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cayden cailean in balder's gate 3
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Cayden Cailean is clearing out a dungeon by himself. 

Is this "a good idea"? Is this "smart"? Is this "a thing Cayden Cailean would have been doing if he hadn't sold his wisdom headband six months ago because the Church of Sarenrae needed a new orphanage"? No, no, and no. But it didn't seem that hard, he's tired of having to pretend to be less good at fighting than he is so people don't get weird about it, and he has a Wand of Cure Light Wounds.

Also, he was really bored. 

It all works out okay until he disarms a trap, turns a corner, sees a dark moving swirl of color, blacks out, and is somewhere else. 

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He wakes up in an open fronted glass coffin, with his limbs restrained. The room outside is dimly lit, like it was designed by someone who shunned the light. 

There's a ring of coffins going around the room. Only one other one is occupied, by a green skinned woman who is struggling to break out.

A... man? With a...squid for a head? Floats into the room. He picks something white and wriggling from a pool in the centre of the room. He opens the coffin of the woman, tadpole in hand. 

She struggles even harder, but the tadpole creature seems to have some innate predatory sense and climbs into her eyeball.

The squid man closes the coffin, picks up another of those tadpoles, and brings it to Cayden.

He blacks out again as it climbs underneath his eyeball.

He awakens again, coffin open and restraints gone. Both the squid man and the woman are missing. 



A series of thoughts pass through Cayden's head:

1. Well, this is the weirdest day I've ever had.
2. Tadpole! In my eyeball! Gross!
3. The sense that he was supposed to know what a squid-head man is, and in fact that someone explained this to him at some point but he'd gotten bored and stopped paying attention until the part where someone needed him to stab something.
4. Regret that he didn't bring a wizard to explain what the squid-head man is. Or a song-sorcerer. Cayden is a huge fan of song-sorcerers, they can throw a good party and they know all kinds of random shit.
5. The sneaking suspicion that he should have been wearing the wisdom headband when he decided whether to sell it. 
6. Gratitude that he has a Ring of Tongues so he doesn't have to go through all eighteen or so languages he can stumble through to see if any of them are spoken by squidpeople.  

"Hello?" he tries. "Tadpole thing in my eyeball? Are you sentient? Wiggle or something if you can hear me?" Then, in case it was telepathic, he tried thinking that very loudly.  


It is telepathic! And also squirming uncomfortably inside of his skull!

It doesn't communicate in words-- but it also feels young, so maybe it just hasn't learned yet? It's very happy! It also thinks Cayden should not leave this room. 



Hey, kiddo. Stop squirming now, that kinda hurts. Why shouldn't I leave the room?


It keeps wriggling, with a faint aura of wondering why it should be listening to him?

He should stay here because it is the will of


(It's impressively good at yelling for something non-verbal.)


This young and already an Asmodean. 

You know, kiddo, when AUTHORITY tells you to not to do something, it's usually because that thing is fun. 

He gets out of the coffin. 


The tadpole really can't stop him from doing that, even if it would like to.

There is the ring of empty pods, the faintly glowing pool, and an off-puttingly fleshy door-like structure.


He pokes the off-puttingly fleshy door, then tries to see if it has a handle or something. 


It spirals open. Ahead, there is an equally fleshy corridor.

There's a roar in the distance that makes every hair on the back of his neck stand up. Red dragon.

Then there's a dizzy sensation of rapidly travelling to another plane. 


Dragon?! Another plane shift?!

Cayden needs a drink. 


He does, honestly. 

There's another series of shifts, before the structure settles on one of them. 


He leaps to his feet, scanning the horizon for enemies while readying himself to fight, he doesn't have his sword but his fists are--

He does not do that. Instead, he collapses to the ground and vomits.

Now that Cayden thinks about it, he feels weird right now. Not that he's tired, exactly, but that tiredness is a possibility, that after only a fight or two he might actually need to rest. Not that his body isn't doing what he wants it to, exactly, but that he doesn't have the fine precision and control that he's used to. Not that he's moving at a different speed than he wants to, but his movements still feel slow somehow, like his thoughts are taking longer to get to his hands...

--Calistria's thrice-blasted balls. Undead.

Cayden knew a guy who had lost to a vampire. He used to be one of the best warriors in the Taldane army, now he could barely carry two pails of water. He'd made the best of it-- married, had five kids, Cayden stopped by when he was in town-- but... Cayden would rather die than live a life like that. Arguably, the governing feature of Cayden's life so far has been that he'd rather die than live a life like that.

Aroden's shit, is he going to have to worry about his liver now? Nah, he's still going to die before it gives out. 

At least no one's going to be weird about how good he is at fighting anymore!


There are no immediate visibly enemies.

There is a horrible crunching sound, like a dragon is trying to bite through the wall next to him. 


Unfortunately, Cayden's reflexes haven't adjusted for him having his life-force drained, so he glances towards the source of the sound and prepares to run to it. 


A piece of wall tears off with a sound like someone cutting a cicada shell with a knife. 

First observation: wind whistles through the hole, hot and sulphurous. This structure is flying far above the ground.



Civilians in the area?


Just him for now. 

There's another door at the end of this corridor, and who knows whose there. 


Okay yeah he's going to run for the door.



If it helps,  the dragon and its rider is now being mobbed by imps? He makes it to the door.

On the other side there is a room of organic walls and dark metal floors. The organic parts seem somewhat singed.

There is a pod of hanging tentacles, a table with books, and dead man on what appears to be a surgical table. 

There's a soft voice that's hard to tell how much is audible and how much is telepathic. "Over here! Help!"



Sorry, corpse, a person is in need!

...Man, he really hopes this isn't a Blackfinger cult. He still gets nauseous every time he thinks about the last Blackfinger cult. 


The sound seems to be... coming from the body?


Sorry, corpse, you are a person in need!

Fuck, it is a Blackfinger cult. 

"What do you need? Quickly, there's a red dragon." are you a weird tadpole


The top of the dead body's skull is missing, and the brain quivers as he approaches.

"Yes! You have come to free us! To release us! Quickly, before they return. They return."


Okay, that's not a Blackfinger cult victim, that's an intellect devourer and while Cayden believes in all beings' potential for redemption he doesn't actually want to risk his life for something that kills a person every week to survive. Especially since by "help" it might mean "Cayden is next."

He runs!

(He did not miss the human concept of fatigue!)


The pathway leads to a larger torn out section of ship. 

From this angle, it's clearer that this ship has tentacles, and that it is very much not in the Prime Material plane right now. 

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