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What foul things lurk in the deep, dark places of the world. And surely chief among them is the unknowable evil, from time before time. The devourers of thought, the eaters of brains; the mindflayers!

You are one of these abominations, and how glorious it is! A firm slender body of strange hue, crowned by a tentacled head and ravenous maw. A grim, alien gaze connotes a mind beyond measure, and a hunger for the forbidden. Well equipped for success in your inscrutable plans, and strive for domination!

Ah, but first what sort of mindflayer, or illithid, are you? What unique trait differentiates you from the rest of your grotesque kind?

>Body - The physical form cannot be denied or neglected, and you benefit through balance with the mental. Unlike other illithids, your body is robust and healthy, and as a bonus you can survive bodily strain better including the need to feed on brains.
>Mind - The true power of your race is the mind, and yours is beyond compare! Your mental abilities are greater, and as a bonus you can manage your senses better, such as sensitivity to light.
>Void - The origin of your kind, you have a natural tolerance of the realm beyond time and space, and can safely dabble with its influence. Gifts of the Void are yours to share with the world, and as a bonus you are resistant to magic.

I was in a car accident recently, so this is something to occupy myself while recovering. I'll try to QM as much as I'm able, so try to bear with me, and see if we can have some fun.
>>
>>4975653
>>Void - The origin of your kind, you have a natural tolerance of the realm beyond time and space, and can safely dabble with its influence. Gifts of the Void are yours to share with the world, and as a bonus you are resistant to magic.
>>
>>4975653
>Void - The origin of your kind, you have a natural tolerance of the realm beyond time and space, and can safely dabble with its influence. Gifts of the Void are yours to share with the world, and as a bonus you are resistant to magic.
>>
>>4975653
>Body - The physical form cannot be denied or neglected, and you benefit through balance with the mental. Unlike other illithids, your body is robust and healthy, and as a bonus you can survive bodily strain better including the need to feed on brains.
We shall be the buffest of the space nerds.
>>
>>4975730
Support
Just... because...

And with enough effort we can improve our mental power, and with a strong body we have a better chance at surviving the path towards it along with the void stuff
>>
>>4975653
>Void
>>
>>4975730
+1
>>
>>4975653
>Mind - The true power of your race is the mind, and yours is beyond compare! Your mental abilities are greater, and as a bonus you can manage your senses better, such as sensitivity to light.

It is best to specialize and take advantage of our already high base intelligence
>>
>>4975653
>Body
>>
>>4975653
>Body
>>
Void or Body both are good
I like Body for the lols
so pody +1
>>
>>4975653
>>Body -
>>
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Looks like Body has the majority vote!

>>4976055
>>4975971
>>4975885
>>4975840
>>4975809
>>4975800
>>4975788
>>4975776
>>4975730
>>4975705
>>4975674
>Body

Let there be no illusions that the power of the mind is what exalts your race above all others. But among your fellow illithid peers, you rise above due to your powerful body... relatively speaking. Though other mindflayers may look down upon physicality, considering it beneath your race and the domain of savages, you know that balance is important. For all the lofty goals of illithid-kind and the obsessive focus on mentality, none can deny you the results of a strong hand where psychic power isn't enough. You are equally able to match wits with your tentacled brethren but more than one argument or dispute with a peer has been settled with a fist.

Perhaps this is why you have a bit of a bad reputation in Yphor, your home city in the Underdark; that vast and cavernous expanse in the darkness beneath the world. But your results speak for themselves as do your successes, warranting you something of a unique role among your kind. A taskmaster, an able-bodied agent of the Elder Brain for when personal involvement of an actual mindflayer (rather than lesser thralls) is called for. And you better than any other of your kin are capable of surviving the harsh world beyond the city. Probably thanks to your host, the formerly living person whose body is now your own. An "adventurer" among their kind, humans, as much as you are among your own kind, illithids.

And thus, why you now find yourself farther from home than you have ever been. Farther than any mindflayer you know of in fact, traversing caverns beneath the world into drow territory. Those dark elves, traditional rivals of your kind in the Underdark, and no better than tasty morsels as far as you're concerned. But for reasons unknown to you, the drow reached out in a rare diplomatic gesture. The promise of ceded territory, an entire underground river in exchange for a task completed, without the cost of thrall (much less illithid) lives? This, the Elder Brain could not ignore.

Of course it could just be a trap, another ruse by those fickle drow. But you're prepared for it, as you trespass into their territory now as evidenced by navigation markers in the darkness. It's not long after that you pick up on light sources and soon reach the meeting place; a damp chasm split by a waterfall. The faint whisper of thoughts, audible to you past the cascade of water... the dark elves are nearby, by all indications waiting for you.

>Observe them, see what you can learn before interacting. Knowledge is power.
>No point wasting your precious time, approach and introduce yourself. Suss out if this is a genuine opportunity.
>They might have a trap for you, but you certainly have a trap for them! A little hostility ought to set the playing field.
>[Write-in.]
>>
Rolled 2 (1d2)

Also, as a bit of curiosity and to establish the rolling system, make a roll (1d100) to determine how much an effect that your host's body had upon your own.

As well, though Body is your unique trait, that doesn't mean you can't pursue the other options down the road.
>>
Rolled 58 (1d100)

>>4976085
>Observe them, see what you can learn before interacting. Knowledge is power.
>>4976087
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>4976085
>Observe them, see what you can learn before interacting. Knowledge is power.
>>
>>4976087
/dice 1d100
>>
>>4976125
how do i roll srry for askin?
>>
>>4976126
In this case dice+1d100 in the options field above where you type
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>4976085
oh and thanks to
>>4976129
>>
>>4976085
>>4976087
>Observe them, see what you can learn before interacting. Knowledge is power.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>4976085
>Observe them, see what you can learn before interacting. Knowledge is power.
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>4976164
Ooops, fucked up my roll.
>>
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>>4976087
>2, 89

For the roll results, it pertained to your host body; the person who had been before transforming into the illithid you are today. Between male and female, and likeness, because of your Body trait you bear much stronger physical vestiges of the person before, than other mindflayers.

>>4976582
>>4976164
>>4976158
>>4976123
>>4976121
>>4976608
>Observe them, see what you can learn before interacting. Knowledge is power.

As capable as you are to get involved physically with these lesser beings, you are wise enough not to eschew the core methods of your kind. Knowing is what matters, to understand this situation as much as possible before acting.

And so you make use of the environment to leverage yourself the upper hand. Creeping closer in low light, using ambient noise to cover sounds, relying on terrain for cover. This under-world is as much your environment as theirs, and you know how to use it.

"-really necessary for one of... those things?"

"The matron believes normal interrogation won't be enough."

"...so who's not surviving this with their brain intact? Ha!"

Typical lesser beings, always needing to occupy their time with verbal noise. An appropriate topic of conversation it sounds like though, and how close you've managed to sneak up to them enough to hear their words alongside their thoughts.

At this distance, if you could just... one mind blast to the lot of them and-

"-SKREE!"

The sharp pain of a bite causes you to shriek, as you notice too late an oversized centipede by your leg. Of course, those tricksy dark elves would bring such things, creatures you can't notice mentally. No wonder they didn't post lookouts as such. Well you can crush the insect easily enough but your presence is given away regardless.

---

"Hands... Hands where we can see them!"

"-you idiot! It's not the hands to worry about!"

Something of a standoff follows your run-in with the centipede, and soon enough you stand opposed to the group of drow among the stony darkness, as the waterfall crashes beside and lightly drizzles the lot of you. Weapons raised, ranged and melee (yet no sign of magic), from their flurry of thoughts you get the sense that they hesitate to attack because of their purpose here yet the fear you stir in them may end up overcoming their sense of duty.

Though you have tangled with dark elves before, the group of six before you shouldn't be taken lightly... then again, after that centipede how many more tricks can they have up their collective sleeves?

>Act in a civil manner, as civil as you can be. Show you're here in good faith and not a threat.
>Leave nothing to chance. Mentally subdue these drow first, and interact with them after.
>This situation is too precarious for you! Escape to cover first, using your powers if you can, before further interaction.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4976639
>Leave nothing to chance. Mentally subdue these drow first, and interact with them after.
>>
>>4976639
>Act in a civil manner, as civil as you can be. Show you're here in good faith and not a threat.
>>
>>4976639
>Act in a civil manner, as civil as you can be. Show you're here in good faith and not a threat.
>>
>>4976639
>Act in a civil manner, as civil as you can be. Show you're here in good faith and not a threat.

I'm assuming the interrogation they mention is regarding getting us to mind read some sort of prisoner and not them discussing using so esoteric method of capture or interrogation on us.

Just wondering QM, if we had chosen Mind and thus had better control of our senses, would we have detected the centipede before it had bitten us?
>>
>>4976683
Mentally it would not have helped detect the centipede, but sensory-wise you would have heard or smelled it before anything.

But then again, with Body you're able to shrug off the bite whereas if you'd chosen Mind and gotten bitten, it would be worse.
>>
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>>4976683
>>4976674
>>4976648
>>4976643
>Act in a civil manner, as civil as you can be. Show you're here in good faith and not a threat.

Your time is too precious to waste on these inferior beings! Best to avoid hostility if you can, and just get to the point. You understand their Under-common language to take a non-threatening stance, but your response isn't spoken. Your pale eyes focus on their red ones, as your mind projects your intentions.

Enough of this nonsense. A meeting was requested, and we come in peace. Let us not bloody the waters before we begin.

"-ugh, I can hear it in my head..."

"Why are you sneaking haszak?!"

As soon as your thoughts enter theirs, you can see the effect as the lot of them flinch and become uneasy. Pathetic things that they are, unused to telepathic communication. It doesn't do much to settle their fear of you, but at least they don't attack.

You cannot be unaware of your own reputation. We were merely observing you, testing for a trap. That is behind us now, let us look forward... together.

"...I told you it was a good idea to bring the centipedes."

"Very well haszak, I believe... we can settle this? But first, a show."

Typical of lesser beings, the particular drow speaking for all of them cautiously approaches to enact some sort of ritual with you. Using a small blade she cuts her hand for a display of blood and expects you to do the same. As if you ever would do such a petty thing, easy enough to just mentally project the illusion that you do so to them. Trust, you know, isn't worth much in these caverns.

---
>>
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"Careful with it, careful! You know how much the venom hurts!"

While a few of the other drow labor to recollect the centipedes they clearly let loose earlier upon their arrival, the "matron" in charge of the group has had set up a little meeting spot of sorts. A cloth blanket unfurled on the stony floor, a bright crystal lantern, and a portable table set up upon which sits some refreshments and a drow game of chance she invites you to play while the negotiation takes place.

A... civil gesture as far as these dark elves go, but you know the unease they have towards you as much as they try to feign politeness. For them to go such lengths to put on an act like this for you, they must be genuine in their need of Yphor's resources. That said, your lack of trust is mutual and so you don't accept their hospitality as much as they'd like.

The surface you say? You waste our time with such a ruse?!

"I don't know how, but I was told the threat is genuine. Some among their number are... aware of our existence, and have been exploring the way between, from the surface."

As you get to "talking" with the matron, it seems the whole point of this diplomacy is the rumor of interference from the world above. The surface, it might as well be another planet as far as you're concerned. Some do not even believe it exists, and certainly it doesn't affect Yphor in anyway... at least that's what your kind tends to believe. Even if there was some threat however, why would the drow seek cooperation with the Elder Brain?

Why then our involvement? Is your kind not famed for assassination?"

"...normally we would just see those responsible dealt with, but the threat here is knowledge. To know the source and cut it off, may require more than just interrogation. Surely the haszakkin recognize the mutual danger this places us both in?"

Well, you suppose there is at least some partial merit in her spoken words. Even if the surface is not considered a danger to your home, there is a common understanding through the Underdark that secrecy is a mutual benefit. It may well be that the surface is no danger to your subterranean world, simply because it is not aware of your existence. This matter then, you can understand as one of the... very few which would warrant cooperation between the various races of the Underdark.

In any case, you can understand why you were tasked with this. A potential journey to the surface? No sensible illithid would attempt it, and only in amusing stories do such things occur. If it were even possible, surely it would require one such as yourself; resilient in body as much as mind? And all this in exchange for ceded territory, a small price to pay. Though the drow seem to have orders to escort you back to their holdings, some outlying settlement where this endeavor can be planned better than over a makeshift gaming table.
>>
>As much a trap as this seems, you recognize the danger at hand. Accept the drow terms and accompany them... for now.
>There's no need to accompany them. What you have here among you all, should be enough for the journey.
>There must be more than she's letting on. With your psychic powers, try to glean what you can from her mind. {1d100}
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4976765
>>As much a trap as this seems, you recognize the danger at hand. Accept the drow terms and accompany them... for now.

>Write in
Observe their surface thoughts
>>
>>4976765
Supporting >>4976767

If they wanted to capture or kill us, they could. Not because of any sort of superiority on their part, but simply because with preparation they could mass the necessary assets and spells to overwhelm ANY individual illithid. The price they'd pay for their treachery and loss of ability to engage in any further negotiations in the near future is more than enough of a deterrent, it is the illithid, not the drow that are the true scourge of the Underdark.
>>
>>4976767
Support
>>
>>4976767
Supportong this.
>>
>>4976765
Also supporting >>4976765
>>
>>4976851
He can probably tell what you mean, but you just quoted the QM post twice.
>>
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>>4976847
>>4976841
>>4976790
>>4976767
>As much a trap as this seems, you recognize the danger at hand. Accept the drow terms and accompany them... for now.

You suppose if there is a threat upon this subterranean world you all share, then dealing with these drow is tolerable. Better the enemy you know than the one you don't, and besides, you can always kill them later.

So then you accept the initial terms of cooperation, keeping pace with the dark elves after departing from the meeting place and navigating through rocky tunnels and jagged chasms. Deeper into their realm, back from whence they came. And what an odd group it is, a drow scouting party traveling alongside a mindflayer.

"H-Hey, Rylx... how you think they'll react when we return with..."

"I'm worried more about the others, along the way you know?"

A current of nervousness runs among your traveling "companions", which you can sense is a mix between your presence and their usual alertness which is warranted whenever traversing the Underdark. A great benefit to you though, their efforts to distract from their worries with pointless chatter. Leaving you the opportunity to observe their surface thoughts without much risk. Actually delving into their minds may cause problems, but simply picking up on their thoughts in the moment is relatively "safe", little different than eavesdropping on someone whispering.

Of course as you suspected, unease towards you is pretty consistent as they all keep trying to subtly check on you, concerned that you may turn on them at any moment. Past the fear however, overtime you can sense a bigger and better picture. For example you are able to learn the way and what lies ahead from their navigating, and now have a pretty good forewarning of any traps they may try on you. Furthermore you get a good sense of these drow themselves, their dissatisfaction at being sent on a task like this and being considered expendable. Seems they hadn't expected this meeting to actually go successfully, with prayers to their gods fresh in their minds.

Though perhaps most noticeably of all, the lack of understanding of the greater situation at hand. They have about as much info as you do towards the situation, and this was likely intentional. The risk of a mindflayer means the drow superiors chose to not send anyone with a juicy brain full of valuable secrets...

---
>>
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"...you wouldn't happen to have a better disguise?"

"Maybe we just leave... it? Here, and come back later-"

Worry not, I can manage any risks of being seen.

What time later did you spend traveling with these dark elves, through the twisting darkness as to finally reach the outskirts of their settlement. A collection of buildings at a junction of tunnels, really it's little more than an outpost on the border of their domain, but a bustling place as far as the Underdark goes. As they hadn't expected to return with you however, the group try to figure out what to do about bringing you into the settlement.

Easy enough for you to put their concerns to rest however, when you demonstrate your psychic ability to appear as something else or even obscured entirely. In an inky haze you soon appear, to them, as just another drow. Which expectedly makes them all uncomfortable, but at least makes the job easier.

"Need a timekeeper? No days or nights down here, of course you know!"

"Wood! Genuine wood from the surface! Easy to shape however you need, better than stone!"

The nearer you draw to the outpost, the more persons of all sorts you encounter. Relatively speaking there's not that many folks here, only a few dozens on the "streets" between the collection of stone buildings, but compared with the typical emptiness of the rest of the Underdark it's a bit of a sudden shock to you. So many more bustling minds, and not just drow either, all of them you have to assault so that a mindflayer isn't noticed just walking into the settlement.

"One side, or I'll have you whipped! Official business!"

Fortunately the matron of the group turns aside various merchants, mostly dwarves, in order to most quickly reach the actual drow quarter of the outpost. A testament to their proud and excessive nature, even in a minor outlying settlement as this the place is walled in fine black stone with an elegant manor rising above and overlooking the entire outpost. A few guards try to keep order, as a trickle of couriers and servants travel to and from the grounds. Perhaps a better reminder of the rules around these parts however, are the various unfortunates on display for public humiliation, torture, or execution.
>>
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"You want to practice? That failed assassin up against the wall there still has his eyes."

"Eh... I'd rather get a drink..."

By the sound of things, and sensing their thoughts, it seems that you may be waiting here awhile before the group is received. In fact based on their disbelief over the situation, the scouts seem convinced that their superiors will think this is all some prank, that they returned with a cooperative mindflayer. In trying to find ways to occupy their time then while the embarassed matron argues with the guards, you consider finding something to do as well. Partly because you know the reputation of these dark elf nobles, and how unpleasant they can be, but mostly because it's been quite some time since you ventured into a settlement that wasn't dominated by your own kind.

>Assert yourself. Your presence here demands a response! If only, so that you can be on your way for the task at hand.
>Actually, while here you could do to acquire supplies. Normally you carry enough with you to survive on, but you hadn't planned on a journey to the surface!
>It couldn't hurt to wander around, enjoy yourself a little. See what this settlement has to offer, what's the worst that could happen!
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4976964
>Try and gather information on who we are meeting or other relevant political figures. Also try and gather rumours about the surface, perhaps browse the wares (live or otherwise) that are supposedly from the surface and gain a sense of their economic value and how that may affect the underdark. Try and read the thoughts of some captured intelligent creature from the surface or just read the minds of knowledgeable people who have knowledge of the surface.
>>
Rolled 99, 32 = 131 (2d100)

>>4976964
>>4977011
Here's some rolls if you need them for the info gathering and mind reading. I won't be here for the next few hours 'cause I gotta sleep.
>>
>>4977011
+1
>>
Rolled 32, 86 = 118 (2d100)

>>4977012
>>4977011
>>
>>4976964
>>4977011+ 1
>>
>>4977011
This seems productive. Supporting!
>>
Rolled 57, 73 = 130 (2d100)

>>4977011
Support
>>
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>99, 32

>>4977011
>>4977012
>>4977016
>>4977019
>>4977052
>>4977165
>>4977172
>Try and gather information on who we are meeting or other relevant political figures. Also try and gather rumours about the surface, perhaps browse the wares (live or otherwise) that are supposedly from the surface and gain a sense of their economic value and how that may affect the underdark. Try and read the thoughts of some captured intelligent creature from the surface or just read the minds of knowledgeable people who have knowledge of the surface.

Rather than waste your precious time on these perfidious elves, you recognize the unique opportunity you have here, in this settlement. Although it sickens you to see inferior beings wandering about ungoverned by superior illithid rule, the chaotic nature of this place may suit your designs. To learn more, to know as much as your rivals before even meeting them.

And so you take to wandering about the settlement, leaving your traveling companions to sort their own business out... why, they'll hardly notice you're gone at all! It's not like you could get lost anyway, this place is little more than a cluster of buildings with a few rocky streets between, all within a single cavern. In short order you would be able to see all this place has to order, and not much longer you could meet everyone here. At least, everyone who doesn't dwell within the walled drow quarter.

"You say this is from the surface?"

"That it be, but a beauty of a drow lassie such as you are would fancy these of dwarven make!"

What passes for a market here, little more than a portion of the main street which borders the caravansary. Not all travelers through these parts are merchants, but anyone with a brain has the sense to travel in groups through the Underdark. Considering this place is merely a stopping junction however, most of the peddlers are actually the closest thing to "locals" who obtain goods from the proper merchants only passing through.

Mostly either drow themselves or dwarves, you maintain the illusion of a drow yourself and "converse" with a few of the peddlers. Those that at least have a stall set up rather than just hucksters with arms full of goods. And while there is certainly an exotic array of goods from all over (as far as you can tell), you encounter some problems in trying to learn information. Mostly because it's difficult to read minds while also maintaining an illusory appearance, but also because the peddlers actually expect you to buy or trade for things. In this regard you must admit you're at a disadvantage, because before long you end up with some various junk that you got talked into... well, gifts for the diplomatic effort you are here on, you suppose!
>>
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"Gods what is that hideous thing?"

"Worry not mistress, they call it a... fee-line! Good for vermin and plenty soft, feel for yourself!"

One of the drow peddlers at his table has some sort of furred creature, which he entices you to touch, after initial trepidation to take your hand as these dark elf males have towards the females. Probably expecting to be whipped, arrested for breaking some gender norm. The fellow is right however, the animal is soft and while it unfortunately doesn't have much a mind to read, the peddler himself seems knowledgeable about the surface.

"Oh yes mistress, been there myself. Went on my share of raids before the sun took its toll on my eyes. Don't believe half of what these fools tell you, they'll sell you a rock and say it was from up above!"

The more you interact with him, the less it seems you'd need to read his mind. A talkative sort, it's simple enough for you to simply exploit the drow gender customs so that he has to talk up to you respectfully. So you spend awhile with him and his "fee-line" listening to all he has to say, and he certainly has a lot. The particular interest to you however is the relationship the drow have with the surface. Indeed they do maintain connection with the world above but always at their own discretion and always maintaining the secrecy as best they can, but it seems a somewhat common practice for them to stage raids on the surface for goods or captives.

In this respect you eventually come to the crux of the matter, and the apparent urgency behind the actions of these drow; economic threat. The outpost here is the closest to the surface and so relies on the benefits of that position. Aware of the Underdark or not, the encroachment of the surface world is the greatest risk to these dark elves and their stranglehold on travel and trade between. The substance known as "wood" alone is a severe threat to the economy in this subterranean domain, a risk enough for them to consider even illithid support.

And while you cannot say you disagree with the concord of secrecy you all share in the Underdark, it's a bitter truth to learn that likely the primary reason for your presence here is to help line the pockets of the drow... for what it's worth however, it seems that if you did not want to cooperate with the ones in power here you wouldn't have to. At least a few folks around these parts could lead you to the surface instead.

---
>>
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The bustle of the tavern within the caravansary is too much for you, such that you keep to an exterior serving window for customers on the go. But even here, the gossip is easy to pick up on and more than what you'd hoped for. The effort in the market proved difficult but with some success, though here you find yourself able to learn everything you wanted without even needing to read minds! Ah, the wonders of drink and the effect it has on these feeble minds.

"House Xiltyn?"

"Yes mistress, you know the family? Who all the tolls and taxes go to, I'm surprised you haven't heard of the- ah forgive me, I would never question your knowledge mistress!"

The young drow barman working the serving window flinches from you, expecting an attack or something. But between conversing with him and listening to those that come and go, you quickly construct a bigger picture of the situation. You learn of the drow family who governs this outpost and oversees travel in this region of the Underdark, and you learn of the matron Umrae that you expect to be meeting, by suggestion a thoroughly unpleasant female.

There's also information about some other political powers in the area, namely the local temple and clergy of the drow spider goddess, and a guild of explorers or some similar profession. But you don't expect to deal with them, and soon it enough it seems you won't have the chance anyway, when a couple of the drow scouts you're familiar with find you.

"Ha, you were right! I never would have thought a haszak to frequent a tavern, I owe you two silvers Vielyn!"

"Come with us, if you're not busy? The ruling matron has granted audience and I suspect Drana will try to negotiate without you."

Though it's only a suggestion, or request, the scouts took the effort to seek you out. By the sound of things, although illithid support is desired in this challenge, the leader of the scout group prefers to speak for you. Exactly why you can't be sure, but you imagine something to do with not wanting the ruling nobles to have direct interaction with a mindflayer... or perhaps risk you communicating any shortcomings of the scouts, which could incur punishment.

You suppose you could go, but dealing with inferior creatures is bad enough, to say nothing of nobles that believe themselves above everyone else including you. If this Drana, the matron of the scouts wants to handle all the messy details of the mission, then let her have that burden. Such trifling information is a worthless drain on your glorious mind. On the other hand though... adequately representing Yphor is important, especially when you could potentially sway negotiations in your favor.
>>
>Don't bother going, let the peons handle the details. All that matters to you is when it's time to leave this wretched place.
>You suppose you ought to attend. If only to get a better sense of things... not as though you don't already know all the relevant information, of course.
>As long as your presence and cooperation is noted, what's the point of a meeting? Request the scouts assemble for departure, without tying yourselves up in politics.
>Why even bother with these drow in the first place? If a journey to the surface is required you can find your own way, with recruited help from among the denizens of this settlement. One of the trade caravans, perhaps...
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4977370
>>As long as your presence and cooperation is noted, what's the point of a meeting? Request the scouts assemble for departure, without tying yourselves up in politics.
>>
>>4977415
+1
>>
>>4977370
>>You suppose you ought to attend. If only to get a better sense of things... not as though you don't already know all the relevant information, of course.
Best not tip our hand. Let them feel in control.
>>
>>4977368
>You suppose you ought to attend. If only to get a better sense of things... not as though you don't already know all the relevant information, of course.

We can push for a better deal, they are not doing this for our mutual benefit as they described, they are at risked of being displaced by their surface dwellers and losing their monopoly on access to goods from the surface. If we refused to cooperate or worse attacked them while the surface-dwellers pressured them from the other side we could obtain the caverns nearest the surface, thus granting us control of the trade networks. We can play hardball and demand more ceded territory.

QM, what was our directive given to us by the Elder Brain? Was it to simply assist the drow to get our river? Or were to to just test if this was a trap? How much freedom were we granted to pursue Yphor's interests at our own discretion?
>>
>>4977415
>>4977488
>>4977503
Seems a tie at the moment.

>>4977600
Your task by the Elder Brain was to determine if the offer was genuine, and if so then to do what was necessary to ensure the negotiation was carried out. Since diplomacy (rather than hostility) is so rare between most races of the Underdark, the initial offer itself was seen as a rare enough thing to have you sent to investigate.

Although you are expected to pursue the interests of Yphor under the guidance of the Elder Brain, the farther away from it you travel the weaker its control over you is. Supposing that you accomplish the task and return to the fold, then ultimate freedom in pursuit of the task is yours.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d2)

>>4977607
Maybe roll a tiebreaker? Or you could wait for another voter if you don't mind the wait.

1 is request the scouts get ready to leave and ignore politicks, 2 is go to the meeting.
>>
>female
>>
>>4977676
wut?
>>
>>4977681
he's annoyed our illusory disguise is a girl because we're in drow territory and taking advantage of it.
>>
>>4977370
>You suppose you ought to attend. If only to get a better sense of things... not as though you don't already know all the relevant information, of course.
>>
Back again, writing now.

>>4977611
Normally I prefer for enough players to break any tie, but if need be I can roll for it. Seems we have enough now though.
>>
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>>4977415
>>4977488
>>4977503
>>4977600
>>4977805
>>4977503
>You suppose you ought to attend. If only to get a better sense of things... not as though you don't already know all the relevant information, of course.

Well you didn't travel all this way for nothing, and were sent here to represent your home. You might as well at least try to make an effort of things, even if you'd rather continue probing minds and gathering information... a nice juicy brain would have been wonderful, to really get a sense of things down here.

So you depart the caravansary with the scouts, trekking the rocky uneven path back towards the drow quarter, and who knows what within...

---

"What comedy is this?! How dare they waste my time, I was told there was a brain-eater! Guards! I want their skins, hang their bodies from the gate!"

So this is Umrae, matron of House Xiltyn. From what you'd learned you expected an unpleasant sort but she still manages to surprise you. It's one thing for a sadistic and vindictive, domineering female as seems custom for these female dark elves, at least that you could somewhat respect. But this one... she's just an arrogant spoiled princess type, relying on others to do everything for her pampered lifestyle.

No doubt that the drow do appreciate their luxuries, as you and the scouts were permitted into the manor, a finely built home of pleasures and riches. High ceilings and detailed walls, smooth floors with fancy furniture and many pillows strewn about, all of it surely made on the backs of countless lives of suffering. Again, something you potentially could admire but all this for... her? Such strange creatures, these drow. How they ever manage an empire you will never know.

In any case, to avoid the trouble and settle the fears and protests of your traveling companions, you let go of your illusory disguise. The female drow who had been standing among the others, changes in an inky haze to a robust illithid.

"-ooh how delightful! Wonderful trick, wonderful! And it really is all in the mind? The magic defenses would have reacted otherwise!"

A change in demeanor to say the least, as Umrae perks up from her cushioned throne, shoving off some male plaything now that you have her attention. Delightedly clapping her hands at the sight of you, this is mistaken for an order for the guards to cease hostilities, as your scout companions are unhanded.
>>
"Mistress please, you really should not-"

"-ahem! Are you telling me you cannot do your job of keeping me safe? Let me be, to greet our guest!"

A chief bodyguard tries to prevent her from approaching, and indeed you notice many arrows nervously trained on you from all around the audience hall, but Umrae waves off hostilities as she sashays towards you on bare feet. For a meeting like this you figure she could have at least dressed appropriately, but that seems to be the fashion of these drow nobles from their lives of excess. Though you relish the chance to read her mind, you are surprised twice over; first when you find yourself blocked from perceiving her mind (probably the tiara she's wearing), and second when she impetuously makes bodily contact with you. Taking your arm against her body, you smell perfumes as she looks upon you like some exotic champion... well you suppose you are, but that doesn't excuse her behavior. Even the other drow, the professional ones at least, appear exasperated by her behavior yet for a noble she can probably get away with whatever she wants.

Certainly you can see, some of the other nobles spectating in the audience hall, similarly look to you with curiosity rather than fear.

"Is it true what they say?" she asks as she prances around you in observation, "What you get up to with those... tentacles? On your head?"

Taking in every detail of you, it's frustrating to say the least, because she treats you as entertainment rather than a serious envoy. Now you really wish you had just stayed back outside rather than deal with all this nonsense... though it would be a lie to say that you don't find her at least intriguing, or rather her reaction to you. Never in your life has anyone or anything shown such intrusive curiosity for you, normally just the fear and scorn universally afforded to your entire race. You suppose it comes from her life of frivolity, the lack of self-preservation to say the least. Still, it's most definitely a different experience than you're used to, and potentially one to your advantage.

Depending on how taken she is by you, could make negotiating all the easier.

"Tell me your name haszak..." she whispers, reaching up to touch one of your tentacles and giggling when you instinctively recoil. "...and I'll let you have mine."

At this she places a hand on her tiara with indication to remove it, but her guards can only tolerate so much foolishness from their matron. A harsh hiss from her bodyguard and a rude approach, is enough to get her to leave the tiara in place, though she does move behind you to take cover and prevent her minion from grabbing her away from you.

Ugh... elves... you think to yourself, dearly hoping this isn't how all drow negotiations go. You strongly considering grabbing Umrae just to keep her in place, and damn the consequences should the guards be stupid enough to fire upon you.
>>
>Introduce yourself, properly, to demonstrate clearly to all your intent for being here. They sought cooperation against a mutual threat, and Yphor has answered.
>Indeed you are here, but your scout companions deserve the credit... and the attention! Try to shift focus away from yourself and let others do the negotiating.
>Enough of this nonsense! Hand the elf over to her guards, and try to negotiate with someone who has a good head on their shoulders.
>As uncouth as it all is, this foolish drow matron could prove to be their own undoing. Play along with her little games, and see if you can gain an upper hand.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4977920
>As uncouth as it all is, this foolish drow matron could prove to be their own undoing. Play along with her little games, and see if you can gain an upper hand.

Lets see if we can get more concessions out of her. We should also try to judge whether her behavior is just a ruse to make us underestimate her.
>>
>>4977920
>As uncouth as it all is, this foolish drow matron could prove to be their own undoing. Play along with her little games, and see if you can gain an upper hand.

My my, what an intriguing prospect we have here. This should prove very interesting, or at least entertaining.
>>
>>4977920
>>As uncouth as it all is, this foolish drow matron could prove to be their own undoing. Play along with her little games, and see if you can gain an upper hand.
>>[Write-in.]

>encourage her to remove the tiara. We can have a more productive conversation, besides, we want a closer look at what’s blocking our abilities.
>>
>>4977945
Support.
>>
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>>4977922
>>4977923
>>4977945
>>4978052
>As uncouth as it all is, this foolish drow matron could prove to be their own undoing. Play along with her little games, and see if you can gain an upper hand.

This is really all... far beyond your experience, having to draw on memories or rather just emotions of your host body, since that's the extent of personal interaction you're familiar with. However even if you are out of your element like this, you're still smart enough to recognize an opportunity when you see one.

"Hhhhssssshhh..." your tentacles tense and untense, as you try your best to indicate that you cannot communicate anyway even if you wanted. Not verbally at least, illithids are not well adapted for that.

"Ah... enough for now then! I tire of these proceedings! We have received our guests and can properly handle matters later, for now... guards! See them to their quarters!"

At first you don't know if your gesture is understood, since Umrae just calls an end to the meeting. Your impression is that she sobered up in wisdom a little, finally realizing the position of her guards and respecting their duty. Enough at least to not just foolishly trifle with a mindflayer and make an embarrassment of the nobles in front of everyone else.

"...come to my chambers in a rotation, use that wonderful trick of yours."

Before she returns to her throne however and the lot of your are escorted out, Umrae whispers something to you alone. It seems she may not be a complete idiot, and simply had to get creative in order to circumvent her guards, and prying eyes.

With that then, you leave the audience hall under close watch, along with the scouts to the sound of echoing gossip and laughter of the nobles about you. Chances are, your appearance was the highlight of interest for their cycle.

---
>>
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---

Esteemed guest indeed, as you find yourself separated from the scouts while being escorted through the manor. Your traveling companions are bound for servant quarters (though in a noble estate these would still be quite pleasant), but you are led to your own room. It's not especially big, but comfortable as far as lesser races are concerned with such matters; elegant yet hostile architecture like the rest of the drow quarter, plenty of fancy furnishings of exotic materials, and even a balcony and magical fireplace. Also oddly a large humanoid-sized cage in a corner, but whatever that is for you can only guess.

The object of your focus though you soon find, to be a dwarven mechanism above the fireplace. Like many ways in which the drow rely on trade with the stunted race, it seems their method of keeping time is based on mechanical devices which spin away. One rotation later, a fair amount of time during which you get accustomed to your room, and you make your departure. As suggested, you maintain an illusory drow form, and use mental suggestion where you need to. Both in order to gain relatively free movement through the manor, and to find your way to the matriarch's personal chambers... not the easiest to reach either, intentionally difficultly located beyond several corridors and various other rooms. Better defense against assassins you suppose.

"You here? I thought they led you awa-"

"The Matriarch sent for me, separate from the rest. You know, to plan things better... no point in involving males."

The same bodyguard from before at the doors, naturally she's cautious of you but you can play up to social customs to lower her guard somewhat. Enough for her to magically unseal the doors and show you in.

"Ah... Matriarch, did you reque-"

"Indeed I did! Thank you Cazna, I will call if I need you."

Some bitter little exchange takes place between Umrae and her bodyguard, who takes her leave in frustration and seals the doors behind. You hadn't much chance to pay attention to that though, caught off guard instead by the splendor of the matriarch's chambers. Orders of magnitude more luxurious than any other room of the manor, including the entrance hall or the audience chamber, even a superior being such as yourself is at first disarmed by the lavishness of it all. A ceiling high enough to allow for a second floor and balcony, great draperies of silk and even arrays of magically fostered plantlife to give the impression of a subterranean conservatory. Many artifacts of magical or historical importance are also on display, and the entire room is awash with a whitish-purple light from a liquid fountain that runs down from the second floor... and the air heavy with rich incense.
>>
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Normally such extravagance is beneath your kind, it hardly interests you beyond appreciation for craftsmanship and design. But even the likes of you can be caught off guard when assaulted by so much luxury at once. If you didn't know better, you'd think this another weapon up the sleeve of the matriarch. An unquestionable display that House Xiltyn makes up in wealth, what it lacks in power.

"There you are haszak, I knew you would be able to find me." Umrae addresses you without looking, instead facing the pool of softly luminous liquid on the first floor as fed by the fountain from the second. By now you're used to being surprised so it isn't much more confusion when she disrobes and lowers into the waters with a contented sigh.

This seems as good a chance as any to drop your illusory disguise, yet humorously enough the thought crosses your mind of how easy it would be for you to just approach and kill her, that she lowered her guard as much and even turned her back to you. Of course you're smart enough to know it would spell your own demise shortly after by the myriad of guards within the manor, but this level of... foolishness, or is it trust, or something else? You wonder if she behaves this way to all her guests.

"...so where were we? Ah yes, names. Well now that none will bother us, will you not join me so that we can get to know one another? I am sure our races have so much to share..."

From the pool she finally turns to look at you over her shoulder, beckoning at first before she indicates to the tiara. The only item left on her person, it seems she wants you to remove it. You stifle a laugh at the absurdity of the situation as it seems to you, but consider if the inferior creatures don't naturally just behave these ways. Again you wonder how the drow manage an empire if their rulers are like this... but then, you have noticed a change in Umrae's demeanor. Not as trifling, silly in her words or manner of speaking. More like how you'd expect a drow matriarch to sound, if not behave.

It seems this is exactly what you bargained for. An entire host of illithids with a thrall army couldn't seize upon a Matriarch like this by force, yet here you are with free access to her. The only question is, how much do you want to play her little game...

>Play up to her fully, give her what she wants so you can get what you want. She has no idea who, or what she's dealing with.
>A measured response is best. You can play along to an extent but only for what you know you can maintain dominance... even if it could weaken your position to bargain.
>Keep your cards to your chest, so to speak. You're fine with pleasantries, but you remain suspicious of her and don't want to get led astray. You can't expect much negotiation this way however.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4978068
>Play up to her fully, give her what she wants so you can get what you want. She has no idea who, or what she's dealing with.

Now I'm fully amused. Let's see where exactly this rabbit hole goes then.
>>
>>4978068
>A measured response is best. You can play along to an extent but only for what you know you can maintain dominance... even if it could weaken your position to bargain.

This ain't The Shape of Water, lady.

"Before we speak... Surely you realize the deadly predicament you've placed yourself in. What are you playing at?"

IF she can't hear us, communicate our misgivings by approaching the edge of the pool but hover back from entering. See if she'll meet us first, to remove her tiara without entering the water. Wait for an explanation before entering.
>>
>>4978068
>Play up to her fully, give her what she wants so you can get what you want. She has no idea who, or what she's dealing with.
>>
>>4978093
You mean signaling weakness. You may not like it, but this is a confidence game more than anything. If we flinch now, we will weaken our negotiating position, and it's clear she knows exactly what she's getting herself into.
>>
>>4978068
>Play up to her fully, give her what she wants so you can get what you want. She has no idea who, or what she's dealing with.

>Quickly analyze the room and the situation. Is the incense dulling our mind or senses? Are any of the objects in the room obviously affecting us magickly?

She's probably a formidable person, though perhaps genuinely curious and flippant, lets see where this leads.
>>
>>4978068
>Play up to her fully, give her what she wants so you can get what you want. She has no idea who, or what she's dealing with.
I suggest we stay as dominating as possible to prevent any unintended mishaps that could weaken ourselves either physically or mentally
>>
>>4978106
What does she have that we want, though?
>>
>>4978158
Yes, would that even matter? This is a diplomatic mission, however treacherous the drow may be. The terms of the deal are too great to ignore meeting with their leadership at the very least.
>>
>>4978158
Yes, but would that even matter? This is a diplomatic mission, however treacherous our neighbors are. The terms of the deal are too great to ignore meeting with the drow leadership at the very least.
>>
>>4978158
Further territory concessions, perhaps a lump sum of valuable surface goods, allowing us to place observers (of course they would not strictly be working for the good of the underdark but to observe the drow and flow of goods) in her territory to monitor and respond to any further incursions by surface dwellers, I dunno, lots of stuff, what would any diplomat want out of another polity in real life that could apply here?
>>
>>4978162
There's being a polite diplomat, and there's letting her lead us around by our host body's withered dick to satisfy her need for control and her tentacle-lust.

>>4978198
You feel showing caution and hesitance to indilge her every whim would make these fiture negotiations less fruitful than showing ourselves to be readily biddable?
>>
>>4978489
>You feel showing caution and hesitance to indilge her every whim would make these fiture negotiations less fruitful than showing ourselves to be readily biddable?

Given that the prompt you've voted for literally says 'even if it could weaken your position to bargain' in it's prompt, yes. We're not going to get the drow on board by being polite and diplomatic, it's just not the way of the Underdark.
>>
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Oh dear, a contentious decision it seems!

>>4978153
>>4978122
>>4978105
>>4978093
>>4978078
>Play up to her fully, give her what she wants so you can get what you want. She has no idea who, or what she's dealing with.

What absurd situation is this?! Although you certainly would prefer a measured response, you recognize a rare opportunity when you see one. However much struggle and strife it would have taken otherwise and through other means, to reach the kind of terms with the drow that you could deal like this, yet here the matriarch is inviting you freely. So if she wants to play her little games with you, then you'll try to rise to her expectations or even exceed them.

After all, if you're going to play then you may as well win.

So you make a cursory observation of the chamber as you approach the small pool in the center, always suspicious and always looking for the trap. Although you do not possess magic so attempting to detect it doesn't accomplish much, but you at least can know for sure there are no other minds present in the room. No assassins waiting for you in the rafters. And while the fragrant air does have a strange effect on you it doesn't seem dangerous, merely piques your senses so that everything feels... heightened, sensual.

"You are not getting in like that! Come, what could I possibly hide from you now?"

Umrae remarks of your rugged cloak and clothes, ideal for travel in the Underdark but not so much for "high society" as these lesser creatures deem it. Not that you planned on just jumping into the water fully dressed, but you suppose she has a point, as far as being able to hide threats from you on her person.

And now, as you kneel beside the pool to remove the tiara from her head, there's nothing she can hide from you anymore.

Before we speak... surely you realize the deadly predicament you've placed yourself in. What are you playing at?

You try not to come off as paranoid, but you know you'd kick yourself later if you didn't at least ask what she was up to. After an initial wonderment at your mental communication she scoffs at the question however, taking the tiara from you to set upon her clothes beside the pool.

"By the Eight, I really can hear you in my mind.... ahem, and what of the deadly predicament you have placed yourself in? You did not come this far just to kill me haszak."

Resting her chin upon her folded arms on the edge of the pool, she stares up at you intently, practically inviting you to read her mind and answer your questions yourself. And while you get a flush of thoughts looking into her eyes, some ranging from the sensible to the obscene, you sense no hidden dagger behind her back so to speak. Whether or not you can trust her, she at least seems honest... that, or she's very good at focusing and directing her own mind.
>>
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With the illithid-equivalent of a sigh then, you also begin to disrobe and fold your clothes beside the pool... eagerly watched over by Umrae, with the same kind of curious hunger that you'd feel towards a fresh brain.

"Female? That's not as fun... so the haszakkin have genders too?"

Not usually... my ceremorphosis- my creation, was... unique, special among my kind. Some have greater minds, some have a connection to the Void. I take after my host more than other illithid, a human she was.

With nothing to conceal it now, Umrae inspects your body though with noticeably less curiosity than before, and even a little disappointment you sense. Probably she was expecting or hoping for something as exotic and alien beneath your cloak as much as what was clearly visible, your tentacled head. Either way, she makes space for you in the gleaming pool and is delighted to see the... admittedly very pleasant sensation the fragrant hot water has for you, as you tenderly lower yourself in.

You don't bother stifling a long sigh, feeling the fatigue of travel on your bones and in your flesh. Although your body is robust and can handle it better than other illithid, what's the point of mental and physical balance if you don't take care of your body... at least once in awhile. So certain in your mental superiority like the rest of your kind, that it's easy to forget you have muscles that still get sore at the end of a cycle.

"Better for us then, we have something in common now!" Umrae remarks with enthusiasm, and it seems just as quickly as she'd been disappointed by you at first, those feelings have all left her and she's delighted with you once again... such fickle creatures. "It seems almost fated this way, does it not? Politics, negotiations, deals, best to leave males out of it!"

Although you would call this experience intimate, it's probably a different sense of the word than how she uses it. You certainly never imagined in your life you'd be interacting with anyone this way, but the pool is small enough that the two are poised for a close conversation. Like an oversized bathtub really, you're almost forced to lower your guard with her as much as she has with you, at least physically.

"Now then," she runs her hands and water through her white hair, before holding them out expectedly for yours, "Umrae of Xiltyn. You have mine, and I want yours." her red eyes look to you, an eager smile she doesn't bother to hide.
>>
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In response you reach to take her hands at least in gesture, try to keep at the forefront of your mind the need and effort to rise to her expectations... even if it's unpleasant to deal with a lesser being as such, behavior you consider so much beneath you. As for names, you mentally project to her what your "name" is as far as illithid customs go. Rather than a definite name, mindflayers go by a summation of thoughts. In your case the thoughts of a cave, thoughts of still water flooding the lower half of the cave, thoughts of many embedded gemstones across the upper half of the cave, thoughts of the cave in darkness, thoughts of the gemstones twinkling in that darkness, and thoughts of them reflected on the water below; a worldly impression of the endless starry Void.

"M-My, that is... quite something..." Umrae withdraws one of her hands to press against her head and rub her eyes, trying to process the mental display you imposed on her. "Is there a way to... speak that?"

...Qhadryssa

Yes, you suppose that ought to do. A name you haven't properly used in some time... yet still preferable to your host's name, as would be the "proper" name to use in this case but not something you want Umrae to know.

>Without the tiara you have more control, more sway over the interaction. Try to steer things to negotiation, and the challenge at hand {1d100 for the effort.}
>All things considered, this is... pleasant. You can afford to enjoy yourself a little, as long as you don't get carried away.
>Before anything else, you have questions, desire for understanding. Such as her motives for this liaison, among others...
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4978574
>All things considered, this is... pleasant. You can afford to enjoy yourself a little, as long as you don't get carried away.

With any luck, we may be able to nibble a bit at her brain, subtly changing it to our liking (more open and willing to give concessions, and a curious desire for a better, deeper relationship). With any luck, she may be a very useful ally (and given long enough, puppet) to us if we play our cards right.

Also, >>4976087 is a body of a female?
>>
Rolled 85 (1d100)

>>4978574
>Without the tiara you have more control, more sway over the interaction. Try to steer things to negotiation, and the challenge at hand {1d100 for the effort.}
>>
>>4978574
>>All things considered, this is... pleasant. You can afford to enjoy yourself a little, as long as you don't get carried away.
>>
The upper world is not running away
>>
>>4978625
No, that pic is merely meant to represent a strong-bodied illithid in general. Notice that post was the d2 roll so gender wasn't yet determined, and could just as easily resulted male.

Not that it especially matters, it's merely a drawback of the Body trait chosen, like your robust build and formidable health. And as much as either Mind or Void traits would also have a drawback. At the end of the day you're still primarily a mindflayer, a biologically genderless aberration. You're just not, skinny featureless mannequin-bodied like most of your kind. Not that it ever matters anyway, when you're either always ruggedly clothed or mentally appearing as some other illusion.
>>
>>4978574
>Without the tiara you have more control, more sway over the interaction. Try to steer things to negotiation, and the challenge at hand {1d100 for the effort.}

We aren't here to make friends but to improve our deal.
>>
>>4978903
You can roll for the effort.

Also seems like a tie, I'll leave a chance for it to change, otherwise can flip a coin to determine the winner.
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>4978574
>>Without the tiara you have more control, more sway over the interaction. Try to steer things to negotiation, and the challenge at hand {1d100 for the effort.}
>>
Rolled 55 (1d100)

>>4978912
>>
>85

>>4978927
>>4978903
>>4978665
>>4978629
>>4978625
>>4979012
>Without the tiara you have more control, more sway over the interaction. Try to steer things to negotiation, and the challenge at hand {1d100 for the effort.}

You're not so high and mighty as to not be able to enjoy the simpler things in life. By reputation these dark elves can get up to some scandalous things so you know Umrae could show you a good time. And a lesser mindflayer might just fall for it, and be led astray.

But you are tasked with glorious purpose, by the Elder Brain itself, for the good of Yphor. Business first, pleasure later. Besides, already too much of this interaction has been dominated by the matriarch, now it's your turn.

All that effort just to bring me here, I hope your offer of cooperation wasn't merely a ruse to share a bath?

"Do you not prefer it this way?" she asks plainly, while running some sudsy bar over her dark skin, "No prying eyes, no one to tell us what we cannot do, and more pleasant than the audience hall. When my guards tried to control our interaction," she nods towards the tiara, "I knew we had to seek other accommodation if we wanted to properly discuss terms."

Well as much as you'd rather have just settled matters in the audience hall, you suppose she has a point. Obviously you're not enjoying this as much as she is, but there's definitely merit to the privacy if nothing else. No guards to stop you, no advisors to stop her. Indeed it is a golden opportunity to bargain for things to go your way, as long as you're skilled enough to seize it.

Curiously you notice, as she speaks of her motives, how much plainer and more serious she seems. Nothing like that trifling elf before, and more like a proper ruler. That experience and willpower, beneath the veneer of frivolity.

"Besides, think of this as a gesture of trust. We both know our races are opposed at the best of times, I doubt we ever could truly trust one another. But together like this, is a long way towards that. After all, what dangers or secrets could we hide from each other like this?"

No secrets at all, not anymore Matriarch.

Your words echo in her mind with disarming intent, and if you could smile you would. You're not so bold as to just try and control her mind, for the dire risk of failure, but you can subtly try to steer things to your liking. It's a delicate dance you have to engage her in, but at the very least she seems unaware of what you're doing, which is a good first step.
>>
The trick to it all is, to make things seem like it is what she wants. To make her want to be dominated by you even if she doesn't realize it.

"That is right! You still have not answered my curiosity, of what you are capable of with... those." for just a moment between washing her skin of suds, her red eyes dart between each of your tentacles.

You'd like to see, wouldn't you? Better than just being told.

Now you're getting somewhere, as you subtly press more suggestion in her mind. Her eyes focus to yours now as she gives a sly smile, and gracefully moves in the pool to be closer to you. Closer than you're prepared for, full body contact on her part, but you can tell she's been wanting and waiting for this chance to physically appreciate your body more.

What can you say? The matriarch recognizes quality when she sees it, and you are quite the physical specimen, as her hands wander from your legs and arms to your head.

"...more than words?" she whispers, "Like you showed me those... images before, of your name."

More than that. Whatever I want... or whatever you want.

Just for a taste, for the both of you, you reach out with one of your tentacles to touch her head. In doing so you project the same physical sensation she gave by touching across your body, back to her. Similar to sharing a memory you just experienced, but feeling very real and enveloping.

Her gasping at the experience, and hugging you closely in response, is all the indication you need that your ploy is working. Of course you could reinforce the experience by actually caressing her body with your own hands in the same way, but that would just be cruel to her.

The important thing is, you've managed to dominate her, at least the initial mental handshake. The question is, how far do you want to go? There are of course kinder options you could take, but you aren't a kind being...

>Maintain a subtle dominance over her, only so much as she believes she's still in control. The least risky, though the least able to sway negotiations.
>Establish a significant domination, so that you're in control. More risky, but able to steer negotiations.
>Utterly dominate her, so much so that you could alter her mind and personality, her very being. Quite risky, but you could end up making her your mental slave.
>...eat her brains. The temptation is too great!
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4979018
And for whatever choice you make, feel free to specify what negotiations you want to make, what terms or benefits you seek to gain. Both from the drow and Umrae herself, and both for Yphor and you personally.

And of course, make a roll for the effort.
>>
Rolled 80 (1d100)

>>4979018
>Maintain a subtle dominance over her, only so much as she believes she's still in control. The least risky, though the least able to sway negotiations.

The promise of ceded territory, an entire underground river, a sizable and steady supply of thralls, throw in a juicy brain here or there of your rivals, and we'll find the leak of knowledge and maintain the security of the Underdark, as well as engage in more pleasurable mind telekinetic and other pleasurable actions (make this her suggestion). With any luck, we'll turn her into our puppet in a couple of other 'meetings'.
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>4979018
>Maintain a subtle dominance over her, only so much as she believes she's still in control. The least risky, though the least able to sway negotiations.

I support >>4979041. I'd also like to ensure we are given great autonomy in our mission here, and authority if we come into conflict over small details with drow agents.
>>
Rolled 94 (1d100)

>>4979018
Supporting >>4979051
>>
>>4979018
>Maintain a subtle dominance over her, only so much as she believes she's still in control. The least risky, though the least able to sway negotiations.

I'll support the other anons suggestions above. ( >>4979041 >>4979051 ) I would normally want more out of this meeting, but as long as we get the agreed upon territory that is good enough for now. We don't have to force this all at once, we'll both be around for a long time and in a few more meetings we can influence her more.
>>
Rolled 45 (1d100)

>>4979041
Support
>>
>>4979149
>>4979094
>>4979057
>>4979051
>>4979041
>94
>Maintain a subtle dominance over her, only so much as she believes she's still in control. The least risky, though the least able to sway negotiations.

Although you are poised to dominate her completely, you resist the temptation and decide to take the safer method with Umrae. It's not often that an illithid would get a chance like this with a drow matriarch, but you're here on a specific mission rather than just an opportunity to gain power.

What follows then is a complicated exchange between you two, as you try to reach an end goal together while making it seem like she is always in control and leading where she wants to go.

The best mental domination after all, is the kind where it never seems to have taken place.

"Oh, show me more won't you? I want to know... I want to know everything we can do together."

Of course Matriarch, the possibilities are limitless...

Taking ahold of her smaller form then, you pull Umrae so that she's laying atop you in the silky waters of the pool. Though she might mistake your effort for something else, the real reason is to have full access to her mind as your four face tentacles lengthen to wrap around her, and her head is enveloped by your effective "mouth". The customary position to consume a victim's brain, and indeed with that fanged maw of yours normally nestled away beneath your tentacles, now pressed against her hair you easily could feed on her. But it is also the best position for mental exchange, and you resist the temptation to get at her juicy brain. An effective effort as well, you know it is working because to her perception the two of you are still merely sitting in the pool together conversing, rather than how she's actually within your clutches.

And so as suggestive as your entwined bodies may appear to an observer, holding the dark elf close with arms and tentacles while she clings to you, the truth is much more than it appears. A bond greater than any lovers is formed, a union of the minds as you penetrate into Umrae's very being. A delicate dance of give and take, as you insert yourself into her mind while maintaining the illusion that she consented to your presence there. The utmost care is required, a delicacy beyond the physical to ensure that neither of you are harmed in this mental tryst.
>>
Your husband?

My daughter. She stole him away, and together they fled to the surface. Whether they are acting in malice... does not matter, they are compromising our shared secrecy.

At this point the communication is entirely in your minds, and to Umrae's perception the two of you are enjoying a lovely crystal-lit dinner. Time means nothing in the mindscape so she believes hours have passed as the two of you retired from the intimate bath experience and moved on to pleasant conversation over food and drinks. In this illusion a friendly rapport has been established over hours, enough that she mirthfully discusses personal and private matters with you. Not yet with the negotiations, you want to learn who Umrae is and what you're dealing with. Careful, give it time, this is a delicate matter. You can't be too hasty to the goal, when already much of your focus is spent trying to make the illusion feel real and keep it clear, rather than seem like the haze of a dream.

And what juicy secrets are revealed to you in this trip down memory lane with her, hand in hand. Between her admission and glimpses of memories, you learn a bit about Umrae's life and quite a good picture of what is truly going on. As it turns out, she is only nobility by marriage, that strange custom the lesser creatures have. In her life before all this luxury and control, Umrae was nothing more than a captain of this border fort of drow territory, before it was even an outpost let alone a "settlement". Things changed when a connection to the surface world was discovered however, and this place became important overnight and soon flourished from the opportunities with the world above. As a reward for her... mostly just luck, for being in the right place at the right time, she was given a noble male to marry and so ascended in status to matriarch of a newly formed noble house. Created in order to better govern this important hub of travel and trade, and to her credit things have gone marvelously here for the drow.

It speaks volumes to who she is as a person, especially in regards to you. The fact that she's nothing but a warrior cleaned up and sat on a throne, along with her relatively young age for a drow, explains her lack of experience and why she would make such a mistake as dealing with a mindflayer so carelessly. The reason she invited you to her chambers and now lies naked in body and mind within your grasp, is simply because she never encountered your kind before personally, and only knew rumors. A proper matriarch or even just any experienced drow, would know better than to lower their guard as much on a first meeting with an illithid.
>>
...ah, but... I need him back, alive. I would like to deal with her myself as well, but he is all that matters.[/i]

Certainly Umrae, you can count on me. No telling how the situation might be taken advantage of by those other drow... no offense.

Then again, her carelessness might simply be a testament to how desperate she is. You sense the fear in her that without her husband, she has no claim to power and indeed may find herself replaced eventually by a more esteemed noble House. You try to delve into the reason for this breakdown within her family, but the topic is painful and upsetting for her, so you can't glean much without risk of compromising the illusion. What you can learn, is that there was some long-running discord between Umrae and her daughter, something about the position of power in the area... inheritance, heir? Something like that? Whatever the case, her daughter kidnapped her father and escaped to the surface where it is now believed they are, in some way or other endangering the secrecy of the Underdark.

Either way the situation a lot of trouble for Umrae and her noble House, that they've done their best till now to manage and keep secret, but as the threats build for them so does their desperation. Enough even to seek the cooperation of a mindflayer and cede territory to Yphor. Enough that she'd more or less throw herself at your mercy, to invite you to her bedroom and offer you her body and mind, if it meant solving the problem.

I can promise the support of Yphor, and that I will meet this challenge personally... but knowing the situation, the risks involved, I believe more concessions are due. Namely... a supply of captives for Yphor, perhaps your criminals that would be executed? And more autonomy for myself, in the mission to come.

Sure, sure! That's fair. I don't expect less, if it matters to you. Make it back in one piece and you'll get even more...

The passage of another couple hours, as in your minds you sit among her collection of exotic plants by the exterior balcony of her chambers, looking out over the settlement and trading turns in partaking of fine smokable drugs these dark elves favor. This, is the time to negotiate, after the perception of a lovely evening (by her standards) together and in such a relaxed state. The illusion taking its toll on her mind, her guard lowered so much, she's even starting to sound like a soldier again instead of a noble with her pretense of fanciness discarded. Indeed, she's giving you what you want (within reason) and believes herself to be offering it willingly, and think you humble in your requests. And more than that, some notion you sense in her, of desires towards you unrelated to the dealings. Such pleasant company you've been, that you've touched upon some manner of satisfaction she's been lacking and desires to be fulfilled.
>>
File: fine drow meal.png (747 KB, 624x464)
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A shame really, it was admittedly a lovely "evening" you shared with Umrae, even if it was all just within your minds while you still lay in embrace in the gleaming waters of the pool. Not that she's aware of course, as within the illusion you caress one another in the pale light and the fragrant smoke, till she drifts off to sleep in your arms on the balcony. Same as in real life, as the mental union finally exhausts her and she falls asleep on you in the pool. Quite a skillful and effective end to your meeting of the minds, if you do say so yourself. Rising from the waters and holding her in your arms, you carry the matriarch to bed so she can sleep off the mental toll of your journey through memory, thoughts, and time. And what fading consciousness she may have left, wouldn't be able to tell the difference between illusion and reality.

You ought to be thanking her really, as you sit on the edge of the silken bed beside her sleeping figure; none of this would have been possible without her.

---

You don't care to keep track of the time, as you sit on the balcony for real and appreciate the fleeting serenity of the plants and the view over the settlement. A location and experience which you only were able to reconstruct in the illusion because of Umrae's memories of sitting here. It could be a hundred cycles to pass for all you care, so long as the effort with the matriarch was handled properly. The Elder Brain chose you for a reason, after all, and so far everything has been a success.

Incidentally though, it's Umrae herself that draws your attention back to the moment. Awake from her slumber, she approaches you from behind in a silken gown to drape her arms around you with a content sigh. After all, as far as she knows you spent the night together until she dozed off.

"Qhadryssa... why don't you stay? I feel... better with you, and think of what we could achieve together? Imagine you as my noble advisor..."

And what of the issue at hand? The danger with the surface world?

"Agh, I could... we could find another way. Pay for the best assassins the Underdark has to offer. Adventurers even, lot of fools that they are. Better that and keep you by my side, than for you to..."

Oh dear, what a number you've done on this drow it seems. Whether it be a passing fancy or something more, it seems you made an impression on her. And though you dare not admit it, for just a moment... you consider accepting her offer. What a life of luxury could be yours, and the power to govern things behind the scenes. An asset to Yphor certainly, but a benefit to yourself all the same.
>>
A selfish benefit, you recognize. Such traitorous thoughts, you know them to be the product of your time and distance away from the Elder Brain. As its control over you weakens, so may these... errant thoughts and emotions strengthen. But it's all nonsense really, the frivolity of lesser beings. Better that you see this task completed and return home, the sooner you return to the Elder Brain the sooner your mind will fall under control again. Pure, clean, just. Order, as it should be.

>What do you do?
>>
>>4979354
>What a tempting offer. I'll keep an open mind to it... after I proved my worth that is.

We should either report back to the Eldar Brain of this development, or complete the task set for us. We should as for some drow soldiers to help us capture her husband and daughter as well.

Unless we get our deal with the position of advisor. That's the only reason we'd be able to stick around longer that the Elder Brain may recognize as a boon.
>>
>>4979354
I assume most anons will want to rejoin the collective and be reassured of their merging with the Elder Brain, so I'll offer the maverick option.

>She's right. We can do so much more for Yphor as the shadow ruler of this valuable settlement. Adventurers are better suited to wandering the rumoured surface with its alleged burning lights and strange foreign customs and unknown powers.
>>
>>4979379
Support
>>
>>4979388
I'm down with the Maverick option, I just want to make sure we get our deal with it though.
>>
>>4979401
Yeah, I agree.
>>
>>4979379
+1
>>
>>4979388
Also supporting. For reference, I am >>4978093

It seems like a more useful application of our skills and our unique diplomatic advantage.

(Shit, I guess it IS The Shape of Water)
>>
>>4979388
This is a possible option, but either way you'll have to be going to the surface simply because they cannot expect to complete the mission without help of a mindflayer. That, and you don't place much faith in these drow at completing the mission, and if Umrae gets ousted then there goes your chance at a position.

Afterward though if you want to go into business for yourself, that's entirely possible.
>>
>>4979556
Sure, that's fine.
>>
>>4979388
>>4979556
Support, finish job, then make a harem of taste brainfood to munch on.
>>
Will be posting in a bit, but today and tomorrow I've been busy with surgery so just a heads up on delays.
>>
>>4979723
>then make a harem of taste brainfood to munch on

+1, lets start with our drow party that'll help us capture the husband/daughter duo.
>>
>>4979962
Not sure if you can have kids missing half your head.
>>
>>4979723
>>4979631
>>4979520
>>4979444
>>4979400
>>4979401
>>4979379
>>4979388
>>4979962

Although her motivation isn't coming from a genuine place, Umrae surprisingly raises a good point. You know she just wants you as her confidant and potentially even companion, but the logic of her offer is admirable. Indeed it could prove to be quite a benefit to Yphor if you were acting as the shadow ruler over this hub of travel and trade between the surface. And it's not even that out of the ordinary, from here to Menzoberranzan for a powerful drow House to have a mindflayer retainer for obvious tasks.

First thing's first though, before you can accept anything you have to ensure security in the position. Unless this problem with the surface is dealt with, Umrae could very well get replaced, in which case you can't expect the same opportunity.

What a tempting offer. I'll keep an open mind to it... after I proved my worth that is.

"Hsss... well fine, if you must go. At least I can rest assured that you will see this through."

She makes her disappointment known, but Umrae knows its probably for the best. What good you could do to her remaining here, in the long run wouldn't be as good to have you out there. Still, if only you could stay but a full rotation longer... or several, but you must be insistent lest you get carried away.

I should return, before any should notice my absence...

"If they haven't already... I suppose you are right, like always. Go then, and when we reconvene in the audience hall we can make all of this official..."

In truth she wouldn't let you go if she had her way, but a little mental persuasion convinces her to see your logic. Though... you wouldn't have minded if she took awhile to let you go, her body against yours as she performs an admittedly very pleasing head massage on your big tentacled noggin. But unhand you she does, and with a one-sided hug she finally lets you go, lingering thoughts for all sorts of desires towards you that are most unbecoming of a proper drow lady.

Of course the thoughts repulse you, but you do your best to stomach them because it suits your plans well. The more essential to Umrae you can make yourself, the greater your potential power here.

"Hah... you know it is funny..." she calls after you as you leave, having sat at the table herself, "Even after that splendid meal, I still feel so hungry..."

---

Over the coming cycles then and after having returned to your room, you have the chance to unwind and adjust. Mental domination and joining of minds is always a difficult process, and taxing upon a mindflayer as much as their victim. Of course your nature, your physiology leaves you better adapted to deal with it and more experienced illithid hardly have any problems, but matters of the mind aren't your inherent specialty so you need to take a breather so to speak.
>>
Such emotions... such violence, such lust...

Indeed, it's never easy with dark elves and Umrae is no exception, particularly with her transition of one lifestyle to a radically different other. Setting aside that drow have such long lives and thus more experienced, but their long lives are filled with such a complicated array of emotions and memories. Bloodshed and intrigue, excess and desire, centuries of violence and indulgence. Such alien concepts to your kind, the frivolous concerns of lesser beings, so naturally it's a lot for you to deal with and unpack.

Doubly so because of your personal, bodily involvement with the matriarch. Would that you simply had eaten her brain, it would be a mental hysteria to have to process. But in your short time together she assaulted your physical being and senses with pleasures, stimulation. When normally something as simple as holding hands is an unfamiliar sensation, full body contact in an inherently intimate way is... overwhelming, to say the least. To say nothing of her bath or incense saturated with drow stimulants. Illithid are not indulgent or sensational creatures, and indeed such things are looked down upon with scorn, pathetic comparisons to the mind at best and distractions at worst. Weakness, which is intolerable.

But you were all once lesser beings yourselves, your host bodies. You still are able to feel, still able to experience, still able to enjoy, no matter how much your kind tries to suppress it. Who knows, behind closed doors and in hidden places, what secret comforts are indulged? Whether it be music or art, hobbies or leisure, things which greater illithid society shun in favor of the uniform collective. You yourself for example have a weakness for sweet things, a holdover from your host and her personality. And all of this is doubly difficult for you, since your heightened physical body means you feel things even more than the rest of your kind.

Calm... still... clear the mind... control yourself Dryssa...

Meditation... helps, as you sit on the floor of your room away from the luxuries surrounding you. Though you were aware of it before, it's really starting to seem that you've strayed too far from the Elder Brain for too long. Individuality, the dreadful concept, is starting to creep in. And you can only imagine it will worsen, especially if you venture to the surface. Though you must do it, for Yphor and yourself, but you fear losing your identity of conformity to... uniqueness, choice, freedom! Just the thought of it makes your stomach turn as you try not to puke...

...best not to dwell on it now. If you can get these sensations and emotions under control and stamp them out, and instead focus on the challenge at hand.
>>
>This is worse than you thought! Spend the time to make sure these personal issues are dealt with.
>No time for feelings, you need to prepare! See what supplies or accommodations you can secure for your journey. {Specify.}
>Supplies are a trivial matter, compared to who you will travel with and may have to rely on. See if you can have some input into the team that is assembled for the journey. {Specify.}
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4980030
>This is worse than you thought! Spend the time to make sure these personal issues are dealt with.
>>
>>4980030
>This is worse than you thought! Spend the time to make sure these personal issues are dealt with.

It'll get worse, but we can take some time to deal with it.

>See what supplies or accommodations you can secure for your journey. {Tralls4Brains}

>Supplies are a trivial matter, compared to who you will travel with and may have to rely on. See if you can have some input into the team that is assembled for the journey. {Drow with an open mind}

The curious, non-cautious, even foolhardy, but if we can get those willing to try illithid mental massages like Umrae, it'll ease our task considerably(if we can make Umrae think it's her idea, all the better).
>>
>>4980030
>Supplies are a trivial matter, compared to who you will travel with and may have to rely on. See if you can have some input into the team that is assembled for the journey. {Specify.}

Bring some slaves for feeding!
>>
>>4980030
>See what supplies or accommodations you can secure for your journey.

We need a way to secure and drag back the two fugitives.
If the bonds are magical in nature better, we should not conform ourselfs with binding them with our mind since it would be to straining in the long run.
>>
>>4980030
>>This is worse than you thought! Spend the time to make sure these personal issues are dealt with.
>>
>>4980049
Supporting this one.
>>
>>4980030
>No time for feelings, you need to prepare! See what supplies or accommodations you can secure for your journey. {Specify.}

See to it we have an adequate supply of ̶b̶r̶a̶i̶n̶s̶ slaves for our journey. Crucially we need information, information on the surface inhabitants, their language, armament, skill with magic, culture, the terrain up above, how far to the nearest surface dweller settlement, etc, etc. We could also do with a timekeeper, and either a strip of black cloth that can be seen through to reduce the strain the light has on our eyes or some sort of black face paint to put in a strip across our eyes to reduce glare, or both. Other necessary thing are basic logistical stuff like food and water for our companions and if we are traveling far then we could use some pack animals, oh, and rope, that is always useful. Maybe some trade goods to feign a cover as merchants or to take some samples of valuable surface goods.

>Supplies are a trivial matter, compared to who you will travel with and may have to rely on. See if you can have some input into the team that is assembled for the journey. {Specify.}

This >>4980049 plus maybe some mercenaries or 'adventurers' familiar with the surface, even better if they are FROM the surface or speak surface languages.
>>
Pretty good quest you've got going QM, never really seen much content of mindflayers and the like myself so this is quite nice. Solid writing too, always a ++.
>This is worse than you thought! Spend the time to make sure these personal issues are dealt with.
>>
Hey guys I got out of surgery today, so probably no posts today or at least not until later tonight. Just a heads up.
>>
>>4980619
Thanks for the heads up QM, take care of yourself.
>>
>>4980619
Stay healthy QM, and thanks for telling us.
>>
Hey all, seems the thread is in autosage, so figure this is a good chance for an activity check. Curious who's active playing, if you're enjoying the quest, want to keep going, etc...?

As said in the beginning, I'll continue to QM as much as I'm able, provided people are having fun and want to continue, and that there's a worthwhile amount of players participating.

As for the current situation, I hope to be able to continue running tonight, if I've recovered enough for it. In the meantime, it seems like assembling a good group to travel with is just barely more important to you than the other options, so I'll leave you with this choice for when we resume;

>A bunch of criminals. Surely the least reliable option, but the most expendable, and you would be given command of them all to do as you please with.
>A group of scouts. Same as you've traveled with thus far, a small but capable group of drow with Underdark experience... but little surface knowledge.
>A collection of irregulars. Umrae will put out a summons and reward for any bold enough to reach the surface. Sure to be the most varied group, who knows what you might end up with?
>A professional or two. You will be partnered with the best the drow have to offer, along with a surface guide. Good for keeping a low profile, but a limited pool of experience and skills to draw from.
>A trading caravan. The safest option for sure, but one you will have the least control over, and have to travel incognito. It will however provide an inroad to the surface, as they deal with dwellers above.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4981616
And per usual, whatever your choice go ahead and make a roll, which will affect the quality or quantity of your group depending on the choice.
>>
>>4981616
>A collection of irregulars. Umrae will put out a summons and reward for any bold enough to reach the surface. Sure to be the most varied group, who knows what you might end up with?

Sort of curious about the mystery box option, but if anons have a different play in mind I'm all ears.
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>4981617
>>4981643
Sorry about that. I've been enjoying this quest immensely so far though, glad to see it continue.
>>
>>4981616
>>A bunch of criminals. Surely the least reliable option, but the most expendable, and you would be given command of them all to do as you please with.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>4981616
>A professional or two. You will be partnered with the best the drow have to offer, along with a surface guide. Good for keeping a low profile, but a limited pool of experience and skills to draw from.

pog quest OP
>>
>>4981616
>A professional or two. You will be partnered with the best the drow have to offer, along with a surface guide. Good for keeping a low profile, but a limited pool of experience and skills to draw from.
>>
>>4981616
>A group of scouts. Same as you've traveled with thus far, a small but capable group of drow with Underdark experience... but little surface knowledge.

Good quest, Not enough like these from alternate sides.

bit disappointed we aren't a crossdressing mindflayer tho.
>>
>>4981616
>>A collection of irregulars. Umrae will put out a summons and reward for any bold enough to reach the surface. Sure to be the most varied group, who knows what you might end up with?
>>
>>4981616
>A trading caravan. The safest option for sure, but one you will have the least control over, and have to travel incognito. It will however provide an inroad to the surface, as they deal with dwellers above.
>>
>>4981743
>crossdressing

lol what?
>>
>>4981616
>A collection of irregulars. Umrae will put out a summons and reward for any bold enough to reach the surface. Sure to be the most varied group, who knows what you might end up with?

I wouldn't worry about the permasage, threads stay up all month before a new one is made.
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>4981616
>>4981909
Forgot my roll. Here's hoping I save us assuming bo3.

I'm enjoying the quest, good writing.
>>
>>4981616
still here though was a lurker vary sick with a bad fever and more myself so wont be able to contribute much to the quest but i appreciate it and like it

fantasy imag i didnt look at Go!
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>4981616
Praying to RNJesus.
>A collection of irregulars. Umrae will put out a summons and reward for any bold enough to reach the surface. Sure to be the most varied group, who knows what you might end up with?
>>
>>4981830
I thought we were male but used a female disguise, which struck me as intriguing for our mindflayer character.
>>
Alright, going to try to resume now in a bit.

>>4982110
Now you can be female in male disguise.
>>
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>>4981643
>>4981796
>>4981909
>>4982103
>Irregulars

>>4981684
>>4981677
>Professionals

>>4981651
>>4981743
>>4981804
>Criminals, Scouts, Caravan

>46

The thought of being overcome by freedom and free will is a terrifying one, but it's just something you'll have to deal with as you go. After all, the Elder Brain chose you for a reason, else a lesser mindflayer would have sufficed for this task. So you can settle for the rest of the cycle-set on calming your heart and stilling your mind, but after that you have to focus on the mission.

As it goes, come next cycle-set Umrae reconvenes everyone relevant in the audience hall again, where she can make official the backroom deal you made together. Really it's just for show, but better that it seems she came up with the plan rather than the truth being known... both sides of the truth that is, the deal itself and that you "convinced" her to believe it was her idea.

"Let it be known then, this historic accord between the Children of Lolth and the haszakkin, in unity against the world above! Our ultimate foe, let the iblith learn their place once more!"

All the assorted decorum and show that these dark elves obsess over, such a trivial waste of time that it makes them seem like animals to you, as they offer applause and praise in support of the agreement. But then, you suppose these lesser beings have to have their ways of governing and keeping things together among themselves, when they aren't able to just mentally dominate. What a burden that must be...

Not to mention the farce of it all, this "alliance". In no way a cessation of hostilities and your respective races will be at each other's throats the moment these dealings are concluded, success or fail. But once in a rare while, you can all at least see eye to eye; if trust cannot bind you then at least mutual self-interest will suffice.

---

Within another three cycle-sets, the journey ahead is paved for you. After the little ceremony solidifying the agreement, Umrae made a summons for any and all persons interested in a quest to the surface. Complete with criers to announce it and notices placed around the settlement, the offer of reward and privilege serves to motivate some folks brave or crazy enough to risk the journey.

You wind up with a group of five, plus a dwarven guide who knows the route to the surface. Apart from most (but not all) of them being drow, there's almost no commonality between any of you, but motivation at least is not in question. You won't have to try to play leader or wrangle troublemakers, when everyone here willingly volunteered for the mission.

And so you will make your departure from the outpost with a little ceremony to be expected, but after that it's the familiar venture of traversing the Underdark. Hopefully you can at least reach the surface, as daunting a task as that seems, but dangers en route are beyond your control. What you can control is your relation to the group of travelers.
>>
>Remain aloof, and in disguise. The closer you get to any of these lesser beings, the riskier it is. Plus, you need to keep your attention on the dangerous route ahead.
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...
>Get to know your traveling companions. They are all you will have from here to the surface, as well as while you are in the world above, and finally back below again. To that end, you can be honest with them about what you are.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4982209
As well, whichever your choice go ahead and make a roll for the travel, to see how your journey goes.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>4982209
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...
>>
Rolled 53 (1d100)

>>4982209
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...

we do noooot
>>
Rolled 75 (1d100)

>>4982223
Support
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>4982120
Eh, its lost its luster now.

>>4982208
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...
Let us massage your weary skulls for you.. FrEnDS!
>>
Rolled 73 (1d100)

>>4982209
>>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...
>>
Rolled 4 (1d100)

>>4982209
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>4982209
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...

Any potential thralls among this group?
>>
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>>4982336
>>4982284
>>4982268
>>4982246
>>4982223
>>4982219
>>4982398
>A little familiarity is tolerable, at least so you know what the group is capable of. Though, whether you reveal your true self to them...
>75

Of course your preference would be to not associate with these others at all, apart from their brains. But between the travel to the surface and then the world above itself, you figure you ought to know what your group is capable of should danger arise.

Knowledge of all things, as you know. Yourself however, you decide not to reveal the truth and maintain the same illusory form of a drow before, as you try to become familiar with your fellow travelers over the coming cycle-sets of travel through the long and perilous dark.

"Long way? Aye lass, nine full rotations... but I knows it like me wife's beard, ha!"

The most important of course is your dwarf guide Corley, a former miner of some dwarf clan who tunneled his way down and quite literally fell into the Underdark, and never found a way home. So instead he makes trips to and from the surface in the meantime, is as tough as any dwarf and has some expertise with explosives.

"Where did you say you were from again?"

"I didn't, but Eryndlyn... "

"My sister lives in Eryndlyn jabbress! At least, I think it was my sister... I think it was Eryndlyn..."

Next are the two drow who naturally associate with you, a cause for annoyance. The female, Laele is a pilgrim to some shrine on the surface and seems harmless enough, benevolent in a religious way. She asks too many questions for your liking however, especially since you can't get a read of her mind which makes you wary. The male on the other hand, Nym is a young lad (by elven standards) with a giant beetle for a mount. Naive and distracted, easy prey for you, he is a strange sort of bard who records sound with crystals and seeks sounds of the surface. He couldn't fight his way out of a wet bag, but his huge insect is formidable.
>>
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"Argh, careful! You almost brought those rocks down!"

There's also the myconid, a towering mushroom-man with uncertain purpose, you doubt it even has a brain since there's nothing mentally you can pick up from it... in fact you wonder if there's any point to projecting your illusory form or "words" to it. Though the creature is somehow sapient and communication is possible, considering it volunteered for the journey and lumbers along with the group, it's main benefit is probably in a fight rather than as any sort of companion.

"We all go, yes?"

Lastly is the human traveler, Mann. You're not sure what he's doing in the Underdark but apparently he just wants to return to his farm on the surface, eat vegetables, brush his hair, and go outside in cold temperature. Clumsy no thanks to his thick bundled clothes, but he keeps to himself so you can appreciate that. His constant barrage of thoughts however is a little overwhelming to you, and you question the sanity of a single mind that can think so much so quickly.

"Here we are lads, like I told ye! We ken camp here, on past the lake, then it's up and up all the way!"

"Past it, you mean down around it? Why not cross by the fall?"

"This en't drow territory no more lass, there be gogglers about. Quicker yer way true, but I wouldn't chance it."

A little under halfway of the journey and things have been more or less fine, so far. A close call here, getting lost for awhile there, some group tension mixed between, but nothing serious thankfully. Corley takes it as a good sign, though having reached the familiar landmark of a crystalline lake he wants to stop for some time before taking a long detour. Apparently you're trespassing into the territory of kuo-toa, a nasty race of subterranean fish people.

Though you're not particularly worried from what you know of them, and would rather not suffer the delay. But the dwarf hasn't steered you wrong yet, and perhaps he's right, that you could take the chance to rest.

>Getting side-tracked so much is unacceptable. So long as you're all quick about it, you should be able to cross the waterfall above the lake and put distance between you and the fishmen, enough to rest later.
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire, or at least get to know them better.
>You'd like to know what your group is capable of... maybe not engage them entirely, but a raid against the locals could be beneficial. For supplies, if nothing else.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4982451
Formatting error, let me delete and repost.
>>
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"Argh, careful! You almost brought those rocks down!"

There's also the myconid, a towering mushroom-man with uncertain purpose, you doubt it even has a brain since there's nothing mentally you can pick up from it... in fact you wonder if there's any point to projecting your illusory form or "words" to it. Though the creature is somehow sapient and communication is possible, considering it volunteered for the journey and lumbers along with the group, it's main benefit is probably in a fight rather than as any sort of companion.

"We all go, yes?"

Lastly is the human traveler, Mann. You're not sure what he's doing in the Underdark but apparently he just wants to return to his farm on the surface, eat vegetables, brush his hair, and go outside in cold temperature. Clumsy no thanks to his thick bundled clothes, but he keeps to himself so you can appreciate that. His constant barrage of thoughts however is a little overwhelming to you, and you question the sanity of a single mind that can think so much so quickly.

---

"Here we are lads, like I told ye! We ken camp here, on past the lake, then it's up and up all the way!"

"Past it, you mean down around it? Why not cross by the fall?"

"This en't drow territory no more lass, there be gogglers about. Quicker yer way true, but I wouldn't chance it."

A little under halfway of the journey and things have been more or less fine, so far. A close call here, getting lost for awhile there, some group tension mixed between, but nothing serious thankfully. Corley takes it as a good sign, though having reached the familiar landmark of a crystalline lake he wants to stop for some time before taking a long detour. Apparently you're trespassing into the territory of kuo-toa, a nasty race of subterranean fish people.

Though you're not particularly worried from what you know of them, and would rather not suffer the delay. But the dwarf hasn't steered you wrong yet, and perhaps he's right, that you could take the chance to rest.

>Getting side-tracked so much is unacceptable. So long as you're all quick about it, you should be able to cross the waterfall above the lake and put distance between you and the fishmen, enough to rest later.
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire.
>You'd like to know what your group is capable of... maybe not engage them entirely, but a raid against the locals could be beneficial. For supplies, if nothing else.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4982451
>>You'd like to know what your group is capable of... maybe not engage them entirely, but a raid against the locals could be beneficial. For supplies, if nothing else.
>>
>>4982454
>You'd like to know what your group is capable of... maybe not engage them entirely, but a raid against the locals could be beneficial. For supplies, if nothing else.

May as well know if we can rely on this group.
>>
>>4982454
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire.
>>
>>4982454
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire.

If I learned anything from lovecraft it's not to mess with fish people
>>
>>4982454
>You'd like to know what your group is capable of... maybe not engage them entirely, but a raid against the locals could be beneficial. For supplies, if nothing else.

>>4982661
We're Starspawn, bruh. Dagonspawn are nothing to us.
>>
>>4982454
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire.
No need to get sidetracked and cossing needless harm to our party when we are making good time
>>
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire.

The human knows of the surface. we can aford to make an effort to talk to him and learn more
>>
>>4982454
>You'd like to know what your group is capable of... maybe not engage them entirely, but a raid against the locals could be beneficial. For supplies, if nothing else.

Fish are food, not friends.
>>
Hey all apologies for the delay, having a tough time with recovery but will try to be doing some more tonite.

>>4982973
>>4982762
>>4982470
>>4982455
>Raid

>>4982541
>>4982661
>>4982919
>>4982962
>Rest

Seems like an even split. I'll give it a little while (as I prepare to post as normal) for anyone else to weigh in or possibly change their vote, otherwise I can make a roll to determine the tie.
>>
>>4983159
If it remains a tie, just switch this vote here >>4982973 to the other side.
>>
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>>4983172
A noble sacrifice!

>>4982973
>>4983159
>The guide knows best, take the chance to rest and recuperate. Besides, it's a good chance for you to target any of the group if you so desire.

Why create problems when there aren't any? Or something like that. You've been making a good pace through the Underdark and for as dangerous as it is, things have fortunately been... mostly safe. You would like to know what this group of yours is capable of, but if you can reach the surface without trouble then you think you'd prefer that more.

Besides, you can always figure out what the others are capable of later, on the surface itself against the dwellers above.

"Careful with the fire, you know the walking mushroom won't stay close by."

"Food time? We eat! Food time!"

"Hey has anyone seen a pair of dark lens? I think I lost mine..."

Finding a good, tucked away location by the lake is Corley's job and he manages well enough that the lot of you shouldn't have to worry about getting ambushed by patrolling fishmen. And if you do, then you'll get your wish to see what everyone can do. In the meantime though the group settles in for the full-rotation in their own ways, the first real chance for a proper rest since you left. Otherwise it's just been short sleeping in shifts and eating on the go, rather than the chance to sit down and enjoy a proper meal.

Sadly in your case, you've no brains to enjoy apart from those around you. Like most illithid you can still eat other food to stave off starvation, but it's only a temporary fix when you really need a nice juicy brain once in awhile. Fortunately for you, since your body is formidable you can go for longer than other illithid without consuming brains, and you had your fill of your former thrall before you departed Yphor to travel alone.
>>
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So you can can play along with the others, maintain the illusion that you're just another lesser creature among them. The drow in particular have their shared food, among which you can find... something you can stomach at least. As much an act as it is though, it's a good opportunity to get to know the group better. At least, one of the group.

"It's true what the dwarf says, you're from the surface? So... what's it like?"

"Yes yes, up above! Big cave with no roof! Big dragon king, good king, fly high!"

As you know, trying to read Mann's mind is pointless at best and aggravating at worst, though trying to talk with him and "focus" his mind does much to help. Picking up on surface thoughts is much easier that way as you try and steer the conversation while he tears into a chunk of meat. Glimpses of what he speaks about, impressions of this surface... though perhaps a little disappointing.

...doesn't seem all that different from below.

"You come with, share home and food!"

Images, memories of a cave with treasure, a dragon, but only a faint glimpse of something beyond the cave. This roof-less place you hear tell about. And certainly no impressions of farming or other humans above. But you have no reason to doubt Mann, so you'll just have to take him at his word. Probably just an eccentric human by their standards, of course you'd end up with the crazy one to travel with... but then, what sane human would be in the Underdark in the first place?

Your host sure knew that much! In any case though, you must admit the chance to properly rest is a welcome one, if only so that at some point or other you can withdraw from the group and let go of the illusion for a time. Having to focus on that constantly is quite mentally taxing!

>Make the most of the rest and then be on your way with the group. The world above you awaits!
>In the time that remains between here and the surface, you figure you could probably target another of the group to suit your needs. {Specify.}
>The group served their purpose so far, but the moment you get the chance and can make the rest of the way... separate from them. Your mission after all is a secret to them.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4983297
And whatever your choice, go ahead and make a roll for this final leg of the journey from here to the surface.
>>
Rolled 3 (1d100)

>>4983297
>Make the most of the rest and then be on your way with the group. The world above you awaits!

We got a job to do.
>>
>>4983297
>In the time that remains between here and the surface, you figure you could probably target another of the group to suit your needs. {Laele.}

She asks too many questions after all, that and she may not be much use in retrieving our target.
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>4983300
Forgot my roll.
>>
>>4983367
>In the time that remains between here and the surface, you figure you could probably target another of the group to suit your needs. {Mann}
There is something about him just not shure what...
>>
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>>4983396
Why are you linking to me?

He's probably just got ADHD or something. There's no way he could really be 3 kobolds stacked on top of one another, that'd be insane!
>>
>>4983478
Oops.. was supposed to go to the QM
hehe
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>4983297
>>In the time that remains between here and the surface, you figure you could probably target another of the group to suit your needs. {Specify.}
{Laele.}
>>
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>>4983544
>>4983396
>>4983368
>>4983316
>In the time that remains between here and the surface, you figure you could probably target another of the group to suit your needs. {Laele.}
>65

The sheer distance to travel is daunting no doubt, but you've already made it most of the way, and importantly if you needed to you could probably retrace your steps. If this was the definite way between the surface and the Underdark, then maybe once more the travel and you'd have no need for a guide any more.

Because of this, paying attention all the while and remembering is important, but your mind is formidable enough that you can multitask a little. Particularly in your focus towards the group; having lost your previous thrall, a new servant would be handy to have. There's no telling what things could be like once you reach the surface, so a backup plan is logical.

"So, Laele, you say you're on a pilgrimage but have you ever been to the surface before?"

"What's this interest all of a sudden? I'm making this journey for a reason, so I'm not going to hold your hand."

The female drow seems like a good target for you, at least to suss out her intentions. So over the coming rotations as the group continues to navigate through winding cave networks and across perilous chasms, you try to make yourself friendly with her. However you run up against an obstacle you should have expected, the inherent hostility between female drow, as threats or competition. You know of the dark elves to be a fickle and traitorous lot so among their same-genders, at least for individuals (especially strangers), there's not much more than formalities to be found.

Efforts greater than this are suspicious, so friendships form very slowly. Even Laele herself, agreeable by drow standards, takes time and effort just to make it past feigned politeness... for her to feel less like you're going to stab her in the back any moment. So while it is a bothersome effort for you to keep up, and it takes most of the remainder of the journey to the surface, finally you are able to interact with her relatively "normally".

"-so I do believe the shrine exists, but that's why I'm going alone first... speaking of alone, what do you think of Nym? A poorly male unspoken for, out here alone and helpless? Just asking for trouble, I think he's up to something..."

"I guess... you're right, I hadn't noticed before- I mean, I was more focused on the travel, the dangers so far to notice."

Familiarity with lesser beings is repulsive to you and illithid in general, so acting out this acquaintance with Laele is mentally exhausting to you. However, it has paid off at least to where she will associate with you even if she's not an actual thrall. What you can't force her to do mentally, you could at least talk to and ask her for, and she's likely to agree. Not trust of course, but like what you had with Umrae, mutual self-interest.
>>
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In tough times and places drow ought to stick together, something like that right?

Interesting to hear her own opinions and suspicions of the group though, a perspective you hadn't considered. You'd love to learn more from her, but the big moment you've all been waiting for dawns upon you all, and sooner than expected.

"-ay, shh shhh! This be it lads, we found it. Beyond here, is the old mine that connects to the surface. Look for yourself if ye like, but keep it quiet... seems the monlegr are more interested in what's beneath than last I was here."

You thought you'd noticed a change in the air for awhile now, and the rocks around the cave here more... disturbed, until finally you start to notice artificial signs. Construction. A mine if Corley is to be believed, old abandoned dwarven but appropriated by local humans. Probably after this information leak of the Underdark started to spread.

This particular portion remains recently undisturbed behind a "wooden" barricade, but as Corley suggests you can peer through to observe beyond. Indeed the place is occupied, with echoing sounds of activity and you think you even catch a glimpse of some humans through the artificially opened cavern. It's hard to tell however, since there's some sort of... light? The source is unseen, somewhere out beyond the cave, yet it floods into the mine freely.

"So what do we do?" you're half a mind to just proceed on yourself, but figure to check if there's any benefit to the group.

"Are humans normally friendly, like Mann? Maybe they'll welcome us!" Nym gives his input, but unfortunately for him this is the real world and not his ideal friendship fantasy land.

"I'm sure we can deal with them. Besides, gathering a bunch of slaves is a good first step to make into this... new world." Laele makes her remark, focused more on the opportunity available. Religious or not, no female drow would miss out on a chance to make her life easier.

"Not sure what kind of reputation ye ulvunr want for yourselves, but these monlegr are here for wealth. Trade with them is easy enough."

Of course Corley is the mediating voice, but at the same time he isn't bidden to the same secrecy that you and the drow are. Although he is aware of the secrecy, he isn't above risking it since a breach in the truth doesn't affect him really. He just as easily will accept a request for stealth so he's not dead set on any plan yet, though you can tell he wouldn't support hostility against the humans like Laele wants... but not like you need the guide anymore.

As a last consideration you look to the remaining members of your group, but aren't reassured by their input; the myconid can barely move as contorted as it is to fit into these tunnels (Nym's beetle can barely move either), and Mann seems to have tripped and fallen over his own clothes and now is arguing with himself.
>>
>Maintain the secrecy. Wait until Corley thinks it is safe to sneak past the humans to the surface.
>Laele has the right idea, taking captives will be a valuable resource for any challenges ahead. If only for the information in their heads.
>Best not to take risks... if Nym thinks that acting friendly and open to trade will grant you passage out, then once again you'll avoid conflict where possible. It's not like you have to tell them upfront you are from the Underdark anyway.
>You won't leave things to chance with an unknown element; the humans. Supposing any should be able to see past your "disguise"? Leave the group on their own, and take it from here yourself... potentially bringing either of the drow with you, if you can convince them.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4983824
>Laele has the right idea, taking captives will be a valuable resource for any challenges ahead. If only for the information in their heads.

We have too many awkwardly large or bumbling members of our party to sneak past, lets just mug these fools and grab some brains for the road.
>>
>>4983826
>Laele has the right idea, taking captives will be a valuable resource for any challenges ahead. If only for the information in their heads.
>>
>>4983826
>Laele has the right idea, taking captives will be a valuable resource for any challenges ahead. If only for the information in their heads.

plunder!
>>
>>4983826
>Best not to take risks... if Nym thinks that acting friendly and open to trade will grant you passage out, then once again you'll avoid conflict where possible. It's not like you have to tell them upfront you are from the Underdark anyway.
>>
>>4983826
>Maintain the secrecy. Wait until Corley thinks it is safe to sneak past the humans to the surface.
if were found out then we go with laele plan.
>>
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>>4984329
>>4983871
>>4983842
>>4984510
>Laele has the right idea, taking captives will be a valuable resource for any challenges ahead. If only for the information in their heads.

For as suspicious as she is, you like the way Laele thinks. No wonder the drow mindset in certain circumstances can be compatible with illithid methods. Regardless of the symbolic first gesture you'll have towards the surface, the simple value potential here cannot be ignored.

So you conspire with the drow towards this end, Laele already in agreement and Nym susceptible to female pressure, and really that's all you need.

"What? Ye're going to attack them? Ye'll make a bad name for ulvunr everywhere, and I won't help ye with the consequences..."

As expected Corley won't have anything to do with this, and you're not sure what to expect from the mushroom man either... it might help, it might now. Oddly enough however, you expected trouble from Mann in this matter but when he understands your hostile intent he wields a club and seems eager to help.

So then, from darkest depths rises a hostility unknown to these unsuspecting humans. They delved too greedily and too deep, and now the Underdark strikes back!

~~~

The clinks of pickaxes and shovels against stone, and the trundle of mine carts along rickety old tracks. Before anything else the humans want to see the mine restored in condition to at least what it was before being abandoned, and then after that they can start to search for this rumored passage to a strange world beneath.

"How would we know what to look for even? I mean, what do you think it looks like?"

"No clue. Maybe the foreman knows, but that's the business of the guild. Maybe if... wait, did you hear that?"

A pair of human laborers lean against some wooden support pillars against the cave, waiting for others to wheel back another mine cart. What a simple and easy life they have, never might they expect an interruption as this... a giant beetle rampaging down one of the tunnels towards, and trampling over them.

And before they have much chance to recover, a pair of elves with skin black as night and exotically armed and armored, pinning them down and yelling in a language unknown.

"-what's that?! Avery! Something's going on down there, call for help! Gaurds!! Gua- doh!"

The echoes of combat aren't mistaken for long, and attention begins to gather. An overseer gives the call for backup, but doesn't last long before three kobolds in a trench-coat batter him over the head. His partner tries to help, but the pesky pests avoid attacks by jumping off each others' shoulders.
>>
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Fortunately for those waylaid, a small group of hired guards hurries down from above to investigate the trouble. Whether or not they would be able to fight off a pair of drow remains to be seen however, since no sooner do they sight the enemies, that the group of them are mentally assaulted from a distance.

"-agh what is that?!"

"It's in my head! It's in my heeeaaad!!"

"Wh-Where are they?! Wh-What's happening!"

Clutching their heads wracked in pain and confusion, the group of guards are stunned by what appears to be another drow, but in truth is something much more sinister... by the time they even have the chance to recover, the other drow have caught up and similarly subdued them.

So unsuspecting, this unfortunate lot of humans. But then, what chance did they have against the horrors from beneath?

~~~

"Nine of them, now that's impressive!"

"Maybe these humans aren't as dangerous as they say?"

"Fools, the lot of ye. If the monlegr ever find out..."

Having secured the lower portion of the mine, your group takes account of things, particularly the captured humans. It may have been a bloodbath otherwise, but you're all on the same page about potential slaves, and so less-lethal methods were employed. To be fair though, the much stronger factor in your favor was the element of surprise. Some lowly laborers didn't stand much chance against the surprise attack from seasoned Underdark travelers.

With the myconid's surprising help then, putting the humans to sleep with a cloud of spores, the situation becomes that much more manageable for your group despite being outnumbered. Corley remains unwilling to help of course, which gives you consideration of turning against him, but he still serves to act as your guide. As was the promise, not to just take you all to the surface but to the nearest significant surface settlement.

Naturally though your collection of captives will complicate things, and there's still the upper portion of the mine to secure, the entrance. By the sound of things, there's still to be expected some humans waiting outside. Laele and Nym try to figure out how to proceed considering this, and would have your input but you're... distracted.

"What... what is that?" you "speak" aloud to anyone who cares to listen, standing in bewilderment at the light trickling down from above, with no apparent direct source.

"Daylight! From sun! Big fire in big sky!"

Fortunately you have Mann to answer your confusion, about this substance you've never encountered before. Despite the answer, you're not sure your concern is any lessened.
>>
>Secure the mine first and foremost. Once the place is yours, you can then start evaluating your position in regards to this new world.
>Your stay here is only temporary. Take whatever you want from the captives, and then deal with them, however you see fit. {Specify.}
>Corley doesn't have to get his beard in a twist, no one's dead yet. Just clear a path from the mine, and then continue on to civilization.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4984517
>Secure the mine first and foremost. Once the place is yours, you can then start evaluating your position in regards to this new world.
>>
>>4984518
>>Secure the mine first and foremost. Once the place is yours, you can then start evaluating your position in regards to this new world.
>>
>>4984517
>Secure the mine first and foremost. Once the place is yours, you can then start evaluating your position in regards to this new world.
>>
>>4984518
>Secure the mine first and foremost. Once the place is yours, you can then start evaluating your position in regards to this new world.
>>
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>>4984958
>>4984687
>>4984552
>>4984536
>Secure the mine first and foremost. Once the place is yours, you can then start evaluating your position in regards to this new world.

Though you don't plan on staying in this mine forever, you want to determine what lies ahead of you before you continue the journey. Now on the surface, you're operating as in enemy territory so you don't want to wander out like a fool and get cut off from possible retreat. After all, if this passage is the only known connection to the Underdark in this region, then you have no way of returning home if you lose control of this place.

So together with those of the group that will help, you make your way up through the old mine. The upper portions where equipment was stored and ore examined, some habitation areas converted by the humans for use, and finally the entrance itself. Beyond it, the outside and the rest of the surfa-

"-agh!"

"Too bright!"

From a strong drive to hurry onward, you admittedly are a little careless in how you all emerge from the mine, obviously unprepared. The light from the exterior source was getting brighter the farther up you traveled, but you foolishly assumed it couldn't get much brighter than that, right?

Experiencing direct daylight then, for the first time in your life is... overwhelming, to say the least. You had emerged together from the mine entryway so triumphantly, but now stagger about utterly stunned, in a state of shock. Blinding spells and devices, traps are not rare in the Underdark but this light is a constant one that completely envelops you. Like a fire even, you quickly feel the heat of it on your skin. You had bits and pieces of vague memories of the surface, from your host, but you couldn't have imagined how intense reality could be.

"The humans, watch out!"

"They'll get away if we don't stop them!"

Your two drow companions at the forefront with you suffer the same shock against the sunlight, while the myconid won't even leave the mine into direct light and Mann is the odd one out who can at least tolerate the light. But on his own he can't handle the remaining group of humans waiting outside the mine for any idea on what had happened below.

When they see the cause of trouble, some strange beings who can't handle being out in the day, the humans are emboldened... most of them at least. A few charge to attack, while one is alarmed at the appearance of you all and attempts to mount some creature and escape.

"...Mann, don't let that one escape! Laele, Nym, we have to give him a path past!"

The simplest thing to do, would be to just withdraw into the mine again, and fight in what is at least not direct sunlight. But doing so will isolate Mann to be attacked by the humans and allow for the errant one to escape with news of what happened. So you take the risk and do your best to remain outside in order to draw the remaining humans to you.
>>
And what a mess it ends up being. Really only thanks to your mental powers are the lot of you able to eventually triumph after a long and bloody struggle, no one making it through unscathed. At first you and the others are completely outmatched and suffer wounds from a one-sided fight. Eventually though, at risk of suspicion you mentally rely on the perception of the two drow to get a better combined sense of the situation. Perceiving a shared view of the scene rather than just your own eyes or mind, you are better able to direct your companions to fight better and more importantly, mentally attack your enemies.

"Wh-Who's hurt? Anyone need..."

"For Llolth's sake c-can we do this inside? A-Anything to get out of... out of THIS!"

Battered and bloody, the three of you limp back inside the mine to collapse in an exhausted mess out of direct light, while Mann struggles to drag the defeated humans inside as well one by one. The myconid can put the to sleep to be shoved with the rest of the captives, but before all that medical attention is needed.

"I-I packed some healing s-supplies on Rissa..." Nym indicates to his beetle, "...I'll have to r-rummage through the bags though."

"...maybe these humans brought something useful with their equipment? Ah, but it's surface substances..."

The myconid wasn't involved, and Mann avoided most of the trouble. But you and the drow have your share of injuries while trying to defend yourselves. Nym got bashed over the head, Laele was stabbed and got some other cuts, and you took a few arrows. In a mess of blood and pain you all try to salvage the situation, as Corley looks on with disapproval.

"H-Hold still Dryssa, I have to check how bad it is!"

"-no! I'm fine, just find those healing goods... potions, wraps, whatever!"

While Nym tries to gather what he can of use, Laele attempts to help you. Your condition isn't good either, but the worse prospect is that in your injured state you can't maintain your illusory disguise well. Already she probably noticed your blood is different from theirs, and if she makes contact with you the disguise will become obvious to her.

And yet, while the injuries aren't lethal, with your strength fading you may not be able to maintain your mental state anyway. At the very least though, the mine is secured... for all the trouble it was worth. Another six captives as well, but you're feeling a lot less merciful towards them than you were before.

>No point hiding it any longer, let the others help you and hope that they can accept your true nature.
>Try to hold out enough that you can find what you all need, and tend to your own injuries personally.
>The the risk of relying on whatever supplies these humans have. Surface substances or not, you need to get things under control.
>[Write-in.]
>>
Rolled 38 (1d100)

>>4985133
>>The the risk of relying on whatever supplies these humans have. Surface substances or not, you need to get things under control.

We are strong, we can tolerate it.
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>4985173
>support
Not shure if we need to roll for anything but hey...
>>
Rolled 25 (1d100)

>>4985133
>The the risk of relying on whatever supplies these humans have. Surface substances or not, you need to get things under control.
>>
>>4985133
>Take the risk of relying on whatever supplies these humans have. Surface substances or not, you need to get things under control.
>>
Rolled 31 (1d100)

>>4985133
>Try to hold out enough that you can find what you all need, and tend to your own injuries personally.
>The the risk of relying on whatever supplies these humans have. Surface substances or not, you need to get things under control.

We need to retain control of the situation, I don't care how.
>>
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>>4985173
>>4985349
>>4985371
>>4985384
>>4985385
>The the risk of relying on whatever supplies these humans have. Surface substances or not, you need to get things under control.
>74

You've been injured worse before, really what makes it so bad is simply because you're in unfamiliar territory, effectively a brand new world really. Without a safe place you know you can return to, naturally you're on edge and so it makes things worse.

But not so bad that you can't get a grip of yourself, and try to maintain control, especially mentally.

"...my host body- I mean, Mann is human. If he was wandering around the Underdark then his physiology can't be that different from our own. Check... look and see if these humans have anything, which could help."

"...y-yes jabbress!"

At your command, Nym focuses his attention instead on searching the incapacitated humans for anything of use, while Mann continues to drag in the defeated ones from outside so that the myconid can put them to sleep. Even Corley finally makes an effort to help, opting to search the administrative and equipment rooms of the upper mine.

In the meantime Laele is able to locate where all she is wounded and try to stop the bleeding, while you with the use of a dagger (and biting down as to not give an illithid shriek) try and remove the arrows piercing your body. Damned humans didn't make it easy, but it's a good start for when the dwarf finally returns.

"...here lads. Found a bags worth of them, suppose the monlegr brought them in case of an emergency."

Some satchels slung over his shoulder, Corley paces between those of you injured with bottles of opaque glass which you're inclined to just throw away at first, until you recognize the familiar glow from within. A healing draught, the magical nature is unmistakable in the liquid, even if the color and scent is strange to you. Must be just how the humans do things on the surface.

Quick as you can then, after the agony of ripping out the arrows you down the bottle in periodic swigs, stopping each time to yelp and wince as the gleaming red brew causes your wounds to mend. The sensation is almost as bad as receiving the harm in the first place, but since you at least know the beneficial result you can suck it up and bear it. You'll still be feeling the effects for some time still, of course, but any permanent damage is remedied.

"-o-oh oh! Bandages, tonic... I-I think. This one is a surgeon!"

Nym finds something you set him to look for, and between the healing potions Corley found and now the bandages and other medical supplies, you can all adequately patch yourselves up. No small effort for sure, and what a mess it all was, as you glance over the humans and dearly would love to just kill them all for the trouble.

But in the end, after a share of pain and suffering, the lot of you are more or less ready to continue as you were.

---
>>
---

Talk about a rough first day, as you made a misstep into the surface world. Corley talks at length about his services as a guide and refusal to escort slaves to any settlement, while Mann continues to scuttle about emptying the pockets of captives kept asleep by the myconid.

The three of you however, illithid and two drow, just sit in the shade of the mine entrance. Not paying much attention to anything, just feeling pretty miserable and starting wearily at the outside, the surface world as you try to give yourselves time to adjust to the light. However long it will take for your eyes to be able to handle sunlight. Nym at least has some dark glasses which can help, having spent your lives underground you know it will take some getting used to for sure, and until you can handle daylight better you'll be at a serious disadvantage.

"What even is it?"

"I heard stories... The Son? Like a son of the gods or something, always burning up in the sky?"

"Damn iblith, they couldn't just settle for torches or lamps could they?"

At least though, you personally have a special benefit neither of the drow have; you can technically close your eyes, navigate and "see" entirely with your mind. Using psychic sense you can get a mental impression of the world around you up to about thirty feet away, give or take. It's not much, but enough to move about without terrain risk to yourself. If need be you could just blindfold yourself for double-certainty and navigate your way around entirely by the mind.

That may come into play later though. For now, after much difficulty you've managed to secure the mine with your companions, and properly taken all the known humans captive, to do with as you see fit. This place isn't about to become your surface stronghold or anything, but it's a secure location from which you can plan and foray out into the surface world. A place for you to have the chance to try and adjust to this world above, and learn what you can in order to make proper plans before you set out.

>Take the humans for all they're worth, but otherwise continue on the journey with Corley to civilization. That's where your mission will start, not here.
>Do what you can, to learn what you can, and determine what lies ahead of you in this surface world. Only then, can you properly act, after scouting. {Specify.}
>This seems as good a chance you're going to get, to separate the group. Maybe not the drow, but the others there's not much need for them to stick around here with you... besides, it will give you the chance to do whatever you want to the humans without protest.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4985661
>Take the humans for all they're worth, but otherwise continue on the journey with Corley to civilization. That's where your mission will start, not here.

Don't wanna get sidetracked
>>
Rolled 32 (1d100)

>>4985709
This plus have a human snack to keep up strength. Pretty sure they won't mind 1 missing.
>>
>>4985661
>[Write-in.]
Jedi mind trick them into thinking the mines too dangerous and unstable with little ore left to reopen.
Claim a collapse killed some of the humans and cut the others loose.
Have snack.....
>>
>>4986077
Changing the minds of victims like that, altering memories, is possible but difficult and time-consuming. Probably more risky and longer than you care to take, so at best you could try and just blank their mind, so that their memories go hazy whenever they try to recall anything that happened.

You can roll for the effort if you want to try that. Also, separate of that, make a roll if you want to eat some brains. You'll always have to make a roll for this, since there's a chance/risk that you could take on characteristics/qualities of the victim when you consume their mind.
>>
Rolled 7 (1d100)

>>4985661
>Take the humans for all they're worth, but otherwise continue on the journey with Corley to civilization. That's where your mission will start, not here.

Does this assume we'll take the humans with us (besides based Mann of course).

>>4986365
Want me to roll for both right now QM?
>>
>>4986408
Corley refuses to guide you all if you take unwilling human captives, since he's not going to suffer the consequences of being seen as a slave trader or something like that. But of course you could always just separate from him and try your own way.

Supposing you do go with him though, the insinuation is that you'll loot what the humans have to offer, maybe eat a brain or two, and then either leave them to free themselves or dispose of them. But definitely not bring them, unwillingly at least.

And yes, you can roll if you want to take those actions. If you do want to munch someone's head, as a bonus if there's any interest, you could also specify what sort of person you'd prefer to feed on.
>>
>>4985661
>Do what you can, to learn what you can, and determine what lies ahead of you in this surface world. Only then, can you properly act, after scouting.
Interrogate or scan the minds of the captives for useful insights about allied and enemy settlements nearby, and what race sand cultures we can expect to encounter in each direction.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4986440
Dice roll if required.
>>
Rolled 27, 96 = 123 (2d100)

>>4986438
>rolling for mind blanking and brain eating

The Foreman and the Head Guard, and maybe a smart brain if we can find one among the laborers. I do assume the brain eating will be kept secret from the group btw.

Otherwise, make this mess look like an accidental cave in, especially with the eaten brains.
>>
Rolled 40, 84 = 124 (2d100)

>>4986365
>>4986438
Okay, omonomnom and mind trick them/blank they out, maybe make it so a few of them think they struck some poison gas or something.
>>
Rolled 28, 4, 19 = 51 (3d100)

>>4985661
>Take the humans for all they're worth, but otherwise continue on the journey with Corley to civilization. That's where your mission will start, not here.

>Also Interrogate the humans, mind blank em, and eat some.

I told you we should've brought some black cloth that we could see through or black face paint to dull the glare of the light. Our poor underground eyes, we'll be blind in no time.
>>
Hey all I've got a followup appointment at the hospital today. It shouldn't affect things too much, but I just wanted to give the heads up in case it does.

In the meantime you can figure out what sort of goals or plans you may have on the surface, apart from the mission itself of course.
>>
>>4986719
Take care.
>>
>>4985661
Lets take a human and make him a thrall.
The we can see the world through him.
We can dress him as a lepper so no one can recognice him.

>>4986719
Get well OP
>>
>>4986719
Stay frosty QM!
>>
>>4986719
Alright, back now and plan to post in awhile now.
>>
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Sorry for the long wait, but this was a long post to make!

>>4985709
>>4985996
>>4986077
>>4986408
>>4986440
>>4986441
>>4986457
>>4986558
>>4986717
>>4987145
>Take the humans for all they're worth, but otherwise continue on the journey with Corley to civilization. That's where your mission will start, not here.
>40, 84

Normally you would err on the side of caution, preferring to remain in the mine as something of a base camp before setting out into this new world. However it is because of the fact that it's a brand new world to you, that you prefer to seek out civilization as a means of getting the best impression of the surface world the fastest.

And so while you can't just set out on your own, your dwarven guide will not help you any longer if you take unwilling captives... willing though, he said nothing about.

"You sure of this? I can make them cooperative my own way, a bit messy but I'd like to return the favor to these iblith." Laele offers.

"I can... speak their language, same as Mann. I'll learn what we need, and have them just as willing."

The only issue is time, you'll need a fair amount of it in order to adequately deal with all the prisoners. The others of the group don't mind too much waiting at least another full-rotation, which is more than you need, as they make temporary camp again at the entrance of the mine to keep a lookout and guard.

As well as of course, to continue gradually adjusting to the sunlight.

---

With fifteen captives to choose from, you've got a pretty good selection. Of course you could be here for ages trying to understand them all, but you're somewhat on a schedule here so you opt to keep it simple. Rattling the mind and freezing the memories, so that the humans will have little to no true recollection of what happened here in the mine.

And in that process you can parse through the captives to determine who have the best brains for what you need, both information and sustenance.

Now then, let's learn what you know...

The foreman of the workers and the head guard are your prime targets for knowledge, as you leave them for last in order to properly probe and study their minds. It's more difficult that they're in an unnatural slumber thanks to the myconid, but nothing you can't handle. Two very different humans themselves, but you start to form a general mental impression of the surface from them.
>>
Primarily is the focus on the mine here, by the humans. Indeed it seems to stem from recent rumors about some subterranean world, and the mine being the supposed access point. Interestingly however, rumors are all the humans have to go on it seems, and the beliefs vary radically between each human as to what the Underdark actually is. For some it's a path which goes right on through the center of the world and pops out on the other side, while for others it's just a chasm full of treasure. Little to no thoughts seem to regard an actual entire world beneath with terrain and ecology and inhabitants, so that's some relief about the secrecy at least. Someone is driving these humans onward though, prompting them to seek out the Underdark and you feel quite certain that Umrae's daughter is responsible.

Looking at the bigger scope of the surface world, you also start to understand the landscape a little, both literal and political. From the memories you can glimpse, it appears that things on the surface are not so... organized, controlled. In the Underdark things are extremely rigid in control and governance because scarcity is the way of life. The world above is one of abundance however, and so the grip of power is not so tight. Certainly there are governing entities, but they are much more numerous and weaker. Even the region you have emerged into, there is a "kingdom" which everything falls under, but it seems for the most part that even individual settlements are self-governing. The example of this being the guards brought here for protection.

Interestingly though, at least from the memories you glimpse, there also doesn't seem to be as much population diversity up here. In the Underdark settlements are like beacons against the harsh underworld dangers, so while there are obviously specific races in control here and there, under their rule most anyone can find their welcome as long as they support the common good as dictated by the controlling race. Of course there's still predominately illithid, drow, dwarven and other cities, but there's always bound to be some intermixing and cohabitation. On the surface though, while there appears to be plenty of races, because space and resources are plenty these races tend to cluster together and keep to themselves apart from travelers and odd individuals.
>>
Ahh, now this one has a delectable mind!

Besides the general impressions you can glean, you also get more specific information like nearby settlements and locations of interest, as well as inhabitants and groups around this region. Such that you don't think you'd need Corley any longer in fact, if you didn't want him around. But all of that is just minor concerns to your greater focus, of finding suitable thralls and a suitable meal. To your surprise it's not the foreman or lead guard, the humans in control who have the best mind, but one of the labor overseers... a specialist in construction planning, knowing how to carefully and safely restore and expand the mine. A human of learning and planning, even before you taste his brain, his mind is quite pleasing to delve.

So what a delight it is, when you wrap your tentacles around his head and bore into his skull with your fanged maw. Like an animal cracking into a tasty nut or a juicy mollusk, your long tongue writhes past the cracks and breaks your teeth make, wriggling across the surface of the human's brain in preparation for devouring it. Half chomping half slurping, you gorge yourself on the contents of your victim's skull in what are moments of ecstasy for you. Not just the pleasant taste of proper sustenance, but also the delectable nature of the mind within which you also consume. Satiated in both body and mind, you feel everything that makes the human who he was overtake you. A euphoric experience of personality and memories washing over you and being absorbed into your own being... potentially a dangerous experience for young or inexperienced illithid, running the risk of taking on traits of the victim. But you are seasoned enough to consume safely, at least this time.

After that wholesome snack then and coming down from the feeding "high", the last order of business are some thralls. You suspect one would be useful to have, and Laele expects one. You already set aside the perfect candidates when mentally wiping the captives earlier, so you have a pair of them. Some young human laborers, strong in body and weak in mind, easy to manipulate and perhaps most importantly lacking loved ones who would notice and miss their absence. It takes longer than the feeding to do it properly, but through your tentacles from your mind to theirs, you can impose the basic framework of a mental yoke. Basically so that they will make for good and "willing" servants to you and Laele.

After that, all that remains is to dispose of the captives, in the sense of leaving them to eventually regain their senses and come to grips with what happened... without any knowledge or memory of you or your group.

---
>>
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---

Whether it be illusory drow female, or just an illithid, this is a familiar sight from home; thralls being led by a master, as you return to your companions at the entrance.

"Here you are then Laele, one new able servant!"

"Oh wonderful! He seems capable, though I had my eye on one of the others... attractive, for a human."

"Yes well, these two won't be missed like the others... and notice Corley, they are able and willing, not slaves!"

Laele is pleased enough with your work, as she has her new servant to pick up and carry her belongings. The one who needs convincing though is the dwarf, as you push for your thrall to speak and answer any questions about his "willing" servitude. Stubborn as the rest of his kind, Corley grumbles about all this but can't find fault with your actions, mainly because he's simply not aware of the truth behind you and what you did.

"...and the others? How did you manage all this?"

"I... I have some skill in magic. The rest will wake when the mushroom spores wear off, none of them able to remember what happened here. As far as they know, it will probably seem like a gas leak from the mine."

Answering his concerns... adequately then, Corley eventually accepts your efforts made. He's not happy about any of it, but so long as it doesn't wind him up in trouble then he can at least look the other way on what you've all done. So then to the praise of Nym and the agreement of the others, you see no reason to linger here any longer.

The surface world awaits!

>Thank you, dwarf, but your services are no longer required! From the information you gained off the captives, you should be able to navigate yourself.
>Keep to the bargain, let Corley lead you to the nearest settlement and then you can handle things from there.
>Actually, now that you know more of the surface and this region specifically, you'd like a little detour... if there's someplace you were hoping to find or to go. {Specify.}
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4987679
>Keep to the bargain, let Corley lead you to the nearest settlement and then you can handle things from there.

Better more meat-shields than less.
>>
>>4987679
>Keep to the bargain, let Corley lead you to the nearest settlement and then you can handle things from there.

Lovely meal description QM, I could go for a brain myself after reading that.
>>
>>4987679
>Keep to the bargain, let Corley lead you to the nearest settlement and then you can handle things from there.

Don't need a angry disgruntled dwarf getting all talky and drunk.
>>
>>4987679
>Keep to the bargain, let Corley lead you to the nearest settlement and then you can handle things from there.
>>
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>>4987936
>>4987790
>>4987783
>>4987765
>Keep to the bargain, let Corley lead you to the nearest settlement and then you can handle things from there.

The longer you have to adjust to the surface, the less you need rely on or even associate with others. Your dwarf guide however represents a guaranteed foot in the door so to speak, so you can at least follow this to completion and get that benefit.

After all, according to him at least, it isn't that much farther compared with the distance you've come already...

---

Even with a cloth blindfold to better help your eyes gradually adjust to the daylight, the sun itself is still an ever-present aggravation to you. Like a fire you're forced to remain uncomfortably close to, its light pervades your being with light and heat. The temperature alone is increasingly taxing on you, and within an "hour" you feel terribly dehydrated. It's a good thing you had some juicy brains before you left the mine, because your lovely natural illithid complexion is drying out!

The good news however, is that the sun doesn't hang overhead permanently. Apparently it comes and goes like a chronic disease, and by the time you left the mine it was already late in the "day", so after enough time spent traveling on the road the horrible thing is "setting" and before long it will be "night". A period on the surface more like home below, where darkness envelops the world... it can't come soon enough!

"So are you going to explain what happened, back there?"

"Back there? What do you mean?"

One of the first things you notice about the surface world is how noisy it is. The Underdark has sounds as well of course, but there's plenty of silence all the same. Not like this, where there's constant noise of animals all around, the plantlife as well and even the wind. There's never a quiet moment it seems, and you're just lucky that illithid are adept at sensing sound discretely.
>>
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Before you have much chance to ponder on this detail however, you find yourself interrupted by Laele. She alters her pace to be more separate with you from the rest of the group, but whatever is bothering her clearly has been for some time. You can sense her surface thoughts and it's something she's been thinking of constantly and wanting to address.

"At the mine. We may have been caught with our pants down, but I still noticed what happened. What you did to those humans... and the servants, you knew about them already. If you don't want to tell me that's fine, but whatever it is, I noticed."

"Listen Laele, I didn't need to know every detail of your life's story so do you really want mine?"

She ought to stop being nosy, is what she ought to do. Even with your illusion she's obviously clever or perceptive enough to notice discrepancies and flaws with your "persona", which is a very strong annoyance to you and illithid in general. Lesser beings should just keep their heads down and not try to perceive the glorious designs of your race. The idea that she would start to see through you, is to be taken as a reflection of poor form on your behalf, in maintaining mental control of the situation.

Though, you sense in her that by contrast, her cause for upset is rather that she was starting to feel she could trust you. Or at least rely on you, as a fellow female drow after your travels together, so being surprised by new and strange things about you serves to alienate her.

>You wonder if you should be truthful with her...

---

"Here we are then lads, about as close as we can get to Marveil tonight. En't much further left though, tomorrow I can lead ye the rest of the way or we can part here."

Night is a welcome change for sure, as you can remove the blindfold and appreciate the retreat of the harassing sun. But there's never a shortage of difficulties for you, as you no longer have to deal with that accursed celestial body, but instead now have to cope with an abundance of people! Some establishment on the road, a "coaching inn" as Corley calls it, it lies on the periphery of the settlement you're bound for and serves as a stopping point for travelers. Essentially anyone who doesn't want to get bogged down or lost within the difficult layout of an unfamiliar town, would stay here before seeing to their business.

And while the place itself is not especially big or populated, it's much more than you're prepared for after such an amount of time traveling with not but a handful of others. All these new minds, especially strange surface-minds, that you have to haphazardly influence on the fly. It's no wonder that you seek to retire to privacy as soon as you're able, even though the others want to spend their time adjusting to common life in the establishment.
>>
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Of course there is a place for you among them, and surely there's a wealth of surface knowledge to be gained this night in a place like this. But perhaps it's too much for you, or rather perhaps you don't want the trouble of association.

Already you can notice the alarm some surface-dwellers have towards the towering myconid after all, and Corley is busy arguing with arrived guards to not act hostile to the mushroom man.

>You didn't come all this way for nothing! Suck it up, try your best, and jump in the deep end with your traveling companions to see what this place has to offer.
>Getting this experience of the surface is too great of an opportunity to miss... but on your own terms. Separate from the group, with a new disguise even, and take matters into your own hands. {Specify.}
>After such a journey made, the chance for actual privacy for once is appealing. Your own room to do as you please, or simply rest and recover for tomorrow.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4988444
>You didn't come all this way for nothing! Suck it up, try your best, and jump in the deep end with your traveling companions to see what this place has to offer.

No rest for the wicked. Lovely trips btw mate!
>>
>>4988444
>You didn't come all this way for nothing! Suck it up, try your best, and jump in the deep end with your traveling companions to see what this place has to offer.

We already indulged in brains quite recently.

No truth with Laele - just tell her we were selected by Umrae for this expedition due to unique talents we possess.
>>
>>4988444
Supporting >>4988605

Though hypothetically we could get a room with Laele and then influence her like with Umrae.

Also, nice trips QM!
>>
>>4988444
>>You didn't come all this way for nothing! Suck it up, try your best, and jump in the deep end with your traveling companions to see what this place has to offer.


>You wonder if you should be truthful with her...
Yes
We should start by spinning a lie about getting to attach to a servant, when the head of our conclave found out they killed him and sent us on this quest to atone.
Then we reveal we are a mindflayer but refuse to show our appearance out of shame
>>
>>4988710
Why would we lie to her while trying to be honest, it seems contradictory. Not to mention showing weakness in front of a drow female isn't likely to earn us more trust or sympathy.

If we wanna be honest we should just do that.
>>
>>4988716
So she believes we don’t see all creatures as a meal (even though its not true)
But maybe you are right, not sure if there is another way to earn something else than abhorrence
>>
>>4988727
If we're going to reveal our identity then the best course of action, in my mind, is to tell her two things:
1. We, as a mindflayer, have good reasons to not be forthcoming about who we are as was established earlier in the quest.
2. Even if we lied about being a drow, nothing that was spoken between us and her was a lie or manipulation.
>>
>>4988727
>>4988773
This makes us come across as a sympathetic, reasonable and dignified being.

>>4988444
Supporting >>4988605
>>
>>4988773
If we were to tell her the truth, then this is how I would do it. But, since I don't want to tell her the truth I suppose it doesn't matter as of right now.
>>
>>4988773
Offer her a deal- if she's totally forthcoming about her history, we'll be about ours. If she's willing to take a leap of faith about accessing her mind, we won't harm anything.

It'll be pretty much an all or nothing type deal, but we should at least giver her the chance to decide for herself if she truly wants to know.
>>
>>4988710
>We should start by spinning a lie about getting to attach to a servant, when the head of our conclave found out they killed him and sent us on this quest to atone.
You really think she'll believe that?
>>
Seems like a slight preference for not telling her the truth, in which case you'll leave it be. At least for now.
>>
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>>4988476
>>4988605
>>4988674
>>4988710
>>4988778
>You didn't come all this way for nothing! Suck it up, try your best, and jump in the deep end with your traveling companions to see what this place has to offer.

Although the preferable thing would be to retire for the evening and have some peace and secrecy to yourself, unfortunately the potential for gathering knowledge is simply too great to ignore. And so while Corley settles the trouble with the guards and attempts to communicate to the myconid to remain in the vicinity overnight, you go instead with the others inside the establishment to find some accommodation.

"You said you can understand them? What in Llolth's name is she saying?"

"...something about welcoming us here, and having seen elves that look like us some time ago."

Of course you encounter the first obstacle quite quickly, after finding a table for the lot of you and a human female worker approaches. The attention of the inn is upon you all which makes sense, three elves of dark complexion, fair hair and red eyes. Although the interest towards you all is obvious, no one except Mann can actually understand what's being said; seems they have their own languages here on the surface.

Like with anyone however you can communicate mentally so it's not totally hopeless, but it takes some getting used to understanding the differences in their communication because of their thinking. Mann handles the majority of the effort, while you interpret for the two drow and clarify any specific details.

"Eugh! Are we sure this is safe to eat?"

"Eat eat! Good food!"

"...tastes fine to me, jabbress. Though I've never had anything like it!"

Some strange food and drink are brought among you by the time Corley rejoins the group and sorts out payment for services. Not that anything before you is unpalatable, but really your attention is much more on the environment around you and the occupants of it. All these strange new beings in a strange new place, all thinking unfamiliar thoughts.

Thoughts of business, social, or personal matters. Thoughts of people and places you've never known. Thoughts in particular about your "strange" group sitting together. Between curiosity and hostility, you get a range of emotional reactions towards you.
>>
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Unfortunately not much time to process them however, as you sense separate hostility, from Nym and Laele all of a sudden.

"...oooof course there's darthiir around. This could get messy Corley."

"They want a fight? I'll decorate the chandelier with their fucking heads!"

Before you even realize what's going on, both drow have their weapons drawn. Nym under the table and Laele slamming a dagger right down on the tabletop. The dwarf tries to get them to behave but you quickly understand what's going on when you sense approaching minds, of several high elves. The fair-skinned surface counterparts to the drow, you're not especially versed in the history but you know the bad blood between the two races by nature.

Ironically and even humorously though, once again neither party can understand each other. From thoughts and the surge in hostility, you know there's malicious killing intent from both sides, but actual language remains a barrier between. The high elves have their own dialect of the elven language, as do the drow and there's little to be understood between them. Some things don't need saying however, as the small group of elves make a mess of things at your table and try to start a fight.

Surprisingly it isn't Laele to start things as Corley tries to hold her back, but instead the soft and kindly Nym. As it turns out, he probably would have forgiven any actions against himself, but the moment the elves cause trouble for either you or Laele... drow females in Nym's presence, his demeanor radically changes to intense vengeance.

"Don't do this lads, least not inside! All ye done already to avoid a bad reputation!"

In a quick enough time to catch you off guard, the table is overturned by Nym's leaping advance, and the elves both high and dark scuffle on the floor. Corley has to intervene while Mann watches and claps in laughter, and the already high profile of your group has become even worse. No killing yet, but you know Laele will if she has her way.

>Let the struggle play out. You don't want to get involved and it's interesting for you anyway.
>Try to defuse the situation. Your mental powers should help here to avoid trouble and attention.
>Escalate things! Hell, you'd like to get involved in the fight yourself. If only because of the opportunities a distraction like this could provide you. {Specify.}
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4988961
And if you choose an option which means getting involved, go ahead and make a roll for the effort.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>4988961
>Try to defuse the situation. Your mental powers should help here to avoid trouble and attention.

We bind our time, then ambush them when they sleep. Don't go off half cocked now, and we can do as we wish to these snobs later when they're at our mercy.
>>
>>4988995
Or we say fuck it and go full ham on their asses. Fucking hell dice, no need to disagree to that degree!
>>
Rolled 81 (1d100)

>>4988961
Supporting >>4988995

The 1 likely means we auto-fail, but to be honest this is what I would've voted for anyways and I'm fine with failing and getting in a fight.
>>
>>4988995
Support the trying and failing, also make sure when no one is looking Mann gets some food or drink thrown on him.
>>
Rolled 22 (1d100)

>>4988961
>Try to defuse the situation. Your mental powers should help here to avoid trouble and attention.

remind the drow that if we get too uppity they'll just shine the sun in our eyes
>>
Rolled 78 (1d100)

>>4988961
>Try to defuse the situation. Your mental powers should help here to avoid trouble and attention.

>>4988995
Oof. Well, maybe someone will get 100?
>>
>>4988961
>>Try to defuse the situation. Your mental powers should help here to avoid trouble and attention.

>>4988855
Maybe, but we are going to look very sketchy after this so we should at least consider some way of doing it
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>4988961
>Escalate things! Hell, you'd like to get involved in the fight yourself. If only because of the opportunities a distraction like this could provide you. It would be useful if we could get our hands on some gold
>>
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>>4988961
>>4988995
>Try to defuse the situation
>Fail horribly
>>4989290
>Beat the shit out of them instead
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>4989290
This since good roll, but also use mental powers to make the surface elves seem like the unwarranted aggressors.
>>
>>4989481
We already have too much on our plate to do something like that, besides, they were also escalating the situation, so, unless we commit murder, this will all be seen as a social fight by the bystanders.
>>
Resuming in a bit now, still adjusting to a messed up & changing sleep cycle.
>>
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>>4989481
>>4989290
>>4989152
>>4989130
>>4989060
>>4988995
>Try to defuse the situation. Your mental powers should help here to avoid trouble and attention.
>1, 93

You are an illithid, a glorious being of higher purpose! Your magnificent mind is so much better suited for higher things in life! A petty tavern brawl is so far beneath you as to not even be worth your attention, let alone involvement. Would that you could, you'd just remain passive or better yet just leave. But in order to protect your own reputation, you come around to the idea that it would be best to intervene and defuse the situation. It shouldn't be hard to do, and will save you much trouble later you figure.

So then, you rise to your feet and perform a lesser mind blast on all the elves involved, a light stun as if they'd been slapped so that you can stop the fighting and gain their attention.

"Listen up! Whatever squabble there is between us, is this really the time or place? Look around you, at all these humans... watching." you gesture around to the eager and cheering bystanders, the elves looking about as well, "We are elves, finer beings. No feud can be worth making us look this pathetic in their eyes, and stooping to their level."

Appealing to their arrogance, their vanity, you cleverly know of a way to appeal to both the high and the dark elves at the same time. Speaking up to their haughty nature, you make them question their reputation in the eyes of humans. For that, no hatred is too great to warrant putting on a show for these lowly common folk.

To this end, and with Corley's physical help, it seems that the fight may actually settle itself. Uneasily the elves nervously try to break apart without further harm, and though their bitter anger for each other isn't subsided one bit, their self-consciousness runs higher. Yes, through the power of the mind, you have managed to overcome physicality!

All that remains is to-

"-no no! Fight fight!" Mann jeers, and hurls a full tankard at one of the elves. No actual harm is caused but in retaliation the elf angrily approaches to grab and shake Mann by the clothes, and yell something in their language.

"-SKREEE!" although the elf's effort isn't actually that much, just a telling off really, Mann absolutely panics and in a shocking and disturbing display... suddenly bursts into three shrieking kobolds as his clothes fall apart. You're not even sure what just happened yet feel sick to your stomach at the sight.
>>
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No worse than the elf though, who now has to content with three kobolds grappling and biting him. And just like that, the fight is back on. More than just the elven conflict too, pretty soon the entire tavern erupts into a chaotic drunken brawl! Furniture flying, patrons thrown around, what a mess of violence and noise.

"-c-come on now! We're better than this, people! Let's not lower ourselves to- oof!" standing atop one of the tables you try to address the room and even mentally strain yourself to try and suppress the emotions of the room. However halfway through someone smashes a chair over your back and sends you flying to the floor.

"-ho you scum I'll get you for that!" your patience reaches its end as you pick yourself up off the floor, spitting curses verbally and mentally, and charging after the culprit. Your robust body really comes into play now, not only for shrugging off harmful blows but also for dishing out the pain, as you throw brutal punches and smash opponents into walls and floors and through furniture.

Well, so much for delicacy and prevailing with the mind... in your anguished mental state during the brawl, you also have little attention for your illusion so that bit by bit your false drow form gives way to your true illithid form. At some point eventually you even notice this, but in the chaotic situation and the helping of drunkenness all around, it seems like either people don't much notice or they don't much care. Hard to be panicked by some tentacle-headed monster when you're dodging a punch yourself.

And so the brawl carries on, much to the owners and employees dismay. The place soon becomes as wrecked as the people within are, and much to the... relative enjoyment of all. Anyone not suffering too badly of course. Even you have to admit, as you headbutt some rowdy human who your thrall had grappled, that you're having some... fun. That pathetic lowly emotion for physical bodily pursuits, though it suits you better than most mindflayers in this case.

Needless to say, your first night in the world above is an eventful one...

---
>>
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---

...eugh, my head...

Damn that blasted sun, for it is what wakes you up. Once again it has returned to torment you, blinding you entirely and cooking your skin. You try your best to shield yourself but there isn't much relief to be had in this... alleyway? A trash-strewn path between two buildings, one of which you recognize to be the inn you're leaning against.

"...wh-what... what happened?"

"Some dwarf. Jumped from the second floor balcony and elbowed you in the head. People didn't know what to make of you after things settled down so I dragged you outside before trouble started."

Oh dear that's right, you're not in disguise! But with only your thrall here to notice, it doesn't matter as much. Seems that he had your back at least to the most basic degree, where he removed you from the situation in an attempt to avoid such notice of surface peoples. What would they think after all, seeing a mindflayer amongst them?

"Is she a mermaid?" a human child from among a group of them asks, huddled together at the end of the alley and all come to gawk at the strange creature.

So you're not totally alone, restoring your illusion in a hasty panic... though it doesn't seem like that matters anymore, all the children having seen you already. Best to get out of this place, before anyone searching for the strange squid being (such as guards) comes to find you.

Unfortunately, where to go you're unsure. You don't even have the others of the group with you here, none of your traveling companions to rely on. Who knows what became of them, if you ended up passed out in an alley after the brawl.

>Try and find out about the others. Ask around even if you have to, whoever you can find.
>Safety and secrecy is more important! You won't be able to just mindwipe and remove the memories of so many folks around here, so just retreat elsewhere!
>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4990138
>Try and find out about the others. Ask around even if you have to, whoever you can find.

"Sigh"

At least we had some fun. Lets gather the others and try and do some info gathering as was intended the previous night. It'd probably help to have others with the same mission in mind, so I don't mind continuing to work with our band of oddjobs.
>>
>>4990170
Just to clarify, the others don't have the same mission. Your true purpose on the surface was not known to them, as far as everyone was concerned it was simply an expedition to the surface and was taking volunteers for the opportunity.
>>
>>4990138
>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.

While I loved the group (especially Mann), it seems that our cover is blown, and I'm not looking forward to explaining ourselves. Plus, I'm pretty sure that bastard Corley knocked us out, that prick.
>>
>>4990138
>"Ask" the Thrall where the group went
If the Thrall stuck around until the fight died down then shouldn't he have seen where they were going?

>>4990196
You make a good point but the prospect of seeing more of this ragtag group's shenanigans is too good to pass up
>>
>>4990264
You also make a good point, so I don't mind as much losing the vote.
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>4990196
Support this
>>
>>4990138
>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.
>>
>>4990138
>Safety and secrecy is more important! You won't be able to just mindwipe and remove the memories of so many folks around here, so just retreat elsewhere!

Change our disguise to that of some random human, get somewhere unobserved, then change back to the normal disguise and ask around.

Also Mann was 3 kobolds in a jacket big lmao
>>
>>4990138
I'm back. Switching to...

>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.

>>4990180
Thanks for clarifying.
>>
>>4990138
>>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>4990634
>>
>>4990138
>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.
>>
>>4990635
>roll to leave the group
>they instead find us

What the fuck are the odds?
>>
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>>4990635
Wut...the fuck!?
>>
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>>4990635
>>4988995
>>
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>>4990637
>>4990635
>>4990634
>>4990634
>>4990573
>>4990505
>>4990420
>>4990368
>>4990264
>>4990196
>>4990170
>Actually... you don't really need anyone else now that you're on the surface and at the town. You can proceed with the mission now, and continue on your own as planned.
>1, 37

You have no great love of your traveling companions, and would eat their brains without a second thought if it suited you. However after spending such time with them, there's a certain degree of mental ease you feel around them, simply for being something you're familiar with. As well, they are something from the Underdark, a reminder of home and thus a stable rock for your mentality and a useful asset to have around.

At least they were, until they got you into trouble. And as much as it may benefit you to be with them, you face the reality of the situation which is that you don't actually need any of them. Your mission on the surface is a special one of secrecy the rest of the group was not privy to. As far as they know it was simply an exploratory expedition, and now that you're here there's no actual further need of any of them.

So while you are at least curious, you don't intend to change your plans when instead you could finally set about your mission.

"Tell me thrall, what became of the others?"

"They had their own problems to deal with. I believe the lizard things just ran away, and the dark-skinned elves got in trouble with the watch. The dwarf left with them trying to explain the situation for them."

"Ugh, fine. Now then, we'll go."

By the sound of things the group was broken up by varying circumstances, and while you're disappointed at such an unceremonious end to the partnership, it's probably for the best. And considering you can't even find the myconid around anymore, you take that as a sign to move on. With the thrall's help then you rise to your feet, get him to chase the children away, and adopt a new temporary illusion... your host's original form, a human to blend in better while you try to leave here for town without suspicion.

---

The sun is on high now, by the time it takes you to travel from the outskirts of town to within the settlement proper. It does you no favors and in your strained mental state, you find it even harder to deal with perhaps the most pressing matter; all the people around. Marveil, a coastal town on what your thrall names the "sea", a supposedly or seemingly endless body of water that this surface land rests within and stretches beyond the horizon.
>>
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And if that wasn't enough a sign of how the surface is a world of abundance, then the people themselves are. So many of them, these humans, that you've never seen so many people in your life before. Nothing like the Underdark which has population centers, but are heavily limited by the scarcity of the world beneath. So many minds in just one place here, that it's seriously overwhelming for you. Enough to risk breaking your illusion just from sheer mental overload, and in conjunction with the stress from the sun you're have serious problems.

"...p-please, I n-need to find somewhere to r-rest... somewhere dark."

"Don't worry ma'am, I can help with that."

It also doesn't help with all the attention on you. Maintaining an illusory disguise is more difficult the more people experience it, and you have to try and push it upon most everyone you come across, since everyone (all of these humans) are surprised and intrigued by what they think is a dark-skinned elf come to their town. As you'd observed before, the inn was a diverse exception because the location on the road for travelers, but the settlement itself is almost entirely humans. And with little to no knowledge of the Underdark, the chances are these people have never seen a drow before or know what they are, as your disguise is. Along the way you just give up projecting an illusory form outright, and instead simply try to obscure yourself, appearing as your thrall's shadow.

Already you find yourself up against definite obstacles then, and in short order needing to stop and rest. The way into town was you boldly leading the way in disguise ahead of your thrall. Now you are having to hang onto your thrall for support and your mind is weakening from the stress and the sun. Surely lesser mindflayers wouldn't have made it even this far, collapsing without the benefit of your robust body.

And perhaps more than that even, the experience of exploring the surface for the first time and feeling the sights and sounds, serves to bring back old memories. Memories of your host, and her time alive on the surface, along with scanning of minds including your thrall. Glimpses of a surface life before and how the things you're experiencing are more familiar than you thought, this information surging back to you yet another difficulty to have to cope with.

"...ahh, this is... better..."

With your thrall's help, he is able to find a courtyard down some side street which has a small public "fountain" with a basin on the wall, and the courtyard itself shaded from the sun by an overhang structure covered with plants. What a relief it is to be away from so many people, to be out of the sun, and to be able to just dunk your head entirely in the fountain and guzzle down the water to combat heat and dehydration. Such a pleasant experience could lead you to be careless with your illusion for these moments, but fortunately there's not some crowd around or a line waiting behind you.
>>
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Unfortunately however, you aren't totally alone it seems.

"Ma'am..." your thrall grips your arm to pull you out of the fountain, who knows or cares how long you'd been rehydrating, "...I don't know who they are, but they want you to come with them. Well, some of them are watch, but not all of them."

Feeling a lot better, at least for the moment, you're able to focus your mind again as the water runs off your eldritch-formed head and soaks your clothes. Other minds now you pick up on clearly... and not such complete strangers. You hadn't noticed it before while struggling to drag yourself through town, but some of these minds were the same as ones you were noticing among the many people in the streets. Those familiar mental signatures, like seeing the faces of strangers several times, it's clear they've been following you.

An armed group moving and working together. With your illusory form maintained again, you try to mentally perceive what is taking place as words are spoken in their surface language to you. The language itself you don't understand, but the mental process of communication for humans you're slowly getting used to. Able to roughly parse the exchange mentally.

"-dark elf... on streets? Not first one..." one of the men addresses your thrall.

"Can she... understand? She come with... tell her."

If the men were just criminals or something, you'd easily dispatch them, like you've had the experience of doing before in the Underdark with street ruffians there. But as your thrall says and you can look at a common style of their clothes like a uniform, these men represent something higher up than themselves. If they want you, then it's because someone else wants you.

Still you could try to mentally dominate the situation, but thus far the men remain peaceable. On edge, fearful of something you can sense that in them, and preparing to fly to violence if need be. But for now they try their best to remain calm in the hopes of taking you without a fight. For what it's worth, based on what you can glimpse from their minds and your thrall's, these are mostly just a common militia. Volunteers who try to keep the peace in town, thus their meager arms and armor, opposed to dedicated professional guards. So this lot aren't as dangerous in a fight, but that's if fighting is your choice.

>You're feeling refreshed! Not at full strength but enough for you to try your chances with these lesser creatures. Then you can leave and find proper seclusion from attention like this.
>It's because you're not at full strength, that you don't want to take your chances. As long as they remain peaceful and courteous with you, you can cooperate, if only to see what this is all about.
>Not fight, and not surrender, but flight! Use your powers for distraction rather than harm, and simply try to escape these men to avoid any confrontation whatsoever.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4990774
What are the watchmen thinking? Let's try to glean their orders.
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>4990773
Wasn't our hosts body originally human? And didn't we literally just switched into a human form just a minute ago in the previous post, why are people taking note of us as if we were still a drow?

>>4990774
I'll support >>4990815

Find out what they intend before taking any action.
>>
>>4990774
>Not fight, and not surrender, but flight! Use your powers for distraction rather than harm, and simply try to escape these men to avoid any confrontation whatsoever.
If we're gonna focus on the mission, let's get a move on
Also this >>4990815 if it's not inconvenient to our escape
>>
Rolled 69 (1d100)

>>4990833
I also thought that was weird

>>4990774 >>4990834
Here's a roll, if it matters.
>>
>>4990833
Your host was human, but you opted to appear as a drow. Only one player actually specified anything differently on the subject, and he said that you'd take a human appearance just to get away from the inn area but then to change back to a drow appearance.

So they are treating you that way, because to them you are a drow.
>>
>>4990858
Ah, okay, I just assumed we'd switched to appearing as a human rather than only using that to get away since I don't think there was mention of us switching back. Seems counterintuitive to use a form that would be unusual among the surface dwellers when we are no longer among our companions from the underdark.

Well, thanks for clarifying.
>>
>>4990882
You can appear as whatever you want whenever, and indeed a human form would probably be easiest on the surface. I'm just going with what only one person cared to specify, which was keeping up the drow disguise.

And to that end, if it will help your decision process,

>>4990815
>>4990833
>What are the watchmen thinking? Let's try to glean their orders.
>69

In haste you can try to glimpse their surface thoughts as they argue back and forth with your thrall and try to give orders. Notably, a couple of the men you can't read their minds, while the others share a similar mindset of bringing you into custody for being a strange outsider.

Now you don't know much about humans but they do seem a paranoid sort prone to suspicion of things outside their experience, and a dark-skinned elf stranger wandering their streets is a cause for alarm in some. Beyond this you don't sense much hostility in them, mostly just displeasure for you wandering about freely and the intent to take you to their superiors who will know how to treat you...

...except for one of the men among the group, who has the most anxiety about all this, and after focusing on his mind you come to realize...

...he can see past your disguise. Nothing to do with you or a failing of your efforts, something about him is enabling the man to perceive your true form and obviously it scares and confuses him.

>What do you do?
>>
Rolled 18, 58, 72, 11 = 159 (4d100)

>>4990774
>Use our mental powers to create a distraction and perform a temporary escape. Break line of sight, hide, get them to split up slightly whether that be through use of the terrain and the location they lose sight of us at or through our powers. Then isolate either one of the ones whose minds we cannot read or the one who can see through our disguise and attack him and render him unconscious, capture him and make an escape so we can interrogate him.
>>
>>4990907
Huh, well, I guess unless others roll or another vote wins it probably goes down some thing like...our distraction is not very good, our escape and line of sight break goes fine, our isolation and attack goes good, and then our escape with our captured target is unsuccessful and we have to deal with some or all of our pursuers catching up with us.
>>
>>4990910
For what it's worth, a lot of this is an extension of the 1 that was rolled earlier.
>>
>>4990774
Supporting
>>4990815
And if those orders are a grave danger,
>Not fight, and not surrender, but flight! Use your powers for distraction rather than harm, and simply try to escape these men to avoid any confrontation whatsoever.
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>4990907
Sounds like a plan, supporting.
>>
>>4990911
Yeah, I know, don't worry I just was curious about what I perceived to be disguise inconsistencies, no worries. This is interesting regardless, though things aren't necessarily going smoothly.

>>4990914
QM already gave us their thoughts in this post: >>4990897
>>
Rolled 68 (1d100)

>>4990774
>It's because you're not at full strength, that you don't want to take your chances. As long as they remain peaceful and courteous with you, you can cooperate, if only to see what this is all about.

What the hell do they want?
>>
>>4990897
Oh, so just another distraction? Yea, fuck that, we're leaving.
>>
>>4990897
I only wanted to go back to the drow disguise because the other part of my vote was rejoining the group. If we're totally split up then yeah generic human is the way to go.

>Cooperate with the men on the condition that the one who sees through your disguise escorts you.
>>
>>4990897
Tell them, unless you have a justified reason for detaining and arresting us they should leave us be if they value their juicy lives.

As a side note, we need a proper cloak with a hood so we don't have to put up such a damn mental strain, we only need to do so for the people who are looking at our face in the front. We can even put on a veil to make things easier.
>>
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Posting in a bit now.

>>4991192
That is true, you don't necessarily need to rely on mental powers for disguise. It's just a better form of disguise, for interacting with people, but when simply traveling around and moving through crowds a mundane disguise could work.

Something you can look into when you get the chance.

>>4990949
>>4991044
That is fine, from here on after, any time you do rely on an illusory disguise, it can be human. Your host, herself, you have a familiarity with in the way of self-image so it's also an easier illusion to maintain, simply projecting "your" past self.
>>
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>>4991192
>>4991044
>>4991013
>>4990919
>>4990914
>>4990907
>Use our mental powers to create a distraction and perform a temporary escape. Break line of sight, hide, get them to split up slightly whether that be through use of the terrain and the location they lose sight of us at or through our powers. Then isolate either one of the ones whose minds we cannot read or the one who can see through our disguise and attack him and render him unconscious, capture him and make an escape so we can interrogate him.
>159

Given your weaker state you almost consider accepting the demands of these men and going with them. Being brought to someone in control means someone in a better position you can manipulate. But the key factor in what makes your decision, is the human that can see through your disguise, and some of the others whose minds you can't read. The more you look at it, the more this seems a problem specific to you.

So then you perform some quick logic in your unmatched mind, and try to work a way out of this situation. Between your mental powers, your physical prowess, and your thrall, you think you can manage something...

Alright, when I make the move, I want you to escape in a different direction. Try to distract and lure them away as much as you can.

Yes ma'am...

One of the benefits of being able to communicate entirely mentally, you coordinate the plan with the watchmen being none the wiser. And so when it seems their patience wears thin and your thrall can stall them no longer, you ready yourself as they approach.

"Enough talk... come with..."

"Time for- aaaAAARGH!"

"-agh! Magic?! Trouble! Guards!"

Mind blast! Your bread and butter, a bit overplayed but it never fails to get the job done. The watchmen are left reeling from your mental attack, which is all the the chance you need to-

"-SHHKREE!"

Before you can begin to act, you're shocked by a magic bolt. Body suffering a brief seizure as the energy zaps through you, you look in alarm to see one of the watchmen supporting himself with a summoned staff. Though the mind blast affected him like the rest, he was able to sling a magic spell at you from a distance rather than trying to recover his senses and attempt to physically apprehend or attack you.

There's a mage among them, possibly more? That might explain the one who could see through your illusion, though you don't have the time to stop and ponder that. In a panic you make a break for it in a random direction as your thrall goes the other way, doing a decent job of drawing away some of the staggering guards. But the mage and a few others must have their orders for you, and begin pursuit once they've recollected themselves.

Need to escape need to escape! Got to keep moving, where to?!

Running down unfamiliar streets then, you try your best to navigate on the fly but you are at a serious disadvantage.
>>
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At the very least you know to be able to avoid main roads and open areas where lots of people are, instead sticking to alleys and back streets. But while it helps you to avoid notice, it doesn't help in the way of escape. You keep doubling back on yourself and running into dead ends, which keeps giving your pursuers the chance to gain on you, and naturally they could navigate these streets with their eyes closed.

Eventually you realize you're not going to outrun them, and so you hastily search for a place you can hide, opting for some doorway of a building that goes below street level. The place looks like a busy establishment with much cloth and vats situated about, but fortunately there's no one currently present at this time of day besides a lone guard who you can easily just mind blast and put to sleep. After that, it's dealing with your pursuers.

"Which way... no escape!"

"Go that way... we circle around!"

Waiting in the doorway down the steps from the street, you hear the yelling and stamping of feet up and down the alley as the watchmen try to find where you went. Pretty soon they seem aware that you can't have gotten away, so they switch their efforts to searching buildings they can gain access to. For now though they're more focused on obvious places rather than this downstairs workshop, which suits your needs fine. Just enough a chance to do what you need to, you think.

"Kyshhh... shhhaaa!"

Unsure if you can rely on mental communication, you make actual noises specifically when the mage alone doubles back down the street, prompting him to look after your sounds. Not the smartest when he's isolated from the others, boldly or stupidly taking the risk of coming downstairs to the workshop. Just a little further, little further as he steps inside to investigate and...

"-KSHAAA!"

"-aagh!"

Only too late does he notice as you lunge from behind some shelves for him, quite a terrifying sight of an angry desperate mindflayer coming for you! He tries to cast some more magic at you, which would have been a problem, but you're simply too close as you tackle the man to the ground. A struggle follows where you have the clear upper hand with your strong body, but even besides that, the fight is over the moment you can wrap your tentacles around the man's head and assault his mind directly. He'd put up an adequate struggle against you as the two of you wrestled around on the floor, but once you make mental contact you feel his body ease to limpness in your hands.

Now then, you've caught yourself the mage. Question is, what to do with him you wonder... whatever it is, you won't have long so you'd best act quick!
>>
>You don't have time for more than information gathering, so search his mind for what you want to know. {Specify.}
>The chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.
>...eat his brain! The temptation is too great! Also, the brains of magic beings are a rare delicacy and will empower you.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4991267
>...eat his brain! The temptation is too great! Also, the brains of magic beings are a rare delicacy and will empower you.

hahaha yessss
>>
>>4991266
>The chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.
I really want to nom on his nommy bits, but I don't think we have enough time... unless.....

We cut off his head and take it with us to nom on and dispose of the remains later where they will never be found.
>>
>>4991266
>The chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.

We’ll eat his mage friends later.
>>
>>4991267
>The chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.
>>
>>4991267
>>...eat his brain! The temptation is too great! Also, the brains of magic beings are a rare delicacy and will empower you.
>>
Rolled 48 (1d100)

>>4991676
>>
Rolled 3 (1d100)

>>4991488
Fucc, keep forgetting to roll.
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4991267
>The chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.

How long does it take to create a thrall?

If we have time to do it now then he could help us escape, but if we have to lug him around then it is better to either eat him or find out why he is after us, who are his friends who's minds we can't read, who he works for, and general local knowledge of the geography, political situation, culture, and who's who stuff.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>4991267
>he chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.
>>
>>4991764
It depends how obedient a thrall you want, but it's never a fast process, so you would be dragging him along with you unconscious or at least dazed, in trying to escape from the others.
>>
>>4991785
Carrying a thrall around is better than leaving evidence of what we are by eating the man’s brain while we’re being pursued.

I will say, since we’ve hit sunlight, our rolls have been ass. Surprisingly IC, RMGesus must be amused by our antics.
>>
>>4991267
Switching to...
>...eat his brain! The temptation is too great! Also, the brains of magic beings are a rare delicacy and will empower you.

We can't risk enthralling him while being pursued.

My previous vote is here >>4991764
>>
>>4991812
We also can’t risk a panic getting out that a illithid is on the loose eating peoples brains. I can’t think of a worst case scenario than people realizing we’re a terror threat and begins actively searching for us.
>>
>>4991789
>>4991814
I was having a dispute with my family earlier but I don't wanna leave you hanging so I'll respond now.

Where I disagree is that I think leaving evidence of a guy having his brains eaten is better than being flat out caught. Now, if we are caught in the act of eating then I'd agree with you, but we may not. Whereas carrying a potential thrall around unconscious will slow us down and make it more likely we are caught, not to mention it limits where we can go because we cannot carry an unconscious dude into an open street. Furthermore, the corpse of the mage may not look like we ate his brain, depending how our eating process goes, it may look like we smashed his head or like he has holes in his head, I dunno.

The truth is I wanted to just read his mind quickly, but everyone wants to go for the big reward, so I'm choosing between two bad options because no one voted for the quick mind read.
>>
>>4991851
>The truth is I wanted to just read his mind quickly, but everyone wants to go for the big reward, so I'm choosing between two bad options because no one voted for the quick mind read.

Fuck man, I’m in the same boat. The place where I differ is that it seems like feeding is a time consuming process, and doing some brain munching while people are actively pursuing and searching for us is much worse than attempting to bring a thrall around with us, to the point of being almost retarded. You can see this in the ‘temptation was too great’ part of the prompt, implying that mind munching is wasn’t a well thought plan or lightbulb idea, but a spur of the moment action, only possible by submitting to our baser instincts. Moving with the thrall, however clumsily, is still movement, and if the worst comes to pass, we can simply ditch the mage, which we can’t do if we’re actively snacking on the man’s brain. I would have much preferred simply scanning the man’s mind and fucking off after, but considering anons wanted something more from the mage I figured I’d choose the lesser of idiotic actions available to us.

I’m sorry to hear about your dispute mate, I hope it gets better, and I appreciate and thank you for not leaving me hanging despite have shit on your plate that you have to deal with.
>>
Ok, seems like

>>4991406
>>4991676
>>4991812
>Eat

>>4991410
>>4991488
>>4991650
>>4991772
>Kidnap

So just barely a majority for kidnap.
>>
>>4991871
Well, my dispute did not get better, but what can you do?

I suppose I see your point, it'd be better to be caught, then kill or ditch our would-be thrall and either make a break for it or stand and fight than to get caught in a basement munching on a dude.

I wish anons had more self control in regards to realising we have the agency to attempt to kidnap desirable targets any time we want, it's a quest, we have the freedom to do whatever at any point, there isn't any point in going for the shiniest prompt if it costs us unless it's a once in a life time thing.

Regardless, kidnapping won, lets hope it works out.
>>
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>>4991876
>The chance for a thrall with magic is appealing, try to kidnap him away with you, if you're able to escape. Then in safety and seclusion you can really get to work.
>48

As you know, the temptation is high to simply devour the man's brain. But for illlithid the consumption of brains is a delicate matter, both for how delectable it is as well as potential risks. You want to be able to savor the meat not munch on the run, and in such hectic circumstances you might suffer mental harm by not giving the act the proper focus it requires.

So instead you opt to kidnap the human, a replacement for your previous thrall, and this one has magic! The downside is that mentally dominating someone is also a delicate process so you'll need privacy and time, which in turn requires a successful escape.

And anyway, you can always eat his brain later...

Ugh, much heavier than drow... I hope all the humans aren't like this.

Freeing your maw from the man's head then, you pick him up in your arms and rise to your feet. Although he is noticeably heavier than a dark elf, your typical enemy, the strength of your body is more than enough. Really you're just looking for something to complain about as you carry your captive out of the workshop and up the stairs.

Trying to observe and sense for enemies then, you try to carefully elude your pursuers. You make a good effort of it at first, finding a rather clever solution of being lost in this town, by latching onto the man's head with your tentacles while carrying him so that you can read his mind and know where to go.

"Over there! Getting away!"

"Where go? Can't find!"

With your new makeshift navigation method, you soon outpace the watchmen and find your way through the district as experienced as any of them. The problem you come to face however, is the time it's take for you to get to this point means your opponents have had the chance to fetch the actual town guards.
>>
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Obviously much more formidable opponents just by appearance of their equipment, they also are more experienced and skilled individuals than the militia volunteers. So while you can leave the watchmen in the dust, the town guards are able to keep pace with you even having the benefit of your captive's mind. Worse still, unlike the watchmen the town guards aren't aware of any orders pertaining to you and think you to just be another criminal or danger, and so they act with violent intent. Several times you have to try and dodge flying arrows, or use a mind blast to stun an attacker into missing you with a sword swing.

Your prospects seem to be getting worse the longer this goes, so escape altogether, even if you have to flee town is the option you come to prefer. And to that end, from your captive's mind you know of the main river which cuts right through town and leads out to sea. By that route, you feel better able to escape, at least as much they won't be able to easily follow you. So you heft your human across the district fast as you can and avoiding attacks all the way, till you reach a part of the riverside which winds through here. Hastily looking around, jumping into the water seems like the best bet. A boat would have been preferable but it's easier to notice and a big target for ranged attacks, meanwhile as a semi-aquatic creature you can handle swimming and water just fine.

All you need then is something floating for your captive human so that he doesn't drown, even something as simple as a barrel to sling him over while you tow it from beneath, underwater. Laying the guy down on the dock and paying no mind to the alarmed onlookers, you decide a distraction is what you need in order to buy you the time to make this clever little escape. So you wait behind relative cover of some crates on the dock, until the guards catch up in number.

"There! Attack there!"

"Careful hostage! Need to- aagh! Monster!"

By the time some arrows embed into the crates and the melee-armed guards are stomping down stairs to the riverside dock, enough of them are here for your preference. Focusing your mind then, you lash out at them with a mind blast to soften them up, followed by a terrifying illusion of a sea monster! Or, river monster in this case, snaking up from the water and looming over the dock with vicious intent. A horror straight from the Underdark and out of your mind, for them to face. Are there similar water monsters on the surface? Who knows, but there are plenty monstrous ones beneath that you've seen once or twice!
>>
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Of course it is just an illusion, and a clever person would question the likelihood of such a monster being in the river in the first place let alone rearing its head just at this very moment. But you making it look quite monstrous and the sudden emergence is enough to catch people off guard and frighten them! That's all you need, to buy you some precious minutes to make your escape. And though it is a large mental strain on you, it's just a temporary effort for the short time you need, and only on the guards themselves... because of your focus however, it means dropping your disguise so the few bystanders who aren't guards see no such river monster but instead a mindflayer toiling about on the docks, and the town guards panicking over nothing.

Alright, just need a barre- ooph! Nope, that one's full. Ah, this should work, now some rope aaaand- "-SHHRKKK!"

Magic energy jolts through you severely, seizing up your body entire. The culprit you aren't able to turn to look, but through the mental anguish you can pick up on... the mage, your captive! In all your focus on everything else, you didn't devote the effort to keeping him pacified! Though you thought he'd be unconscious for longer, but he recovered in all the commotion and in a snap judgement he lunged across the wooden dock for you. Grabbed onto your leg with both hands and delivered a shocking grasp, as that's about all he could manage in his own dulled mental state.

In any case he puts what he has left in him to maintaining the magical attack and the shock, while not harmful to you, is overwhelming. Pretty quickly your consciousness fades, the last thing you perceive is keeling over into the water...

---
>>
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---

For how much time, have you been lost in your own mind? Enough that you lost touch with reality, unable to tell the difference in the vivid dreams of your superior mind. Dreams of... strangely enough, "your" life before, your host. Her life, on the surface as an adventurer till eventually delving into the Underdark, and that fateful mistake of crossing paths with illithid. Defeat, capture, captivity, and eventually ceremorphosis; the ending and transition of her life, into yours.

Still, a better fate than running afoul of other Underdark residents or monsters, in your opinion. Eventually though, it's not the memories that bring you back to reality, but hunger. Thirst.

...eugh my head...

Trying to recollect yourself and regain your senses through a dull aching headache, you gradually become aware of your surroundings... and condition. Chains rattle as you try to move, held in a restraining position of some stone dungeon cell, and even your tentacles bound before your mouth. At least your eyes are uncovered, though your captors took some liberties with your clothing and belongings.

Think Qhadryssa, think. You're still alive, so this isn't over yet...

At least you're pretty sure you're still alive. Certainly you're not dreaming, as you struggle against your bonds to feel the pain. For whatever reason the humans captured you rather than killed you, but they're not as clever or prepared as they think. Treating you like any other prisoner you suppose (which they probably assume you are), your imprisonment is only physical. They didn't trap you magically or mentally, and there aren't even magical defenses around the cell itself as far as you can tell.

Yes, they made a grave error with you. Underestimating enough to treat you like any other prisoner, and especially when you've been through worse before. Damn it all, you've been through worse imprisonment before!

>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.
>Your body has always been your workhorse, so to speak. These old chains are for humans, not buff mindflayer babes! Bust out of your shackles, rip them from the walls if you have to!
>Prisoner though you are, this is a... curious development. By no means a victory, but you're willing to see where things go. Clearly the humans have something in mind for you, if you're still alive.
>[Write-in.] Creativity will benefit you well in this predicament!
>>
Rolled 55 (1d100)

>>4991923
I don't wanna stay here, I don't care if whoever in charge wants to see us or whether they plan on just putting us in a labour camp or something, I think we should just leave instead of seeing where this goes, we ought to get back on track.

>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.

Maybe assess whether our friends are here or whether there is any amenable to attempting a prison break. Mayhaps there is someone vulnerable to eat so we can regain our strength, though we'd need to get to them when no one else is looking lest the guards be summoned. After we assess this we can think about leading a prison break or just running and relying on our mind blast to distract everyone.
>>
Rolled 13 (1d100)

>>4991923
>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.
>>
Rolled 62 (1d100)

>>4991923
>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.
Are there rats, insects, or any other small pests in the dungeon?
>>
>>4991918
This post gave me deja vu.

>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.
>>
>>4991977
There are vermin about but they lack developed minds for you to influence.
>>
>>4991923
>Prisoner though you are, this is a... curious development. By no means a victory, but you're willing to see where things go. Clearly the humans have something in mind for you, if you're still alive.

I mean we are a freakish monster and they took us alive anyway, I'm wondering why.
>>
>>4992082
Agreed.

>>4991923
>Prisoner though you are, this is a... curious development. By no means a victory, but you're willing to see where things go. Clearly the humans have something in mind for you, if you're still alive.
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>4991923
>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.
>Your body has always been your workhorse, so to speak. These old chains are for humans, not buff mindflayer babes! Bust out of your shackles, rip them from the walls if you have to!


This isn't related to our mission, only a sideshow at best, and I hate being brought low in chains.
>>
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>>4992170
>>4992082
>>4992017
>>4991977
>>4991969
>>4991949
>>4992485
>Rely on your mind in this predicament. Assess the situation, see what you can perceive, perhaps even seek out other minds to prey upon.
>93

It is a curious thing to you, that the humans would have something planned for what to do with you. Especially since most if not all of them, don't even seem to know what you are. While it is a matter of interest however, you don't plan on sticking around to find out. You're not going to remain a prisoner if you have a choice, and you still have a mission you're on.

So then, easing up on struggle against your bonds, you settle down and begin to calm yourself. Still your mind, think clearly and beyond your skull. Many illithid possess impressive psionic powers such as disembodiment or telepathy. You're not that skilled yet, but extended sensing is simple enough for you. Notably, this is so much easier for you in the dark.

Guard? Guard, there's something wrong, I think one of my shackles is undone...

First is to perceive your cell entirely, and know of any details among the stones and bars. A high window through which salty sea air blows, a grated drain with the smell of blood, and the door. Beyond that is a hallway lined by similar other cells, but before any of that you sense another mind; a guard stationed outside your door.

Easy enough to call out to him, and with the excuse you use, he hurries into your cell. You sense the discomfort he has when he sees you, the hesitation before approaching to check your shackles. So as not to give him a reason to be upset or mistrust you, you also project an illusion where one of your arms is practically free within the shackle. In truth of course it's fastened tight as the rest of your limbs, but to his perception he hastily corrects the perceived mistake.

"Why would you... tell of that? You could have caused trouble."

"I don't want any trouble, and I don't want any trouble for you if others found out. I don't even know what I'm imprisoned for."

There is his sense of duty, as well as unease towards you, that drives him to leave the cell now that the shackle was seen to. But his confusion about you, curiosity, is just enough to keep him here. Standing at a distance from you and trying desperately to understand you. Glimpses of surface thoughts, memories of other prisoners who exploited mistakes like a loose shackle, or concealed dangerous truths from the guards.

"...and you're still talking, despite that we bound your... mouth? What are you, anyway? Some kind of mermaid, a squid?"

That's the second time you've heard "mermaid", apparently some similar creature from the surface... but the mention of it evokes thoughts about some half-human half-fish? How he could think you are like that, is baffling but it must be a testament to how limited the experience and knowledge of these humans are... or how mundane things are in the world above.
>>
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What matters though is that his curiosity keeps him here. He thinks you harmless, and thus no risk to try and figure out. Which is perfect for you, having him in here to mentally battle. You have your work cut out for you though, because you can't directly influence his mind without direct contact. You can only rely on normal communication, and sensory influence like how you can make him see or hear (or whatever else) illusions.

The benefit though is that he has his guard lowered, standing at ease towards you, because you haven't given him reason to treat you as a threat. Thus far you haven't mentally alarmed him so he sees no danger in observing the curiosity that you are. Although revoltingly, you further sense both the source of his unease towards you, as well as a reason for staying. Down the line of logic of mermaid, it seems some instinctive... passions, play on his mind. This mermaid he associates you with is female and a beauteous creature of desire, and you can tell he notices you to be female, even if the illithid truth of it is far more complicated.

"Is there something wrong, do you notice something?" you "ask" innocently enough.

"-no! Nothing, just thought... it's nothing." his eyes dart away, and guilty thoughts are scrambled.

Such base emotions and crude physical feelings like desire, it makes you sick. You wonder if all humans are like this, disgusting animals... to be fair though, the drow for example weren't much different, and you recall Umrae's interest in you being at least somewhat intimate. It does however present a possibility you'd never really considered... or ever relied upon before; charisma. Not force of mind or body, but force of personality and appeal, to influence others. To an illithid it seems like a waste of time, but in this strange new surface world who knows what methods could serve you well, in regards to these lesser creatures and their civilization.

>Keep it up, relying on your mind. Even if you can't dominate this human mentally, you can achieve the same results through simple interaction. Engage and converse, and learn what you want.
>So you are a curious and unknown creature of exotic female appeal, to this human? Well, what might he do for such a creature, at your request? Come closer perhaps?
>Alright, enough games! The guard is in the cell, so no reason not to make use of your body, exercise your strength and break free and attack! Although, that will obviously set a hostile precedent towards the humans.
>[Write-in.]
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>4992527
>Keep it up, relying on your mind. Even if you can't dominate this human mentally, you can achieve the same results through simple interaction. Engage and converse, and learn what you want.
>So you are a curious and unknown creature of exotic female appeal, to this human? Well, what might he do for such a creature, at your request? Come closer perhaps?

A mindflayer, using charisma to get herself out of trouble? That alone is worth the imprisonment.
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>4992527
>Keep it up, relying on your mind. Even if you can't dominate this human mentally, you can achieve the same results through simple interaction. Engage and converse, and learn what you want.
>>
>>4992553
>>4992555
To clarify, if information gathering is the option you want to go with (or majority vote), feel free to specify want information you seek. Basically what you want to "talk" to him about.
>>
>>4992593
Who is in charge here? What are e charged with? How are mermaids and other unusual beast-like beings viewed here, broadly-speaking--myths, curiosities, enemies? And (oh so innocently) we aren't troubling him or putting him at risk by fraternizing, are we?
>>
>>4992593
I'd prefer if we attempted to turn him into a thrall to be honest, but a bit of info gathering couldn't hurt much.
>>
>>4992527
>So you are a curious and unknown creature of exotic female appeal, to this human? Well, what might he do for such a creature, at your request? Come closer perhaps?

hey bro if you come over and put your head in my mouth something really cool will happen
>>
>>4992527
>So you are a curious and unknown creature of exotic female appeal, to this human? Well, what might he do for such a creature, at your request? Come closer perhaps?
>>
Don't know a ton about mindflayers I'm afraid, so what stopped us from taking over the mage as a new host body or even just changing our illusory disguise? Does it require some elaborate ritual?
>>
>>4993054
Only mindflayer larvea can take on hosts, and have to be implanted on the victim's brain.
>>4992527
>Keep it up, relying on your mind. Even if you can't dominate this human mentally, you can achieve the same results through simple interaction. Engage and converse, and learn what you want.
Who is in charge here? What are e charged with? How are mermaids and other unusual beast-like beings viewed here, broadly-speaking--myths, curiosities, enemies? And (oh so innocently) we aren't troubling him or putting him at risk by fraternizing, are we? Have you heard anything about more black elves like the ones we came here with?
>>
>>4992527
>Keep it up, relying on your mind. Even if you can't dominate this human mentally, you can achieve the same results through simple interaction. Engage and converse, and learn what you want.

I'll be back later when I have more time to give this further thought.
>>
>>4992527
If there's a tie, consider my vote (>>4992553) to have the man come closer rather than gain info via talk. We'll gain better info when we search the man's brain instead.
>>
>>4993087
Yeah, I agree, if we can do it quietly without causing the other prisoners to alert the guards, then breaking our shackles and thralling him or just reading it directly from his brain while seducing him may be more worthwhile.
>>
>>4993054
That's fine, asking any questions about the quest is always welcome, to answer.

As for taking over others, there are some possibilities but also limitations. An illithid cannot change host bodies, once an illithid is created from a victim, that is their host body for life. An illithid can in turn create others, through their own method of reproduction which involves tadpole-like larva inserting into a victim's head, but the result will be new and distinct illithid "children" rather than a duplication or clone of the original.

That said, mindflayers are capable of possessing victims under the right circumstances. In this case, the illithid themself (or rather their body) would be rendered comatose, while they project their mind into another being and control their body like a puppet. A useful ability under some circumstances, but it's obviously dangerous in case the original body should be found defenseless.

>>4993076
>>4993068
>>4992555
>>4992553
>Mind

>>4992553
>>4992821
>>4992931
>Charisma

>>4993087
Doesn't seem like a tie, but I think a bit of both is possible. Will post in a bit now.
>>
>>4993076
>>4993068
>>4992931
>>4992821
>>4992555
>>4992553
>>Keep it up, relying on your mind. Even if you can't dominate this human mentally, you can achieve the same results through simple interaction. Engage and converse, and learn what you want.
>92

Not that you want to be in this predicament, not at all. But part of being a mindflayer means that as long as your mind as able to function, you're still a threat. In theory one could imagine a scenario where an illithid is imprisoned, yet through mental manipulation they end up controlling the entire prison from their cell.

With use of your mind then, and the ability to exploit this human with your personality and your body, you believe to have seen a way out of this mess already.

"Well I'm not a mermaid, but I'm just as harmless. Do you really need to chain me up like this? What could I do, with walls like this and the cell door there?

Sensing his surface thoughts about how a mermaid, or simply an appealing female would act and sound, you try to put on an act of a dainty and harmless creature.

"...I don't like this either, wrong to be keeping a woma- well, a lady locked up in a place like this... but if anyone found you free, there'd be hell to pay."

How curious, these feelings of... sympathy, pity for you that the human has. Of course a lesser being feeling bad for you is insulting, but it's an interesting development to see how you could manipulate a person with your mind, in the most basic sense. That is, without actual mental powers, simply being clever enough to know what to do and say.

How very nearly he wants to help you, if his fear of repercussions wasn't stronger.

"...could you at least unbind my mouth then? It's too tight and my face is sore."

You knew he wouldn't unchain you, but following up with this soft request, you sway his heart with sympathy. More than that though, as he approaches you sense motive. Sure he feels bad for you and wants to do (what he believes) a harmless good deed, but behind that are intimate thoughts. Thoughts of some strange mouth to mouth contact eliciting passion, very disgusting and very illogical.

And while he doesn't actually expect it to happen, it seems the idea or the hope of it happening is what drives him to act, even if it never does happen. What a strange race these humans are, how curious the ways you can interact with them are, and how great the freedom of possibilities are.

"Hold still then, this should make it easier for you..."

Gently he unbinds the cloth from your face, getting a smell of you in the process. A scent he likes, what is "vanilla"?

Not that it matters though, as the moment he pulls the cloth binding away from your face and your tentacles are free, you lunge upwards for him. You'd been in a relaxed position in your chains, but extending your body as far as the rattling metal bindings will allow you to move, you're able to make contact with him.
>>
"-aagh! Stop, get baaaaaackuuuughhh..."

The rest of the distance, your tentacles can stretch out to quickly latch onto his head and wrap around, as you make mental contact. The overwhelming sensation of it causes his body to fall limp, as you fall to the floor with him, your tentacles not strong enough to hold him up. From the floor though you have better range of motion against your chains, and more than enough to drag him closer with your tentacles and wrap your maw around his head for full contact.

Pathetic. Is that all it takes? A curvesome body...

...and sexual features, with a disarming personality mixed in? Could it be so simple, dealing with such primitive, instinctual creatures? You did not even need to use any mental powers at all, yet accomplished the same as if you'd controlled his mind. Nor any conflict, like if you'd busted out of your chains and had to physically fight the man.

No, all it took was sprinkling some crumbs before the human, and letting him do the rest of the work of walking eagerly into the trap. Not unlike vermin! By the Void, what trouble you could get up to, against such unsuspecting and unprepared opponents.

But enough of the self-congratulating, for now you're still in your predicament. Hungrily tapping into the human's mind, you scour his brain freely for anything and everything you desire. You have to make use of what time you have like this, with your victim.

~~~

>Who is in charge here? What are we charged with? How are mermaids and other unusual beast-like beings viewed here, broadly-speaking--myths, curiosities, enemies? And (oh so innocently) we aren't troubling him or putting him at risk by fraternizing, are we? Have you heard anything about more black elves like the ones we came here with?

You don't have the time nor are you in a safe environment, to construct an immersive illusion with the man, like you were able to do with Umrae. A dream so real that she believed it. It's always a more effective way of gathering information, and safer too, but still imprisoned in a cell you don't feel prepared to take such a risk. So just a search through his memories will have to do for now, and blanking his mind after to forget it all.

For starters, you gain some insight into the organization here. Marveil, a city of humans loosely governed by nobles, with groups both political and civil to manage things more directly and represent the populace. It's not terribly different from how the drow govern things for example, but not nearly as much direct control, more a unity of all the people moving vaguely forward together. And for that you have at least some respect for their civilization, for being similar in that regard to your own illithid society and the strive for mutual progress. In very specific terms of who's in charge, there is a warden in charge of the castle (of which you are in the dungeon), and there is a noble family of highest rank that the armed forces answer to.
>>
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It is to this end that you were charged and imprisoned... supposedly. The actual offenses are "disturbing the peace" but in truth there seems to be something more significant behind it. Something to do with why the humans were on the lookout for dark elves in the first place, but also took you in despite being an illithid. You could have not done anything wrong and still would have been sought out, so it was your drow disguise which brought you to harm. Curiously, while there didn't seem to be intent to let you free, you also were supposed to be taken careful care of by your captors. Perhaps not bound for a cell for long?

As for mermaids and other unusual beings, it seems to depend on the creature and on the person regarding them. Some things like dragons are universally feared and despised, while other things like mermaids, some humans view them as hostile while other humans like this guard see them as benevolent and desirable for what they can bring. Generally speaking the humans seem superstitious and paranoid, and so have exaggerated beliefs in rumors of unusual creatures, but their strange surface customs and culture means there's bound to be good and bad reactions to anything. Even you, a being as malevolent and dangerous as a mindflayer, yet because they seem completely unaware of what you are they associate you with the closest thing they can understand. A mermaid, and thus viewed pleasantly, or at least curiously rather than immediate fear and hostility.

Lastly is the matter of this guard and your imprisonment. Indeed there will be trouble if he were caught interacting with you, hence his trepidation about talking with or helping you. It seems that you could expect trouble yourself for it however, and might suffer if you're seen as a risky prisoner. You wonder how that relates to others facing imprisonment, such as-

Nym...

In searching for knowledge you pass through a recent string of memories relating to your traveling companion, the demure male drow. It seems he similarly was captured and imprisoned (probably after the tavern brawl last night), for similar reasons. Unlike you however, he was treated... rather badly, an insight into how brutal these humans can be if they want or need to. Something this particular guard was at least a spectator too, poor Nym was cruelly interrogated and harshly tortured, seemingly for no better reason than being a drow and from a rumored "world beneath"... a rumor that appears to have come from other drow encountered in the recent past.

You know you shouldn't feel bad since you had no love of any of your traveling companions, but the young and feeble drow male never gave you too much reason to hate or distrust him. And knowing him like you do, such treatment was absurdly unnecessary. Based on the last memories this man had of Nym, you dread and suspect that if you leave this place, along the way you could very well pass by a cell and find Nym dead within.
>>
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It's upsetting for how confusing it makes the situation again, after you thought to be understanding what was going on but now it's unclear again. The humans still seem to be on the hunt for another "black elf" still at large, Laele most likely, with intent to harm her too you suspect. Yet by contrast you were spared any such hostility. Why the vendetta for drow but not for you? The thoughts confound you, and sadly this guard isn't high up in the power structure so you can't get much more complex knowledge than this from him...

~~~

With no equivalent passage of time between the mindscape and reality, who knows how long you were scouring the guard's mind, but it can't have been more than some minutes. Still no one has come along to check what's going on, but you can't expect that to last forever. At least you do gain a pretty detailed insight into the workings of the prison and best of all the layout... you know the location well enough to escape, if you faced no opposition.

In any case, this experience was quite intellectually stimulating, nourishing and as well as being out of the sunlight you're feeling a lot better now. Better able to think and act, as you consider what to do. Both for yourself and with this guard. Sucking his mental energy away, you formulate your options.

>Time to escape now! With the guard's help you can be free of this cell, and set on the difficult path of escape from this castle. Whatever these humans are up to, you don't want to find out while their prisoner.
>Escape is the goal, but knowing the situation better you want to wait until you have the best chance possible. Wipe the guard's mind so he doesn't remember any of this, but change your imprisonment conditions as you see fit. {Specify.}
>As long as the coast is clear, you'll take all the opportunities with this guard you can get. Either for more knowledge seeking, or making a thrall of him. {Specify.}
>The mystery of what is going on is too great, especially since it seems to pertain to your mission. Wait (on your own terms) to see what they plan for you, or even simply if you can just prey on another victim's mind, one higher up than a guard.
>[Write-in.]
>>
Rolled 86 (1d100)

>>4993167
>As long as the coast is clear, you'll take all the opportunities with this guard you can get. Either for more knowledge seeking, or making a thrall of him. {Thrall}
>The mystery of what is going on is too great, especially since it seems to pertain to your mission. Wait (on your own terms) to see what they plan for you, or even simply if you can just prey on another victim's mind, one higher up than a guard.

As much as I don't like it, I say we play a wait and see game. We haven't been tortured yet. We're going to need a lot of water though.
>>
>>4993167
>As long as the coast is clear, you'll take all the opportunities with this guard you can get. Either for more knowledge seeking, or making a thrall of him. {Any knowledge of Umrae's Daughter or her Husband as well as anything regarding drow of the rumoured world below. Then knowledge of the layout of this castle and its armed forces and any unique unit such as mages, psions, special forces, etc. After that, just general political knowledge and geography and cultural customs. If we have time, thrall him, if not just mind blank him and wait for another opportunity.}

>Escape is the goal, but knowing the situation better you want to wait until you have the best chance possible. Wipe the guard's mind so he doesn't remember any of this, but change your imprisonment conditions as you see fit. {Have him take his key to our shackles and cell and make a wax imprint of it when he has free time to go back into town, then have him get some service provider to make a duplicate set of keys for both using the wax imprint and have him return to us and hand us the keys. Maybe get him to ask his superiors if we can have a bath using the false narrative that he believes that we are a mermaid and need hydration to survive.}

This will do for the immediate future, though if the situation changes in a way that requires urgency then perhaps it be best we just break free soon.
>>
Rolled 10, 3 = 13 (2d100)

>>4993167
>>4993199
Forgot my rolls
>>
Rolled 45 (1d100)

>>4993167
>As long as the coast is clear, you'll take all the opportunities with this guard you can get. Either for more knowledge seeking, or making a thrall of him. Thrall
>>
>>4993167
>As long as the coast is clear, you'll take all the opportunities with this guard you can get. Either for more knowledge seeking, or making a thrall of him. {Thrall}
>>
>>4993189
>>4993199
>>4993242
>>4993248
Supposing that making a thrall of the man should be the vote, then what degree of thrall would you want?

>Minor Domination - some might call it hypnosis. The victim is not aware of the influence, and they simply have a strong, strange affinity for you. They will act in your interest if they can and as they see fit, but will not do anything they normally never would. Actual control will need constant effort.
>Proper Domination - the victim is aware of your control but they can't do much about it. A clever illithid will associate servitude with positive emotions. Direct or objectionable orders will need control, but otherwise the thrall will act in support of your will even on their own.
>Total Domination - the victim is little more than a mindless slave to you, and cannot function on their own, unless they are given a (new) personality. They will however follow every whim of yours, and without constant need of control, almost like an extension of your own mind.

Time permitting of course. You don't know how long you have with this human, so at any moment may need to release him to avoid notice. But if you are able, you can try any of the above, perhaps even on some other human.

For reference, your previous thrall was under proper domination. While in your influence he was in full support of you, but now hours later or more, out of your influence (and with no parting orders) he's probably turned himself in to report you, or just gone his own way to freedom.
>>
>>4993277
Oh, and it should be obvious that the increasing degrees of thralldom take increasingly more amount of time, as you wrap your foul grip around the victim's mind.
>>
>>4993277
>Minor Domination
Don't think we'll be doing much with this guy that'd worth Total or Proper. Being a guardsman means his departure and any unnatural or suspicious movements are bound to be noticed, may as well make it as natural as we can. Should we roll?
>>
>>4993277
>Minor Domination - some might call it hypnosis. The victim is not aware of the influence, and they simply have a strong, strange affinity for you. They will act in your interest if they can and as they see fit, but will not do anything they normally never would. Actual control will need constant effort.
>>
>>4993333
You can roll if you like, it's only required if I say so however.
>>
>>4993277
>Minor Domination - some might call it hypnosis. The victim is not aware of the influence, and they simply have a strong, strange affinity for you. They will act in your interest if they can and as they see fit, but will not do anything they normally never would. Actual control will need constant effort.

Yeah, it doesn't sound like we have the time to do more plus we want him to act natural
>>
>>4993277
>Minor Domination - some might call it hypnosis. The victim is not aware of the influence, and they simply have a strong, strange affinity for you. They will act in your interest if they can and as they see fit, but will not do anything they normally never would. Actual control will need constant effort.

We're not going to spoil the game just yet, we'd a lion in a buffet of curious deer who won't run away at the sight of us.
>>
>>4993277
>Proper Domination - the victim is aware of your control but they can't do much about it. A clever illithid will associate servitude with positive emotions. Direct or objectionable orders will need control, but otherwise the thrall will act in support of your will even on their own.
>>
>>4994024
>>4993988
>>4993339
>>4993333
>>4993248
>>4993242
>>4994187
>>4993199
>>4993189
>As long as the coast is clear, you'll take all the opportunities with this guard you can get. Either for more knowledge seeking, or making a thrall of him.
>86

Until someone else approaches, you see no reason to sever your mental bond with the guard. Especially not, when the longer you remain joined, the more influence you can instill in him and the more soundly you can dominate the man. So then, stilled chained up on the floor but with the human wrapped in your grasp, you mentally multitask and make the most of the time and opportunity you have.

Primarily, wearing down his mind so that he is susceptible to influence, one of the main steps in making a thrall out of a victim. At the same time though, you continue to search his memories for any further information which could help you, now that you know what to look for.

~~~

So it was Umrae's family... if they're still alive though? That's the question...

Again, this man is but a lowly guard in the castle dungeon, his knowledge is limited. But he does have memories and thoughts about this recent trend, this interest in a supposed world beneath. As you'd hoped or assumed, Marveil is the settlement from where these rumors seem to have originated, so for sure Umrae's husband and daughter came here. What became of them after that though... you fear for the worst. If the human treatment of Nym is anything to go by, then they may have been tortured for information which in turn spurred this interest the humans have below.

You'll have to do some investigating to be sure, but it would at least make things simpler if the were dead; then stopping the information leak is merely a matter of influencing the right people that some "Underdark" is all a fantasy. You'll need your freedom to pursue this path however, so you continue to learn what you can about the castle and beyond. Pretty quickly you're gaining an expert insight into the layout of the basic areas of the castle, going off memories as if they were your own experience. More than what you already knew however, you want to know more of the opposition.

Hmmm... more magic users than below... that's probably just because there's more people on the surface.

Fortunately, a great relief to learn that, as far as seems to be the case there are little to no psionics among the humans. In fact the only one this guard knows of is a resident elf, so you don't have to worry about any challenges to your mind, at least not in Marveil.
>>
>>4993189
Supporting this.

>>4993277
>Minor Domination
We can amp it up later. Make him think we kissed him, and that he liked it. Exploit his degeneracy.
>>
The humans aren't totally defenseless however, and to your annoyance they seem to have a greater embracing of magic in the Underdark. Not nearly as sophisticated or as powerful as arcane practices below, but like most things in your world beneath the control is much harsher. The fewer mages among the various subterranean races are mighty beings indeed, often eliminating lesser rivals, but by nature this means magic is uncommon and concentrated among few.

On the surface by contrast, more people have a broader range of magic. Most are like the watchmen you encountered, they only know a spell or two in their life and never studied magic seriously. But if the guard's memory serves you, there are a fair enough number of arcanists around who prefer to teach lesser magic wielders rather than kill them. As such, not only are there wholly magical organizations, but in any militant group down to a basic squad you can expect there to be a magic wielder among them. The castle itself even has a small group of dedicated mages for defense and security, so best be on the lookout for them! Its not all bad news however; more mages means more magic brains, means more potential power for you.

Beyond this knowledge, you can spend the rest of the time then getting a sense for the politics, geography and customs of this strange new land. Siphoning all the information you need out of this man's head, so that eventually you can pass as a surface dweller yourself!


~~~

"Oh what the hell, why isn't its mouth wrapped up? Where's the gag?"

"She was having trouble breathing so I took it off, but look she's still chained up so no harm. Come, take a closer look! We were wrong about it being a mermaid."

What an enlightening time you had scouring the guard's brain, but all good things have to end sometime. Again, you're not really sure how much time passed when you're enveloped in the mindscape. But it's still light outside your cell window when you sense another mind approaching, striking your attention like an alert. Quick as you can then, you wipe the guard's memories of all that transpired, instill some mental vigor into him and promptly release him from your maw. In short order he's up and active again, none the wiser that you got the better of him.
>>
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Just in time too, well just in time to avoid being caught, but not in time for the guard to have gotten outside the cell again. Apparently this is seen as suspicious, by another guard who arrived to relieve the first of duty. But when he happens on the man inside your cell, it's cause for initial alarm. Even when things don't seem dangerous, he still sees it as a breach in security and decorum.

"Come on Jarret, what am I supposed to do here? Look the other way? You broke the rules pretty bad interacting with the thing, if the warden found out..."

"I think the warden would feel the same way if he knew, we don't want the prisoner dying on our hands or anything. Here, look closer, what do you think?"

You sense the trouble between them over what has happened, but fortunately your enthralling seems to have paid off, as the first guard keeps acting in your favor without seeming to be aware of it. He just really wants to show his fellow guard what you are, some exotic beauteous creature! And to appreciate that... he has to get closer.

"Well I hope you got a good look, because his lordship is on the return. Tonight or tomorrow, so... huh, not a mermaid you say? Quite a body on her, shame about the hea- aaaAAAGH!"

It's almost too easy, as your thrall shoulders up to the replacement guard and walks him right up to you. The new human is still on edge about the breach of rules that took place, but as prompted and demonstrated, his curiosity soon gets the better of him as he gets a better look at you. More bold than the first man as well, as he leans down and takes your face in his hand, turning your head side to side to get a look at you.

When in your entire life has a victim ever willingly put their face close to yours? It's almost too easy, to the point where you feel bad about taking advantage of this blessing. But you know better than to let pride or doubt get the better of you. As soon as his guard is less, you lunge against your chains towards him like you did the first man, wrapping around his head once more for another victim.

"See? She's something else, isn't she? Don't even know why she's chained up, not even dangerous. Well, I'll report out, but don't throw me under the wagon for this. We're supposed to take care of her after all."

How disturbing for any spectator to watch this transpire, as you claim another victim and wrap him up on the floor in your grasp, as the other man is enthralled by you as to not even seem aware of it. Instead, to his perception you project an illusion where the other guard just checked your shackles and approved the change in shift, for him to take his leave. His comrade is being mind-raped mere feet from him but he thinks he's having a conversation with the man.
>>
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Truly, these humans are a whole other level of prey to you. Already two victims in your time here, you really start to wonder towards that old legend of an illithid being able to control an entire organization or group by themself. In any case the first man checks out on his guard shift, where he will obey your influence to get copies of the dungeon keys made in town, all the while you've claimed this second man for yourself. Another juicy victim to do with as you please, which only leads you to ponder more... if you couldn't enthrall the entire dungeon staff, given enough time.

From the get-go however, you heard tell of some superior coming this "night" or "tomorrow" so now it seems you've got a schedule you can go by, if you want to.

>Provided it's not too long to wait, you can see what this human leader wants of you. After all, you've got plenty to keep your attention and occupy yourself with in the meantime.
>This supposed visitor coming is an unknown and you don't like unknowns. Best to get out of here while you can, and now with your new victim you've definitely got all the time you need to come up with a proper escape plan. {Specify.}
>Escape is the goal, but only from your cell. You wonder what trouble you can get up to in the rest of the dungeon or even the castle above. With your new thrall you even have the means to get around better.
>You're not opposed to an encounter with one of the human leaders, but you want it on your terms. Through manipulation, see if you can get better accommodations for the time you have ahead of you... better as far as a dungeon goes at least.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4994223
>>4994226
>>4994227
Whoops, post break!
>>
>>4994237
>You're not opposed to an encounter with one of the human leaders, but you want it on your terms. Through manipulation, see if you can get better accommodations for the time you have ahead of you... better as far as a dungeon goes at least.
>>
>>4994237
>Escape is the goal, but only from your cell. You wonder what trouble you can get up to in the rest of the dungeon or even the castle above. With your new thrall you even have the means to get around better.
>You're not opposed to an encounter with one of the human leaders, but you want it on your terms. Through manipulation, see if you can get better accommodations for the time you have ahead of you... better as far as a dungeon goes at least.

Might as well start spreading our influence while we're under the radar.
>>
>>4994237
>You're not opposed to an encounter with one of the human leaders, but you want it on your terms. Through manipulation, see if you can get better accommodations for the time you have ahead of you... better as far as a dungeon goes at least.

do we have a numerical limit on thralls or can we just go crazy?
>>
>>4994304
Just go crazy. If we bring numbers autism into this my enjoyment will falter immediately.
>>
>>4994304
The only limit is your imagination!

In actuality, you're only limited by how many minds you could control at once. Some illithid can only manage one, others could manage a hundred or more.

In some ways though it can be different. For minor cases for example where the victim doesn't realize the influence, it's like fire and forget where you could in theory minorly dominate an entire city's worth of people and they'd just go about their daily lives as usual, unaware of their subtle affiliation towards you.

That isn't direct control however, like total domination. But just the same in that case, you essentially destroy a victim's mind so that they follow your will without you needing to control them. So there's all sorts of factors to consider.
>>
>>4994317
>In some ways though it can be different. For minor cases for example where the victim doesn't realize the influence, it's like fire and forget where you could in theory minorly dominate an entire city's worth of people and they'd just go about their daily lives as usual, unaware of their subtle affiliation towards you.

That sounds like an entirely interesting concept for a mindflayer quest, but I'll set our surface ambitions to just the dungeon and some of the castle for the time we have at the moment. We should be fully in control of this dungeon by the time the time the human leaders come a to visit.

I say minor domination of the guards and proper domination of the inmates, just to start out with.
>>
>>4994237
>>Escape is the goal, but only from your cell. You wonder what trouble you can get up to in the rest of the dungeon or even the castle above. With your new thrall you even have the means to get around better.
>>
>>4994237
I'll support >>4994294

If we do end up meeting this lord then having all the dungeon staff or even some from above as our thralls will give us some security should this lord intend on having a brief interlude of polite interrogation before resorting to the thumbscrews. If we do well enough I could see our plans changing to attempting to thrall him.
>>
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>>4994758
>>4994697
>>4994294
>>4994242
>>4994304
>Escape is the goal, but only from your cell. You wonder what trouble you can get up to in the rest of the dungeon or even the castle above. With your new thrall you even have the means to get around better.

Part of your interest is in figuring out the history behind Umrae's family and their presence here, obviously in regards to your mission for determining their fate. It would be a lie however to say you weren't interested in this human stronghold, for when else are you going to get an opportunity like this? With Umrae for example, she had reason to involve you and bring you into her household under supervision.

With these humans though, their governance is over an entire city, and you have the chance to sneak around and be privy to all of that. At least until someone in power encounters you, time enough till then.

...now then, could you free me? You know I'll cooperate, I'd just like to look for a better cell, if you could show me around?

Entangled with the guard after having spent a good while scouring his brain and dominating his mind, eventually you free the man as he sets about unshackling you from the wall.

"Ahh... that's better. Thank you."

"Sure, it's not like we knew whatever conditions you needed, when you were brought in here."

Finally you can move freely, as you rub your arms and elsewhere you were shackled, before getting up with help from your new thrall. After that, well, seems like you've got the rest of the "day" to yourself, and your heart's content!

---

To your surprise as you eventually learn, the dungeon actually isn't all that big. From scouring the minds of your victims you knew the layout ahead of time, but it's different actually seeing it for yourself in person. As it seems, both justice and injustice are swift for the humans, so they have little need for longterm holding centers. In fact, the castle dungeon specifically is only for high-profile prisoners like yourself, of which there aren't many so there's no need for some extensive facility of holding cells. Instead, and pragmatically so, the humans have devoted more of the chambers and space beneath the castle towards goods storage instead.
>>
Even so, it's not just the dungeon you're limited to, but are curious to explore at least everything beneath the castle, familiarize yourself with all that as a basis before moving on. Still you have to be careful though, and rely on your new thrall quite a bit. Magic users and magic defenses are a special risk to you, so you have to carefully perceive all that lies ahead of you, and you have to rely on your thrall for what he knows or remembers about anything magic related.

"...hey, Mellin! Aren't you... aren't you supposed to be watching the prisoner, that weird monster?"

As far as you can tell, there are magic security measures in place within the foundation of the castle as well as passages between the dungeon and elsewhere. So for now, as long as you remain down here you should be fine. Only one magic wielder on duty in the dungeon too, so just avoid them. The rest, you soon begin to gain greater and greater control as you encounter more victims.

"Just fetching a bucket of water for her, think she needs it. You should get a look at her though, quite the creature!"

Using your thrall and projected illusions, you can get close to other guards and repeat the process of scouring their minds and enthralling them. Although you don't have a measure of time, it can't be that long before you're gaining a majority control of this place. So much so, that you're not even having your new thralls to all come with you, but instead just turning them loose to continue business as normal... yet subtly under your influence.

The lone magic user is the last obstacle that stops you from exploring the rest of the facilities beneath the castle foundation, as you can tell from thrall memories that they would be sitting up at the guard quarters above the dungeon, near to the entrance/exit of this dismal place. And notably, with your belongings and your clothes rather than these rags they dressed you in. For an enemy like that you can't so easily just approach them like the others, so more delicacy will be needed.

"-wait, is that..."

You try to formulate a plan, while pacing about the dungeon to see what else you might find. You consider also enthralling the prisoners, but again there just simply aren't that many and you question their value to you... you also question whether you even want to wrap your maw around such filthy specimens. Dismissing them with disgust, you're prepared to just write them off, until you notice a mind you're familiar with.

...Nym.

There's no mistaking the drow's mind, both in terms of already knowing it, and how different it is to the rest of these humans. You have your thrall unlock the cell, and hurry inside to find your traveling companion in a dire state.

Poor thing... he didn't deserve this.
>>
You're not upset since he wasn't your friend or anything, but it's disappointing to see the humans waste such cruel and brutal effort on such a harmless thing. Just like you'd feel bad if you saw them torturing a simple animal, pointless violence. You're inclined to try and help him perhaps, but broken and bloody as he is, you doubt there's anything you can do for him. Doubt he's even conscious anymore, and probably will just expire on his own in time.

One last pitying look, and some bitterness gained for the humans, before you turn to leave. An unexpected sound however, stops you with surprise.

"...thas yoo, innit jabess? Smeh... smehll sahm..."

The feeble and rasping voice, barely escaping his destroyed face in broken words. Seems he's not dead yet, but these are sure to be among his last words. For convenience you draw near to the mangled drow so that he doesn't have to try and look up or move to perceive you, but you're not sure what comfort you can offer him, or if you even care to. You feel his mind struggling to remain conscious let alone lucid, and yet through it all he still remembered you.

The smell, he must have a keen memory of it. In all your illusions you never thought to mask that as well, since it wasn't something on your mind. Well by all indications you have a pleasing scent, your ideally slick skin described by the humans as... "vanilla" was it? But after all the agony Nym experienced, you suppose it's not a surprise that something pleasant would be what he notices the most. It's all he has left now.

>Poor thing, like a maimed animal. Put him out of his misery.
>You're not sure why you should even bother... but maybe you could save him? As long as you can procure some magical healing, likely the guard quarters above, he might stabilize.
>You don't have much time, so take all he has worth left. Scour his mind for what happened, and then perhaps his brain.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4994920
>You don't have much time, so take all he has worth left. Scour his mind for what happened, and then perhaps his brain.

He's in misery and he isn't worth saving, lets drain his knowledge and put him out of his misery. If we have time, eat his brain, we don't want to starve while waiting and playing the long game in our cell. If people are worried about him being discovered, just have our guards keep anyone away from him. If someone important comes to seem him that can't be dissuaded than we can just get out of our cell and ambush them or just let him be discovered.

Though, I'm open to just mercy killing him if we don't want to risk leaving the evidence of us eating him.

Regarding the upcoming magic user. We probably shouldn't give in to temptation and risk eating his brain, he'd be missed unlike Nym and we'll have plenty of opportunities to eat magic users in the future, we can't risk alarming anyone right now though.
>>
>>4994924
For clarity, starving is less an issue for you because of your robust body. Most illithid need at least one brain a month to survive, but you can go even longer.

Though, that's what is *needed*. You of course prefer eating brains when you can, so can obviously eat whenever you want. Just that there's not some risk of you starving if you go days without munching someone's head.
>>
>>4994927
Thanks for clarifying.

Changing my vote to...
>Read his mind to find out what happened, then put him out of his misery.
>>
>>4994920
>You're not sure why you should even bother... but maybe you could save him? As long as you can procure some magical healing, likely the guard quarters above, he might stabilize.
Call me a bleeding heart but I'd like to help him. Does one of the enthralled guards have access to a healing potion? Also, If we want to eat someones brain, we can eat another prisoner's
>>
>>4994920
>You're not sure why you should even bother... but maybe you could save him? As long as you can procure some magical healing, likely the guard quarters above, he might stabilize.
Would be a waste to just kill him/leave him to die
>>
>>4994920
>You're not sure why you should even bother... but maybe you could save him? As long as you can procure some magical healing, likely the guard quarters above, he might stabilize.

poor nym
>>
>>4994920
>You're not sure why you should even bother... but maybe you could save him? As long as you can procure some magical healing, likely the guard quarters above, he might stabilize.

He'll be useful if he's kept alive, and loyal when he recognizes that we saved him, of his on volition. Might as well make an attempt.
>>
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>>4995297
>>4995126
>>4995014
>>4994951
>>4994939
>>4995126
>You're not sure why you should even bother... but maybe you could save him? As long as you can procure some magical healing, likely the guard quarters above, he might stabilize.

Ugh, you must be getting sentimental in your absence from the Elder Brain, to even consider wasting time and effort on this lesser being! His brain would make a good snack, and that's all he's good for, nothing else!

But... you suppose he could still have some use, maybe... perhaps. You'll have to act quickly though, and mundane healing isn't going to cut it. You're not a surgeon yourself but you know how to patch yourself up at least, but for as bad a condition as Nym is he'll need actual magical healing to at least stabilize.

"Tell me... Mellin, is there a healer around? In the castle?"

"There is, more than one. But there's not much need when we've got an emergency store of potions down here, in case things get messy with a prisoner... why do you ask?"

You ask, because that's what you need right now, as you ask your thrall to go and fetch some healing potions that are stocked up in the guard quarters. There's no point in going yourself when he'll know better than you, not to mention the danger of the magic wielder up there.

So he can hurry up above while you try to focus on your drow traveling companion.

Don't die yet, help is coming... just a little longer.

"Annthin foh yoo jabess..."

Kneeling beside him chained up and trying to mind the blood... and the smell, you look him over to get an idea of how bad it is. Ghastly what the humans did to him, and even worse that they left him like this to die slowly. They must really have a bitter hatred of drow for this.
>>
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Out of curiosity you also try to read Nym's mind to learn what you can of his treatment, but his pain and trauma is so great and so fresh in his mind, that it is shared to you when you try.

"-hsssSSSH!"

Recoiling in alarm, you won't be trying that again soon, but you did at least get some glimpses... things you wish you hadn't seen. What's worrying though is that his interrogators and torturers seemed to know an awful lot about the Underdark, or at least they knew rather specific things when it came to asking Nym, and they wanted to know things like who sent him and why. Regarding him as some expected threat... prepared, rehearsed.

"Here we are, this should help!" your thrall returns with a satchel of bottles with glistening red liquid. Trying to get Nym to prepare for, and endure the resultant pain then, you try your best to force a couple of the bottle contents down his throat. As you know, the first is the worst, as the system goes into shock for suddenly having to rapidly undergo the healing process which is made all the worse by the body being in an injured state. By the time he's drunk the second though, if the first didn't kill him then the rest will go down better.

Of course this won't restore him fully, not after what the humans did to him, but chances are he won't die now at least.

"-don't just run off like that Mellin, when I'm talking to you! The prisoners don't just get a whole bag, no matter wha- aaaAAAHT?!"

It can't be moments after you get Nym to down the second bottle, does a trailing voice approach followed by another guard entering into the cell. By the look of her different uniform, you place her as the magic wielder on duty from upstairs, following after your thrall probably broke rules and seemed suspicious at your request.

Like getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar so to speak, you didn't anticipate company who could see through your illusions, but then you didn't have an illusion active anyway. The point being, she sees you clearly for what you are and panics. Stumbling backwards out of the cell and tripping over on the way, she immediately prepares a spell to sling at you, while your thrall stands there confused since to his perception there's nothing wrong going on.

>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic! {Make a roll.}
>Summon for your thrall collective! They won't fight her, but can at least help you subdue her.
>With her down here, that means the coast is clear to the castle above! Make your escape!
>[Write-in.]
>>
Rolled 26 (1d100)

>>4995567
>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic! {Make a roll.}
>>
Rolled 63 (1d100)

>>4995567
>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic! {Make a roll.}
But just in case
>Summon for your thrall collective! They won't fight her, but can at least help you subdue her.

We can't let her recover.
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>4995567
>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic! {Make a roll.}
>>
Rolled 38 (1d100)

>>4995624
I’ll +1 dat.
>>
Rolled 90 (1d100)

>>4995567
>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic! {Make a roll.}

pretty funny if we got another 1
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>4995567
>>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic!
>>
>>4995682
It'll be painful, you mean. Thank the Elder Brain for your roll though.
>>
>>4995567
Damm, I knew the spellcaster was going to come down here after our thrall brought the potions but I was lazy and didn't post about it. I'll be more forthcoming with write-ins and specifics.

>>4995682
Thank the elder brain it didn't end in disaster though.
>>
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Hey all, meant to post last night but these meds have my sleeping messed up, sorry about that

>>4995690
>>4995682
>>4995659
>>4995653
>>4995624
>>4995612
>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic!
>90

You're not sure you have much option besides facing this mage, at least not if you want to advance through this castle beyond simply the dungeon. You'd been planning on how to deal with her before, but now the confrontation is being forced. At least now there's no chance for indecision.

Help! Bring the others, this one... she's trying to kill me!

"Kill you? Don't act crazy!"

For starters you dodge a spell blast of blue energy sent your way by the mage, her aim only thrown off because she tripped over herself exiting the cell. A surge of corrosive water scorches the stone wall behind you as you seek the help of your thrall, but since he's only minorly dominated he won't accept your order to oppose his comrade. At least not to bring harm to her. He does however, get in the way of things.

"-get out of the way Merrin! I don't want to hurt you over this!"

"D-Damn it all Vera, you can't kill the prisoner! Don't make me get the others!"

First an attempt to talk her down, but then an effort to restrain her, to stop you from being harmed. Your thrall tries his best, but the magic wielder threatens to cast spells on him as well, which is more than he bargained for. Threatened and afraid, he rushes past her to try and find others to help deal with the situation, leaving you alone to face the mage.

Naturally your first action is to attempt to mindblast her, but she already had a spell prepared for each hand. First was a miss, second... aimed right for you which you probably could dodge again, but doing so would mean disaster for Nym since you're standing right in front of him now. In the split-second you have to decide, against all your will and character you tense in anticipation of the pain, and soak the magic blast rather than have your effort on saving the drow be wasted.

"-SHHKREEEE!"

A shriek of agony as your skin burns to the acidic wash over you, burning the rags you're wearing as well and corroding the floor where it drips and pours off you. It's more than a vocal wail as well, your anguished mind affecting both Nym and the mage, causing her to be minorly stunned. Between that and the disturbing sight of an illithid in pain, tentacles writhing about wildly, her fear overtakes her. Rather than continue to fight you, in a panic she scrambles for something to do... and settles with simply locking you within the cell!
>>
>>4996220
Oh whoops, formatting error, let me repost.
>>
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Hey all, meant to post last night but these meds have my sleeping messed up, sorry about that

>>4995690
>>4995682
>>4995659
>>4995653
>>4995624
>>4995612
>Deal with this yourself, mind against magic!
>90

You're not sure you have much option besides facing this mage, at least not if you want to advance through this castle beyond simply the dungeon. You'd been planning on how to deal with her before, but now the confrontation is being forced. At least now there's no chance for indecision.

Help! Bring the others, this one... she's trying to kill me!

"Kill you? Don't act crazy!"

For starters you dodge a spell blast of blue energy sent your way by the mage, her aim only thrown off because she tripped over herself exiting the cell. A surge of corrosive water scorches the stone wall behind you as you seek the help of your thrall, but since he's only minorly dominated he won't accept your order to oppose his comrade. At least not to bring harm to her. He does however, get in the way of things.

"-get out of the way Merrin! I don't want to hurt you over this!"

"D-Damn it all Vera, you can't kill the prisoner! Don't make me get the others!"

First an attempt to talk her down, but then an effort to restrain her, to stop you from being harmed. Your thrall tries his best, but the magic wielder threatens to cast spells on him as well, which is more than he bargained for. Threatened and afraid, he rushes past her to try and find others to help deal with the situation, leaving you alone to face the mage.

Naturally your first action is to attempt to mindblast her, but she already had a spell prepared for each hand. First was a miss, second... aimed right for you which you probably could dodge again, but doing so would mean disaster for Nym since you're standing right in front of him now. In the split-second you have to decide, against all your will and character you tense in anticipation of the pain, and soak the magic blast rather than have your effort on saving the drow be wasted.

"-SHHKREEEE!"

A shriek of agony as your skin burns to the acidic wash over you, burning the rags you're wearing as well and corroding the floor where it drips and pours off you. It's more than a vocal wail as well, your anguished mind affecting both Nym and the mage, causing her to be minorly stunned. Between that and the disturbing sight of an illithid in pain, tentacles writhing about wildly, her fear overtakes her. Rather than continue to fight you, in a panic she scrambles for something to do... and settles with simply locking you within the cell!
>>
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Scrambling for the door, she slams it shut but screams in terror when you simply barrel into it with your entire body before she can lock it. The force of the door being slammed open by your weight knocks her off her feet and even sends her flying a few feet. No distance too great for you to then pounce on her, grappling with the mage-guard on the stone floor. Since she is wearing a helmet you can't immediately grab at her with your tentacles, but strong in body as you are, eventually you can control the grapple and get a grip of her entire body.

"-no no! H-Help! Heeeelp! He- oof!"

Arms wrapped around her then, you move to stand up, lifting the mage with you and after hoisting her in the air you slam her down onto the ground with as much force as you care to muster. Winded from the impact, she writhes on the floor and certainly can't cast spells now, let alone stop you from removing her helmet. Kneeling down beside her, eyes glowering with hatred as your of your exposed body still simmers and burns.

"-n-n-n-n..."

Silence.

You relish at the terror she's feeling, as you grab her by the clothes and pull her up to you, tentacles coursing all over her face and head as you mentally knock her out. The anger and pain you're feeling drives your desire to kill her there and then, to break her skull and consume her brain, destroy her as a person... or the delight of keeping her alive only to torture her, mind and body for what she did to you. The echo of footfalls however interrupt you, as your collection of thralls return to help, too little too late.

"-oh, you have it under control Vera? Well..."

"But look what she did to the prisoner! Did you really need to use magic, girl? If the warden finds out... here, get those potions."

To maintain your control without a doubt, you hastily project an illusion of the mage being well and conscious, in control of the situation after having subdued you. The other guards have a one-sided conversation with an illusory comrade, while a couple of them see to your injuries.

"-hsssshhh..."

Bitter to the touch, you let the humans look you over, and greedily chug down a couple health potions when brought as well as dolloping another on your body and rubbing it over with your hand. In truth, now that you have the chance to look yourself over, the injuries are actually not that bad. Good thing you ate some brains recently and kept hydrated, because the natural slickness of your body, that thin film of mucus which coats your skin served as the best defense of all. Really just sheer luck that the mage happened to specialize in acid, because it congealed with your body's slickness rather than direct skin contact as a human or Nym would have suffered. That, and you took the magic blast to the body rather than your head, which matters most.
>>
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So, mostly just an overreaction on your part, and soon enough your injuries are fulled healed from the health potions. Easy for a mindflayer to overreact or be dramatic about it though, physical harm, when your kind is so unused to it. For someone who never stubbed their toe before, naturally it's going to be much worse than for someone who regularly stubs their toe! You wouldn't admit to feeling a little embarrassed about it, but what does that matter when you triumphed in the fight?

So then, with a chance to recover, you ought to be able to continue as normal. And now, with nothing left stopping you from free reign of the dungeon, apart from magic defenses at the exit. Now if you could just get some of these guards to stop leering at your body... getting your clothes and belongings back, is worth a splash of acid at least. These humans though, you swear.

>Exercise your total control of the dungeon, now that you have it! In advance of other humans coming to get you, you have freedom to do as you please here. {Specify.}
>With the coast clear, and the mage downed, you should be able to leave the dungeon and explore elsewhere. Either the rest of the sub-levels beneath the castle, or the castle itself above.
>Sort your thralls and better organize them, impose more control if you wish. There's also the mage to deal with, whether you want to enthrall her... and also the matter of Nym.
>[Write-in.]
>>
>>4996224
>Sort your thralls and better organize them, impose more control if you wish. There's also the mage to deal with, whether you want to enthrall her... and also the matter of Nym.
Seems we have a little cadre of thralls now.
>>
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>>4996224
Formulating a strategy and objectives would be optimal. Here's a sequential to do list and the plans for each of the steps, feel free to make suggestions.

>1: Get past the magic barrier
Enthralling the sorcerer and seeing what she knows about it and/or how to get past it seems like the best option.
>2: Recover our party's belongings
If one of our thralls knows where they are and it doesn't create another situation then have them bring it here, if not, do it on step 3.
>3: Secure the perimeter
Carefully explore the rest of the castle, taking note of its layout and making minor thralls of its staff when expedient.
>3.5: Get Nym some better accommodations
Self explanatory.
>4: Prepare an ambush for whoever is coming here to see us
Don't know enough to formulate the best plan for this, should probably do the previous steps first.
>>
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>>4996224
Formulating a strategy and objectives would be optimal. Here's a sequential to do list and the plans for each of the steps, feel free to make suggestions.

>1: Get past the magic barrier
Enthralling the sorcerer and seeing what she knows about it and/or how to get past it seems like the best option.
>2: Recover our party's belongings
If one of our thralls knows where they are and it doesn't create another situation then have them bring it here, if not, do it on step 3.
>3: Secure the perimeter
Carefully explore the rest of the castle, taking note of its layout and making minor thralls of its staff when expedient.
>3.5: Get Nym some better accommodations
Self explanatory.
>4: Prepare an ambush for whoever is coming here to see us
Don't know enough to formulate the best plan for this, should probably do the previous steps first.
>>
>>4996224
Now that I think about it, we never got a good idea of who the other prisoners are and, as was mentioned earlier, they're important enough to not get executed. Maybe we should go poke the guards and the prisoners heads a bit to see if they could be useful
>>4996261
Im not sure when that should be though. If we do it now and get nothing, it might endanger us since we don't know how much time we have.
How much time do our abilities take to use anyway?
>>
>>4996224
>>Sort your thralls and better organize them, impose more control if you wish. There's also the mage to deal with, whether you want to enthrall her... and also the matter of Nym.

Supporting >>4996261 as well.
>>
>>4996224
Supporting >>4996261
>>
>>4996224
>Sort your thralls and better organize them, impose more control if you wish. There's also the mage to deal with, whether you want to enthrall her... and also the matter of Nym.

Supporting >>4996261
I say we only ambush is needed (or with a decent chance of winning unnoticed.
>>
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>>4996224
To elaborate on what I mean by expedient, Im paranoid about people who are immune to illusions and people stumbling into us whilst we're enthralling someone else
Therefore, the guideline should be something like this:
>Project illusions to make them remove any inconvenient headwear, make them hear an interesting noise in a more isolated area and, finally, sneak up on them and enthrall them.
>If they are immune to illusions then hiding beside their patrol route whilst using mind vision and then popping out when they are right next to our hiding place should be done instead. If they aren't patrolling, use our thralls as bait to make them step in the trap.
Again, this is a guideline so the specifics should be decided when necessary.

>>4996507
My post isn't specific to the current prompt, more of a general plan for this castle situation. We can modify or abandon the ambush plan if something relevant comes up,
>>
>>4996224
>Exercise your total control of the dungeon, now that you have it! In advance of other humans coming to get you, you have freedom to do as you please here. {Specify.}

Find out what they know about the underdark
>>
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>>4996585
>>4996507
>>4996443
>>4996336
>>4996321
>>4996261
>>4996236
>Sort your thralls and better organize them, impose more control if you wish. There's also the mage to deal with, whether you want to enthrall her... and also the matter of Nym.

After recovering from your injuries, and dragging the mage back to your cell in order to make a thrall of her, you now believe to have free reign of the dungeon. There's still to be others to come, this much you know from reading the minds you already have, the fact that the humans take shifts in manning the dungeon. But for this current group, you've dominated every one of them.

"Could I see my belongings again? There's... something among them I need in order to breathe."

"Really? Then we'd better hurry!"

Soon enough you're able to get your things back, get dressed again at least, and stow things the way they should be. Nym's belongings as well, and when he's better healed you can have him moved to a better cell too. As for exiting the dungeon, with help of your new mage thrall, you learn that there's not really anything dangerous to keep you down here; merely an alarm system which alerts if any prisoners should leave. The mage herself can't disable them (since they were placed by wizards more powerful than her) and they are attuned to the dungeon and castle staff.

However with some thinking and memory scouring, you figure a clever way out, by simply having a guard escort you out same as how they brought you in. The issue isn't so much escape however, but rather time. The way these humans measure time seems in part based on that wretched sun of theirs up in the sky, and the cycle it follows. As the sun is on the descent, it may not be long before you are visited.
>>
So in order to better control what you already have, you decide not to go exploring the entire castle for now, and instead focus on the dungeon... although out of curiosity you have yourself escorted beyond the dungeon entrance to see what lies above. A larger passage which connects some other sub-levels, and then above that a storage cellar of the actual castle itself. So not far to go.

"So nothing of any other drow, or dwellers from beneath? And what about the... Underdark itself, what do you know?"

"Well we just mind the dungeon, so it's up to the city watch and the guards to find others."

"-but we've only gotten the two down below, the black elf and the squid-face."

"The shift before us handled the interrogation, with the warden, but there's been... rumors."

From the guard quarters you have assembled everyone under your control, and don't have much trouble managing them all, just setting up the illusion of a planning meeting. It serves to compile all the knowledge you can but also for you to better dominate your thralls, as you pace around the room while they converse, and periodically stop to tentacle-wrap someone's head and instill or "correct" obedience and their subtle domination. Eventually you have it to a level of sophistication where all these humans can continue to operate their lives while subservient to you, yet never aware of any of it. You don't even have to disguise yourself for them to see you as "normal" and accepted, which is a relief to your mind and focus.

As for the matter of the Underdark, it seems that true knowledge of the world beneath is being controlled, obscured for some reason. If anyone knows for sure it's the people in power, but they seem to have their reasons for not just proclaiming the information to the populace. The only reason the guards know is from rumors and secondhand info pertaining to Nym's interrogation, and even then these humans seem skeptical. Though they do accept you and Nym are strange beings they've never encountered before, and may even be from underground, nobody wants to get in trouble by openly discussing it so things are mostly kept on the quiet.
>>
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