Monthly Archives: July 2012

SOW Chapter12: The Hunt for the Githyanki – Garaithas Anvil

The Hunt for the Githyanki – Garaithas Anvil

Knick Knack Snicker Snack
waves of githyanki fall fast

giants like timber

Garaithas Anvil

Adventurers 

 


Trellara“Finellior,
neither you nor these adventurers have the authority to direct the Coalition as
a whole according to the whims of the day. I move that this war council be
dissolved at once, and that we return to Sayre for a full debate.”


Bejam“We
should not be so hasty to dismiss the opportunity which has been presented. We
now have the Well of the Worlds, but we cannot truly control its full power
without one of the four githyanki keys. Thanks to Haryssus and Finellior, we now
know where to find one of these keys. My own arcane prowess has already enabled
me to spy upon the githyanki using the most minor of the Well’s remarkable
powers. I have located Garaithas Anvil, and with time and Haryssus’s assistance
I believe I can us the power of the Well to transport a group, or groups of
heroes, to the githyanki military outpost, but it are large and well-defended.
My scrying has also revealed that for now our presence here, remarkably, has as
of yet gone undetected, but this cannot last, nor can we hope to close off the
Well to the githyanki without one of their keys. I do not believe we have the
luxury of time on our side.”


Odos“Bah,
the githyanki, do not wait, they kill, conquer, destroy, there is no confusion
here. They are not worried about your Coalition. It takes courage to defeat
them, not only the courage to listen, but the courage speak and the courage to
act. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; the optimist sees
opportunity in every difficulty. Trellara, you are wise, but you are wrong;
danger, when met promptly and without hesitation is reduced by half. Against the
githyanki you must never run away. Never!"

“… I will not be a party to it.”

Odos rips his own glowing platinum medallion from his
chest, his token of office from the Coalition, and hands it to Finellior.

“This is a war that will be won or lost by
warriors, not ambassadors.”

Turning towards the heroes, Odos shakes the hands of
the assembled, recognized, members of the Brigade, Fin, Bingus, Vani and Chen
each in turn bowing slightly to each in acknowledgement of their service.

In closing Odos adds, “The Brigade has earned
and won my support. What would you have me do?”
as he pins his medallion
upon Finellior’s chest.

 

Garaithas Anvil – Arrival



Captain BirkeniIn
the cold open mountain air of the Crooked Spine, Finellior gives the final order
to commence. Captain Birkeni signals Bejam who in turn notifies Bingus and the
Nefelus mages to begin activating their newly created planar portals. Across the
rough mountainside surrounding the Fane of the Chanhiir, flares of white lights
slice through the early darkness. Within those lights, hazy images of the
githyanki shipyard flash to life—windowless stone buildings, and open spaces
between them thronging with both githyanki and their giant servants.

In the center of these proceedings the most elite
group of five heroes stands waiting with the Birkeni, the Captain of Thiradith.
Surrounding them five score more heroes, ‘The Hundred’ stand ready for their own
opportunity to finally attack the githyanki on their own turf.

The attack on Garaitha’s Anvil was to be a broad
assault through a dozen portals fired simultaneously. The plan was for the
heroes of the Hundred to hit the githyanki hard, causing enough chaos to allow
the small group of six elite heroes to successfully penetrate deep into the
shipyard and undertake the true, desperate mission—breaking into the specific
repair facility where the githyanki Admiral Kada’ne and his flagship waited, in
hopes of capturing the Admiral’s controlling key to the Well of the Worlds, for
only with this key could Bejam hope to wrestle the control of the Well from it’s
githyanki masters.

Earlier that proceeding day …

“Finellior, I would have a word with you.”
asserts Captain Birkeni.

“What can I do for you Captain?”
asks the bard.

“I would to offer my assistance, if you and
your friends, brave heroes all, would have me.”

“But you are the Captain of Thiradith, are you
not?”
asks Finellior confused.

“I have already released my command to my 2nd,
it is my expectation that I will likely never return to Thiradith; I would
rather die a hero rather than continuing my duties there.”

answers the Captain.

“Ours is no suicide mission, we’ve no place for
that among us. Each of us needs to counts on each other. Success means returning
with the key.”
responds Finellior.

“You misread my meaning … I’ve giving my leave
from Thiradith, but I’ve no death wish. I mean to do my own part. You have no
need to question me or my service, you have only to ask. In all candidness and
humility, you need me; I daresay my skill at arms is unmatched within the
assembly of your party. Still I admit I’ve my own shortcomings, those that
brought me to Thiradith in the first place. I was sent to Thiradith because I
saved a girl. She was beautiful and I was in love. Her name is Sparrowhawk, but
she was promised to another, she’d been bought and sold to a wealthy merchant
lord of the City of Seven Dark Delights. I couldn’t let that happen, she was
pure and wild, a savage elf of Trellara’s own ilk, and she was also a princess
too, a daughter to one of the elves chieftains, Que Shu. I could never win her
myself but she deserved better. I freed her and my reward has been my sentence
at Thiradith, but I deserve freedom now, just as she did then, both of us for a
higher, better purpose than that fate has dealt us. I will never be free as long
as I convalesce within the walls of Thiradith.”

Considering, Fin replies, “I welcome you,
stories of your skill proceed you; your men have told me your skill, they say it
is unmatched in their ranks, but as I said we are fully expecting that we will
return, this is no suicide mission. We do not need anyone with a death wish nor
do we have any need of a mission commander. We fight and defend ourselves in an
unconventional freeform style best suited to our abilities. Could you do that?”

Birkeni responds, “And more, yes … you have to
but clear me the opportunity, I will see you safely to your goal, and I will see
the mission through to a victorious conclusion and you and yours will be safer
for my presence.”

“I am composing the team now … I will consider
you request along with all the others, and it is a surprisingly short list, and
I assure everyone will be able to hold their own. Our success is essential. What
became of Sparrowhawk?”
inquiries Fin.

“I love Sparrowhawk still, but in the end she
chose another, but that changes nothing. At least the choice was hers. I offer
my service freely, to you, and this worlds lost lords. I’ve no ill will … not
for her nor her chosen lover. His name is Riverwind and he is among the Hundred.
He too is an honorable warrior, and a man of her own tribe. I now find my own
peace in service. I am eager to see an end to this conflict. I thank fate, for
bringing you to my doorstep. I am well prepared for this opportunity.”

answers Birkeni.

“Your words carry great weight with me; I
cannot deny you Captain … Welcome to the Brigade.”

concludes Finellior.

Later that evening, Finellior seeks out the githzerai
elder Odos to discuss the upcoming mission. Respectfully speaking in Deep Speech
Finellior says, “Exalted One, I thank you for the confidence, you have
shown me over these past days, it has been humbling and a great honor.
Hopefully, I am living up to your expectations. Among everyone here at
Thiradith, only Haryssus knows more about the githyanki than you, and either of
you knows more that the rest of us put together, but of you two, only are a
fighter, a warrior, and you have fought the githyanki longer than any of the
rest of us have lived. I have no right to ask this of you, but if I don’t I
would be falling short of the confidence you demonstrated when you pinned your
badge of office upon me if I didn’t ask you to accompany us. Master Odos, I know
that as a githzerai you will be a target, even traveling with us, but if we are
to have our best chance of success, you must accompany us.”

“The githyanki should fear you, not the other
way around. Your concern for my safety only further demonstrates your ignorance,
or worse you are purposely insulting me which would be both unwise and dangerous
welcoming defeat even before you have begun. I am Master of the House of
Reprisal, our goal is the strong, and often violent retaliation for the crimes
committed by the githyanki soul sucking githyanki. Still, I suppose you would be
less pathetic with my assistance and you and your allies, foolish though you are
have shown resolve. Unasked you came to our aid, and you shall be repaid in full
now. It is high time for the githyanki to pay. You have only to promise me only
that your friend will not run, or retreat and I will aid you, running not only
brings dishonor, but against the githyanki retreat precedes death. They know no
fear, no mercy. If we are to succeed you must accept this, and move beyond mercy
yourself. It is the nature of this battle.”

“Thank you, Master Odos … I will see it is so.
And with no insult intended, I will see to your safe return as well.”

replies Finellior.

“Do not offer that which you yourself cannot
deliver! I will not be coddled. I am older than your mother’s mother, and your
Deep Speech is lousy. You sound like a braying ass! I assure you your
swordsmanship is amateur at best. Do you think you could best me in battle?”

“No.”

“Is it your wish to die?”

“No.”

“Then do not worry over me, and you might
survive … You might even win the key.”

A bit flummoxed by the githzerai Master, that night
Finellior searches both the Fane and the Well looking for both Bingus and Vani,
both of whom he was counting on for the upcoming mission to Garaitha’s Anvil,
only to find neither would be available. Bingus expertise in planer magic meant
that his skills would be needed to coordinate the transport of the Hundred to
the githyanki shipyard. And Vani’s wife Minerva had traveled all the way to
Thiradith nixing Vani’s plan to go. Ishtar’s Priests had visited her in
delivering portents of doom in concerning her husband Vani. She rushed to the
Fane with all possible haste to inform her husband that would not be going, but
she had not come alone. Vani’s cousin, Dell Corrin’s brother, West Corrin had
traveled with her. Dell and West made up the other half of the Vani’s powerful
magical family. The Corrin side of the family had long guarded the Firestorms,
who were the family’s sorcerers. Together, Dell and West, were known as Knick
and Knack, the deadliest pair of halflings in Klarn, but with Dell’s dead, Knack
had come seeking his own retribution. Before Fin could even ask, West approaches
Fin and says,
“I am taking Vani’s place. I’ve heard
you were there when my brother died. The githyanki owe me a blood debt and I’ve
come to collect it with interest. You saw my brother fight all you need to know
is I’m twice as fast, and more deadly. There githyanki soul-sucks are going to
pay for Dell’s death and everything else they’ve done. I am coming with you.”

The following day Finellior meets with his team:
Odos, Birkeni, and West Corrin are joined by the Brigades Chen, and founding
member Jeroen. With darkness settling on the Crooked Spine, they leave the
safely of Fane, joining the massed heroes and mages in the cold outside.  



Temporality
blinded by the brilliant light of the portal, the heroes find themselves in
Garaitha’s Anvil, their portal going dark almost as soon as the arrive, a signal
that Bejam and Haryssus had made good on their pledge to seal    planar access
to the Anvil after shunting the heroes there. The panoramic view of mysterious
shipyard opens before them. High above, a blazing circle of white light hanging
like a small sun—the massive astral gate, just as it had been described by
Haryssus. The gate centered the shipyard which was constructed within a massive
sphere built around the gate. As the heroes drink in the scene they watch, as a
half-dozen astral strike ships rise toward the gate, caught up in the it’s free
flowing energy. The ships are swallowed with an immense flash as they vanish in
the gate.

To the right and high above them along the curve of
the shipyard floor, the banner of the Freeriders waves at the front of the main
assault, rallied against an emplacement of githyanki guards scrambling to get
into defensive positions. To the left, a force of dwarf warriors chant a death
dirge for the fallen Kalad as they cut their way through a squad of giants—the
howling fomorian guards and laborers towering above their githyanki masters
shouting out their fury in the thunderous wave.

Behind the heroes, their own cavalry forces emerge
from another portal on horseback crashing over githyanki ground troops like a
living wave. Overhead, Mendellian knights, on their griffons wing above the
battlefield. Among the knights, Jeroen recognizes Jack Girth, and Chen
recognizes the savage elf, Lorando raining down arrows with deadly accuracy upon
a force of githyanki even as other githyanki warriors fly upward to challenge
them mounted upon pale reptilian fliers own, their mounts shrieking out a
dreadfully as the approach.

Screaming oaths of vengeance, The Hundred greatest
heroes of the mortal world throw themselves against waves against the Anvil’s
defenders that total more than ten times their number. The battle for Garaitha’s
Anvil is begun.

Garaithas Anvil – Dock Siege

 

We
come from the land of the ice and snow,


From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.

The
hammer of the gods will drive your ships to new lands,



To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am
coming!


Githyanki Dock Siege 

With the battle raging in all directions, Megan
Swiftblade takes advantage the shock cause by the Hundred’s sudden arrival and
quickly organizes an offensive wedge with the Freeriders taking point. The wedge
immediately begins pushing the frenzied, but surprised githyanki back. Lost in
the chaos of the clashing forces, Finellior sticks to plan, and discreetly leads
his team away from the brunt of the fight and towards a group of large gantries
set within a nearby construction zone. Their passage goes all but unnoticed by
the githyanki, but as they enter the construction site a force of githyanki
lingering there, numbering roughly a dozen, spots them and rapidly spreads out
into an attack formation reacting to the invaders approach. The halfling, West
Corrin darts forward pushing the charge, his allies following close behind
struggling to keep up.



Map: Dock LandingInitially,
the githyanki offer little in the way of resistance. West proves to be the
deadlier combatant as he dances his way through the githyanki ranks, slashing as
he goes. As he breaks into their center the githyanki warriors they begin to
fall, but then suddenly West is swept into the air, ripped off the ground by an
unseen vice, gripped by raw telekinetic power. Deep within the maze of gantries
a githyanki astraan glides upward through the air landing upon the highest
catwalk and with a flick of his wrist hurls West powerfully backwards back into
the halfling’s own allies. Rallying, the first line of githyanki warriors
charges forward, following behind the rejected halfling trying to force the
heroes into a withdrawal, but they are stopped cold as they run into Jeroen.
Jeroen hovers imperiously blocking the githyanki warriors and uses the magic of
his blade to nullify their counter attacks until one of the warriors uses his
own silver blade to disarm Jeroen. As Jeroen’s blade falls the githyanki reaver
snatches it from the ground with his off-hand growling, “I will kill you with
your own bl…”
but his declaration is cut short as Captain Birkeni blade
separates the githyanki’s head from his body. As Chen, Odos and Fin join the
battle the remaining githyanki die quickly and the coalition’s heroes climb up
to the high raised catwalk moving towards a looming set of large double doors
that lead into the githyanki’s huge docking structure.

`Til the force
comes through, lines joint in faint discord,

And the stormwatch
brews a concert of kings,

As the white sea snaps at the heels of a soft prayer whispered.

 


Map: Dock HallBeyond
the doors, a dark corridor opens up to both sides. To the right the corridor
leads to a
vast open space the floor of which cannot be seen
from where they stood, in that direction booming voices are heard shouting out
the words of ritual. To the left, firelight flares and dances upon the walls,
heat clearly issuing from that direction. In the chamber beyond there is the
thunderous ringing

sounds of heavy metal, steel on steel. A third leg
of the corridor, offset to the left from their entry, leads deeper into a
shadowed corridor.

As they weight their options, a shout from the left
chamber precedes pounding footsteps as two fire giants suddenly appear in the
passageway. In their arms, each carries a pile of what looks like smoldering
steel spheres.


Map: Dock ForgeJeroen
steps into the center of the corridor and asks, “Pardon me, we seems to be lost.
Can you direct us to the Cev’ren?” Dumbfounded, the giants stare, slack-jawed at
the invader for just a moment before they begin hurling the spheres at Jeroen.
Jeroen dodges swiftly rising high in the air, flying above the spectacle as
below him the metal spheres burst and explode as the strike the floor of the
corridor below Jeroen releasing their molten cores. Having seen enough West
Corrin attacks and like the githyanki battled earlier these two giants die
quickly as the halfling charges past them into the larger chamber at the left
end of the

corridor. 

Within iron and brass ingots are piled high across
this chamber, with piles of deadfall and kiln-fired charcoal standing close by
feeder doors of a half-dozen massive forges. The heat of this foundry is
crippling even from a distance, but the workers here seem not to notice—some
dozen opponents greet the halfling, fire giants, trolls, fiery elementals and
other unrecognized, but equally massive creatures are all working furiously at
their massive forges and anvils. West recognizes several ship castings piled
where the fire giants are working, they seemed to be cutting chunks off and
hot-hammering them into the spheres like those the others giants had been
carrying, possibly the spheres were meant to be weapons destined for the fight
underway outside.



Fire Giant ForgerFearlessly,
recklessly, West charges into the midst of the giants. The giants turn away for
their work, some laughing, some with angry, and others just shouting commands,
but uncharacteristically all of them were speaking only the githyanki’s Deep
Speech. They stop laughing as the halfling meets the first of their ranks acting
not as a victim, but hunter. The giants attack using fists or hammers, but none
of them finding their mark. West artistically weaves while changing up his
speed, making himself unpredictable, all the while slashing out in all
directions with sharp deadly blades leaving a trial of crippled and dying giants
behind him, but these giant serfs and slaves are soon replaced by their fire
giant masters, Ironmongers, armed with searing mauls, monsters both brutal and
ruthless and they are clearly more annoyed than fearful. They immediately halt
West’s progress and begin beating him backwards, but Chen stops them hurling the
giants back with the impossible force of a storm. The giant’s size fails against
the monk’s power but they are soon replaced by even larger giants, 12 feet tall,
and nearly as thick … each giant weighing over 3000 pounds. One reaches out
grasping the monk within a set of smoldering tongs, fixing Chen in place.
Captain Birkeni pushes forward with a forceful display of sword skill holds his
ground and blocks the giant’s attempts to overrun the party creating a brief
stalemate by his action.

Odos joins the fray, standing grim, eyes open widely,
filled with a dark, seething rage rarely seen, and never forgotten by the
elder’s opponents. Reaching outward dramatically both arms, his fingers fully
extended, lightning leaps from Odos’s body targeting Chen and the monk’s two
closest attackers. The lightning plays over Chen and the two attackers, causing
paid only to the giants, but all three vanish … The giants repair at the far
side of the massive chamber. Chen appears in the safety of the rear of the party
of heroes behind both Captain Birkeni and the githzerai Elder Odos.


FiregiantIn
the outer hall, Jeroen still hovers in the center of the corridor, insuring that
the two fire giants there were truly dead when a still larger, giant approaches
from the large chamber at the opposite end of the corridor. This new giant, a
fomorian, was truly massive, 18 feet tall, with a 12-foot wide barrel chest …
over 7000 pounds of muscle, thick bone and power. The monster fixes its magical
evil eye upon the flying hero attempting to paralyze Jeroen’s mind, but Jeroen’s
mind reacts unconsciously, attacking the giant … blood vessels burst in the
giant’s brain and he falls over dead. In the wake of the giant’s fall, others
approach one-by-one due to their great size and one-by-one they fall as they
attack Jeroen’s mind.

Returning from the forge chamber, and encouraged by the
carnage collecting in the corridor, West races past Jeroen, past the fallen
giants, into the larger chamber beyond. Jeroen shouts a warning, but West Corrin
pays no heed as he enters the chamber beyond.

Sand covers the floor of this massive chamber, its
walls are piled high with huge ingots of iron and brass, dense wood logs of
great length and heft, and bundled heaps of deadfall.

Within, two eldritch giants are shouting out the
words of a ritual as they struggle to maintain a teleportation circle which
flares intermittently to life in an erratic way in midair between the giants.
Within the portal a hazy landscape of fallen trees and black smoke is reveal, as
a shower of logs and deadfall spills through it to the sandy floor aid by
fomorian giants on the other side of the portal. At the same time, five armed
fomorians heads towards West as he enters the chamber. West draws from the
ambient magic of the chamber shielding his body in a corona of arcane lightning.
One of the eldritch giants howls
“Keep him busy, the gate must
remain open!”
With West’s distraction the portal fades behind
the two magical giants, before it does, West sees more giant troops waiting on
the other side of the portal. West springs at the giant darting between the legs
of one slicing though the giant’s Achilles tendons as he does. The giant
collapses and then suddenly West stumbles as his own leg’s lock. It is all he
can do to keep himself from falling. Laughing the four remaining fomorians
surround the half and begin arguing about which should eat him.

 


Formorian giant“He’s
too small for two, nay ean enough fer one bite,”
the first
says, speaking in Elven.


Another slaps the first giant yelling,
“Only in the master’s voice, naïve! I not lose my tongue to yer
stupidity.”


Map: Dock WarehousingAs
a third giant reaches for the halfling Jeroen sweeps his blade through the air,
an action reflected in a wave a magic force that shields West and drives his
attacker backwards.

One of the eldritch giants dismisses West’s lightning
consuming the power and the other releases a wave of power the hit’s West and
Jeroen like a battering ram, Jeroen struggles to stay aloft, while West tumbles
and slides painfully across the sunken floor of this massive loading zone. When
West finally comes to a stop, the first eldritch giant reaches towards the air
above him opening a portal above him … massive dense wood logs spill out
threatening to crush the halfling. Momentarily screened from the fomorian’s evil
eye by the falling logs, West finds he is again able to move, and he quickly
rolls to avoiding certain death at the same time regaining his footing. Around
him the fomorians begin swatting at him with their massive clubs but then Chen
arrives having leapt from the catwalk raised 30 feet above this chambers sandy
floor, only to land right into the midst of the giants attack, spinning his
great spear in a great arc killing two of the giants were already dead as the
monk lands. Jeroen and West make short work of the remaining fomorians leaving
only the two eldritch giants.

Back in the foundry, Captain Birkeni, Odos and
Finellior dealt with the fire giants. Five giants remained, but Birkeni brought
down the one, bringing their number to four. A second pounds the Captain with a
heavy overhead smash, but Fin quickly heals the Captain. Nearby the other two
giants flank Odos but the old monk hammers each quickly and then blasts the
giants across the chamber with his ever present power, the lightning leaps from
his fingers and the giants vanish, reappearing with a crash at the far side of
the chamber.

Within both of the chambers the remaining giants find
themselves overmatched by their opponents. The heroes continue fighting and in
short order both squads of heroes are victorious and in both chamber the giants
die. As their enemies fall Finellior’s fighters collect again within the central
corridor and begin moving through the still unexplored shadow filled hall.
 

At the end of the hall they find a large darkened
space, a testament to the advanced state of the githyanki invasion. Warehoused
there they find giant sized crates holding weapons, armor, field rations, among
other supplies designed for a long military campaign.

Just as disconcerting are signs that many more crates
have recently been moved out from this area, apparently to fuel the githyanki
invasion across the world. On the far side of this chamber a massive doorway
opens up, but a faint shimmering reveals a field of force, a magical barrier
barring passage through the doorway. Further exploration reveals a second
accessible doorway of equal size nearby in the warehousing complex but it is
also magically blocked in the same manner as the first doorway. Beyond these two
doorways, shielded by the barriers, waits another larger chamber and a third
shielded doorway.

A glowing panel is clearly visible on the west side
of the north wall of the largest accessible chamber within the warehousing
complex, near the first barred doorway. The panel is set into the stone wall and
it pulses in time with the force barriers themselves. The panel itself is
embedded with an unusual circular impression. Beyond the warded doorways waits a
huge hanger and adjacent docking complex. Four fomorians stand there watching
from the four corners of the hangar, and a pack of well-armed githyanki is
circling between the giants within the hanger watching the doorways. Past the
hanger a circular open dock waiting at the opposite end, five astral craft hang
suspended there in a nest of steel cables.


How soft our fields so green, can
whisper tales of gore,


Of how we calmed the tides of war casting off our
overlords.



On we sweep with threshing oars our only goal
will be to close their door.




So now you’d better stop as we rebuild all our ruins,


For peace and trust can win the day despite of all the
losing.