Tales from the Road Less Traveled

Sarjakk the Apostate

The illithid, known in these parts of the high Underdark as Sarjakk the Apostate, had a decent lair. The floors of the caverns that made his lair were approximately 95 feet below the exposed surface floors of ruins of Tel Amn Coran. This wasn’t the illithid’s actual intention when it took control of the region where it built it’s small stone abode but upon further exploration it discovered that a natural shifting of the stone and soil had allowed for the lower area of the ruins to be accessed via a conduit created by the flow of underground water. Sarjakk, then, came to value it’s lair as it allowed for access, albeit guarded, to the strange sunlit world above whence it could, via its thralls, effect raids for slaves and sentient food items. Furthermore, the former inhabitants of the ruins, still lived in the area as they through unfortunate magics now existed as twisted beings who valued existence only to collect and trade mystical items. Fortunately, for Sarjakk, these twisted beings valued exchanging what was left of their knowledge or other enchanted items acquired by them through, obviously, foul means for enchanted items that Sarjakk would eventually steal back from them. Therefore, Sarjakk’s current arrangements were quite accommodating indeed….until now.

Ever since Sarjakk fled where he originated from, a place deep under the annoying Stout One’s realm of Morridan, he was subjected to danger and capture. Sarjakk chose to disavow the religion of his kind and fall back (as they would say) into the adoration, no, rather the veneration of their traditional deity called Ilsensine. Illithids, or rather Mind Flayers, as they are more commonly referred to by most of the races which inhabit the sunlit realms of above, didn’t actually worship that which lairs in the Caverns of Thought far below the Concordant Domain of the Outlands, rather, they venerated the godlike being for its vast and all perceiving intellect. Yet, nearly the same time as the surface dwelling elves suffered their world empire ending catastrophe, so too did the members of the unified illithid race which lived far underneath most of the regions of Aerth. This catastrophe of the illithids allowed for the veneration of a far more insidious nature for Ilsensine was one, and the focus of the illithid’s new reverence were (and still are) legion. It has been just over 1,300 surface years since the majority of the illithid race on Aerth had changed their veneration from Ilsensine to that of the Great Old Ones. The Great Old Ones, perhaps, were the original pantheon worshipped, or at least venerated by the illithids, however, the particulars of if and when they were have been lost into time and the vast depths of the Underdark for millennia. Sarjakk, for whatever was it’s own reasonings long ago, decided that veneration of the Great Old Ones clashed with it’s inner demeanor and it began to research the lost venerations of Ilsensine to the great dismay of it’s peers. Ultimately, Sarjakk feared for its existence and fled beyond the limits of its realm. Sixty surface years, in time reckoning, had passed since Sarjakk had found sanctuary below the ruins of Tel Amn Coran. Sixty surface years of relative peace, safety and freedom to raid for slaves and sentient beings for consumption had elapsed and had now had come crashing into violence and danger. It was not that Sarjakk’s lair was exempt from intrusion, in fact, Sarjakk found the occasional foray by the dwellers of the sunlit realms to be a type of boon, for always those incursions were ill equipped, ill led and allowed for Sarjakk and his thralls to capture slaves and food without that much effort. But recently, a large band of intruders changed the decades-old routine. For Sarjakk, his home had been invaded and invaded in force. His thralls were being cut down, and despite the fact that his thralls and creatures had indeed ripped one of the intruders apart, it looked now that Sarjakk, himself, had to make a decision. Should he flee or should he exit his defensive structure and make one concerted effort to do what his thralls could not…and that would be to vanquish these intruders with great prejudice.

These impudent cattle! How dare they burst in on me! They have no idea the pain I shall visit upon them as I dine upon their sentience after they are defeated!

Who is this lizard that directs this band? I shall feast upon him last! And this little one! His mind reeks of adoration for the Great Old Ones. His mind is keen, but I shall keep him as a thrall so he can help replace that which they have destroyed! O, fool of small stature, surely you don’t comprehend the vileness of those which you adore? You shall live, you fool, but you shall learn to adore me instead of those who seek all. For I shall soon be your god!

….thin fingers belonging to a gaunt hand greenish-brown in coloration reached out and sought the locking mechanism to the door which led out into the caverns whence the intruders bettered, or at least equalled, the illithid’s thralls in combat.

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