Lost Souls

A Fungal Descent

The group descends into a cave at the Maw's edge...

Treesday, 14th of Nerth, Year 3033

As the party stands near the edge of the Maw, Alonwyn leads the group in prayer, entreating Arctura for guiding light as they descend into the dangerous darkness below. Alistair, once again fed up with the hunt for the bleeding tooth, beseeches the rest of the party to give up on the quest and leave the Sporest once and for all. The party reaffirms their wish to retrieve the mushroom, as they are so near, to give up now would be ridiculous.

The party debates climbing down into the Maw, or jumping over its cliffs with a feather fall spell, or sending Lilith down alone to retrieve the mushroom, but are discouraged when they notice that the many birds and flying creatures of the forest seem to purposely avoid flying too near or directly above the gorge itself, giving them cause for concern.

Barkley alerts the party to the opening of a cave network nearby. A large, vaguely circular opening in the rock opens into a sheer drop into darkness, surrounded by many smaller, holes and openings, giving it the appearance of a large, fungal sponge. Streams and rivulets flow over the edges of the cave openings, creating trickling and pouring waterfalls which tumble into the depths below. The main opening’s walls, slick with moisture from the large waterfall that pours through it, seem to be covered with some kind of moldy mycelium or fungi that gives it a squishy texture. The hole seems to slope inward, like a very steep funnel.

Magnus lights a torch and drops it into the darkness. They watch as it plunges many feet down, lighting up the funnel shaped cavern and disappearing past another hole in below. Alistair once again tries to dissuade the party from entering, but they are too distracted by the newfound cavern for his persuasion to be effective.

With no one acting or formulating a plan of action, Korag-Gora grabs a rope and ties it to the stalk of a nearby giant toadstool, testing its sturdiness and finding it agreeable. Magnus climbs down the steep, sloping cavern walls to hammer pitons into the wall, attaching the rope as he climbs, making a safe route for the rest of the party to follow. After some time, Magnus reaches the bottom of the funnel, standing at the bottom of the first cavern opening where a smaller hole in the cavern floor empties water into another waterfall below. Lilith flies down to join him, but as she shouts back to the party above, a flock of fungal bats are disturbed which swarm around her as they fly upward, biting and scratching her.

Alonwyn climbs down the secured rope, joining Magnus and Lilith. Magnus continues to descend with another length of rope and pitons, crawling through the opening in the floor and finding that the cavern is a reverse slope of the above opening, creating a kind of hourglass shape together, and a much more difficult descent as he must hang while hammering pitons and climbing.

Lilith convinces Alistair to climb down. As each party member climbs, the pitons become loose within the moist, moldy rock, making it more and more dangerous to descend. Kvothe transforms into a giant spider, climbing down the hourglass cavern entrance and quickly passing Magnus as he slowly descends the cavern walls, giving him a fright as well. Magnus soon joins Kvothe at the foot of the cavern chamber.

Korag-Gora tosses his shield down into the cavern, which the others manage to dodge as it lands with a heavy thud over the opening in the middle of the hourglass. Korag-Gora uses the rope to quickly descend to Alistair and Alonwyn. Korag-Gora lifts his shield, allowing Alonwyn to descend through the hole.

Alistair begins to descend, but a piton rips from the cave wall, sending Alistair falling fifty feet to the waters below. Kvothe, still a giant spider, shoots a blast of web at Alistair, sticking him to the wall in a glob of sticky webbing. Korag-Gora jumps through the hole, but Lilith uses feather fall to keep him from injuring himself.

Looking around their new surroundings, they stand in a knee-deep pool, waterfalls emptying into it from above. Beneath the murky, green surface, pale, blind quippers drift lazily as translucent crayfish meander the spongy, algae-ridden floor. The air is filled with a thick haze of spores and the oppressive, fetid stench of mold and rot. The pool cascades over overhangs, which converge with smaller waterfalls, streams, and trickles into other pools below.

The walls of the cavern are covered with more spongy fungus, with shelves of strange, coral-like fungus and dense clusters of colorful, bioluminescent toadstools jutting from the moist, moldy walls. Hanging from the ceiling are sticky strings of glowing fungus gnat larva, glowworms which populate the cavern ceiling like thousands of tiny blue stars. They also notice swarms of gnats buzzing around the chamber.

Lilith slices Alistair out of his webby pod, sending him falling about twenty feet into the shallow pool. After collecting themselves, they traverse across the pool, jumping stone to stone and come to a waterfall flowing downwards into an adjacent cavern chamber. One by one, they attempt to climb down the rocky waterfall, but Lilith accidentally falls into the water and begins swimming. They notice that this chamber has a fouler stench, and the water is slimy and choked with what seems to be a mossy seaweed growing underneath and above it.

With everyone but Korag-Gora and Kvothe descended the waterfall, Lilith continues swimming across the pool to a rock island on the other side when she is suddenly pulled below the surface, feeling herself engulfed by some sort of creature. Alistair dives into the water after her, and sees a large bulbous thing moving deeper into the murky depths of the dirty pool. Korag-Gora dives into the pool from above after taking a drag on his giant growth potion. Shortly after jumping, his proportions begin to exaggerate and he begins to tower over the stagnant pool, being forced to bend over due to the small size of the cavern chamber.

Scooping his gargantuan hands through the pool, he manages to scoop up a pale, slimy toad, normal-sized in his giant palm, but quite overgrown to a normal-sized person. Squishing lightly down on its stomach, the toad is forced to regurgitate the not-yet-digested Lilith, sending her into the pool. The giant clenches his colossal fist around the giant toad, reducing it to a ruined jelly. After a short time, Korag-Gora begins to shrink once again.

The party travels down a water-logged tunnel which winds downward, coming to a smaller chamber with a waterfall flowing into its center. Across the room, a long-dead skeleton, overgrown with some sort of fungi, lies against the cavern wall. Korag-Gora quickly rushes to it, plunging his greatsword through its chest, but is shot by some kind of projectile spray from the fungal growths that cover it. Korag-Gora backs up, pulling out his shield to protect himself, and Alonwyn lobs a lit torch at the skeleton from behind the shield. The corpse and growth is too moistened by the environment for the torch to catch the fungus on fire, so Lilith sends a firebolt into it, torching it completely and blackening its bones.

They search the remains, finding a ruined and burnt satchel with some coin, an amulet bearing the sigil of Bahamut, and some pitons, as well as the ruined ashes of some other items. Lilith examines the amulet, finding that it contains a dull magical essence. The party descends further, Alonwyn leading the way with her glaive at hand.

Eventually, the tunnel drops away completely, the subterranean stream they were walking along falling away into a waterfall. Lilith picks up a nearby rock and uses her magic to light it, dropping it down into the waterfall. It quickly disappears into the misty, fungus-choked tunnel. Not wanting to have to climb directly down, they backtrack to look for a different path.

As they travel back, Lilith begins to act very strange, saying she is extremely hungry and feels like she needs to get somewhere safe. Kvothe uses his druidic magic to sense for plants, and locates a strange plant living on Lilith’s upper arm. Kvothe alerts the others, and Lilith tries to escape the party, but they restrain her. Korag-Gora holds her in place, and they lift her sleeve to find an olive-green fungus growing on her, replacing her skin. Magnus uses his dagger to cut the fungus away from her, and Alonwyn heals her. Kvothe identifies the fungus as olive slime, a dangerous, parasitic fungus that attaches itself to animals and controls its mind, eventually replacing all of its organic material and turning it into a zombie.

Soon after, they come to the toad’s pond and climb a nearby waterfall to a new room. The pond here is filled with pale fish which Alistair identifies as quippers, carnivorous fish that can be dangerous in large groups. Lilith uses her sorcery to freeze the surface of the water so that they can cross. She uses her shocking grasp to reach into the water, electrocuting all of the fish which rise to the surface, dead. Unsure what path to take, the party debates whether to explore beneath the pools for tunnels or new areas, but decide against it.

Taking a western path from the entrance chamber, they find a waterfall that flows from the surface after narrowly dodging a green slime clinging to the ceiling. Kvothe notices a tunnel behind the waterfall, finding it choked with thick, white, webbing. Before he can make a judgement on what it is, a filament of this webbing shoots out at him from deeper within, grabbing and reeling him in like a fish on a line, and he disappears into the darkness of the web-covered tunnel.

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