Lolthmas

That night, in the guest quarters of House Baenre, the party is awoken by a strange jingling noise. If you didn’t know better, you’d say it was sleighbells, but it turns out to be the locks and chains wound around a terrible monster, which is led into into the room by a beautiful drow priestess dressed in flowing purple robes.

Your party all wander into the main chambers to this great and terrible sight, but it seems that the delving party of Carillon, Beaks, and Stone, are still sleeping soundly. Or have another visitation. Or something.

The beast is… hard to describe. It is “dressed”, if you can call it that, in swatches of red, ribbed with the ghoulish white of some underground fungus-woven fabric. It has the legs of a spider- you think there are eight, but something feels strange about trying to even focus on the creature. It has the body of a hairy humanoid, and it has arms, of a fashion. It is bound, but the chains seem not to much hinder its movement. It looks to the priestess for guidance through its many-eyed head covered in grey fur and teeth, and she holds a long silvery key in her hand, as if directing the movements of the great beast. There is a great greenish-brown sack slung over its trembling, muscular shoulder.

“I do not expect you to understand our customs, upworlders,” begins the priestess, “But House Baenre, even now in this tragic season of exile, respects the Old Ways. When travelers come seeking a boon in exchange for dangerous questing, they are entitled to a visit from the Spi’nta Claw. That is what we call this beast, who is both our slave and an object of our worship, for it too is a creation of the great goddess Lolth, the one true god. It is a beast born in secret to ways known only to the few, but it has its own wisdom, and it brings its own gifts.”

At this, the beast looks at you. Each in turn. When its hideous, gibbering face turns to you, you are first seized with shock, then a slow grinding terror, then a reluctant awe, and finally a kind of warmth. It seems that for all its fearsomeness, despite or perhaps because of the chains that bind or tame it, the creature is not without a certain kindness, a tone of admiration for you, strangers and heathens that you are. Its many eyes search and seek each of you out, and seem to look into your very soul. You each find yourself remembering childhood, moments of shame and exultation. But then its gaze falls back to the many corners of the room, and it becomes again a foreign thing, a horror.

“The creature has chosen,” the priestess announces. “You will each receive an offering from the beast, and it will be the proper tool for your on-coming quest. The beast is not to be bargained with or refused. Few outside our circles have been blessed by this giving, and you would do well to hold dearly to that which is bestowed.”

The beast reaches a… tendril? hand? claw? into the great sack over its quivering shoulder, and draws out three small boxes, presenting one to each of you in turn. Then it fades. Perhaps, it walks out the door, and the priestess leads it by its invisible and visible chains. That seems like it should be what has happened. But you don’t remember that, in your mind addled by sleeplessness and distress and strangeness. What you remember is the roof of the guest quarters opening up, and where there should be only darkness, there is a great starry web, and the beast soars away into the night, drawn by magic, or perhaps by a great cloud of tiny glowing spiders.

But the boxes remain. You open them, together or separately, and thus the gifts of the Spi’nta Claw are bestowed.

For Aslatiel: a simple leather bag, stitched with drow runes and symbols of Lolth. Inside are 8 beans. They seem to radiate a dark and magical power, brimming with chaos and shadow. (If you want to know what these do, lemme know; I also have the sense that if you were to use up all eight the pouch might grow some more for you over time.)

For Hyacinth: This box jostles and shakes, and when you open it, a marvelous creature glorps its way out. Boris has told you tales of the Underdark, and a couple of them featured the terrible monster called the Gelatinous Cube. But all his stories had them be great and massive things, able to consume an entire adventuring party in a single acidic charge. This creature is much smaller: about six inches on a side, and greenish. It seems… friendly . (Yep, you have a tiny gelatinous cube as a pet. Good for absorbing non-living organic material, and being hella cute. I’ve always loved the idea of a gelatinous cube familiar/pet and I’m excited to have one. Thanks to Brandon for helping me brainstorm an appropriate Hyacinth Lolthmas gift.)

For Terraminthia Barrahain: This box is a bit larger than the others, and when you open it, you find that it contains a great purple cloak, gleaming with oily shadow. After some experimentation and attunement, your realize that you have been gifted with something that the drow have built from the skin of some otherworldy creature: (While you wear this cloak, it projects an illusion that makes you appear to be standing in a place near your actual location, causing any creature to have disadvantage on attack rolls against you. If you take damage, the property ceases to function until the start of your next turn. This property is suppressed while you are incapacitated, restrained, or otherwise unable to move.)

Lolthmas

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