In Naas, City of Silks, locals mourn the death of Addafir of the Jewels, a kindly merchant and breeder of prize silk-spiders. Addafir and his wife had no children, so instead he chose to build a different sort of legacy. The spider-merchant became a patron of adventurers, paying out rewards for heroes who helped those who couldn’t afford to reward their saviors. Among those invited to his funeral are former associates Aya and Abd Al-Rashid.
Aya and Abd take the Twist of Fate to Naas with Mashaar’s blessing. They arrive the night before Addafir’s funeral. Kismet joins them ashore, interested in taking a little leave in the City fo Silks. Abd spends the evening in sober contemplation, while Aya wanders off to listen to the web-harps peculiar to the city. Kismet cannot resist gambling, and spends four or five hands at a couple of games — long enough to arouse suspicion, but leaving before knives are drawn. She then takes her winnings to the midnight markets to see what silken goods she might purchase.
The next morning, the three visit Addafir’s manse before the funeral. They mingle with some of the other guests, many of them other adventurers, plenty retired. Addafir’s widow Ilmiri remembers each of them, and politely thanks them for their attendance.
The funeral is held on one of the larger and more lavish terraces of Naas. Several members of the public also show up to pay their respects. Trouble breaks out, though, when the veiled funeral dancers draw knives, and then leap into the crowd, lashing out indiscriminately!
Many of the adventurers in attendance still carry arms, and fight back against the dancers. Abd gets into a melee with two of them that dance back and forth, striking at him and then retreating to allow their partner an opening. Kismet vanishes into the crowd as a knife thrower targets her, and the two exchange hurled blades.
Abd manages to strike down one of the elusive dancers first. After a pair of small bolts of lightning, Aya breathes out a bitter northern wind, freezing the knife-thrower. Kismet then reemerges from the crowd, feinting at the other dancer and then following with a decisive stab between the ribs.
The battle dies down. The dancers clearly picked a fight with a dangerous crowd; most lie slain, though a few are unconscious or otherwise subdued. Abd looks them over, and finds some hints that they’ve been enspelled. The dancers also carry tattoos that mark them as members of Naas’ local assassin brotherhood, the Doomspinners. But such a suicidal attack on a funeral is very out of character for them.
Aya, Kismet, and Abd talk again with the widow Ilmiri. She suspects it’s likely someone is trying to drive her away from her husband’s former practice of spending coin to bankroll heroic efforts — he did make a number of enemies. The Doomspinners shouldn’t be among them, however. And if anyone was ensorcelling their members and driving them to such a suicidal attack, they probably will want to talk about it.
Kismet volunteers to make contact with the assassins. Her street-savvy does win her an audience with a Doomspinner — but unfortunately, he recognizes her in a poor way. She ends up sitting at a table while he aims a concealed dart-thrower at her. “I remember you from that game last night.”
The elf does her best to explain that she didn’t cheat, she’s just supernaturally lucky. She manages to convince him, and he does admit that an audience is possible. But she’ll have to do something for him — win a game of his choice, at a time of his choice. She agrees, and he puts together a quick contract to seal the bargain.
The three adventurers meet that evening in a library, where the Doomspinner spokeswoman is going through a number of scrolls. She acts clearly irritated by the recent events. The “employer” who enchanted her assassins was one Talyesha of the Emerald Veil, a local spider-mage who attempted to obscure her tracks to no avail. Talyesha, she notes, is likely sympathetic to the Ascending Flame, who had lost a few schemes to Addafir’s meddling. Abd requests that the Doomspinners not intervene, and he won’t hurt any of their people. Though unimpressed by the implied threat, the assassin matron agrees — they’re short-handed now, and why not let some others take the risk first?
They proceed to the address provided, to a fine house on a higher tier on one of Naas’ steeper cliffs. Abd kicks in the door without ceremony, and the three file into the home. They find her on the balcony — a tall, stiff woman with a green veil, flanked by a spider the size of a saluki and a lumpy form obscured by robes.
Abd opens with a threat, demanding an explanation. The affronted spider-mage concedes only a bit, admitting that she was ordered to carry out the attack.
“I’ll destroy the person who gave the order,” promises Abd.
She scoffs. “You?”
The paladin lunges forward at that, his temper past its limit. She throws out an arcane web, slowing him but not stopping him from engaging. Aya hurls a thunderbolt after them, and the figure to Talyesha’s right disrobes, revealing the misshapen arachnid features of an ettercap. It bounds after the genasi, fangs slavering.
Aya hurts the ettercap with a handful of storm, despite the nasty bite. Kismet takes her blade to the giant spider. Talyesha, still reeling from Abd’s strike, attempts to get away from him; but he interposes his blade, and strikes her from the balcony. She falls away into the Naas evening. The ettercap starts at the loss, and leaps away from Aya to scramble up onto the roof. The spider also flees after a brutal stab from Kismet, skittering over the balcony and down the fliff. Aya freezes it before it can get too far, and the icy shell clings to the wall for some time.
Abd spends hours searching for Talyesha’s body, but is deeply unhappy when he can’t find it. Before they flee her house, the others manage to bring away a letter from her correspondence, referring to the funeral. There is no name on the signature — simply an arcane sigil. Aya and Abd find it most likely that this is the private mark of one of the Ascending Flame’s elite.