…Proves to be Accurate…
…to a degree, at least. No one has seen the hobgoblin eat any brains yet.
With Kath’ik and Wellik dead, Blind Odos knew he must lead the battle. As he hurried through the corridors, a squad of cenobites came rushing towards him. “We must hold out defensively as long as possible. Surely, we will be overwhelmed eventually, but it may come to pass that someone will come to our aid.”
Maxim Shalion decided he liked using his curses. They made even his Eldritch Blasts and Hellish Rebukes a thing to fear. The Golden Scales had decided to climb on top of the fortress and surprise the Githyanki from above, rather than attack them from behind.
They were surprised themselves when another group of the mind-bending pirates from the Astral Plane came down from still higher roofs. The Hands of Gith attacked suddenly and died just as suddenly when their immobilizing telekinetic Cold Hands were overcome by Garen’s Divine Mettle.
Maxim used his blasts and rebukes — fortified by lots of curses — to work his way over to the edge of the roof. From there he could see the edge of the main battle.
And lots of targets.
He knew then what he had been saving the Hunger of Hadar for. Raising the Deathbone Rod of Dark Reward over his head, he conjured a globe of impenetrable darkness filled with fanged, flying shadows. Everything in the zone was blinded and their life forces rended. Then it was simply a matter of maintaining the globe and convinced his allies to force their enemies into the blackness.
Taken aback by the optimism of the usually stoic Odos, the cenobite captain stopped in his tracks. “Have you not heard? Someone has triggered the rockslide we use to defend this place.”
Grigore Goldforge decided he might have to remind Chance to pay closer attention to the battle. Almost as soon as Maxim lowered his globe of fanged shadows, Chance forced two Githyanki off the roof into the very place where Maxim had created the zone.
“Bet Maxim coulda used a heads-up on that,” the ardent thought. “He mighta left the globe up a little longer.” He couldn’t help thinking about how his uncle might have handled that. “Probably woulda managed better co-operation between his men.”
But Grigore was soon too busy to worry too much about better co-ordination. The Golden Scales were dropping all around him. Icy fingers gripped their hearts, immobilizing them and making them easy prey to greater damage from the silver swords the Githyanki wielded. His Skauld’s Aura was soon depleted and he had to muster all the healing he had available.
Even for Maggie, who usually stayed out of the main fray…
“I thought the assassins who killed Kath’ik and Wellik had somehow neutralized the rockslide.” Odos was confused as the captain reported the rumors that someone had landed on the roof of the monastery and was attacking the Githyanki besiegers. “Isn’t that where Gallia was last seen?”
Magdalene decided that climbing to the highest roofs of the monastery was the best way to avoid the clouds of dust sent up by their rockslide. Sure enough, the view was unobstructed up under the overhang.
Not that Maggie could see the entire battlefield, but she was able to see her way clear to the doorway where the Githzerai were being pressed by the attackers.
The attacking Githyanki were trying to force the Cenobites back inside the fortress. Seeing that success in that endeavor would allow the Githyanki the chance to fight from the protection of the doorway, just as the beleaguered Githzerai were doing now, Maggie threw caution to the wind.
Maggie used her Ninja-to Rush to leap into the dust cloud from above, following up with an Assassin’s Strike. Realizing immediately why the Githzerai were being pressed so hard, Maggie found herself surrounded by enemies. Out came the Whirling Kusari-gama, which was able to knock many of her opponents to the ground and force them into the black globe Maxim was still maintaining.
Maggie went down, but Grigore was not about to let the Githzerai be attacked again. First, the ardent healed Magdalene, then started healing the Githzerai themselves, and leaped down into the cauldron of death himself.
Then Maggie saw Grigore do something with his Wormhole Plunge that she had never seen him do before: First, he plunged his target into Maxim’s globe of blackness and shadow, then he stepped into the wormhole himself plunging himself back to the roof, then he sucked a Warrior of Gith into the wormhole and urged Maggie to pin him there. When she did that, Grigore was able to plunge the warrior through the wormhole and into the middle of Maxim’s globe.
“Yes, I believe that was where Gallia was captured by the Githyanki. Now, the Eastern Door has been breached by a Githyanki Passwall ritual,” the captain reported. “But the Western Door still holds. We suspect the attackers from above — probably the same ones who released the landslide — disrupted the other ritual we heard being attempted there. No time to investigate, though. We must hold the Eastern Door.”
“I think I might learn to like this Divine Challenge thing,” Garen Bladerun told himself. Sure, it brought him repeatedly to the brink of death, but wasn’t that were a true dragonborn paladin was at his best?
Almost made him feel like Bahamut himself, willing to sacrifice everything to fight for that which is right.
He had started out the battle Channeling Divinity from Bahamut into a crucial Divine Mettle blast which saved one of his allies from the devastating effects of the Cold Hand immobilization the Warriors of Gith liked to use to maximize the damage they dealt.
With all of his friends dropping like flies around him, Garen was glad he could draw so much attention to himself with his Divine Challenges. He wished he could use those challenges to increase his damage as well, like so many of the heroic paladins of old. Perhaps he could do some retraining before his next fight.
Shouting that Maggie needed him, Grigore disappeared into the clouds of dust. Nothing left to do but lay about with his sword. It felt good to swing the blade two-handed. His new shield at least gave him that luxury…
Almost made him feel like Bahamut himself!
What was he thinking? If he used Bahamut’s voice, demanding surrender in the language of the gods, which of these Githyankis could resist?
“Yield to the power of Bahamut,” he demanded of the two remaining Warriors of Gith. The bloodied one surrendered, but the other tried to run away.
Oh, yeah. Probably shoulda waited until they were both bloodied. Garen made a mental note to make sure his enemies were bloodied before he tried to intimidate them. “Some of ’em just go into a rage when you do it too soon,” he remembered.
Blind Odos rushed toward the Eastern Door shouting, “If a hobgoblin rescues us, I shall be very concerned, indeed.” He kept a second thought to himself: “Especially if he eats brains.”
Finishing off the last of the Githyanki warriors was no problem for Sam the Foresworn. Nor was liberating the gloves worn by the miscreant. But identifying the use to which he could put the gloves was a different story.
For that, he would need to show them to his friend Zumos.
Several other members of the Golden Scales turned up their noses at the gloves, although somebody said they were magic. But Sam knew better than to trust such a judgment. Magic could mean “cursed” as well.
He would wait for Zumos to take a look before he actually put the gloves on.
The wizard from the Order of the Septarchs was searching the bodies himself: A lot of bodies — between the rockslide and the fighting, hundreds of Githyanki had been dispatched.
Three troopships full of Githyanki, from all the evidence Sam had seen.
But Zumos abandoned his search when Sam brought him the gloves. The halfling could tell from the look in his eyes that Zumos had seldom seen such a powerful magic item. Which was saying something for a member of the order.
“You seem to have found a pair of Gloves of Dimensional Grasp,” the wizard told him after a careful examination.
Gloves of Dimensional Grasp! Sam’s heart sang. Many adventurers knew about the party trick such gloves could perform: opening a lock from across a room.
But Sam knew much more he could do with them. Sure, reaching through a dimensional portal could extend his reach, but it could also allow him to reach inside a lock and get to parts which might need to be jiggered just so…
…to open a lock which might not otherwise be within his powers.