Many years ago and many worlds away....
The eye tyrant's minions cowered in the nooks and crannies of the central gallery, save for a few particularly brave--or broken--souls who stood in attendance on their master. It glared at the with its baleful eyes, though the primary focus of its attention was upon its lone guest. "Usyrr, can't you control your tentacles? The way they writhe, it's as if you're... drooling at me."
Letting its face tentacles go still, the illithid gave its host a half-bow and replied via telepathy. Your pardon, Xorantul. To witness a beholder giving birth is a rare opportunity. A slight hissing sound accompanied the words, the only audible indication of speech. I am honored.
"Yes, you are, and moreso than such as you deserve." Xorantul sneered at the mind flayer. "If I didn't need the knowledge you poss-"
But you do, Usyrr interjected, its red eyes flashing as a reminder that Xorantul was not the only creature of power within the cavernous lair.
"Soon. Very soon." As if on cue, strange sounds followed those words from the beholder's lips, not unlike if the creature were choking. Or vomiting.
An odd breeze flowed through the gallery, but neither Xorantul nor Usyrr gave any heed to it as a small globular projectile burst from the beholder's mouth, followed by another and then two more in rapid succession. With a slight sigh, Xorantul closed its mouth and fixed its large main eye on Usyrr. "There. Look now upon these paragons of-"
"Die!" A flash of light burst from one of the globes, now revealed as a beholder itself in miniature form. Its target was another of the newborns, which weaved and dodged out of the way, spitting at its sibling. A third young beholder floated some distance away, watching the other two warily.
"What is this?!" exclaimed Xorantul, raging as it gazed upon its offspring. "Deviant! ABOMINATION!" The minions within the cave broke and ran for shelter, the newborn beholders stopped in mid-fight to look up at their parent, and even Usyrr's eyes widened in surprise. "Something has befouled the purity of my bloodline! YOU ARE NO SPAWN OF MINE!" Then, as the three newborns before it turned to flee, Xorantul struck.
Three blasts, and it was all over: one was slain instantly, a floating corpse; another disintegrated into dust; the third was petrified and hurled against a wall to shatter.
But there had been four of them. "Where is it? Where is that unclean thing?! It must die!"
"Why?" The unexpected voice came from Xorantul's left, and it spun around to see a miniature verson of itself floating there, looking back at it. "Why do I have to die?"
Xorantul gave no answer, simply sneering as it brought eyestalks to bear, and then...
...every muscle in its body went slack as a potent mental blast ripped through its mind and left nothing behind. No reason that I can see, replied Usyrr as the mind flayer stepped forward and regarded the surviving offspring. Interesting. You and your siblings each demonstrated one of the four core elements of the beholder mindset: superiority, hatred of that which is different, paranoia... and, in you, a desire for knowledge. I wonder, will you take up rule here, in Xorantul's lair? One robed arm swept out in a gesture that encompassed the gallery and the caverns behond. There is a rather impressive collection of books and scrolls in the library chamber; you could learn much of the world there.
The young beholder looked around and frowned. "Do I have to stay? It seems so... stagnant. Books and scrolls sound nice, but I want to see the world for myself!"
Again you are curious, but a newborn beholder at large in the outer world will not last long, unless... unless someone takes you in. Seeing the sudden expectant look in the beholder's eye, Usyrr shook its head. No, I cannot. The other illithid in my city would see you as a plaything for their experiments. I have... a different experiment in mind. I want to see if you can prosper.
There is a mage of my acquaintance, a human, who lives and studies alone in a tower on the surface near here. His name is Ilen Karyss. We are not friends, but we do have... an arrangement. Usyrr's tentacles lifted in the illithid approximation of a shrug. I provide him with occasional items or information from the underrealms, and he returns the favor now and again. He is a pragmatist, like me, but at heart he is a "good" man and will not likely abuse you. I suspect Karyss will be just as curious about you as you are about the world. Then the mind flayer tilted its head to one side, looking at the little beholder. Now I have a question for you: what is your name?
The beholder blinked. "I don't know. What do I look like?" It floated over to a large round mirror set against a nearby wall. "I have a lot of eyeballs, don't I? One, two, three... ten of them! Call me Tenball!"
That got a mental snort from the illithid. You have eleven eyes, though.
"Yes," replied Tenball, "but Elevenball just sounds weird!"
Indeed. Very well, let us gather what we can from Xorantul's library, and then be off.
"Sounds good to me!"