Entry 199, Day 111, Noon
We destroyed the altar, fortunately it had not spawned more chaos beasts and Rim’s chainsaw was maximally effective. Technology may be intimidating and have an air of…sterility to it, but I cannot deny the efficiency of what Harkness has called “industrial applications of knowledge.” Mist and I have been talking more and more about the creation of magic items and ways to exploit technological knowledge with magical power, or at least take lessons from the engineering of technological artifacts.
But this is beside the point, after destroying their shrine, we continued to plumb the foul and slimy Mi-go caves. We discovered a wellspring of the sludge that fills the cavern but no way of stopping the flow. The chamber was guarded by dog-sized insectoid creatures that Mistofelees referred to as, “like zerglings,” a term I have no familiarity with. They were guarding a handful of infectious necromantic talismans which were easily destroyed. Like many of the things from the dark tapestry they were designed to destroy will and warp the target’s body, mind, and soul. There was little time to dwell on this subject however, as we then stumbled upon a pair of mutant girallons.
Or so I first thought, when their heads split open and their limbs twisted and stretched at unnatural angles it became clear these beasts were something else. Later information suggests they are a form of beast from beyond known as a “Gug,” an awful and alien beast that revels in blood and carnage. They were ultimately just brutes, whatever their intelligence, and we dispatched them as quickly as possible.
It was shortly after this we discovered the layer of muck and slime disguises at least one hidden tunnel. Flynn discovered it the hard way, and I found myself diving in after to make sure his new, heavy armor didn’t drown him. I am having difficulty describing the levels of disgust I feel right now. I am contemplating teleporting to the nearest desert just to feel dry and clean again.
This pool-to-tunnel of horror led to a chamber with Mi-go in it, according to Flynn’s recon. We waited to ambush them while they doubtless did the same on their end, and eventually just marked the entrance and left. Hopefully they will remain too paranoid to come up behind us.
Maybe the cleansing power of setting myself on fire, I can make myself resistant…getting off topic.
Moving on, we found another deep room with a blessedly dry rock ledge. On said ledge were the skeletal remains of a technic league agent. She had the mate to a bracelet we had found in the Shub-shrine, a tech-device known as a “force field”. It functions like a cross between a ring of protection and an air bubble spell, providing a layer of protection against damage and (perhaps more importantly) being covered in disgusting slime.
The corpse itself was apparently the second-in-command of the group that the Bounty Hunter Caio is looking for. We collected her gear and identifying parts (her skull) and I said a cursory prayer of peace and rest over her corpse. I would feel bad about separating her remains, but I know if I were her I would be happy that ANY part of my body made it out of this disgusting hole. Moreover I am NOT putting another corpse in my magical storage if I can avoid it.
Mr. Mistofelees also discovered an interesting sample of purple mold which we collected for alchemical study. I would rather never see another slimy fungus again but I cannot fault him for having passion for his craft.
Ugh, back into the muck.
Entry 200, Day 112, evening
The next room contained a gug’s trophy room and the gug itself. One violent confrontation later and the world was a better place, but still horribly slimy. After that we found what seems to have been the leader of the fungus monsters. A Mi-go with an evil magic staff of purple, glowing crystal hurled confusion and radiation at us as his minions attacked us. The battle was fierce but we persevered, and afterward discovered one of the reasons that Mi-go so love collecting brains. We found a vaguely cylinder-shaped device of magic and technology which held a disembodied brain, still in a state not quite alive nor dead. The brain was one Therace Holiyard, an expert on the nature of the Dominion of the Black and, to the Mi-go, a living reference book. He was also the leader of the ill-fated expedition that Hyrsek Caio was looking for.
He was understandably upset, and I suspect bringing him back to himself will take some time, being trapped for decades in brain-case crazy hell is dark stuff, but his knowledge is too valuable for me to give up on without trying to bring him back. His books are likewise valuable, but in this case I believe it better to let others, even enemies such as the League, have them. Every power group that knows more about the Dominion is another group capable of fighting them.
Sadly, we had to leave this lovely dry cavern and slog back through the mud and slime, but that was the end of our foul encounters, with one unfortunate exception.
We found, in a darkened alcove, a single corpse of a Mi-go long dead. Near its body were notes detailing a weapon used by the Dominion of the Black called the “darkness plague.” It is a disease which infects people and makes the area around them darker and darker until they cannot see while also eating away at their sanity and eventually killing them. It seems the Dominion uses this as a terror weapon against humanoid populations. The Mi-go itself was infected, and chose to spend its final days studying the effects of the plague, presumably hoping that someone would eventually retrieve its notes without succumbing.
Unfortunately, standing near the corpse and studying the papers exposed us to the disease, and both myself and Susie were infected. Fortunately we were prepared for such troubles, and after curing ourselves destroyed the disease at its source.
There is little else to say, except that Hyrsek was willing to give us information and some potions in exchange for the books and proof of demise of his targets. He says that whatever presence is currently killing the marsh to the southwest is reported to look like a ghost. I shall have to meditate and consider the best means of dealing with incorporeal enemies.
In any event, we will return to Torch tomorrow, to bring Therace back to his humanity, to tool up our equipment, and to soak in a hot bath for at least 6 hours straight.
Hopefully Bas will be visiting soon, I need some dinner, dancing, and downtime.
Entry 201, Day 119, evening
Settling into a comfortable routine; crafting in the morning, counseling Therace in the afternoon, help Mist with his alchemy in the evening.
Entry 202, Day 120, evening
Date night with Bas! <3> training and side projects all done it is time for us to return to the Scar of the Spider. All that remains now is the mysterious ghost cave/dying swamp and the Dominion holdings.
Speaking of holdings and projects, Abbot Costello has been busying himself with some upgrades. I finished the security walls and helped him install gates, but the upgraded lodgings are all his doing. I am glad, should I leave this place (and I have no doubt I will someday) I have faith in his capable management of the shrine.
Note to self; see if Binox is up for cooking the slime caves. He has energy and laser weapons, he has minions with inexorable patience, and considering the enemies were mostly fungus monsters I fear they may reproduce if the place is not sterilized.