Chronicles of Ascension
The zaelem’s sluglike main body is wide and ﬂat, with its mouth on the underside, and crusty extrusions on its back grow 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 m). The creature’s lower half can be as large as 10 square feet (0.9 sq. m) and takes on the color of the ground below it. A zaelem lowers itself over a prone creature and attempts to suffocate its prey before sucking the entirety— body, clothing, and possessions— into its mouth.
The protrusions that rise from the creature’s back are built from the collected possessions of the dead, which it cannot digest, and grow larger with every subsequent kill. This also makes a zaelem dangerous in unpredictable ways. Depending on what odd assortment of objects it has integrated.
Zaelem attacks are the origin of the popular (and often misinterpreted) saying, “On the Wander, a man would do well to sleep with his best of friends.”