So, the drow we rescued turned out to be from the Shadowfell and wanted to get back home. We originally were just going to follow him to the region where he said he’s seen things like in the scholar’s dreams, but… well, things went off the tracks.
I suppose it was no one’s fault really. We came across a tomb down there, looked to be a very old dwarven tomb too. Not Duergar though, I mean proper dwarven. Problem is someone had draped a bunch of standards and other kinds of flags all over the place. Those flags were all old by now too and what would you know but they were all marked with the Crusaders’ own sigil. Turns out those fools really did march into the Deep after they finished with the North Lands. Why? Well… I can’t rightly say. Regardless, it looks like they buried some of their own in the dwarf tombs, though I’ll give them credit- it didn’t look like they meant any disrespect with it, just was the best option down there. While this wasn’t exactly what the scholar had dreamed about, he was excited as this indicated that we were on the right path at least. We decided to look around the tomb and see if it could help us find the location of whatever it was we were down there for.
First off, we found the relatively fresh remains of another scholar-turned-explorer down there. It seems he was a human that was trying to find proof of where the Crusaders had gone so long ago. He found them, but seems like he had no way to get back to the surface after that and just died down there. While he was a fool to go down there alone in the first place, I will admit it is quite something that he found anything in the Deep, needless to say proof about the very thing he was looking for. Talk about needles and haystacks, right? He left us some notes though that indicated that he explored the tombs before he died and that there was a chamber locked with a very strange mechanism. He never found what was on the other side. I’ll get to that point in a moment though.
The second thing we found down there though is that some filthy little runts were looting the place, or at least trying. They seemed like they were scavenging and grave-robbing, and while I would have liked nothing more to have cut them down, the scholar actually stepped up and started talking to them. Turns out they were obeying some master who had taken up residence in the mechanism room, probably trying to get into the locked room. That did get under my skin, as anything vile enough to work with such creatures shouldn’t be desecrating one of our tombs, no sir. We marched right down to give it what for and… well…
It was a beholder.
Don’t believe me, do you? I mean, I had thought from time to time that the stories about those things must be made up, or greatly exaggerated. How could such a monster be, or at be so powerful as some would say? Well, for the first part, I don’t know how such a thing ever came to be. A mad wizard? A bored god? Who knows, but I cut off one of its stalks and have it right here, so you can see that that part is true at least… my, that is smelling quite rank… pay no mind to the bite marks on the end, I wanted to see what such a beast would taste like. As for the second part, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Those things are as powerful as the stories say, if not more so.
When we opened the doors and found that thing waiting for us, I admit that my blood ran cold. I figured that some of us, if not all of us, wouldn’t get out of this alive and, well, I was partly right there. However, if they were going to have a chance, I knew I’d do more good in that things face than any of them. I ran in, screaming and swinging and making myself as much of a nuisance as I could. We fought, it raged, bolts of energy shooting out of its eyes and working its foul magic on as many of us as it could. Several of those hit me, blasting me with black, biting mist or locking up my very limbs so I couldn’t even move as it bit and swiped at me. Eventually it died though, a rapier through the main eye is as messy and final as it sounds, but it indeed was at a cost. The scholar had been turned into stone itself and our drow guide had a smoking hole in his chest. The rich woman was able to do something to the drow that brought him back, but as for the scholar… well, the drow said that there might be something or someone in his town that could help us restore him.
While the others worked on figuring out the locking mechanism for the inner tomb, I rigged a harness that I could use to carry our scholar-turned-statue on my back. Eventually, they got it open by feeding some gems into the mechanism. Inside were just a few tombs, but judging by the decorations, they had been important. One had this next to his grave and rather than let it eventually fall into the hands of something like that beholder, I brought it along. It just felt right, you know? Like it belongs in my hands. Makes me want to swing it a couple of times, just to feel the weight of it. Really, the maul’s a thing of beauty that I haven’t seen made by our race in a long time.
But enough about that. We finally agreed to follow the drow into the Shadowfell in hopes that they could reverse the stony nature of our friend. Perhaps it wasn’t needed, as that night a small construct waddled into camp and told us it was the scholar, re-embodied so that he could carry out his goddess’ wishes. At least, re-embodied until we could fix his normal body. The implications of what had just happened still nag at me, again the thought of being a puppet of some cosmic being, yadda yadda yadda, but I must say that the little thing was well built. Clever workmanship, you know? We still went into the Shadowfell and met with the drow’s village. One of them whipped up a concoction that might eventually free the scholar’s normal body, but while we waited in that town for a while, I got my hand on some of this. Try it, tastes like night and the dark parts of a cave, but not the bad dark parts. More like the peaceful dark parts. Fills your body with an almost sleepy glow, right? Might even be worth going back to the Shadowfell someday if just to get another flagon of the stuff.