Our heroes are underground, having faced some odd, silent goblins. A gorgeous grotto, filled with large, colorful, exotic mushrooms and lichen provided some respite…until something moved.
By Aleksander Karner (Justin), human guide:
Another letter from Aleksander to his brother in Tellis.
I don’t even know where to start, man. Everyone but Haiko the Tortle seems to be criminally insane. We left the mushroom cave headed the wrong direction. Turns out we were all being influenced by the mushrooms themselves. The release spores and when you breathe them they get in your head. Like your brain head. I mean… The spores get in your head physically, but then the MUSHROOMS get in your MIND. Haiko seemed to be the only other person (can you still use “person” to refer to a tortle?) who wasn’t OK with this. He can apparently hold his breath for… ever. And talk without breathing. After my head cleared, I vowed never to let that happen again.
I kept meaning to talk to Svenn about what the hell was going on, but never got the chance. I’ve been trying to do my duty as a guide, even with as crazy as things have gotten; but I can’t do it with so many headstrong charges. They move toward danger, make rash decisions, and seem to have completely forgotten that our goal is to make it to Thunderknuckle.
We got attacked by some more goblins. Sort of. A little one tried to run past us (Haiko… caught him for some reason) and it turned out he was being chased by a couple bigger ones who had apparently been taken over somehow by the mushrooms. When we killed them, they exploded and released clouds of poisonous gas. Again, only Haiko seemed worried about the possibility of us being lead into some sort of mushroom trap.
The tunnel we’re in leads into an EVEN LARGER CAVE full of EVEN LARGER MUSHROOMS. I suggested that we turn back, burn the mushrooms we pass on the way, and take the northern cave we should have taken to begin with. No one was down with this plan, except Haiko. Olya seemed to think that we would somehow suffocate ourselves in a cave network bigger than Tellis, and everyone just sort of agreed? I know she’s good with fire, but that’s not how smoke works. I think Sarril might have wanted to take my side, but he doesn’t really do anything unless Malek asks him to or he thinks Malek’s in danger. I mean… Malek is definitely in danger travelling with these decapitated insane-o’s, but Sarril seems to think on a more immediate level.
On the subject of danger, everyone but the Tortle, yet again, just walked right in to the mushroom kingdom. I held my breath and ran to the northern exit, doing my best not to scream when the mushrooms started MOVING. The rest of them just stood around breathing spores and letting the Shroom leader mess with their brains. They all stood around talking to the biggest mushroom, then drank some juice that he squeezed out of his “hands” (and I’m crazy for eating fungus,) and then I had to just watch in horror as they all decided, YET AGAIN, to go the WRONG way. I officially quit as a guide at this point. I’m not taking professional responsibility for a bunch of suicidal maniacs. I couldn’t, in good conscience, let them all just walk to their doom, though. Plus, now that I wasn’t on the clock, I was a bit curious about what was going on in these caves. Never know what might give me an edge on the Horseman.
Turns out the lead Shroom convinced all of them to work for it. The goblins down here are eating them, and have formed some sort of weird shroom-goblin collective of their own. There is a war between shitgoblins and magic mushrooms waging underneath Oesel, and I am apparently part of a mercenary band fighting for the mushrooms. There’s literally no reason for any of us to care about either side of this ridiculous underground war, but again, they all willingly let giant mushrooms into their brains.
The mushrooms sent them to kill King Shitgoblin, and we ran into some regular shitgoblins on the way. Miyuki, the elf with the sword-husband, ran into the dark and pretty much died. Suicidal. Maniacs. The group managed to bring her back from the brink somehow, but she was pretty much out of it from that point on. We walked into some sort of ancient dwarven city that has been completely taken over by the shitgoblins. A lot of them. Like, hundreds. They’re all part of some weird goblin colony and seem to function, for the most part, as a single organism. The largest, oldest, grossest of them seems to be controlling everything. Wanted to know about the surface. Mallek fed him a bunch of bullshit about the kingdom, didn’t even mention Sulev. When I tried to, the goblin didn’t seem to care. You know me… not really good with the talking. Anywho, they locked us in one of the dwarven buildings down here while they figure out what they’re going to do with us. I tried to get to know the shiny elf a little bit, but she hardly ever speaks. Also, again: not good with the talking. I think I heard King Shitgoblin say something about keeping us so he can learn from us? Should be an interesting time trying to find my way out of this mess. It sounds like something may be happening outside. I’ll write more later. Hopefully with Linkin on my shoulder and a view of the sky.