Out of the Abyss

02 Into the Underdark

Lost and confused

Your flight from the drow and demons has you all exhausted. You drop onto the cavern floor and into a fitful sleep, plagued by nightmares. As you wake, you can hear growls surrounding the camp only to realize it is the cacophony of everyone's stomach. Your immediate need is food.

The day starts off with foraging for food and water. Several hours later, the party manages to find a few days worth of food. After finding nourishment they head off to find Sloobludop. Shuushar is confident that you have to go in a northern direction but he is unsure of how to get there. These tunnels are unfamiliar to him and the other rescued prisoners are of little help. Together, you manage to agree on a direction and head off. They have no idea what time it is so track their travel by how ready they are for sleep. Towards the end of the first day, the adventurers find themselves in a long, narrow tunnel filled with a pale, orange-white lichen. The air around them has become increasingly warmer. Hubert bends over to inspect the lichen, curious if he can scrounge up enough to make a decent meal when suddenly the ground shakes and cracks open up in the floor. Molten lava shoots out and they try to dodge out of the way. Topsy, Jimjar, Gunner and Ruby are all hit, knocking most of them unconscious. Gunner, still standing, manages to revive them. In the meantime, Hubert decides to scrape a few bags full of the fire lichen to see if he can help spice up their dinner time meals.

The corridor ends at a ravine, 60 feet across and 40 feet deep. Spanning the chasm is an old rope bridge. Jimjar points across the chasm, "There! I see a place we can rest" indicating an easily defensible alcove on the other side of the gorge. Gunner pipes up, "the heaviest should go first" and looks around expectantly. As one, the party turn their eyes to him. Realizing the heaviest person is him, he begrudgingly ties a silk rope to himself and starts the trek across. He makes it safely to the other side and ties to the rope to a post, securing an assist line for everyone else to assist them. A short time later the rest of the party makes it safely to the other side, the bridge still intact. They stop and make camp, setting three watches for the night.

Sometime in the middle of the night while Willow is standing watch with Topsy and Turvey, an elf wearing nothing but a night shirt and carrying a staff of zurkhwood runs towards the camp. Willow stops to greet him, realizing he is a moon elf. The party is woken up and decided to allow the elf to stay. Faolin introduces himself and says he had been imprisoned.  He escaped but was not able to get his armor or weapons back. He found a small zurkhwood stalk that he broke off to use as a staff. The party supply him with some of their stolen armor and go back to sleep. The rest of the night passes uneventfully.

The next day the group encounters a band of duergar traders, accompanied by two male steeders and a female steeder. They hail each other though the duergar eye them suspiciously.  "We are headed to Velkynvelve to sell the last of our wares to the drow." The merchants decide to purchase the remainder of the party's pilfered drow armor and weapons. After negotiating, the Hubert purchases some meager food provisions. He offers to sell some fire lichen, which the duergar look at eagerly, but not for the price the duergar wanted to pay.

The party continues into the Underdark for a couple of uneventful days. Over time their sleep becomes more and more restless. The landscape changes from narrow tunnels to wide chasms yet something about it remains the same. On the fourth day out from Velkynvelve, they come across a cavern filled with a strange light. Shuushar whispers: “Faerzress.” When pressed, he says: “Know not what causes this otherworldly glow do I, but good omen I always took it. Meditate I would, in chambers such as this to enlightenment gain.” Some of the party is not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing and are just about to say something when Gunner sees several crystal clusters that he is familiar with. "Blinding crystal! We should harvest these as they may come in handy. Smash them on the ground and they will blind anything within 10 feet – just make sure you close your eyes!" After some time the party is able to successfully harvest several of the crystal clusters. Also in the chamber are 3 tall stalks of zurhkwood that stand 30 – 40 feet tall. Jimjar, eyes as keen as ever, spots a small alcove at the top of the stalks. "Let us rest here tonight. We can harvest some of the spores from the zurkwood and break camp in the alcove up above." Camp and watch is set.

During the night a lone deep gnome comes rushing into the room, screaming at the top of his lungs "YEEEEENOOOGGHUUUU" over and over. The party is instantly awake but it is clear the creature doesn't see them. He runs into the cavern from the unexplored tunnel and continues, entering the shaft they had come from.

In the morning they all sit and have breakfast. While eating, some of them are suddenly afflicted. Hubert stares into his fire lichen porridge, paralyzed while suddenly Jimjar stands up and starts to run away, screaming incoherently. Several of the party manage to restrain him until he snaps out of it. After the uneasy morning, the party packs up and attempts to conceal their stay.

As they continue on their journey, Shuushar mentions "familiar these caves are; long has it been." They all feel a sense of hope that their journey will soon be at an end though the hope feels dim in the gloom around them. They break camp that night only to be attacked by a large ochre jelly. After slaying it, they try to get as much rest as they can only to start the next day much the same as all their other days. During the night they realize Topsy and Turvey have snuck away from the party.

On the 7th day out from Velkenvelve, they encounter a corridor large enough to walk 2 abreast. They have lost track of all time but know it must be close to the end of the day. Up ahead there is a pale orange-white light coming from two openings on either side of the corridor. The openings only lead to small 10 × 10 crevices covered in fire lichen. As they approach, 10 small beetles with glowing glands near their mouths jump out from the fire lichen and attack. They make quick work of the beetles and Hubert jumps at a chance to harvest more fire lichen.

The end of corridor opens up into a large cavern, the walls of which extend beyond their vision. It is filled with stalagmites and stalactites. Sarith, mostly quiet during this trip, notices a stalagmite near the entrance has a drow symbol carved onto it that means “Demons Ahead!” They look around but do not see anything. "The other side we must get to" says Shuushar.  Hubert looks around, "Then let us be quick and quiet about it." The party finds their way to an outer wall of the cavern and follow it around. About 10 feet above them is a small ledge that runs the length of the cavern, more stalactites hanging down from the ceiling. Suddenly, when they are about halfway across the cavern, an Orog appears above them and growls down at them. Two more Orogs appear from the center of the cavern, charging after the party. A challenging battle ensues which eventually results in the party being successful. 

"It is late and we need sleep. I don't know that this is the best place to rest but better here than the unknown" says Hubert. The party searches the Orog lair and finds a 3 inch glass jar filled with a thick mixture that smells faintly of aloe stuck in the claw of an unknown creature, long since dead. "Keoghtom's Ointment! I can't believe it" says Gunner; "but it only looks like 2 doses left." The party settles in for the night and sets watch.

Nightmares. Screaming. Demons. Another night of fitful sleep.

Jade suddenly screams out in pain and a large Barlgura appears, bitting her neck. Vines spring up from the ground, entangling most of the party. The party kicks into action and eventually defeats the demon, but everyone feels a sense of dread about them.

"There is a madness at work here. I thought maybe the demons back in Velkynvelve came from a ritual gone wrong but now I'm not so sure" Bupiddo pipes up. An eerie silence pervades the group.  "Let us be gone from this place." Without a single protest, the party packs up to head to Sloobludop.

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