The waters on the Darklake are nearly silent, only drips of condensation from the stalactites and sounds of Glugalugg, their Kuotoa guide, pushing the boat with his long pole interrupted the silent world. The refugees from Slubludopp were scattered around the boat, some huddled close together while others sought solace in empty corners of the boat. Despite the best efforts of the crew, the boat suffered damage while escaping the razing of Demogorgon. The boat began to take on water, but the party was able to conjure ice to plug the hole in the hull and offer a temporary patch. It was not long before Glugalugg found an island with the types of fungus needed to repair the boat.
A search party was formed to go ashore and after a short search the group stumbled upon an unexpected sight. Several large myconids were gathered around a small fire in the middle of a fungus grove, each one eccentrically dancing around the fire. Stool spoke to the group through the rapport spores, “These are my kin!” The adventurers cautiously approached the circle and were approached by a large myconid who quickly released his own rapport spores which everyone accepted.
“Welcome, welcome! I am Voosbur!” The Myconids thoughts rang like a song in each of their minds. “You have come in time! We are preparing for the celebration, a day of joy! Please, please, will you accept the Lady’s gift?” The party was divided as they learned that the lady’s gift would allow them to travel via teleportation from fungus to fungus, quickly getting them to Neverlight Grove. After a debate, Caitlyn followed by Al’Zane and Sarith accepted the gift and Voosbur released another set of spores, violet in color. Using their new ability, Al’Zane, Caitlyn, and Sarith traveled toward what they believed would be the Neverlight Grove. The rest of the party left the myconids, harvested materials to repair the boat, and returned to the Darklake.
Continuing their slow travel by boat, the remaining adventurers kept an anxious watch as they slipped across the Darklake. The group stopped infrequently and when they did they kept an avid watch. Eventually they worked through the winding tunnels and entered a larger cavern where the lake spread out. Mallor spotted the distant boat first, it’s lantern a small beacon of light in the darkness. Glugalugg quietly informed the group that the other boat was signaling that it would approach. Tensions ran high as the group decided it best to allow the foreign boat to approach. As it drew near they could see a lone, elder Duergar sitting on deck.
Calling out to the party, the old Duergar told them he was a merchant, fleeing from the madness of the “Deep King”, the ruler of Gracklestugh. He invited several of the party members to come aboard is boat to examine his wares, “The finest swords and armor in the Underdark,” he claimed. Wary of his invitation, the group hesitated and eventually told the Duergar to move on. It was then that crossbow bolts were fired from others hidden on the merchant ship with an invisibility spell. Glugalugg was hit, and collalpsed at the back of the boat, choking on the bolt that had pierced his throat. It was an ambush and throughout the fight it was clear the Duerger’s were slavers looking for their next victims.
Despite the violent fight, the adventurers overwhelmed the slavers and stayed their leader. The rest threw down their arms and surrendered. Demanding the weapons and armor they were carrying in exchange for their lives. Argan hastily channeled the power of his diety to heal Glugalug, without whom they would be lost in the winding passages of the Darklake. After carrying over the crates, the slavers piloted their boat away from the adventurers. Sorrow took possession of a enchanted short sword and a suit of full plate armor. Before any other discussion, Mallor dumped the remaining items into the Darklake and called down a column of radiant fire against the slavers, bursting their ship and causing them to dive into the Darklake and abandon their ship.
Argan and Sorrow called out to Mallor to stop his attack against the Duergar, each protesting his attack against the defeated foe. Mallor then slumped to the deck of the boat. He murmured that he couldn’t control it and that the slavers needed to be punished. Frustrated by his actions, Sorrow angrily withdrew from Mallor while Argan began consoling his closest companion. Mallor shared that he could not hold back his anger that evil slavers would be allowed to freely roam the Darklake to make others victim of their misdeeds. He asked forgiveness from the Silver Flame, who appeared in a burst of radiant light in the form a small girl. The figure rested its hand on Mallor and then disappeared in blinding light. Reassured that he was still in favor with his deity, but still troubled by his own actions, he withdrew to pray.
Al’Zane, Caitlyn, and Sarith arrived near Neverlight Grove quickly, just as Voosbur said they would. They soon met a myconid named Looblum, who said it was the leader of the “Circle of Hunters” and that the adventurers had arrived in the Fungal Wastes, a forest of large fungi that borders Neverlight Grove. Looblum was currently tracking some sort of large creature that had entered the Fungal Wastes. The myconid agreed to take them to his sovereigns if they would accompany him on his quest, though Looblum warned them that the myconid colony had experienced many changes over the last month. Phylo, and the circles that followed it, were acting strangely.
After following the trail of a very large Grick, Al’Zane discovered that the creature was old and ailing, and had probably entered the Fungal Wastes to die. Looblum seemed to understand, and patiently waited for the creature to die a natural death. After it finally died, Looblum introduced special spores into the dead creature that reanimated it, then lead the way for the party with the grick spore servant following silently behind.
Upon at the grove, they were taken to the sovereigns, Phylo and Basidia. As they approached the sovereigns, they could see a large gathering of myconids in the distance, each seeming to dance and share spores with each other. Though they were nearly silent, it seemed to be a joyous occasion. Sarith, seemed to be drawn to this group despite Al’Zane and Caitlyn calling him to join them.
When they reached the sovereigns they were offered rapport spores by Basidia, a large myconid who seemed to be sitting. Phylo, a tall and lean myconid, left the group and headed toward the dancing group. As they conversed with Basidia, they learned that many of the myconids were preparing for the wedding feast of “The Lady”, which was to be a day of joy. More and more of the myconids were giving themselves to the task of preparing the feast. Only a few circles of myconids were still loyal to Basidia, whom felt a great unease about the present of “The Lady”.
He offered to grant them a place to rest and to show them around the fungal wilds as they waited for the rest of their party to arrive. For several days they waited. Al’Zane woke each morning feeling as though he were fighting off a sickness, like the coughing fits a young dwarf might have to endure. Caitlyn seemed to be ill as well. She became slower and more withdrawn each morning. Sarith remained with the others, but regularly sat and watched the dancing myconids. Each day Basidia spoke to them of the Neverlight Grove, his kind, and relayed the arrival of “The Lady”. Basidia had never seen nor spoke to “The Lady”. All his knowledge came from communing with Phylo.
Every passing day caused Al’Zane to wonder when the other’s he had escaped with would arrive.
The journey on the Darklake was mostly quiet after the encounter with the Duergar slavers. As the group was preparing to stop for a meal, Thronduin heard the sounds of distant voices echoing across the Darklake. Glugalugg guided the boat behind a small outcropping and the group sat silent, waiting to see the source of the sound. After several excruciating minutes, a small boat appeared with several Drow aboard. They could clearly hear them discussing their escape. Their speech made it obvious they disliked the hunt, but feared Ilvara enough to continue. They passed the group without incident and, after a long wait, Glugalugg pushed the boat back onto the Darklake.
Shortly after they came to a lock and dam used to raise and lower boats over a change in height of the Dark lake. There was no sign of the Drow, so the group decided to operate the machinery to continue their journey. Buppido surprised the group by offering to go ashore and operate the gears. Thronduin offered to go along. Sorrow and Argan actively kept watch for an ambush from the Drow. Mallor cast an enchantment to allow them to walk on water as everyone took their place.
A cry of pain echoed from the shore shortly after Buppido and Thronduin turned the corner near the gear. Sorrow raced across the water followed by Argan and Mallor. As they turned the corner they saw Buppido standing alone, clutching a bloody dagger and chanting in abyssal. As Buppido saw them arrive he began cursing at the adventurers. “You’ve seen him!” Buppido shouted, “Our lord has arrived. Demegorgon is here and you will all die!”
Argan and Sorrow, both with their swords drawn, rebuked Buppido and cleared their minds to detect any demonic presence. Despite the rantings of the mad Buppido, they sensed no demonic presence. It was clear to the paladins that his madness was that of a demon worshiper and not because he was a demon himself. While Sorrow demanded that Buppido speak the truth about his involvement with Demegorgon, Thronduin pulled himself over the edge of the cliff that Buppido had shoved him over. Despite a gash to his midsection, Thronduin was relatively unharmed.
In response to Sorrow’s question and between shouts of the coming reign of Demogorgon, Buppido spoke of a cult worshiping the self-proclaimed prince of demons under the streets of Gracklestugh. As the ranting continued Argan could see the righteous anger rising in Sorrow. He demanded that Buppido be silent though his command was ignored. Having reached his limit of the mad ravings of Buppido, Sorrow stepped forward with his greatsword, Judgement, drawn. Buppido made no movement and continued to spit curses in abyssal at each of them. Moving quickly, Sorrow grabbed Buppido and kicked the back of his knees, dropping him to a kneeling position. Buppido made no attempts to escape, nor did the curses and spittle stop. Argan, watching silently placed Durendal’s blade down in front of him, holding the hilt and bowing his head.
“You will feel the vengeance of Helm burn against you, Demon worshiper,” Sorrow said as he swung the greatsword in a fluid arch, severing Buppido’s head in a single blow. The immediate silence was only broken by the flopping of the decapitated body bucking as the life force left. Sorrow used the body of Buppido to wipe the blood of Judgement before sheathing the Greatsword. He then grabbed the severed head by the hair and tossed it into the pooling blood next to the body. “Now is the time to call down your fire,” Sorrow said to Mallor. After quickly searching the body and finding nothing of value, Mallor lit the body of Buppido ablaze.
After healing Thronduin and learning that as soon as they’d rounded the corner Buppido had attacked, the group was once again in a somber and frustrated mood. Every corner brought more dangers and what were the implications of having traveled so long with the demon worshiper. They passed through the dam and after a short, quiet journey, they reached another large cavern. It was clear that this was a popular trade route as there were many different boats, each loaded with cargo, passengers, and crew.
Shortly after entering the traffic of the Darklake another boat seemed to set its course to rendezvous with the adventurers…