Session Log 2022-02-28

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The party, newly wary of the soil paths they trod, marched onwards along the bark wall. After some monotony, they found themselves presented with bore-holes the size of watermelons along the wall. The holes led to surprisingly deep tunnels.

Robin and Ekkels, curious as to what could lie within, crawled into one. Robin soon heard scraping, scuffing, and faint chewing noises. Ekkels realized that the tunnel they crawled had been chewed through, and they unanimously concluded that some kind of termite had done it. As they delved deeper into the tunnel, they found passages to adjacent tunnels, and heard the scraping noises growing louder ahead.

Meanwhile, Ignis and Klaitos patrolled the soil walkway outside. Turning back to the holes, their torchlight revealed dog-sized eyeless insects of varied size crawling down the side of the bark wall. The smaller ones carried harvests of the wood-decaying mushrooms. Before the two could stop them, they were crawling into the very tunnels that Robin and Ekkels were exploring.

As the sound of termites began to surround them, Robin navigated by ear to a side passage momentarily free of inhabitants. She and Ekkels hunkered down in a noxious room, in which the insects were gathering waste to cultivate more fungus. As they waited for the skittering to die down, they willed themselves to keep from vomiting from the stench. Finally, they emerged none the richer from their side expedition. The party settled on a termite warning whistle and moved on.

Some trekking later, they came across a conflict between more termites and a group of other creatures in a patch of bioluminescent mushrooms. Robin advanced stealthily, covering herself in an illusion of Ignis's rot-coated stench, and discerned that the other creatures were venomous human-sized ants hunting termite prey. The party elected to turn aside and find another route.

Near the collapsed end of a long stretch of soil walkway, an ant crossed in front of the party's path and disappeared into an archway above. It seemed to lead somewhere new - a roofed space over a dirt floor. Robin tethered some rope to the bark by the archway, and the rest of the party climbed in.

The space beyond seemed to form a vast, rounded passageway, left and right curving forward. The walls and ceiling were of one semicircular arch of gnarled, tangled wood, dense as multiple trees woven together. Ignis elected for the party to turn left. They passed by another ant or two and a few further patches of glowing mushroom. Opposite the arch they had entered, blocking the path further, stood the base of a hill-sized anthill.

Klaitos eyed the walls of the passage but determined them unlikely to be easily broken. Ekkels proposed the party press onward through the anthill. The party hunched down and climbed into a tunnel entrance near the ground. Robin led the way, keen senses and illusory light trained to keep away from the venomous creatures. Attempting to pass through the heart of the structure, she accidentally stumbled upon a stone archway leading to a more open space. Curious, the party entered.

Beyond the arch, they stood upon a stone sculpture of cupped human palms. They seemed to have found a broad, bowl-shaped pavilion. A house-sized tangle of dead branches lay behind them, and others were spotted here and there, nonmagical and inscrutable. Between the mounds wove park-like paved paths, entering and exiting further portal archways.

The party elected to follow one of the paths. They found the space much easier to navigate, as they were able to see their own torchlight and each other from across the pavilion. Eventually, their path took them to the basin of the bowl, where a pond-sized pool of black magebane slime had collected. Ekkels, low to the ground, spotted further Elven writing, concealed by the magebane. Ignis translated what he could read through the translucent ooze: “And though…essence…lives fill.. our fellow-bearers.”