The Gatekeeper

8. Adrift among Silver Sharks

Of Mutineers, Ridiculous Scrapes, and a New Ship

After days spent trying to get the ship moving again, which masterly consisted of Ysabelle trying to attune to the helm, the heroes were still mostly becalmed. They could move at a snail’s pace toward their goal: the nearest color veil to the Shrapnels. This did not sit well with the crew, of course, and tensions rose on the ship that the new captains had unintentionally becalmed. Vayne took charge, owing to her experience as a pirate, but there was only so much she could do. Were it not for the fear inspired by Ysabelle’s powers and the heroes’ martial prowess, a mutiny might have broken out. Even so, unrest brewed among the crew.

Eventually, however, the heroes saw a githyanki pirate ship on the horizon, as well as an advance scout mounted on a red dragon. The scout landed on the deck of the spelljammer and insisted the heroes surrender their ship. Speaking for the ship, Vayne agreed, on the condition that the githyanki allow them and their crew to reach their destination first. The pirates refused, and battle was joined.

First, the heroes had to contend with the red dragon rider, which they managed to defeat in a fierce, bloody battle that cost the lives of several crewmen and left some of their ship in flames. Worse, the githyanki on the pirate ship were pursuing. As Vayne and Ysabelle worked together to coax more speed from the crippled spelljammer and Brandis directed the crew’s efforts to put out the fires, J’Div and Tristan kicked the dragon corpse off the deck and loaded the catapult with the dead githyanki. They attached a note to the scout—pinned to his chest with his own silver sword—that read: “What else ya got?” Then they fired him back to his own ship. If the githy had been pursuing cautiously before, they made up for it now with a fury.

Ultimately, flight proved impossible, as all had known it would. The pirates struck from above, leaping down with their telekinetic powers to board. The heroes fought off waves of soldiers and sailors, dispatching them with relative ease thanks to the support of their crew. A dragonborn githyanki—the first mate—alighted on the deck and immolated much of the crew with its fiery breath. Tristan strode forth to face him, dragon to dragon, and countered the gith’s fire breath with a jet of silver flame so intense it disintegrated both the pirate and a quarter of the conch-shaped spelljammer. The gith realized that they were out-matched by crazed opponents—if they were willing to do that to their own ship, one could only imagine the havoc they might wreak on the githyanki ship. They wheeled about to retreat.

At that point, however, it was too late. The spelljammer was too damaged for the heroes to move on, and the githyanki ship looked like their only escape route. Despite her orders to the contrary, Vayne saw the necessity of capturing the vessel, and so she openly wielded her silver sword—a relic to the githyanki—in order to provoke the pirates into continuing the fight. It worked, and the pirates hesitated to escape. Vayne and J’Div catapulted the ship’s anchor onto the githyanki ship, tethering the vessels. Tristan flew, Vayne teleported, and Brandis scurried along the chain to the other ship. There, the gith fought hard but were slain to a man. The navigator surrendered, and the heroes put him adrift in a lifeboat loaded up with the gith’s silver swords. (No sense making it worse by taking those relics.)

On the gith ship, they managed to reach the Shrapnels, where they noticed a Quom Lakal vessel that was clearly searching for the missing Chromium.

TO BE CONTINUED!

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