As Amyria and the Githzeri welcomed the Wayfarers to the enclave, Orsik pointed out, with his keen Dwarven perception, “Hey, you’re not a sword anymore!” Before introducing the rest of the Githzeri council, Amyria shared her story with the gathered Heroes of the Elsir Vale: following her release (something I could have taken care of for her in a night), the Deva meditated on her state and received a vision from Bahamut, an recognized her calling as a paladin (disregard previous comment, paladins are too prudish). Taking up sword, she traveled the countryside, from the far reaches east to Overlook and the Elsir Vale, and along her journey, found evidence of a massive planar invasion connecting from Sindruth’s raid on Brindol to the Githyanki assassinations at the Githzeri monastery. Overlook and the Elsir Vale had been somewhat protected by the heightened sense of alert and the actions of heroes like us (you’re welcome, I will be accepting thank you visits from young maidens between the ages of 18 and 21—human years, translate as appropriate—this evening at the House of Sleep).
Seeing the dangers facing the world, Amyria invited rulers from far and wide to a conference in order to determine a course of action, what Arranis called “A Coalition of the Willing.” At this point, four Githzeri peered from the curtained-off conference area; Amyria contacted the monastics because of their experience fighting the Githyanki. Other members of her coalition included:
Odos, the blind Githzeri
Kalad of Overlook
Feryx the Scale-Hammer, an independent trader and diplomat of whom Kah has heard
Kaliandra of the Stag Runner Wild Elves
Inogo Dravich, the high priest of Erathis in the City of Temples
Qualiana Entromele, head of an Eladrin merchant house
Lord Divian Torrence, the elected ruler of Saer. Lord Torrence agreed to host the conference, but with the change in attitudes toward Githzeri beginning six months ago, Amyria now had concerns.
Arranis asked Amyria what brought upon the change in attitudes, but was interrupted by Galot, a gruff Githzeri warrior. Arranis and Orsik responded with boasts, but Odos stepped in to calm all. Mako asked Amyria is the collation was in danger now, and Amyria acknowledged the association with the Githzeri could bring trouble. Mako followed his line of questioning, asking how long Telecanthus has been in town. He was answered by Azit, another Githzeri who clearly looked up to Amyria: Telecanthus came to power 4-5 months ago. He works in stained glass, is well connected in Saer’s upper crust, and there was no specific point at which he orchestrated a change in attitude toward Githzeri, but it happened gradually, with gentrification and hostility, bit no outright confrontation. Galot interjected, “He’s a criminal and should be removed!”
Amyria took this opportunity to share a dream she had before assuming her path as a paladin. In this dream, she was looking down upon the world, and a great web stretched across it. In the center of the web was a beautiful but clearly evil spider, and as it scuttled across its web, it threw webbing to people at the corners, primarily Githyanki who wove the spider’s web, but members of other races as well, including a lone Githzeri. Amyria awoke from her dream knowing the spider resided somewhere in Saer. Galot inferred the spider could only be Telecanthus, but Amyria called for proof before action, a plan the Wayfarers agreed upon. Even the impetuous Odachi knew that this required a softer touch, but it was Odos who again stepped in and soothed Galot. Odos gave Amyria and the Wayfarers one week to find the evidence implicating Telecanthus. Galot bristles at this, but took the opportunity to challenge Odachi to be the first to slay Telecanthus. The meeting now done, the Githzeri filed out, until Odos asked the Wayfarers to attend a ritual he was to perform, calling on departed Githzeri spirits for advice.
In a quiet, out-of-the-way room, Odos invited the Wayfarers to be seated around a ritual circle. As Odos began his chant, Kah recognized the ritual as “Consult Mystic Spirits,” and a ghostly Githzeri appeared in the center of the circle, his gaze staring into the eyes of each hero. Odachi, reverent in the presence of an ancestor spirit, stared back silently. The spirit spoke in a riddle (as the most often do):
Read writing on the wall
You are not far from the place where knowledge turns to greed.
Beneath the spice house lies the profane
Knowledge lies trapped behind the guardian
Odos did not know what it meant, and as the Wayfarers depart the Githzeri sanctuary, they were set upon by a rabble of beggars—well-trained, well-fed beggars who quickly revealed their new short swords and katars and whose chain mail glinted from beneath dirty robes. One held aloft a shiny bauble, that drew the Wayfarers in; they were compelled to move towards the beggars’ leader (I think I need one of those; there’s a few Eladrin maidens here that should follow me around). Each of the beggars smelled of Old Spice. Attacking in three groups, the rabble proposed little challenge. Kah cleared out four of the group to the left with a fireball, leaving one ablaze. With a cry to whatever primal spirits may still lie in the city, Odachi struck his sword to the ground, the shockwave killing three and rocking three others on their feet in the center group. As the battle waged, and one remained standing, Mako leapt upon the dry fountain and pinned the leader to the ground with a point-blank shot to his calf. Still drawn to the bauble, the Wayfarers were beginning to squabble over it, until Odachi picked it up and ground it to dust in his hands; “Fixed it,” he growled. A quick search of the bodies revealed normal short swords, katars, and 10 shuriken on each, as well the mask of laughing comedy tattooed on a wrist. The Wayfarers brought the beggars’ gear and their newly-captured prisoner (I really should have taught one of them some better knots before I left) into the sanctuary, where they questioned the thief: he was sent by the Filth King, leader of the Beggars thieves guild, located at the Old Spice House; the tattoo identifies him as a member of the Laughing Shadows; the bauble and gear was provided by the Filth King, who leads, gives orders, and if questioned, the questioner disappears. The Old Spice House has been the guild’s home for more than two years, and the Laughing Shadow initially claimed there were no traps within. After a little persuasion (mainly Orsik and Odachi glaring at him), he revealed that immediately inside the door was a trap door to a tunnel, the second trap door at the end was trapped, and could be prevented by slipping a coin into the a slot. The Wayfarers initially planned to release him, but Odachi insisted on turning him over to Lord Torrence as a sign of good faith. Amyria agreed, and took charge of the prisoner.
The Old Spice House was exactly ass described: dilapidated and seemingly abandoned, with a faded, chipped sign out front that read “Ridolfi & Sons.” A small girl came up to the party begging for coin, and before Odachi flipped her a gold piece, he looked at her wrist to ensure no mask tattoo. Within the Old Spice House, the smell of Old Spice permeated everything, but nothing was noticeably present. The trap door to the tunnel was exactly where told, and the end trap door and coin slot worked exactly as described. Opening the trap door, a rope hung down into pitch-black darkness. Odachi threw a sun rod down, to reveal the room was 80’ square, the party stood 40’ above the floor. Winding down the walls were 10′ × 5′ platforms at heights of 30’, 20’, 15’ and 10’, and a door at the 10’ platform. Looking down, the Wayfarers noticed that the sun rod was hovering at about 10’ off the ground, its light refracting off the gelatinous cube that it landed on. As soon as Mako leapt to the 30’ platform, piles of trash along the far wall stood up: more Beggars who were camouflaged as piles of trash. Mako took two out almost immediately, but the one right in front of him he couldn’t hit. Arranis pushed one Beggar off of the platform and into the cube, and Odachi tossed another one to the floor. Leaping to the 10’ platform, Odachi realized the door is locked, but without a moment of hesitation, the goliath rammed his fist through the door, blinked, looked to Arranis, and said, ‘Lock pick.’"