“We are close now, we should reach my home by the end of this day’s march!” Shushar told the group, urging everyone to hurry. The long march had taken its toll on all. Limited food and exhaustive marching had resulted in each adventurer appearing gaunt, their eyes sunken and dark. The thought of reaching the safety of Shushar’s people, despite the rumors of unrest, provided the group with a renewed sense of optimism.
As the adventurers exited a tunnel into a larger cavern they found themselves facing what seemed to be a Kua-Toa scouting party. There were several Kua-Toa of a similar size as Shushar, but others were substantially larger. A few were riding large crustaceans.
Shushar called out to his kin and approached. The conversation quickly turned tense, though none of the adventurers spoke the bubbling native Kua-Toa tongue to understand the source of the conflict. After several heated moments, the largest Kua-Toa struck out at Shushar, knocking the guide unconscious. A warcry rose from the rest of the scouting party and they attacked the group.
The adventurers were stunned to see such an act of violence, their only interaction with the Kua-Toa had been with Shushar, the self-proclaimed enlightened pacifist. Seeing this aggression the party readied themselves for this unexpected combat. Thronduin leveraged the mighty arcane knowledge and cast a spell of enthrallment over the Kua-Toa which rendered the vast majority of the scouting party charmed and stopped their attack. Al’Zane, Sorrow, and Argan did not hesitate in slaying those which resisted Thronduin’s spell.
Mallor called out to the fighters to stay their killing blows as he believed these Kua-Toa were under the influence of some kind of madness and needed rescuing. Sorrow, having just taken an oath of vengeance against the wickedness that seemed present in the Underdark, was reluctant. Despite Mallor’s objections, Sorrow slew the last Kua-Toa warrior left unaffected by Thronduin’s spell.
The fight was over nearly as quickly as it had begun. Those that had been charmed were tied up and left in the tunnel. Al’Zane tamed one of the large crustaceans and rode the beast along side the party. Shushar was healed and could not explain the irrational actions of his kin. He was certain that their actions were due to the influence of the “deep father”, what he considered to be the source of conflict in his people.
With a heightened sense of concern, the party continued their march toward Slubludopp. After a few hours the group heard voices speaking the Kua-Toa language echoing down a nearby tunnel. Not wishing to run into another scouting party the group found hiding spots among the rocks. As the voices grew louder, Shushar made a startling noise and emerged from his hiding spot. Unsure what was happening, the rest of the group stepped out, ready to attack.
“High priestess Plooploopleen!” Shushar called, “It is I, Shushar. I have returned!”
The group of Kua-Toa came to a sudden stop and then a slender and wrinkled Kua-toa stepped forward. The figure wore more ornate robes then any of the other Kua-Toa the group had encountered and both her native tongue and the common speech were eloquent.
After their greeting and Shushar introducing the group he had been traveling with, Plooploopleen, the high priestess of the Great Sea Mother, told the group of the great troubles taking place in Slubludopp. She was visibly upset that she was not able to offer the group the rest that they sought, warning them that a great unrest had swept through the Kua-Toa as more and more turned away from the Great Sea Mother toward the teachings and sacrifices demanded by the Deep Father.
She continued in shame, telling them that her own daughter, Bliplopodd, was the one speaking on behalf of the Deep Father. As both her mother and high priestess, she was distraught over the actions of Bliplopodd. Her efforts to bring peace back to her people had been without success and she had come to the decisions that the only hope for peace was to end Bliplopodd’s influence. All attempts to reason with her were fruitless and Plooploopleen believed the only choice was to end Bliplopodd’s life.
Plooploopleen told the adventurer’s her plan to offer a fake sacrifice to the Deep Father so that she could get close to her daughter, whom had at this point surrounded herself with large Kua-Toa guards. The Deep Father required sacrifices, which Bliplopodd had been performing at an increasing frequency. Unaware travelers in the underdark were being captured and offered as this sacrifice, which was to be the adventurer’s fate had they not defeated the Kua-Toa scouting party. Plooploopleen was hoping to find someone to act as a willing sacrifice on her behalf so that she could be present at the ritual. While the ritual was taking place, Plooploopleen would drive a dagger into Bliplopodd, killing her daughter and restoring peace, so she hoped.
Hearing the plan, Mallor offered to assist, being the willing sacrifice. Caitlyn quickly volunteered as well. The rest of the group would accompany Plooploopleen and attend the ritual. Argan was not happy with the decision of the cleric to offer up his life in this plan and swore that he would be there to prevent anything ill happening to him.
The party followed Plooploopleen to Slubludopp, entering through one of the gates that surrounded the settlement. Despite all they had heard, the Kua-Toa who walked the alleys did not seem to be dangerous or otherwise mad. However, as Plooploopleen gave them a tour, they noticed several recent additions, including a large, cruel alter which was stained red with the blood of all the previous sacrifices.
Once they reached Plooploopleen’s hut, the group finalized the plan. Those acting as sacrifices would assist Plooploopleen in slaying Bliplopodd while the rest dealt with the Kua-Toa loyal to the Deep Father. Plooploopleen’s hope was that once Bliplopodd was slain the ones loyal to her would no longer fight.
As the final preparations were being made a loud cry was heard from elsewhere in the village. “I have learned his name!” A shrill voice called out in gurgling common, surrounded by the bubbling Kua-Toa language. “The Deep Father has revealed himself to me. His Name is Leemoogoogon!”
A cacophony of Kua-Toa voices then echoed in the huge chamber. “Leemoogoogon! Leemoogoogon!” A panicked look crossed Plooploopleen’s face as she heard the cry of her kin.
“We must act now, we cannot have more of my people give themselves to this cult,” she pleaded. The group rose and agreed that now was the time to act. Plooploopleen sent one of her servants to inform Bliplopodd that her mother had a sacrifice for the Deep Father and to meet them at the alter.
The party gathered their items and followed the Kua-Toa to the sacrificial alter on the shore of the dark lake. As they approached they saw that under the surface of the water there were many creatures that seemed to be anticipating the aftermath of the sacrifice. The group assumed that the remains of the victims were thrown into the dark lake and these creatures would feast on the corpse.
Shortly after they arrived a procession of Kua-Toa, lead by Bliplopodd arrived. Bliplopodd’s appearance was the opposite of the elegance of her mother. She wore tattered robes which were stained with blood and unknown stains. Her skin was dirty and many of the scales that covered her were ashen in color and flaking off. Her arms were a lattice work of scars, seemingly self-inflected wounds. What the adventurer’s noticed the most was the wildness in her large eyes. Never seeming to focus on any one thing, they danced around as she spoke.
“Mother! You wish to offer a great gift to the Deep Father? Have you turned from the pathetic Sea Mother and come to know that all power comes from the Deep Father?” Bliplopodd called out for all to hear.
“These travelers were found outside our village and will serve as a sacrifice,” Plooploopleen replied, “Allow me to see what you have seen and I will know for sure who we are to worship.”
“Leemoogoogon! Leemoogoogon is the Deep Father and we shall worship him! Prepare the alter!” Bliplopodd shouted. Her servants immediately went to the alter and began affixing ropes.
“Allow me, daughter, to witness this sacrifice next to you. Surely the Deep Father would be pleased for a high priestess to see this ritual up close.” Plooploopleen asked her daughter as they waited for the altar to be prepared.
“Leemoogoogon does not care if you are a high priestess or if you are one who works in the waste chutes. You may watch the sacrifice and come to worship him!” Bliplopodd called out in reply.
Mallor and Caitlyn took their spots on the alter while the rest of the adventurers stood at the front of the crowd that had gathered. The Kua-Toa that surrounded them were already beginning to work themselves into a state of excitement as the ritual began. The sacrifices were instructed to lay down and their arms and legs were bound while the crowd began chanting, lead by Bliplopodd. The creatures in the waters under the altar seemed to react to the chants and the surface began to break with the frenzy of activity below.
Plooploopleen stood next to her daughter as she began reciting an incantation that was neither her native tongue nor common. Mallor recognized it as abyssal, but could not understand what was being said as the cries of the gathered Kua-Toa drowned out the shrill voice of Bliplopodd. As the incantation grew more excited, Bliplopodd drew out a long and twisted ceremonial dagger and drug the point down across her arm, drawing a thin line of blood and adding a new scar.
“All Hail Leemoogoogon!” She shouted as she grasped the dagger in both hands and raised it above her head, drops of her blood falling onto the ground and herself. As soon as she had done this, Plooploopleen pulled out a small dagger she had concealed in her robes and rushed at Bliplopood, driving it deep into her midsection. Her voice changed from the shrill chanting to an agonizing scream. The chants of the Kua-Toa crowd continued, most unaware of the attack on their cultist leader.
Bliplopodd’s guards, however, saw the attack and immediately rushed forward faster than the other adventurers could react. They knocked Plooploopleen away, sending the small dagger she carried skittering across the ground into the crowd. Sorrow and Al’Zane rushed forward to fend the attackers off of Plooploopleen while Argan went to free Mallor and Caitlyn from the alter. Al’Zane knocked many of the Kua-Toa guards away from Plooploopleen while Sorrow cut through those that had surrounded Bliplopodd.
As Sorrow drew close she saw the the Bliplopodd was injured, but was not dead. Anger burned in him as the chants of the Kua-Toa still rang in his ears. With the cries of “Leemoogoogon” echoing around him, he raised Judgement and drove it down through the chest of Bliplopodd, killing her instantly. Her blood ran down the slope into the water and the creatures that had gathered near the alter worked themselves into an even greater frenzy at the taste of it.
With Bliplopodd slain, the adventurers sought each other out and started making their way towards a dock where Plooploopleen had arranged for a boatsman to be waiting for them to make their escape. The chants of the crowd has slowly begun to transform into screams as those closest to the alter watched the slaying of Bliplopodd. Suddenly, drowning out the crowd, two chilling shrieks echoed across the Darklake. Looking out, the adventurers saw that a large area of the water was churning. Bursting out were two winged beasts which Argan and Mallor immediately recognized as vrock demons, the same type of creatures that had attacked them prior to their capture, and later had descended on Velkynvelve to allow their escape. In several ways they differed from the Vrock demons they had previously encountered - each of them had two hideous heads, and their plumage was brighter - purples and reds were among their deep black feathers.
The vrock flew around the cavern and then swooped down at the alter, grabbing several Kua-Toa in their talons before flying up and dropping them from a great height. All the chanting had now given way to screams of terror as the Kua-Toa began running away from the shore. The less fortunate were trampled under the mass of the frightening crowd. The vrock made several passes before seeing the adventurers rushing towards the dock, separating themselves from the crowd.
Cutting them off from the dock, one of the vrock dropped down in front of Sorrow while the other cut off the route of Argan, Mallor, and Al’Zane. Unrelenting, Argan and Al’Zane threw themselves at the vrock. Rolen teleported himself and Sarith to higher ground where they were able to attack the demons from a distance. Sorrow drew out Judgement and savagely attacked the winged fiend.
Distracted by the immediate demonic threat in front of them, only Thronduin, who’d already made his way to the boat, saw that rising from the churning water in the dark lake was a gigantic creature. The water was turning to steam as though an immense fire was raging nearby which obscured Thronduin’s vision. However, the creature continued to rise out of the water, eventually standing to nearly thirty feet above the surface. Thronduin did not need to struggle to recognize the creature…This was Demogorgon, the self proclaimed demon prince. A great terror gripped Thronduin as he realized this. This was not supposed to be able to happen, the demon lords were banished to the abyssal plane and were not able to enter the material plane. His mind raced and his great intellect could not reconcile what he was seeing. Gripping his head in his hands he forced his body to look away from the demon lord.
The others were busy fighting the vrock demons which threw themselves at the adventurers. Several well placed strikes by Sorrow as the vrock exposed its dual necks allowed Sorrow to sever the fiend’s heads. The shriek was deafening as it’s body seemed to collapse into itself before disappearing. Sorrow then turned his attention to the other vrock and aided Argan and Al’Zane in their fight. After slaying the second beast, the great cry of Demogorgon echoed across the surface of the water. Sorrow turned to face Demogorgon and, as with Thronduin, a great terror gripped him, causing him to stand paralyzed and facing the demon lord.
After a moment the terror the gripped Sorrow was broken. His resolve to fight what he believed to be demonic forces in the Underdark was shaken after seeing Demogorgon and he called to the others in his party to make their way to the boat. They ran to the dock while Demogorgon came closer to the shore. They boarded the boat and pushed off as Demogorgon reached Slubludopp and stepped onto shore. Each step saw him swing his tentacled arms, sweeping up whatever Kua-Toa had not managed to flee. Mallor looked back and saw Vargas, the halfling that had accompanied them, step out from the hut he had disappeared into to be scooped up by Demogorgon and thrown into the gaping maw of one of his ferocious heads.
The Kua-Toa guide whom Plooploopleen had tasked to ferry the party was distraught, but performed his final command from the high priestess admirably. He instructed the party to grab the oars and row in order to get away from Slubludopp and the destruction that was befalling the village. Sorrow, Mallor, Thronduin, and Sarith rushed to grab the oars, but they were not completely successful in navigating the dangerous route. Their longboat scraped across jagged rocks jutting up from the water and the group was then tasked to keep the boat from taking on water.
As they mended the boat, they all looked back towards the devastation happening in Slubludopp. Fires were breaking out as Demogorgon continued to walk through the village, destroying huts and killing any that were in his way. The screams of Kua-Toa mixed with the roars of Demogorgon. The sound could not easily be forgotten, even as it slowly faded away as they continued away on the dark lake.
After several hours they were finally far enough away from Slubludopp that they felt that they could stop. They tended to their wounds, took inventory of their provisions, and worked to patch the boat. It was then that the reality of what had just happened sunk in to each of them. A demon lord had broken into the Underdark. What did that mean and how could it be stopped?