Carousing page for Last Word on the Moathouse
Cut Coutelain will build a funeral pyre for Pamflower and Bassk (not a carouse).
Consulting with Jarreau Ashstaff and his flock, who clearly know how to get down, Cut decides to bury his grief along with those "children of ze forest". Following Snickwick's lead, he will reproduce the food, drink, music, and "flowers" (as available) of that rollicking woodland worship service that introduced him to the hippie cult worshippers of the old gods in Sligo as he makes his way to Glantri. "Keeck your skirts up, Preetchard! (hic!)"
In the sunlit priest’s quarters at Chateau Touranne, Percival wipes the juice of a stewed prune from his moustaches, and clears his mouth with a sip of cold milk. Dusting crumbs from his fingers and shirtfront, he gives his latest missive a final read…
I write to apprise you of my latest endeavors, and to assure you that I am well, and Triannoma’s mission proceeds apace.
After some investigating, I have determined that the most likely source of the chaos is not in fact the Temple identified by my Mothers, but the vile manse known as Rogwollow Castle. I continue my work with the Pritchard Hood and his “Success Team".
I am pleased to report that I have established contact with the local Baron, a most noble and generous gentleman by the name of Denis-Alfonse de Ransour. Trianomma smiles upon him, though I fear that his faith may be in crisis. It is a sad thing when those who Trianomma loves best cannot give thanks for the provider of their bounty. I am certain that a modicum of guidance from one of Trianomma’s best will shew the true path to those who are lost. I have endeavored to earn my keep here in the Valee Tourainne acting as house chaplain to these spiritually impoverished islolates. As much as I am willing to decamp to that poor and shabby thorpe known as Homlette, my calling demands that I conduct the goddess’ business where I hear the voice, and it she calls me here, to these comfortable (if austere) sectors of the valley, behind the walls of Chateau Touraine.
I am very excited to report that I have also taken on the burden of the spiritual mentorship to the princess apparent, the most beautiful and tender Madelaine de Sylaire. She is a most intriguing and precocious creature, and while she is yet the ward of master Ransour, she is of an age considered marriageable in most regions of the principalities. She speaks the high tongue with a grace and fluidity that belies her course upbringing, and while her courtly decorum is somewhat crude (as might only be expected of a flower grown in this rough soil) she shows flashes of brilliance in her comportment, and I think she may become one of the most treasured birds in garden of the princes. Fear not my Matron! I have not forgotten my vows! I love no woman but Trianomma, and never again will I stumble, there will be no repeat of the incident at Chantrembleu. My interest in this one is truly one of faith, trust in your servant Percival!
Of course my first priority, as always, is the extrusion of chaos from the land, and my focus remains unwavering.
Percival the Merciful, Hexarch of Trianomma.
This is not a carouse, just a letter from Perciaval, it may be that he receives a response recalling him to Glantri City hmmm?
The watery light of dawn morning sheds its first light on the empty streets of Hommlette. A fine crust of frost traces the windows and rooftops, and clumps of ice and snow have begun to gather on the little creek that passes behind the inn. Snickwick peers out his upper window of the Welcome Wench, even as his companions snore contentedly under their blankets. His mind troubled and distant as he sits perched on the sill.
He’s had the dream again. The Mushroom King, deep in his cavern, a strange radiance flickering across his craggy countenance as his huge bulk sways slowly from side to side. His Myconids surround him in concentric circles, complex photoluminescence playing across their domed heads in complex and colorful patters, the creatures appear to be singing and dancing, in some strange ritual or celebration. The ancient fungus looks out from the black pits that serve as his eyes, staring deep into the Gnome. Even in his wakened state, he can hear the rumbling call of the Mushroom King echoing inside his mind… “SNRRRKWRRRRK. MMRRNN FOOOM DDDDUURRNN BRRRRRMMM, DDDDUURRNN BRRRRRMMM FEEEEEEENNN… SNRRRKWRRRRK.” Is it a warning? A call for help? An invitation to a birthday party? He cannot know, but he is called.
Before the first sliver of sun rises above the horizon, the Gnome has packed his few possessions and set out for Happy Valley. The only evidence of his passage are the faint sandal prints left in frosty grass, which have already begun to melt away with the coming dawn.
Snickwick will visit the Mushroom King. He will make his way to Sligo, where he will hire the best woodsman he can find in area – someone who can get him to the King’s chamber without detection from the local lizardmen, beasties or the thralls of Warms. Should he make it, he will open his mind once more to the Mushroom king, drinking in whatever knowledge or message he may seek to impart. This is a standard carouse – presumably monies spent would go towards identifying the best guide and paying his/her fees. Big Money, no Whammies!
The little gnome dashes through the mountain passes, as quick as his little legs can carry him. He skirts the vacant bluff hiding Rogwallow Castle and trots toward the small village of Sligo. A thin frost has blown from the hills and covers shacks and harvested fields. His first winter in his new frame of mind is approaching. He wonders at the chill of the months ahead and sees his first snow owl, perched on a tall post, watching him pass in the twilight.
Svent Miekas, the grown son of the proprietor of the Strap and Lace, promises to help him get to the Hollow the next day. He has friends among the rangers of the valley and knows how to skirt the swampy morass in the middle. A few will join them, at the gnomes insistence.
Upon their approach before noon, however, after passing within sight distance of the weatherbeaten terraces of the Steps, where the brothers Des Esseintes are buried, and into the twisted clumps of bog-life, Svent grows uncertain. This area, not far from Warms, is silent but for the cawing of unseen crows and other carrion birds. There is evidence of non-humans in moderate numbers, passing back and forth. Perhaps troglodytes. The woodsmen stand guard as Snickwick is lowered down the Hollow.
He nearly leaps out of his skin, even while his tiny hands twist around the rope. The walls are decorated with cultish symbols. The serpentine sigil of Explictica Defilus. A few white skulls blown into the rocks with unknown powders.
He asks - please - if Svent will come along. There is one more drop, one more rope to fasten. They hear faint dripping in the darkness. The human needs to light a torch. Snickwich is very uncertain. But then — his pouch… something in his pouch vibrates warmly. The rest of the way, where the cave fishers attacked, he holds the pulsing, proud, puffing shrieker pellets he has been carrying, pleased to be entering to their home. The gypsum and glowing sedimentary rocks lacing the walls flash and shine — the cavern widens… as does the gnomes hand, holding them forth:
Here! Here, little fungus seeds! Here is your king!!
But the great Mushroom King stands listlessly in the darkness, still alone, his magnificent rings of harmonious mushroom men, holding hands, thundering around as they ran too and fro, and infecting bodies with enlivening bits of resurrection spurts, gone. Since last the gnome was here, the great heaving shroom has lifted itself closer to the ebbing magics pouring from the strange hall of the Wyrds and Amos Foster's library. And He has shot spores ineffectually in all directions.
SNRRRKWRRRRK. MMRRNN FOOOM DDDDUURRNN BRRRRRMMM, DDDDUURRNN BRRRRRMMM FEEEEEEENNN… SNRRRKWRRRRK.. FRENNNNN.. RVNNENEN… SNRRKKWRRRKK
The gnome tumbles forward and embraces the spongy tissue. Its lacerating tentacles droop around him protectively. SNRRRKWRRRRK. MMRRNN FOOOM.. SNRRRKWRRRRK. MMRRNN FOOOM..
Snickwick falls asleep against the giant's bulbous, mushy flesh. His nose presses into its gaps and pores, he breathes its communications, its feelings. He has dreams of red and green, blue and yellow, spritely, dancing mayfungus and junefungus. He chatters with happy coneheads and mystery men with teeth made out of lichens. He feels smoldering morself of undying mushroom life pour into parts of himself.
Vaguely, deeply, scarcely haunting that deep and marvelous sleep, he hears: "Snickwick! Gnome! Little man! They are coming! Ranson has heard them! We must go!" And then the cutting of a rope.
Later, the next day… or many days? Or lifetimes! Snickwick painfully hauls his body up the dripping, cold and mossy walls of the hollow. His fingers numb and cut, up one chimney, then the much wider entrance. Stock still in the noonlight filtering through the trees, he does not yet budge. He hears nothing —
Wait! The hissing of an adder!
But a real adder. Dangerous enough — it licks the air, then langorously slithers up a tree.
Snickwick scrabbles down the hill and picks his way back to Sligo, in his pack the pellets of his shrieking friends, joined with the tripartite heart of the carved open Mushroom King. The three hearts will thunder and moan inside his pouches (if ony so he can hear), but not for long. In the winter months ahead, he must find new lands to plant them. Subterranean lands. With mulch and moss enough to feed upon, and corpses… Death to life. Life upon life. Dirt, and marrow, and heaving. Damp, and moisture, and song, and joining hands. Fungus, breathing, dancing, floating, forever.
He closes his eyes, the flecks and motes of dust swimming golden beneath his lids. Not just fungal life… but all life! All of it! One task after another, and these among the first!
A crashing comes through the woods, interrupting his reverie. He is not an athletic sort of gnome, and barely escapes! Stone clubs and knives, javelins hurtling into the swamp around him. Reptilian faces, lizard eyes…
Snickwich spends 500gp on his carouse, hiring Svent and his friends, and then regaining their confidence once he returns. Part of this amount also goes to compost, rinds and potting for the polyps he now carries, as well as perfume to hide the scent of wet decay. He rolls a 4 for his saving throw — failure! For his next adventure, he will be at -1 to his Constitution for the stress of the climb and escaping with his life.