A Matter for Mushrooms

Date: 6/26/2012 at 16:23
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: A Matter for Mushrooms

It was a seasonably normal day in Dioni when the Wheel of Goloths
appeared once more, spiraling through the skies above the Razine
Mountains. A grim, red light raced across the heavens, heralding the
arrival of another spinning portal. Like clockwork, the eerie voice of a
commanding Dame blared a dark portent to the Basin of Life, commanding
her horde of one-eyed dominators to "collect a sample."

Adventurers from across the lands raced to the Razine Mountains in
search of the tell-tale signs of the dominators. The augurs of
destruction, mayhem, and death that typically walk hand-in-hand with the
one-eyed horde were not immediately discovered, however, and the Basin
of Life fell silent for the span of several heartbeats. Suddenly, a
visceral cry filled the air, echoing up from the entrances of the
Undervault. More cries followed swiftly after the first, multiplying
into an eerie chorus until the Basin of Life shuddered with the sound.

After so long, it became clear that the cries, desperate and anguished,
roared forth from the mouths of colossal insects. The residual echoes of
enormous mandibles clacking against stone walls filled out the
intervening moments when the brave adventurers decided, as a pack, to
pour themselves headlong into the cavernous depths of the Undervault. A
mad search began, starting at the entrance by the Holy Shrine of
Klangratch in the Razine Mountains, where the Wheel of Goloths now stood
as a grim reminder of its untold origins and the chaos that it brings as
it moves across the Basin. The search ended, fruitlessly, and the
adventurers seemed at a loss until the small, insistent voice of Pilea
Myceli was heard pleading with what could only have been the one-eyed
dominators, begging them not to hurt her experiments-- the very
enormous, aggressive insects that cried out when the dominators arrived,
which Pilea referred to as the mycefax.

Pilea's shouting brought the adventurers closer to their targets. It was
Oberst Ushaara Gordian and Private Ejava, both from Hallifax, and
Serenguard Haghan Eli'Silar, from the Serenwilde, who arrived on the
scene first, discovering a frantic, incoherent Pilea, a tiny hyfae with
a knack for scientific experimentation, huddled against the cavern walls
of her makeshift laboratory in the Caverns of the Hyfae. More
adventurers arrived as Pilea began unfolding the tale that led to her
state of desperate unrest, revealing -- between sobs -- that the mycefax
were her greatest creations and that the "one-eyes" disturbed them,
unsettling them from their slumber in the hatcheries that stem from
Pilea's alcove.

It wasn't long before the gathered adventurers speculated, rightfully,
that the dominators must have accidentally startled the slumbering
mycefax in their quest for something poor Pilea held within her alcove,
triggering a stampede of sorts that broke the dominators' formation and
stirred up the denizens of the Undervault. The speculation about what it
was that attracted the dominators to Pilea's alcove, whether it was the
fungus or something else, was cut short by the imperious shouting of
Rusacha, Dame of the Weft, who commanded her dominators to alter their
mission: rather than to simply collect some sort of sample, the
objective now included the destruction of the stampeding mycefax.

Waves of dominators flooded the Hyfae, much to Pilea's horror, and the
mycefax grew angrier and angrier as a result, becoming ever more
agitated by the dominators' feeble attempts to dispatch them. In
response to this new directive, the adventurers split into different
formations of their own in an attempt to hold back the flood of one-eyed
beings, but the Dame of the Weft continued her fight, commanding her
small army to retreat only when the new target was defeated.

Up until this point, Pilea had begged the adventurers to leave the
mycefax alone, expressing her regrets at the casualties they may have
caused, but assuring them that they truly meant no harm. And so the
stalemate ensued; dominators continued to fill the caverns and the
adventurers continued to fend them off. After due deliberation, and with
the Dame's threat lingering, Pilea made the weary decision to encourage
the adventurers to put down the mycefax that were too far gone to be
saved, all in an effort to quell the flood of the dominators from
further damaging her experiments. With their new, grim task in front of
them, the adventurers made swift work of the mycefax and the remaining
dominators, sustaining minor casualties in the process.

As the last of Pilea's creatures fell, the Dame of the Weft announced
that her mission was a success and the Wheel of Goloths flew through the
skies once more, opening the portal through which the dominators escaped
from whence they came, fewer in numbers but seemingly successful.

Little Pilea, regaining her composure, began the tale of her successes
once more, explaining that she could not have fathomed the power of the
fungus that she grew and the effects it had upon the insects, which
became the mycefax. As the gathered adventurers processed this
information, Pilea fell into a meditative trance, using her tendril-like
appendages to sort through the roots of the fungus that grows in her
alcove, determining that dozens of her mycefax still live-- and were
perhaps, at this moment, reproducing in the depths of the Undervault.
Delighted, Pilea informed the gathering that she believes, with a little
help, she can grow more fungus that might lure them back to her cavern,
where she could complete their evolution into new guardians for the
Queens of the Kepheran Hives. But first, she would need a few moments to
compose herself.

Eager to help but respectful of Pilea's wishes for silence, the
gathering left the tiny alcove in the Caverns of the Hyfae, promising to
return soon in order to assist her with her new project. All but Spirit
Warden Xenthos An'Ryshe, the now fallen Ascendant and long-time servant
of the Glomdoring Forest. Sensing ill-intent, Pilea ignored the presence
of Xenthos, muttering about her allegiance to the Kephera Hives and her
mistrust of their enemies. At these words, the fallen Ascendant struck
young Pilea, murdering her in cold blood.

When the eager adventurers returned to the caverns to find Pilea
missing, a new quest for answers erupted, resulting in the counsel of
Wise Lamella of the Hyfae, elder of the Tryko Forest, who informed Heir
Sondayga Zayah of the Serenwilde that treachery from within the caverns
led to Pilea's death and that the Tryko would only return her to life
when it was safe. With a little prodding, the adventurers coaxed out of
Wise Lamella the solution to their problems: the extermination of the
enemies of the Hyfae.

A bloody battle broke out, resulting in spilled blood and short-lived
deaths. The Glomdoring returned with more strength each time they were
repelled, led by the fallen Ascendant, and the guardians of Pilea's
experiments were at a loss-- when she was returned to life, she was
struck down just as quickly. Wise Lamella, powerful and mysterious,
could only offer Pilea's saviors a burst of energy that would allow
Pilea to avoid the cold metal of Xenthos's blade for a short while,
perhaps allowing them a chance to help her grow new fungus.

It was Serenguard Haghan Eli'Silar who championed the first return of
the elusive mycefax, a bulbous centipede-like creature that transformed
into a massive version of itself, but as the adventurers led the
creature to its destination, Queen Sethmenton's hive, the fickle nature
of the intelligent mycefax reigned, resulting in its premature return to
the wilderness of the Undervault.

Pilea's dangerous experiments, tentatively recovered by the willingness
of more who would help her raise new fungi, continue to roam the dark
corners of the Undervault, unseen and as enigmatic as the dominators who
caused their distress. What were the dominators looking for? If it was
truly Pilea's experimental fungus that lured the dominators to the
Undervault, what could they possibly need such an unstable,
transformative substance for?

Penned by My hand on the 20th of Dvarsh, in the year 328 CE.