searches of other sites did not turn up any details of how the saplings and gotten there.  No rotted remains were found at the other locations, nor seed casings.

Sahng and her students setup up observation cameras on all 17 sac-laang and recorded the creatures doing many of the things the old explorers had written of.

Sac-laang drop tentacles to the ground or up around the branch they are attached to.  The tentacles rest motionless until a creature comes within grasping distance and then they swiftly entangle the creature.  Creatures of equivalent size of smaller are quickly subdued and pulled up into the creature where a digestive pocket is formed around the victim.  Digestion is slow and takes many days or weeks depending on the size of the meal.  The more the sac-laang eats the faster it grows, reaching maximum recorded sizes of just over 3 meters for the main body length and just over 3 meters for the tentacle reach.  As all known living sac-laang are approximately 5 years old, no one knows how long the creature can live.  Nor is it known how large the creature can eventually become.  The ligaments that attach the sac-laang to its’ home tree can stretch and contract to allow it to slowly reach down to the ground.  More ligaments are added as the creature grows in size.

Sahng’s team quickly established that the sac-laang is carnivorous.  It eats any creature it can grapple and bring to its mouth where it dismembers it if necessary and swallows it.  A digestive sac is formed around the food which can be seen bulging outside along its body.  The more the sac-laang eats the more sack bulges will be seen.  About once every 7 days after its’ first meal the creature will drop a seed that will develop into a replicant of its’ meal 7 days earlier.  This replicant will live for about 7 days and acts as a lure to bring bigger prey to the sac-laang to be caught.  When the replicant dies it is re-devoured by the sac-laang.  Re-devoured replicants do not seem to be used as source material for future replicants.

Of the thousands of replicants now recorded and sampled 0.001% have been recorded to have DNA other than the meal organism and the sac-laang.  All others have been the DNA of the meal donor and a few key chains of sac-laang DNA that the creature appears to use to limit re-spawning and detect that the creature is its’ own replicant.  All have been sterile, and 0.00025% have had a minor variation in their meal donor DNA resulting in a variation in creature characteristics.

The sac-Laang is very strong and a 3m specimen could easily grapple and devour an adult osakar.  Equivalent sized creatures have been recorded being captured and consumed.

When the popular press ran an article detailing the sac-laang study some unknown osakar came to the reported site and burned the creature to ash and left a note condemning the return of the savage god Ash-Laa and demons.  Thus Sahng and her team now keep the locations of the sac-laang secret to protect them.

Sac-laang

TYPE:

Omnivore

SIZE:

Medium : 3m

NUMBER:

1

MOVE:

Stationary

IM/RS:

+7/70

STAMINA:

160-200

ATTACK:

80

DAMAGE:

3d10

SPECIAL ATTACK:

Replicant creatures from previous meals lure prey to be captured

SPECIAL DEFENSE:

None

NATIVE WORLD:

Osaka, Osak

GM notes

Dwain and Jurak were delayed on New Pale because Dwain tried to take an empty cybernuk egg with him out of New Pale.  New Pale customs took note of the egg and the lack of documented proof that it had been sterilized after the yoke was removed.  They accused Dwain of trying to smuggle cybernuk DNA.  It took Jurak a month of legal wrangling to get Dwain released.  Fortunately Dwain had steamed the egg out to clean it so his lawyers successfully argued that Dwain had actually made a reasonable professional attempt to destroy any tissue left inside the shell.  Lab testing and witnesses from the cybernuk wranglers who had presented the egg to Dwain proved Dwain’s motives and innocence.  The New Pale Customs Officials had the egg lab sterilized as a precaution.  Dwain it seems was the first person ever to remove a cybernuk egg shell from New Pale.  The tickets Tik left for Dwain and Jurak were storage class.

The disappearance of 3 sac-laang is suspected to be the actions of God Co operatives. The sac-laang ability to make replicants of its’ victims is of great value to GodCo and their cloning research.