DM When last we left our heroes, they had left one of the hill giant serving wenches for dead, and left the rest of them absolutely dead, flash fried along with the warrior they came across. Now, having more or less confirmed that most of the giants are celebrating in the main hall, they make their way to attack that location post haste. A gigantic massacre is about to take place, but will they be the massacred, or the massacrers?
Julian The party prepares for battle in the room they cleared of ogres earlier.
Julian Julian uses several of their foes’ weapons to bar the door in case any giants should try to come around behind them once the true battle begins.
Shael Shael helps Kryss begin stacking the dead bodies in front of the door for extra security.
Julian Julian prepares blessings to aid them as well.
Shael Shael enhances his own vision, cuts a sigil into the air with Khionesoul and is surrounded by a frigid ward of ice, and then approaches each of his peers to enhance their strength. “Ready?”
Shael Holding forth the Staff of Khazan, Shael invokes its magic to carve a hole through the wall, “Go…” he whispers.
Kryss Kryss leads the way through.
DM They tumble down, emerging twenty feet or so above a staircase.
Kryss “Umm… guys?” Kryss asks.
Julian Julian helps Kryss back up.
Kryss “Try again?” Kryss asks.
Shael Shael leans over and looks down the stairs, “Neat.” he looks for the entrance, “Secret basement — that’s handy.” The other two have already positioned themselves by the south wall and he frowns pensively and murmurs, “I really think this wall is better, but okay —” another spell opens the southern wall.
DM The vast room they enter contains trestle tables, benches, stools, and the like. Here and there stand barrels and kegs of ale, beer, and mead. All of the tables are crowded with various sorts of meat, cheese, bread, and drinking containers. Singing, talking, laughing, shouting, arguing, wrestling, joking, and the like are going on, so the place is a veritable din of noise. To the north of the central firepit (where several whole oxen, two dozen sheep, and fourteen pigs roast on huge spits) is a higher table reserved for the place of honor; they have entered just to the west of this feature. The chief Ruk Reborn sits there, idly feeding scraps to a massive bear licking the floor at his feet. Rubies shine from the beast’s studded collar.
DM Ruk’s ugly wife is laughing and flirting with a dour looking stone giant, while another fat and shrewd looking hill giant noisily gorges himself on the meat.
DM The most regal looking individual stands nearly nine feet taller than the hill giant chief, warming his hands by the firepit. Pale skinned and white haired, the cloud giant is clothed in fine textiles that would cover a hall of kings.
DM The rest of the hall is full of hill giant soldiers, ogres and verbeeg, gladly taking part in the festivities. Serving maids and boys move back and forth in the hall refilling cups and suffering no small amount of gropes and leers. These creatures are richly clad in spoils of war, wearing fine furs, ivory and jewels. Their bags lie near their seats, momentarily forgotten among the din.
Kryss “Is this a boss fight?” Kryss mouths silently to Julian.
Julian “Yeah. Steady. Don’t rush in.”
Shael Swinging the staff around, a ball of ice is lobbed forth into the room before them.
DM A rune glows, sapping the magic from the spell, but Shael manages to force a counterspell through a second rune’s activation to keep his spell alive.
DM The icy shards blow out the fire, chilling the entire room.
Shael “There are counter-runes – at least two more.” he warns Julian so the other caster will not waste any of his most powerful spells.
DM “Ambush, in the northern corner,” the stone giant calls out loudly but calmly. “You were right, Ruk. I had intended to keep the stone giants out of your conflict, but this…an attack upon a celebration…unconscionable.”
DM He moves swiftly and defensibly towards the cloud giant, who took the hit directly.
Shael “In revenge of the celebrations you crushed, the people you destroyed, we have come to respond to your declaration of war!”
Kryss Kryss steps out of the hole and launches Shatterspike at the giant nearest him at the head table,
Kryss Shatterspike lashes across the giants eyes and flies back to Kryss’ hand as he disappears back through the hole.
DM That giant is the wife of Ruk Reborn, and she howls in rage as the axe cuts her flesh, sending blood drops a pint each splashing to the ground.
Kryss “This is starting out poorly,” Kryss complains as he runs back in.
Julian Julian sticks his head through the hole and tries to spot the runes Shael warned of.
DM Runes cover the hall, floor, ceiling and walls.
DM They are unlike the glyphs that Sengir utilized, and priestly writing that Julian is familiar with.
Julian The paladin backpedals to try to get out of their influence before working his own spell. “At least dozens!” he supplements Shael’s warning.
Julian A fireball bursts over the western feasting-table.
DM The giants are caught in the blast, but take cover behind the table. Julian notes that the flames are quickly smothered.
DM “YOU!” A massive ogrillon, as broad as an average sized ogre, cries out, pointing at Julian even as the paladin withdraws to fling his flames. “You slew my father!” He is flanked by two not so average sized ogres. The ogrillon wears a necklace of cracked skulls around a neck scarred by troll claws. Several old arrowheads are lodged in his skin, and his nose is so badly broken it seems to obscure one eye’s vision.
Julian “He looks familiar somehow…” Julian frowns.
DM The ogrillon lifts up the huge table and flings it against the portal.
Kryss “I’m pretty sure you killed his father.” Kryss replies as the table smashes against the hole.
DM Their room rumbles as Ruk roars. “You bring violence against me in MY HALL?”
Julian Julian shrugs. “I guess, I killed a lot of…” the rest is drowned out.
DM The wall collapses, and the ceiling caves in. Julian and Kryss narrowly avoid being pinned by the wreckage.
Kryss “I told you this was going poorly,” Kryss complains to Julian.
Julian “No, this is for the better!” Julian calls to Kryss. “Fall back northwards.”
DM “Hmph. Aggressive little bastards, Ruk. Surely no challenge for a demigod such as yourself?” the cloud giant flings a huge skewer of ox at Kryss, who is now revealed by the collapsed wall.
Shael “A demigod?” Shael practically salivates – interrupting the giant’s concentration with his eagerness, “I will face him one on one; well, perhaps that wouldn’t be fair… he can have his minions help if he is afraid.”
DM The ox goes right through where Kryss’s head was a second ago, as he turns to look at Shael.
Shael Grumbling as his peers tactically withdraw, Shael reluctantly moves away from the battle – the Staff of Khazan is once again brandished and an exit appears at the back wall.
Shael “Come, Ruk! Come and face me!” he yells out in demand.
DM Another rock crashes near Kryss’s head as the stone giant angrily responds to the surprise attack.
DM “Lord Wolken, I need to check on your wounds!” he calls, sounding frustrated.
Kryss Kryss takes a step forward and throws Shatterspike at the queen again before turning to follow Julian’s instructions.
DM Giants pour from the hall, scrambling to mobilize against these murderous magicians. One of them rushes straight for Kryss, flinging a flagon of ale the size of his torso.
Shael “Don’t throw that piss at us!” Shael demands.
DM It sails overhead, splashing over the floor.
Julian Julian clambers through the rubble towards Shael’s new door, pausing briefly to send another fireball into the midst of the onrushing giants.
DM The flames roar, and the giants wince in pain…they do not however, yell.
DM The servants for the most part, flee, while the ogres rush to grab ballistas hanging on the wall.
DM The queen, horrifically wounded, runs towards the exit as fast as her rotund self can manage.
DM Ruk’s cave bear is hot on Kryss’s heels. Ruk himself grabs a hunk of crushed wall and flings it.
DM The flamboyant hill giant with him does the same.
Julian “Look out!”
DM “Aim for the distant one, Lord Ruk!” cries Great Olfe, for it is indeed the son of Great Ulfe who menaces them now.
Julian Julian ducks under the next missile. It is a good day to be short.
DM Lord Wolken the cloud giant charges towards the humans, leaping onto a cloud that forms above the ruined roof of the steading.
DM Julian is treated to a punishing drop attack from the giant’s morning star. "Just an impartial observer here, but I feel compelled to express my doubts remain, Chief “Ruk”."
DM “Not only are you failing to deal with three tiny humans, but you’ve allowed them to harm your guests while holding festives at your hall.”
Shael Shael observes the Cloud Giant curiously as he advances upon him, “Do you know Common?” he asks in common, “Atlantian?” in Atlantian, “Celestial, Dwarvish, Elvish, Primordial, Sylvan?” he asks in the corresponding languages. He observes ‘Ruk’ at the same time to see if the Chief can understand what he says. The staff of Khazan is stowed while his blades flick into his hand.
Shael The blades twist in the air and a spell falls upon the mage.
DM “Common? A fitting name for the crude human tongue. And of course I speak Primordial Auran…the language of the skies.” Lord Wolken, like Shael, utilizes the corresponding tongue as he answers. Ruk gives no indication he understands either of these.
DM The stone giant causes a rock to land near Kryss, bouncing off his metallic hide.
Shael Shael speaks in Primordial, but his accent is split between aquan and auran. “I am the Sapphire Mox, this demigod cannot survive me… your Giants, and the Stone Giants, were not among those who warred upon our people… and I am a warden of magic who would prefer to see what you wield survive.” he tilts his head to the side, “Battle is a treacherous time to parley, but…” he trails off.
Kryss Kryss spins as he runs up the hallway and throws Shatterspike behind him, hoping to escape the jaws of the bear.
Shael “…the Battle Mistress Serra would have me spare my blade from you and your companion, I think.”
Kryss Kryss catches the spinning blade and runs some more.
DM The bear whimpers as the axe’s flight splits open its back, but it limps on, driven from behind by the giant leader.
DM The giants continue flinging bodies, tables, rubble…Kryss’s draconic body rejects it all.
Julian More fire descends upon the enemy at Julian’s word of command.
DM The bear explodes in fiery death, while the others enjoy the benefit of their protective rune’s shield.
Julian “To me, Kryss!”
Kryss “I’m trying!” Kryss responds above the dust and commotion.
Julian “And that was for Oakhurst!” the knight adds for the giants’ benefit, since evidently they DO speak Common after all. At least some of them.
DM “What is an Oakhurst?” calls the stone giant.
Shael “The village these villains destroyed – a thousand slain, less than a tenth of them combatants.” he scowls back at the stone giant.
Julian “Where it all began. The town you razed near to the ground!”
Shael “Just one of the villages, just one of the thousands.”
Kryss Kryss leaves the banter to his companions, as he just nearly got crushed by a burning cow.
Julian “You will not find it so easy now to avoid our knights and murder peasants!”
Julian “No matter what sorceries you call on next!”
DM Rubble rains down on Shael, pummeling him as Ruk and his lieutenant attack.
Shael In his plea to the Cloud Giant, Shael’s usually deftness seems to abandon him – this assault manages to penetrate his usually impenetrable aegis.
DM “Your shrill little man annoys me, but I will withdraw to observe this contest. See that you do not catch my person in collateral damage, or you will face Lord Wolken in truth.”
Shael “We can spar later to see if that threat is worth sharing.” his words are strained from the bruising, but the tone is light as he smiles appreciatively and turns to face the oncoming hoard. “I hit the things now, right, Julian?” he asks, narrowing his eyes at the giants who hit him.
Julian “You grasped the essence of the plan, Lord Shael.”
DM The ogrillon and ogres rush up on Shael. “Aside, human, you are not my target!”
DM The ogres spin massive flails while the ogrillon wields his axe.
DM Kryss catches a lucky shot to his back, but the blows whirl without harm to Shael.
DM A hail of ballista bolts fails to strike Julian.
Shael With a small, wicked smile Shael murmurs, “Welcome, to the kill zone.” the UnMetal joins Khionesoul in a dance of death.
Kryss Kryss darts across the room to lend Shael support against the massive ogrillion with a vengeance.
DM Kryss’s dash has a short intermission, where a rack of roasting pigs smashes into him.
DM And before he can recover, Great Olfe lunges for Julian. “I’ll rip out your eyes!”
DM An explosion throws him off balance and Julian easily blocks the attack.
Julian Julian spares the giant a brief uncomprehending glance.
Kryss Kryss tosses Shatterspike at Olfe, aiming for his exposed throat.
Shael “He’ll rip out your eyes.” Shael translates helpfully.
DM The axe nearly takes Great Olfe’s head off, and he counter attacks Kryss.
DM Rocks come flying in as the hill giants fling more of the steading at the lords of Dragonfyre.
Julian “Oh… why me specifically?” Julian briefly sizes up Great Olfe, shrugs him off, and throws another fireball into the larger knot of foes.
Kryss “Well you were the one that ordered all his father’s offspring to be drowned in the river.”
Kryss “Wait, I bet it was Olfe the Small here that sacked Oakhurst, Julian.”
Julian “Olfe the… ohhh.”
DM The flames scorch the giants, who begin getting their range
Julian “Did he come from Oakhurst area then?”
Julian The turn away from Olfe turns into a pivot and Lightbringer cuts into the ogrillon.
DM “You murdered my father in Stone Tooth, you imbecile! I don’t know what stupid stinking village you are talking about, but I will have my men rape every woman in Blasingdell in my father’s honor once I have my vengeance!”
Kryss “Yea you remember that one ogre we murdered up there with the three pussy children that couldn’t even keep their father alive?”
Shael “Eh, I’m not sure murdering a rapist is murder.” Shael mentions.
Kryss “You’re confused because Ulfe said that his only living child was a female and would never live through his first battle.”
Julian “Oh… that sounds familiar… sort of…”
DM Great Olfe and his ogres move in, flails spinning at Kryss, axe chopping at Julian.
DM Rocks shatter around them.
Julian Julian wards off every blow.
Shael Shael’s weapons once more slash at the ogrillon and then he blinks unceremoniously from this plane of existence.
DM A giant serving girl’s corpse splatters next to Kryss.
DM Furious, Great Olfe swings at Julian.
DM His axe gouges the wall.
Julian “Wait… deja vu…” Julian furrows his brow.
Julian “…! Great Ulfe! Now I remember!”
Julian “He couldn’t hit anything either!”
Julian Kryss backs off for a moment to get his wind and his bearings.
DM Heavy objects crash down around Julian as Valor defends him.
DM Through Shael’s portal, he sees two hill giants enter the room to the north.
Julian The endless barrage of fireballs does not, in fact, end.
Julian Julian traps Olfe’s flail between shield and armor and pulls the ogrillon into his swordpoint.
DM The hail of ballista bolts annoyingly reminds Julian of how long it takes his men to load and aim their own devices.
DM Rocks pour in. One hits.
DM It bounces off Julian’s shield that he gets up just in time.
DM Ruk advances on Julian, hefting his maul.
DM Julian finds himself airborne. Assuming he’s conscious from the blow, that is.
DM He flies through the passage and skids to a painful halt.
Shael Shael falls out of the ether in a flurry of death as he weaves his two katana assaulting the Great Ulf.
DM The Great Olfe, for his father was Great Ulfe, finds his skull exploding with unmetal, tearing out his eyes and ears. He collapses to the ground, dead.
Shael “I said minions not mini-bosses…” Shael complains as he turns his attention to Ruk, the UnMetal calming with its legendary kill. He runs beneath the giant towards his companions, no good reason to become outflanked – it’s unlikely the giants would honor the duel anyways.
DM The orcish slaves in this room whimper as the giants rush in.
Shael “Kryss, get them out of the way!” Shael requests.
DM If the stone giant still is attacking them, they cannot see him.
Julian Kryss rushes the giants to try to get them out of the way.
DM The hammer strikes the giant in the chest, nearly stopping its heart.
DM The giants flank him, returning the blows with their massive clubs.
Julian Will Julian ever run out of fireballs?
Julian Signs point to… not this round!
DM Great Olfe’s ogre companions look crushed at his death, but tear into Julian with savage ferocity. “I am now Great Olfu!” cries one.
DM Ruk slams his maul into the ground, knocking the wall over onto Shael, who is buried in the rubble. Julian manages to avoid the worst of the slide, though he is bruised as well.
Shael “Huh…” Shael grumbles from beneath the rubble, “…Kryss is going to love that hammer.”
DM Another half dozen bolts bite into the rubble as the ogres unleash their fourth useless salvo.
Shael Shael channels his magic into the rubble to destroy the barrier between him and his enemies.
DM The rocks explode into dust as his power comes forth.
Shael Shael phases into the ethereal realm.
Julian Kryss is not content with nearly stopping the giant’s heart.
DM His mighty blow sends the giant crashing to the ground forever.
DM His partner smashes Kryss right over the skull with her club. It doesn’t seem to faze him.
Julian Julian shifts east, cutting at the new ogre heir.
DM His dwarven tactics keep him alive through a vicious flurry of attacks that could have easily laid low an army.
Shael Shael appears outside of the rubble, several feet away, and stows his katana. He cracks his neck, and pulls out the Staff of Khazan and starts powering up.
Julian Kryss catches Shatterspike as it returns to him only to whirl it in the other direction.
DM It severs the giant’s head, causing her to tumble backwards comically.
DM Two more giants burst in, and Kryss is pummeled by boulders.
Julian Julian slides between the ogre-leader’s legs and brings Lightbringer up point-first into its backside.
DM It would appear Great Olfe’s successor is nearly as tough as his old man. It refuses to fall, despite the cauterized wounds across its body.
DM It lashes out, but Julian’s protection is beyond mere metal, and the flail cannot be brought into play as well as it might from greater range.
DM The second, less wounded ogre does not aim for Julian, nor the blinking Shael. Instead, it brings its flail down on the spines of the cowering orcs. Their twitching corpses cause it to laugh.
DM Ruk strides forwards and catches Kryss right in the face with his maul.
DM The dragon warrior does not so much as rock back on his heels.
Shael Blinking back into the Prime, Shael sees the slain slaves. His eyes widen and he growls maliciously – skirting around the Ogre his katana flash back into his hands and he slices into the giant chief.
Julian Kryss scrambles to his feet and lets loose his axe once more.
Julian As it bounces from Ruk without slaying the pretender demigod, Kryss roars in anger and flings it back twice as hard.
DM Sliced between Kryss and Shael, Ruk begins to bleed profusely. And each drop of blood begins to shudder and grow…
DM The two lesser hill giants rush in to save their chieftain from the surprisingly hardy little humans.
Julian Julian presses the attack against the ogre.
DM He finally manages to cut down the Great Olfu.
DM “Great Olfu is dead! Long live Great Olfo!” cries the last ogre.
Shael “If you consider a minute a long life.” Shael smirks in reply.
Julian Julian seizes hold of the maul as the giant chieftain draws it back to strike at Shael. The grip doesn’t last long… at all… but an instant is all Shael needs.
DM The ogre’s chain wraps around Shael’s neck, growing icy in the creature’s hands. Its bloodshot eyes are mad with pain and hatred. It tightens the chain, hoping to pop Shael’s head off.
Shael Shael slips free from the chain and dashes, pulling against the restraint, to spin with Khionesoul and the UnMetal into the chieftain. “Your divine blood will fill my goblet, Ruk.”
DM The unmetal burrows into Ruk’s chest, then begins to withdraw and climb up it, more spidery creature than weapon. It drags Shael up the chief’s twenty foot stature, each step punching holes through the giant’s flesh. When it gets to the top, it retracts the tendrils with alarming speed, tearing furrows in Ruk’s flesh. Reduced to chunks in a matter of seconds, the hill giant’s flesh splatters to the ground in a gory nightmare.
DM Shael vanishes into the ethereal, the only thing saving him from a nasty fall.
Julian Kryss dodges the falling giant demigod corpse as Shatterspike flashes into the ogre berserker.
DM Kryss grants the giants the mercy of not having to long see their leader dead. The axe makes a large circle, severing the heads of the ogre and two giants. They crumple.
DM Ruk’s second in command assesses the situation. Their god is dead, the cloud and stone giant have no true interest in aiding them, and these three tiny monsters have murdered an entire hall full of warriors in less than ten minutes. He coughs, turning into smoke and disappearing.
Julian Julian moves to mop up the ogre ballistamen.
DM What becomes of our heroes now, Loyal Readers? What has befallen the rest of the retreating giants, or the other knights who were fighting them? No one knows, but we will find out next week!
Shael Shael fades back into the prime, his feet touching down lightly on the ground as he walks towards the final giants. The blood on Khionesoul is frozen and the UnMetal crawls back up his arm to rest. “I am Lord Shael the Sapphire Mox; Lord of Ossington and Sword Prophet of Serra. Will you offer their surrender?” he asks the cloud giant, “Or, shall we continue to prosecute our war?”
DM “No. The Ordning has ordained this fate. These fools followed a false god, and their consequences are theirs to bear. I will not take responsibility for them.”
Julian After defeating Ruk, the lords turn their attention to clearing the Steading of any remaining servant giants and rabble and surveying what they have gained. Two of the three exits are already in their possession and the third prowled by giant wolves… at Shael’s insistence, Julian also posts knights to the room just outside the wolf lair to prevent servant giants from running off through there with Shael’s loot. Also, more pragmatically, to prevent any servant giants from opening the doors and loosing the wolves on them before Shael has had a chance to talk to them.
Julian This done, they take stock of the Steading.
Julian While this happens, Julian asks a few questions of Lord Wolken and his companion, seeking to find out their and their peoples’ aims and whether there is anything the human party ought to do to avoid their enmity.
DM Lord Wolken is impressed with the party’s fighting capabilities, though he appears largely unconcerned with the idea that they might threaten him. Rather, he is largely annoyed that they troubled him. He had hoped to find that Ruk reborn was legitimate but their defeat of the chieftain has convinced him otherwise.
DM The upper floor of the steading features no living hill giant fighters. Only their lesser servants, terrified of the giant killers. And their pack of hungry dire wolves and a female cave bear, locked in the queen’s room by Alhandra. Hill giant corpses, including children, litter the floors.
Julian Julian spares no servant who tries to fight, even poorly, leaving such to Shael’s wrath. Any ogres too are wiped out, while any remaining are driven forth from the steading after stripping them of anything of use, value, or threat.
Julian The only exception to this last is that Julian seeks a servant, whether orc or giant, who can speak at least a little Common to interrogate about what lies below.
Julian He also asks Shael to handle the dire wolves after his fellow Lord suggests there might be a way to do so.
Julian He leaves the cave bear where she is for now
DM No giant servants offer resistance other than full bore flight from the steading. The ogres and verbeeg likewise flee. Neither captured giants, ogres or orcish slaves speak Common. Giant or Orc are the order of the day.
Shael Immediately following the fight, Shael rushes to the two orc slaves – even though their kind is as they are, they were innocents in this war and he chooses not to suffer their casualty. He channels the will of Serra to bring them back to life then urges them to rest – he will see to their further health once the war goals are met. The sword prophet spares barely more time than is appropriate to pay proper respect to the two neutral giant-folk before rushing off to slay all the others he can find… but, then, while the others are gathering their war chest, he finds the time to say more to the two giants – Stone and Storm.
Shael The wizard is keenly interested in their magic, though comfortably certain they will not reveal too much – he does probe each specifically about soul forging and possible locations of other Standing Stones. He casually lets slip that he would be amenable to having hosting a Stone Giant embassy in Ossington to help with his stewardship of the Stones if that seems like something the Stone Giant clan would be interested in. Arrangements would have to be made, of course, negotiations and approval of the Shadow Fae sought – but, it is not an impossibility. All the while he speaks with them, exclusively in primordial of course, he studies the rune magic left behind by the vanquished.
Shael He also mentions the Ritual of Winter and is generally open with what secrets he can share, in trade of course for theirs, but that he is searching for those whose magic might be able to help him enact the powerful mark of the season of shadow.
DM The orcs, rather than grateful at their resurrection, are frightened and seek to flee at once. They offer no resistance beyond this attempt to escape however. If communicated with in Orcish, they try to answer the questions put to them as best they can.
DM Lord Stein is both less condescending and less forthcoming than Lord Wolken. Where the cloud giant never misses an opportunity to belittle humans and human kind, the stone giant gives the impression that such things are an oversight rather than ingrained contempt for human kind. However, he does not openly speak of his people. While mildly curious about the Standing Stones of Ossington and the druidic rituals, he is very reserved about involving the stone giants in such things. “Tie too many ropes about oneself, and you’ll surely be pulled apart.”
DM Lord Wolken, conversely, shares what he knows of hill giants, including identifying the statue they found as being that of Grolantor, the titan of Consumption. “What could giant-magick avail you though, Man? It seems highly dubious you could achieve even the most basic of its workings. The runes of Thyrm would surely be able to bring about the fimbulvetr in such ferocity that your tiny…ritual of winter? would be like a single flake of delicate snow, but for what end? I think you’d best leave runework to the masters that brought it into this world.”
DM On the subject of soul forging, Wolken turns grim. “Those masters of death who seek to forge souls into steel are found primarily among the various fire giants, though some of my kind do in fact practice that dark art.”
Shael He tilts his head to the side and glances aside at the stone giant, “Powered by the Menhir and with sufficient resources, the True Ritual could blanket our entire land in winter — you’re saying that Giant Magic can affect greater more casually?” he seems dubious, “Well, if you think the Sapphire Mox can barely understand the basics of your magic, then I could certainly do no harm with it – and there would be no harm in my trying to learn?” he cocks an eyebrow with pursed lips as he looks up at the giant.
Shael Shael has a harder time knowing how to deal with the recalcitrant Stone Giant but subsides with, “There is no great hurry to decide, if the opportunity exists it will fulfill itself in its own time.” he smiles vaguely.
DM The runes that cover the hill giant steading’s great hall are clearly not the work of hill giants themselves. The verbeeg, ogre sized behemoths with a cunning that has made them invaluable to the less intellectually gifted giants, have made this masterpiece. Each rune has captured a spell cast by the runecaster, who also sets the triggering conditions for the rune. So while some runes countered hostile magic, others enacted resistance to fire upon the giants within range when exposed to attacks of flame. Most of these runes are fairly straightforward, designed to mitigate a magical assault against the great hall. Some runes would have purged invisible foes, broken enchantments, or stolen vitality and transferred it into a given target…Ruk Reborn most likely. Once the runes are identified, Shael sees that other, lesser runes line most of the ceiling beams of the steading, preventing things like lightning strikes, or fires from claiming the fortress. No doubt similar ones can be found below, preventing an earthquake or some such from bringing down the structure.
Shael For the Stone Giants benefit, he mentions the other True Rituals he’s learned as well – and that they will be cast from the Great Standing Stones as well come the proper season.
DM “The tiny area you claim your ritual affects would hardly be of use to a giant, although we prefer to soar through the skies in our flying castles, rather than submit ourselves to the whims of seasonal weather.” Wolken looks thoughtful. “You’re the Sapphire Mox these days? I don’t suppose you’ve ever witnessed one of the Weapons in action?”
Shael He shrugs helplessly, “It’s hardly any use to us to cover the land in winter – you know we are not as hardy as you and quite vulnerable to its affects… but, each season shall be honored in turn.” he leans forward a bit at mention of the weapon in action, “Hm, no – I think the Ruby Mox is more attuned than I am, but we are the strongest unless I miss my guess… of course, the Jet is vacant still.” he tilts his head to the side and asks, “Have you?”
DM “No, although the tales of when they fought against Ostoria…and when they came to its aid are still told among my mighty and long lived people. Though they be countless generations removed from today, the proud giant histories recall their legacy.”
Shael “We’ve lost a great deal of our history…” Shael mourns, “…I do not know Ostoria – that was a Giant Kingdom?”
DM “Though a human bard would be renowned to recall even tales a hundred years ago, a giant is not considered proficient in the art if he cannot recall those of a thousand years or more past.”
DM “Ostoria was the mightiest kingdom in all of Terra’s history. It existed in the days when the hills of Azlant were young and unformed, and drove back the dragons into their dens that more fitting creatures might walk the earth.”
Shael “I think if I got to choose I’d rather learn history from you than magic…” he grins slightly and asks, “…what happened to Ostoria? You said the weapons for for and against it; was there some war?”
DM “In the later days of Ostoria, when the human village of Azlant was of some middling import in the world, the Sapphire Weapon was set against the giants over some dispute between the mighty stormazîn Þórrson and the village chief Poseidos. The Sapphire Mox was slain and the Weapon returned unto from whence it came, but it obliterated an entire legion of storm giants before that occurred.”
DM “Earlier still, when the Moxen were newly anointed to their power, and the wyrms troubled Ostoria, two were sent to aid the mightiest kingdom, and so curry favor with the jotunbrud. The Emerald and Ruby Weapons were set against the foul wyrms, laying them low and bringing the hamlet of Zeyl unto the attention of Dynast Nicias Runemaster.”
Shael “What form did the weapons take? I’ve wondered, but very little lore survives even in my libraries.“
DM “Titanic creatures, exceeding even the most massive dragons, gigas… dwarfing many of the gods themselves.”
Shael Shael is sure to translate the safe bits of conversation for his companions.
Kryss “Ask him about Ashardalon,” Kryss suggests.
Shael Shael smiles faintly, the rain giant knows common of course but he expands on what Kryss meant and shares their concern that the dragon Ashardalon is somehow influencing events in the area, and in particular mentions the wrack dragons that Kryss discovered.
DM “Wrack dragons…the rebellious scions of the true dragons, who sided with giants in the dragon wars so long ago. I had truly thought them wiped out. As for Ashardalon, he spent his latter days amassing the praise and worship of his underlings, having gotten fat and lazy. What little we bother to tell of him seems to suggest that a minion known by the name ‘Gulthias’ was responsible for his threat. His was a brute force, nothing more, guided by his high priest.”
DM “If he has returned from death, it must be another’s doing, for he does not possess either the power nor the wit to achieve such.”
Shael “Gulthias Sengir? He may have been a catalyst of the resurrection, but certainly not the cause – we slew the vampire in true light. He is nothing but dust now… if you are unconcerned..” he shrugs, “We have passed along the warning in good faith.” The wizard smiles diplomatically.
DM The cloud giant lord laughs uproariously. “Warning? I had merely thought we were discussing such things. No, little man, do not worry about the cloud giants…we have no fear of dragons great or small.” He sniffs the air at that last and looks around curiously. “Odd. I almost thought I smelled a dragon…old and earthy the scent is, with hints of tiny men about its breath…”