This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Wyll's Gate

I was sad and world-weary. Once, I thought that serving in a monastery was the pinnacle of everything I wanted and needed. I had needed healing and comfort so desperately. For a while, I found it. Until it was ripped away, and the veil over my eyes with it. Gods. I still longed for those days sometimes. The innocence and naivete of losing myself in the divine.

But I couldn’t go back. I wouldn’t have gone back if offered the chance. Some periods in your life, you just can’t return to. So I’d been living as an itinerant monk; walking from village to village, offering healing services in return for meals. Talking to people. Showing them the sort of love and care I wished I’d received as a child. Screw the gods, with their powers and ineffable knowledge of the universe. I’d take mortal connections anyday.

Now I found myself an accomplished fighter with some expertise in alchemy and healing. I could beat them down and heal them right back up again. Which felt like a statement about the futile and circular nature of life itself. But this life had its limits. Was I helping people? Yes. But I was spending more time travelling and getting to know new people than actually helping. Over the years, I’d developed a gnawing restlessness that no amount of moving on could assuage.

What if I could actually stay in one place? Let people come to me? Put down roots, build connections, make friends? What if I could actually make a proper difference, somewhere, instead of slapping bandages on a few wounds and calling it a day?

So, I came up with a plan. Make my way back west to the city I grew up in. Set up a little healing booth in the poor side of town. Maybe liaise with any temples nearby, if I could stomach the clerics. Find a way to help the people I’d grown up amongst with the things they needed most – care for their bodies, minds, and hearts. Screw the divine.

Of course, that all assumed that the divine world was done with me. And boy, was I wrong.

The divine came for me in the form of a nautiloid. I don’t remember much of the capture. I was walking towards the forest, skirting what used to be Elturel. I saw a meteoroid stream across the sky, whistling. Then something hit me in the back, and my next fuzzy memory was of a mindflayer, up close. In retrospect, it seems fairly clear it was checking my pod, making sure I was properly restrained, before it lifted something to my face and… slurp… in it went, through my eye socket, behind my eye, into my brain. I must have screamed. Surely. 

It moved around for a while, which I felt like a migraine moving slowly and randomly through my head, then settled in. And suddenly everything was crystal clear again. I could see and hear what was going on around me – well, in the case of vision, above me. It sounded as though someone else was getting the same slurpy eye-brain treatment, and judging from the sounds, I probably had screamed. A lot. 

This person sounded like a man. He wasn’t having a good time. I pulled at my restraints, and my right arm moved a little. Left… nothing. This might take a while. And I had no idea how much time I had. How much time any of us might have. Presumably the mindflayers would want to keep us alive if they’d gone to the trouble of inserting something – spawn? – into our heads. Right? I thought back, muzzily, to what I’d learnt about mindflayers. Not much. They ate brains, hence the name. They reproduced by inserting their spawn into other sentient species. Who then transformed into mindflayers just days later.


The good news was that I probably wouldn’t be killed by mindflayers in the next few hours.

The bad news was that I was most likely hatching a mindflayer baby in my brain, and would sprout tentacles before the tenday was out.

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