Palaxia, Maledictus, Corva, Regina, and Asriel receive 1,072 experience each.
A Visit to the Blooming Caves
After the slaughter at the Oathday Market, Maledictus, Palaxia, Corva, Regina, and Asriel begin the half-day journey out to the Blooming Caves with the intention of investigating the strange mushrooms you found while investigating the Bradon homestead. You arrive at the cave and camp for the night unmolested, and you begin your spelunking Friday morning.
You attempt to sneak into the entrance, but are spotted by the cave’s guardians – four humans wearing what they recognize as the sigil of House Narikopolus. However, there is something vacant behind the Narikopolus loyalists’ eyes as they challenge you, “Who goes there?” You notice their skin is riddled with purple lesions which sprout small mushrooms – sure signs of victims of the purple pox.
A ragtag combat begins, with two loyalists engaging in melee with Bob and Asriel, while the other two get off potshots before sprinting deeper into the cavern followed by Maledictus. Corva hangs back, using her assassin training to wait for the perfect moment to strike. After the first two loyalists fall, combat moves to the next cavern. The two loyalists station themselves strategically behind pit traps, one of which Maledictus fails to spot. She makes a hasty roll as the ground falls out from under her, but lands on stable ground and backs her target into a corner. Meanwhile, Corva and Regina take out the other.
Once the fighting has finished, you are able to look around with more leisure. This cavern is stunningly beautiful; the glowing fungi fills this chamber with a luminescence of soft pinks, greens, and blues. The air is filled with the soothing sound of running water. Countless couples have used this romantic location for trysts, and the walls are scrawled with their names and pledges of love and devotion. You notice that Jana Holdus’s name appears multiple times with various lovers.
Your way further into the cave is blocked by a steep slope downward that is only passable by climbing. At the bottom of the slope, you can see an underground river rushing through an alcove in the stone, and you know that anyone who missteps on the slope would run the risk of sliding into the fast-running river. Palaxia is the first down, climbing down a rope held by Maledictus, and her noisy descent draws the attention of the cave’s two resident bunyips. The seal-like creatures hobble around the corner of the tunnel and bare their pointed teeth at the intruders. They slide into the water nearby and attack with a bellow, but are quickly dispatched.
Two crude wooden barricades stand in the center of the next cave, the luminescent fungus already beginning to creep up the sides. The southeast tunnel leads to what was clearly the encampment of the Narikopolus loyalists before they fell to the purple pox; Asriel and Corva explore this area while Regina and Maledictus explore the tunnel to the northwest and Palaxia sneaks up the northeast tunnel.
Splitting the party may have not been the wisest of plans, as Regina and Maledictus run into three myceloids who promptly turn from their game of tossing a skull to each other and launch clouds of purple pox spores at them. Luckily for them, the myceloids are somewhat stunted and not as powerful as a normal myceloid. They call for help, but Asriel and Corva are searching the encampment and Palaxia has found her own encounter.
Up the northeast tunnel, Palaxia finds a cavern containing two fully-grown myceloids sitting in rocking chairs. Nearby stands a pox-afflicted loyalist who is clearly teetering on the edge of death. Small drops of blood weep from the broken purple lesions on her body and drool rolls from her quivering lips. The myceloids do not seem hostile, and once they realize that Palaxia does not speak Undercommon, they use the pox-afflicted loyalist to speak through using their telepathy ability.
The purple mushrooms filling the loyalist’s mouth tear and bleed as she speaks in an ingratiating drawl. “Howdy! What brings you to our stompin’ grounds?” Palaxia asks them if they’d be willing to come back to Kantaria and terrorize the town, only to be rebuffed. “Oh honey, bless your heart, but you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree. Pap and I didn’t settle down here only to start up the old ways again. We’ve got young’uns to care for now. And heaven forfend we leave the Wrong One alone. That’n needs a lot of lovin’.”
Palaxia thanks them and turns to leave. Meanwhile, Regina and Maledictus have killed the three myceloid “young’uns” and Palaxia tells the whole party about the myceloids she spoke with and how they were unwilling to go back to town. Satisfied with her story, you head back to Kantaria, but not before taking one of the bodies of the young myceloids and carving it into pieces to sprinkle on the road back to town. You hope that the desecration of their “child”’s corpse will cause them to go on a murderous rampage.