Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Revenge of the Giants, Part 22

Earthday, Ready’reat 13, 552 CY (50 AN)

Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, Peren, Torinn, and Valna awaken and breakfast. When they have made their final preparations, they — along with Bono and Torinn’s shield guardian — return to Obanar’s tower. Bosabrieln casts foresight on Torinn, giving him a limited ability to see into the future. Peren casts water walk on him, so that he’ll be able to navigate the eldritch terrain of the Elemental Chaos without difficulty. With that, the Shields step into the circle, Obanar wishes them well, and he prepares the circle for teleportation.

The Shields of the Sorrowfell arrive in a chaotic landscape comprising several floating islands amidst an elemental sea of frost, lava, lightning, and water. Most of the floating islands are composed of earth or stone, but some appear to be ice, and others appear to be some manner of red-hot stone or metal. An island to their left bears the earth titan they found in the hill giants’ steading; behind him stand three dark elf warriors, prepared for battle. Two robed dark elves, likely mages by their look, stand upon an icy island ahead. Another island ahead of the Shields bears three elemental pillars and an ornate step-pyramid; a drow matron, ostensibly the exarch Lolestra, stands at the base, chanting vile syllables with her hands outstretched to the heavens. The divine engine, with two pieces obviously built out of some other material, sits atop the pyramid. Three fiery, armored figures guard her, as does the banished fire titan from the fire giant king’s chamber.

The Shields barely have an opportunity to fully comprehend the scene before they are assaulted by some churning, enervating force, evidently originating from a nearly-invisible magical glyph scribed near the magic circle in which they have found themselves. Bonatos dies in the onslaught, sent screaming back to the Abyss. A few of the Shields see a similar sort of magical sigil on one of the far ice islands.

Battle is quickly joined. The earth titan charges forward and leaps onto the Shields’ island. Valna moves out of range of its crashing rocks and prays for healing for the Shields. Bezaldooz calls down a swarm of meteors out of the roiling chaos to strike all foes; the drow warriors and drow wizards are instantly killed, and Lolestra and the earth titan are gravely injured, although the fire titan and his accompanying fire archons manage to avoid the worst of the assault and are barely touched. More importantly, the divine engine is broken into five pieces and Lolestra’s concentration is disrupted, ruining her ritual. The Shields are able to slay the earth titan, which collapses into a pile of emeralds, but they find there is some manner of fear barrier intersecting with the front part of their island, as most of the Shields cannot enter the area without growing afraid and refusing to pass further. Bezaldooz cannot enter the area at all, not even with effort of will.

As Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna cast spells at the enemy, with Bosabrieln stunning them with a well-placed hypnotic pattern. Peren dashes across the islands in search of a way around the barrier. The exarch Lolestra prays, and the emeralds reassemble into the form of the earth titan, now fully healed. Her prayers also apparently heal some of her wounds. The enraged earth titan destroys Torinn’s shield guardian with its onslaught.

Bezaldooz teleports next to Peren’s position and dispels whatever fear field has been erected around Lolestra’s ritual. Peren rushes into the middle of the throng, stabs one of the fire archons, and blows the horn of Valhalla before rushing back to safety. Twenty greataxe-wielding berserkers arrive, fresh from eternal glorious combat in the afterlife; three appear on the island with the earth titan and most of the Shields, and the remaining seventeen appear on the island with the pyramid and the fiery warriors. Lolestra prays for teleportation and emerges on one of the icy islands, but Bezaldooz immediately antagonizes her with four dretches he summons from the Abyss, flinging blood around himself in a circle to protect himself from their depredations. As the berserkers begin laying into the fire archons, Bosabrieln, Torinn, and three berserkers continue to battle with the earth titan. When it is finally slain, Torinn teleports using the Implements of Argent to begin making his way to the berserker battle. Lolestra heals herself and the fire titan while Bezaldooz slings a fireball at her, killing the summoned demons and severely injuring the drow exarch. Peren makes his way to her, finally killing her and taking a moment to steal a pouch of diamonds from her belt, while the others turn their attention fully upon the fire archons. As the fiery auras of the archons and the fire titan take their toll on the berserkers, Torinn wades into combat to slay the archons.

Eventually, only the dazed fire titan remains. Torinn and the three remaining berserkers launch themselves at it, with the berserkers finally succumbing to the immense heat it generates, while Peren keeps rushing at it with hit-and-run tactics and Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna pelt it with spells. Bosabrieln and Valna also work to keep Torinn on his feet throughout the battle, locked as he is with the flaming titan. A few moments pass, and it is done; the massive creature falls, collapsing into a pile of ash and sulfur.

The Shields take a moment to survey the still battlefield before a bolt of energy emerges from the icy pillar on the main island. The frost titan, last encountered in Frost Spire, appears on one of the icy islands, while a small contingent of ice archons emerges from a ritual circle on the other island. Peren immediately conjures a wall of fire to protect their island, although Bosabrieln still stands on the earthmote from whence the Shields emerged. He forces one of the archons to flee from him, while the frost titan conjures a storm of sleet to antagonize the Shields; Bezaldooz attempts to dispel it, but is unable to do so. Most of the Shields wait for the enemies to come to them; the archons oblige by leaping across the gap to reach Bosabrieln. However, Bosabrieln teleports away using the Implements of Argent, casting a hypnotic pattern on the archons as he leaves. The ice titan tries to launch another ice storm on the Shields, but Bezaldooz counterspells it and responds by casting hold monster on the beast, keeping it occupied so that it may be engaged. Although it manages to shake off the first hold monster, Bezaldooz then casts a second; while occupied, it not only has to deal with Valna’s spells, but heavy blows from both Peren and Torinn as they engage it. The creature finally falls, collapsing into star sapphires. Bosabrieln forces one of the archons to flee, and when the others are injured and awakened from their stupor, one dies while the others decide to similarly flee.

The Shields of the Sorrowfell begin to regroup, gathering the gems from the fallen titans. Peren also takes her shield, bearing a symbol of Lolth upon it, and giving the exarch’s diamonds to Valna. He also sets about collecting the pieces of the divine engine. As he does, the exarch Torugar appears in a flash of light. He is robed and carrying a box in his hands. He thanks the Shields for their assistance, and indicates he will collect the pieces of the Divine Engine and hide them somewhere safe. He awards them a box, a token of the gods’ appreciation; inside are fifty astral diamonds and an ornate iron flask, evidently able to entrap extraplanar entities and compel them to service. He also grants them a blessing from the gods to protect them in combat.

The Shields indicate that two of the five pieces of the divine engine are back in the city of Argent, so Torugar prays for teleportation and suddenly they are all there. Torinn leaves the group to put on his armor, but the other four Shields accompany Torugar to Guardian’s Tower. When they enter Guardian’s Tower, they find Rrowthar attending to Obanar, who looks very tired and aged. He asks if they were successful, and tells them the city of Argent is now theirs. He then closes his eyes and breathes his last.

After a moment’s quiet, Torugar inquires about the other two pieces of the divine engine, and Rrowthar leads him off to retrieve them. The Shields set about making preparations, as Valna will no doubt hold some manner of memorial that night for the aged wizard, and they go their separate ways for the rest of the afternoon. Valna revives the shield guardian with her prayers, while Bosabrieln takes the opportunity to cast a sending for Vianibrar to let him know of their success; Vianibrar’s response is somewhat vexing, indicating that things are in a state of upheaval and that he will contact Bosabrieln in his dreams tonight for further information.

Valna leads the memorial that night, and Obanar is interred in Argent’s Necropolis. Afterward, she informs the Shields of the Sorrowfell that she will remain in Argent, as someone must watch over the city in the old wizard’s absence, and she believes it is her destiny to do so. But if they need her, they can find her in Argent, or she can always take up her mace and adventure with them again. Of course, it will likely be a couple of days before they return to the wider world, anyway, so it is not yet time for farewells.

That night, as he sleeps, Bosabrieln finds himself in Vianibrar’s steading outside Nainimdul. They greet each other, and Bosabrieln explains that their mission was successful, that they have routed the giants and prevented a contingent of dark elves from awakening the primordial Piranoth. Vianibrar explains that he is currently laying low in Khuragzar. While the Shields were away, there was a slave revolt in Scandshar; six gladiators escaped, causing chaos in Scandshar and the greater Sorrowfell Plains before escaping to parts unknown. In truth, they were laying low in Duchy Jepson until bounty hunters came looking for them. As one of the bounty hunters died under mysterious circumstances, more parties, and the Scandshar Watch, came to investigate. Vianibrar thought it prudent to escape, particularly since he was harboring one of the gladiator’s employees — one of the gladiators tried to erect a stock exchange in Scandshar — and another gladiator’s mother. He can’t say there’s any more people than usual looking for him, but he’s still trying to keep things quiet until the heat dies down a little. Bosabrieln asks if, given Vianibrar’s isolation, Bosie ought to pass along the good news to anyone, but Vianibrar indicates he is still able to pass news of the Shields’ success on to the proper authorities, likely starting with the Headmaster. Bosabrieln also tells Vianibrar about the pirate Banda he met in Black Harbor; there is apparently a pro-abolitionist gang of pirates operating in the waters around ’Ichi, and they would be interested in meeting with the Zookeepers. The two then spend the rest of the dream together until Bosabrieln awakens.

The next day, Bosabrieln reports what he has learned to the rest of the Shields, while the lot of them contemplate their next move.