Viride: The Shifting Sands

The sands are fine and greyish in colour. Fine enough to seep between the fibres of all but the finest threats. A human who stands still enough will slowly begin to sink and almost anything laid on the surface of the sands will disappear within the hour. There are some of the other Desert Tribes who dive beneath the sands to retrieve lost treasures for trade. The Sand Diver has to navigate in the darkness, swim deep and hard, becomes prey to deep-sand predators.

The sands are not as empty and barren as you might think. Under the surface of the sand is an ecosystem that can support life. Dig down a few inches and you may find Sandvines. These creeper-like plants store water in a sweet syrup. Unless it is harvested properly, the unwary traveller can inadvertently kill off acres of sandvine by just taking a mouthful of syrup. With care, an acre of sandvine can keep a large group of humans alive indefinitely.

Enjoying a commensal relationship with sandvines are greyfish. These eel-like predators often hunt under sandvines. They are a shoaling species and often hollow out a large underground cavern of spit-hardened sand walls and wait til they hear prey. They are attracted to small vibrations, smaller than a full-grown human and often attack unfortunate travellers who have collapsed in the sand and deadly heat. Greyfish have rasping mouthparts and their saliva is caustic. Worse still for travellers who come across a greyfish cavern and their weight is too much for the spit-hardened ceiling. Greyfish are edible if cleaned correctly and often cooked in their own saliva.

The desert traveller can also find sustenance from rock lichens and if lucky, a basking bladeshell. Rock lichens are a crusty moss-like fungus that grows on the underside of small rocks. They don’t taste nice but they are edible. Bladeshells are huge mollusks that live under the sand and feed on rock lichen and sandvines. Their shell makes them almost impossible to kill but they can be lured from it and the wily hunter may find himself with perhaps a hundred pounds of pungent rubbery meat and tasty pre-digested lichen and sandvine. Quite a catch.

About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
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