The Strange Land of Agaricales
The History of the Strange Land of Agaricales
The Kingdom of Lumeria was made very wealthy by building fantastic ships and establishing trade routes. This served the nobles and wealthy merchants very well for many years but as time wore on, more and more kingdoms began charging tolls to travel through their lands. This caused King Greywulf to begin looking for a cheaper way to the other side of the continent of Algiz.
The court wizard, Argon the Arrogant, advised the King that he should send a ship as far west as possible. He had been studying the stars and had come to the conclusion that the planet was not flat as everyone thought, but was spherical. The King’s other advisers thought this idea was insane. Even if it turned out to be true, they knew that nobody in their right mind would agree to sail on a possible suicide mission.
Realizing that his advisers were right, Greywulf decided to use “coercive” tactics to get people to agree to go. He threatened to imprison or torture the families of various crew members. Those without families to care about were told they would be sent to prison and given extremely hard labor. In the end, he got enough crew for two ships.
The Peregrine and the Star of the Abyss set sail on a beautiful spring morning. The sky was clear and there was a gentle breeze. The crew couldn’t have asked for a better day to begin their journey.
The trip became arduous however. Some of the food that had been stowed had rotted. Still more of it had been tainted by rats. Men succumbed to disease. Some went insane. One of the ship’s doctors wrote the following in his journal:
It rotted all my gums, which gave out a black and putrid blood. My thighs and lower legs were black and gangrenous, and I was forced to use my knife each day to cut into the flesh in order to release this black and foul blood. I also used my knife on my gums, which were livid and growing over my teeth. When I had cut away this dead flesh and caused much black blood to flow, I rinsed my mouth and teeth with my urine, rubbing them very hard. The unfortunate thing was that I could not eat, desiring more to swallow than to chew. Many of our people died of it every day, and we saw bodies thrown into the sea constantly, three or four at a time. For the most part they died without aid given them, expiring behind some case or chest, their eyes and the soles of their feet gnawed away by the rats.
Three months later, just as the remaining crew were giving up hope, land was spotted. This was not anything like the land they were expecting however. This looked nothing like the Iron Kingdom. There were mighty forests and mountains off in the horizon. Mixed among the trees were what appeared to be enormous mushrooms of all different colors. It was primal yet magnificent to look at. It was as if they had sailed right into the land of the Fairies.
As the ships anchored and the crew prepared the smaller boats for landfall, many of them thought they saw movement in the trees. Nobody was sure of what it could be. This was all so new and exciting yet there was something foreboding in the air. Nevertheless, the landing party departed. A little while later they were walking up the beach and securing the boats.
The crew examined the edge of the forest and found that what they saw mixed among the trees were indeed giant, colorful mushrooms. They began to explore just inside the forest and as they did so, they sensed movement. Not sure if it was friend or foe, they readied their swords and pressed on.
After some time, they came upon a cave and, since it was beginning to get late, they decided to set up camp. They located some dry sticks for a fire, got warmed up, and some of them decided to explore. The cave appeared to be the start of a long cavern. All around the walls and ceiling were phosphorescent fungi and something glistening in the firelight. They got closer and realized it was gold. Lots and lots of gold. All around the cavern. As they started to loosen some of it to take back, something came out from the back of the cavern.
The creature was about the size of a human and walked on two legs. It also had arms and hands like a human but the top of its head looked a toadstool. It had two eyes and a mouth below. Where a nose should be were two slightly sloped vertical slits. It opened its mouth as if to speak but what came out was not like any speech the crew had ever encountered. There was a series of pops and clicks mixed in with guttural noises that sounded as if they were coming from beyond this realm.
The startled crew members stopped what they were doing and began to step backward toward the mouth of the cave. The creature followed. The dreadful noises it made became louder and more forced. It pointed at the crew and seemed to be communicating something but nobody could understand. It became angry.
One of the crew unsheathed his sword as two more similar creatures appeared in the firelight. In seeing this, the frightened crew member lunged at the first one and pierced it in the shoulder. It reeled its head back and wailed as the other two came running forward. The other men drew their swords and began slashing at the beasts. The skin of the creatures stained dark shades of brown where they were hit and an amber liquid seeped out of the wounds.
Although the crew outnumbered the creatures, they found them to be formidable foes. Before all was said and done, the three creatures had taken down ten of the crew. Nobody could really say exactly how they were killed. It looked as if these “things” had simply waved their hands in the faces of a crew member who would then roll their eyes up and fall backward, dead. Their abdomens would then burst in a gush of flesh and blood.
After the incursion, the crew hurried out of the cave and through edge of the forest back down to their boats. As they pushed off shore and began paddling toward the boats, they noticed what appeared to be more of the creatures peering out from the forest. They seemed to watch the small boats until the reached the ships.
Upon arriving at the ships, nobody came to help the landing party get back aboard and raise the boats. They climbed up the ladder and found the first ship to be completely deserted. They yelled over to the other ship and the portion of the landing party that boarded that ship yelled back that it was also empty. The crew searched the boats but could find no sign of the remainder of the crew.
They spent the remainder of the night transferring supplies from the Peregrine to the Star of the Abyss. Having lost so many meant they likely wouldn’t be able to get both ships back so they decided to combine everyone to one. In the morning they hoisted anchor and set sail for home.
The trip back wasn’t much better. A few more crew members were lost to disease and a few more committed suicide. They couldn’t bear to think about what they had witnessed on the land. They had no clue what the creatures were or how they were able to weave such powerful magic.
Upon arriving home, the crew was questioned by the King and his court. They relayed their story but were laughed at and thought of as mad. It was assumed that the men lost the Peregrine in a storm or other such disaster and made up the story to save their reputations.
King Greywulf, hearing that there was gold on the new land, prepared more ships with many more people. If there really were strange creatures, his troops would conquer them and create settlements. They could then mine the gold and become even more wealthy.
It is now centuries later and Agaricales, as the strange land is now known, contains many settlements. Some large and some small. As soon as people found out that there was gold and other precious metals to be mined, they began to migrate. Everybody thought that there was a better life on the other side of the sea.
You recently made landfall in Agaricales and have been hanging around the town of Kharba-dum. This is a mixed settlement of every race from Algiz. It is known for its rich copper mines. This is where your adventure begins…