The old man sighed, and swept a frail arm across the void and the bloody tree. "Behold the Durance." he said, as if that explained everything. The demon echo followed his voice, and then, when the elder lapsed into silence, continued on without him. The scraping tones of the diabolic voice said "Into darkness they sent us; We entreated them piteously, called attention to the healing of the damage of our sins; They turned away." On the smooth, hellishly-lit stone wall behind the tree, a massive bubble rose from the stone, a bubble that slid open, revealing a great, glassy eye, blue-green and with a cat's slit-pupil. The eye twitched about, and then focused on the old man and the group.
The elder turned to face it. He began to speak again, and the dark voice echoed once more.
"They...," 'We' said the demon voice, "Were trapped here long ago. I," 'He' the echo said, "sought them ('us') out for the power they ('we') promised. I ('He') knew not the price." The echo said further "He was foolish. Now he is our key. We will have apotheosis from this vile, sublunary prison which was thrust upon us."
The old man spoke, without the aid of the demonic echo. "I have striven, ere now, to find the means to release them. I have come so close...And now, you have interrupted me." This last pronunciation took on a sharp, bitter tone. The elder continued on, voice become more and more red in tone, a tone heralding the shedding of blood. "After all these years, my release from this service, and their release from the Durance, was so near, and you fools have snatched it from us!" The demon-echo joined his voice. The chamber was rocked by a massive sound, like a detonation behind the great, staring eye.
Then his voice resumed its soft tone. "You will be ended."
Alssonus gasped and his yataghan rang from its sheath. "Speak those words again, old one. I fear not your threats."
The elder turned to face them once again. His eyes were glowed with blue-green flames, like those of the great, staring eye upon the wall. When he spoke his voice was not his own, but the demon-echo magnified.
"We are not feeble. We are not weak. You are but sublunary and mortal. Before us, your power is ash. Flesh cannot contain us."
The demon-elder raised his staff above his head. His flesh seemed to harden, shrink against his skull. Some strange ripple made him changed. His nose shrank against his face, which elongated into a snout, ending in a mass of rubbery, red-tipped tentacle-whiskers. Eyes became thin slits within puffy, globular lids. His hands contorted into gripping claws, and his robe ceased to hang so loosely on his increased form. With blue-green flames in the elder-thing's eyes, and upon his staff, the thing took a heavy step towards them.
"Your hope ends here."