Nightmares and other problems
The party returns to Heyward’s to rest up for the evening.
The first problem that evening was a nightmare. Wynn dreamt of everything around her being dead and in various stages of decomposition, and snapped out of it when she looked back at her own bedroll to see her own corpse, swarmed by maggots and worms.
Terrified, she woke much of the group. A discussion on the nature of the nightmares the group had been experiencing terrified Stool possibly even more than Wynn’s dream scared her: __________ put forth the idea that Stool’s rapport spores that allow him to communicate telepathically also might be causing the particularly vivid dreams…and that perhaps a mushroom would make an excellent midnight snack. No particular conclusions were reached, so Wynn prayed for guidance from The Healer before returning to sleep.
The Healer did bring some small insight that perhaps the problem was not someone within the party. Wynn’s vision was neblulous and shadowy, but she could make out something that looked like a two headed beast.
“You’re being followed. Meet me at the three standing stones northwest of the inn. Come alone, or you will not find me.” It was signed, “The enemy of your enemy.”
He woke Wynn as he dressed to leave, but got out a minute or two before the rest of the party followed, as it took them a while of passing around the note to find someone who actually could read Drow.
Rael saw the disfigured Jorlan Duskryn, alone in the clearing. Jorlan was, at first, disappointed to see Rael— he’d sent for the drow, not some miserable half-breed. Jorlan quickly decided one slave was as good as any other. Besides, he got a good chuckle over musing whether or not the Duergar guard couldn’t tell the difference between Rael and a full-blooded Drow, or if the guard was playing a joke on him.
The shattered Drow brought bad news: Ilvara Mizzrym was not as dead as the group thought they’d left her. Her junior priestess, Asha Vandree, called upon her power to heal Ilvara. Jorlan mused that it probably pained Asha greatly to do it, as under normal circumstances, would have loved the promotion to the commander of the slave pens, but she had no desire to lead the chaotic situation our heroes left her in Velkynvelve— perhaps in part because they also left her with no slaves. Jorlan noted that the drow force was no more than a day out.
As Jorlan left, the rest of the party arrived. The unnamed dragonborn, who already didn’t trust Rael much to begin with, accused Rael of conspiring with their captors. Rael quickly talked his way out of that by describing the exchange. He and Alphys returned to the inn to pick up the rest of their gear, and as they left the inn, Rael said, loud enough to overhear, “Off to Neverlight Grove!”
The group waited at the standing stones to see what would happen. The plan was simple: If Ilvara showed up with just her elites, the party figured they could take her. If she brought a full raiding party, they continued to hide at the stones. It was a good vantage point— Heyward’s is well-lit with torchstalks, so it’s easy to see what happens there from the darkness a few hundred yards distant.
A single drow scout entered. As he left, Rael and Rollin moved to ambush the scout, but before the struck, Rollin had an insight: If the scout doesn’t return, the raiding party would know something happened to him and would move in force. They returned to the party, where they were surprised by the Duergar guard, who explained that he was pretty sure Rael was trying to redirect pursuit when he spoke of Neverlight Grove— so he told the Drow scout exactly what he’d heard. He told the group he did this for two reasons— one, it’s not often he gets to tweak the Drow twice in one day. Secondly, he gets paid very well to guard Heyward’s, and he very much didn’t want a Drow raiding party moving in and a fight breaking out.
The party decided to move out to Sloobludop to try to arrange for a boat to Gracklstugh, the duergar city that they know trades with the world above.
The Day’s Catch
On the way to Sloobludop. another earthquake shook the region.
Not far from the Kuo-toa city of Sloobludop, the party was ambushed by a group of Kuo-toa who were doing their best to capture the party. At various times, many members of the party had been grabbed (and in Rael’s case, even knocked unconscious) with attempts made to haul them away, but only one got far: a Kuo-toa footman (finman?) grabbed Shuushar the Awakened and bolted away with him. Shuushar, ever the pacifist, made no move to resist.
After the party dispatched the rest of the Kuo-toa, they rounded the corner to try to catch the one who carried off Shuushar to find a Kuo-toa archpriest has dispatched the kidnapper and saved the addled Kuo-toa.
The archpriest asked the party to help with a problem: His daughter, Bloppblippodd, is having a bit of teenage rebellion. Unfortunately, that rebellion involves swaying half the city over to a new religion, following Leemooggoogoon, the Deep Father. This has caused a considerable increase in her power.
Ploop offered to help the party— which was convenient, because the party needed a boat. A deal was made— eventually making a deal for two boats, though only one was available right now, because the party wished to go to Gracklstugh where Sarith Kzekarit and Stool want to go to Neverlight Grove— even knowing that’s where Mistress Ilvara was looking for them.
Ploopploopeen explained her plan. The party was to be used as bait. He would bring the party, loosely bound, to the temple, and offer them as sacrifices to the Deep Father by way of reconciliation. The party was then to break free and help subdue his daughter.
The Temple of the Deep Father
Ploop brought the group to the city of Sloobludop, a town of huts and hovels bordering the Darklake. From their vantage point, they could see a large, hastily cleared area with a large wooden building, built extremely stout to handle the decoration placed atop the building: Two extremely large dead octopi, one painted blue, the other painted red, shorn of most of their tentacles, strapped together. This rotting tribute stood at least another forty feet tall over the stout structure. Wynn saw the effigy and immediately was taken back to the vision that The Healer had brought to her.
In a hut near the temple was the ‘zoo’ the Kuo-toa had created. The one animal in the cages was a black panther. Rollin attempted to amend the deal with the Archpriest— he wished to save the panther, as well. Ploopploopeen was non-committal. He explained that the panther was to be a sacrifice to the Deep Father. Should the plan go well, there would no longer be a need for sacrifices to the Deep Father, and they would have no need for the panther.
The party suggested confronting Blopp the following day after some resting and recovery. Ploop agreed, and met them the next morning. After a disgusting offering to the Sea Mother, she loosely bound them together and led them to the temple of the Deep Father.
The temple’s back wall was open, overlooking the Darklake. The taller members of the group could see up on the dais and noticed a halfling sacrifice bound on the altar.
“The time has come,” he stated, “for us to acknowledge your divine vision and welcome it. I have brought these as offerings,” the Archpriest said to his daughter.
“You are wise, father,” the new Archpriestess replied. “I accept… OW!”
The nameless draconian sorcerer tired of the chatter, and silently cast a Shatter spell on the archpriestess as he leaned against the door of the temple. A chaotic melee ensued, during which somebody noticed that the halfling on the altar was Alton. “Did you guys find Gar? I lost him”, he asked as the battle waged around him.
As the battle raged, the waters of the Darklake began to bubble and boil over a hundred yards offshore.
Alphys’s usual predilection is to charge the alpha, and was true to form here, as well. A smite placed a holy fear in the archpriestess, who bolted away from the battle, blasted off the back wall of the temple by a searing bolt from Wynn.
Bloppblippodd had fallen, but the terrible happenings offshore did not stop.
The foamy surface of the water offshore split as an oily tentacle burst forth, followed by another. Two monstrous heads broke the surface, both resembling hideous, angry baboons. The monster’s red eyes burned with anger and madness. Demogorgon rose from the Darklake, standing thirty feet or so over the petty creatures around. He threw back both his heads and roared, shaking the cavern.
The roar caused everyone who heard it to descend a bit into madness. Some of the party shook it off with no ill effect, including the two Dragonborn. Many did not, and fell to their knees, gibbering and chanting, “Leemooggoogoon! Leemooggoogoon!”
Alphys and Goldie scooped up helpless party members, and the panther dragged Rollin behind them. There was one boat at the docks large enough for the group, and it was directly between Demogorgon and the temple to the Deep Father that he strode toward.
Demogorgon swatted aside jumping Ixitxachitl, small boats, and swimming Kuo-toa as if they were nothing, bodies and debris sailed through the air and bounced off or crashed through the kuo-toa hovels. Our heroes scampered aboard the boat. Sarith took the helm and pointed the two strong dragonkin to the oars. Alphys got the boat moving slowly, but the nameless one had never seen an oar before and was merely slapping the water. After extremely brief instruction on how to make an oar work, the boat began to move away from the docks. Demogorgon’s temple lashed out and smashed a good half of the quarterdeck, but the boat survived and the party escaped as the demon lord strode ashore, laying waste to the temple and the town around it.
As the boat scoots away, one by one the babbling members of the group snap out of it. They’ve survived their brush with the Prince of Demons. They also come to the realization that Demogorgon is now loose in the Underdark.