After dispatching the grimlocks, Ziggy continues to feel the urge to see what’s at the end of the southernmost passageway. It’s like the words in that book opened a wound in his brain, but he can’t see it, can’t even begin to repair it, until he sees what’s down here.
In his head, he hears strange thoughts in his head. “We are Erethu Tsathoggua. We are the hope for peace, for an end to conflict and strife. We are the beginning and the end, the Illithid.”
Unbeknownst to Ziggy, the others hear this, too, but they have no idea what Erethu is, or what Illithid means. But Ziggy has an idea. In his mind’s eye, he sees this Erethu, a tall figure clad in tight black wrappings, its purplish skin covered in a thin sheen of slime. Tentacles fall from its massive octopus-shaped head, flexing, hungry.
Sure enough, at the end of the tunnel is a big cavern sloping down into an underground lake. Four figures stand at the edge of the water, blood dripping from their noses. They don’t move or respond to sound, but they’re burning up. As Gareth approaches, discovering one is Fallon, Ildor’s brother, the water beyond roils and a massive sphere of flesh rises out from the glowing depths.
The aberrant thing attacks the group, using its strange powers to assault their perceptions of reality, but they are able to take it down. Eddard ties a rope around himself and swims down to inspect the glow, with the help of his Necklace of Adaptation. He discovers the source of the glow: a shard of metal, not unlike the kind used to make the rods of portal disruption. Thousands of others shards surround it at the bottom of the underground lake. It fades even as he swims back to tell the group.
Gathering up two boxes of far snails and pulling along the four men, the group returns to Sigil and Ildor. She heads out to find a healer, Eddard stays behind to watch over Fallon and the mercenaries, Gareth goes off to find Lynch and Finn’s group at the House of Song, and Ziggy fetches three of the rods of portal disruption. The dwarf also stops by the Planar Trade Consortium to give Estavan a status update.
Then they head back through the portal with the Irishmen…