Group Six and the Crater

One little mistake in Tresado’s magical formula lands Group Six in a wasteland crawling with mutant monsters, a deadly disease, and creeping insanity that soon has them at each other’s throats.  Their rescue by the militia from Abakaar seems providential. Hidden away in an oasis valley, Abakaar’s people are happy, prosperous, and peaceful.  But Foxx’s Knowing Spell, which has always served him well at the gambling table, tells him that all is not as it seems. Has there ever been a group of Macai so placid and content? Where are the Eryndi citizens … including their friend Tresado? And why does no one ever leave Abakaar?

When an act of bravery catapults Foxx, Orchid, and Serena to the status of honored guests at the court of the Warrior Queen Minore, they must choose whether to accept the luxuries of Abakaar or risk their lives to expose a conspiracy which reaches across the planet.

Meanwhile, a parallel story 50,000 years in the past reveals the beginnings of both Abakaar and the magic widely practiced on the planet Lurra.

Join Group Six as their quest for treasure, magic, and fun takes them from a hellish desert to the paradise of Abakaar, and pits them against their most dangerous adversary yet. 


Group Six huddled in their makeshift rock shelter, listening to each other’s stomachs growl. The eerie silence surrounding them was unnerving. There were no sounds of beasts or insects coming from the dark night. Suddenly the campfire popped loudly, startling them all.

“I wonder what made the life disappear,” mused Foxx. “As soon as it got fully dark, it all went away.”

Orchid trembled slightly. “Not all of it. Listen.” Serena’s hand edged toward her sword hilt. “Is there something alive out there?”

“It must be,” answered Orchid in a strange, creepy tone. “But . . .” She shrugged as her voice trailed off.

Whoosh, snap. Whoosh, snap . . .

No one bothered to ask the obvious what the hell was that? question. The four froze as the strange sounds came out of the desert darkness.

“It’s getting closer,” whispered Tresado. “Put the fire out, quick!”

Orchid immediately focused on the elements and, with her Worldly Magic, reduced the heat and called in moisture to the air surrounding the fire pit. The flames quickly died with little smoke, plunging them into darkness. There was just barely enough moonlight filtering through the clouds to see
each other, but that was about it.

Whatever produced the strange sounds was getting louder and heading toward them. There was nowhere to hide. The small rock fortress Tresado had constructed was as defensible a position as anywhere around this place.

Whoosh, snap. Whoosh, snap . . .

They now felt vibrations in the ground beneath them. Whatever was coming was big.

“I’m going to have a look,” declared Tresado. There was a strange steeliness in his tone. He cast his levitation spell and noiselessly rose into the air, disappearing into the darkness.

Serena’s brow furrowed. Something about Tresado’s demeanor bothered her. While he was certainly not a coward, he wasn’t usually quite so eager to volunteer. It was more of a laziness thing.

The noises and vibrations were getting closer. Orchid squinted out into the darkness.

“Look. What’s that?”

Something loomed above them. Were it not for the fact that it was moving, it could have been taken for a giant colossus tree. A strange shuffling could now be heard. It sounded like a plow being pulled through the soil.

Whoosh, snap . . .

Tresado suddenly appeared from out of the air.

“We need to get off the ground, fast!”

Tresado quickly expanded his levitation spell to include the others. Before they could even comment, Group Six found itself lifted high into the air. As they ascended, a towering form loomed in the darkness next to them. A deafening wind arose from an ominous shape that lunged at the airborne Group Six quicker than Tresado could accelerate them away. The pale,
cloud-covered moonlight revealed an enormous mouth lined with rows of smooth plates. The wind was being caused by a powerful vacuum effect. The thing was trying to literally suck its victims into the gaping maw and grind them into bergalo burger with those teeth-plates.

Tresado poured on the Magic and tried to steer them away from the giant mouth, which was waving through the air on the end of a long, sinuous neck. When it realized its flying prey was escaping, the thing launched a snaking tentacle out of its maw, aimed at Serena’s dangling ankles. But before it could grab hold, the tongue found itself severed by a half-reach of
razor-sharp Northlands steel.

That slight distraction gave them the time they needed. The head drew back just long enough for Tresado to increase altitude to get beyond its reach. And that was no small distance. The behemoth below them was as large as the Imperial Palace of Tresk.

Whoosh, snap . . .

There was that noise again. Once he was sure they were at a safe enough distance, Tresado focused and created a luminous sphere that floated down below them and lit up the surrounding area. The thing could only be described as an incredibly huge walking starfish. It seemed to have no main body at all. It was nothing but nine serpentine necks connected to a central point. Each enormous neck terminated in a great mouth like the one
that had tried to pluck Group Six out of the air. It plodded along the desert floor, stomping those mouths into the ground. Every couple of minutes, one of them would create a vacuum and suck something out of the sand.

Whoosh, snap . . .

The crawlers! The gigantic horror was sucking the rock crawlers out of the sand they had burrowed themselves into. Once it had captured one, those grinding plates clamped down upon it and cracked it open like a koofa nut. The shell and rich, chewy center were then swallowed to begin the lengthy trip down the gullet.

As soon as Tresado’s Magical flare floated closer to the creature, it immediately turned and scurried away into the darkness. It seemed odd to apply the word scurry to something the size of a small village, but that’s exactly what the behemoth did. Apparently, it didn’t like the light at all. As a parting gift, the creature opened an orifice on its central hub and squirted a
large, horrid blob of black, tarry liquid onto the desert floor. It then vanished into the dark night.

“I don’t like this place,” offered Foxx.