Chapter 11. The Portal


Last time, the adventurers ventured beneath the geyser of the sea-scorpions lair and found their way into an underground chamber full of refuse, girders, and junk. There they met an old Saurian, who turned out to be none other than Scraeeaczck’s old heresiarch mentor, confusingly also named Scraeeeaczck.

Talking to him, they discovered he’d been wandering in The Zone and arrived there through some kind of portal that opened periodically into the underground chamber in which they currently found themselves.

That portal kept opening and closing as well, apparently. Sometimes mutated rats from The Zone would fall through it. Apparently the sea-scorpion lord, !Gal, had been able to control the portal to some extent, because he occasionally came down there to use the portal.

Then, as they were talking, the portal opened – a staticky bluish-light rectangle overhead – and through it suddenly fell a nine-foot hominid with a mud-painted body and the head of a triceratops.

The triceratops man stood up bewildered, asking “Where am I?” He was in such shock that he didn’t even realize that he had fallen onto a girder, which now impaled in his torso. When he finally realized, he passed with fright. Scraeeeackz managed to heal him with a Gridcast, though, and he soon came to. He explained his name was Rodillar, and he was a Mud Person who had ventured into the Zone to make a name for himself (among his people, only the very brave and the very foolish dare enter the Zone – if you survive it, you are hailed as a hero). The longer he was in the Zone, the more he mutated, till he found himself nine feet tall with a triceratops head. After this strange transformation, he eventually came upon a strange rectangular gate (apparently the same portal that Scraeeackz did), and venturing through the gate, he ended up here.

After much discussion, the adventurers eventually escaped the chamber by tunneling out (thanks in no small part to Amblys’s digging expertise), and returned to the surface level of the sea-scorpion lair.

There, they met up again with Gritsle and Feather. Finally, they all resolved to try to journey through the portal and into the Zone. They got the impression !Buddy knew where !Gal had hidden the device that allowed him to manipulate the portal, and got him to retrieve it. Then they all ventured bravely through the portal.

They found themselves in a craggy, blasted land of rock and very little vegetation. Near them was a cave, which they decided to explore. No sooner had they entered than the ground began to shake, and the eye of an enormous megafauna peered into the cave. Its roar shook their chests, and they ran deeper into the cave, only to be obstructed by a strange plant with hanging vines terminated in what looked like spider legs.

Amblys, an herbivore Saurian and feeling peckish, impulsively devoured one of the vine ends. Suddenly she felt a burning feeling rush through her veins and she grew lightheaded. She seemed to have been bit the vines and injected with venom. Scraeeeaczck used a gridcast to counteract the poison, while the others slashed at the vine creature. Its spidery legs crawled all over them like a dozen tarantulas. Finally, Scraeeeaczck gridcast upon it to make it find their scent repulsive, and it released them.

So that is where the adventurers now find themselves: in a dark cave inside the Zone, stuck between a rock and a hard place (or rather, between a spidery vine plant and an enormous, hungry megafauna).



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