Duergar Stronghold & Yug-Voreal

After traversing through the Purple Worm Dungeon, they escape into a Beholder's Lair.  Ogres and Hobgoblins remain here under the Beholder's enchantment that cannot be broken and will attack to defend the lair at all cost.  Once they leave through the lair's main entrance, opposite of the Purple Worm's maw, the duo encounters a Mind Flayer, Klyroktar (KLEYE-ROCK-TAR) who was exiled by his city and family because he showed signs of weakness (it gained arcane powers).  It found a dueragar stronghold that a mysterious leader, mind-dominated the Mind Flayer city, stolen the Elder Brain, and wants the duo to gain the Elder Brain and destroy the leader.  (Zaburk's father was held imprisoned within Yug-Voreal, the Illthid's city, but is now inside the stronghold.  The duo find out while they are in the hold of an Orc who is being toyed with by the Dueragar.  They will have the option to pursue this or leave his father to his fate.)

"Seven years since I discovered my curse.  My form was struck by the brand of Arcane, and these foul arts proved difficult to conceal.  My brethren could sense my impurity, my deviation, and cast me out!  I was severed from the Elder Brain, and chased on threat of death should I return.  I wandered these tunnels in squaller, feeding on what poultry filth I could snare, and fleeing from those I could not face alone.

"In my wandering, I discovered a Dueragar stronghold with a magma pool, and it proved to be a decent sustenance for some time, picking off the occasional straggler.

"Suddenly, a great battle took place, and it appeared that something had sieged the stronghold.  Reading the surface thoughts of the Deep Dwarves I encountered in the following weeks, I found a shift in power.  Whatever had taken control over this hold demanded fealty over them, and they accepted when faced with annihilation.  This entity that took the Dueragar by force, they call Kaval.  I caught no sight of it.  But the fear I could sense within these dwarves were so primal, so great, that I knew to keep a distance to be safe.

But four months ago, one of my people were captured by these ashskinned and brought within the obsidian walls for what I assumed was interrogation.

"Long after, the bulk of the Dueragar people, marched back through the dark tunnels that led back to my people's colony and attacked.  Strangely, before much bloodshed could occur, which I only assume was the next step in this onslaught, the fighting stopped.  And the colony allowed the ashskins to walk directly into the temple, unharmed, unchallenged, where our Elder Brain resides.

"It wasn't until after I discovered whomever this, Kaval, is, they themselves infiltrated the temple and somehow took the Elder Brain under their control.  I watched as my people had their Will robbed of them!  And they took the Will of all the others that lived and breathed in these tunnels.

"Now, a terrible army has forged of both factions, and they walk another banner of this, Kaval (beholder).  Since this, I've fled back into the higher tunnels, and scrounged for materials so I could shield myself from the iron grip influence from the now enslaved Elder Brain.  It took me weeks, but I'm confident I am safe from its influence for now."

"As it pulls its hood back, there are patches of metal that have a soft bluish glow that have formed a banding that rests on the Mind Flayer's head.  "This I feel can protect me, but I think there are ways to change the tides of this circumstance.  I feel that if I can somehow free my people from the influence of Kaval, release its hold on its hive mind, my people will allow me to rejoin the colony, to be one again with my family, my brethren."

-——————

If the players wish to help:

"For this deed, for freeing my people from this insidious presence that is Kavarn, then I believe this can be arranged for your passage beyond the walls of Valashra."

If the players ask about the hive mind:

"The hive mind gives us direction, knowledge, history, and connects our family, though we think individually.  My people put their faith in the mind.  Manipulating, knowing, controlling, and devouring."

If the players wish for a head band like Klyroktar:

"It would take weeks to build another.  This protects me of my pre-existing connection to the hive mind."

If the players ask how to hide from Illithids or how they see:

"Sight is the mind sight.  The Elder Brain is the collection of the once living Mind Flayers of my people.  If they cannot see you and not know you are there, they cannot see into your mind.  But if they know you are present, they can pry."

If the players wonder if Illithids have ill intentions to the surface dwellers:

"Our ambition is to pursue the continuation of our knowledge-seeking.  We have no interest in the surface.  We only wish to spread our dominion below, expand our great city of Yug-Voreal.  It is beautiful."

If the players ask why Klyroktar wishes to rejoin after being exiled:

"I have no where to go.  They are my essence, my connection.  I long to return.  It is the way of my people, I understand this curse I hold, I spite myself.  I look upon this disease and spit, but perhaps with this deed they could overlook it."

If the players ask about a way in the stronghold:

"The stronghold lies far below and the magma leads the way, but I know not how to enter it.  However, from what I have seen, their general resides in a camp nearby.  Perhaps he can be pried of information.  Bring him to me.  The army is currently split between the encampment and the stronghold."

Duergar Stronghold & Yug-Voreal

Dungeons & Dragons Zatra