He heard a shifting in the darkness, but no heartbeat. No breathing.

So it was undead.

And it reeked of dried blood.

Kuroyama Yahiko felt a twinge of fear. Rationally he knew that he had nothing to fear from a zombie, if that was what it was, but his kinemortophobia ran deep. Fortunately this was no zombie, he was certain of that. It was too cunning, to elusive for a mere animated cadaver. The killings were more indicative of an insane illithid than a mindless undead. The descriptions of the victim's remains gave him a good idea of what he was facing, impossible as it seemed. The half-oni demigod narrowed his green eyes. He could see well enough in the darkness, but was unfamiliar with the city. It was hiding. Perhaps it wasn't hungry. Perhaps it was afraid.

Perhaps he should be afraid of a being that could single-handedly terrorize an entire illithid community without leaving a witness. They had, in fact, deserted this entire section of the city. He thought ominously of the Zin-carla and how the vile, insane drow matron Malice Do'Urden had, through the dead weapons master Zaknafein, slaughtered most of the inhabitants of the illithid city of Phanlinksal. That had been before Yahiko had even been born. Zin-carla was highly unlikely, such a horror would have claimed far more lives by now and he was unsure that the spell could even be cast now that Lolth had met her just reward.

Up against the like of a Zaknafein or Drizzt even a demigod had cause to fear.

Yahiko had been traveling the Underdark, preaching his doctrine of Unity and peaceful coexistence when he had heard of the illithids' plight. He had offered to help. After all, illithids were a part of The Unity of All Things as well. He was also curious as to what manner of creature was behind such gruesome killings. And solving their problem might make them more receptive to his message. But he doubted it. Illithids as a rule believed in a form of Unity. All other races were equal in their eyes. Equally inferior. 'All that is not illithid is thrall.'

He suddenly recoiled at the sight of a corpse lying upon the cold stone floor. It was a thrall, an abandoned victim of the mystery killer. The illithids were too afraid to recover even illithid corpses from this sector of the city. In life he had been a duergar, a gray dwarf. The back of his skull was shattered, the brain crudely torn away. Yahiko gagged at the scent and sight of decay. He said a hurried Blessing for the poor wretch's soul before Disintegrating the corpse.

He had little idea of what he would do when he actually found what he was looking for. The creature had killed four illithids and an unknown number of slaves. The illithids didn't care much about the slaves, which pained Yahiko, but he could not change the dietary requirements of mind flayers. They acted according to their nature. It was how they had been created. His only request for this service was that twenty random thralls from the 'feeding pens' be freed into his custody. The illithids would release no more and he did not have the heart to choose himself who would live and who would die.

He saw it from the corner of his eye just before it attacked. The lean form leaped from the darkness and clutched at his kimono as its dry tentacles slapped him in the face with blows that would have killed a less powerful creature. It tried to climb his clothing, grasping painfully at his long white hair. Yahiko's emerald eyes shimmered and the creature fell back, cowering.

It was not in any way decayed, much to Yahiko's relief. He looked it over in fascination. The creature was familiar yet alien at the same time, it was a little over six feet tall, a full three feet shorter than Yahiko. A naked, filthy illithid with gray skin drawn tight over lean muscle and sharp bone. Its nails were long and cracked. Its skull was smaller than that of its living kin and its tentacles, dry of the acid that living mind flayers used to eat through flesh and bone to reach the tasty brain beneath, were unusually long and thick. Between its quivering mouth tentacles two long, sharp fangs were visible among the normal rasping teeth of a mind flayer.

A Vampire Illithid.

He'd been right. How such a creature could exist he did not know. But here it was, at his very feet.

He locked eyes with the strange being, trying to Charm it. To calm it down. He had nothing against intact undead and didn't want to torment the creature.

It didn't work.

It fled into the darkness. He remembered belatedly that undead were immune to Charm spells. He had never tried to Charm an undead creature before. In fact, he had almost no experience with undead of any kind. Yahiko chose to pursue, after all, he had offered to help the illithids stop this creature. He had no desire to harm it, however. He hoped to reach its mind, convince it of his peaceful intentions. The sounds of his wooden geta striking the stone floor echoed throughout the darkness as he passed abandoned stone dwellings and intricately carved columns. Finally, he cornered it. It crouched, hissing, terrified, ready to defend itself. It lashed out with a Mind Blast, but it had no effect on the demigod.

Yahiko tried to cast Resurrection, but nothing happened. Had it always been dead? Or was he just too weak to accomplish it? Perhaps he was doing it wrong.

He reached out with his mind and entered the vampire's thoughts. It was completely feral, no more than a cunning animal. A cornered, frightened animal. A creature of instinct and incredible hunger. He caught vague glimpses of a hellish realm where lightning fell like rain upon cracked, barren ground. The rest was shrouded in mist. Its mind was completely alien, even when compared with its living kin. Everything was vague and beyond his comprehension.

Still, he wanted to help this creature somehow.

He cast Miracle. The creature calmed and stood upright. "That's right, I'm a friend." The creature stared blankly at him. He had calmed it and gifted it with an ability to think, but it lacked knowledge and experience of any kind. It was little more than a blank slate.

Yahiko was growing tired. He was only a demigod, and these powerful spells were draining him terribly. He cast one more spell and removed the vampire's raging hunger. He then sat against a pillar, exhausted. The vampire scurried to his side. It had imprinted on him.

"I think I'll call you Kuragari-san." Yahiko said softly

Yahiko began to contemplate the nature of the creature. Obviously, it could not tell him its origins, as it did not even know where it had come from or what it was. Yahiko suspected the easiest way to create an illithid vampire would be to simply restrain a vampire, (though how one would prevent it from turning to mist and escaping eluded him), and implant them with an illithid larva. At ceremorphosis, the larva would presumably be 'born' a vampire, just like its host. As for where it had come from, he could only hope he'd never find himself there. He realized that he would have to find a means to 'allow' Kuragari access to holy sites if he were to live in The Obsidian Palace. Perhaps if he openly welcomed it into his home. . . And holy symbols would pose a concern as well. . .

He decided to pray to the gods for guidance.

After the initial sounds of a scuffle and running, the illithids waited for several hours, assuming, naturally, that the orange-skinned giant was dead. Not so. Two figures walked out of the darkness. The illithids recoiled in shock and horror as Yahiko and his new servant emerged from the shunned area. "I found him." He said calmly, "Though I have no idea where the hell he came from."

The mind flayers were truly terrified and disgusted. "You didn't destroy it?" Illithids had a natural loathing of the undead, especially among their own kind, and this particular undead had slain a number of them already.

"He's harmless now. Don't worry, I'll take him with me when I leave." He got the distinct impression that the mind flayers wanted him to leave very quickly.

Taking on the responsibility of caring for Kuragari would derail his missionary tour for the time being. He could not very well continue his preaching with a vampire illithid by his side. His message was already an unpopular one and such a terrifying companion would frighten away all but the heartiest of potential proselytes. Besides, Kuragari needed to be cared for until he could function at some level. He would return to The Obsidian City to care for his new charge.

After acquiring clothing for Kuragari, (and the thralls he had been promised), he left the illithids behind. At least, the living ones.

The End.


Kuroyama Yahiko is an OC. He is from Kazakura, the island chain on Toril that is based upon Feudal Japan, and is the son of an oni woman and an unknown deity. He looks like a giant cross between Jeice from Dragonball Z and Jin from Yu Yu Hakusho. He is True Neutral in alignment. Yahiko suffers from both kinemortophobia, (fear of the walking dead {only zombies or liches in his case}), and seplophobia (fear of rot and decay). I have a story in the works with more information on him.

Kuragari - Darkness. The rule books are confusing and contradictory on Vampire Illithids and Intelligence. Most books say they have the intelligence of a cunning animal in the text, then list them as 'Genius' level intelligence in the stats. I suppose they mean that they are so insane that their intelligence score doesn't matter anymore. Kuragari had only an animal level (1) of intelligence. Now he has a very low, but sentient, Intelligence score. Say, 4 or 5. A common troll has an Intelligence score of 6. Kuragari is also True Neutral.

Geta are traditional Japanese sandals with an elevated wooden base.

The Resurrection spell requires diamonds and holy water, but I don't know if a deity would require material components for the spell or not. Either way, he lacks the power to utilize it unless he taps into his patron's power. And, even if he could, it probably wouldn't work on an undead anyway.