(Work in Progress - Mind your Step)
1 Timothy 6:9
"But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction."
The hierarchy of all things operates as such: The Elder Brains reside above all, connecting all Illithid in a psionic web, so that each being is but a finger in a vast organism that stretches the stars. They hold all the knowledge and wisdom of every previous Elder Brain and every being connected to their consciousness. If the colony is prosperous, then beneath them reside the Ulitharids. They will act as the nobility, often allowing for management over specific sections of society so that the Elder Brain can focus on the macro operations. These Ulitharids are created by chance, a mutation found in some tadpoles which goes undetected until ceremorphosis. They are powerful psionic users, capable of asserting dominion over half a colony. When the time comes, they will take their portion of a colony and leave to form a new one. In time, when they have formed their fortress and achieved their material desires, they will crack open their skull and allow their brain to consume their corpse. From this act, they will become a new Elder Brain. The Illithid makes up the bulk of the civilised sector. In most circumstances, an Ulitharid does not exist and as such they will work directly at the whim of the Elder Brain. They are not as powerful as Ulitharid, but they are a force to be reckoned with.
At the very bottom of this system reside the slaves and the cattle. An evolutionary advantage, Illithids require only one form of nourishment. They need only feast on the mind of an intelligent species, one capable of independent creative thought and as most of the species in this category reproduce, slave and cattle are one and the same. Of course, with this obvious occurance comes an obvious weakness. The people you try to suppress, control and or subjugate, are also the largest base. In other words, the ones you need the most are the ones that hate you the most. Therefor, as every hierarchy does, the population grows the further down you travel and your watchful gaze needs to observe more to maintain order. This is the failing of the old Illithid Empire. Complacent fools. To expand, enslaving all you encounter without ensuring a secure base is to doom yourself to uprising and defeat. And such was the way of things. A revolt led by the Gith, abusing the gifts we granted them, caused the complete and entire collapse of the Illithid Empire.
The Elder Minds went into hiding, colonies entered into hibernation to try and escape the wrath of the slaves. An empire that had stood for millenia, fell in less than a year. The arrogance to think they were undefeatable, though not entirely undeserved given the immense power of the species. One Elder Brain had fled to the stars, finding a world inhabited almost entirely by humanity. Here, they would sleep and lie dormant until such a time they could rise again, to reclaim their rightful place as keepers of the cosmos. Though fate would have other plans, the birth of an Ullitharid put an end to the hopeful thinking that the Brain would rule alone. Now there was competition, A Wandering Mind.
Our Wandering Mind
Illithid’s are inherently Parasitic and thus require a living host in order to perform ceremorphosis. The memories of the host are preserved and transferred into the new mind but the personality and soul of the host is completely lost. Such was the case with Cullum. A human male from a human village during the Iron-Age. He was no noble, but he did manage a large mine which made him quite important to the ruling monarch at the time. The Elder Brain enthralled him at first, made him divert some of the mined and refined goods to the colony without detection. Though as time would go on, the mine would begin to dry up and he began to lose favour in the court. He had outlived his usefulness to the colony, he had only one purpose now. Rebirth.
The Enthralled walk so willingly into the resting chamber. They need not be restrained as they understand the gift they are about to receive. One Illithid reached into the brine pool, plucked a small purple creature and simply dropped it onto the cheek of the man. The tadpole crawled and climbed above his eyes, four tentacles forcing his eyelids apart before forcing itself into his socket. It slithered behind the eye, breaking through the bone and began the gestation period within the brain.
Cullum would serve in the colony while the transformation was underway. At first nothing happens, then the mind opens up to the psionic weave. Shortly thereafter they will notice their hair and teeth falling out as they are no longer required, any body hair as well. The second to last phase is the loss of personality and soul. They wander the halls like mindless husks until the final stage begins. In moments, the bones break and snap, the flesh is torn and resculpted as the creature grows taller and thinner. Fingers extend into claws, the jaw is broken apart to allow for the feeding tentacles to be pushed up and out of the throat…. But then they saw. An Illithid has only four tentacles, but here were so many more, perhaps six or eight. Behold the return of the Ulitharid. This specific transformation took two days to gestate and one hour to complete ceremorphosis. Their name, Cul’Turak.
Once the process is complete, the creature is a fully functional member of the colony. Due to having an Elder Mind present, all knowledge is passed down within hours and they fill their space in society. The coming of an Ulitharid happens in precious few circumstances, it’s entirely unpredictable. It happens only when the colony has grown large enough to divide and form a second, or when the colony is prosperous enough to sustain larger numbers than a single Elder Mind can control, and thus they use Ulitharid to spread the psionic load. Now, the colony was certainly not prospering with only two dozen slaves and perhaps ten Illithids. Therefore Cul assumed it to mean that it was a symbol of his destiny to lead for the Elder Mind had failed. But now was not the time for such rebellion.
In time, after Cul’Turak had left their home colony to form their own, he established the law that the illithid population must not surpass 50% of their food harvesting potential. This was a drastic measure but an essential one, the empire of old discovered very quickly that when they lost control of their slaves they starved. This could not be allowed to happen again. In an ideal world, there would be five Illithids, four to Govern and one to rule over them. The enthralled would take up any other responsibilities that the colony may need. However, this creates a secondary issue. Suddenly, the need for thralls has grown to take up the extra responsibility. The solution was Omega.
Omega was the first of five night clubs all over the United States. It served many purposes, a source of monetary gain through sales and the drug trade, a source of nourishment from the occasional drunkard who goes missing in the night. But it’s most important function was to be a palace of intoxication, for when the mind is weak it is easily manipulated. Humanity pays for this privilege. An almost limitless supply of people to do your bidding and an almost limitless supply of knowledge to be harvested. Omega, being a nightclub, is also incredibly visible. Visibility is defence, for there are precious few supernatural entities that would dare upset the balance. As such, the club acts much like an embassy where parties may come to discuss with the colony and arrange alliances, trade and the like. All are welcome, save for Angels and Demons. Though some exceptions are made.
Omega is the headquarters for Cul’Turak but it is not the home for the colony. Any individual who is permanently moved into the colony is not taken from such simple stock.
All Illithids and their creations are Psionically gifted. A power that is derived from the arcane, divine or demonic. Unique to those who were born outside of the cosmos, outside of rhyme or reason in pure organised chaos. Psionic mastery is paradoxical, the more you know the more you realise you don’t know. It is dipping a toe into a puddle, only to fall into the ocean, sinking to the depths and emerging completely dry at the bottom having learned nothing.
Despite this, few species have managed to gain some control of this unknowable force. Cul’Turak himself exercises several abilities through his connection.
Invisible tendrils radiate through brick and mortar and flesh. An Ulitharid can feel the presence of any intelligent creature within two miles by tasting their thoughts. Their distance and direction is known, but more information requires more active hunting.
Detect thoughts & Scrying
To grip a victims mind and at first gently coax information from the fleshy grey-matter container. The current and recent thoughts may present themselves, though the tendrils can dig deeper for specific information. To scry is to reach out across a distance and observe the victim, to acquire and feast upon their location and their intentions.
Telekinesis & Levitation
To pluck at the arteries of the universe and use the energy to move objects to their whim. The applications of such an ability are as infinite as the cosmos, from lifting oneself to crushing one's enemies.
Feeblemind, Eyebite & other Mental Dominance.
From simple observations of the machinations of the brain, to full control. Enfeebling the mind is to remove all power of cognition making it impossible to operate at a conscious level. Eyebiting is to chew through the optic nerves and fill the mind with fear or sleep, whichever is most desirable. Other such uses consist of entering the mind, shattering any natural defence and bending the will and whim to one’s own. An untrained Illithid can accidentally apply too much pressure, crushing the mind or shattering the soul.