Jewel of the North

Session 11

“Some people go in through the door, others come in through the window.”
*
*22 Mirtul, The Year of the Trusted Covenant (1479 DR)

Present
Bohdan
Danforth
Kierke
Malus
Mani
Paelias
Rok Alim
Talak

*
*Mushrooms

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room,

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door

Sylvia Plath

We rejoin the party in mid-battle, with Malus isolated and in trouble while the rest of the companions struggle through swampland to get to him. Their number now includes Bodahn, who chose the wrong time to pause for a few prayers to Bahamut and is now hot footing it to the sound of sword on plant as fast as heavy armour and sucking ground allows.

Things only get worse for Malus, as yet another myconid appears from the hut to support the two vicious guards just as they bring the warlock down in a rain of savage cuts from the crystalline spines that extrude from their spongy limbs and send him knocking on Kelemvor’s door, a passage likely to be quickened by the cloud of poisoned spores that infect his wounds.

Help soon arrives in the shape of healing words from Mani and inspiring strikes from the unusually accurate Talak, allowing Malus to stand, albeit as groggy as a githyanki on shore leave. Meanwhile little progress is made by the other warriors as damage to the mushroom men is shared with the purple-headed regenerating thing behind them through some form of silent fungal communication web spreading out beneath the thickly crusted floor. Even the usually lethal Kierke and Danforth have met their match as they both take heavy hits. And still the massive mother shroom at the back of the gang simply waits, occasionally bouncing away the forays of Mani’s bear companion.

Only Paelias sees the merit in avoiding the attrition of this frontal assault as he nips around the back of the building to gain access, only to fall flat on his face as he slips in the swamp.

Inspired by the idea, Rok Alim also attempts a different course, charging at the rickety walls of the hut in the hope of breaking through to a different angle onto the fight, only to come up against the one strong beam in the place as he bounces back and down onto the mud. Angered by such a humiliating bit of slapstick he stands and tries again, with a predictably similar result; exactly the sort of incident that might gain a character a nickname, or at least a mention in one of the comic songs so popular in the taverns of the North.

Paelias finally gets up the back passage where he advances on the fungal phalanx, taking a little time to stamp on the ranks of defenceless baby myconids that cover the floor. His arrival turns the tide as one by one the custodians of the colony fall, with Malus appropriately delivering the final fatal blow.

As the party join Paelias, the eladrin reveals a feeling of guilt at his infant-squishing activities, so, to make him feel better and to share the burden, the rest of the party finish the job off with a crushing jig among the tiny truffles – only Bodahn refusing to join in the massacre on religious grounds, although you could see he was sorely tempted.

A search of the place reveals more scarring from relatively recent assaults of arcane fire and also a cleared area centred upon a journal, which confirms the site as Karadhan’s house. Although written in Dethekian runes, which noone understands, the book is not without translatable material. A series of maps reveal the location of the nearby mines dug by Karadhan and his crew, along with lists of figures seeming to assay the returns of ore from the excavations. At the back of the journal, Malus finds details of an arcane ritual and a drawing of a crystal-topped staff, which matches the description of the divining instrument spoken of by Brother Vartan.

As they move outside to breathe in the spore-free air the party glimpse a wisp of smoke in the distance, drifting up from the roof of the only other building in the village still worthy of the name, while, beneath their feet, tiny ripples drift out from the house of the slaughtered mushrooms, out and out in widening circles carrying their silent and alien messages.

Comments

Talak’s just remembered he’s got something in his ritual book that could help decode the Dwarven in that journal…

Session 11
bille

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