"How wonderful, how utterly wonderful," grinning broadly across his dimwitted, chubby face, the boy leapt around the peculiar metal vehicle. Given his hulking body, it was almost surprising that he didn't already break his undoubtedly fragile bones in the first few seconds of moving.
"I suppose we may tell your most saintly mother that you are pleased with the gift, your highness?" inquired one of the ambassadors who had arrived in the early hours of the morning. Fortunately for all the servants and inhabitants of Trinidaris, they had passed through the palace gates a few minutes before the Crown Prince awoke. Without a gift from his mother, the prince would probably have run amok, and in such fits of rage it weren't only the slaves in the mines under the city who were hit, but certainly half a dozen servants in the palace would have fallen victim to his wrath. Thus, however, it was only the shrill screech from his fatty throat that caused suffering to those present.
"But of course, it's quite wonderful." the prince replied, before ceasing his silly behavior and scratching his head thoughtfully instead, "But what exactly is it anyway?"
The ambassador pursed his lips, swallowed a biting comment, and instead began to strut once around the vehicle in an upright posture and various gestures, "A moledigger, your highness, an ancient vehicle created by the forefathers of the Raskshane. With it they used to move in safety under the earth and create their vast tunnel networks. Your mother hoped you could use it to see for yourselves from time to time, in safety, the situation in your mines." A barely audible, yet clear and understanding murmur went through the room. So that's where the wind was blowing with this gift. So it served not only as a happy birthday gift, but above all as a reminder of the boy's neglected duties.

Deep beneath the surface of Terria, among the relics of ended empires, lies the Hohlenreich, once home to a species that supposedly preceded both the gnomes and the Raskshans. This cavernous realm corresponds to a vast network of tunnels and chambers that supposedly spans the entire planet. In order to create a network of this size, in ancient times it required a tool for this purpose, the molediggers, mechanical constructions that resemble moles and can move effortlessly through the hardest rock, thanks to a combination of acid and drills.

1. Structure

In their basic structure, moledigger are reminiscent of oversized, metal moles lying on their bellies. Their belly corresponds to a hemisphere made entirely of metal, with an access hatch. Their back corresponds to a glass dome, inside of which there is room for two people. From this dome, the drivers can see the outside. Hanging sideways from the abdomen, on either side, are a kind of leg and an arm. With these limbs they push off inside cave systems, but they can also hold on perfectly thanks to elaborated hooks and strong fingers. This also allows them to hang perfectly vertically in tunnels without falling. The tip of the companion forms a kind of drill, reminiscent of an arrowhead, which has several grooves. These grooves connect to the inside of the glass dome and lead via a track to a tank that is filled with acid.

The inside of a maul, at least in the classical sense, is not at all meant for humans. The protorace of the Raskshane and the Gnomes probably rather took on the dimensions of the lizard-like. In contrast to the human adaptations, that protorace probably also lay within the moledigger and imitated its structure, using the energy of their own bodies to power the machine. By the probably conscious control of this energy they also directed the diverse functions of the mechanical body. Following the human adaptations, the interior of the glass dome was equipped with two seats. Cable extensions made of damarin allow the transfer of physical energy to the machine, but its individual functions are controlled by three dozen levers and regulators, which are equally distributed between both pilots. It is likely that human modifications of the apparatus can replicate only 10% of the power that the protorace was capable of producing.
— Professor Hash Er'marin

2. Ancient operation

When the protorace of the Raskshane and the Gnomes designed these oversized machines, they were probably based in large part on their own aspects of their bodies. Most records are unclear, but suggest that these entities used their knowledge of the world to physically modify themselves. These modifications allowed them to carry large amounts of energy in their bodies, which was used to power the machine. These same modifications also allowed the energetic vibrations to be transmitted directly to the surrounding metal, thus controlling it. Beyond this point, the protorace produced a strong acid both in its bodies and from the injected energy that filled the acid tank. From here, the acid ran over the forward drill body and served to soften soil and rocks before the drill breached them. The Protorace used the molediggers to create the entire cavernous realm, and to this day abandoned machinery is still found sporadically in the labyrinths of the Hohlenreich.

3. Modern operation

Nowadays, molediggers are still sometimes used in modified versions by the gnomes, or else found and restored by humans. In these cases, they are fitted with damarin cores or otherwise equipped with a power supply. However, due to the tremendous effort required to adapt the internal mechanics and interface them with switching instruments, moledigger are very rarely actually used actively these days. Tasmeran was the only nation truly successful in restoring molediggers and replicating an adequate amount of power. For quite some time between the years 870 nBnZ. and 873 nBnZ. they attempted to reach Chrono's Tomb underground by means of the molediggers to recover chrononite, but failed due to the disruptive magic of Mas'Orat.

4. Defensive

Molediggers possess excellent defensive capacities even nowadays. Their exteriors are almost completely resistant to temperatures, which is why they can sometimes even be found inside active volcanoes, though in such cases the occupants would burst into flames long before that. Furthermore, they can easily withstand external pressure, and even in water depths of more than 1000 meters, their shell remains undamaged. At the same time, their acidity serves as an excellent defense. By pointing the drill head upward and rotating it, a spray of acid can be released to disintegrate anything in the vicinity. Above this, the creature's arms and legs can be moved surprisingly quickly and can be used effortlessly to strike. However, their barbs and grappling capabilities can be used just as much to rip open enemies or crush their limbs.


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Jan 15, 2022 00:19

I like the level of detail and potential within the Molediggers. They lend themselves to a whole line of plots that could be explored. I only wish that with the nuggets of other related topics that you mention there were links to find out more about those topics. Then again maybe you haven't written about them yet. As far as ancient, half-understood, tech goes I would love to see one of these in person. The idea of the protorace using their acid and energy to power the machine seems quite mysterious and fantastic.

Jan 16, 2022 13:22

thank you very much, sadly english isn't my native tongue and this whole world is a translation of another world, which is why a lot of things have yet to be translated and linked. But maybe you will have another look once it's done. :)

Jan 17, 2022 01:18

I look forward to it and you are doing great!