The Scent of Rot
The core crew: Rein, Siqy, Kito and Melfen stood with their jaws dropping eye to eye against the great Zuggtmoy, the Lady of Rot and Decay, Demon Queen of Fungi and one of the rulers of a layer in the Abyss only known as Shedaklah.
They stood almost paralyzed by the scent of rot and decay, aswell as the madness of the Demon Queen’s spores. Inside the Yggmorgus, the giant mushroom tower of Neverlight Grove, spiraling stairs and balconies are carved into its walls, with the interior lit by phosphorescent patches of mold growing in whorls.
In the center of the open space floats a humanoid figure, womanlike in form, but made entirely of fungi and mold. She is easily three times the height of the fungal bridesmaids that move up and down the spiraling stairs, tending to their giant mistress.
They croon a strange, soothing song as they weave the substance of Zuggtmoy herself into delicate lichen veils and a long, mycelium train like a bridal gown.
Not long thereafter, one of the bridesmaids of Zuggtmoy went down head on to the crew, meeting their gaze while puffing out its spores while conveying telepathically that they are not welcome here since it is rude to see the bride before she is ready…
And while she was in deep meditation, they could sense that she was very much awake and aware of their presence.
Siqy started pushing Rein out of their, turning back to exit the giant mushroom tower, as Kito noticed Melfen totally captivated by Her grace. The dragonborn was just about to call out to his “new mistress” until Kito managed to drag him out of there by force…
On their way out, for some unknown (mad) reason, the entrance appeared to be blocked by two Chuul Spore Servants that had otherwise welcomed them into Yggmorgus in the first place!
Rein, recalling his studies in Nature, know that he had heard of these abberations once before. A Chuul were not a natural creature to begin with – created to serve their previous ancient masters, they now roam the world as abberations ready to fight by grabbing and piercing their target with their enormous claws. After the unfortunate victim was trapped within the strong grip of a chuul’s pincer, it was either simply crushed or brought towards the creature’s mouth tentacles, which grasped and exuded a paralytic secretion…
Even though these were mindless spore servants, the crew surely felt the hurt as they battled the two monsters. Rein, paralyzed and almost lost to the eternal dark (yes, death almost incoming) was saved in his last breath as Kito and Siqy (almost dead as well) eventually won the battle.
In the meantime, Melfen went on rambling high and loud in fluent draconic in the back, acting not like himself (for who is he, really?) during the whole fight and almost managed to help the monsters instead of his friends… Melfen calmed down after the battle was done.
Outside the giant mushroom tower, the wedding rehearsal was in full effect, as more and more myconids and spore servants joined in on either madly dancing in ecstasy or rehearsing as bride and priests. The view was maddening itself.
Sarith Kzekarit, their old crew mate, winked to the crew to join in, but before even Melfen had a chance to consider joining them, they left as fast as ****** possible…
Crawling back to the “lighter” side of the grove (still dreamingly beautiful to behold) that wasn’t fully decayed, the crew met up with Sovereign Basidia and her circle leaders, as well as Eldeth, Stool and Rumpadump just as they were gathering for the day to start melding together with the rest of the myconid community.
After making their best effort of describing the madness they had seen at Yggmorgus, together with Basidia, they all decided it was best to flee for now and try to amass an army of sorts and come back later to overthrow and kill the Demon Queen of Fungi before she wed herself and merged with Araumycos, whenever or whereever that was to be.
With the help of eachother, the crew and the myconids, the crew finally left Neverlight Grove, to once again embrace the darkness as the bioluminescent fungi of the grove became less and less a natural sighting, and the chilling harsh nature of survival in the Underdark, on the run from drow pursuers, became their reality once more…
On the Dark Path… Again
A few days later, in the silent care of their myconid friends, even sleep was hard as the accumulated madness they had experienced was not easy to let go off. They all experienced wierd dreams of either past events, godlike figures or post-apocalyptic sceneries.
One of these times, Siqy remembered that she had looted a dark pyramid once, and as she brought it forth and noticed it was covered in glyphs and writings in the infernal language of devils.
Reciting the infernal code, she unknowingly called forth a pact devil that had been locked within the artifact.
Long story shorter, they didn’t accept its promise of unlimited power in exchange of their souls. So they killed it.
A day or so later, Sovereign Basidia announced that its remaining colony that was saved from the grove would now stay here and be ready to commune once the crew had got more help from others in order to have a chance to fight of the growing menace they had witnessed…
The Way to Blingdenstone
Lastly, Glabbagool, their ol’ ooze friend that wanted to become a great adventurer, had carried Melfen inside of himself from time to time (as the dragonborn was dimly awake or just hallucinating madly), and proposed to lead the crew to Blingdenstone! Apparently, the gelatinous cube knew the way there even though he’d never visited the deep gnomes himself.
The ooze also mentioned he had seen the ruins of a drow city, that should be on the way to Blingdenstone.
With that, they let the ooze (who was damn proud of itself) take the lead and lead the rest of the crew through the darkness with his 10 feet fast slimy path…