Such is the Heart of Madness

Having fled Sloopbludop and Demogorgon’s rage, Valantar was at the end of his patience with the pacifist monk, Shuushar. In a heated moment, he decided to kill Shuushar and the sword, Dawnbringer attempted to seize his mind and stop him. Valantar retained control over himself and used his longsword to sever the kuo-toa’s head from his shoulders. This conflict sparked an idea in Valantar, that perhaps his goddess could solve the issue of this sword’s rebellion.

Valantar prepared a ritual prayer to Shar, lit his candles, and extinguished them. In the darkness left behind, he reached out to Shar, and for the first time since her voice directed him to safety in the underdark, Valantar heard it again. Visions of stone guardians and an ornate door hidden deep in the darkness, Dawnbringer’s brightness being swallowed by shadow, and the voice leaving him with the words, “Follow the wizard. His goal is yours.” Spurred on by his contact, Valantar sought out Ghecx…

The party set out for Blingdenstone, the next town Deep King Hrorgar had asked for scouting on. On the way, the odd group encountered little resistance, except from themselves oddly enough. On their second period of travel, after setting up camp, the group began to hear noises echoing down the corridors; howls, moans, cries, yelps, cackles, squelches, scratching, & screams. Rest that period was long in coming as the sounds reached their ears and squirmed into their minds…

Ghecx and Valantar began trying to rile up the other creatures to fight the power and lynch Jimjar, who luckily enough, was soon nowhere to be seen. Some time later, these effects wore off and the party moved on. The paths the group chose were fortuitous indeed as they never wanted for food and even increased their stock of mushrooms as they hurried along through corridors at times, tight or short, and at others vast and unseen…

Out of the darkness, stalked a figure with burning eyes. “Whitaker. You will pay Whitaker.” The figure continues forward not focused on those that address him, seeming to have a goal beyond their noise. “You’ll pay for what you’ve done, Whitaker.” Godric being the sort of brave fellow that he is, blows his horn to summon a wall of berserkers between this man and his traveling companions. The figure strides right up to the berserkers and strikes the one directly between him and the way he has been traveling. “Kill him” Ghecx yells and the companions set to. This man is struck over and over and over before clearing the way before him and takes that moment to continue on his way only to have Valantar strike with his sword erupting through the chest and the energy of his holy smite leaving a gaping wound in the now dead again corpse. “You WILL pay Whitaker!” is the last thing to come from the corpse as it falls, the malevolent light fading from its eyes. Ront gazes in awe at Valantar, having now seen him do something displaying exceptional strength. “Good job,” he offers.

After several periods of rest, and after passing a chasm with a bridge (Imagine that!), their travels brought the noises back to them. These sounds found their way into the minds of Bloater, Buppido, Stool, and Godric. Stool proceeded to rave about hunting and prey as he stalked toward Godric, who proceeded to growl and drop to all fours before backing into a corner and whimpering as the little myconid began to pounce and bounce on top of him. Bloater began to roar and swing at everything nearby. Buppido pulled his knife and strode over to the quaggoth, obviously bothered by this display and proceeded to swing his knife at the larger creature. Erythedine, alerted by Bloater’s roar, comes flying in from the darkness and leaps upon the raging quaggoth and proceeds to drive his elbows and fingers and knees into Bloater as he somehow redirects the quaggoth’s rage back and over to the wall of the corridor. Meanwhile, Ront, distressed by his pups fighting rushes over and grabs little Buppido and pins him to the ground while the small derro drives his knife into Ront multiple times times over the next hour before calming. At this point, the party hears Jimjar attempting to bet an unfamiliar voice about how many times Ront was stabbed…

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After the initial interrogation, the tiefling, Vantis, a self proclaimed spy and information broker, had talked more information out of Valantar than given. Using his suave and charm, Vantis soon had even the most suspicious members of our odd group tolerant of his sudden presence so soon after the horrid sounds, having only explained that he was heading in the direction of Blingdenstone looking for opportunity to ply his trade. The group finished a long rest and moved on…

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Only to have the caves around them shake as their only warning. Several in the group stood around trying to pinpoint the source of the shaking even as a few others moved, hoping to not be wherever the roof came down. When the noise died down, Ront, Stool, and a few others had managed to avoid the falling roof of the cavern. Ront immediately set about digging out his pups. Once everyone recovered from the shock of the cave-in, they saw that the cavern they had been traveling through was now blocked at both ends. However, there was also a new opening provided by the shifting stone…

After wandering into the entryway, Valantar quickly came to a split in the paths, followed by Ghecx, who noted what looked to be worked stone off the the left. Intrigued, Ghecx set off that way. Seeing the frail human setting off into the unknown, Valantar quickly followed, joined by Jimjar soon thereafter. The room appeared to be a dead end until one of the walls…
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…which appeared slick and attracted the attention of Ront, who almost reached out and licked it before a warning from Ghecx had him reconsider and step back as the wall reached out and slapped him along the chest leaving a small tingling burn. This wall oozed forward, and was just as quickly hacked apart until it moved even less than before. Now before the small group inside the room stood an opening in the wall, leading farther up and farther in…

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Immediately after a bend in the corridor, there was a subtle shift in the color of the hallway ahead, as well as a skeleton and most curiously of all, a floating mace and shield. The air… wiggled? Then Valantar realized the coloration was something in the corridor as he heard a new voice in his head. “What are you? Why are you here?” Something about this voice felt utterly alien. For once, decorum seemed to not desert Valantar, as he introduced himself to the voice in his mind. Erythedine, following up the corridor, came around the bend to see this blockage, which now addressed him as well, “Who are you? Where did you come from?” In this telepathic conversation, the characters determined that the creature, Glabbagool, it said, did not kill the drow whose skeleton adorned the hall, that he came before, and eventually quit moving. After being asked, Glabbagool, moved forward out of the corridor into the room where the wall ooze was rendered less alive(?). Glabbagool only noted that the gray ooze used to be different as he moved into and filled most of the room while Jimjar slipped behind Glabbagool to see what the rest of the area contained and maybe find a way out.
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A short trip down the hall, past the corner, led to another junction, leading left to a room with a pool and water flowing in from the ceiling, and right down a series of corridors. As Godric made his way down the first one, the floor gave way under him and dropped him into a 10’ deep pit with a moving shadow. A moment later, it became clear as it lashed out, that this was no shadow, but a black pudding, intent on its next meal…
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