There was another basin in the moss and fungi filled room, Marie believed the indentation at the bottom of it would fit some type of animal brain.
They moved onto the next room, which was guarded by azer – dwarf like creatures with flaming hair and bronze metallic bodies. Most were warrior types, but a couple were spellcasting priests. It mattered not, the party scattered them and beat them down. Soon there was nothing left but cooling bronze azer bodies, flameless and lifeless. They had been guarding some kind of trapped chest which required some kind of memory game to open. Marie found it easy to work out, and soon had the lid popped open, released a blast of cold air. The magically chilled container contained several brains as well as some potions of greater healing.
The room, like all the others, contained a basin with an indentation in the bottom – this one was to be filled with a giant, bloated brain.
They checked their map, and then the door, which – as they expected – led back to the entrance room where Thistlelock waited patiently. Cundall spoke with the awakened tree and it told the druid that both the drow and the dwarf had passed it by warily.
There was nothing left for it but to try placing different brains into the basins. It took a couple of goes but as Marie expected, they were the key to opening the entry to the inner sanctum.
The Interior of this chamber had been festooned with many graven images of skulls and brains – some small, some large. There was only the faintest of light here, thanks to the shimmering, alien pulse of the concentrated faerzress in these halls and rooms. Three tall decorative jars stood in the centre of the room around a large pile of cushions, with a fourth one tiled and leaning on the soft surface. A steady stream of vicious and haunting whispers infiltrated the air, taking equal residence in the party’s ears as well as their minds. Rogue Thought was here, hiding in the shadows at first, an illithid with six tentacles instead of the usual four, dry skin, eyes sunken and shrivelled, and moved with an unsettling, preternatural grace. Marie thought it might have been an undead illithid at first, she had heard of such things, but it bled and howled when hit, so it was alive. Rogue Thought had allies, githyanki and an intellect devourer and they fought to save their master. The battle was fierce, the illithid used its many powers, including trapping Cundall in a force cage and stunning Minimus temporarily with its mind blast. But as its allies dropped one by one, it came under increasing attacks itself. Rogue Thought, at the end and too late, tried to flee by becoming invisible, but a simple faerie fire spell from Cundall pinpointed the aberration and arrows from Zelda finished it off.
There were not a lot of valuables in the lair. Rogue Thought had spent a lot of time creating the lair, but still had not been there a long time. The party cut off Rogue Thought’s head and took it with them. Cundall collected Thistlelock on the way out. It told them of the dwarf who had hung around for a while with its ear to the door while the combat with Rogue Thought was going on, and then departed quickly after the illithid was killed.
“Theara Gravelthumb,” said Zelda. “Curious.”
“Let’s keep our eyes out for her on the way back,” said Minimus. “She makes my danger sense tingle.”
However they did not encounter her or anything significant on the way back to Sporedome. Huum was pleased with the news and evidence of Rogue Thought’s death.
“This will go a long way to convincing the Elder Brain that we should be taking sides in the war against Graz’zt,” the mind flayer said. “You have our good will.”
“I’d rather have 1000 gold pieces,” grumbled Minimus, in halfling language.
“Back to the surface,” said Cundall. “I’ve had enough of this cold, dark place. There’s nothing green here. Unless it’s rotting fungus.”