Githzerai have won
the battle price oh so high
they live one more day
The Fall of Akma’ad – Pt
2: Odos Escapes
The great dragon Xirakis
flies from Akma’ad as the dust settles, the screams of the dying fading behind
Within the besieged fortress of Akma’ad, Odos has the githzerai organized into
three units to hold the fortress as long as possible. The githyanki had been
dealt a terrible blow but Odos knows their fate still hangs in the balance.
Outside some githyanki had escaped the avalanche having been screened by the
cliff’s overhang. Even now, with single-minded focus they massed and renewed
their attack with determination that few besides the githyanki or githzerai
On the cliff, above the fray
the half-orc Jerid looked down on the devastation below–a reflection of his
own soul. Still wondering what had become of his brother, Shaden, and confused
as to how Shaden had become involved in these matters, here for a second time
in his search for Shaden a githzeria fortress was somehow involved.
Near Jerid, on the west tower
located on the cavern overhang Bairdyn and Bhenedict searched for a way down to
the battle still raging below while on the east tower Vani followed the dragon
watching it disappear in the distance as it flew to the south of the fortress.
On the ground below two great
ships lay crushed and burning one atop the other. Neither ship would ever fly
again, both were severely damaged. The stolen Sacrifice, on top of the
pile, was where both Ian and Tokk’it were taking cover on a terrace located off
the captain’s cabin in the stern of the ship. They were hiding from the Conqueror’s captain and a pair of githyanki warmongers now standing on the deck of the
burning Conqueror near the gunwales; they had appeared only long enough
for the captain to quickly run into her cabin and exiting she had spotted Ian
and the heroic githzerai scout.
Zardoz was also still on the Sacrifice,
but no one had seen him. He was carefully avoiding flames that were quickly
spreading over the deck.
Within Akma’ad, the githzerai had accepted their impending doom, with
the understanding that they would make the githyanki victory a costly one, but
that was before the heroes from Overlook had shown up with their unexpected
assistance. Now blind Odos knew that the things outside of the fortress had
changed. All the githzerai knew the avalanche had somehow been triggered. They
had felt the boulders fall; they had heard the screams of their hated foes.
Their blind master, Most Exalted Odos from the House of Reprisal, knew more;
but most certainly, they were still close to losing, but hope had been
rekindled and so with the defensive landslide triggered Odos had ordered the
weak, those githzerai too young or too infirm to secure themselves deep within
the bowels of the fortress while he set the remaining cenobites at the east
doors where the githyanki had breached the fortress while the elder himself
prepared to deal with a second impending breach at the west door.
The battle had already been
raging for more than a full day and night, and even before the githyanki had
attacked in mass, a gish assassin had managed to infiltrate the fortress with a
team of killers. They had assassinated several key githzerai leaders but they
had failed to surprise Odos who almost single-handedly killed them. Only their leader
had escaped his wrath. The attack had been devastating leaving Odos the only
surviving member of a group of githzerai leaders that had been meeting at
Akma’ad. Over the course of the battle githyanki troops had broken through the
githzerai’s defenses several times and entered the fortress, but each time they
had eventual been rebuffed by the githzerai. Currently the two and a half dozen
githyanki that survived the downfall were outside still plotting the githzerai
demise. Even in the face of the devastating landfall, they were still keeping
their military formation and launching new attacks while working on a final
assault utilizing a passwall ritual.
As the Conqueror was
being engulfed by flames, its captain, Iquel, looked upward suddenly seeing both Ian and Tokk’it at the stern
of the Sacrifice positioned above her and her lieutenants. Quickly, both
the Captain and her cronies take to air telekinetically flying to the deck of
the Sacrifice. Landing, they spot Zardoz on the forecastle of the
vessel. Iquel orders one of the lieutenants to chase down the wizard, while she
and the second move to deal with Ian and Tokk’it. Then she teleports herself
beyond the two heroes allowing her lieutenant to flank them. The Captain
herself is then spotted by Vani on the cliff above and both Vani and Jerid
launch attacks of their own. Their distraction allows Zardoz an opportunity to
magically turn himself invisible and he flees walking a tightrope down the Sacrifice’s ramming spike and making his way to the ground below. Vani blasts the Captain
knocking her from the stern terrace and she tumbles out of control toward the
ground. Ian interposes himself between the lieutenant and Tokk’it, and bolsters
his own defenses with his psionic prowess.
Still weak from his previous
exploits, Tokk’it retreats over the edge, but the second lieutenant having lost
Zardoz spots the githzeria as he descends and blasts him with a psychic attack
causing Tokk’it to lose consciousness and fall. Luckily, he becomes tangled in
the lines which save his life.
Having boosted his defenses
to a point of near invulnerability Ian mocks the lieutenants and calls out to
the Captain in a puerile way she finds most revolting insuring that they would
After casting his spells,
winds rise lifting Vani into the air and the halfling sorcerer flies to the
ground below hoping to joining the fray. He lands in the cover afforded by the
boulders just in front of the fortress. Soon Jerid joins him using his own
magic to descend.
Within the fortress Odos shouts over the sounds of fighting, “I hear the
chanting, the ritual is almost complete. Prepare yourselves, there will be no
quarter given. Chen, prepare yourself, I will make space for you to the east.”
counter attack by the side of one of the crashed ships and the angle of the
walls, another small group of githyanki work on the ritual next to the walls at
the west door
of the fortress. Shock troopers guard this group.
Odos turns to the east doors
of Akma’ad, those that had already been breached by the githyanki. At that
entrance the githzerai cenobites had pushed the githyanki back outside of the
fortress and still clashed with the githyanki shock troop, their sky reavers
and other assorted pirates. The blind githzerai suddenly reaches out, his
muscles binding and clenching as his fingers stretch out, extending, then as he
curls his fingers like claws, lightning rushes outward from Odos’s core rippling
through and out of his arms, arcing towards the githyanki warriors. His energy
rips into the githyanki splitting into three prongs, instantly as githyanki are
struck, they vanish only to reappear within the fortress where they are surrounded
by the githzerai. Without hesitation Chen leaps over the cenobites into the
front line sweeping his guan dao through the press of githyanki who fall like
so much dried chaff showering Chen in their hot blood. The few that survive the
onslaught are quickly dispatched by Odos’s human bodyguard, Zed the slayer.
With the east way cleared
Odos offers, “Zed, your service is complete, leave while you are able. Chen,
you too should leave.”
Chen asks, “What of you
“I must defend the others,”
answers the elder.
“And I must guard you,
master,” answers Chen.
Zed asks Chen, “Who is
outside fighting the githyanki?”
Standing outside the east
door Chen sees Ian and explains, “I see but one young man and I don’t recognize
On the other side of the
fortress, on the west side, Bairdyn and Bhenedict descend from the cliff on
ropes they had tied together and fixed onto the west tower on the cliff above. They
cautiously drop the 65 feet to the deck of the
githyanki ship Tyranny which lies
crashed outside of the fortress. That ship had been brought down by
concentrated githzerai attacks even before the heroes had arrived. As they descend they see the dead
littering the battlefield then suddenly caught off-guard, they are whizzed by ballista
fire as some of the githyanki stragglers from the Tyranny take aim and
fire. Throwing care to the wind the friends half slide and half drop the rest
of the way to the deck of the ship. As Bhenedict orients himself on the slanted
deck of the Tyranny Bairdyn attacks but in short order the pair is
surrounded by githyanki. They are outnumbered two to one.
Benny yells a prophetic
warning, “You better go get some friends!”
Beyond the broken ship,
amidst the dead and the rubble caused by the avalanche a large blur appears,
something like a heat mirage but then a voice powerful and full of bass,
explodes, magnified by arcane power and in answer a terrifying ball of fire
erupts from the blurred cloud. The ball of fire explodes upon the githyanki at
the west door, their burning bodies fly through the air. Only a few of the
githyanki, those on the periphery of the blast are spared. The survivors race
towards their obscured opponent, and as they approach their target becomes
clearer until they can make out the outline of the sorcerer, Jerid who had
attacked them. Quickly they aim and fire using crossbows. Their aim is true and
the manage to cripple the half-orc, but even as they do Jerid’s heat overcomes
them and several collapse leaving only the strongest among them to rally a
final attack. Gracefully the githyanki sky reavers fly and dance over the
boulders as they race towards Jerid but sudden their progress is interrupted as
Vani rises from his hiding place amid the rocks and blasts the sky reavers to
oblivion inadvertently catching Jerid in his blast. Jerid staggers then falls
disappearing in the pile of rocks.
Having chased Ian from one
side of the burning ships to the other Iquel and her lieutenants find
themselves alone and surrounded by Ian, Zardoz, Chen, and Zed with over a dozen
githzerai survivors, including Most Exalted Odos of the House of Reprisal.
Without hesitation the githzerai attack the lieutenants, both are slain. They
are about to slay the pirate captain, Iquel, when Ian interposes himself, “No,
she is a valuable prisoner of war. We can show we are better than they are by
not just killing them but offering mercy when it isn’t deserved. Besides which
she might be able to give us valuable information. She isn’t a threat now; she
The surviving githzerai, many
of them wounded, gather around the old blind githzerai who seems as aware of
his surroundings as if he could still see. The monk speaks in a rough tone.
While Odos discuss the matters at hand approaching from the rear of the party Bennie finally catches his breath clucking between breaths to Bairdyn, “Scurrying down an open cliff wall by rope while worrying that some slob is gonna skewer you like last night’s kabob takes a lot out of you but at least we are alive again, eh Bairdyn."
Not waiting for the halfling’s reply Benny glares mischievously towards his even shorter companion, "It looks like we have beaten the odds – ship combat, without seas, flying dragons . . ."
"Falling dwarves," interjects Bairdyn pointing out, "you sounded like a cupboard full of dishes breaking when you hit the ground."
The friends conversation is interrupted by the ’glare’ of the old blind githzerai as he addresses the surviving githzerai, “We’re alive. I don’t know how they knew we were here, but the cost was high. Too high. Both Kath’ik and Wellik are dead, along with dozens of our brothers and sisters. We lost the abbot and most of the monastery. Our conference is finished. Now I must decide our path.”
With an almost undetectable grimace, the stoic githzerai turns his empty eye sockets toward the lines of dead and wounded.
Benny whispers to Bairdyn under his breath, "I think our path is already decided"
Odos continues “Gather your belongings. In the morning we travel to Sayre. There is a conference there I am obligated to attend before we depart for home.”
He pauses and turns his sightless gaze towards the heroes.
"Yea," the hobbit replies with a wistful whispering to Bhenedict, "We will be walking out of here, cause these ships look broken, and it will be a long walk."
“You aren’t githzerai, but you fought for us. Who are you?” asks Odos.
“We’re alive. I don’t know
how they knew we were here, but the cost was high. Too high. Both Kath’ik and
Wellik are dead, along with dozens of our brothers and sisters. We lost the
abbot and most of the monastery. Our conference is finished. Now I must decide
Ian steps forward, consideres for a moment and then replies, "No one of consequence."
Pressing Ian, Odos says, "I must know…"
Ian counters, "Get used to disappointment."
Odos nods, "Disappointments are to the soul what the thunder-storm is to the air. Thank you for your wise words. You have been trained with a master. How should I name you?"
Ian’s face clearly reveals the sadness he feels as he answers, "Some among us are called the Brindol Brigade and some have journeyed from as far as Mendelland. I am Ian Whitestone of Sayre, and speaking for us all, we are saddened that we were not able to be here sooner and thus perhaps save more of your fellows. Your student, Tokk’it, was able to find us and bring us here as quickly as able, and he nearly gave up his life to power a stolen githyanki ship to us on his own. Apparently Tokk’it, heard of our previous conflict with the githyanki, and sought us out hoping to find an allies. Ultimately he was successful and he explained your dire situation and we were anxious to rallying against a common foe, but more to the point we have come to find ourselves acting as defenders of all who are set upon in these troubled times in this, the Elsir Vale. We have come to give you such succor such as we are able."
Odos replies, "In enduring, we grow strong. Thank you for your assistance. Though their loss saddens us, it is but the beginning of a new journey."
Ian continues, "We do not know your customs. Do you need assistance with your dead? Did you say you are going to Sayre; what conference are you attending there? As I mentioned, I am from Sayre, perhaps I could accompany you and provide you with companionship or an extra sword-arm should you be attacked again. Also, you say you don’t know how the githyanki knew you were here? Were you in hiding?"
Answering Odos says, “We, the other githzerai leaders and myself had planned this meeting at Akma’ad to discuss whether or not to accept an invitation in Sayre to meet with a newly formed coalition of ‘humans’ from other regions of the world concerned with the extent of the githyanki invasion. As for those past, we prefer to leave nothing but the wisdom we’ve shared to mark or passing through this realm, all else we return to the source of all that is. We will gather those past, githzerai and githyanki alike and prepare them for their journey.”
“Forty-seven have survived the attack, many of whom are injured, but my presents here threatens all. Yet all travel to Sayre. The most direct route is the path that passes through the Shunned Hills, and that way will not be kind to the injured who will be carried upon carts thus we will have need to divide once more. I will travel alone on the quicker more dangerous path while the others travel around the hills through the more civilized lands. Zed and Chen will see to them safety through these lands.”
Gallia interjects, “Most Exalted one, surely you know we can not send you without guard.”
Tokk’it speaks up, “Master … allowing me to be of use, I am nothing if not a scout and I know these people now. Ian is a brave companion and while he has spoken kindly of me I have done not but my duty and my abilities pale before his own. Truthfully he is not only from Sayre but he has told me he is the son of the city’s ruler. Is this not a sign that we should be traveling with him?”
Irritated, Odos replies, “What concern is our plight to these squabbling ‘humans’ they are so divided in purpose and goal that they can not even help themselves. Our very meeting here at Akma’ad was to decide if we would attend their meeting of ‘coalition’. In truth I was against it though now I see little choice. I will need to reach out to their ‘Lords of Mendelland’ that the way might be made clear for our exit from this mortal plane.”
Turning once again Odos addresses Ian, “You appear wiser than most humans, we find ourselves indebted to you for your timely assistance and the protection your city has offered. It would be foolish of me not to accept your offer.”
“Tokk’it you can come too; he is your friend now.”
“And what of Gallia?” asks Tokk’it.
“Yes, Gallia and a handful of guards will travel with us, but the rest must accompany the infirm,” answers Odos.
Ian offers, “Most Exalted Master, my friends are hailed as heroes throughout these lands, perhaps they can ease the travels of your injured, I know of none more heroic than Brindol‘s Brigade. As for the Lords of Mendelland, both Vani and Zardoz are native sons of Mendelland. Zardoz is the son of Lord Magnus himself, and Vani is apprenticed to Ishtar the Lord of gateways and travel.”
“Very well, we accept your assistance, perhaps you can see to your own organization, though it sounds as your Vani should travel with me to negotiate the gates of this mortal realm and be certain to see to the safety of those weakened by the battle. As for any who would travel with me, know that we will be traveling quickly, and with no delay; further it is likely the githyanki will give chase,” answers Odos.
“Ah .. Right, Master Odos. And do you know by what means they have tracked you?” asks Ian again.
“The githyanki attacked without warning, and they sent strike teams to the personal chambers of all the githzerai leaders within Akma‘ad, it appeared that they knew exactly who to attack and where each was staying. Someone fed them information on the layout of Akma’ad, as well as the names of the leaders present. I was spared only because I stepped outside and heard the team of assassins in my room on my way back. I surprised the squad of three and defeated them but there were no survivors to question. One of the githyanki assassins in my room had a small device held in her hand. She was speaking into this object when I surprised her.”
Odos holds out a small reflective item, it looks like a piece of dark green glass.