Sea of Falling Stars

Journal of Yazzo the Githyanki - Entry Seven

It has been some time since last I wrote in these pages. It seemed a foreign concept to channel my thoughts into the quill, to scrawl them in this journal, to enshrine moments of living within its frame. I feared that I had forgotten how to cope with what, and who I am, and where I have been… and where I haven’t. The things I have seen, and done, and been part of… I had not thought to imagine. I have spoken with the gods. I have sailed the Sea once more. I have been made to contend with memories I did not know I held so tightly, unraveled and twisted before my eyes. If this were to be a record, if I were to catalogue the events that have transpired from the previous entry to now, I would scarcely know where to begin. But that was never the purpose of this. I never intended to leave a record of my passing.

Aboard the ship, in the Sea, I felt alive. Alive like I had not been in years, alive with purpose and desire and hope. I closed my eyes and felt the Sea wash over me, as we slipped from the noose of Saukliff and plunged into the world beyond. I had been told that I was god-touched, by a member of the Karakatorum. Chosen by one of the gods as the vessel through which their will might be carried out… that will being the salvation of all that there is. The weight of that had only begun to settle upon me when we made it into the Sea, and for a time, I did not feel its burden.

Slowly, though, it crept over me… the unease of knowing that I should be somewhere that I am not, fighting in a war that all are obligated to take part in. My brethren, my people… the Githyanki go to war against these zealots of the Becoming God, the Warforged who seek the end of all. Through their designs and goals, they would destroy all that exists to create anew a different world, one that they deem better than this. Not only the Githyanki move to stop them, but all the gods are taking part, insomuch as they must, spending only what resources they have to in order to prevent their own destruction. The gods choose few to fight their battles… the Githyanki mobilize as a united people, one voice rising above the din, to speak to this Becoming God, the one who would drink the Sea… and they say… “No. We deny you.” and I should be there, adding my voice to the roar.

Or so I thought. I was fighting my own war within myself, a private struggle of what to do, where my loyalties lie. Should I leave, and return home to Tu’narath, to take up my sword in defense of my people? Should I stay with these people I have been with, to see what may come of this “god-touched” foolishness? It would be my brother who would show me the truth, in the end, but that comes later. For the duration of our trip from Saukliff to Sova Nico, I wrestled with doubt and warred with unease, and I could find no purchase with which to take hold… I could not find my way out of the dark.

In Sova Nico, I found my answer in the form of an Illithid, one of the accursed mindflayers who enslaved my people so long ago… and the poor judgement he showed in dredging up memories I had kept closely guarded. I had not thought to look to an Illithid for my salvation, but I appreciate the irony in his foolish choice freeing me from my torment… and I savor his death, even now. Kristian Del’Acante, the human warrior I travel with, wielding a blade containing a silver shard forged from the lattice of the heavens themselves, a blade such as the one Gith shattered our shackles with and freed our minds… took the head of the Illithid from his shoulders in a single cut. Like Gith, he stood over the broken corpse of one who would seek to bend others to his will, and I stood with him. In triumph. My brother.

My brother. Ar’zalek. For that is what the mindflayer showed me, a memory of my brother as I saw him last. Dying. But it was wrong. It sought to confuse me, to assail my guilt over how Ar’zalek’s story ended… but it did not know him, nor could it understand what it means to be Githyanki. What it meant to my brother. He did not lay the blame of his death at my feet, nor any other. He accepted it with courage, and honor, and he watched our ship cut through the waves as we sailed from him, leaving him to die, and he was content. I know that to be true, in my heart and in my soul, I know it.

The Illithid, through Ar’zalek, told me that I “was not Githyanki”. It claimed I could not decide what I was, or who I was. There was truth in that. A truth I could not hear until it came in the form of my brother’s voice, a truth I could not see until I saw it in his eyes… I am Githyanki. And I will fulfill my duty as all Githyanki must.

I will stop this Becoming God. He Who Drinks the Sea will die of thirst or on the end of my blade. The Sea was formed from the shattered lattice of heaven, and it must be so for it has been thus since before Gith was lost to us. The Warforged are wrong, but I will not hate them for it. In their holy book, I learned of what The Thirst is, and what they hope to achieve. I understand. And I resist. This cannot come to pass. Will not.

I have realized that I am where I belong, for now. With those I am supposed to be with. I am amongst brothers, sister, family. I am aboard a ship, a member of the crew of those who would do their duty, as I will. And I am at peace.

Vyuna's Journal - Page somethingoranother

I am nothing but a pawn. A disposable tool of my Goddess. I am worth less than the sand under my feet in my Goddess’s eyes. I, who have given her my everything, am nothing but another tool, just like the hundreds of others in her control. Replaceable. Forgettable. Insignificant. I guess it’s understandable, a Goddess cannot possibly return every one of her follower’s devotion, especially mortal ones whose lives span but a fraction of time, but I do not understand why it hurts so much, this pa in my chest. Perhaps this is what a broken heart feels like? If so, I can’t imagine who would ever make anyone feel this way. No one deserves to feel like this. I would not even wish it on my worst enemy.

Yet, even as I realize all this, I still call her my Goddess. I still love her as clearly as I always have, even if she does not love me in the same way. I still answer to her voice, and my heart still yearns to serve her, no matter how much it hurts to do so. This, the ability to be able to inflict such a state on someone, is the true power of my Goddess. To be able to wield and twist people’s hearts and minds in such a way… It’s terrifying. Now I fully understand the fear of love.

We’ve completed our journey with no more casualties, explored the ruins and make it out with our lives, plenty of wealth, and more knowledge than we had hoped for. We met the strange bronze dwarf. He was through a portal in the ruins, most likely guarded by the huge statues in the room. The woke when we entered, but did not attack us. I suspect that it was because of the magical statue water we drank. I do not know why, but nor do I care. Not anymore.

The dwarf man, he granted us each a question, and would clarify until we were satisfied. Apparently he could watch over the world, and has spent the last… gods know long, doing so. He knew everything, and for some unknown reason, decided to gift us the knowledge of our choice.

I asked him about the Warforged, about their plans. Apparently, their becoming god is supposed to destroy the lattice of heaven, the thing holding the sea together, and essentially end the world for an attempt to rebuild it from scratch. Many, many factions want control of their new little deity, but none have been able to really do anything about it yet. It is growing in power by stealing it from artifacts and “god-touched”, people chosen by the gods, with their power imbued in them, directing that power towards their little project.

It makes me sick. I can’t understand why someone would be so selfish as to do such a thing. I get how corrupted this world is, I really do, but to take away another’s god for your own, just to have a slim chance at rebuilding it all. It’s pointless, really. All of this is. But a servant cannot complain, only do her duties. I just hope my Goddess doesn’t expect a smile, as well.

As I write this, we are about to head off into The Sea with this small, flying Warforged ship, preparing to sail to Sova Nico, where Damien said he fled. He left a message for us on the piers of Saukliff, one that we were lucky enough not to have to find ourselves. Turns out he’s a servant of Erathis, the goddess of civilization, inventions, and the law, a fellow “god-touched”. He used the guise of a travelling circus to transport fellow members of his cause secretly, away from the eyes of his enemies. I knew he was hiding something, that he was suspicious. However, I do not believe he is untrustworthy any longer, now that I know he is a fellow pawn, just of a different queen.

Myron has abandoned his god, Bahamut. I worry about what may become of him, now that he is a godless angel. Even with the recent information, I cannot believe he did such a thing. How does one simply cast away their god so… freely. It’s an alien concept. I’m sure he’s just as tired as I am, but that… I could never do that. My Goddess gave me life. I am willing to give it back. There is simply no other way. Although, I do almost envy him, the lavender one. To be free of his god, his responsibilities, of having to please. Maybe some day, I will be as free as him. But, I must not think of such things. They are devilish ideas.

I must stop writing. I just want this day to be over with.

Journal of Yazzo the Githyanki - Entry Six

All of the dwarves are dead, except Siga. I did not expect to feel anything about that, but I do. I feel… almost proud of them, in a way. They died doing what they were said they were unable to do, what they claimed they did not know how to do, what seemed impossible to them; they died fighting. I helped Siga build a cairn for Borin, in a small corner of one of the caverns. His body will be interred there until some new beast makes its home here, and dislodges the stones. Hopefully that will not be for some time, as he deserves the rest he was given.

Borin died fighting against the Warforged, and their Duergar minions, who had slain the dragon and were stealing its treasure. When we came upon them, I don’t think any of us properly took stock of the situation. As I said… they had slain the dragon, the creature we had been fleeing and hiding from. Yet we charged into the room, blades flashing in the air, ready to fight and die as one. The battle was brutal, even for one this group partakes in. They’ve all been bloody affairs where one or more of us almost die, but this time, it looked especially grim.

I am honestly not sure how we survived. What I remember is chasing after the Warforged mage who was using some dark magic to take hold of a person’s mind, and then I lost consciousness. When I came to, it was in Vyuna’s arms, her hand caressing my brow, the cooling feel of it against my skin. Again. And again, and again, and again, it seems. I am starting to have trouble remembering what it is like to wake in any other way.

The Warforged had come in on an airship, but were not going out the same way. Their leader seemed to be one called She Sings the Last Song. She was brave, if Warforged can be that. I don’t know how much they feel, or think, really. I do know that she spoke with pride, and issued a challenge that we were unable to refuse. She spoke again of the Becoming God, and He Who Drinks the Sea. I still don’t know what any of that means, but it seems the Becoming God wanted something within this hoard the dragon had amassed. She nearly slew all of us, and died well. That is starting to become the best any could hope for, when they stand against this group.

Speaking of this group… after the battle, Siga informed us that she means to continue on, into the mines. The purpose of her expedition will be fulfilled, or she will die trying to fulfill it. In all likelihood, she will die regardless, but I could not leave her here alone. The others were quite willing to leave, surprisingly. Silas especially was excited to abandon Siga, to climb aboard the airship and sail away into the clouds. Not once, from the moment he awoke in a cave surrounded by the bodies of kobolds, until he lay his head down that night in the den of a recently deceased dragon, did he ask what had happened while he lie comatose.

He did not ask how we moved his body from the ground to the wagon, nor how we transported him under siege from Gibberlings to Outreach. Nor did he care to hear about how we barely escaped with our lives when the dragon came. He didn’t ask any questions about Kristian’s sword, which was his entire purpose for being here. He asked nothing, just simply awoke with a smile and continued on with his life; no gratitude for those who died to bring him here, no word of thanks, nothing. Just a glib remark about how the party will probably force him to help Siga, even though he doesn’t want to.

In the end, I forced the group to stay and aid Siga, out of shaming them for their cowardice, or appealing to their sense of honor, I cannot say. I find it startling, and almost absurd that I, the vicious, marauding Githyanki, am the one who counsels to the group that we must help those who need our help. It boggles the mind how one would arrive at this point. I can’t tell if I’m right or they are, but Siga would surely die if we left. There was a great risk they would all die regardless, back when they had a wagon and 20+ dwarves in their caravan. Now this group would opt to leave one dwarf alone, in a kobold-infested cavern, to finish her expedition alone? I name that for what it is. Cowardice. They wanted to flee when the chance was there. These people have no regard for honor, or loyalty. They would be shocked to hear about Githyanki honor, to hear tales of how brave Githyanki Knights are. They look at me and see the demonic pirates of the Elemental Chaos, come spewing forth into their lives to steal their treasures and kill their women.

Bah. Perhaps I am being too harsh. These people that I travel with are different, I know. But still… this was not a good moment for them. They were weak, and I refused to let them live that way. Vyuna would have regretted leaving Siga, I know it. Kristian as well. Myron seemed curious enough to be swayed for either course of action, but I doubt that one even sees morality the same way we do, after being alive for so many centuries. I have persuaded them to stay. We will see if I have doomed us all, soon enough.

I spoke with Vyuna tonight, after my watch. She told me about her life before joining with this group, before leaving her home. How she was chosen by Sehanine, and shunned by her people for years, as the Genasi worship the Primordials, not the “false gods” of human races. It was a sad tale. Children should not grow up alone, told that they are different from others. Githyanki children live together; they train together, learn to fight and think as one, taught that Githyanki belong together no matter what. It is funny, in a way. Vyuna was told her whole life that she was different, apart from other Genasi, and now she truly is alone amongst strangers, other races. I was taught the opposite, and yet I am in the same place she is. Alone amongst strangers. I cannot help but feel there is some connection here.

She talked of Anyen and Anyan, the sister islands the Genasi are from. I learned that Water Genasi, or Watersouls as they are properly called, actually live underwater amongst homes built into coral reefs. It sounds … beautiful, actually. I meant to tell her of Tu’narath, but I didn’t. I don’t know how we got on the subject, but… she has a way of drawing words from me, words that I did not intend to share. I told her… of my brother. Of Ar’zalek. I had never spoken of it to anyone since it happened. The other races regard it as a great shame to ‘abandon’ your brother, but it is the Githyanki way. Recovery of the swords, above all else. It was an honor for Ar’zalek to give up his life so that we might pursue the blade. It… it was an honor to leave him.

I cannot remember the last time I had sat down and honestly talked with someone. As equals. I surprised myself at times, with how genuinely interested I was in hearing her speak. This young, innocent creature who had never left her home before beginning this journey, and I sit in rapt attention of her, watching her lips move as she speaks longingly of home, and of her goddess. Even now, as I write this, I can see her sitting still, playing with her turtle as she keeps watch.

I am, as I often seem to be these days, very much uncertain of myself; of what I am doing, who I am, and what I want.

Journal of Yazzo the Demon Monkey - Entry Five
A Good Death

Of late, I have been thinking of Gith. I am in a kobold-infested cavern, hiding from a dragon with the remnants of this doomed expedition, members of our party teetering on death’s door, and I am… afraid. I wonder if She was, in her moment of glory, when she smashed the shackles that held our people and led us out of the darkness. I wonder if her silver sword gave her courage, or if it was the rest of us that took solace from its majesty, while Gith herself plunged into war with our captors.

As I write this, I am sitting next to Kristian, a human, who is the bearer of a sword containing a shard from one of the sacred silver swords. Githyanki swords, made by and for them from the shattered lattice of the heavens that now comprise the Sea of Falling Stars. How little he knows of the history he holds, and lays claim to. I am uncertain as to why I did not take it from him. I am equally uncertain as to whether or not I even could manage to best him in combat; he has proven himself a capable warrior, which is a stark contrast to his naivete and timid nature outside of battle.

As I looked upon the sword, in his hands as he looked at me, not with suspicion but only confusion… I thought of my brother. And I could not raise my blade to him. I could not see another of my companions die for the sake of these swords, sacred though they are… and I know a dark fate awaits me now, for I have lost what it means to be Githyanki. Kristian’s continued life is proof of that.

The sword is what he was searching for, all this time. He says it was the blade of his master, an Eladrin. I wonder if his master knew what he had, and knew the risks associated with it. The men who stole it from Kristian did, or at least one of them did. He warned them, apparently, that “The Githyanki” would come for it. Unfortunately for him, knowing what is coming is not the same as being prepared. He is dead now, as are all of his companions, lying in the desert for the vultures to pick at. Those who steal the blades of the Githyanki will die in obscurity.

I feel as though I have been repeating myself in the pages of this journal, as of late, but the theme continues; I have not known such uncertainty before in my life. My life… which has been saved yet again by Vyuna, the Genasi. And again, and again. She risks life and limb to protect me, and Kristian, and Myron, and Silas. It as though she does not value her own life, but would gladly trade it for one of ours. I don’t… I don’t know, anymore. I want to tell her… about my brother, about what I have done and make her see why what she does, and how she lives, completely destroys the world that I have known. I cannot shake the feeling that I have made mistakes. Actions that I was so certain of before… I am not so certain of now.

I… I am so sorry, brother. We were wrong.

We will be moving again, soon. Siga and Borin are the only two remaining dwarves. Rainy and Dainan both died in battle, giving their lives so that the rest of us might continue on. They died good deaths, finding their courage in the end. Rainy in particular… I am proud of him, and for him.

The dragon that we had heard of did indeed find us, and harried our passage into the caves. It was a wild, breathless ride that we only barely survived… and we owe the success of it to Rainy. He threw himself at the dragon when it came down to us, landing atop the wagon carrying Silas, knocking us all to the ground. It seized Siga in its claws, taunting us. Myron stood and spoke to it, distracting it momentarily, as it probably has never seen one of the ‘lesser races’ speaking so confidently to it before… and that was all the time Rainy needed.

He died well, blade buried deep in the dragon’s flesh. We heard it scream as it fell back, and rolled down the hill, as we fled into the caverns carrying our wounded. The caverns that we found were full of Kobolds, servants of the dragon, who began to muster against us while trying to send members to flee, to guide the dragon back to us from a larger passage. The battle was fast and brutal, many of us nearly dying. Myron would have, if not for Dainan. He launched himself atop a kobold, impaling himself on its spear as it loomed over Myron, bearing it to the ground beneath his weight. His sacrifice bought us the time for Vyuna to save Myron’s life and stop him from bleeding out, and together with Borin, we managed to slay the kobold menacing him.

Kristian chased their leader down, some sort of shaman, taking bolts of magic to the face all the way. I caught back up to them just as Kris cornered the little bastard, and we managed to render him unconscious before he escaped. The entire time, he had been shrieking at me, “Demon monkey!” … what an idiot. Has this fool never seen a demon? Or a monkey, even? Githyanki don’t resemble demon monkeys, that’s just stupid. I mean… what would a demon monkey even be? I know Githyanki don’t look like humans, but… that’s just… ridiculous. I’m not a demon monkey. Stupid kobold.

We tried to question the beast, but it kept trying to get the others to kill me. He did tell us, vaguely, where his master’s lair was, and once we had gotten as much from him as we could, Vyuna snapped his neck. I repeat. VYUNA, snapped his neck like one would break a twig, for kindling to be used in a campfire. I was taken aback, but intrigued. I had not expected this gentle, foolhardy girl to realize what needed to be done, much less to handle it herself. I confess… I was impressed.

We also found a door that led to the Mines of Some-Dwarvish-Word, where Siga and Borin informed us they had no means of opening. Siga wants vengeance against the dragon for the deaths of Rainy and Dainan. I respect that. It is good that they found their taste for battle, at long last. Perhaps if they had found it sooner, some of their kin would live yet, but there is no purpose in saying that to them now. They have lost enough. Were it just me, I would lead them to the dragon and allow them to die in the manner they desired; hurting a being far more powerful than themselves, and making it pay for what it has done to them. They couldn’t bring it down, of course, but they could make a stand. Sometimes that is enough.

I will not lead them there now, though. Not with Silas still unconscious, and Myron nearly dying to the kobolds. I would not risk the sword Kristian bears falling into the hands of the kobolds, nor would I allow it to be added to the hoard of a dragon, to sit uselessly until it is lost to dust, and buried amongst other, lesser treasures. And I would not allow Vyuna to die for the sake of these dwarves’ need for vengeance.

It is nearly time. I should wake the others. Today we may die in these caverns, but if that is to be the case, we will pave our way to the afterlife beneath the broken bodies of kobolds. I’ll such them a real Demon Monkey. Idiots.

Journal of Yazzo the Githyanki - Entry Four

I am writing this from a small room in the town of Outreach. I am sitting on the floor, my back against the door, and when I close my eyes, I am adrift. I have long felt that I would never reach the Sea again, nor see the home in which I was born, nor watch the fires swirling and dancing in the Elemental Chaos, the way I used to when I was younger. The sights I have seen would be regarded as wonders by the people of Saukliff, and of this town of Outreach, so I feel I should be grateful for the life I have lived, thus far.

But it is difficult.

The past few days in particular have proven especially trying, as Silas took ill following the battle. It seems the scorpion-demon that attacked both Silas and myself did far more damage to him, than to me. I suppose it is the nature of the Githyanki constitution to resist such devilish toxins as that creature must have pumped into us, because Silas did not fare as well as I. Then again, the Genasi Vyuna did… something, to me, as the battle was ending. She saved my life, of that I am sure… but now I wonder if she did not save me twice-over, by counteracting the poison from that creature. I… I do not enjoy this feeling, of being indebted to someone.

A part of me wishes she failed to aid me, and that I died. It would have been a release. I know I will never leave this accursed island any other way but through death, but still… still I am grateful to her. A brush with death helps one to realize they aren’t ready to go, just yet. I am still fighting.

Regardless, the point is that the journey from where the fight with Barbael took place, to this town of Outreach, was one of the most harrowing I think I’ve experienced. There have been many chases in my life, in the life of any Githyanki, but usually we are not the ones fleeing. In this case, a Gibberling horde came howling from the dunes behind us, and then from the sides and all around us, baying like ravenous wolves at the scent of blood. I don’t know if it was the battle that drew them in, or the carnage of so many fresh bodies left in our wake, or if they were perhaps somehow sent by Barbael himself, before his death. It scarcely matters, though, as they were hot on our trail.

The next several hours are hazy, to me. We were all pushed past the point of exhaustion. The dwarves were down to just a few, with one wagon intact, which we had to load Silas into as he was feverish and couldn’t ride. He was slipping in and out of consciousness as best I could tell, on death’s doorstep. He would be dead if it were not for Vyuna… so I suppose we have that in common, now. She ran alongside the wagon for miles… she did not ride, but ran alongside it, her hand clasped against Silas’ forehead, her concentration unbroken, the healing power of her goddess flowing through her and keeping Silas alive, but just barely. I have long paid homage to my Queen, Vlaakith CLVIII, but I cannot deny the strength of Sehanine after that day, nor the courage of her disciple.

Kristian and Myron acquitted themselves as well, helping to guide the wagon through the dunes and keeping the Gibberlings at bay. I did what I could to throw off the tracks and misguide some of the horde, but there were too many for that to completely work. At one point I saw the wagon slip as it descended a sand dune, the wheels jerking suddenly, and Silas began sliding out, unconscious. I am not sure how, but I reached him in time to break his fall, and shoved him back into the wagon. Without missing a beat, Vyuna was back at it, his life secure in her hands.

Myron was the only member of our party who was attacked by one of the creatures. It came at him from the side, tackling him down a sand dune, gnashing its teeth and trying to bite him. I saved his life in a suitably spectacular manner, delivering a flying kick to the beast’s face, launching it off of him and decapitating it after our brief tumble down the dune. I saw the look on Myron’s face as he sat back up; pure, unadulterated awe. Or perhaps not. At this point, the Deva is so full of himself that I cannot help but to mock him, even in the pages of this private journal.

We arrived in Outreach without a moment to spare, and acquired the medicine to save Silas’ life. I imagine he will be rather grateful when he awakes, but he has not yet. We rented rooms in the Inn, which is where I am now… and as for why I am awake, well…

Kristian, apparently, has trouble sleeping alone. He feigned some sad excuse for knocking on my door in the middle of the night, but I could tell he was just unable to relax, by himself. I told him that we are safe here, and to go back to his room, and we would talk in the morning. He reached out and took my hand, mumbling something about his magical coin that knocked on my door or some such nonsense… and then there was … something. A vision, but not one that I alone saw… Kris saw it too. The silver shard, being offered up by a golden-bronze dwarf of the Karakatorum. I asked Kris after if he knew what it was, or if he had seen it before, but he had no answers for me. I don’t know what it means, yet… but I don’t care for a human being given a vision of one of the sacred Githyanki relics.

Regardless, it is still many hours from dawn, and I need to sleep. We are heading to the mines, to bring the dwarves to their destination. After their pitiful showing throughout the journey, I had dismissed the dwarves as cowards, but Siga and her band show some small courage in continuing their quest, in spite of the horrific losses they suffered. Their mine is only a short ways beyond where the man Kristian is hunting is said to be, so we may as well see them there.

What’s the worst that could happen, after all? We’ve already been attacked by a hydra and a devil on this trip. Supposedly there’s a dragon somewhere in those hills. I guess we’ll be seeing him sooner or later. As I write that, intending sarcasm, I have this sinking feeling that it will be proven true all too soon. Oh well. A good death may await us all, yet.

Journal of Yazzo the Githyanki - Entry Three
The Smell of the Sea

I saw it. I could almost reach out and touch it. When I finished the previous entry, I slept, and in that sleep I dreamed. I dreamed that I awoke alone on the Obelisk Road, with one of them placed before me. This was the same dream that Silas and Myron said they had, one that ended in pain for both. I approached the obelisk, and touched it, revealing the golden, statuesque dwarf inside. When I called out to him, he opened his eyes. And then he raised his hand, palm open… with a silver shard inside. I was immediately transported back to the years of roaming the Elemental Chaos, and sailing the Sea of Falling Stars with my brethren, searching for bearers of the silver swords. That burning, insistent need to take the shards, to ensure that only Githyanki hold them, to bring them before the Queen in honor of her glory… I have not felt that strongly in years. As I reached for the shard, it flew from the dwarf’s hand, straight towards my eye… and I awoke in the tent to Silas shaking us, and slapping some of us awake. He didn’t slap me, though. I guess even fools have limits to their folly.

Writing this now, after what happened, I find myself ill-at-ease with my situation. Perhaps that is not the best way to phrase it. Uncertain, maybe? This was unexpected. I struggle to put ink to the page, as the words that normally come so freely, are proving elusive to my mind. I am part of something, now, I believe. Not officially; there is no formal induction into whatever little group exists… but I feel it. Were I released from Bari Basa’s service, I would not leave. I would stay with this group, with Myron and Silas and Kristian… and Vyuna. I would kill to keep her safe, at whatever risk to myself. I don’t know where this instrospective nature came from; Githyanki are not prone to exploring their feelings like young human teenagers, afraid of their own capacity to feel. This is… this is new, to me.

What was not new was fighting gods-damned devils and their ilk. It seems Myron has friends. When the sandstorm abated, and Silas woke us, there was a kind of wild howling outside. Not the wind… something far less natural. Barbael, a devil, came calling. I had a brief moment to wonder if this is who Myron was seeking before its minions attacked. They came from all over, swarms of some type of demonic bat washing over the caravan like a flood, with humanoid fire creatures, with fire erupting in gouts from their flesh. None of these particular things were familiar to me, but I had seen many types of demons and devils in the Elemental Chaos. I don’t know that the others had… perhaps the Deva, but the rest? Even in spite of their performance against the hydra before, I was surprised that they stood and fought. One cannot ignore their courage.

The battle was harrowing. The fire creatures exploded violently when slain, flames roaring through the air, scalding any nearby. Including the swarming bat creatures, which proved to be the best way to deal with them, as when I waded into the midst slicing with my blade, I could scarcely tell if I were hitting any of the damned things, there were so many. I couldn’t see what was happening anywhere except in our little corner of the battle, but I heard the screams from the members of the caravan. Good, I thought. The cowards have earned their deaths. Perhaps if they fought back, their lives would not end like this; wailing all the way to the grave, dying in obscurity in a gods-forsaken desert.

It seemed as though we were winning, and then he came. Barbael approached with his guards, laughing all the while. He exchanged words with the Deva, briefly, but I don’t remember what was said. Just before they attacked, the Devil recoiled as though slapped full in the face. It seemed genuinely surprised, and very, very angry. Seeing they were about to charge, I flicked my left wrist, unraveled the sling, took a step and fired a bullet directly into the chitinous carapace of the spider-demon at Barbael’s side. It punched through with a satisfying chunk, and I was rewarded with a shrilling screech of pain. That was the last clear thought I have of the battle, until… until she was there.

I was going to die. I knew it. The spider-demon appeared from nowhere next to me, while I lay prone, and slammed its stinger into my back. I felt the venom pumping into me, coursing through my veins. My vision immediately blurred, and I felt as though I were going to vomit. This is how it ends, I thought. Not on the Sea, as I had imagined… as I had hoped. Instead, I die in a desert, killed by a devil and his minions. I suppose it is fitting, as I have not seen the Sea in years. All I know, anymore, is Saukliff. And Saukliff claims me in the end.

I saw Barbael fighting Kristian nearby, struggling to resist some sort of spell cast by Myron, his attention fully locked on Kris and Silas’ giant frog he summoned from nowhere. I saw my death, before me. Given the circumstances, it was as good a death as I could hope for. With the last reserves of my focus, I used my latent telekinesis to launch my broken body through the air, landing atop Barbael’s back as he was kneeling before Kris, stunned by Myron’s spell. I slammed my Khopesh into the bastard’s back, cutting down through a wing into his ribcage. I felt the bones crack before the blade became stuck, and I collapsed to the ground behind him. I think I was grinning. I was trying to, at any rate. I made a devil scream before I died. How many Githyanki can say that?

My vision darkened as I lay on my back. The sky slowly dwindled to a pinpoint. I felt the venom coursing through me, marveling at how the initial burning sensation shifted to a kind of cool, soothing feeling. Perhaps that is what death feels like. A release, an escape from all the pain and trials of living. I felt my body shifting, being carried by the current, as though I were in the water, drifting. I closed my eyes and smelled the Sea. I could see the stars again, swim amongst them. I swam to Tu’narath, saw the spires of the city grow larger as I drifted closer. I was going home, I could feel it in my bones. I was safe.

“You’re alright, I’ve got you. Wake up, Yazzo. You’re safe now.”

Y…Yani? That was her name… that voice, it sounded just like… I opened my eyes. No… not Yani. Vyuna. I gasped, breathing air into my lungs, alive. The poison was gone, my wounds were healed. I was … I was saved. Again. The second time my life was saved by a Water Genasi. Why is this time different than the first? When Yani rescued me when I was a boy, I felt nothing. I don’t think I thanked her… she was a slave. But now, with Vyuna… I… I do not know the words. I was not wrong, though, when I was drifting in the Sea. I did come home. I closed my eyes a second time, and when I opened them, the devil was defeated. I stood, with Vyuna’s aid. My legs were still a bit shaky. I guess nearly dying takes it out of a person.

“Where is Raum?”

Myron slapped the devil across the face. Hard. He could do that, as Barbael was mostly inside of Silas’ giant frog. I’m not entirely sure how that happened, and it would have been amusing in another circumstance. None of us were in a laughing mood, though. The devil proposed a bargain; we let him live to continue wreaking havoc on Saukliff, and he would tell us where Raum was. Myron considered the offer, I could tell. Genuinely entertained it. His vengeance must burn bright, indeed. But he is a Deva. He shared a look with Kristian, and in unison they drew their blades and extinguished Barbael’s miserable life. He died laughing, but his laughter turned to screams in the end, as his body was devoured by the frog. He’ll be back, one day. Devils never truly die.

We paused for a moment then, looking at each other. I felt something I had not felt in a long time. As I said before… I am a part of something, now. For better or worse. I looked at Vyuna, at the ley-lines tracing her body, the ease of her smile. I would lay down my life for her, I realized. It is hers, now, anyway… I would be dead if not for her courage, and compassion. Compassion… a trait I once scorned, one that all Githyanki scorned as being weak, and foolish. I shake my head, ruefully, as I write this now. I feel as though I am seeing the world for the first time, these past few days.

My hand struggles with the quill. I have paused many times when writing this entry, but the next part… I was unprepared. We began looking around the caravan, in the aftermath of the battle. There were many dead. I remember thinking, still, that they had it coming. I remember thinking that if they were brave, they would have lived. … I remember when I stopped thinking that. There was something I did not mention in the previous entry. It did not stand out to me as being a significant event in my life, at first. It now does.

We had found a small oasis. The caravan pulled up for a rest there, and many people relaxed by the water, or in it. The were some human children playing games nearby, where one would chase the others to touch them, and then the boy who was touched would begin to chase, instead. I joined them, and initially they were afraid, because I was the Githyanki, the fearsome, sinister figure they knew was stalking the city of Saukliff, but perhaps had not seen yet. They accepted me, though. I remember their little screams of joy as I whisked them through the air with my telekinetic power, or their giggles as I deftly sidestepped their lunging attempts at tagging me. When the game ended, one of the boys approached me hesitantly. He held something out to me. A small figurine, carved from wood, vaguely humanoid in shape. He whispered, “It’s the Githyanki…”. I accepted his offering with a bow, and saw his face light up. He ran off to his friends, proudly announcing THE GITHYANKI TOOK IT! HE’S MY FRIEND, NOW! WE’RE FRIENDS!!”

I looked upon his face then, after the battle. He was no longer smiling. He died alone, bleeding from a hundred wounds, clearly a victim of the swarms. And… he was holding a sword. I do not know where he got it, but it was locked in his grip, and it had bat ichor on it; he killed one. A boy. As I said… I remember thinking that they deserved this death, that they lacked courage, that they… that they… I do not know anything, anymore. But I will keep this boy’s offering, the wooden Githyanki. And I will remember.

Journal of Yazzo the Githyanki - Entry Two
The Caravan

As I write this, I am trapped in a small tent with the ragged crew Bari Basa bid me to escort to the Demon Wastes, by way of the Obelisk Road. There is a sandstorm raging outside the likes of which I have not seen previously. The Deva, Myron, and the human Silas are asleep. Kristian, the other human, is writing in his journal. The Water Genasi is asleep, her head resting upon my shoulder, her hair soaking through my armor. It smells of the Sea.

And I am content.

I had not thought to be that. It has been years since that was a word I could use to describe the way that I have been, but there it is. I am far from the Sea, farther than I have been before, and I am traveling with strangers into dangerous territory. I have not seen nor heard any tangible news about my own kind in months. I have forgotten some of the faces of the Githyanki crew I raided with, now. Some of them, I had known most of my life. I find it difficult to remember what their voice sounded like, or the feel of their presence in my mind, as we fought side by side, in battle.

I am sure Bari Basa meant this to be a punishment of sorts, for me. Another way of toying with his pet Githyanki; sending me out into the desert to guard a caravan and escort his new playthings to their likely deaths… and at first, I regarded it as such. Watching them make absurd purchases in the Caravanserai was almost painful to behold. One of them, Silas, bought a turban that would shame even the most gaudy of princes. Bright purple, it was, and it did not match any other garment he was wearing. At first I thought it was a joke of some sort, but he seemed… oddly proud of it. At times, I wonder if he is not altogether present in the world the rest of us live in. The Genasi, Vyuna, made a much wiser purchase, one that I approved of both in appearance, and in price. It fit her well. Of course, she also insisted on paying extra to assuage any damages my lack of diplomacy may have caused the poor, fragile vendors… but I cannot hold her weak nature against her. The other Water Genasi I have known was much the same.

I tried to tell Vyuna about her, during the trip. It came out wrong. I gathered that she took offense to the concept of a Genasi being a slave, but that wasn’t the point, simply the reality of the situation. Slavery is common in Tu’narath. It’s not to the sick extent it is in Saukliff; an entire city founded on slavery and fueled by the profit and labor it brings, but slavery is real, and it exists in most cities, and it is foolish to think otherwise. Regardless, the Water Genasi I mentioned was one that I grew up knowing. She was a servant in one of the war academies. She used to sneak some of the Githyanki children treats, when no others were looking. I cannot remember her name, but her face remains clear to me, when others are starting to fade. I suppose when you leave one life behind you, you keep only the important parts close. I am surprised at myself.

I am also surprised at this group. Kristian, in particular, is not the man I thought he was. He seemed timid, upon first meeting him. Not cowardly, but certainly nothing special… just an average person. Forgettable. While we were traveling, Silas had the idea of cutting open a cactus, to drink the water inside. Several of the humans and dwarves on the caravan moved to aid him, and awoke a kind of desert beast. It seemed to be some sort of hydra. The dwarves scattered like cowards. During the ensuing battle, in which every member of this group I am traveling with managed to acquit themselves in admirable ways, the dwarves remained hiding, weeping in fear, paralyzed by their own insignificance and general lack of value, one would assume.

During the fight, Kris cauterized the stumps of the heads we cut off with his flaming sword, so that it could not regrow them twofold. Without that, I’m not certain how the battle would have turned out. It was a close thing for a while there. When the monster was dead, the dwarves slunk back out of their holes like the cowards they are, marveling at how mighty we must be to fight such a creature. Idiots. Their solution was to flee in random directions. Even Siga, a dwarf I have known these past three years as a strong, fierce woman, did absolutely nothing to aid us or to inspire those she leads to do anything to save themselves, short of running like frightened children.

There is something to be said about the kind of people that plunge headlong into danger when all others are fleeing. Perhaps I am not the one to say it, but I think it is worth noting. All of them stood with me, and we triumphed. We stood and we fought against a fearsome foe, and won. The Githyanki I sailed with did not. When I was wounded, they fled, leaving me to die. So would have I. I do not know if the ones I travel with now would do the same. I could not imagine Vyuna leaving a companion behind, nor Kris standing idle when a friend is in need.

A… a friend? Gods. I must be tired. This sandstorm shows no signs of abating. I may as well get some sleep. And Vyuna’s turtle is staring at me while I write. Makes it hard to concentrate.

Vyuna's Journal - Page (Idon'tknowyet)

I don’t like this island. I don’t like it at all. From the moment I stepped off of the boat, my only want has been to go back. I might have been able to see it’s beauty if it wasn’t so covered in chains. The first thing I saw were people being held as slaves, sold on the front of a sacred monument of Pelor. I have never seen something so… appalling in my life. How can so many people play with the lives of others, as if they were worth less than their own? And on a holy monument, no less. It made me sick to my core. One day, swear I will cleanse Saukliff. My goddess did not give me life to simply watch as people control and play with others’ lives, as if they had the right. This place is disgusting, but even more corrupted than the city itself are it’s leaders.

Upon arriving and choosing an inn to stay, we were met by a Githyanki, I believe they’re called. I have never encountered one before, but the rest of the group seemed tense at his entrance. He was a messenger for Bari Basa al-Rajeed, one of the lords of Saukliff. Even though we didn’t understand why we were singled out for an audience, we went with the green man to his lord. However, to my surprise, the man was a… Rakshasa. A fallen Deva, apparently. The messenger, Yazzo his name was, didn’t seem to be pleased to be in his service. I couldn’t blame him. From the moment I heard him speak, I could tell he was a toxic person. He knew what he shouldn’t have, our names, our stories. He even requested that we sit upon the lords’ seats to speak with him. After playing with us, he decided to have us “entertain” him by passing judgement on the convicted. For us to play with their lives instead of him. What else should I have expected from a leader of a place like this?

He seemed to have given us dilemmas to match our conflicts. He gave me one regarding a woman fleeing her family to be with her beloved. I set her free. I didn’t exactly believe her claim, and I expect that she will realize the impact of her decision soon. The Cat seemed very pleased with my decision. He told me that it was wise to be selfish. That her children would most likely be sold into slavery. I didn’t consider their father would so such a thing. But if that was what the woman wanted, then she should face the consequences of it. I simply allowed her to do it. Everyone should be able to follow their own path, but everyone should have to deal with the repercussions of doing so. It’s more than fair.

After his little game, he rewarded us with a “gift” he called it. One for each person after their trial. He gifted me with a magical crystal in the shape of a crescent moon. I could will it to light up, or dim with a simple thought. It was beautiful. Even though I was given it by a foul man, I will treasure it always. I’m using it now to light up my room so that I may write. Perhaps I’ll make it into another necklace. I’ve never had jewelry before, when I was back on Anyen. I think it would look lovely with my heart-touched choker. Speaking of my choker, I feel it’s being wasted, simply sitting upon Wilsym’s shell. As much as I enjoy feeling his heartbeat, I should give it to someone, but I’m not sure who. I’m sure the answer will be clear to me in time. I should still think upon it, however.

The Cat, after everyone had a turn, made us all, even the green one, who had been watching us with a judging glare, cast judgement on prisoners they had captured in a recent attack. Warforged. Searching for the same things the ones who attacked Calim, all for their “Becoming God”. We barely got any information out of them besides the fact that “those who are sought” were needed for their little project, and that they were raiding to get said items and people. We decided that they were to be imprisoned for their crimes. The green one didn’t seem too happy about that. He ridiculed us for our judgement. I don’t understand him very well, but I don’t think I ever will, anyway.

As a reward for our final punishment, he let us speak with a man who had been taken by the Warforged. He used to be a cleric of Pelor, but we arrived to him crying in the cell, saying how they took is god away. I get chills thinking about it now, even. He couldn’t cast a single spell, all his previous connection to his god gone. I will never let them do the same to me. If my goddess were to be taken from me… I don’t know what I would do, if I would even still be alive. The concept itself terrifies me to my core. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look in his eyes. I will pray for him, later tonight, but I am not sure that even my goddess can help him now. I’m scared.

We were quickly escorted out of the palace when we left the man. Tomorrow we are supposed to set off into the desert. The devil Myron is looking for Bari Basa said could be out there, and the man who stole from Kristian may be, too, so the Cat arranged for us to travel out there with a Caravan. He also told the green one to escort us through our journey, but I believe he is coming along for nothing more than to watch over us for the lord. I guess it can’t be helped. It will be better to have someone who knows the area better with us, regardless if they’re watching us or not. Maybe I would feel better out there than in these walls. I would gladly look at sand over chains, anyway.

I should sleep. I blocked my window, just to be safe. I would go to Silas’s room, as the last thing I want to be is alone in this place, but I wouldn’t want to bother him. Wilsym’s getting tired, too. I’m not sure if I will get the chance to write out there, but I will bring my journal along regardless. I’m sure something worthy of writing about will happen. I’m sure of it.

Journal of Yazzo the Githyanki - Entry One
New Arrivals in Saukliff

I no longer remember when last I saw the Sea. I have been in this city for years, I think. At times, it feels as though there is nothing else. I used to yearn for the Sea, even for the Elemental Chaos, but that was a fool’s dream. A young fool with wide-eyes and an open mind, lost in a new city, alone and anxious to leave, eager for the adventures that surely awaited him. I wonder what happened to him. I do not think he would recognize himself today.

My patron, the bastard Bari Basa al-Rajeed, bid me to welcome newly arrived visitors to our “great city”, this afternoon. He was grinning ear to ear when he asked me to deliver the message. Asked, I repeat… not commanded. He never commands. He knows as well as I, that he no longer needs to command. I’ll obey, much to his vast amusement. I used to resist, years ago, when he first found me in the city, scavenging for food and barely eking out an existence. I was Githyanki; I bowed to no one but my Queen, least of all some cat-faced demon. He showed me that my Queen, sadly, is not here, and Bari Basa has ways of making one bow, of making them crawl, and beg, and break. The city of Saukliff learned that to their woe when the Rakshasas came, and I learned my own private lesson when I arrived, as well.

So now he is Lord, as the others fled before the Warforged like cowards. At least that can be said of Bari Basa – he does not scare easily. So in service to my lord, I bid these new visitors to attend an audience with the Lord of Saukliff. They were an odd crew – two humans, a water Genasi… and a Deva. I guessed why he sent me when I saw the last one, and not another messenger. Githyanki have seen Deva before, and fought against them, and set them on their way to another life. Another of Bari Basa’s servants may have balked at the prospect of telling a Deva where he is going, and that he has no choice, but a Githyanki… a Githyanki can be quite useful, as a pet, for that is what I am.

In the end, they came willingly, albeit disrespectfully. But disrespect is nothing new in Saukliff. The open stares I received, and yes, still receive when I walk through the city… the obvious fear and hatred in the faces of the fools who struggle to make their way in this hellhole… these are nothing new to me. The offhanded rudeness of strangers does not carry much weight with me. So I arrived at the palace, at the requested time, with my quarry in tow. Bari Basa ignored me, as he is wont to do. He does so love his little games. I was in a dark mood, imagining my hands around his feline throat, squeezing the life out of his gods-damned soul… so I opted to not play. I shouted for his attention, knowing he would not ignore me twice. I expect I will pay for that transgression against his sense of pride, sooner or later.

His guests proved only mildly interesting, as the meeting wore on. He played with them as a predator toys with its prey, asking them questions he has known the answers to for longer than they have, dropping only the subtlest hints regarding the purpose of their meeting. I could not guess why he granted them audience, truly, nor do I care overmuch. They are not the first hapless adventurers that have graced our city, nor are they the first that attracted our benevolent lord’s attention, and I suspect, they will not be the last.

What did catch me by surprise was when he had them sit in on judgements. To be the judges themselves, no less. This was new, or at least new to me. I watched with interest as these guests of his wrestled with their moral dilemmas, arguing amongst themselves and trying to guess, desperately, at what the correct answers were to the questions posed before them. I considered each prisoner myself, and came to my own private conclusions, but did not share them. I was not being asked to judge, only to bear witness. That is why I was told to stay, after bringing them; to watch. I suppose this was what he meant me to see.

Lord Bari Basa did ask me to weigh in towards the end, however. There were three Warforged prisoners who were taken during the attack, a few weeks back. The newcomers talked at great length about what to do, before the Rakshasa pulled me in, with little regard to my desire to remain apart. No surprise there. The guests, however, did seem quite taken aback when I said that I would not punish the Warforged, and would in fact release them. Silas, the one with the lute, seemed almost offended by my opinion, as though I had presented it unsolicited. I am surprised by their lack of understanding. Perhaps others are not aware of what the Githyanki are.

We are warriors, raiders, pirates. We wage war against all comers. What the Warforged did was attack a city, searching for things, not for themselves but for those that sent them. They did this because it is their purpose in life, and to forsake it is to live an empty existence, one devoid of all meaning and… and flavor, I think. A life that cannot be enjoyed for what is missing from it. Should they be punished for this? For fulfilling their purpose? The Githyanki live much the same lives. Many have tasted my blade, and those of my companions when we stormed their ships or their homes, and taken their artifacts for Queen Vlaakith CLVIII. Are we to be condemned for “crimes”? Against who? If the weak cannot protect themselves or their possessions, then by what right do they deserve to keep them? What law is one breaking by marching to war against an enemy? Should the righteous Paladin suffer for striking his foes down, because they deserved to live?

They decided to sentence the Warforged to imprisonment, rather than releasing them, or giving them a quick death. Imprisonment, as though it were the merciful choice. In a slave city. Ruled over by a capricious Rakshasa.

Fools. I do not know why Bari Basa forced me to interact with these people, but I am not eager to continue doing so. And yet, it seems I am to be given no choice. I am to escort them on their journey through the island, in search of those that they seek. I am to be their guide through the city and the surrounding lands. Probably, I am to wipe the spittle from their lips and tuck them in at night, as well.

I would say that I longed for Tu’narath, but as I have said… that is a fool’s dream. And I have learned that such pursuits are better left forgotten. Life is not about what one wants… it is about what they are forced to do, to survive.

Vyuna's Journal - Page One

Ever since I received the message from my goddess, I’ve decided to keep a journal to record my adventure. Hopefully this will prove useful in some manner after I’m gone. Maybe it will serve as a firsthand account of whatever saga that my goddess has given me a role in. At the very least, it will help me sort out what clutters my head. I think I will write down what she told to me, in the event something happens. I still remember every word as clear as day.

“She sends to ask you, ‘Do you love me, still, or does doubt steal into your heart and push me away?’” Once I said yes, her messenger replied, “She says to you, then, dear Vyuna, “As I love all who love me, know I will keep you safe from what is to come, to the best of my ability. To you who have been so long alone, I send the gift of companionship: spurn it at your own risk. I have need of you, Vyuna. Soon. Now wake, and do my works.’”

I don’t know what she has planned, nor do I care. I will serve her as she wills me to, just as I was born to do. But I should record happenings, not just my duty, so i will begin to do so.

Thank Sehanine that I was rescued from the shipwreck on the island. We weren’t there for longer than three days, but even that was rough. The old captain, Wilsym, didn’t eat the entire time we were there. I was worried about the human. I’m not sure how long they can go without nourishment, but I know it mustn’t be very long. I am not very knowledgeable about their kind, but seeing as to how they are the most dominate race in this world, I should most definitely look into it soon.

The boat that saved us seemed to be run by a halfling whose name I don’t remember. He always struts around as if he was much larger than he is. I simply call him Captain.

There seems to be a mix of races on this ship. I’ve seen halflings as well as humans as part of the crew. We just picked up another human today. I’ve even heard there was a deva on the ship, but he must not come out of his quarters often, because the only times I see him is during meals. I overhear the people and crew talk about him all the time, simply because of his race. They don’t say anything negative, but they still don’t stop with the gossip, and with as many people I catch staring and whispering about me, I can only assume the same goes on when I leave the room, too. I guess it can’t be helped, but I don’t see why they can’t mind my business as I do theirs. Ah, well. I assume it will get better in time. One can dream, at least.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Today was eventful compared to the others on this ship. I knew it was going to be different when I got to breakfast late, and the only table left was with two humans and the deva. I recognized one of the humans as a member of the crew, the other was the last one we picked up. He tried to make casual conversation, but it didn’t catch on very well. I believe he even attempted to flirt with me, although I wasn’t quite sure. I smiled and laughed, regardless though. I’m sure it was harmless.

Breakfast was quickly broken up, however, by an alarm. A legendary coautl was flying near the ship. The captain said it was good luck, but I’m not so sure. It seemed too threatening to be a good omen.

Later in the day, they brought out alcohol. I am not very fond of the poison myself, but the rest seemed to enjoy it, besides the deva who seemed to have the same opinions as me. We all ended up on the deck, with the two humans I sat with earlier co-telling stories of all kinds. I learned that their names were Kris, the crew member, and Silas, the bardic fellow. After a while, even the deva, whose name I later learned to be Myron, was in on the storytelling, although he seemed to be taking a more historical approach. I watched from the back, not wanting to get so close. I don’t deal very well in crowds of strangers. Never have.

After a while, the crowd died down, and left just us four out on deck. We talked and laughed and just generally had a good time. I’ve never felt like that before. It was nice. What if they were the companionship my goddess has sent for me? Hopefully, we get more acquainted over the next few days before we reach our destination.


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