"Cold, alien, and methodical." Such are the only descriptors that can, academically, be reasonably applied to the little known, almost mysterious, beings known as the Mind Flayers, or Illithid in their own parlance. Those who tell the stories about them, though, tend to add such descriptors as "evil, malignant, horrifying, etc." either out of ignorance, or desire for enhanced narrative interest. Indeed, outside of certain academic circles, very little is known about these entities which is, I'm certain, a result both of the sedentary lives of typical peasants and the difficulty of returning with objective observations from survivors of actual encounters.
From a simple anatomical standpoint, the Illithid are wholly alien and otherwordly compared to native species of Thylia. Vivisections of those few living individuals brought back by enterprising adventurer capatalists reveal few familiar anatomical structures within the Illithid, though I have tentatively identified pulmonary and cardiac systems: however, even these seem entirely divergent in form and function than those found within standard humans and humanoids. For instance, I have found no emotional center within the cardiac system of the Illithid I've examined as one would expect in a human or, say, an elf: the whole seems to be decentralized and independant of other systems. Indeed, these beings show marked differences in basic form even one from the other so much so that it is possible to identify, potentially, two sub-species of the larger whole.
Of motives or intellect, little can be said of these creatures even though the learned are cognizant of some of their actions. Those with first hand experience of the lairs of the Illithid report laboratories similar to those kept by the learned and wise of the cities. Test subjects of various sorts kept confined in cages, tables for vivisection and examination, various delicate tools (extremely fine knives, hooks, probes, and other unidentifiable tools), and other such academic apparatus dominate as well as, on occasion, the apparant results of their experiments in the form of misceganated conglomerate beings: humans with the limbs of wild animals, horribly and purposely mutated persons presumably captured from the surface world, and hybridized creatures somewhat akin to the bizaare owlbear familiar to our world. The Illithid seem to be experimenters, creators, and changers, but to what purpose none can say as they do not speak of themselves nor reveal their thoughts in any intelligable way to the remainder of the academic community.
Whatever their intent and purpose, one must admire the artistic flair of the Illithid's creations and ponder what, if any, entities now living upon the surface world have been touched by thier hand.
More Little Treasures
10 months ago