Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity

Revenge of the Giants, Part 14

Earthday, Patchwall 6, 552 CY (50 AN)

A form materializes out of the whistling wind, a large, muscular, blue-skinned humanoid. He is shirtless and only wearing baggy trousers despite the chill. He materializes in front of Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna; although Peren and Torinn are on the other side of the river, they can hear his soft-spoken voice as if carried on the wind. He introduces himself as Kaseem, a djinn, and Bosabrieln explains the situation — how frost giants are marching on Frost Spire, and how they need his portion of the divine engine to stop Piranoth. He agrees to aid them, but first, they must help rebuild the village. A gust of wind carries Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna across the river, and there they begin their work. Bosabrieln plays a work song to lift everyone’s spirits while Kaseem sets to work on the bridge as the rest of the villagers and Peren, Torinn, and Valna begin repairing the houses. Bezaldooz goes to investigate the standing stones at the top of the hill.

Peren and Torinn finish their houses within an hour, while Valna continues to work on hers. They finish a third and move to assist her, but the hut is more heavily damaged than the others. As the end of the second hour approaches, a huge tidal wave approaches the shore. While most of the town manages to make it to high ground, Valna does not and is buffeted by the waves. The four huts are again damaged, and in need of repair. Peren is suspicious of this development, and asks if it is possible to investigate. Bosabrieln asks for a spyglass, and one of the old sailors obliges; he notes a large stone bobbing on the waves before it sinks. Several humanoids are either on it or in the water nearby. While many appear to be dead, perhaps five or so are still alive and riding the wave to shore.

The Shields stop repairing the houses and prepare for battle. They send the villagers to safety while they find hiding places. Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna hide by the standing stones. Peren and Torinn hide among the ruined huts.

After an hour, five humanoids make landfall. Two of them are large and red while the other three are roughly human-sized and gray. All bear amphibian features. Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Peren quickly recognize the traits of the slaadi, strange entities from the Elemental Chaos. Of the creatures, a gray slaad disappears, another begins singing a completely nonsensical song in Elven, while the last flings a fireball at the standing stones, evidently having heard one of the spellcasters hiding there. The two red slaadi move to engage, but are surprised when Peren and Torinn emerge from hiding. Bezaldooz, Bosabrieln, and Valna are pummeled with fireballs and forced to separate and leave the standing stones, but Bosabrieln manages to confuse most of the slaadi with a hypnotic pattern. Bezaldooz casts a fireball of his own while Peren and Torinn engage the creatures. Bosabrieln engages them with another hypnotic pattern while Bezaldooz confuses them. Valna, having had to pray for healing after so many fireball blasts, is finally able to enter the fray, unleashing her holy vengeance upon them and engulfing them in holy fire. Although the beasts swiftly regenerate, the Shields are able to make short work of them with blade and spell.

When they are finally defeated, the Shields return to their work. Soon, however, an argument erupts between a toothless old dwarf named Mag Maggarg and a bald human sailor named Vandulf. He wears heavy furs and is covered in runic tattoos. Bosabrieln intervenes, learning that they are arguing over the whereabouts of a gold statuette they pulled from the sea three days ago. Each accuses the other of stealing it. Questioning indicates all manner of strange things come out of the sea — sages say they are near the Elemental Chaos, and that things come flying out of the drink all the time. (The idea that a rock with slaadi on it came randomly flying out of the Elemental Chaos is completely plausible.) Bosabrieln assists them in searching the rubble of one of the huts before suggesting that perhaps the sea carried it away. They agree that this is a reasonable assumption. They clasp hands and apologize before returning to the task at hand. Kaseem quietly finds Bosabrieln and thanks him for his assistance in the dispute before work continues.

It takes another two or three hours for them to finish work on the huts, but finally they are repaired. The work done, Kaseem thanks them and presents them with his piece of the divine engine. He says the trip to Frost Spire is best initiated tomorrow morning, and so they may rest and gather supplies before his boat disembarks on the morrow. The Shields thank him and decide to go to the local public house, the Drunken Dugong. There they get drinks and decide to game with some of the gambling sailors. An old salt named Aliard is running a game of rat-snake, a dice game similar to craps, and is running a table with four others: an elf named Cathna, a dwarf named Utir, another dwarf named Hordi Rodison, and a human named Warder Paray. When the Shields join, Utir, Hordi, and Warder quickly lose and drop out, while Cathna eventually leaves with her winnings. Torinn takes his leave shortly thereafter, having more or less broken even, while Valna leaves when she is up over a hundred gold pieces from side-betting. Bezaldooz and Bosabrieln find themselves somewhere in the middle, while Peren manages to gamble away all his winnings from the battle with the giants earlier in the day.