Bear Claws

42. What Rhymes with Pact Dragon?

Chuck Wagon

Characters:Jak, James, Alton, Thornside
Level: 12
Location: Overlook, Conqueror (en route to Akma’ad)
NPCs: Emil, Pattie

Jak, meets Overlook’s new elite squad of defenders — the Minotaurs, the squad of dwarves trained to fight with the Ugrosh that Jak favors. He also develops an itch on his arm that, when scratched, reveals skin the color of flames underneath. The healer in Overlook tells him that it is likely a permanent condition as a side effect of his being turned to slime by elemental magic.

James makes Marchand a prosthetic arm and Thornside checks in on the Free Traders.

During a meal one evening a private from the city watch bursts in and asks them come to the Western gate. An airship is approaching from the West.

When they arrive Captain Daurallis hands Jak a spy glass and asks for his opinion. The ship is flying, sails full, seemingly crewed by ghost-like figures. The ship is heavily damaged and grinds to halt on the ground just outside the gates of Overlook. The ghosts fade away and a young githzerai appears on deck.

The Bear Claws go out to see what is going on and the githzerai introduces himself as Tokk’it. He has stolen the airship from a githyanki force that has invaded his fortress monastery of Akma’ad. He seeks aid from the heroes of Overlook to come with him right away. The fortress might already be lost.

The Bear Claws board the ship — called the Conqueror — and Tokk’it takes off flying back to the southwest, across Orc lands. Tokk’it mentions that he is not well-liked at the monastery because he is not a very good monk. He also talks about Gallia, his girl-friend who suddenly quit speaking to him about a month previous.

Finally he mentions that, not only did the githyanki have inside information about the locations of the githzerai leaders in the monastery, but they received that information within hours of it becoming relevant. Somebody has a way to communicate with the githyanki instantly — or very nearly.

He also happens to mention that two pact dragon knights pursued him and will almost surely catch them soon.

Jak sees a painting of his former King hanging in the room with the psychic helm. He buries the axe end of his Ugrosh in its face.

Shortly after that the dragons are spotted and the Bear Claws fire the deck ballistae at them as they approach. The githyanki on their backs leap onto the deck of the ship and the dragons fly around burn things with fire until the Bear Claws kill the knights and their mounts.

James makes Jak a dragon-slaying bow and the Bear Claws rest while the ship sails steadily on over the Orcish plains. Thornside leans over the bow to shoot at tribes of Orcs as they pass overhead.

Pattie talks to Alton and tells him she knows that Malthazard has been using Emil to talk to Alton. She doesn’t know what to do about it. “I don’t know what he wants with Emil. Emil’s kind of an idiot but he’s my idiot and I won’t let him go… If you tell anyone I said that I will remove your eyes while you sleep and feed them to wild animals.”

Alton agrees that they don’t know what is going on but says that eventually they’re going to have to take the fight to Malthazard.

The Conqueror approaches Akma’ad where smoke can be seen rising from under a bluff. At the top of the bluff several githyanki stand guard near a giant pile of boulders, held in place by a chain net stretched between two tall pillars. As they watch a troop of githzerai make a charge toward the githyanki but before they make it very far a large red dragon rises up above the edge of the bluff and incinerates them all. The dragon and his rider wheel around once then turn in a dive and head for the Conqueror.

Even as the dragon approaches the sails of another airship can be seen rising above the edges of the bluff. Lightning and fire shoot from below the bluff to scorch the hull of the airship which is beginning to list. Large bolts from the deck ballistae follow the lightning back below the bluff. The airship rises above the edge of the bluff and turns toward the Conqueror.

The large dragon and rider charge at the Bear Claws and spray fire across the deck, swords slashing and teeth biting. The Bear Claws manage to kill both of the intruders but just as they do the ship shakes violently and Tokk’it comes running from the control room, followed by flying splinters and dust, a long spar juts from the control room of the ship as the enemy vessel rams its front spar right through the control point of the Conqueror.

The two ships, now stuck together begin to slowly spiral down, toward the ground, their momentum carrying them toward the edge of the bluff even as they drift downward.

The Bear Claws are bloodied and wounded as they turn to face the army of githyanki swinging across on ropes and bounding over the railing of the ships, brandishing their silver weapons, eyes dark slits as they leap to the assault.

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