The Darklake begins to open up into a very wide cavern, hundreds of feet high. Glowing stalactites light the way. It is actually quite beautiful, almost like a night sky of stars without stars. Shuushar says at most it is a half day away, and you can see some dim lights in the distance where he points.
Sanctuary at last!
You see a couple of long boats ahead of you filled with kuo toa. They appear to be fishermen, casting their nets and catching fish with long spears. They wave excitedly to you and approach. Shushar talks back at them and says they sound friendly and are greeting them and wanting to chat and offer food and sustenance.
But…. as you approach, they throw their nets at you. They leap onto the boats and begin attempting to grab people with their pincer spears or knock them unconscous. A brutal battles occurs, where a third of the party is netted or enmeshed repeatedly. The “monitors” and “whips” have powerful pincer spears, magic, and there are a couple dozen kuotoa on the water – their native element.
To your dismay you see an even larger boat filled with kuotoa, approaching at a distance! Reinforcements!
You fight on, but a growing feeling of hopelessness assails you. These kuotoa seem intent on capturing you for some purpose, Shuushar swims around trying to reason with them and then swims to the larger boat. He is useless! Stupid pacifist loser!
But then the large boat occurs. You see a fairly elderly dignified kuo-toa at the prow. He looks angry and you hear whistles and chirps in the kuo toan language.
“Infidels, traitors, you will not assail these good folk”. Quickly your rescuers overpower the assailants, and slaughter some and capture others.
The elderly Kuotoa introduces himself. He is Plooppploopeen, the archpriest of Blibdoolpolp the Sea mother. He is courteous, but firm, used to command.
He apologies for the assault, and explains that the city is now in turmoil. For several centuries, the kuo toa of Sloopbludoop have lived fairly peacefully and harmoniously. They’ve carried on occasional trade with duergar, drow, and other underdark denizens. While generally kuo toa are simple folk, who live quietly alone, they had strangers and tourists visiting and treated them well.
A couple of months ago, his daughter Bloppblippodd, had strange visions. She began to preach about Leemoggoogoon the Deep Father. How he would rise from the depths, and lead the Kuo Toa to glory. They would slaughter others, and the Darklake would become a fishery for them and them alone.
At first Ploop indulged his daughter, whom he doted upon and had expected to succeed him. But she didn’t give up her visions, and they grew increasingly dark. After she and her followers murdered some outsiders, a schism grew between two factions – the traditionalists, led by Ploop and the new adherents of a dark and violent religion led by Blopp.
You find this story interesting, and futher accentuating the odd behavior of the kuo toa is that as he speaks he walks in a circle and many of his adherents follow, like a school of fish.
Shuushar however takes this all very seriously, nodding, shaking his head.
Ploop says he needs a favor of the party, but first he will take them to his home, get them food and water, and a little rest.