…by the Githyanki.
Relvain Blackaxe laughed as Shadowfox fell face-first into her salad.
“Did you think to poison a dwarf with your sleeping draughts?” she mused, as Droeth turned into an Oni. “And Krasire here doesn’t even have a mouth. How did you imagine he might succumb to your poison?”
Then the guards attending the Githyanki ambassador transformed as well. Relvain could see from the look on his face — as he sniffed at his food — that he had never known his guards were Rakshasa: a race usually allied with the pirates of the Astral Plane, the Githyanki.
Bram Ironfell knew the food was poisoned as soon as he tasted it. He also knew something more terrifiying: The Githyanki had betrayed him. Droeth transformed into an Oni Spiritmaster, enough to suggest the Githyanki were behind the poison by itself. When his own guard transformed into Rakshasa Warriors, he knew Emperor Zetch’r’r was behind it. The Githyanki overlord had enlisted Bram in his plan to bring war and conquest across the planes. “What manner of betrayal is this?” he demanded. But the Oni only laughed about how slow his diplomacy was proceeding.
Krasire decided to show the Spiritmaster just how powerful diplomacy could be: He used his Keys to the City power to convince Bram Ironfell that being an ambassador to an emperor who would poison his own diplomats was not a worthy title.
He suspected Bram might have long harbored doubts about working with the Githyanki. Apparently the Emperor Zetch’r’r harbored doubts of his own. Krasire knew what a prize the Seed of Winter might be. And the portals the emperor sought to use in the domain of Cachlain were valuable as well.
With the Oni Spiritmaster laughing in Bram’s face, it probably wouldn’t have taken much to convince the ambassador to renounce his post and fight on behalf of the Alliance…
…even knowing the Alliance itself might never forgive his treason.
But the Masked Lord — Krasire — offered the dwarf the Keys to the City of Waterdeep anyway.
And that sealed the deal.
Then he turned to wake up Shadowfox.
Who was still snoring in his salad.
Belinda still hadn’t told her parents about Jerath’s — very public — offer. Asking her to star in his next production might be just what they wanted: a way to keep her close to Sayre and away from the action. Then again, maybe they would forbid it. Theatrical people had a bad reputation in some places — not Sayre, of course. They might think it inappropriate for a Lord Warden’s daughter. Belinda was not sure which reaction would make her madder.
All Cain could remember was the Githyanki ambassador accusing the Droeth of betrayal — Droeth? the laconic Cyclops had transformed into a Oni of some sort before the accusations started flying.
Now Krasire was slapping her, and the banquet of ambassadors had erupted into a brawl…
…with the Githyanki ambassador some how on their side.
“This is my kind of dinner party,” she thought as she saw four Howling Spirits appear behind the Oni.
They took down the Oni — a Spiritmaster, apparently — first. The Oni consumed its Howling Spirits even faster than they were able to kill them. “Doesn’t pay to be the minion of an evil master,” she thought.
After that they concentrated on the Rakshasa and took them down one at a time. Cain noticed Relvain was doing a good job of convincing all of the Githyanki agents to attack her. And fending off those attacks most of the time.
“Good to have a talented tank.”
Searching the bodies they found 300 platinum pieces and a Circlet of the Resolute Mind, which left Krasire facing the difficult choice as to which of his two headpieces he should wear.
Cain found himself wishing he had such problems.