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Black Crusade (2011), p332 — The Writhing World

A number of legends surround the worlds of the Screaming Vortex, many of them cautionary tales or nightmarish parables of death and despair. Upon seeing the Writhing World for the first time, there are few who would dispute that this blighted planet has inspired many such dark stories.

From orbit, the Writhing World appears as a dirty-brown orb, its surface in constant subtle motion. The planet is seemingly composed of huge, continent-sized tendrils of worm-like flesh, perpetually slithering by small degrees in a bewildering pattern that has driven many strong men to madness.

There are no certain records of what may lie beneath the ever-squirming layers of the planet's surface, but there are dozens of theories that either describe the Writhing World as the birthplace of some ancient, malevolent god or the battleground for an apocalyptic battle, and that the planet itself is a long-forgotten weapon from that conflict.

Regardless of these speculations, the Writhing World has somehow become home to a number of scattered, feral human tribes, eking out a primitive existence amongst the tendril-ridges and flesh-mountains. Massive, mobile organic constructs called "crawling citadels" scuttle across the planet's surface, each a mighty tower controlled by a powerful sorcerer or biomancer. These sorcerer-kings sometimes approach wanderers and warbands with offers of safe passage across the treacherous worm-wastes in return for technology or secret knowledge.

Another minor mystery related to the Writhing World is the existence of four small moons in its orbit, each verdant with primitive plant and animal life forms. Although these moons are uninhabited, each is claimed by one of the sorcerer-kings as his private reserve, and there are many stories amongst the tribes that the moons are home to the souls of the damned and the source of the sorcerer-kings' power. Between these moons lies a thick chain of asteroids and a ring system. Those who fly within the rings find that each chunk and particle is also made of worm-like tendrils on a smaller scale, aping the planet they orbit.