Are there gods in Pangera? Scholarship in this area has been largely suppressed since the Church of the Path rose to predominance, their inquisitors have been most active in their pursuit of those willing to explore this scholastic line of inquiry. Despite their efforts though the centuries there has been a small but industrious cadre of truth-seekers who are keen to bring the light of wisdom to our own history.
Records do indeed suggest that there were numerous religions in the time before the Descent, when the system changed our very understanding of the world. In many lands and across many races there was a wide variety of ways in which people practiced faith based organisations. Whether those divinities were real or imagined is hard to determine now since only a smattering of writings from that time remain and no doubt these religious organisations where shattered during the Cataclysm and then purged by the surging Church of the Path.
There have been curious reports from those who have pressed deep into the World Below that they have at times felt the presence of an otherworldly spirit, a powerful feeling of reverence. Other writings which the church attempted to suppress have been unearthed detailing the experiences of those who claim to have actually met divine beings within the Dungeon, come face to face with them, even spoken to them.
Whether such tales can be taken seriously or not is difficult to say, at depths such as these where the mana saturation is at suffocating levels the mind has been known to play tricks. It can also be speculated that such creatures may well have been highly intelligent and powerful monsters. Though some would argue there is little difference between a supremely powerful monster and a god, that way lies the true heresy. Those mortals who fell into the worship of the beasts who ravaged this world during the Rending were exorcised from society at its conclusion and their monster worship most likely ended with them.
"The banned writings of Jivani the faithless" from the secret library of the Path
Throughout the marshes and on the humps of land that rise up out of the murky waters there are Croca-Beasts at various stages of evolution almost everywhere, including a number of varieties I haven't seen before. Some of them are freakin' massive, hulking brutes of creatures that look like they seriously mean business.
What really hits me, the most intimidating thing, is that the invisible pressure I've been feeling has sky rocketed the moment we laid eyes on this expanse. Holy moly! I feel like something has a knife at my neck, except that I don't have a neck! I can't see anything that might be the cause of this feeling, but I'm sure. Somewhere in this expanse there is a truly frightening monster.
I can see other tunnel entrances to this expanse nearby and periodically a monster will emerge and head immediately deeper into the expanse. The Crocs don't attack them, curiously the plants don't seem to either. It's as if this entire ecosystem of monsters is being suppressed by something, not obeying their own monstrous instincts to hunt and fight in the endless pursuit of prey. It can only be whatever is creating this oppressive aura. I personally don't feel any desire to rush into the expanse and high five the beast creating this pressure, quite the opposite, but clearly it's having some effect on the other monsters here.
Perhaps this is the source of the wave of monsters we battled in the tunnels? Are the monsters being gathered here and then sent out in huge packs to brutalise the surface and other creatures? For what purpose? For what design? Purely for destruction's sake or for something more?
I mean, if I were a giant Crocodile monster, centuries old and filled with an endless hunger to produce tiny crocs… what would I do?
I mean…. Eat?
Come on Anthony! You can do better than this! Think! Think like a Croc!
How am I supposed to know what a stupid Croc thinks like?! I never had pet reptiles dammit! Let's just go with the mindless massacre scenario, they are sending out waves of murderous monsters in order to kill stuff because Garralosh is mad at the world or something.
The real question is what are we going to do about it? We've found a huge, juicy expanse here, placed relatively nicely for the colony to exploit. If I can connect up the shortcut to this area then it'll be a relatively short trip for the workers to take advantage of the resources here. Only problem being that some huge murderous beast is sitting in there somewhere creating this aura of death. I really don't want to charge headlong into this place.
So we compromise! We still have a day before we are expected back on the surface, there is plenty that we can do in the meantime without rushing headlong to our deaths. If there is something that Tiny is reluctant to fight then I'm all about avoiding that thing.
I'd like to get a visual of it so that I know what I'm dealing with but I feel like getting that close is going to take some effort.
Let the work begin!
We happily back out of the expanse and busily get to work constructing a new shortcut that will connect to our already existing sneaky tunnel. What better way to relax the mind that has become tense under formless pressure than by indulging in the fantastic world of ant zen? Digging is truth! Truth is digging!
We make incredibly quick progress, even though we need to make the tunnel larger due to Tiny's massive size. The reason is all thanks to Crinis! Now that she's fully grown she's more than capable of helping. Where she excels isn't really in the digging of the dirt but in shoving the loose soil down the tunnel and out the entrance. By unleashing the power of her tentacles she can shift huge amounts of dirt at a time and since the tunnel is so easy to navigate she can't get lost moving back and forth. This allows me so much more time to get my face hands into the dirt that we are flying through it!
It's so nice when the team comes together!
Every now and again we take a break and try to lure creatures out of the expanse and into the tunnels to fight us. Every time a group of Crocs walk past I get Tiny to throw a rock at them. Trusty pebble! You worked hard for me in Yarnham, and you perform your function here as well!
When the Croca-beasts notice they are being pelted with stones from a tunnel they predictably get mad and charge into the tunnel angrily whereupon we descend on them with furious vengeance and snuff them out before engaging in vigorous snacking. It only takes a few times doing this before the wandering groups of Crocs aren't coming past our tunnel anymore and we have to start creeping a little further into the expanse to find monsters to lure.