Previously in The Tales Krimm:
Krimm, a daring kobold on a quest to see the sun, was attacked and left for dead by a party of adventurers. What fate awaits our erstwhile canine humanoid? Read on…
“I stepped into the Overland for the first time. Above me, that bright disc called the ‘sun’ was blinding, yet glorious. I could feel warmth and heat from it on my skin, different from the damp, humid heat of cavernous steam and lava. My eyes slowly adjusted to the light of the sun. Colors popped out at me everywhere in dizzying vividness. It made me squint, but I vowed to get used to it. In front of me was a vast field of green, dotted here and there with open streams, colorful plants, and the blue air above. On the distant horizon, a white-capped ‘mountain’ jutted proudly into the air. Behind me was the one I had just emerged from, smaller in stature, but every bit as imposing. Puffs of gentle grey smoke wafted from redbrick chimneys with yellow-thatch roofs in the valley below. Why did our ancestors leave this behind? Why did they delve so deep into the Underdark? I couldn’t fathom it.”
Krimm let the words of his grandfather’s journal sink in. The “sun.” To feel its warmth, to experience something besides the torchlit darkness of the Underdark, to wander where he chose rather than where he was told—it was a dream he must make reality.
Suddenly, Krimm was violently clobbered in the back of the head…
The deep ache throbbing in his skull roused him from dreams of the past to an unwelcome consciousness. Droplets of ice-cold moisture oiled the space between his face and the cold, stone floor. Krimm pushed himself up slowly into a seated position. He attempted to give his eyes a good rub with the balls of his wrists, but there was an eye patch over his right eye.
An eye patch? He remembered… he remembered… the scent. The smell of the Overland had come to him for the first time. And then… the Overland creatures… he couldn’t move fast enough. The arrow was coming right at him. So how did he get here? Where is here?
Krimm gingerly started removing the eye patch. To his great relief there was still an eye behind it. Unfortunately, his vision through it was extremely blurry. He put the eye patch back and returned his hands to his lap. That’s when he noticed a mark on the back of his left hand.
That wasn’t there before. Krimm looked at it more closely. It was a triangle with three interlocking circles inside. As he concentrated on it, the mark suddenly glowed a bright golden color and sent Krimm’s brain reeling. A voice echoed in his already pounding skull.
“I have saved you from certain death. Your eye, also, will be restored in time. You are safe for the moment, but not out of the water yet. This mark will protect you from the control of your prison-keepers. Still, you must be alert. I am watching. Keep faith.”
Krimm slowly regained control of his wavering consciousness. The silent darkness of his cell was penetrated by a slurping sound. It came from ahead of him, something slimy constricting another object. Krimm’s one good eye brought the scene into focus. In the cell on the other side of the hallway a tall, slender figure decked in robes held a deep gnome in its grasp, suspending it in midair. From the robed figure’s head emerged a series of squirming tentacles wrapped around and into the deep gnome’s head. Krimm shrunk into the corner of his cell and looked away as the illithid used its octopus-like head to feast on the gnome’s brain.
With fluid agility the illithid tossed the gnome’s corpse aside and swiveled toward Krimm’s cell. An ominous, slow hiss of air escaped from the illithid’s breathing hole as he narrowed his eyes and gazed directly at Krimm.
No, Krimm was most certainly not out of the water yet.
Zamza shivered and tightened the cloak around her body. She looked away in disgust from the seared corpse of a troglodyte.
“Are you alright, Z?” asked Rikard.
“Yeah… I’m just… a little scared.”
Durmfen snorted. Elorien said nothing. They both continued picking over the bodies for anything useful.
Rikard looked right in her bright, orange, glowing eyes. “Z, your magic was crucial to our victory. You showed much courage. Proud of you, sis.”
Zamza blushed a little. Durmfen snorted again.
Elorien spoke up, “They have nothing of significance. Come, we must go deeper if we are to confront Llolth’s minions.”