Monthly Archives: October 2012

SOW Chapter12: The Hunt for the Githyanki – Cevrans Escape

The Hunt for the Githyanki – Cevrans Escape

Heroes dead or gone
the admiral has escaped

we must persue him

Garaithas Anvil – Cev’ren’s Escape

Buoyed by the party’s success, Jeroen races
ahead, still flying through the air pausing only briefly as he approaches
the shimming barrier. Tentatively he reaches out to test the barrier never
realizing that swimming unseen within the magic of barrier githyanki
warlocks had woven a symbol of death, words of power, bound into the
barrier’s own magic transforming it from a mere impedance into the most deadly trap of all. Suddenly triggered by
Jeroen’s inspection, a wave of death explodes from the barrier and Jeroen
falls collapsing
immediately as he hits the ground. 

Jeroen's Death

Muffled behind the warded doorway a harsh
githyanki guffaws at Jeroen’s fall, and then screams orders using Deep
Speech to his fellows behind the warded entry, “Keep formation! Space
yourselves out, you misshapen lumps, or you can join your worthless kin in
the fight outside!”

Among the party of Klarn’s heroes, only Finellior
understands the githyanki’s words, but along with the others, he finds
himself distracted by the unmistakable sound of heavy footsteps approaching
from the halls his party had just passed through. Both, the halfling, West
Corrin, and Captain Birkeni turn to deal to the approaching threat posed by
a trio of the foundry trolls, evidently recovered from their previous
defeat, each troll was carrying a pile of the smoldering steel,
molten-cored, spheres. Both the Captain and the rogue charge each taking
down one of the huge trolls, before the monsters have a chance to react. The
third troll withdraws, preparing to hurl his pile of spheres upon his
attackers when a burning axe blade erupts through the troll’s chest. The
last troll falls forward, crushing the molten spheres it had been carrying;
flames explode outward, circling the edges of the troll’s body. Rikar the
drow warrior leaps upon the dead troll’s back and recovers his flaming axe
comfortably protected from the mess caused by the fiery spheres by the bulk
of the dead troll’s body. Quickly, the drow nods in greeting as he waves
forward of small group of Thiradith’s rangers. 

“Bingus sent us to aid you,”
offers the drow, as he darts forward and removes the heads of the
two remaining trolls with his burning axe. 

“You should be more careful with trolls,”
chides the drow … “You must remember to finish them with flame.”

Back at the dock gate, Fin examines the glowing
panel. The bard sees that the panel is fixed with deep indentations which
suggested some keying mechanism requiring a combination of keys. Frustration
growing, the bard, distressed, looks to Chen as the monk examines Jeroen.
Looking back to Fin, the monk shakes his head, answering the unspoken
question. Jeroen was dead. Calling out, Fin yells, “Our way is
blocked, our friend is dead …”

Approaching Rikar responds, “But you … we,
are not alone, Bingus is watching, he has sent me to help.”

Rikar directs the rangers to recover Jeroen’s
body, and continues, “I can get us past the barrier.”

Quickly the rangers lift Jeroen’s body, and
moving backward towards the halls. “The rangers will care for Jeroen.
They will carry him back through the portal. Our mission must continue!”

At Rikar’s command, great roots threaded with
primal power erupt, and then burrow back through the ground, reemerging on
the other side of the barrier, closing the space between the drow and the
dock’s screened repair complex.  

Comprehending the nature of Rikar’s magic, Odos
grabs Captain Birkeni’s shoulder, and says, “Let us make the githyanki
dogs pay for their audacity!”

The Captain nods agreeing, and together the pair
leap in the center of the mass of tangled magical roots, immediately the
reappear within the repair facility, Both charge separate concentrations of
githyanki warriors, but it is immediately evident that these githyanki were
well-trained, deadly opponents, of a skill-level unmatched by their
predecessors within the Anvil. The heroes find their progress quickly
stymied, and then a pair of the githyanki’s, leaders, two gish warmasters,
targets the pair of heroes for a swift end. They raise their arms in unison,
astral energies instant pool above each the warmasters, then as the gish
point towards Odos and Birkeni, the air quakes and shutters as brilliant
bolts a power lance throughout the chamber over and over homing of the two
interlopers; both are stunned and near death as the attack dissipates, both
collapse. Rikar and West Corrin race through the roots, appearing within the
chamber. West’s body evolves transforming into a mass of sparks and energy;
the halflings races through the chamber, running through foes disrupting and
slashing as he goes. Rikar rips into the two githyanki nearest to the
Captain, attacking with his twin axes. As first his first opponent falls,
the drow grabs the Captain and withdraws, both he and the Captain,
disappearing in the roots.

Fin pauses briefly to offer a healing word for
the Captain, and then rushes headlong into the fray, disappearing in the
root gate; like those before him, he emerges into the repair facility. Fin
uses his magic healing a second time, this time on Odos, saving the Elder’s
life. All around Finellior the battle was exploding. Chen joins West Corrin,
carrying the fight to the githyanki, but both the monk and halfling were
barely holding their own against the githyanki and the giants were
approaching. As the first of the massive giants draws near Chen spins his
great spear in a tight circle generating a blast of wind powerful enough to
hurl the giant backwards into a second shimming barrier directly opposite
the main entry. Just as with Jeroen earlier, a death ward erupts and the
massive 15 foot tall topples dead at the monk’s feet. In a rush, one of the
warmasters uses a second panel, this one locate within the repair facility
to lower all of the barriers covering the three entries to the repair
facility. The heroes begin a rally as one-by-one the githyanki begin to die.
As the githyanki numbers dwindle Odos speaks up loud commanding tone, using
the githyanki’s own Deep Speech to address the surviving giants:

“Why have you assaulted me? Fools end your
rebellious action or you will pay for this insurrection! I am the master
here, am I not?”

The nearest giant steps back, but the two others,
remain unconvinced and continue their advance towards the githzerai. Acting
in a fury, Odos explodes hurling lightening from his fingertips, blasting
two approaching giants hurling them through space, and slaying the last true
githyanki within the chamber and yells, “Are you anxious to die as
well?”

Cowed even the most reluctant giant relents; the
confused expressions make it clear that they are unable to discriminate any
difference between Odos and their githyanki masters.

Ordering the giants again Odos yells,
“Guard the entries, and let no one pass … NO ONE!”

As the giants’ take-up positions blocking the
three entrances, the war-torn heroes turn their focus back to finding the
githyanki Admiral.

Finellior suggests, “Haryssus said
the flagship, Cev’ren is moored here, yet none of these vessels

(looking towards the near dock) look like a flagship to me.”  

The echo of footsteps catches the bard’s
attention, the steps ringing out along an upper landing that rises adjacent
to the hanger. Thirty feet above, he spies a dozen githyanki warriors watch
coldly; having been seen they move south. The party’s eyes follow the
retreating githyanki. Their retreat leaves the upper landing is undefended,
and following their path yields up the sight of a second dock and the first
glimpse of the party’s goal. At the distant dock the sleek flagship Cev’ren
sits within a taut lattice of mooring lines, bathed in a pulsing white light
that offers evidence that the roof dome of the second dock had been drawn
back opening that dock to the open air and the astral gate in the sky above.
Even from where they stood, the party can see githyanki in motion across the
decks of the man-of-war, but of more immediate concern is the force of
githyanki that had just fell back; they were taking positions behind a
makeshift barricade that had been thrown together atop the upper landing.
Taking cover behind the barricade the githyanki were covering the open
ground between the upper landing and the repair dock with a combination of
psionic bows and crossbows, making any approach much more dangerous.

Finellior, West, Odos, Captain Birkeni, Rikar, and
Chen take cover behind a pile of cast-off steel fragments, cables, and other
detritus. A quick debate ensues, questions asked of Elder Odos, and a
cacophony of voices asking: “Can you teleport us there?”  

 

As the others discuss options, Rikar takes
matters into his own hands moving with great stealth, he leaves and
unnoticed he arrives and the base of the landing, out of sight, hidden from
prying eyes of the githyanki defenders. Quietly he waves to his allies over
beckoning them, and one after another they follow, sneaking across. First
the captain and then Finellior cross without incident, but as West and Chen
attempt to cross they are seen, and they trigger a rain of crossbow bolts
and psychic arrows, weapons given form by the githyanki telekinetic power.
West is struck and he vanishes thanks to his own magic; Chen’s body glows
with the force of his chi, and almost unconsciously he begins swatting the
githyanki attacks aside he crosses the short distance between the repair
dock and the southern landing.

 

 

In response to the githyanki attack Odos vanishes
from the base of the landing only to reappear atop the landing in the middle
of the attacking githyanki behind their makeshift barricade; as he does, he
unleashes a psychic attack of his own, bursting in all directions, fully
half of the dozen plus githyanki fall dead immediately. At the same time,
West appears nearby and in a blur of blades he slays most of the githyanki
that survive Odos’s attack. When they are done only two of the githyanki
remain, a gish warmaster and a corsair shipmaster, undeterred they push
back. The gish pushes Odos back with twin strikes of astral lightening while
the githyanki shipmaster begins a blade dance, matching the swift attacks of
West Corrin blow-for-blow. As the githyanki begin gaining ground Rikar
appears upsetting the balance, he swings at the warmaster chopping him
brutally, throwing magic-using warrior into a sudden retreat giving an
opening for Chen to race away in pursuit if the party’s ultimate goal.

 

Chen races to the flagship Cev’ren, noticing that
the ship had begun pulling free of its mooring lines in a maddening lurch
for the open air and the astral gate far above. A dozen githyanki were in
motion across the decks of the lumbering man-of-war. The githyanki Admiral
was easily recognizable on the deck of the flagship, shouting orders and
outfitted in masterfully crafted suit of
adamantine
plate armor. Already the flagship was over twenty feet high and rising. With
almost inhuman grace and power, Chen leaps over a five foot high rubble pile
left behind to dissuade pursuers, gaining purchase of a ten foot high
catwalk, and darting forward like a great cat quickly crossing a twenty-five
feet span of catwalk, then leaping to a second catwalk still ten feet
higher, and finally flinging himself into the open air between that catwalk
and the escaping ship in a crazed pounce to the Cev’ren’s well deck.
 Map: Dock Departure Landing

Immediately, Chen attacks, but he is instantly
surrounded by hardy, battle-hardened, githyanki shipmates and their reaver
bosses, fighting masters, who quickly disarm the monk. Even disarmed Chen
manages to drop a couple of his attackers, but he is soon overwhelmed in a
hail of crossbow bolts as the githyanki fire from the raised quarterdeck,
foredeck, and the Cev’ren’s exaggerated crow’s deck. 

 


Admiral Kada'neWitnessing Chen’s fall, West throws caution to
the wind, ignoring his own safety he races past the githyanki shipmaster,
even as she attacks him chasing after Chen’s path step-for-step, and like
monk before him West puts himself upon the ship and attacks with his own
brand of righteous fury and foolhardy determination. For his efforts, a few
additional githyanki fall, but he also soon finds his way blocked in the
tight confines of the ship’s decks. In the end, West Corrin finds himself
face-to-face with githyanki Admiral, Kada’ne, who with a single strike of
his silver great sword drops West Corrin, critically injuring the halfling
and banishing to another plane of reality, vanquished West Corrin disappears
forever … utterly gone.

 

Back on the dock, Odos and Captain Birkeni are
for the moment too busy to notice, they flank the tough githyanki
shipmaster, and even surrounded she gives-up no ground, or quarter holding
her own against the pair. Their actions free Finellior to race after Chen
and West, he makes his way to the Cev’ren pushing his own teleportation
powers to their limits exhausting his power, but catching hold of the
Cev’ren in time to use the last of his healing magic upon Chen who was until
then actually playing possum lying still upon the ship’s deck. Chen tries in
vain to yells out a warning, but he is too late and Fin falls skewered by
many githyanki crossbow bolts. Chen moves, rising to his feet and scooping
up both his weapon and his fallen friend in one single fluid motion, and
then carrying his friend he leaps from the Cev’ren gliding through the air
upon a chi summoned storm. He lands back to the dock below as with a shriek
of rending steel, the astral man-of-war lurches up tearing through the last
of the mooring lines. The Cev’ren rise free as if swept up upon a mighty
wave, floating free of the dome into the pulsing white sky above. Across the
dock the last of the scattered githyanki take to air rising after the
Cev’ren and pulling themselves abroad as their grasping hands gain purchase
of the rigging and the rails even as great ship continues its slow rise.

 

Still bobbing in the port, set in motion by the
astral man-of-war’s wake, a smaller armored vessel, a strike ship, strains
at its own mooring lines; the name “Iliyoru” emblazoned clearly upon this
smaller ship’s hull. Captain Birkeni stares at the ship for a moment noting
that the strike ship was undefended. Whatever crew might have been there
before was likely commandeered by Kada’ne or mustered and soundly defeated
in the earlier battles that had preceded their arrival in the repair dock,
regardless the ship was unguarded now and it was obviously tugging at the
lines just as the Cev’ren had done. The Iliyoru looked solid and fast, and
she was drawn by whatever magic fueled these githyanki ships.

  

Turning toward Odos the Captain says, “Tell
me you can fly this,
” as he points to the Iliyoru.

Odos answers: “There was once a brave,
unheralded hero among my people named Tokk’it who once commandeered such a
ship, so yes, it can be done and the Admiral must not be allowed to escape …
We have paid and heavy price in blood and toil, this must end here and now.
Let this be our finest hour.”