The Darkest Adventure

He Waits in the Dark Below

The adventurers discussed their next move after Ploopploopeen left them in the house. While they were all exhausted from their near capture and travel, they knew that the next day would be challenging with disrupting the ritual so they decided to prepare themselves first before resting. It was agreed that they would browse the shops Ploopploopeen spoke of to see if they had any useful items so they set out for the southern part of the town.

The group arrived at a small shop owned by a pleasant Kuo-toa who bid them welcome upon entering. Browsing through the wares, the adventurers found that there was little of interest in the store; just bone and fish scale based weapons and armor. While some of the group picked up basic supplies, most opted not to spend their coin on the merchant’s wares so they made for the door. As they were about to leave, the Kuo-toa store owner offered them one last item for sale: a death crab!

The store owner placed a five pound crab on the counter for the group to see, and introduced it as a Death Crab. Skittering back and forth, the crab had tiny blindfolds on each of its eye stalks and bands placed over its claws preventing them from opening. Skeptical, the group did not believe that such a thing was a threat and asked for a demonstration. The store owner was adamant that you could not remove its blindfolds lest it wreak terrible havoc upon them. As the group made ready to leave, the store owner lowered the price on the death crab. In a fit of whimsy, Gabriel and Jaragorn agreed to purchase the crab and gave the owner some gold pieces. The store owner happily accepted their coins and placed the death crab in a basket. Gabriel and Jaragorn named their new companion Pinchy and set out from the store back to the home they had been assigned.

Arriving back at the home, the adventurers decided to finally bed down for the night and began to assign watch shifts. As they were discussing who would take what shifts, Ian Cognitio disappeared from the group and appeared a short time later. Members of the group noticed this and grew suspicious of the halfing and wondered what he had been up to. Eventually everyone bedded down for the night and the group managed to sleep uninterrupted.

Ploopploopeen came the next day and gathered the adventurers for the upcoming task. The plan was simple: proceed to the ritual sacrifice and disrupt it while it was taking place to discredit the arch-priestess of the dark father. Ian Cognito suggested that he travel alone and watch the proceedings from a distance to provide ranged support if needed. It was reluctantly agreed that the halfing should do this and he once again vanished from sight. Ploopploopeen lead the group towards the shrine of the deep father and the fate that awaited them all.

The adventurers rounded a corner and finally saw the shrine to the deep father. Where the shrine to the sea mother was an actual statue with material offerings placed around it with reverence, this shrine was an altar to slaughter and gore. The shrine itself was constructed from what appeared to be the stretched skin of a sea animal tented on long bleached bones. Underneath this skin canopy was the carcass of a manta ray that seemed to have been stretched and twisted into a purpose, but what for what was not entirely clear. To top off the idol were two dead octopi, tied together at the head, with their tentacles artfully pinned down. By far the most disturbing aspect of the shrine was the stench; a miasma of spoiled meat, decayed flesh, and rot hung in the area like a suffocating blanket. The adventurers had to fight back a wave a nausea as they approached the shrine to the deep father and steeled themselves for what was to come.
Ploopploopeen led the adventurers to the shrine and greeted his daughter, the arch priestess, offering the adventurers as the next sacrifice to the deep father. The arch-priestess looked them over and approved of the sacrifice and commanded they be led to a holding cell. An armed group of Kuo-toa marched the adventurers to another home that had been turned into a cell of sorts. With little discussion, the group was placed in the home and made to wait as the time of the ritual drew near.

The group were not alone in the house however. There crouched in a corner was a gray dwarf who eyed them with suspicion. With some caution, the group asked the dwarf what his name was and why he was here. The gray dwarf said that his name was Nosebleed Shattercock and he as a merchant who had been captured by the Kuo-Toa as well for the sacrifice. Shattecock proposed a bargain to the group: help him escape and he would lead them to his city and away from this wretched place. The group mulled this option over and while they regarded the dwarf with suspicion, Jaragron graciously gave him a short sword and told him to prepare himself for the battle ahead. The gray dwarf happily accepted the sword and nodded his agreement. Soon, the armed Kuo-Toa arrived and escorted the group back to the shrine of the deep father.

The group was arranged on a series of grates suspended over the dark waters of the dark lake, surrounded by a large crowd of Kuo-Toa onlookers. Some of the adventurers looked down and saw the grates were covered with dry blood, with pieces of flesh and offal stuck to them as well. It seemed that the grates were designed to allow blood to seep down into the dark waters below; a gift for something of the deep.

The arch-priestess addressed the crowd in her native Kuo-Toa language. No wanting to draw attention to himself, Stool did not release his spores so the adventurers were not able to understand what was going on but it was obvious the crowd of Kuo-Toa were growing passionate with every spoken word. The adventurers looked around and began to grow nervous. Ploopploopeen said they would see a sign from him on when to attack but so far he seemed complacent in the ritual to the dark father. Time was running out.

Ploopploopeen stood in front of the crowd and spoke some words that stirred their passions even more. The mood of the crowd was now crackling with energy and something was going to happen soon. Ploopploopeen finished his address and stepped back to allow his daughter to come forward and say some more words. As the arch-priestess stepped in front of Ploopploopeen, he somehow managed to produce a large fish bone fashioned into a gargantuan club. The adventures were momentarily stunned as to how Ploopploopeen had managed to conceal such a large weapon on his person, but they quickly snapped back to focus as they saw him raise the club over his head and mercilessly bring it down over the head of his own daughter. Not once, but in two vicious blows.

The arch-priestess was brought to her knees by the massive blows to the skull and the crowd erupted into violence. Kuo-toa began to fight Kuo-toa using whatever they could manage to turn into a weapon with no attention paid to the adventurers. The adventurers looked around and quickly decided that the safest place, however revolting it may be, was with the shrine to deep father at their backs so they swiftly moved there.

As they approached the shrine, the arch-priestess had managed to crawl towards it and brace herself against it. The blows Ploopploopeen delivered had left her stunned and unaware of what was going on around her. Sensing that she was the source of this evil, the adventurers closed ranks on her and decided to end the threat. All around them the Kuo-Toa were butchering each other, their spilled blood draining into the dark waters below which had begun to bubble and froth from the appearance of some sinister creatures.

The adventures attacked the arch-priestess hoping to end her rule. Magic and steel tore into her, weakening her life considerably. Gabriel then moved in to end the evil of sacrificing living beings for some foul god and swiftly plunged his sword into the back of her neck delivering a killing blow. The arch-priestess jerked violently as the sword was pulled from her neck and a fountain of blood burst from the wound with incredible force. The blood soaked the stretched manta ray and revealed its sinister purpose. The arch-priestess’s blood drained down the body of the manta ray into a hole in the floor of the shrine into the dark waters below. As the last breath escaped her lips the waters 60 feet from the shore began to violently roll and crash. All eyes turned towards the churning water just as a massive figure burst from the inky black water, finally revealing the horror of the deep father for all to see.

The beast that burst from the water was the stuff of nightmares: a 30 foot tall creature with the heads of two babboons fused onto a roughly humanoid body with arms that ended in multiple tentacles. The beast’s eyes glowed a fiery red as it eyed everyone on the shore and let loose a roar that shook the very foundations of the buildings on the shore. With primordial rage and hate in its eyes, the beast began making its way towards the shore.

The mere presence of the creature was enough to drive all those on shore delirious into madness. Most of the adventurers managed to maintain their sanity as they gazed at the beast, but not all were so fortunate. Ront threw his head back with a roar and dove into the fighting Kuo-Toa with uncontrolled blood-lust. Just as they saw Ront disappear into the fighting they heard a cry of madness to their right and the group turned to see their friend Shuushar succumb to the effects of the beast. Their normally jolly, good natured friend and turned into a raving beast both in mind and body. As they watched in horror, a third arm spontaneously sprouted from Shuushar’s body which seemed to cause him no pain. Instead, Shuushar wildly jumped into the Kuo-Toa fight, picking up a severed arm to use as a club to begin beating to death one of his kin. All around, the Kuo-Toa began to violently mutate with some growing new limbs, other had their eyes burst in the sockets, and some just opened like an overripe fruit with their guts spilling over the grates.

The adventures looked around and tried to make sense of the situation. All around them the Kuo-Toa were enthralled in an orgy of blood, violence and carnage as they tore each other limb from limb while chanting: “Lee-Mo-Goo-Goon!”. Ploopploopeen had not moved from the spot where he clubbed the arch-priestess and was cackling manically. The nightmare from the sea was making steady progress towards the shore and would make landfall soon. While some members of the group wanted to stay and fight the beast, Eldeth recognized the beast as Demigorgon, a foul God of the underworld. Regardless of the hate and disgust they felt towards this foul beast, Eldeth was adamant that there was nothing they could do and to fight it now would be to die in futility. With great reluctance the group looked one more time at Demigorgon and then broke from the chaos.

The adventurers quickly departed the sea of madness and made their way to the edges of the Kuo-Toa city meeting up with Ian Cognito on the way. The Halfling did not look stable as he had a slack look on his face, with a small amount of drool at the corner of his mouth. Ian kept glancing over his shoulder in the direction of the arisen abomination muttering incomprehensible words softly. It was obvious that his mind was not able to handle the horror of what had just transpired and it had affected him deeply. The group eyed the Halfling again with suspicion as to what he had been up to while they were about to be sacrificed but were not able to ask him as they suddenly rounded a corner and found themselves face to face with a group of armed Kuo-Toa. The armed Kuo-Toa had the same look of madness as those on the beach and rushed the group of adventurers. Wasting no time, the adventurers drew their own weapons and met the armed Kuo-Toa in combat. While the armed guards were no doubt formidable opponents, they were no match for the adventurers. Jaragorn once again rained steel on them from afar while Sayiel blasted them apart with bolts of magical energy, blowing one guard to pieces. Gabriel took the brunt of their attacks on his shield while also dispatching some with his sword. Soon the mad guards were dead and the group decided to make for Shattercock’s town of Gracklstugh, wanting to put as much distance between them and this forsaken Kuo-toa town that had awakened a dark nightmare.

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