Traveling at a fast pace with Mistress Ilvara’s drow party close on their heels, the party of prisoners head west towards the Kuo-Toa town of Sloobludop, where they expect to arrive after a week of travel, according to their navigators Shuushar the Awakened and Sarith Kzekarit. After Sloobludop, they will travel across the Darklake to perhaps Gracklstugh or Blingdenstone, eventually to an exit back to the world above. They make their way through a maze of passages and caverns, deeper into darkness. As prisoners of the drow, most of their time in the Underdark has been limited and sequestered. But this escape has now begun to expose the vast depths and expanse of the Underdark – winding subterranean rivers, yawning chasms, and glowing fungus fields – the heroes realize that this alien world below matches the diversity of the familiar world above, an inverse black universe that they would never have expected to exist.
Thanks to the rations stolen from the mess hall in Velkynvelve, the party is able to forgo foraging for food and focus on putting some distance between themselves and the drow hunting party. Prince Derendil recalls to Grall how he ended up in the body of a quaggoth. He claims to be Prince Derendil of the kingdom of Nelrindenvane in the High Forest, with the great elven king donning a magnificent mustache. His crown was usurped by the evil wizard Terrestor, who trapped him in the form of a quaggoth and exiled him from his people. He laments to slowly losing himself to the savagery of his current form.
Sarith Kzekarit mostly keeps to himself, but is determined to get Neverlight Grove, the home of the myconids and where Stool is from. According to Sarith, he was accused of murdering his own kind, but claims his innocence. He doesn’t remember much of the incident except that he thinks the clues to the events still lie in Neverlight Grove.
Eldeth Feldrun tells Anselm that she cannot get out the Underdark fast enough, and even away from some of the other prisoners. She was caught by the drow while scouting for a party outside of her home of Gauntlygrym and just wants to head back as fast as possible. She coyly asks about the dwarf Dukat who she finds intriguing and tells Anselm she would like to get to know him better.
The party then finds a narrow passage with walls covered in yellow mold. Grall recalls that touching the yellow mold will release the toxin and spores, but Cylchoedd decides he wants a small sample for himself. While covering his face, he safely collects some mold into a jar.
After a long day free from the prison of Velkynvelve, the party makes camp. In his sleep, Anselm dreams of dark shadows, endless winding tunnels, oily tentacles, and suppurating wounds bursting open into spores and maggots. He wakes the next day with the feeling something is out there in the dark depths, something far worse than the drow. He doesn’t sense that the dream originates from his Patron.
The next day, the party decides to travel at a fast pace once again to further the distance between them and their drow captors. They come upon a passageway completely covered with thick spider webs. As the most direct path, they decide to burn away the webs and enter. To no one’s surprise, they encounter a couple of giant spiders. They quickly dispense of them. The PC’s then come upon an altar room with a life-size statue of Lolth and a group of spider humanoids dressed in tattered clothes paying homage to the statue. Cylchoedd and Grall come up with a plan to utilize the husk of a dead giant spider to outfit a disguise of Lolth herself. Cylchoedd casts a minor illusion spell to change his face, Grall throws his voice to intimidate the crowd, and Anselm uses his puppet abilities to control the other limbs – and to their surprise, it works! Upon entering the room, however, Cylchoedd imagines the spider statue of Lolth as the Spider Queen herself, glowing red eyes and venom-dripping fangs, ready to pounce upon him and laughing along the way. He realizes it’s just a statue, but as a result of his mockery of the goddess earlier in Velkynvelve, he contracts a terrible fear of spiders. Reluctantly, he goes forward with the plan and they are able to convince the creatures to give them their gifts, while also demanding them to attack any drow that may pass through their passageways.
To be continued. Stay tuned for the next session…