The final head of the Tiamat statue is…not broken. Not even mildly cracked, in fact. No amount of force from Odachi or swings of Orsik’s blessed hammer can shatter the stone. Closer inspection revealed a fist-sized cavity in the statue’s mouth. Kah casts a ritual to speak with the statue, and discovered a sacrifice was required. Ultimately, Kah placed his hand in the mouth, only to have it clamp down, fangs piercing the wizard’s wrist. Poison flowed though the fans, into Kah, as Odachi and Orsik struggled to pry the jaws open. Eventually, the two defenders succeeded, and the head shattered like the others. With a grinding noise, the statue’s pedestal rose to form an arch with the defaced icon of Tiamat at it’s top. Within, a single door opened into a circular room, the base of the three-story tower of the Emperor, its ceiling open to the Astral Sea above. Outside, the battle between loyalist and rebel forces raged; red dragons and astral skiffs blasted each other with dragonfire and arcane energies.
The first level of the tower held a long-disused servants’ quarters behind a heavily brocaded cloth and a pile of opulent cushions spilled out from the curving stairway hugging the outside wall. Voices can be heard echoing from above: one smooth and cultured, one booming and angry. A huge (larger than any the Wayfarers have encountered) red dragon’s tail hung over the balcony from the second floor. A small magic circle glowed on one side of the room; Kah identified it as a local teleport, most likely somewhere in the tower. Mako, sneaking up the stairs, came into view of the dragon, the hugest he’d seen, who abruptly broke off conversation. Looking to the third floor, the dragon growled, “It appears you need to get your own house in order.” With one flap of its wings, the dragon flew through the open ceiling. While Mako made his way to the top of the tower, Riven flew, and the rest of the party taking a chance with the teleport circle.
The third floor of the tower was empty. The same smooth, cultured voice of the emperor spoke, “I suppose I have you to thank for this. The Githyanki race is tearing itself apart.” The Wayfarers, naturally responded that he brought this on to himself. As the threats are tossed back and forth, a stately Githyanki appears, moving fluidly despite his black plate, in place of his eye one onyn stone. After Mako’s opening volley, the Emperor calls, “Handmaidens, assist me!” and spectral Githyanki amazons materialized , joining the Emperor in battle. As the battle raged, both members of the Wayfarers and the Emperor himself were knocked off the third-floor balcony, and fell below.
After the battle, a Githyanki astral skiff lowered from above, Vlaakith and several Githyanki knights drop to the tower. Vlaakith recovers the scepter the Emperor wielded, the symbol of the pack between the red dragons and Githyanki. The Wayfarers are assured the treasure would be delivered to them, Vlaakith had, “No use,” for the spoils of the usurper. The Wayfarers accompanied Vlaakith to the dens of the red dragons, at which she broke the scepter and dismissed the dragons. With a grudging respect, the dragons flew off.
Vlaakith reiterates and reaffirms: 1000 years of Githyanki non-incursion in the Prime Material plane. They plan to again take up the hunt for Mindflayers. She also tells the phylactery was the heart of her predecessor. The former Vlaakith overthrown by the Emperor. She had been reduced to an undead guardian: the floating spine guarding the entrance to the Chromatic Bastion. The Githyanki would not agree to a pact of mutual defense or aid; Vlaakith stated the actions of those from the Prime Material, the Wayfarers, would not be forgotten.
Through a portal, the Wayfarers were returned to Sayre. After a day of portals, airships, and impromptu teleportation thanks to Mako’s arrow, Odachi was beyond relived to be on solid ground again.
And the loot:
A Silvery Cloak (mundane) @ 15000 GP
A Mitheral Mirror (mundane) @ 15000 GP
A Golden Idol of Tiamat (mundane) @ 15000 GP
600 Platinum (60000 GP value)
2 5000 GP value diamonds
Cashed out, 26,200 GP each