The Hollow Sands

A Series of Underground Pits Hide a Den of Nightmares

 
In the Eastern Outskirts of Vinyata, there lies a series of sand pits that house nocturnal nightmares.


 

Overview

 

Remotely Remote

The Hollow Sands are a series of caves that run through the eastern part of the Outskirts. This makes it a fairly remote area in, what is otherwise, an uninhabitable region of The Republic of Vinyata . The area is desolate for another reason though, the horrifying creatures that call it home. The weather keeps most people and animals from settling in a good portion of it as well. The combination of remoteness and hostility make it a perfect nesting spot for creatures capable of adapting to it. Over time this has gathered and produced some truly frightening things. Researchers have found evidence that monsters and creatures will actually migrate out to the Outskirts of Vinyata, and presumably The Hollow Sands. Several types of monsters that were thought to be long exterminated have been spotted both in and around the subterranean cave system.

 

Sand Caves

The Hollow Pits themselves are unique even beyond its denizens. As far as recorded history shows, there are no other naturally occurring sand caves or pits. The giving nature of topical sand versus the density of the deep sedentary soil makes it improbable to happen naturally, let alone a vast cave network. One of the few successful expeditions to the Pits suggest that the caves were made by a creature. A researcher from the trip remarked that it was reminiscent of the paths that worms leave in the dirt. However, the size of the creature needed to make the cave system is a terrifying thought in itself. Given that some of the passages are over 12 feet in diameter, it puts the creature in more of the Wyrm category than Worm. Unfortunately, before they could study the caves further, the researchers were forced to flee. It was the last time an expedition to The Hollow Pits would result in zero fatalities.

 
 

Hammerhound Small
Hammerhound by Unknown

 

 

Hammerhounds

The Hammerhound is an aggressive predatorial canine that usually hunts in packs. The Hammerhound uses its wide and rock hard facial ridge to bash prey and rival predators to death. With its powerful neck, a direct blow from a single Hammerhound is capable of caving a man's skull in with one hit. These brutish dogs come slinking out of the caves just after dark, looking for a territorial fight or food. Any animal unlucky enough to run into a full pack of Hammerhounds is most assuredly dead. Human or otherwise.

 
   

Endless Options

There isn't just one entrance to The Hollow Sands, in essence really, the whole eastern region is the Sands. There are dozens of entryways and exit points to the underground network littered throughout the region. As to what section of the Sand Pits they lead to is another story, at least for humans that is. There have long been rumors that several species of horrors not only inhabit it but have mastered the intricate cave system. While a huge unknown entity may have made the cave system initially, other creatures and weather alike have created numerous breaches and collapses to the cave system. Each year forcing the few locals to redraw there "Do Not Go Here" maps. Though the connections are numerous, that doesn't mean they're easy to spot. Some entry points are as easily missed as the hollow insides of a dead tree, sandwiched in the rocky overhang of a small cliff and even behind waterfalls of sand. Not only has this made it hard to sometimes find a way into the cave system, but it also makes nigh impossible to make sure you're not near it either.

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night

The bulk of the creatures known to be living in The Hollow Sands are nocturnal, as most predators are in the desert. Adume's glaring eye makes it hard for just about any creature to fully operate during the daytime. This causes not only predators but prey as well to generally operate during the hours of dusk to dawn. Although there are often times of the year where the cold of the night can reach almost freezing, in which case they stay in their caves. Then when nighttime falls, the caves rumble with life as slumbering beasts and winged critters emerge from their holes to search of sustenance. Anyone or anything not ready to deal with the deadly creatures of the night should not be in the Eastern Outskirts after dark.


Eardriller Bug

These large parasitic bugs scutter from the underground caves late into the night searching for livestock or other large animals. An Eardriller Bug can feel the vibrations of creatures through the sand and smell them with their tongue like appendages. Upon finding its defenseless prey, the insect quickly attaches to the side of the victims head where its tongue starts to vibrate. It then uses the vibrating tongues like a drill. Earning its namesake as it burrows into the victims head via its ear canal. The bug then "slurps" up the now blended grey matter.

Eardriller Bug Small
Desert Critter by Jia Hao


Geography

The Hollow Sands themselves are beautiful tunnels and the cave system would most certainly be an attraction if not for the wildlife. The smoothness of the tunnels has been compared to that of unbroken granite. With the interior being smooth and subsequently cool to the touch, it lends another reason to why so many beasts have settled in the cave system. While a certain number of monsters and animals have adapted to the heat over the eons, almost just as many need to seek the cool or perish. In parts of the system, sand sprinkles down through tiny cracks in the cave ceiling, similar to how water leaks in more tropical climate caves.

Artist Rendition of the Worm that possibly created The Hollow Sands

Vinyata Flag
Republic of Vinyata Official Flag

# of Expeditions Attempted 6
# of Expeditions Accomplished 1
# of Expedition Fatalities 35
Alternative Name(s)
The Pits
Type
Cave System
Location under
Outskirts of Vinyata
Owning Organization
The Republic of Vinyata
# of Creature Species Within 100+
# of Creatures in the Sands Approx 15,000+
 

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Cover image: Desert Cave by Shahab Alizadeh

Comments

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23 Aug, 2018 11:00

The art in this is beautiful, it's a really good article.

23 Aug, 2018 15:02

Thanks!

23 Aug, 2018 11:09

You wrote "topical sands", did you mean topical? Also there were 6 failed expeditions and 1 successful. There was one last expedition with no fatalities. What exactly counts as a failed one? Isn't the point of a scientific expedition to gather as much information as possible?

23 Aug, 2018 15:05

Indeed, I meant topical.   Yes the goal of a scientific expedition is to gather as much information as possible, so would it not be a failure if they were unable to actually gather data? Due to say, half the time being attacked upon reaching the area? Or being unable to find an entrance into the cave system before nightfall?   Remember, its already in a remote area, so just getting there is rough. Then you add in monsters and you get a hard journey laced with death.

24 Aug, 2018 14:10

Gonna try this again :P   The Hollow Sands certainly sounds ominous. Is there evidence that the creature that created the cave system is still around, or is it believed to be long dead? Are there still expeditions to map the system or have the people stopped and just avoid it now? Can't wait to see more!

24 Aug, 2018 14:55

Well they don't even know for sure what creature made it, its just something they've gotten from evidence as they try to investigate. Officially Vinyata has stopped sending expeditions, however, there are some who still trek out there. All in the name of glory, science and maybe even treasure.

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