The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 8

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 7

Well armed, the Gish Trio and Tracy waited for the right time to strike. Tracy’s network of informants watched for when the Lich-queen was weakest. Their chance came after a battle between the Githyanki and the blue dragons. The Lich-queen personally took part in the battle, expending a portion of her magical energy to secure victory. Tracy learned of the Githyanki leader’s anemic state. The Halfling hero and the Gish Trio immediately began their planned assault on the Lich-queen’s fortress outside Phoenix.

Even with her strength depleted the Lich-queen was a formidable foe surrounded by dozens of guards. Galandir and Blendegad occupied the guards while Tracy and Tereman confronted the Lich-queen with their banishment spell. The ancient Githyanki matriarch fought without reservation, but in the end her will was denied. Tracy and Tereman banished her back to the Astral Plane. Their victory came at a cost though. As the Lich-queen departed she ripped Tracy’s soul from her body and consumed it. The Lich-queen would never return to Earth, but neither would Tracy.

The Gish Trio mourned Tracy’s death, but would not let her sacrifice be in vain. They rooted out every powerful Githyanki in Cimmeria, forcing them to retreat to the Astral Plane or die. As they worked the Trio gathered more silver swords and alchemical components to further enhance their weapons and armor.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 7

The Lich-queen on her bone throne

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 6

Tracy needed to feed the information on the tying of immortal threads to the Blue Dragon Cult. Relying on the same methods she’d used during the Dragon War, Tracy formed an information network in Cimmeria. Her spies told Tracy that the Cult was making inquiries on the subject in Greshendale. Tracy went there with copies of Shratalanda’s notes and sold them to the Blue Dragon Cultists. The seeds of discord were sown for her enemies and they paid her to do it. Now all she had to do was wait.

As predicted, Bavastatner acted on the information. He sent his followers to the Temple of the Fates on Crete. They stole the threads of Bavastatner and the Styx. With the threads in his possession, Bavastatner entwined his fate with that of the River Styx. With that, he broke his contract with the Lich-queen. All his offspring were recalled to the Shacklack, except for the eggs the Githyanki took to the Astral Plane. These captive hatchlings would be raised by the Githyanki and bred within the Astral Plane to maintain their draconic force for centuries afterwards.

Furious, the Lich-queen prepared to go to war with the blue dragons. She led the assault herself rather than relying on the sarath or the adlishar. All the resources and manpower of her interdimensional empire came bearing down on the Shacklack Desert. Bavastatner’s children defended their home alongside their patriarch’s demon experiments. The Second Dragon War had begun.

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COVID Vaccine Second Dose

Part 1

I got the second COVID Moderna vaccine dose on Monday morning. Same as the first dose, I had a long line to wait in.

Optimal Pokemon Go time

While waiting the volunteers passed out goodies. UC Davis Health sponsors the local soccer team, the Sacramento Republic, so all the gifts were related to the team. They were out of soccer balls so I got a t-shirt.

Once inside I got the vaccine pretty fast. Easy and simple just like the first time.

There’s one of the soccer balls, taunting me.
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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 6

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 5

Before entering her slumber Shratalanda used her psychic powers to telepath the location of the Shacklack School of Psions to all the psions of Cimmeria. Many of them answered the call, but with Shratalanda gone the School changed. Shratalanda led a place of pure learning and study. Her older students abandoned the free thinking and open experimentation encouraged by their absent master in favor of hierarchy and ritual. When the Gish Trio arrived they hoped the urgency of their quest would earn them immediate access to Shratalanda’s notes. The new masters of the Shacklack School had other ideas.

To gain access to Shratalanda’s texts Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad would have to prove themselves worthy. They underwent a trial of the mind, body, and soul. Working together they overcame the challenge. With their virtue proven the masters of the school allowed the Gish Trio to view Shratalanda’s research notes.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 5

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 4

Githyanki invaders touched every part of Cimmeria. Rather than target the politically powerful they attacked mortals skilled in the martial or magical arts. Powerful warriors, magicians, and clerics disappeared as the adlishar and sarath elite of the Githyanki swept across Cimmeria. With the strongest protectors removed the Githyanki infantry invaded. They attacked the city-states, pillaged their treasuries, and enslaved the urban people of Cimmeria to provide resources and servants to the Astral Plane.

Tereman had been spying on the Githyanki using dimensional portals. He learned of the attacks before they occurred, but underestimated the scope. Thus Tracy and the Gish Trio had only been able to organize defenses for Shalerton, Crafterton, and Nomingburg. After the initial attacks failed on the strongest of those cities the Githyanki didn’t follow up with a full-scale invasion. The Lich-queen was content with the prizes she had earned across the rest of Cimmeria.

Tracy and the Gish Trio began planning how to drive back the Githyanki and defeat Bavastatner. The problems would undoubtedly be easier to manage if the alliance between the Lich-queen and Bavastatner was destroyed. Tereman’s divinations revealed that the pair had sworn their alliance on the River Styx and that Bavastatner was searching for a way out of his oath. Tracy came up with a plot. The Gish Trio would help Bavastatner achieve his goal and then with their enemies divided they would strike.

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Getting the COVID Vaccine

My lab works with tuberculosis, which requires BioSafety Level 3 (BSL-3) containment. You know what else needs BSL-3 containment? COVID-19!

BSL-3 lab spaces have a lot of specialized safety features that make them expensive to construct. To save money different labs at UC Davis often share the same BSL-3 space and just schedule their time in that lab space to not get in each other’s way.

Because of that, when researchers started working on COVID-19 at UC Davis they needed a place to do it. My boss’s space was volunteered, so now another lab researching COVID works in the same space as us.

Besides the safety features, the BSL-3 also requires biohazard suits and respirators. Additionally anyone working in the room within 24 hours of COVID being used in the room has to do temperature checks for two weeks afterwards. Our safety protocols have been successful and no one working in the space has contracted COVID-19.

But working in that space puts our lab into a high risk factor, just like healthcare workers. As such, I got contacted by my HR supervisor at UC Davis Health that I’d been approved for being one of the first people to get one of the COVID vaccines.

So here’s what that was like!

I scheduled an appointment for 8:30am on the first day of distribution. I got there at 8:25, checked in, and promptly waited for an hour in line.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 4

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 3

The Blue Dragon menace had returned to Cimmeria, but there was a silver lining; Tracy had returned as well. The magic tying her return to the breaking of the Blue Orb also controlled the location of her return. Tracy reappeared next to the people most likely to help her fight the blue dragons. Those best suited for reimprisoning Bavastatner and Renvesharhialisv were the Gish Trio, Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad.

Tracy cheerfully introduced herself to the Gish Trio and the four agreed to a partnership in their mutual goals of ending the threat of the Githyanki and the blue dragons. Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad were accomplished warriors and magicians. Additionally, they had the most experience out of anyone in fighting the Githyanki. Tracy was a trickster thief of legend and could call on the resources of Nomingburg and Crafterton to help their struggle.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 3

Harssafs look like sand demon people

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 2

The Blue Dragon Cult had gotten closer and closer to the Blue Dragon Orb in the years since it was sealed away. They knew it was in the Shacklack Desert. They even knew which region of the desert, but that region belonged to the Harssaf people who violently repelled any intrusion.

The Githyanki provided the power the Blue Dragon Cult needed to reach the Orb’s resting place. The Lich-queen sent her best troops, the sarath, to assist in the Blue Dragon Orb’s extraction. They cut through the Harssaf warriors with ease and reached the dungeon containing the Orb. Powerful magical defenses prevented the sarath from safely penetrating the dungeon. Rather than risk their own lives, the sarath sent members of the Blue Dragon Cult ahead to their grisly deaths. With this trial and error method the Githyanki reached the inner sanctum of the dungeon. There the sarath defeated the plant and golem defenders placed by Bigby and Tentineh. With that, only one barrier stood between the villains and the Dragon Orb, Bavastatner, the blue dragon patriarch set by Tentineh to guard the Blue Orb.

Bavastatner tore through the Githyanki sarath, killing many and forcing the others to retreat. They reported their failure to the Lich-queen. She sent one of her most powerful servants, an adlishar, to capture the Blue Orb. The adlishar entered the minds of the surviving sarath to study their battle with Bavastatner. He determined that the dragon was beyond his ability to defeat. Instead of fighting it, the adlishar stole the Orb and teleported away. The Orb would not be safe for long though. Bavastatner had a powerful connection to the Orb’s magic and could sense its location. The Githyanki and the Blue Dragon Cult would have to act fast in their plan to destroy the Blue Orb.

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The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 2

Previous: The First Vampire of Cimmeria Part 1

Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad split the work of investigating the Githyanki. Galandir inspected the unusual silver swords the Githyanki wielded. He discovered that they somehow attacked the body, mind, and spirit simultaneously cutting through every aspect of their victim. Tereman used divination magic to probe the other side of the dimensional portal the Githyanki used. He saw the void of the Astral Plane where the Githyanki made their home on the titanic corpse of a dead god. Blendegad examined the various alchemic items the invaders brought with them. He determined that they could be used to collect some form of energy from the Githyanki’s captives. Galandir, Tereman, and Blendegad’s investigative and adventuring work together would earn them the name “The Gish Trio.”

Gish is a word in D&D that refers to a character who is good at using magic and fighting in melee combat. The term originally described the Githyanki style of fighting! Over the years gish came to refer to all D&D characters that know how to swing a sword and cast a spell.

While the Gish Trio did their work, the Githyanki spied on the Material Plane and their eyes fell on the dragon cults of Cimmeria. After the Dragon War groups of the Draconic side’s followers began to worship the primordial beings as gods. These dragon cults ultimately sought the return of their gods by destroying the Draconic Orbs. Applying the old saying of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” the Githyanki began building an alliance with the dragon cults. Trading arcane knowledge and information about their two locations made both sides stronger.

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Cimmerian Timeline Part 32

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 31

841BCE: A group of Humans, Elves, and Halflings settled a small village at a river junction in the Aractrashan Jungle. It was an important trading post for hunters and traders. Many visitors stayed at the village inn, the Inn of Lost Souls. The village was named Satronwook.

820BCE: Dionysus and Pan began their parade tour of the Caspian starting at the Persian trade post of Baku. They traveled northward, keeping the Sea on their right.

816BCE: Dionysus and Pan arrived at Satronwook. Dionysus created the famous alcohol fountain and the pair founded the drinking contest that now decides the leadership of Satronwook. The first winner was a Halfling woman, Baradera, who the contest is named after. Dionysus crowned her and turned her into a magically intelligent panda. He gave Panda Baradera the command of a pack of blink dogs to enforce her decree for a single year until the drinking contest was held again.

815BCE: The Baradera of Satronwook crowned a new Panda, but Baradera was shocked to learn that she would not be transforming back into a Halfling. Her true form would forever be that of a talking panda. The blink dogs served the new Panda, enforcing her decrees and those of all previous Pandas.
The novelty of Satronwook’s leadership and alcohol fountain attracted many people to the village and it grew into a sizable trading town.

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