Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Revenge of the Giants, Part 9

Earthday, Harvester 27, 552 CY (50 AN)

Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln and their companions Amasal and Lady Graunwen awaken without incident. With Imil’caseti dead and a horde of giants ahead of them, they know they will need all the help they can get, so Lady Graunwen expends some of her power to call Mindartis for the day. After deliberation, they decide to enter by stealth; Bosabrieln will Veil the group as orcs and goblins to gain access to the giants’ steading. They march through the rugged mountain terrain. Once they creep close to the giants’ camp, Bosabrieln casts the Veil.

The group takes the long way around, circumnavigating the camp and approaching the side entrance into the steading. Recalling that there was a trap with which they amused themselves by pushing a table into it, the group prepares. Mindartis tries to locate and disarm the trap to no avail, but Bosabrieln is able to do so with minimal effort. They creep inside.

The group decides to return to the throne room, but check the doors around the periphery first. The orcs’ barracks are still empty. The secret door holds a treasure hoard as suspected by Peren — gold, gems, and jewelry — and it appears that their fallen comrades’ personal effects are held here. They shove everything into the bag of holding that belonged to Valna, and continue the search. Many of the rooms bear beds, but nothing too exciting. When they come to a locked door, they force the lock and find it leads to what is likely the hill giant chief’s room, as well as an attached map room. The crude maps and battle plans suggest aspect of giant strategy — earth giants siege Argent and the surrounding settlements, frost giants march on the northerly coastal towns of Andor and Flotsam, and fire giants march on the Sorrowfell Plains. Additionally, a letter from the frost giant jarl suggests some military operation in a place called Frost Spire. The group absconds with the maps as valuable information. Lest the encounter with the earth titan go poorly, they decide to pause so that Bosabrieln may contact civilization to inform them of this information. Bosabrieln attempts a Sending to inform Vianibrar of their gathered intelligence. While he does so, Bezaldooz casts his own rituals — largely Comprehend Languages so he can truly play the part of a goblin. After ten minutes, Bosabrieln finds he cannot establish the appropriately distant connection. They decide to proceed rather than try again.

The group then checks the throne room to find it empty. Finally, they decide to enter deeper into the steading. Smears of blood suggest the path the giants took, down into the bowels of the mountain. The cave to which they track their comrades is intensely warm, illuminated as it is by lava flows, and contains several giants. Two giants of stone, two that appear to be hill giants, and the large, stony visage of the earth titan. A dwarf occupies herself in the corner of the room.

Bosabrieln, disguised as an orc, steps forward and is addressed by the giants. He asks if anything further is required; the earth titan chides him for not knowing his place. During this exchange, Bezaldooz sends an invisible Bono across the room to investigate further. The quasit notes telepathically that the dwarf is currently observing Peren and Valna — they’ve been stripped, and are currently dangling over the lava. They appear dehydrated and having suffered rough treatment, but are otherwise alive. Torinn is nowhere to be seen.

Bosabrieln keeps talking, trying to enter deeper into the room, and when the earth titan starts to become threatening, the party drops the pretense and attacks. At the first sign of the “orcs’” attack, the hill giants wade into combat and are quickly dispatched. Amasal and Mindartis leap into the fray while Lady Graunwen peppers the giants with arrows and Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln sling spells. A third stony giant emerges from behind a pillar and sinks into the rock of the ground; having dealt with its ilk before, they know the giant will return. Largely ignoring the two stone giants and the dwarf, the group turns their attention to the earth titan, focusing their most potent attacks. The combined onslaught of sword and spell quickly fells the titan, and with a roar he explodes into chunks of stone. The remaining giants continue to press the fight, so Amasal and Mindartis enter into the thick of melee with them. Lady Graunwen similarly joins the fray, relying on her agility (and Amasal’s distractions) to avoid the worst of their blows and using the opportunity to command her fellows into battle while firing deadly shots. Once one of the earth giants approaches Bezaldooz, he also finds himself in the thick of melee, but continues to use his small stature to his advantage, avoiding the worst of the giants’ blows. Although the female dwarf is vicious with her knives, Mindartis manages to slay her, allowing him to more fully focus his attention on the giants. Although the third giant continues to emerge from the ground and re-enter it, using hit-and-run tactics, the other two giants do not have the luxury of cover, and are quickly dispatched.

With only the last earth giant remaining, the five adventurers are able to quickly slay it when it re-emerges.

With the giants slain, the group carefully cuts Peren and Valna down, reclothing them. However, Peren and Valna are in no shape to fight. Contemplating their next move, Bono suggests Torinn’s body might be in a public spot as a warning, either the center of camp, or on the main door of the steading. Since they did not enter through the main door, Bosabrieln suggests they maintain the orc disguise, approach the guards out front on the pretense of moving the prisoners, and improvise from there. It is agreed.

They return through the halls of the hill giant steading and open the front doors. A cohort of giants and ogres guards the front. Bosabrieln addresses the guards, indicating the boss gave them orders to move the prisoners. The giant indicates he received no such orders, although Bosabrieln inquires as to whether or not he’s questioning the boss’s orders. Having stepped outside, he sees Torinn’s body hanging over the front door — nude, and accompanied with a crude sign written in Giant, reading, “THUS ALWAYS TO INTERLOPERS.” Bosabrieln indicates the boss wants him cut down so he can be eaten; the giant balks, but Bosabrieln again reminds him these are the boss’s orders, and if he has issue, he can go take it up with the boss. The giant lets them go with grumbling and vague threats.

The group continues under the pretense of a group of orcs and a goblin escorting Peren and Valna, and carrying Torinn’s body. They start to move away from the camp, albeit openly, only taking care to be stealthy once the Veil falls. When they return to the place where they left Imil’caseti’s body, they reclaim it.

They arrive in Argent around nightfall, and the torrians let them through the gates. They return to the Guardian’s Tower to inform Obanar of their trials and success; given the difficulties they had on the road, he bids them to rest in the Hall of Champions for a few days, although there is still much work to be done. Lady Graunwen sends Mindartis back to the Feywild to await her commands again.

The next day, Freeday, Harvester 28, Valna awakens early and travels to the Temple of the Dawn to perform the Raise Dead ritual on Torinn and Imil’caseti. The others rest and recuperate; Lady Graunwen and Amasal plan to leave tomorrow, once Imil’caseti has been restored to life. Bosabrieln ends up speaking with Lady Graunwen at length throughout the day, and the two sleep together that night. When Valna’s labors are complete, and Torinn and Imil’caseti are restored, she rests.

The following day, Lady Graunwen, Amasal, and Imil’caseti prepare to return to civilization, agreeing upon Duchy Jepson as the destination. Bezaldooz will perform the Linked Portal ritual to return them, although he indicates he wishes to escort them, as he has business in Jepson. The other Shields of the Sorrowfell are somewhat suspicious, but allow him to do so; Bosabrieln requests that he deliver the maps and papers to Headmaster Ebenezer, so that he may appropriately prepare for any potential onslaught. Bezaldooz agrees.

The others separate. Bosabrieln and Valna go walking around the city. Peren goes by the lake to fish; unsuccessful, he enjoys the water. Torinn takes his axe, and unarmored, leaves Argent to go into the woods by himself.

Bezaldooz, meanwhile, uses his magics to send the travelers and himself to Duchy Jepson. They immediately set out for the Wizard’s Tower, apparently to talk to the Headmaster, so he bids them farewell to tend to his own affairs. The guards at the teleportation circle apologize for seeming jumpy; there has been trouble in Scandshar from the escaped gladiators known as the Scandshar Six. After receiving that information, he travels to the Wizard’s Tower himself to speak with Remegni the Stoic. Upon entering his office, he informs him that he may have found an appropriate site for Remegni’s purposes — the giants’ steading. Remegni agrees that this sounds adequate, but indicates he is not certain whom he can trust regarding it; he says he will go with Bezaldooz himself. They agree on an hour or so to prepare.

Once he is certain Lady Graunwen and her retinue have left the Headmaster’s office, he enters. He delivers the maps and the information uncovered in the giants’ steading; after a brief conversation, the Headmaster thanks him and he goes on his way.

Once the appropriate amount of time has passed, Bezaldooz returns to Remegni, who offers the necessary components for the Argent Portal ritual. With that, they use Jepson’s teleportation circle to return to Argent.

Bezaldooz and Remegni reappear in the teleportation circle on the mall. They then leave the city, taking the long trek back to the giants’ steading.

Peren sees as they reappear in the circle on the mall. Suspicious, he follows.

After some walking, Remegni comments they are being followed, evidently by one of Bezaldooz’s companions. He just says to follow his lead; he turns around and approaches Peren, introducing himself as Remegni the Stoic, and calling Peren by his common appellation of “Shield-Brother.” When Peren asks, he explains he wishes to do research on the earth giants, and so is heading to their camp for investigation. Peren insists on joining. They agree.

The walk through the wilderness is uneventful. They circumnavigate the giants’ camp, and enter the steading through the side entrance. After investigation of the inside, and content that no one is currently within, Remegni says he will continue his investigations here; they are free to return to Argent.

Bezaldooz and Peren walk back to Argent, camping in the wilderness overnight. Peren asks what they are really doing there; Bezaldooz replies that they are doing as Remegni claimed. Peren suspects he is hiding something, but does not press further. They decide to make up a story about hunting for the other Shields.

Meanwhile, Bosabrieln and Valna realize everyone has left. They learn from one of the torrians at the gate that Torinn left by himself, and Bezaldooz left with a human, followed shortly thereafter by Peren. They thank him, and after deliberation, decide to do nothing unless people fail to return tomorrow.

The next day, Starday, Brewfest 1, Torinn returns early. Bosabrieln surmises that he was communing with his axe, and so does not press the issue. He goes to the Silver Cloak Inn in the hopes of scrounging some alcohol; fortunately, one of the torrians is accommodating and acts as barkeep.

It is around noon when Bezaldooz and Peren return, Peren on his obsidian steed, and Bezaldooz shortly thereafter on his jade serpent. They completely ride past Bosabrieln and his concerned inquiries about where they went and the identity of the man from Duchy Jepson. Instead, they both go to the Silver Cloak Inn to drink. Although Bosabrieln and Valna follow them to the Silver Cloak Inn, they don’t manage to get any further information from Bezaldooz and Peren, although they are convinced that despite the secrecy, all appears to be well.

For their part, Bezaldooz, Peren, and Torinn start arguing, because they made a bet regarding the possibility of treasure in the secret room in the giants’ steading. It appears that assumption was true, but none of them can find record of the bet in their gambling logs. They finally decide to let it go. For the rest of the day, the reunited Shields continue to rest, ostensibly to prepare for whatever they must do the following day. That evening, Peren and Valna sleep together once again.