Chapter 5. The Sinkhole


  • The scene opens upon the adventurers roaring in argument. After frequently finding themselves at cross-purposes, the situation has finally come to a head. Saurians are suspicious of Hominids, and Hominids of Saurians.
  • Then another magenta light flashed across the sky, much as before. It sent the Gridcasters Feather and Scraeeaczck into tremors of pain, temporarily knocking out their Deep Devices.
  • A short while later, the earth below their feet, apparently made unstable by a pit-digging Gridcast during the fight, trembles and collapses. They are swallowed up by the earth.
  • They awake with dirt in their mouths and darkness all about them. They had apparently fallen into an underground cavern.
  • The party manages to light some tinder and a pole-torch, and finds there was a tunnel leading out of the chamber they were in, but they are not alone…
  • As Feather peaks into the tunnel opening, a hard-carapiced pincer clamps down on his nose. They manage to break him free, only to find themselves facing a cohort of strange crustaceans. One of them has geometric shapes scored into its carapice.
  • The one with the scorings ambles into the chamber, walking sideways in what was apparently its normal mode of locomotion. Two others follow it.
  • The scored crustacean draws a three-sided shape on the ground.
  • Scraeeaczck responds by a drawing a four-sided shape on the ground.
  • The scored crustacean, apparently their leader, then inscribes four dots on the ground and points to the party members, then three dots and points to itself and its two allies, and draws a circle around all of them.
  • Taking this as a communication of peace, the party responds by pointing to themselves and pronouncing their names.
  • The crustacean leader then begins to make a series of clicks () and pauses (-). It points to itself and pronounces, "." It points to its ally on the right and pronounces: "--" and the one on the left: ""*——*."
  • The party attempts to imitate these sounds, much to the crustaceans’ glee.
  • In this bizarre conversation, the party manages to ask the crustaceans to help them return to the surface. They are led through a series of tunnels.
  • As they spelunk through the tunnels, the party notices a strange device, square and flat, set into a wall. Scraeeaczck recognizes just enough of the markings on it to activate it.
  • What they behold next amazes them: a series of silent moving images. It looks to them as though they could crawl through the device and enter into another world. The scenes depict a thriving Saurian society with great, gleaming towers. Saurians in strange clothing bustle about. Then it shows what looks like some kind of gathering of important people, all seated in a circle in dialogue. To the shock of the party, the circle includes both Saurian and Hominid. They were apparently living together in peace and cooperation.
  • This strange scene is interrupted, however, by scraping noises deeper down the tunnel. Amblys also detected more scraping approaching from the other direction.
  • The crustaceans lock their legs together in formation as the party peers into the darkness.
  • Then the glint of a tooth appears out of the darkness, and a gaping maw strikes into their midst. Klag narrowly avoids getting gobbled up by it.
  • Feather activates the device in the wall again in order to cast light upon their foes. The creatures look like enormous earthworms with triple-rows of teeth.
  • Amblys uses her voice-amplifying conch in an attempt to frighten the creatures away. Scraeeaczck recognizes just enough of its alien anatomy to guess it has a sense of smell, and Gridcasts to misdirect its olfactory sensations. Klag attempts to summersault on top of one of them, but it is too quick. Feather fires arrows at one but also fails.
  • The party is saved when Amblys tries her conch again, but this time placing it against the wall so that the vibrations ripple through the earth. This seems to terrify the creatures, who retreat post haste.
  • At last, the crustaceans lead the party to the surface, then scuttle back into their subterranean home.
  • A short while later, the adventurers are spotted by a very unsteady pteranadon rider. It is one the Hominids left from the false Zin-Guna’s raiding party. He says the other former raiders are arguing about whether to try to find the adventurers, who saved them from their former master, or to flee.
  • The adventurers return to the raiding party camp and each give rousing speeches of brotherhood and sisterhood. They manage to win them over, especially with the story of the strange device that showed scenes of Saurians and Hominids working together.
  • They establish a new tribe of Saurians and Hominids united.



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