Copyright � 2002-2017 by Dustin Jon Scott
[Last Update: Decemberrd, 2017]
¶I. At the dawn of the second day, Serenity, Faith, and Liberty left the Garden of Liss-Heim and began toward the end of the Somberwood, ever fearing that the Maenads might’ve been near.
¶II. The three Dryads then came unto the Somberwood’s edge aft many hours of walking, only to be halted by a cliff face.
¶III. “What do we do now?” asked Serenity.
¶IV. “Follow me,” said Liberty.
¶V. And Liberty clomb up onto the rocky stoop afore the russet stone wall, her fingers clenching the cold, linty moss that coated the boulders as her bare feet pressed deeply into and threatened to slip upon the damp sphagnum.
¶VI. Serenity and Faith followed closely as then Liberty ducked into a small adit in the rocks.
¶VII. Inside the rock face they found themselves within a dank cavern, where all around there were echoes of water droplets dripping from the stalactites above. Ahead of them was a faint light source, to which ever they walked through a crop of gnarled and twisted stalagmites as in the distance bats squeaked and rats chirped. And strong was the reek of acids emitted by the fungi that fed upon the bat’s guano.
¶VIII. They came after a short time to a bend in the tunnel, around from which the light seemed to come. Liberty peered around the corner, and saw a room softly filled with orange light from thirteen torches; each torch was held by a Lampad, or Torch Nymph.
¶IX. Liberty rounded the corner without fear now of making herself visible, motioning for Serenity and Faith to follow, and then as they entered the room hailed to the Lampads.
¶X. “Welcome to the underground,” said one of the Lampads, recognizing Serenity, Liberty, and Faith as Wood Nymphs -- for whilst the Lampads could only have hair in the shades of red and eyes of ruby, and all had tawny skin, the Dryads could have eyes of blue to green and hair of blonde to red, and had skin that was fair and often freckled. The Lampads then introduced themselves: Avidity, Salacity, Lust, Fervidness, Carnality, Ribaldry, Lubricity, Erotica, Desire, Sybarity, Savor, Calidity, and Regale.
¶XI. “Thank you,” replied Faith. “We are trying to reach the Elderwood. Could ye help us?”
¶XII. “Verily,” replied Avidity. “We know these tunnels well. Follow us, and we’ll take you straight there.” And so the Lampads led the Dryads deeper into the underground.
¶XIII. As they traveled further into the chamber there seemed to grow in abundance patches of molds in all manners of consistency. There were those that were white and downy as like a froth; those that were as pappy spherules of yellow, gold, orange, or red; those that were oily and hued in blacks and livid greens; those that looked as polished tan kernels; those that were as clumping, white powders; and those that formed circles of white filled with pastel greens, mauves, azures, sallows, pinks, and many other pale shades. And all of these types mingled together in each other’s patches, some dense and others spread.
¶XIV. As they walked, not only did these patches grow thicker and more plentiful, but they began to cover the stalagmites and cave walls as well. And among these patches the Dryads began to see many other varieties of fungus. There were puffballs; some slender and heightwise oblong, while others were round and spiny in appearance, and still others were of some middle twixt the two. There were agarics of all colors, most of them white, but some of stunning vibrancy and a scarce few that glowed as fireflies. There were also many morels and truffles, as well as a great number of sacred mushrooms.
¶XV. “Between the smoke from your torches and the breaths of these fungi, I fear we shall suffocate if we continue any further,” said Serenity.
¶XVI. “Thou needn’t worry,” said Regale. “There shall be plenteous fresh air where we’re going.”
¶XVII. And so ahead the Lampads and the Dryads forged, as all around them the fungi grew more robust. Many of the puffballs now appeared almost as great white conifers, and the walls and ceiling of the tunnel, even the stalactites, were covered in mottled molds.
¶XVIII. Not much time had passed fore it seemed they’d come unto a great jungle of all these fungi, most of them so large they rivaled the trees and underbrush of the forests above.
¶XIX. The cave’s ceiling there was hundreds of feet high, and a fog of spores cloaked much of the jungle’s floor. Ahead of them was small, stone bridge that arched over a gurgling, underground brooklet that marked the border of an even larger and lusher jungle beyond.
¶XX. “What is this place?” asked Liberty.
¶XXI. “Thou art in Shroomseid, the land of our tribe,” said Carnality. “We’ll letup here for a few hours. The path ahead isn’t for the weary.” And to this Serenity, Faith, and Liberty agreed.
¶XXII. And so the Torch Nymphs and the Wood Nymphs crossed over the small, stone bridge and into the greater jungle, and walked through the mushroom forest and into a clearing.
¶XXIII. “Be careful where ye Dryads sit,” warned Ribaldry. “Ye do not want to become afflicted with butt-rot.” And the Dryads feigned laughter at the horrid pun.
¶XXIV. The Lampads stacked their torches in the center of the clearing, and built there a campfire.
¶XXV. And the Lampads and the Dryads lay around the campfire as from the forest surrounding them came Agarians bearing gifts.
¶XXVI. Each Agarian had the appearance of a plump mushroom or toadstool, and was nearly four feet in height. Each had two gangling arms that protruded from the stipe just below the ring, and two stout legs at the stipe’s bottom. Upon the thickest part of the stipe, between the ring and the gills, were on each of them two dark eyespots facing forward, and below the two eyespots each of them had a single, small mouth that was so featureless as to appear but a mere crease.
¶XXVII. The gifts that the Agarians bore were mushroom caps; some were as large baskets filled with sacred mushrooms, and others were small and filled with some kind of tea. The Agarians set the gifts adown near the Nymphs and then retreated back slowly into the jungle.
¶XXVIII. The Lampads began to eat of the sacred mushrooms and drink of the tea, and offered some unto the Dryads, who eagerly accepted and ate of the psilocybes and imbibed the brew.
¶XXIX. Now those fungi that twinkled and glowed in the darkness beyond the light cast by the campfire began to arouse attention from the Nymphs, who by then were tripping out. It seemed that the fungi were flickering in tally with the sounds of the bats, which in turn seemed to be squeaking in musical rhythm.
¶XXX. Next the Nymphs’ skin began to tingle, and they all began to massage one another, and groomed each other’s hair. Then after only a short time they began to kiss one another’s shoulders, necks, and cheeks as they kneaded at one another’s skin. And then the kneading turned not to lighthearted fondling, but to passionate caressing, and they began to make love. But this was not the frolicsome, jovial lovemaking the Dryads were accustomed to; this was rather an impassioned, ruttish frenzy of sweltering flesh.
¶XXXI. For hours they made love in this manner, until at end all were left gasping desperately for breath as limply their limbs lay atop each other.