Benodir's eyes followed the worker's extended arm and at that moment he became fully aware of the danger. "The ceiling is collapsing!!! The ceiling is collapsing!!!", he screamed at the top of his voice.

The group scattered. Everyone ran for their life and the brothers, who were joyfully climbing up the ropes just moments ago, descended as quickly as they could towards the ground to join the others in trying to avoid the pieces of wood falling from the ceiling.

The spores had affected the base of the root node that the workers were going to use, and now it was breaking from the ceiling with deafening noise. It rained branches and pieces of roots as the heavy base crashed to the ground, leaving a large hole. The ground was shaking as if hit by a giant's fist, dust, spores of fungi and moss were whirling around in the dim light and there was a huge crater in the ground, where the power of the impact had penetrated a relatively thin layer of the groundwork.

Within seconds it was all over and Benodir got up from where he had thrown himself down onto the ground, dusting off his clothes.

A remarkable chasm had appeared in the cavern's floor. The edges showed clearly that it could easily support the weight of a Homin, but had no chance of resisting the weight of the falling wood. He looked around and saw that none of his workers were injured and were already, like himself, carefully getting on their feet again. His workers gathered around him and they glanced curiously down into the lightly glowing darkness below them.

Just like everywhere else in the roots; there was not complete darkness down there. Glowing moss and fern had claimed the ground and were spreading greenish twilight. But there was something else shimmering down below.

Embedded deeply into the intertwined roots lay a huge shield. A polished plate, decorated with strange signs, such as none of the workers had ever seen before. Next to it, lay the wood node that had fallen through and left a small pit.

"What kind of thing is this?" Rabur asked finally.

"The shield of a giant. Anyone can see that." his brother replied. There were a few quiet giggles from the relieved workers. Relieved, that none of them were hurt. Benodir looked at each in turn, the hearts of his workers were clearly burning, like his own, with curiosity.

Quickly he decided to get to the root of this mystery.

"The two climbing artists of you. Get yourselves a rope and get down there first. I will follow later with anyone who also wants to join. Let's see what that is down there."

Rabur and Medrig looked at each other, grinning. "And no silly bets this time. You have caused enough trouble already." the overseer added quickly.

The cavern was not very big, maybe 20 meters in diameter, its ground covered with a thick layer of moss that silenced each step. The air was filled with a stench of damp and something else indefinable.

Mydix let go of the rope and caught his colleague Barnus, who had climbed down with him. Ahead of them, the overseer and the brothers were already circling the strange object. It really did look like the huge shield of a warrior. He advanced towards it and sat down. Its edge connected with the surrounding wood almost seamlessly, but as he touched it, he discovered that this was no wood. The material was cold and even. There was no moss on it and the roots were covering it, but didn't seem to be able to attach to its surface. Only in the engraved deepening of the strange symbols there was a little water, where a few delicate young shoots could be found. The dark surface was flawless, but its shimmer in the dim light told him that it would surely shine silvery in sunlight. Strange. What could this be? And what was it doing here? Who had left it here?

While Mydix was following these thoughts, Rabur had reached the fallen root base and was inspecting it. A disgusting stench awaited him. That must be the dratted spore, he thought. He walked around the big node of roots and almost fell into another hole when his foot slipped on the wet moss.

"Over here! There's another hole!"

The Fyros gathered around the opening, which was around three meters in diameter and had jagged edges, trying to look down. A shadowy movement made them jump briefly, but then only a small glowing bubble came up from the darkness and slowly made its way towards the ceiling. Soon after, there was another bubble and the Fyros looked at it curiously.

"There's got to be sap down there, judging from these bubbles." Benodir exclaimed and sunk onto his knees. "Hand me a torch." Barnus passed one over and Benodir lay on his stomach to shine it down the hole.

A movement so fast, that none of the men could really follow it with their eyes. Something greenish flashed briefly from the hole and the foreman was pulled down into the dark depth.

His cry stopped with a dreadful gurgle and the remaining Fyros stared in horror at the opening at their feet. Before anyone could move again, they could hear that something heavy was being dragged over the ground.

Rabur was the first to react.

"A young Vorax!!" he yelled. He held his torch in front of him and jumped into the hole with a wild scream on his lips. His brother and Mydix followed him closely. Meanwhile Barnus called for the others to bring weapons.


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