You are ambushed a second time as you make your way through the vast honey-combed network of tunnels. This time the Trog’s are joined by an Umber Hulk. The Hulk’s confusing gaze and powerful claws threaten to turn the tide in the Trog’s favor but again your brutal tenacity brings you victory.
Passing deeper into the tunnels you come across a narrow natural stone bridge that crosses a subterranean river. As you pass over the bridge you see a fine layer of slime. It appears that some vast slime covered bulk pulled itself out of the river, across the stone, and then back into the river.
You come to a natural balcony of stone overlooking the underground lake. Fifty odd feet below you is the gravelly shoreline. Thirty feet of shore leads to an ancient dock and moored to this dock is the Illithid Nautiloid you seek.
Your attention is torn from the ship by a battle taking place further up the shoreline to your right. The dim light of the cavern makes details hard to discern, but it appears that a group of Illithids and their thralls are fending off a group of monstrous humanoids lead by a partially submerged tentacled creature.
As a group you decide to allow the combatants to weaken each other while you get a breather. After things quiet down you sneak to the cliff opening and pear down to the contested area. It looks as though the Illithids have managed to kill the Hook Horrors, Umber Hulk’s, and drive off the tentacled behemoth and any other survivors.
While the Illithid are distracted from the after effects of the battle you sneak down the slope, across the shoreline and onto the ship. You spend several minutes making a cursory inspection of the vessel and discover tomes, scrolls, notes, and various apparatus.
Churchill scans over the documents and apparatus and concludes that the ship is not currently functional. It appears that it requires a device known as an Elder Brain for even nominal operation. He also determines that the ship is capable of planar travel and that it carries some incredible weaponry. Unfortunately he also determines for these functions to operate you would require an Illithid crew.
You determine that the best course of action is to lay in ambush for when the Illithid return. Several hours pass before someone approaches the vessel. The heavy clomping of a Minotaur thrall precedes its powerful form entering the bridge. Its dull empty gaze seems to take no notice of its surroundings as it seeks out a tome, shuffles through some scrolls and then retreats from the ship.
Shortly after that, a female Elf thrall slips up the ramp and enters the ship. From her mouth comes the eerie dialogue of an Illithid. “Come join us. We would speak to you.”
Suspicious you choose not to leave the ship and walk into an obvious trap. The Elf speaks again. “Communicating through this medium is sufficient, will you speak with us?”
Your suspicions temporarily assuaged you agree to talk with the Illithids medium. The Illithid explains that they are at an impasse. They do not have the strength to fend off their Aboleth foe and also gather the Elder Brain they require to get the vessel functioning enough to escape the subterranean lake.
The Illithids point out that they are a long lived race and that their personal goals are equally long ranged. They feel that reclaiming this vessel is their top priority. They also mention a mutual threat in the upcoming end times of the Multiverse. This last statement, though ominous has not meaning to you. With this logic presented to you they are willing to allow you the use of their ship and its crew for the duration of one decade. All they ask in return is that you procure for them an Elder Brain.
You tell them that you are interested in the deal and inquire as to what an Elder Brain is, and where can one be found. They inform you that the island is home to an adult Red Dragon. The brain of this super-intelligent creature would serve well. After you agree to the terms of the agreement the Illithid arrange for you to have the rituals and components necessary to take the creatures brain and prepare it for use as the ships Elder Brain.
Anxious to get started you head out immediately. After several hours in the tunnels, following the Illithids directions you come upon a strange echoing chanting. As you approach a curve in the tunnel nearing the sound you also note a dull red glow and immense heat. Glancing around the tunnel wall you make out large domed chamber. The chamber is filled with odd geometrically shaped stone platforms raised fifteen feet above a floor of crusted over lava.
Twenty or so villagers, gaunt and haggard, kneel on the central platform. They chant the phrase “Thazzoon” over and over again while staring up at a dark circular hole at the chambers apex. You begin jumping from platform to platform making your way to one of the two other tunnels that exit the chamber.
Barrakus is the first to make it to the far tunnel. When he lands he discovers a trap of spectral tentacles that wound and daze him. He also finds a small hoard of gold and magic. At that same moment the villagers frantic chanting changes into a frightened gasp.
Descending from the hole is not the Dragon you had imagined, but a Beholder; its baleful central eye focused upon you. Its gaping maw splits into an insane parody of a smile as it begins spouting a long list of titles.
“Bear witness to the end times! Look upon Thazzoon, Harbinger of the Devouring Darkness, Herald of the many tongued wyrm, Precursor to the Tendrilled Madness, Omen of the Star Eater, and Proclaimer of Lifesbane!” The Beholder then stares down at you expectantly.
When you do not instantly drop to your knees and begin chanting Thazzoon becomes aggressive. With each move you make the creature unleashes a variety of deadly eye attacks. Marvelous is forced to flee the chamber is fear. Balthazor is dominated into leaping into the lava. Churchill and Barrakas each take terrible wounds and fight off various conditions.
At this point the battle seems terribly one sided. How will you rally and defeat this mad foe?