The story begins with the drive being sold off in Kanda City. Simkins pays everyone off, and gives them a few days to waste while he gets a wagon train of supplies for the folks on the Upper Berare river together. Rook spends the time drinking, the rest stay out of trouble. Robb asks for some advice about himself and Alise and is told (by pretty much everyone) “Man up boy, life’s hard and you have to make choices, so make the decision. In the end Robb convinces Alise to join him and his mother in moving to the Berare River valley, Mel has decided to go work for the Simkin’s ranch.
The wagon train arrives without event, several days pass as it’s unloaded and people head to their homesteads.
Once things stabilize a bit life begins in earnest. Simkins and his folks begin looking into their herds, and into where to raise a church to Erathis. (as he’d sworn, and he doesn’t break his word) One day, while working a herd in a valley up in the hills, the group discovers that the cows in this herd are looking sickly. Some investigation reveals that many have died recently, from lung diseases. The whole valley seems to be sprouting up fungi in various forms. As everyone begins rounding up the cattle to drive them to another valley Alruna is struck by a falling bit of rot as she passes under a tree. She falls from her horse, which soon keels over and dies. Alruna tries to get to her feet a few times before collapsing, and then passes out while trying to crawl out from under the trees. Aeran succeeds in lassoing her shield and the group pulls her out into the open. Pieter checks her over and discovers that she seems to be dying from a long-term lung infection, like the cattle. It looks like she’s been infected for months, clearly a supernatural agency has been involved. Some spellcraft reveals that a divine miracle has taken place, but nothing more is found about what happened.
Returning with Alruna, who is put under Mel and Tara Simkins’ care. (Tara is Dar’n Simkins sister-in-law and is an old hatchet of a woman who runs the ranch with an Iron Fist that even Dar’n himself won’t buck.) In an outlying field they find Boss Simkins and ask for his advice. Dar’n tells them it sounds like Alruna has run foul of “Ol’ Yuggie”, one of the local gods. He doesn’t have much to say about Yuggoth except to note that he’s popular with the young, and is old enough that he mostly sleeps a lot. He does say they could find Crazy Horse and ask him, and directs them upriver if they want to find him.
Heading up the Berare Pieter asks at each homestead he comes across about Crazy Horse. At Jeb’s ranch they finally put together a story. Many years ago a dwarf from the old world arrived, with his wife. When Roj Baker’s wife was killed he abandoned his life and lands. Wandering the hills Roj came to believe in, and worship Yuggoth. He went native, taking a native wife, and changing his name to Crazy Horse. Over the years since then he’s wandered the local area acting as a priest of Yuggoth and generally being a crazy hermit. He doesn’t know where he is now, but says that if they head NE of the Berare into the hills they might be able to find Crazy Horse’s home.
Wythe confirms that there’s something magical going on to the NE of Jeb’s place, across the river, that seems to be affecting the weather in a broad way and is divine in nature. Pieter leads the group into the winding box canyons and valleys in the hills seeking for a good hill from which to look out for sign of Crazy Horse. Rook does some mountain climbing to set pitons and ropes in place, because heavily armored people don’t get to the tops of hills without help. And once atop a few hills Aeran and the group try to spot signs of humanoid habitation. Off in a distant valley they see a trickle of smoke rising into the sky.
Entering the valley in question after a few hours hiking they spot a sod cabin at the other end, near a pond. Around the house are ritually butchered carcasses, skeletons hung up, and plenty of evidence that the inhabitant seriously nuts. The valley itself seems to harbor a prolific amount of fungus as well. As they approach the cabin a crazy dwarf, entirely naked, with one blind eye, wielding a staff comes out to confront them.
Crazy Horse proves to live up to his name. He’s bugger-nuts crazy, drifting in and out of reality, and is completely incapable of a coherent conversation. It seems he’s been eating the “magic mushrooms” a bit too much. Due to some insightful analysis of the fractured conversations he has by Wythe the group figures out more about Yuggoth and learn an ancient tale that may help them out.
Many years before Roj Baker became Crazy Horse there was an Indian maid who was taken by Yuggoth, just as Alruna was. Her beloved, a formidable brave, set forth from his tribe to seek Yuggoth’s shrine so that he could bargain for her life. Once there the brave was cast aside by Yuggoth for he had nothing of value to the Fungal Lord. Unwilling to relinquish his intended bride the brave then killed everyone in the shrine, he then held Yuggoth to ransom threatening to violate (or even destroy) his shrine unless he released the Indian maid. Yuggoth relented, and the on returning to his tribe the brave found the maid had been healed.
There is a good bit of lying involved in getting Crazy Horse to reveal where the shrine is. He’s not about to betray his god, but by convincing him they are pilgrims going with him to the shrine the group manages to get him to divulge the location. They are warned that it’s very dangerous, there are the Children of Yuggoth who guard the entrance. Within lie the abhomination-filled perils of the underearth, and deep below the Shrine of Yuggoth lies within a kingdom of fungi. When Crazy Horse heads into his cabin to get some things for the pilgrimage the group bolts, leaving him behind.
After more travel they find the valley Crazy Horse has directed them too and begin searching for the entrance to the shrine. They are unsuccessful in concealing their search and are attacked by a band of troglodytes (Yuggoth’s Children). The fight is quite nasty, and though they do slay some warriors and a shaman they only succeed in driving off the troglodyte javelineers, who retreat to play Adam and Eve for their Fungal God. Inside the group finds a lapis lazuli, crudely carved, fetish of Yuggoth, which is worth 500 gp to anyone who buys lapis. They also find a tunnel leading further down.
Below the entrance cave the tunnel quickly breaks into a meshing network of tunnels and caverns the group must search. Some time and effort are put into the search. Soon enough the party runs into trouble, as they enter a cavern they see (and are seen by) several horrors. A fierce black ooze squidges out of a glowing pool to attack and bottle them up while a displacer beast and a destrachan attack from range. Two alpha gricks also move to engage. Despite petrifying the ooze and one of the gricks for a time, and despite a brilliant blow by Aeran that practically kills the displacer beast, the fight is very dangerous. Many people are bloodied, healing words are used, and most of the enemy is still standing, and are in fine shape.
Deep below the surface-dwellers things look quite bleak for our heroes. The Raven Queen seems to be drawing near . . .. .