Chapter One Part 3
Up and Down we go
We head up the stairs with thick tendrils up the walls and small ones across the steps, the plants seem to have no interest in us. We pop up into a dusty circular room with four doors on one side and workbenches lining the rest of the walls, again the windows are blocked by the vines which straddle the floor and benches. It does not appear that this area has been disturbed for some time. On one of the benches is a book which once the dust is cleared off turns out to be an iron bound journal. It is in a very odd hand with no obvious language but rather a mix of words and diagrams. The three of us try to understand what it says, using various skills and abilities we have. It seems that Coddefut was growing some kind of creeping plant and crossing it with some form of mushroom, a strain he terms ‘Bysiderly’, reptiles and cephalopods were also involved in the process. However it seems that the specimen or creation was developing some kind of intelligence, so he moved the small plant down into the caves below. This wizard was definitely doing things which most would see as reckless and even evil, I will be having words with him if we find him. I seal the book with some wax and my seal to ensure no one else opens it without my knowledge.
Yogi listens and smells at the four doors but can hear or smell nothing; the four heavy wooden doors are tight fitting and locked with bolts on this side. We decide to continue exploring upwards for now, anything in these rooms or cells can wait. We climb the spiral stairs to the next floor, this is so clean and tidy, no dust or disrepair. The floor is one big bedroom with a four poster to one side with its rich velvet drapes pulled around it. The rest of the room is made up of a fireplace with some chairs in front of it and loads of wardrobes, chests, trunks, cupboards etc. Leatonay thinks maybe Coddefut is in the bed after all why else would this area be so clean and there be a non-mildewed cloak downstairs. So he calls out, ‘hello visitors we have an appointment’. We hear sounds from the bed, ‘Master’; two hands appear from opposite sides of the bed on two twigs like arms. They start to pull the curtains back and a face pops out. An odd face to say the least narrow with dark eyes, slick backed hair with an exquisitely styled moustache and beard. ‘You not master’ it says ‘you thieves’ it screams. Still screaming it launches itself at Leatonay, an eight armed, with hands on the end of each, spider thing with a face lands on him before he can react. The spider thing tries to bit Leatonay’s shoulder but he pushes it off with his kite shield. The spider leaps to the side and scuttles to the ceiling by the wall out of reach of Leatonay. I knock an arrow to my bow and wait.
We try talking to the spider and eventually find out that he is annoyed as he only had a short time left before he would have been freed by the master and now he’s gone. At that Yogi frees him by casting dispel magic on the spider, which shimmers between human and spider and disappears, just like the two in the kitchen a controlled Luton spirit. We look around at the contents of the storage, all sorts of expensive clothes, shoes, boots, and hats, lots pointed, in various colours. Enough clothes to start a shop, all rather not of the latest fashion for court but wonderful for the lower ranks of gentility. Leatonay thinks of the value of all of this and that it should be given to those in need.
With the bedroom searched we move back to the stairs and move up another floor. We can smell the humid musky earthy smell as we ascend coming from this floor. This floor seems to be full of large six by one foot containers which have mushrooms growing in them. Oddly they seem to be in some sort of order with the biggest, surrounded by the smallest in spirals. The biggest of the mushrooms being many feet tall while the smallest are around six inches. I hold back from trying to eat a bit of one of these after my earlier experience. However we do encourage Yogi to cast his See Spirit or Soul spell again, this time on himself, which he does. He reports after a while.
The world became hazy, slow and war as I looked at the mushrooms, they appear to be one soul. Familiar things ebb and dissolve as the fabric between worlds shudders like a dying animal and then splits, allowing his soul vision to rush from this realm into another. What he found is a place warm and lush with pale fungi, billions and billions of them, thriving in the pale light of a dying sun, the air around them humid and moist with trapped gases.
Absorbed into the cell-mind of this new world, he becomes one with the Essential Essence of this place. All its simple minds gathered to form something complex, unique and hungry. The intellects bridge the two worlds: most of it here, above the ground, made of fleshy cups and spores. The other is vast and singular, attached to the ground but beneath it, submerged in water, and made of several living things that should not be attached to each other. Both Essences are hungry: the mushrooms of this new world are hungry for knowledge and nutrients, while the plant-thing is hungry for flesh, bone, blood and expansion. Together they will merge the worlds together into a single organism, tentacles and fronds, teeth and spores, immense, all knowing and unpitying, becoming an idiot god which is both a single mind and a billion of them. He gets the impression that this new world doesn’t like being linked and shows him how to kill it! Destroy what links the worlds. Destroy the mushrooms and cast the soil into the seas. Poison the root with ichors it cannot digest. The wizard had the answer, and it drips now from the ceiling of a room that is locked and forgotten. Yogi also hears from the Swordbrother, as he comes out of his vision, ‘this is another world with its own gods and rules, drawn to ours by evil intent. This is why you are here.’
So we at last know our mission destroy this plant monstrosity before it merges two worlds destroying us in the process. We wonder about how we are to throw the soul into the sea there is a lot of it and the windows here are blocked up by bricks rather than plant. Also where is this black ichor and is it the same as the stuff in the vial we have which we also believe the plant is afraid of? We head on up to the next floor which has a small room with a door which opens into an empty dusty room with the walls and windows still covered in plant. We follow the stairs on up to the roof, light at last. The sun is shining and we can make out the wonder of the bridge connecting Black Island to the mainland. I look over the side at the clear water below empty of all life except! The sea is full of hundreds and hundreds of tentacle-like tendrils writhing in the sea current with so many eyes both reptilian and fish like gazing around and hunting any fish that swim in to their reach. I can see our boat on the beach waiting for us but it’s time to go back down and see what is in the bolted rooms on the first floor.
Back on the first floor we light our 5th candle and go up to the bedroom to find a candelabra and light its candles as well giving us more light in the work room. We decide which of the four doors to open and line up the light to shine into the room when the door is open, with me and my trusty bow facing the door from across the room to see in with Leatonay to one side of the door and Yogi to the side the door opens to. Yogi pulls the bolts and heavies the door open; it is a tight fit, but moves under his mighty strength. I can see a large urn with a cactus like plant in it, the plant looks like a curvaceous sickly white woman. As the light hits it, it starts begins to thrash about as if dancing and ejects a load of its needles towards the doorway. I shout ‘shut that door’ as needles head towards me, I dive out of the way and the needles hit the table and plant vines on the wall. The needles do not seem too powerful as they do not even stick in the plant. Yogi is glad that he wasn’t stood in the doorway.
The next door we open in the same way, but this time we move a table for me to get cover behind. When this door is opened an odious green slime oozes out, stopping even Yogi shutting the door. Within this green ooze are many eyeballs each moving around looking here and there? Although are boots are covered by the ooze it does not appear to be any danger. However the plant tendrils suddenly come alive snaking out into the ooze and slurping it up nosily. Eventually after a few hours all the ooze will have been sucked up leaving a floor of eyes. What do these eyes see and what are they connected to?
So to the next door, this cell appears to be empty it is just dark. Leatonay sticks his head in and looks up and sees a black ceiling. Sure that this might be the stuff they are looking for he looks harder and realises that it looks like black grease with bumps and bits stretching downwards. To Leatonay it looks like the grease you get over where meat is roasted in a kitchen, this must be the stuff but how to get at it.
We open the last door next; this also contains an urn this time with a large leafy plant rather than a cactus in it. It has a fat bulbous pod emerging from the thick fleshy stem; this pod has the suggestion of libs. Around the urn and the plant are loads of bones. It appears that there are human, animal and other odd bones here. Leatonay says ‘it’s a large flay trap which eats mammals let’s leave this one’. Now we work on a way to get hold of the black ichor, we decide that we could scrap it off; Leatonay suggests Yogi uses his claws but it ends up with me on a table, which Yogi forces into the room, using my buckler to scrape it off into sheets from the bed above. This takes some time burning through another candle some of the stuff gets in my hair and inside my clothes making me get it off as soon as I can. Eventually it is done and by now the floor outside is clear of ooze.
Down to the ground floor and the room with the well hole in it. Trying to take down the sheets isn’t going to be easy so we transfer the grease into two pails we find in the kitchen. We get Yogi to lower Leatonay and me down each holding a pail Leatonay his shield and me the candle as well. I have the feeling his night sight would be better down here but we will see.