As Eric kicks in the door and charges through he finds two Intellect Devourers and three Quaggoths waiting for him and he quickly goes to work on a Quaggoth with his Axe. These Quaggoths seem to have what the party later fin are called “Flensing claws”, metal augmentations to their original offensive weapons. Therren backs him up with a massive cone of fire which kills Eric’s Quaggoth severly injures two others and burns an Intellect Devourer to ashes. After a strong opening, Ethia’s spiders head in alongside her Eagle form and they lock down the other devourer as Joe, Tarn and Nennah unload on the remaining Quaggoths. Things take a tun for the worse however when several of the party are stunned by a psychic blast from an unknown source. Finally Rick runs in and stabs the last teetering Quaggoth finishing it off. IT would seem that the parties troubles are over, but another attack from nowhere lets them know there are more enemies somewhere.
Ethia remembers this as her master’s quarters, now converted to a filthy guard post. There should be a door straight ahead and indeed as Eric throws a stone through it the wall is revealed to be an illusion. Standing behind it, is a Mind Flayer!
The Illithid quickly casts a spell but nothing seems to happen. That is until Eric launches a javelin at it’s head. The weapon smacks into the invisible wall and finds no target. Eric investigates and reveals the wall bisects much of the room, leaving only the brain sucking creature and a currently stunned Joe on one side of it.
Ethia and Joe work to try to come to their senses as the rest of the party try to find a way to breach the wall or attack the Mind Flayer in indirect ways. Magic Missiles are employed but the creature is trained in the ways of the Arcane and blocks with a shield. Tarn blasts a hole in the stones above the wall and this allows Eric to bring down a portion of the ceiling using a javelin as a lever. The resulting hole is just enough for someone to squeeze through. The next thirty seconds have the party slowly overcoming the barrier as the Illithid continues to keep concentration on the wall despite hit after hit. It seems that here Rick might not be trying as hard as he might to get over the wall. The Illithid manages to get it’s tentacles around a severely injured Joe’s head, but Joe manages to fight it off just before his skull would have been penetrated.
As the party close in and the wall drops the badly injured Mind Flayer manages to cast some sort of transportation spell and it vanishes into nothing. Investigation of the area suggests it’s not invisible, just gone.
Now the party are able to see into the next room, what should be a Library has been emptied of books and replaced with holding tanks full of a brackish green/yellow liquid. As Joe investigates, a MindFlayer Tadpole jumps up at him. THese appear to be tanks which store eggs and young of the Illithids. Nennah uses acid to destroy the contents of two of the tanks and Therren uses targeted fire bolts on the other two to slowly eliminate the threats. Any negotiation is probably off the table from now on. Tarn and Rick provide some explanations of the Arcane magic the Illithids are using. This is very strange and is the sort of thing that would get a normal Mind Flayer kicked out of their colony.
The gang decide that there is no possibility of waiting long enough to rest as much as they’d like, but they do decide for some members to barricade these rooms and take a short rest. Therren and Nennah, who are not so injured as the rest, along with some Mephits summoned by Ethia, do a little further exploration into the next room during this time. It seems that this was once the common area and kitchen, with doors Ethia’s former bedroom and a larder. Now there are two extra bedrooms. Exploration of these reveals that they’ve been turned into Illithid quarters for Arcane using Illithids. Their books and desks have experiments and journals written in the Mind Flayers psychic language/script. These detail the Flensing claws, the cranium rats investigations on a bottle of some sort of unknown magic potion which Therren pockets. They also find information regarding the Illithids’ search for a new form of immortality now that their personalities continued existence in an Elder Brain is no longer an option. They’re looking at lichdom, but they’re not powerful enough yet. There is information indicating that there is a short cut to being undead by becoming an Alhoon. This would provide enough time to research and master true lichdom.
Therren casts Mindspeak on all but Ric and so he’s kept out of some of these conversations and revelations.
Time passes quietly, with no challenge from the rest of the dungeon, even though its inhabitants must know the party is there. They’re not far from the end of Ethia’s memories now and the ever pressing knowledge of the Devils who must be on their way keeps the group focused. What is the relationship between the Devils and The Mind Flayers? Are they Friends, Acquaintances or Enemies? Only time will tell.
Still what they’ve gone though recently leaves the party feeling like they’ve learned a lot.
(Level up to 12)