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October 5, 2006

New Things

Seren's Journal

As the ship neared, we decided to take a chance and hail it. We waved our arms (and wings) and shouted for all we were worth. Soon, the ship turned onto a heading that would intersect our path. As we got closer, however, we spotted the crew - all humanoid, but yellowish skin, and Roywyn recognized them as Githyanki. When she told me that they were usually hostile to non-githyanki, I wished us away as fast as thought!

Although I’d turned us “down” compared to their heading, the ship gracefully heeled over and followed at a fast clip. ‘Wyn began a song, but we were startled by the “thunk” of an arrow embedding itself in the shield between us! It had a scrap of parchment wrapped around the shaft, on which a single word was written: HI.

Looking back at the ship, I saw that there were non-githyanki on board, after all. Now there was a gnome, a halfling, and a strange humanoid with wings waving at us. Realizing that we stood little chance of outrunning the ship (I’d hoped it would ignore us after we fled), I decided to stop. As the ship scooped us up, landing the shield on the deck, we met another non-Githyanki. ‘Wyn recognized the large blue figure as another planar dweller, whose race tended to be merchants.

Thank Shaundakul, the blue merchant was in fact the one who had hired the ship, the Gaath, and the crew was paid to ignore us. Jrun - for that was the merchant’s name - actually floated instead of walking, and “spoke” directly into our heads instead of talking! He was willing to take Kor’tac’s shield and battleaxe as payment for taking us on board, and even offered to hire us as guards, for he was trading between Tu-narath and Waterdeep. We were a little worried to discover that we were headed for a lich queen’s city, full of githyanki, but we’d be under his protection, and have Waterdeep for a final destination!

I was learning quickly that the githyanki may not like other races, but they were very lawful, and as long as we followed the rules, got visas, etc., we would not have trouble in their city. In fact, it’s a major trading port on this plane. Soveliss, Jrun, githyanki, and soon-to-be visiting the city of Tu-narath: I ended up being kind of excited about the trip. Completely new people and places; an adventure! I only wished that our former teammates were here to see it, too.

The gnome had disappeared to parts unknown before we were done “talking” to Jrun. The halfling, Flin, was rather odd. He was making very strange and paranoid comments, and using magic to lift things and float them about. Things like the blue dragonish humanoid, Soveliss, who was trying to look unconcerned while floating upside-down. Jrun had rescued all three, floating in the void - my guess being that Flin was out here the longest. When I took the time to look more closely at the githyanki and their ship, he showed me the whole place, while naming everyone and everything in it “Bob”.

Eventually, we made our way back on deck to talk to ‘Wyn. Flin was floating above ‘Wyn as if he were standing on her head, and chattering about Bobs, and explaining that none of this was real, and he must be sleeping in the forest “back home” when - out of nowhere, an arrow bounced off the back of his head! I grabbed him by an ankle, yanked him to the deck, and cast a healing spell on him, although he turned out to be bruised, not bleeding. When I looked up, I realized that the githyanki were all standing over the strange gnome, greatswords drawn!

He was quickly marched away, but then - the githyanki took Flin, too! I was confused, but when ‘Wyn and Jrun told me more about githyanki laws, I was very worried, indeed. Maintaining order is more important than who started what, especially when both parties are non-githyanki races. If they can’t explain themselves very well, they’ll both be put to death. Jrun was only a guest, with no authority, so ‘Wyn went to find the captain while I ran down to the brig to get the gnome’s and halfling’s stories.

Well, the gnome muttered something about having taken the head off the arrow, and Flin, of course, thought this was part of his dream. He was quite certain they - or Bob - were trying to kill him, but he seemed quite merry about it! I met up with ‘Wyn, and we tried to talk the captain of the ship out of turning the two offenders over for trial in the city. Explaining that the gnome thought he’d met the letter of the law by blunting the arrow didn’t work - it was still considered assault. Trying to talk of different interpretations of the law failed, and there were no options within the laws to prevent them seeing githyanki “justice”.

Two days passed before we reached the city... and my joy in seeing a new place was much muted by fear of what the arrival meant for our fellow travelers. Soveliss especially feared for his own safety; after learning all he could about githyanki society, he was now paranoid about so much as crossing one’s path! We were still impressed by the sight of the city; several miles long, vaguely humanoid-shaped, but with extra arms, and covered over with a multitude of buildings; there were even secure citadels floating nearby, attached only by chains to the “body”.

As we flew by the “feet” and “legs”, we spotted red dragons resting in caves. We were steered toward an “arm”, apparently the docks, while Soveliss asked Jrun about getting proper visas. On closer view, we could see many clean and well-ordered buildings and beings, and plenty of guards. When we docked, a female githyanki approached the captain of the ship. Each of us were asked our names and purpose for being there, and then Jrun passed over a sack of money. She gave green armbands to each of us, and ‘Wyn, Soveliss and I followed Jrun off the ship. As I looked back, I saw the prisoners being escorted in another direction...

Curious, I asked Jrun if we could see what happened to them. He agreed, which surprised me, but it turned out that githyanki justice is swift! We were quickly at the courts, and watching the gnome and the halfling being charged with assault and endangerment, and how do you plead? Flin answered, not guilty - his reason being that he was not even here, and Bob’s trying to kill him. The gnome refused to say anything at all. Jrun turned to us and asked if we wanted to stay for the execution - no! - and we were quickly back on the street. I wish there had been something we could do...

Sad circumstances behind us, we headed for the merchants’ district. Jrun led us straight to a warehouse full of boxes and crates. When we walked in, a human female stepped into view - human, except for glowing red eyes and feathered wings! They didn’t speak, but opened a crate and looked at several weapons inside. Jrun held up a greenish-colored dagger that looked very sharp, indeed. He replaced it, closed the crate, and levitated three crates together as he walked toward the door.

The door opened, and two githyanki guards entered - I must admit I had a moment of fear! But they simply led in a group of humanoids of various races, all chained together, and handed them over to the winged female (who was now smiling in a most unpleasant way). As we left, I saw her open a red portal, and they all passed through, probably to one of the nine hells. This place is no adventure: it’s full of sad happenings.

Back to the ship we walked, with the crates of strange weapons, and sailed off into the void.

Three more days of Soveliss being paranoid of githyanki (who ignored him, thank Shaundakul), and ‘Wyn worrying about evil. I asked Jrun about the weapons - if they were all spoken for, or maybe a dagger was available? No luck - he already had a buyer. Finally, we reached a grey swirling portal to the material plane, collected the crates, and disembarked.

We stepped out into a large port city, built inside a huge cavern. It was seedy, dirty, full of strange races - the opposite of what we’d just left. Whatever else I think of the githyanki, I didn’t feel it necessary to watch my haversacks while walking down the street! Soveliss asked what ‘Wyn had already guessed - we were below Waterdeep, in Skullport. Not quite home, but pretty close, and better than where we expected to be after all that had happened!

Our job with Jrun was not quite done: we escorted him to the rear of the Iron Tankard Tavern, where he knocked on the door. A slot opened, and an eye peered out - then the door opened, and a halfling led us and the crates to a back room. Three Red Wizards sat behind a table, watching Jrun bow to them! They looked over the crates of weapons, pronounced them acceptable, and said they looked forward to doing more business... then each took a crate, and disappeared.

Jrun handed each of us a pouch. Soveliss asked the quickest - no, safest - way to the surface. Jrun was not sure, and suggested asking the barkeeper. Then he was gone!

‘Wyn, Soveliss, and I made our way out to the main room of the tavern, and sat at the bar. A mostly-human looking bartender brought us ale while ‘Wyn asked if they needed a bard to entertain the customers. Apparently, it’s not that kind of bar. So, she asked directions elsewhere, but he feigned ignorance until Sobeliss put a gold coin on the counter. Roywyn was so embarrassed! When he said he knew a way, I added another gold coin, and we got directions to a portal in an alley just a few streets off.

So, out the door we go, hoping my knack for finding portals plus the barkeep’s directions get us back to Waterdeep!

Posted by Kate at 00:06 | Seren’s Journal

Back to Business

Soveliss's Journal

I awoke this morning, if you can call it morning in a place that has no day or night, on the ship that picked me up a couple of days ago. I call it a ship only because it is built like one however, there is no water, land, or even weight in this strange place. To be honest I’m not even sure if I’m actually breathing. I can’t open my backpack here— something about this realm won’t let me. I’ve been on this “ship” for about two days now. I only say that because I’ve slept twice, although I don’t know why, I don’t feel the need for sleep here. When they first picked me up I didn’t know what to make of the crew. I’ve since learned that they are Githyanki, a lawful race if nothing else.

There are three other people on board that aren’t Githyanki. Jrun— a blue extra planner humanoid— he hired the “ship” to take him to a Githyanki city so he could do some business, and return to Waterdeep. A Halfling whom I think is going a little insane being in this place, and a gnome who hasn’t said a word to me.

I felt the ship turn and decided to go top to see what was going on. What I saw would have been very strange if I wasn’t in this realm. What looked like a gnome and a gnome with wings were on a large object trying to outrun the “ship”. Then they stopped and turned to look at us. The “Ship” dipped under them and they stood up. Jrun talked to the in their minds as he has a tendency to do. I know this because they answered him openly. It’s strange seeing two people talk, but only hearing one actually say anything.

The Halfling was getting even worse calling everyone “Bob,” and floating anything he could. It got to the point where the silent gnome shot the Halfling with a blunted arrow. Both of them were hauled off in chains. I didn’t understand this, so I asked Jrun about it. I was then informed that any breaking of the law by non-Githyanki meant that both the accused and the accuser would be brought before a judge, given a fair trial and then put to death. I was stunned, but as I was on a Githyanki “ship” surrounded by hundreds of them, and on my way to one of their cities, there was nothing I could do. The two new people, Roywyn and Seren, attempted to help, but to no avail.

A day passed, at least I think it was a day, and we could see the city coming closer. It was a sight to behold. Then I saw the red dragons. There were about six of them in some caves at the one end of this massive structure. I wanted to go in there and destroy all of them. I wanted it so badly I could taste it. Six dragons against me, and there could be more in there. I’m not stupid. I have my faults and I do make some bad choices from time to time, but that would be a suicide mission, and I can’t continue my quest if I die in this place. So I bit my tongue and waited for us to dock.

Jrun took care of our visas and we went to see how the “trial” went. It was just like we were told— both parties had a chance to say something. The Halfling didn’t make sense, and the gnome didn’t say a word. They were found guilty and would be executed. Thankfully enough we didn’t stay and watch this happen.

Jrun lead us to a large building in town where he did business with this winged woman. After inspecting weapons made of green steel, he took three crates and had slaves brought in for payment. I don’t like this at all, but in a city where justice is only for the Githyanki what could I do? I bit my tongue and quietly walked behind Jrun back to the “ship”.

Three days later we came to a portal. Jrun took his cargo and went through. I followed and so did the other two gnomes we picked up four days ago. We were underground, several miles under Waterdeep. This is where my job begins. We, myself and the two gnomes, escorted Jrun to the back of a tavern. After knocking and being looked at from the inside, we all walked in and met with what appeared to be three Red Wizards. The deal was done quickly, and we were informed that we could ask the barkeep for direction back to the surface. Seren tried, but the barkeep feigned not knowing anything until I discreetly placed a gold coin on the counter. Roywyn did the same and we were given directions to a near by portal. I can’t wait to be back on the surface, and on with my quest. Who knows, maybe these two would be willing to join me.

Posted by Fred at 04:41 | Soveliss’s Journal