Part 65: InterludeInterlude:
The Tavern of Broken Dreams (Music)
"What's gotten the gith's knickers in a knot?" Mikon bellows drunkenly, "Tha' Dak'kon sounds like a fine warrior, 'e does... 'oo needs to concern 'imself o'er a pile o' moldy ole words on a platter?"
Epetrius' sharp nose wrinkles in disdain, "Good Harmonium officer, I grant you the benefit of a doubt that you wouldn't say such things when sober, since that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. And that is speaking as a member of the Fraternity of Order (as well as Twenty-Fifth of Two Hundred and Twelve Keepers of the Keys of the Eighteenth Great Library in Mechanus and High Scribe to the Libris Occultis on the Prime World of Tedrecon), for I will say that I have sifted through my share of nonsense by merely rifling through the first three alcoves of the Great Library."
Out of the corner of your eye you've been noticing the yellow-skinned gith slipping in. They came in small groups, huddled together and dressed in austere orange-grey robes. Their faces are stern, their weapons simple. One carries a halberd whose blade shifted and flowed, blue as the sea one moment and silver-green the next. Without a doubt she is a zerth, perhaps one returning from a rrakkma band from the way she stands so proudly. Naturally, the githzerai, perhaps ten to fifteen in all, crowd against the wall of one end of the tavern, while the githyanki do the same on the other.
The tarnished side of the coin had always sent a chill down your spine. You had served with githzerai before, fine, noble warriors. But the githyanki...
Where the githzerai listen with meditative calm, the githyanki stand tense, chuckling at some points, snarling and spitting at others. Their clothing is elaborate to the point of gaudiness. Their tattoos, piercings, and slitted ears mark a high resistance (or perhaps love of) pain. Needle-tipped teeth jut through their skeletal maws and their eyes are beady and black as a fiend's heart.
You sip your drink. It's a wonder the two groups haven't burst into fighting by now.
"Githzerai dogs!" one of the githyanki spits, "They never should have been cut from the leashes of their illithid masters!"
"Githyanki rats," the zerth proclaims calmly, "unfit to feed even the fungal fields."
Though some in the crowd that had been seated between the two rival groups shift uneasily, most merely sit back and wait for Epetrius to continue. Perhaps they are Clueless, or powerful adventurers, or they have full trust in Shara Six-Blades to break up any brawl between the two rival groups. If a fight did break out, githzerai and githyanki alike would have to carve a path through a hundred densely-packed patrons to get at each other.
"Now, to append your statement, good Harmonium officer," Epetrius nudges his spectacles back on the bridge of his nose, "It should be quite clear to any planar that thought shapes the planes. To begin with, material substance is produced by the Inner planes: the four basic elements along with the forces of creation and destruction. These filter through the ethereal, condensing to become the Prime worlds like an infinite multitude of dewdrops at the dawn of the Multiverse. The worlds give rise to sentient life, and the Prime, acting at this point as the junction between material and ideal substance, give rise to thought and idea. Beliefs bud and branch through the latticework of the Astral, into the Outer planes.
"To any planar with a whit of thought it therefore becomes clear that thought is a potent force, especially in the Great Ring. I recall a colleague of mine, Factor Guthren Yevedrenski... bright fellow, I must say... he once wrote a thesis regarding the top-down control of sentient thought and how it might trickle down the nascent cascade of-"
A half-full bottle of wine shatters on the back wall of the stage.
"But regarding the githzerai in particular," Factor Epetrius flicks a sliver of broken glass from his shoulder. Xoraskavitt perches on the stage and gestures, adding pantomime and motion to the Guvner's words, "Clarity of thought is their lifeblood. Githzerai blades are honed by focus. History paves their streets and traditions are the bricks and mortar of their temples. I do not mean to be poetic, quite the contrary. Indeed, the Nameless One would soon discover this for himself..."