Fancy Bastard Scales of War

Chapter 11: Garaitha's Anvil

The invasion of the world is in full swing, but the Fancy Bastards’ actions in their previous adventures have earned the Seven Shields Coalition critical information regarding the githyanki, their plans, and their allies. The Coalition had received word of githyanki troops seen in a remote mountain pass north of Elsir Vale — close to one of the githyanki outposts whose existence was only learned of in the course of Throne of the Stone-Skinned King.

The adventurers (along with the Freeriders) investigate, fearful that this outpost might be the vanguard of a larger assault. Instead, however, the heroes discover a hidden githyanki temple called the Fane of Chanhiir — a monastery whose faithful have rejected the leadership of Zetch’r’r, and who have paid a terrible price for their refusal to bend to the emperor’s will.

After routing the invading githyanki and their fomorian servants, the heroes treated with the faithful of Chanhiir, uncovering more of the githyanki’s secrets. From the insurgents, the characters heard more of Tiamat’s role in the githyanki invasion — and of plots that extend to the ancient war between Tiamat and Bahamut. Additionally, they discovered that Chanhiir’s central hall is built around a unique portal that feeds planar energy to a githyanki site called the Well of Worlds.

The Well of Worlds is a planar nexus warded by powerful magic that normally allows only githyanki to enter it. However, with the aid and knowledge of their Nefelus allies — particularly the deva mage Bejam — the Fancy Bastards adopted a powerful eldritch sigil seen on the githyanki’s fomorian allies. The Whitefire Mark granted the party access to the Well of Worlds, where they undertook a stealth strike-team mission to investigate and neutralize the site.

By freeing the eldritch giant Haryssus — an unwilling servant of the githyanki whose knowledge of planar magic is unsurpassed — the heroes discover that the power of the Well of Worlds fuels the vast network of githyanki portals through which the invasion of the world is being waged.

At the center of that network is the Sovereign Gate — a permanent true portal that can send creatures to any location in the Astral Sea, the world, or the planes. However, more devastating to the Coalition are Zetch’r’r’s plans to extend the capability of the Sovereign Gate throughout the entire githyanki portal network. If successful, the githyanki can send troops by the thousands to any location in the world, and the Coalition will be powerless to stop them.

Control of the Well of Worlds is maintained by a set of eldritch keys held by the highest-ranking githyanki war leaders. The githyanki have no fear of these keys falling into the wrong hands, knowing that they can be used only by full-blooded githyanki who themselves have been attuned to the keys with unique rituals. However, with the aid and knowledge of Haryssus, Bejam of Nefelus believes that he can reconfigure a key, potentially giving the Coalition the ability to control the githyanki portal network.

One of the keys is held by Admiral Kada’ne, leader of the githyanki’s airship and astral-craft navy. From information gleaned from the rout of the Well of Worlds, the heroes know Kada’ne’s current location: the githyanki shipyards known as Garaitha’s Anvil. One of Zetch’r’r’s most important military sites, the shipyard is a planar mote within which the githyanki and their giant servants craft and repair airships and astral craft in preparation for the final assault on the world.

The Fancy Bastards determine the location of Kada’ne’s flagship, the astral man-of-war Cev’ren, but time is of the essence. If the githyanki become aware that the Well of Worlds has been taken, they will launch a counteroffensive that will overwhelm the Coalition’s forces. However, when a Coalition war council refuses to authorize the decisive strike against Garaitha’s Anvil, it is left to the party to take charge.

The Coalition must capture Kada’ne and deliver a knockout punch against Garaitha’s Anvil all at once. Under the heroes’ leadership, the forces of the Coalition are arrayed in the form of the Hundred — five score of the greatest heroes of the mortal world assembled at the Fane of Chanhiir, and set to undertake a desperate assault at the heart of the githyanki war machine.

The assault is launched — a hundred heroes throwing themselves against a githyanki force ten times their number. However, the Fancy Bastards have an even more important mission — breaking into one of the shipyard’s many repair docks where Kada’ne’s flagship Cev’ren is moored. The Bastards fight their way through the guards and wards of the dock before cutting their way through Kada’ne’s defenders. However, when the cowardly admiral takes to the air in Cev’ren, the party must follow in the commandeered githyanki strike ship Iliyoru.

In the sky above the shipyard, an immense astral gate flares — the portal through which githyanki ships are launched against the world. Against that storm of white light, a pitched ship-to-ship battle ensues, and the party pursues Cev’ren above the hundred fighting for control of the shipyard below. In the end, both ships lock together, out of control and spinning toward the astral gate as the adventurers and Kada’ne’s forces face off in a final showdown. The Fancy Bastards proved victorious, seizing the Crystal Key and gaining ultimate control over the Well of Worlds.

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