So, yeah. We spent some time in the Shadowfell with the village of drow, but at least they were good drow… well, as good as drow can be. But the scholar’s stone body and strange construct form kept reminding us of both the dangers as well as why we were down here. We left, taking some of the healing salve with us and applying it to our stony friend as best we could as we went. It must have worked, as a few days into our trip, he revived and could move again, though he seemed stiff and still looked more than a little gray around the edges. As for the construct, it vanished. His goddess probably took it back to where she had kept it, but just between you and me, I’d have liked to have taken it apart, see what made it move like that. How the gears meshed, you know?
Anyways, after some time traveling back into the Deep, we eventually came across another group of Duergar. Not many of them, so we decided to rush in and finish them off before they could hurt anyone else. Problem was there was something odd about this group, we just didn’t see it until one of their heads split open and their brain climbed right out. Yeah, you heard me right. Their brain climbed out on four little legs and then hissed at us. Just thinking about it still gives me the willies, but that wasn’t the worst of it. A mind-flayer showed up, screaming in our heads and directing his brain thralls to attack us. We eventually killed it and its followers, but not before one of those brains did something to me. Leeched something out of my head and I was left, well, empty. I couldn’t think and speech was nearly impossible for me. Luckily, the mind-flayer had some magic scroll on hand that they used to restore my mind, but until they did, I was little better, or smarter, than this table here. Looking back, the experience was horrifying, but at the time I didn’t even have the brains to be afraid or to really understand what had been done to me. I’m just glad that I’m not stuck like that, you know?
We were able to find some markings that the mind-flayer had left on the cavern walls talking about a ruined city, which sounded like what we were looking for. However, as we followed the trail, we came across more of the illithids until we found ourselves at the ruins which they had turned into their nest. Now, you and I can both agree that mind-flayers need killing, no ifs ands or buts, but standing there looking over the ruins and knowing that this was their hive… well, I wished for a couple of regiments of the Deep Guard to back us up, believe me. I love a good fight, but I like the kinds of fights that I think I can win. And after so recently nearly losing my mind to these things, I was feeling more than a little concerned that they were going to do it again.
But, like I said, they need killing and from our vantage point we could see the glow that the scholar had seen in his dreams. Just past their nest was some kind of magical barrier and within it was the Crusader encampment we had come here for. We couldn’t just leave, not with the end in sight, so in we charged… or slunk, rather. We managed to kill a patrol and free some of their thralls, who told us where the other thralls were kept when their minds weren’t being used as puppets by the beasts. With that bit of information in hand, we decided to free those slaves and, while the flayers scrambled in panic, slip in and kill their elder brain. After we did that, we would have more time to deal with that barrier without worrying about being enslaved, body and mind, to the monsters.