A Quick Change of Plan

The hooded figure of a woman hurried in from the cold, shuddering as she did so. The stone walls of the castle were hardly warmer than the snow outside, but at least the wind was held at bay. She motioned for the two smaller hooded figures with her to set down the large bundle that they had managed to drag in off of the donkey outside. It made a wet plopping sound as it landed on the ground. The other hooded figures in the room murmured and gathered around to see what had been brought to them.

“Change of plans.” said the hooded woman quietly. “The Archduke decided that our guest was too much of a risk to his beloved wife.” She knelt down next to the bundle on the floor and with the quick flourish of a gilded dagger she cut free the ropes holding it together. Standing back up she motioned for the two smaller hooded figures to unroll it. They did with obvious delight, and there inside the tarpaulin was a naked illithid missing one of its face tentacles. A gasp escaped the group of eager observers.

One of those in attendance clattered forward, and even in its hood it was clear that this was a drider. The creature emitted an excited hissing squeal of delight. “How fortunate that you came to have it! How did you arrange this?”

The woman shrugged and cackled softly. “The archduke gave it to me himself. Refused payment for the corpse even. Said I might find the body useful what with the organs and all being vital to potions and rare elixirs.” The rest of the group began to laugh as well. The woman continued speaking softly and said “Of course the true value of these things is in the body of a living mind flayer.”

The drider lowered its bloated spider body down so it could run its dark elven hands over the corpse of the illithid. “We couldn’t have done better unless we ourselves had pulled this wretched demon from the wreckage of the spelljammer ourselves!” There was obvious joy in the drider’s voice and the motions of his hand belied the spellcraft he was engaged in. This was dark priestly magic and it was the drider’s intention to bring the mind flayer back to life.

Another of the gathered group exclaimed quietly, “This is beyond perfect! You were right to let the Archduke decide this creature’s fate! Had we taken it ourselves they would have just come after it, and possibly ruined everything we have worked for. But they killed it themselves and gave you the remains! They’ll never think of looking for it anyplace!” All of the hooded individuals laughed with genuine delight.

The drider continued its incantations while another hooded form stepped forward to assist. Her soft feminine voice was admiringly awestruck by this remarkable turn of events. “Incredible. We couldn’t have planned for this to have gone any better.”

The woman that had brought the parcel stepped back and let the drider and his assistant restore the life essence to this disgusting nightmare of a creature. “Aye. And soon we will have access to the thoughts of others as easily as a scribe reads a scroll.”

The group murmured in agreement. This had proven to be a most delicious change of plan.