Wild Abandon

Gith a Load of This

Chapter 37

Adrift in eerily becalmed waters, the Black Antlers find their new ship, the Wave Dancer, beset upon by a githyanki vessel, quickly approaching them over the sea.

Rorik Law runs to man one of the ballistae, and fires off a bolt that careens through the air and into the deck of the githyanki ship. It does little to dissuade the raiders however, as they continue to careen towards an impact. Mye-kuhl Jancer brings forth his back-up dancers, and tells them that, even though they are a skeleton crew, they must still defend the Wave Dancer!

Jimothy Jones and Cora Hale swoop across the deck of the enemy ship atop Peter the Griffon, grabbing one of the gith warriors and tossing him into the ocean. The warrior uses his psychic-transmission technique to get back onto the ship just as its ram slams into the side of the party's boat.

Githyanki warriors leap aboard the Wave Dancer, engaging Rorik, Elspeth, Torutori, and Jancer's minions. Sporp tries to protect his friends using his new adult spores, but to no affect! Blinky the blink dog blinks in and bites at the gith attacking Elspeth. Brublind casts 'Animate Object' on the two ballistae, which close into melee range and start beating at the boarders with their wooden arms. Osana Greentide fires a crossbow bolt into the fray from her perch on the rigging, but just barely misses her mark.

Meanwhile, Jimothy and Cora swoop back around toward the bridge of the githyanki ship, but moments before they are about to hop onto the vessel, the resident warlock unleashes a bolt of 'Chain Lightning' and fries Peter, causing the griffon to discorporate beneath his riders. Jimothy grabs onto the railing of the ship, with Cora hanging from the knob of his elongated mace, her hair standing on end from the lingering static. Jimothy hefts his weapon, catapulting the shifter queen up and over two githyanki warriors moving in to try and hack her beloved paladin's arm off. Cora gives them a grin as her skin begins to harden into black scales and her eyes flash a hungry red.

Brublind casts 'Fly' on Jancer, and the necrodancer takes off towards where Jimothy and Cora are taking on the gith. There is a tremendous roar overhead as the half-elf realizes too late that a blue dragon is swooping down upon him! The beast's lightning breath grazes him, but still does some significant damage. He points up towards it and casts 'Otto's Irresistable Dance'the dragon starts dancing mid-air!

The githyanki captain jumps over to the Wave Dancer and engages Rorik. The eldritch knight recognizes him as the knight that he defeated at the Ysgard Invitational!

"Had I known that you had stolen one of my people's sacred silver swords, I would have slaughtered you back on Ysgard! Take honor in knowing that I have never met an opponent so worthy as you, human. A shame you cannot use both arms anymore—I take no pleasure in killing a handicapped man… Let us end this quickly."

Rorik and the knight, Mimhanok, clash! Their blades shine with astral light as they meet over and over again. They seem an even match, striking as much at  each other's minds as they do at their bodies.

The rest of the crew are not doing so well however. Jancer's skeletons are down to a man, and one of Brublind's ballistae has been destroyed. Elspeth is knocked unconscious as her opponent finds a weakness in her armor and exploits it. Blinky the blink dog leaps in and attacks the assailant, but is stabbed by the ruthless githyanki warrior. Sporp tries using his spores again, but is caught in a telekinetic blast that sends him flying across the deck and knocks him out as well.

Jimothy climbs onto the githyanki ship and attacks the warlock with a 'Thunderous Smite' that sends him flying off of the bridge to the deck below. The goliath leaps down after him, but before he can bring down his weapon again, the warlock teleports away and uses a telekinetic fist to knock his pursuer overboard. Jancer fires off his Wand of Wonder at the magic user, causing him to double in size! Cora takes on both of the warriors still aboard on her own, her 'Rage of the Black Dragon' bathing her claws in acid that slices through their armor as easily as it would cake.

The blue dragon continues dancing overhead.

Brublind casts 'Haste' on Rorik as the fighter unleashes an absolute onslaught on Mimhanok, enraged at the toll these gith are taking upon his companions. The knight admits that there is no going back from this,

"I either die by your hand today, or by the Lich-Queen's tomorrow."

"By mine then."

Brublind tries to administer healing to Elspeth using a 'Goodberry', but she is already dead. He goes over to Sporp and finds that he too is gone…

Jimothy tosses a javelin into the side of the githyanki ship and pulls himself back aboard, but he suddenly feels a sharp pain in his stomach, sending the goliath to his knees. Cora kills her opponents and goes to Jimmy as he keels over in agony. It feels like something is gnawing on his insides!

Jancer uses the Wand of Wonder on the warlock once again, and the mage flinches as something spectacular occurs—a rat appears!

The warlock looks at it and then redirects his telekinetic fist at Jancer, who dives out of the way as it tries to grab him. The warlock tries to fire off another spell, but Jancer 'Counterspell's it! The warlock angrily stomps his giant foot.

The rat squeaks ("What is he planning?!").

Torutori, Osana, Jancer's last back-up dancer, and Brublind's ballista take out the rest of the boarders while Rorik and Captain Mimhanok continue their duel.

The eldritch knight is being worn down, finding that the loss of his arm really has affected his swordsmanship, and the githyanki knows it. But this is as much a mental struggle as it is a physical one, and Rorik uses his intellect to get the better of Mimhanok. All it takes is one opening. The knight realizes that he won't be able to evade this attack, closes his eyes, and accepts his fate. Rorik's blade catches him in the shoulder and rends half-way through his chest.

As Mimhanok's silver sword clatters to the ground, its form begins to waver, and then, its liquid substance slithers towards Rorik and is absorbed into his own weapon. He feels the magical energy within it thrum with renewed power.

Jimothy asks Cora to help him take off his breastplate. She blushes, "I-I don't think now is a good time for that, Jim." He chuckles at the misunderstanding before another wave of pain shoots through him. The shifter helps him undress, but jumps back in horror as a slaad tadpole screeches up at her from Jimothy's chest wound!

Meanwhile, Jancer and the githyanki warlock are teleporting around one another, slinging spells back and forth in a deadly dance-off. Both mages have impeccable footwork, but in the end, Jancer catches his opponent, fresh out of 'Counterspell', in a 'Vitriolic Sphere' that reduces him to a steaming pile of acidic goo that eats through the deck of the ship.

There is a loud roar from overhead as the blue dragon FINALLY escapes the spell cast upon it! The creature swoops down towards the Wave Dancer, but Rorik yells out to it in Draconic, pointing out that all of the githyanki are dead. It stops just short of the vessel and looks around. The human is right—it has upheld its end of the githyanki's ancient pact with the Dragon Queen. It tells him that they have been very lucky this day, but that the gith will never stop hunting them until they reclaim their silver swords. The dragon disappears into the blue yonder.

Jimothy falls unconscious as Cora grabs the slaad tadpole and tries to yank it from his body. It digs its claws into the paladin, but the barbarian proves the stronger. It turns on her as it continues to rapidly grow in size, snapping at her with its froggy maw. Brublind flies over and speaks to it in its native tongue, and the tadpole leaps down from Cora to look up at its big green brother in awe. Cora tends to Jimothy with Brublind's 'Goodberry' as the two slaad croak at one another.

Jancer and Rorik rush over to the dead Elspeth and Sporp. Jancer uses 'Raise Dead' on the dwarf, and Piper leaps onto her with hugs and happy clapping. Rorik is able to 'Revivify' Sporp just in the nick of time. Both of them mention seeing the petrified corpse of Orcus as their souls drifted into the Astral Plane. The mystery of this recurring theme continues to gnaw at the back of Rorik's mind.

The party decide to take the githyanki ship for their own budding pirate fleet (after Osana suggests how cool that would be), and use it to tow the Wave Dancer out of the doldrums. Jimothy tells his new slaad son, Artorias, to get the rat running around onboard, but when faced with the rodent, Artorias screams and hides behind the mast. Torutori and Osana are put on clean-up duty after Jancer animates some of the githyanki as zombies. The kenku caws sarcastically that this is how the crew thanks her for keeping the attackers at bay. Osana tells her to cheer up—it's the adventure itself that is the reward. Toru looks at her with a look that says, "… Seriously?"

The party has a funeral for Blinky the blink dog that night. Elspeth especially laments the loss of the lawful good boy, as he died trying to protect her from the githyanki. Torutori opens her beak and a mariner's lament emanates out of it. Cora consoles Jimothy and lets out a mournful howl for her canine brethren. Piper takes off her little wizard hat as a show of respect.

To while away the hours, the party begin swapping stories about where they came from before this crazy adventure began half a year ago:

  • Jimothy hails from a mountain-dwelling tribe with some connection to Baba Yaga. It was a peaceful existence (as peaceful as goliath life can be anyway) until a couple of drow who were up to no good started causing trouble in his neighborhood. He barely escaped, and survived in the wilderness alone for a long while until being attacked by a bear and left for dead. A party of adventuring paladins found him and saved his life, taking him to a monastery, where he was raised in the ways of Ilmater.
  • Rorik admits that he comes from an insignificant farming village in the heartland of Korvea named Riverslea. He had a mother and a father and a brother, but no real friends—he was more interested in reading than anything else, becoming enamored with stories about the mages of the Broken Tower. Eventually, he was given an ultimatum to join the army, unless he could cast a spell. So, he taught himself 'Find Familiar', summoned Enrico, and left home.
  • Jancer was born into a family with a human father and elf mother, with several siblings, including Jermlaine, and a Great Uncle Moriarty. As the Treeline Wars raged, he took up necromancy (Rorik: "It's pretty rad."; Jimothy: "What?"; Rorik: "It's pretty bad.") and studied the nature of life itself for decades, cooped up in his lab. He realized that everything in the universe danced to the same rhythm and began to move his body to the beat. Ten years later, and he hasn't stopped.

Tandurad comes into view the following day. Remembering the purported anti-magic policies of this land, the party decide to avoid the great river delta in order to find safe anchorage along the rocky coast instead. Jimothy calls up September the Elephant, and, alongside Cora, Rorik, Jancer, and Artorias, rides off into the endless dunes, with little inclination of where Grekas might have gone…

Jancer's skeleton servants fan them with palm fronds, while Jimothy and Rorik strip out of their armor. Cora is incredibly embarrassed when her tongue hangs out of her mouth and she begins to pant from the heat. Jimothy tells her not to worry about it, it is adorable. She punches him on the shoulder.

Dune after dune, nothing seems to change. Birds begin to circle overhead. Jimothy tosses a javelin up at one of them and gets a direct hit! A birdman comes plummeting from the sky and three javelins come whistling down from the remaining birds toward them! Cora gasps—THESE ARE AARAKOCRA!

She speaks to them in their native tongue (having learned it from her adopted aarakocra parents), and convinces the birdfolk to let Jancer save their dying friend. The necrodancer brings the scout back from the brink with the help of the necromancy segment of the Rod of Seven Parts. The aarakocra are in awe at the sight—they know of the Rod, and bid the party accompany them back to their hidden redoubt to discuss matters farther. Not seeing much choice, the party agree.

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