Chapter 10. The Geyser


Last time, the adventurers repelled the besieging sea-scorpions, captured one of them (who has since been named !Buddy), and chased them nearly back to their home base, where they saw off in the distance a disgusting brown geyser spewing above the treetops.

Investigating closer, they discovered the home of the sea-scorpions: a wooden-palisaded complex of huts with a large smooth dome in the center, out of which spewed a geyser of rusty-brown water at regular intervals. At appeared to be a fountain of raw sewage with bits of corn.

The adventurers needed to find out about this, and figured !Buddy would now, but they could not communicate with him. So, they tried putting the deep device into !Buddy’s throat and discovered it could function as an electrolarynx.

!Buddy then revealed that the late Lord !Gal of the sea-scorpions had been the keeper of this strange geyser phenomenon. It is the way the sea-scorpions reach their blessed afterlife. They want to get to the Undersea, and must enter through an underwater gate below the mound. Those who are rejected are spewed out the geyser and suffer eternal damnation in Heaven (the sky realm above), whereas those who are accepted enjoy eternal bliss below in the Undersea.

The adventurers figured this underwater area beneath the geyser mound must be where !Gal hid his horde of devices (assuming he had any that he had not yet destroyed by the time of his untimely demise). So, they devised a plan to worm their way into it.

First, they flew in on their pteranadons with !Buddy at the lead, as if he were returning some great victor, and then they dropped him into the middle of the complex, with the deep device still in his throat. When the other scorpions saw he had !Gal’s deep device, they were over-awed and considered him !Gal’s rightful successor. The adventurers were then able to land and explore the complex unimpeded by the remaining army of sea-scorpions.

They needed to get under the geyser mound, but the problem was that it was underwater. Gritsle scouted it out, with his ability to hold his breath extended by a gridcast from Scraeeeaczck, and he reported back a dark realm with a strange mechanical plant and shadowy figures swimming in the water.

Then the team devised a plan to use their kinetic wall device as a diving bell. Only three could fit within it, so Klag, Amblys, and Scraeeackz went down to explore further. They found something like a giant mechanical venus fly trap underwater. The opening and closing of its maw pumped the water to create a whirlpool-like current drawing anything and everything into its metallic mouth.

Amblys managed to dig her claws into the side of the underwater chamber enough to stop them getting sucked directly into the Venus fly trap, but then a trio of shadowy underwater panthers with teeth like deep sea carrion-feeders attacked. It was difficult to fend them off in the water, and the battle was starting to look grim.

Finally, the adventurers decided to intentionally let themselves get sucked into the venus fly trap’s opening and closing mouth, gambling that the kinetic wall/diving bell would stop it from closing on them.

Their gamble paid off. The venus fly trap ground against the force of the kinetic wall. Then there was an enormous fla-woosh! and the adventurers found themselves sucked down a gullet-like tube.

They washed up inside a new dark chamber full of refuse. It was crawling with rats of bizarre, mutated proportions: tiny legs and huge heads, hulking left legs and mini right legs, and so on. And among them was another figure: a Saurian who called out “Scraeeaczck? Is that you?”

Stepping into what little light entered from a crack the ceiling above, it turned out to be none other than Scraeeaczck’s old heresiarch mentor (whose name is also Scraeeeaczck – how confusing!).



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