…As the Alliance Reaches a Crucial Turning Point.
Andrea Ravn woke.
As refreshed as she had felt in days.
“Oh, yeah,” she remembered. “The dream.”
In her dream she had finally reached Queen Ileosa and returned her stolen broach. The queen had offered her a job, a job in the Queens Guard. Somehow Andrea knew Nox had gotten a job there, too. Even though he was not in the dream this time.
“Had to kill the darn imps by myself.” She knew she was lying to herself. The House Drakes in the dream city of Korvosa had helped her finish them off. “But the queen didn’t seem so bad. Maybe the rumors aren’t true. The king’s line has always been cursed.”
She found a line at the World Gate. The mages of Nefelus were apparently putting Whitefire Marks on as many of the heroes who were gathering as possible. The cat-girl Druid in front of him was not impressed by the Hundred Heroes.
“Look like wandering mercenaries to me,” she said surveying the crowd.
When they got through the World Gate to the Sovereign Gate, Andrea saw it was well-guarded. She recognized one of the guards — a Freerider named Ragnum Dourstone. Ragnum told them the Githyanki were still trying to use the portals.
“They’re coming through the white portal steady — scouts and strike teams looking to rest up. No sign yet that they know we’re here."
Andrea wondered aloud how long it would take for Admiral Kada’ne to catch on.
“We questioned one moving alone, said he was from Utargarth, Utargarath, something like that. Someone named Kada’ne sent him to the fane to see what’s up with the team supposed to be holding it. It’s a safe bet there’ll be more like him coming through soon enough.”
Andrea had good idea what Utargarath was: “Utargaraith is the name of the interplanar shipyards,” she told the Druid, “where the Githyanki build and repair their fleets of astral craft and airships — Garaitha’s Anvil, as it is most commonly translated.”
They found Krasire and took him down the long stairs. Beyond the astral vortex, the exhausted Bejam stood with Haryssus, the works of the eldritch giant’s library spread across the tables.
“We have gained a valuable ally in our fight against the Githyanki,” Bejam said, nodding to the giant. “I have learned much of the operation of this place, but I fear that it spells our doom all the same.”
Haryssus told them the only way to control the Sovereign Gate was to use one the four crystal keys to the plinth at the top of the ivory stairs.
- Queen Vlaakith held one, but her key was said to be lost when
she was destroyed.
- Zetch’r’r holds one, taken from one of Vlaakith’s captains slain when the new emperor came to power.
- Kada’ne, admiral of the Githyanki fleet, holds one.
- Do’kan, general and master of the Githyanki ground forces, holds the third.
Remembering what Ragnum Dourstone had said about the admiral, she suggested that was the key they should after.
Bejam told them he had sent word to the Coalition leadership, requesting that they come to the fane for a war council that can decide the Coalition’s course of action.
When they got back to the Chaniri’s cave, however, not all members of the Coalition leadership had made the journey. In particular, Eoffram Troyas remained behind in Brindol to help deal with a Hobgoblin uprising.
“I hope it’s the real thing this time,” Andrea thought. The last time the representative of Brindol had been concerned about Hobgoblins, it was a ruse intended to win votes for the leadership of the Council.
Amyria is here, as are other Coalition members. Andrea recognized Fariex, even though he was in human form.
The cautious Quelenna Entromiel was there as well, potentially undercutting any hope Andrea had of inspiring the Coalition into a quick response to the Githyanki threat.
The war council took place in an abandoned library in the fane. Megan Swiftblade and a dozen other heroes of the Coalition are on guard, but the bulk of those who have come to defend the fane are outside, getting their Whitefire Marks, in line at the World Gate, or in the Well of Worlds, keeping watch against a Githyanki attack.
Bejam tried to convince the Coalition leaders of the danger posed by the extension of the Sovereign Gate’s powers to the World Gates. Andrea told them their walls would be no use against an enemy who could teleport vast armies past their gates.
But Quelenna Entromiel took the lead arguing for caution.
“We are far from our homes and families — the places and people we are bound to defend. This place, these planar sites you speak of are meaningless targets. A majority of our many lands’ heroes are here now to defend these places, and for what?
“This is a fight we cannot win, and as such, it is a fight we cannot consider. Waiting here for eventual attack or, worse, seeking out the Githyanki stretches our already over-extended resources past the breaking point. Instead, we must ask what we might do to hinder the Githyanki. Slow down their plots to give us time to plan a proper defense of
— Quelenna’s speech to the Council
at the Fane of Chaniir
Krasire knew it was time for some serious diplomacy.
He called on all his years of experience as one of the secret leaders of Waterdeep. The Lords of Waterdeep did not rule openly. They did not make public speeches like this one.
That did not mean they didn’t have to be persuasive. They had to convince people individually.
“That gives me a lot of experience in convincing other leaders,” he thought. Leaders like the members of the Council.
He could tell his speech had not swayed Quellena. But he was surprised when the vote went against them.
“Not that she could have been convinced.” he thought. “Her mind was made up long ago. I though I could convince the others.”
But Megan Swiftblade was a different story. She seemed moved almost to tears by his words.
“The Coalition’s so-called leaders don’t know what they’re saying,” she snorted. "Bankers and merchant lords, the lot of them. If you say we need to strike this Garaitha’s Anvil, the Freeriders are with you. But there’s nearly a hundred of us — the Freeriders and the other adventurers who have answered your call — here all told, come together to show our strength. With you leading, I promise the rest will follow.”
— Megan Swiftblade’s reply
to Quelenna after the vote
Cain Shadowfox was frustrated. They had a rough map of the docks at Garaitha’s Anvil. But everyone seemed intent on promoting their own plans for how to attack it. They needed to strike hard and fast. But the admiral was known for his caution. Some even called it cowardice. As soon as he knew they were coming for him, they were sure he would flee.
Bejam told him, “The Garaitha docks are set with two score permanent portals.”
He knew it could not be that easy. “Those sigil sequences are one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Githyanki empire,” he pointed out.
Bejam admitted Cain was right. “However, the unique nature of the Sovereign Gate allowed our Astral Giant ally to extract the sigil sequences of the Garaitha portals.”
“Good,” he told the wizard. “We can teleport right to the admiral’s flagship.”
“We don’t know for sure where the flagship is located,” Bejam told him. “Maybe we can scrye the location.”
“Once again they must have powerful protections against scrying,” Andrea pointed out.
“Yes,” the wizard admitted. “But the power of the Sovereign Gate might be used to overcome those protections.”
As leaders of the Hundred Heroes, Cain thought they could come up with a plan but everybody seemed to be pushing their own ideas, rather than working together.
He thought they should send in the sneakiest of the heroes — maybe even the Freeriders themselves — to infiltrate the shipyards. A distraction was suggested. Andrea had her own ideas about the attack.
“What do you think?”
— Amyria to Aurora
when planning reached an impasse
“Well,” Aurora said, “I think we should lead the attempt to capture the admiral. If we go in first, we will be less likely to spook him into fleeing.”
“What of the others?”
“They can attack once we have had a chance to infiltrate and grab Admiral Kada’ne,” she explained. “They must attack with full force, even if we do not believe they will take the shipyards and hold them.”
Amyria seemed impressed with her ideas. “Everybody will need to be ready to retreat with the admiral once you capture. The Hundred Heroes will have to avoid committing to an all-out attack if they are going to be ready to escape when the time comes.”
She suggested they have a signal to let everyone know they had captured Admiral Kada’ne.
Then Amyria turned to Nox and asked him what he thought of the plan.
“Sounds like a good one,” the Sorceror told them. “If we can get in fast enough, we may be able to catch them before he turns tail and runs.”
They headed through the World Gate to tell the Nefelese ritualists what they needed from their scrying rituals.