Bitter Glass – Conclusion
Bitter Glass shattered
Githyanki revealed at last
Bitter Glass – Conclusion
“Maybe I should write a book,” suggests Bairdyn in a private conversation with his friend Bennie.
“I didn’t know you could read, let alone write,” answers Bennie intending no insult.
“Think about where we are going to tea at some githyanki’s mansion having just met with more than a handful of world leaders. And if we hadn’t grabbed some shuteye this than we would be zombies just like the others. I don’t think Vani has slept a wink in three days. That’s just crazy. Here we were in Overlook and some flying ship almost crashing into the city. We’ve fought dragons, an invading army. We’ve flown a ship, destroyed a ship and we crashed our ship. We fought giants, assassins and a bunch of beggars, its nuts I tell you. And now were like the most important people in the world, who’d of thunk it?” asks Bairdyn.
The Tea Party
They walked into one of the most magnificent homes they’d ever seen. Ornate stained glass fills every window, and expensive furnishings decorated every space.
The lord of the house—the githyanki Telicanthus—was there to greet them, hands outstretched.
“Welcome to my humble home! Please, feel free to enjoy the house; and please take a moment to introduce yourselves to my other guests.”
For his invitation to tea, Telicanthus sends a carriage to pick up the heroes at their inn in the early afternoon, just after their meeting with the Coalition ends. The carriage arrives at Telicanthus’s mansion on Prospect Hill at exactly the proper time. The new arrivals to the party include, Bairdyn, Bhenedict, Bingus, Eoffram, Ian and Vani. Those already in attendance included their friends, Rikar and Finellior and a number of other important looking people, soon known and others not. Telicanthus himself comes out to warmly greet his guests. To the heroes it is obvious that he notices their weapons, the githyanki appears a bit surprised, but he is too polite to make mention of the weapons. Telicanthus invites the heroes into his home and ushers them into the tea room, where he introduces them to the other guests.
Governor Torrance and Lady Catherine Torrance (Lord Torrance’s wife): The Governor acknowledges the arrival of the heroes with a knowing glance. Almost immediately engages with Telicanthus deflecting the githyanki’s attention from the new arrivals. The Governor, approaches and says, “You should really take the opportunity to look about the place, it is truly remarkable what Telicanthus has done with it.“
General Alvro Taramin (Commander of the city guard): Taramin is a tiefling soldier who is keenly interested in the security of Sayre. He is consistently concerned that he doesn’t have enough troops under his direct command to protect the city. He is quick to suggest a private meeting with the heroes to discuss the tactics that were used at Overlook and Akma’ad. Eoffram comes upon the General standing alone in the portrait gallery, casually examining Telicanthus’s family tree. After a brief bout of meaningless small talk, Eoffram learns that General Taramin was asked, as a personal favor, to leave his watch patrols away from the mansion, since their presence was “a distraction to Telicanthus work.”
Archdean Isabelle Grimaldi (Archdean of the Sayre University): The archdean of the university is a middle-aged, very attractive half-elf woman with a keen mind for magical research. She’s appears a bit distracted when it comes to small talk, and she tends to turn conversations toward subjects that she is more familiar with. That means that any conversation with her tends to turn towards monster dissection and alchemical theory. She’s not shy about being single, and her tone is assertive and direct. She is clearly impressed by the new war heroes.
Bingus walks in on a heated conversion between the Archdean and Telicanthus. As she sees Bingus her mood changes as she her attention turns away from their host to Bingus. Bingus is soon impresses with the stature of both her mind and body and it is equally clear that she find the breath of Bingus’s knowledge and experience fascinating. After too brief a conversation they agree to meet again soon at the university.
Arryk the Black: The retired human adventurer had kept his riches even as the years have weakened his combat prowess. Now in his fifties and separated from his true home at Vraath Keep he had already purchased the smaller and less elaborate home next door planning to keep his eye on Telicanthus. At the tea party he was happily regaling his listeners with astonishing tales of his youth. Arryk was still a little worse for the hardships he had endured, Arryk moves with a pronounced limp and he used a cane when he walked to help with his crippled leg.
Over the course of the event the heroes use the time as the Governor had suggested to search the estate.
Telicanthus’s home is beautiful. It is tastefully decorated with the finest art that comes out of Sayre’s robust artistic community. Paintings of local nature and city scenes hang on the walls next to beautiful tapestries; his porcelain and dishware are exquisitely crafted, and his food the finest available. Superb stained glass fills many of his windows, most of which he modestly claims that he crafted himself. Exceptionally talented musicians behind screens play light background music that invariably delights guests. Even the air smells nice, scented by exotic perfumes.
Wandering the ground Bairdyn discovers two locked doors. Determined to enter he begins to work on the locks. Both doors are located off a very long, busy hallway located behind the great domed main hall. Bairdyn conspires with Vani and Rikar recruiting theri aid while Bairdyn engages with the lock.
This leads to a brief confrontation between Vani and Telicanthus’s secretary Pennel. Approaching Vani, obviously very aware … not unlike a parent catching a child red-handed, Pennel asks, “What are you doing?”
Taken aback by he secretary’s tone Vani attempts to deflect suspicion saying, “I am just taking in this beautiful estate.” While clearly attempting to block Pennel’s progress through the hallway. Not buying it, Pennel ‘orders’, “Get out of my way!”
Frantic, Vani resists refusing to move. Without hesitation, Pennel reacts. Bringing his hand forward from behind his back, the secretary reveals a crystal within his grip. Light explodes from the crystal and Vani vanishes reappearing further down the hall. Feeling sluggish from the effects of the crystal, Vani tries to move forward but he finds himself incapable of moving fast enough to intercept the secretary who rushes to the door of his office, the very room the heroes had been examining.
Bairdyn and Rikar were no longer in the hallway, but when Pennel grabs the door he finds in unlocked. Sparing a sneer at Vani he flings open the door his crystal, (a dagger?, Vani wonders), held high. Pennel glares into the room as if about to shout ‘ah ha’ but then notably relaxes, lowering the crystal dagger he closes the door. Then removing a key from a coat pocket, Pennel locks the door and turning his attention back to Vani, he bows and apologizing profusely.
“I am sorry master, I was mistaken … one of the staff had made mention that she had seen a halfling breaking in to my office. There is no excuse for my offense clearly I failed to lock the door.”
Pennel bows, turns and leaves the way he came.
Within the office, Rikar takes a breath opens his cloak, the Feytouched armored cloak had successfully concealed both himself and Bairdyn who Rikar had wrapped within its folds veiling them both in invisibility.
“Go see to the other room, I will search this one. And be sure to lock the door behind yourself; it is of no concern to me,” offers Rikar.
Given the experience of the previous room, Bairdyn seeks out Bhenedict before heading on to the second locked door. As they move together down the long hall Bennie pauses.
“Wait, a gosh darn minute. Did ye feel that?” asks Bennie.
“What are you talking about?” asks Bairdyn.
“The floor feels extra creaky, something is happening with the foundation here or I’m not a dwarf,” points out Bennie.
“Hmm, that sounds suspicious to me,” comments the halfling.
Bairdyn quickly unlocks the door and the two friend slip in. Bairdyn taking efforts to relock the door behind them this time. They enter into Telicanthus’s office and sitting room. The windows are yellow stained glass that let in the sun, and his wide desk is clear of most paper. On his desk is a large journal detailing his guest list for the party. Other papers include designs for stained glass projects. A small tray on his desk holds attractive shards of stained glass, a display of some sort.
Almost immediately Bennie exclaims, “Ha, just like I thought, this room is off … It is narrower than it should be, look at it … Its obvious.”
Back in Pennel’s office Rikar searched. Finding a journal on the secretary’s desk the drow shuffled through the pages which revealed that the estate was burning through a truly impressive amount of money each month. Telicanthus seems to be paying for substantially more food than his household staff could possibly require, even taking into account the parties he threw. Roughly, Rikar guessed that it would be enough for an additional 15–20 people everyday. Searching further, Rikar finds an additional key in the top drawer of Pennel’s desk, a second key for the office door.
In Telicanthus’s office, Bairdyn had begun pacing off the room and with Bennie’s help he discovers a secret door hidden behind a full length mirror attached to the south wall. Try as in might, the halfling couldn’t figure out how to open the secret door so he sends Bennie to gather the others.
Bennie finds Rikar and Vani right away, seeing that the drow was uncharacteristically excited, he tells him to go to Telicanthus’s office with Vani asking both of them to wait the office with Bairdyn. Bennie moves on through the great hall, the domed room is a full 90 feet across, and it has a balcony circling it 20 feet off the ground. The floor is covered in beautiful, polished marble tiles, the walls are covered with beautiful paintings and statues ring the room. Continuing on his way, Bennie encounters Ian within the tea room. The area where Telicanthus takes tea looks out onto well tended gardens and features a table large enough to sit several of the guests, including Ian who excuses himself and rises.
Ian approaches Bennies whispering, “I know what’s up, you will find Eoffram within the gallery, gather him I will get Bingus.” Ian points out a door exiting the tea room.
Then address Telicanthus and the others seated at the table Ian offers, “Our friend Bingus seemed quite taken by the Archdean.”
Turning to Fin, he adds, “Finellior, I always wanted to properly debate a few issues with you and our wizard friend, would you care to join me in the library, I quite sure the Isabelle could use a break by now.” explaining that, the three heroes discreetly exit, Bennie entering the gallery and the others moving through the parlor.
When Bennie enters the portrait gallery he sees it is an odd-shaped room that shares walls with both the great hall and the parlor. The gallery was also positioned well to enjoy the music provided by the players who were utilizing the parlor. Ostensibly the gallery had portraits of several generations of Telicanthus’s family, both males and females, relatives of all ages. Within the gallery, Bennie finds Eoffram. After briefly outlaying the plan he and the councilor move back through the tea room, chuckling and making small talk about the experience with the fekk to distract from their true purpose as the make their way to Telicanthus’s office.
Within the library Ian and Fin find Bingus engaged with the Archdean in a serious intellectual debate. Later, the joke would be about of all the things Bingus might have choose to engage in with the beautiful dean, Bingus had picked the hideous Stone-skinned King. At the moment the difficulty was just getting Bingus away from the university’s attractive dean. Fin whispered, “It looks like a bait and switch is called for, I will keep the dean occupied, you and Bingus get about to whatever you need to do.”
When Bhenedict finally gets Bingus to Telicanthus’s office he finds that Vani had figured out how to operate the secret door. Vani explained that the mirror was magical, and it could be opened by touching it with one of the stained glass shards that were set on Telicanthus‘s desk. Once triggered, the mirror became fully permeable allowing passage beyond.
Entering the secret door the party follows Rikar through a narrow corridor is hidden between the walls accessible only from Telicanthus’s office. This narrow hallway is less than 5 feet wide. The hallway is short, just 20 feet, and it ends in a hole where a ladder led to deeper darkness. Rikar descends and the ladder end in a downward-sloping tunnel that runs relatively straight from the ladder in a tunnel carved from the earth. The tunnel was reinforced with wooden crossbeams, and opened into the actual excavations below the mansion. The ceiling height was is only 5 feet.
Rikar moves ahead alone utilizing only the light that was already there. He moves past a side tunnel the randomly ended in a dead-end before continuing to a wider area moving over loose dirt and the remains of broken tools.
Firelight plays across the rough dirt and stone excavation. The drow hears the faint sounds of breathing. The narrow tunnels open up into the larger intersection where Rikar sees several shapes in the near darkness.
Rikar quietly pads his way back to the party announcing that he had found several githyanki sleeping in the halls beyond, he had counted four. Quickly they organize a plan and Rikar sneaks back with his urgrosh raised high and he attacks. The githyanki wakes and rolls drawing only a light wound while shouting out an alarm and hurls himself into the drow. Vani attacks blasting the intersection but the these githyanki are well-trained and they dive for cover; Rikar absorbs the brunt of the halflings attack along with his opponent but the battle quickly turns against the drow. The other githyanki grab their weapons and attack before anyone can come to Rikar’s aid. The drop the drow warrior in seconds. Bairdyn rushes into to help with Ian but they find themselves outnumbered better than two to one when a fifth githyanki appear from one of the other passages. Psychic energy explodes within the intersection throwing Ian and Bairdyn to the ground and their mind’s are crushed by the fifth githyanki’s attack. Then suddenly Bennie appears in their midst challenging the githyanki to face him.
“Drop yer rusted garbage and die ye pee soaked rotatin’ arse-kissin ‘ washoons. Come orer here and get yerselves a piece!”
The githyanki respond but try as the might they can’t get past the angry dwarf who stands protectively over the hobbit bashing any githyanki that comes near.
Ian drags the fallen drow administering a magical potion of vitality which wakes and heals the drow. Thanks in large part to Bhenedict’s heroism the heroes collect themselves renewing their assault first with well the placed spells of Bingus, Eoffram and Vani, then with the hand-to-hand melee attacks of Ian, Rikar and Bairdyn. Bhenedict never giving an inch to the githyanki warriors but before the heroes can finish with the first group, they become aware of a second group of githyanki further down the tunnels. The second group is better prepared and fully armored. The battle is furious. Never had the heroes faced a squad of githyanki as highly trained and disciplined as the groups within these tunnels. Organized and seeking cover in the side passages the heroes blast ahead forces the githyanki to retreat in the face of their magical assault which the githyanki counter with their own psychic assaults. Eventually the spell casters gain the upper hand and the group pushes forward until they come to a large cavern within which they see the remains of a wizard’s tower, blackened and broken by ancient dragonfire. The tower dominates the cave. The entry tunnel ceiling arches to over 15 feet high in this area. Piles of dirt and stone litter the area, making travel difficult. The cavern is lit by a small fire, where the githyanki had a makeshift camp. The tower is obviously ancient and battered, its broken top extends to the ceiling of the cavern and beyond, badly scared by centuries of abuse. The walls and floor of the cavern are dirt. As the heroes drive back the githyanki, the oldest among them retreats into the damaged tower closing the door behind him.
After carefully opening the secured door. The heroes find the ground floor of the tower seems to have originally been one solid piece of stone but it had evidently fell as a solid piece settling in a slant in the basement when the tower was destroyed with Whitestone. The githyanki has creating a makeshift ramp that now angled downward crossing the chasm. The ramp ends in another large cavern
The heroes descend carefully. Rikar again taking lead, followed by all the others but Rikar is the first to pass over the chasm on narrow ramp. The crevice is 30 feet deep, its bottom is filled with rubble. In the cavern beyond they witness a bizarre display.
The cavern beyond the ramp contains a great sphere of glass exactly 30 feet in diameter. Clearly it had recently been patched and repaired from an older, more beautiful, version of the device. It is made of stained glass the color of the evening sky, and in entire it glowed, with brighter lights flickering from within. At axis point stairs rose along either side.
In front of the sphere an area was set-up as Telicanthus’s secret workshop for creating magical stained glass. A place to construct the communication devices utilized throughout the world after the devices where attuned within the Bitter Glass.
Rikar moved forward with Vani seeking shelter besides Telicanthus’s forge. There delicate, beautiful panes of glass were stacked. The furnace itself was magical, the device generated an intense, smokeless flame. Hidden behind the furnace the two advancing heroes could hear the faint chanting of githyanki located within the Bitter Glass.
Alerted by the elder githyanki, Kle’th the mindslicer sage who had escaped the earlier encounter. Kle’th had also been the githyanki who had located the Bitter Glass. Kle’th had led the githyanki team who had excavated and reconstructed the ancient device using Ishtar’s ancient notes on the Dark Lens. Kle’th did not share the same warrior’s mindset that most of the githyanki had. He was a scholar at heart and would have preferred to be in an astral library rather than these dark tunnels. Having detected the invading heroes three of githyanki move along a barely visible 10-foot wide, 30-long glass balcony that stretches across the interior axis of the Bitter Glass to the stairs that waited at either side and reaching the stairs they charge the heroes.
With the tables turned, and the githyanki being out numbered the battle is joined. Initially the fury of the githyanki attack drives the heroes back almost driving Rikar and Vani into the chasm but Bhenedict responds grabbing one the githyanki and hurling him through the air breaking their line. Halfway to the Bitter Glass Bennies progress is again halted. Ian joins the dwarf with Rikar each of facing-off with a single githyanki warrior. Kle’th backed up the githyanki with psionic attacks but he was in turn engaged by Eoffram in a duel of magic verses psionic warfare. Leaving both Vani and Bingus free to approach the Bitter Glass from either end.
As the magic users approached the glass, doors revealed the glass fading away as they touched it. At either side they looked into the sphere which was full of blue light. A solitary githyanki remained standing on a narrow glass bridge. He looked at the heroes but he continued chanting obviously performing a ritual; his voices echoing strangely in the space. Psychic energy courses up and down the walls of the sphere. Without waiting Vani attacks interrupting the ritual. As the githyanki is forced to cease the ritual, a babbling backlash of psychic energy attacks everyone within the cavern; their minds, erupt in an blinding intense pain that dazes everyone throughout the cavern. In the city of Sayre beyond the strong suffer headaches, the infirm collapse and babies howl. Everywhere the people become aware that something is wrong. Telicanthus more than anyone knows what has happened, as others wonder he calls Pennel to him and uncharacteristically begins ordering everyone out of the mansion.
Being better prepared for the psychic assault of the Bitter Glass the githyanki in the cavern rally and renew their attacks even as the whine of the Bitter Glass intensifies. Blue lightning plays across the surface of the sphere. Inside Vani participates in a life and death struggle but never doubts himself or his friend Bingus. Bingus studies the glass both fascinated and alarmed, he steps within the ritual circle constructed in the central axis of the sphere and focusing he tries to suppresses the energy playing across the exterior of the globe. Immediately the energy starts feeding into the gnome and simultaneously he becomes aware of different minds and conversations taking place all over the world, and even into the planes beyond. Sorting through the voices, Bingus wrestles to identify any one of them keying on to anything vaguely familiar. First, he finds his enemy, the Stone-skinned King, and then the dwarf merchant, Bram. Another wave of energy bursts from the Bitter Glass, larger and more powerful than the first. Vani yells desperately, “Focus, Bingus … You can do this!”
Finding himself, Bingus mentally shuts-down the voices concentrating on the Bitter Glass itself. Beyond his focus, Vani summons a powerful burst of thunder and lightning hurling his githyanki opponent from the glass and sending of force that develops fissures within the glass skin of the globe.
“That’s it!” yells Bingus. “You need to destroy the sphere, I won’t be able to control it indefinitely. Hit it with everything you’ve got!”
Outside the Bhenedict, Ian and Rikar find themselves standing victorious over the dead githyanki. They attack the Bitter Glass from outside, but there attacks do nothing to the artifact which responds with a backlash of energy that knock them to the floor stunning them. In the mansion above Lord Torrance seizes the moment telling the General to arrest Telicanthus. The General as moves in Pennel intercepts him preventing any assault upon Telicanthus. Telicanthus sneers and moves toward the Governor with ill intent when out of nowhere Arryk is there and he hurls the githyanki noble to the ground.
Within the sphere Vani’s assault upon the sphere continues, the halfling unleashing immense energy blasting at the both the githyanki and the sphere. Almost immediately the mindslicer in consumed. Beads of sweat bead on Bingus’s brow as he contains the incredible energy of the sphere fulfilling the role he was born for and bearing witness to Vani’s ecstasy of destruction. In the end, the two spell casters are to much for the Bitter Glass and it explodes shattering into countless shards dropping the two smallest spell casters to the earthen ground 15 feet below.
When the heroes emerge from the tunnels they find that Telicanthus has escaped and that he is on the run. Lord Torrance explores the ruins of the Bitter Glass and he reveals that Telicanthus was actually a spy. In a few days, as the truth spreads the locals begin to realized the extent of the githyanki’s deceits especially upon the githzerai. The city of Sayre becomes more accepting and tolerant. Governor Torrance seizes ownership of Telicanthus’s mansion and everything in it for the city, and offers its use to Odos and the githzerai.
General Alvro immediately increases the city guard and begins planning for various contingencies. In addition, with the githyanki invaders reeling from the loss of their communication web, the Seven Platinum Shields act quickly and turns to their prime sources of information—Amyria, the seven leader and the adventurers—for input on their next course of action. Of course, Amyria has a plan she has been working on with Fariex, a plan that requires the active participation of the heroes . . .