arrival of thresherarrival of thresher

 

I quickly (and quietly) moved back from the edge of the rocks. And then I heard the screeching. Burroughs had retrieved a large object, a cage of some kind, covered with a black tarp. This cage was the source of the hellish emanations. Thick ropes hung down from somewhere deep beneath its dark shroud. “That’s not far enough,” he said. As if to prove his point, he shook the cage he was holding. Ever viler screams shot forth, cutting through my head like cold, sharp blades. But they were nothing to the sound I heard next – the deathly churning of sand that heralded the arrival of the thresher.

Ever viler screams shot forth, cutting through my head like cold, sharp blades. But they were nothing to the sound I heard next – the deathly churning of sand that heralded the arrival of the thresher

“Their sound riles a thresher up something fierce. Better get them into the sand before we have company up here.” With that, he tore the cover off the cage. The shock of seeing what was contained within overwhelmed me immediately. Everything seemed to wash together in a kind of bland, sickening grayness, and my knees buckled 

the deathly churning of sand the deathly churning of sand

I met up with him at dusk upon the sandy rocks that ringed the Tardein wastes. As I approached, Burroughs was kneeling on the black rocks, inspecting something. I looked at the indistinguishable matter he’d been staring so intently at, but I could not identify it. He held up his hand, motioning for me to step lightly. When I asked him what the problem was, he pointed to the focus of his attention and asked if I wanted to end up like that poor fool. I laughed, thinking he was playing one of his jokes on me yet again. Everyone knew that the dune threshers attacked from under the sand, and that we were safe upon the rocks!

“Tell that to him,” he said.

I looked again, and what I saw turned my stomach. The rocks betrayed the desperation with which the victim had clung to them. Left upon their bloodstained surfaces were strips of skin that had been torn from his hands and fingers.

“They’ll jump right up onto these rocks and drag you down. An experienced hunter could survive an attack, but someone like you will be lunch if you keep stomping around here, making all that noise.” He chuckled to himself as he made his way up to his heavily loaded wagon. 

viler scream shot forthviler scream shot forth

 

as I was preparing to set pen to paper to begin recording my thoughts at the beginning of my epic undertaking to gather the world’s knowledge together in one tome, the hand of providence tapped me on the shoulder. The news that a rogue burrower had killed a citizen just outside the city gave me the wonderful opportunity to see firsthand one of the more disturbing creatures we share this world with – the savage dune thresher.

Long ago driven away from settled locales to the deep desert wastes of the Borderlands, the dune thresher is rarely seen by city dwellers. Every so often, however, whether due to injury or old age, one of these unholy beasts ventures to the edge of civilization to feast on the frail human animal. When this happens, a professional like Franklin Burroughs, the famed guide and hunter, is called in to put an end to the threat.

Fortunately, Burroughs and I, both being men of travel and adventure, have naturally crossed paths before (frequent readers of my works will no doubt remember this grizzled, rough-hewn boulder of a man from my classic, Xiansai Chronicles). Thus, I contacted him so that I was able to take part in his quest to rid us of the burrowing nightmare. He acted reluctant at first, but I could tell he was happy to have me along. 

dug itself halfway out of the thresholddug itself halfway out of the threshold

I was extremely tense by this point. I felt naked and exposed. What insanity had convinced me that coming out here was a good idea?

I looked out over the wastes in the fading light, trying to detect the telltale horned fins of the thresher cutting through the surface of the sand.

With absolutely no warning, the dune thresher violently broke the surface, all three scavengers caught in his horrifying maw. There was a massive explosion of sand as the thresher dove back into the ground with its prize. The ropes immediately snapped taut, and I thought Burroughs would be pulled to his death. I didn’t understand how he thought he could reel in a monster that huge, but he wasn’t even trying – just holding on.

After several tense seconds that stretched towards eternity, the rope began making weird jerking motions.

“Ah. The little buggers are doing their work.” He smiled a ghastly smile. “Shouldn’t be long now.”

“One scavenger still clung to life, but barely. It had actually dug itself halfway out of the thresher, clawing at the air as its skin was slowly eaten away. I vomited.” 

the scanvenger struggle to survival the scanvenger struggle to survival

 

With absolutely no warning, the dune thresher violently broke the surface, all three scavengers caught in his horrifying maw. There was a massive explosion of sand as the thresher dove back into the ground with its prize. The ropes immediately snapped taut, and I thought Burroughs would be pulled to his death. I didn’t understand how he thought he could reel in a monster that huge, but he wasn’t even trying – just holding on.

After several tense seconds that stretched towards eternity, the rope began making weird jerking motions.

“Ah. The little buggers are doing their work.” He smiled a ghastly smile. “Shouldn’t be long now.”

A few more moments of this strangeness passed, and the thrashing of the ropes became less and less. Finally, he began to haul his catch in. When it was partially on the rocks, I could see what had happened. The thresher had swallowed the scavengers whole, and they, in turn, had begun eating their way out of the thresher’s stomach before the beast’s digestive juices had killed them. One scavenger still clung to life, but barely. It had actually dug itself halfway out of the thresher, clawing at the air as its skin was slowly eaten away. I vomited.

Burroughs, laughing at me once again as he cut off the beast’s triangular head, began lecturing me on the amazing dune thresher: the dynamics of its jutting, angular lower jaw, which cuts a path through the soil; the way this jaw design enables the thresher to swim effortlessly beneath the sand with unimaginable swiftness; and much more that I didn’t care to hear just then. I nodded my head weakly and wondered how long it would be before I could politely get myself home and crawl into bed.

 

One scavenger still clung to life, but barely. It had actually dug itself halfway out of the thresher, clawing at the air as its skin was slowly eaten away. I vomited.” 

the psychopathology and demonlogist of burrowing deaththe psychopathology and demonlogist of burrowing death

 

as I began to fall, Burroughs grabbed me by the scruff of my collar and shook me violently. “You really want to feed some thresher, don’t you, al-Hazir?” he asked. “What, haven’t you seen scavengers before?”

I had indeed seen scavengers: small, burrowing creatures that feed upon carrion. Unlike most animals of this type, however, they are extremely aggressive and will not hesitate to attack those unfortunate enough to encounter them. Scavengers have powerful legs which they use for swift springing attacks, striking at vulnerable faces and throats. Their anatomy bears a striking resemblance to that of the leapers of the Aranoch desert, and thus, many researchers classify the two groups as part of the same family of creatures. An ensorcelled (some say demonic) variant is known to have plagued adventurers in the Tristram region twenty-odd years ago as well. Scavengers were also the cause of an extremely distressing episode during my youth, which I need not relate at this juncture.

“Yep. Burrowers to catch a burrower,” he said. He then took the lengths of rope hanging from the cage and impaled them on the ground using a heavy pike. He also attached what looked like long knives to the sides of his heavy, scarred boots, and drove the blades into the ground.

 

and i was fall into deeply contemplation:should i take some effectively countermeasure fo the striking of burrowing death neutralized?

the Festering Wood the Festering Wood

 My questions about this circumstance went unanswered. I likewise found it odd that there seemed to be only elderly people in the village, with the exception of one beautiful young woman whose father was quite insistent I keep my distance from her. Though he was rude on this point, I found him to be a rather sociable sort once convinced I was not interested in his daughter. He introduced himself as Pablo DeSoto, and as luck would have it, he was very knowledgeable about several topics in regards to magic and the object of my search.

According to Master DeSoto, the Festering Wood derives its name from the fact that everything in it seethes and roils with evil intent: even the ground itself has been known to rise up and devour a person. When pushed further in regards to the gnarled walkers specifically, he pontificated at length as to their true nature. He maintained they are vile mystical creatures from another realm who can only sustain their existence in our world by sapping life energy from men or animals.

 These heinous beings have shifted their appearance to that of trees, thereby luring their prey close so as to consume it whole and enrich their reserves of dark power. These beastly things move ponderously, and some are known to exude a foul stench that poisons their victims

 

 Master DeSoto is certain the origin of the walkers, and of the Festering Wood itself, can be traced to the foul doings of necromancers, who he claims are responsible for much of the evil that has befallen our world. He expounded in full to me his theory that the “whole Diablo incident”, as he called it, was tied up in their dark arts as well 

the disposition of gnarled walkerthe disposition of gnarled walker

 

s beautiful as a walk through the Tristram wilderness is, with its lush fields and picturesque rivers, the air seems to take on an otherworldly foreboding as one approaches the fishing village of Wortham. My search to catalog the weird, the fabulous, and the all-too-often-dangerous inhabitants of our world had led me there. I hoped to find a guide who could bring me safely into the Festering Wood and back, for I had come to see for myself the strange creatures that are the “gnarled walkers”.

What then, you may ask, is a gnarled walker? Is it simply an ensorcelled walking tree – a wood wraith – or is it something more? Does it truly live? These are the questions I sought to answer as I strode into the village of Wortham that bright day, which had somehow turned dark and dreary while my attention was elsewhere. But the few people I encountered in Wortham were a taciturn lot, unwilling to answer my inquiries.

As I inspected my way around the moribund town, it was impossible to ignore the fact that the bridge I hoped to take to the Festering Wood had been destroyed, burned beyond repair 

diablo3 Online Open Beta diablo3 Online Open Beta

diablo  Online’s open beta test will begin on Aug 12th, 2011, at 11 AM PDT (UTC -7) and last for seven days. This will be the last test before the game finally makes its commercial debut on August 19, 2011. ALT1 Games will be finalizing all systems within the Troy Online game as well as the website and the ALT1 Coin system. Using this key you will get a bonus 500 ALT1 coins ($5 value) when you join the closed beta!

Guilds and newcomers eager to seize the top qualifying spots can fight for an advantage during the upcoming Colosseum Challenge event. Rare and luxurious in-game goods, including Mystical Jewelry and Piercing Element Cards, will be up for grabs, along with extraordinary weapons capable of slaying whole armies of monsters. Guilds who get the top spots will also be handsomely rewarded with a real life Plush Tanuki! Get the best times now and put yourself in the running

 

Once that’s done, delve into the next evolution of City of Heroes starting from the new Character creator and its myriad of improvements and additions, straight into the brand new combined tutorial and the updated Atlas Park and Mercy Island!
Folks looking to get a head start look at the City of Heroes Freedom F2P edition of the game and at new features coming with Issue 21 will want to check out the VIP Beta that is scheduled to launch later today in North America and on August 10th in Europe. The team has posted detailed instructions about installing the beta client and much more.
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