DM When last we left our heroes, they had locked themselves in the dungeon, hoping to use the location to get some much needed rest. Will they finally get to nap, or will the hill giant steading claim them at last? Read on!
Julian Julian moves the wounded to the back and the hale towards the entry, expecting at least one giant counterattack before they can rest in peace.
Kryss Kryss tries to get in a short rest while Julian sees to defending the area.
DM About an hour and a half passes before the door begins to rumble.
Kryss The knights nervously hold their ground looking to Julian for instruction.
DM Slowly the door begins to open.
Kryss Kryss leaps to the front of the crowd and throws Shatterspike at the orcish doormen. She spins into three of the orcs before they even get the door all the way open and returns to Kryss’ hand. He catches her and launches himself back to the rear to provide cover.
DM The orcs die in an explosion of blood.
Julian Alaric picks off the final door-opener with his crossbow.
DM The orcs further back scream in fear and try to flee.
DM The bugbears’ lash forces them to reconsider.
Julian At a nod from Julian, Hengist and Horsa advance to get a look around the room and take measure of their attackers.
Julian “More orcs. More bugbears.” Hengist reports.
Julian “Lots more bugbears.” Horsa adds.
Julian At an order from Julian the brothers move to bar the southern door so that the lords can mop up the bugbears in the main room more safely.
Julian Alhandra moves to engage one bugbear by itself to the north.
Julian Julian breaks out at one of the foes to the center, bringing Lightbringer around for a decapitating blow.
Julian “Giant to the north!” Alhandra reports. “And… what is…?”
DM A readied hail of javelins assaults the paladins as they move out of the room against the bugbears, but Tal shields them. And full plate mail.
DM The bugbears launch a more focused assault, but most of their spears bounce off the armored foes. A few pierce Hengist but do not seriously harm him.
DM The remaining bugbears put the lash to the reluctant orcish stragglers.
Kryss Alaric and Rochefort take up guard positions at the door to cover the parties retreat if needed.
DM A giant emerges from the north, holding a snapping lion creature on a heavy chain. The creature flings a mass of spikes at Alhandra as she fights the bugbears, while the giant spins a piece of slate at her head. One of the spikes grazes the knight.
DM A similar attack assaults Julian from the south.
DM The orcs break, fleeing away from the bugbears.
DM Some of them are cut down as they try to escape, but more head north.
Kryss Kryss dashes out of the hall and rushes one of the bugbears harassing Alhandra. He seems to charge low at the bugbears knee but at the last second releases Shatterspike to slice the bugbears head before crashing into the one behind it.
DM The bloodied carcass of the lead bugbear dies a mangled death, though it manages to blunt the force with which Shatterspike hits its companion.
Kryss Kryss snatches the axe out of the air and turns to face the remaining foes.
Julian Alaric unsheathes a huge greatsword and moves to cut down the bugbear creeping around Julian’s flank. The champion is more comfortable with sword than bow, and it shows.
DM The vicious goblin falls in two halves.
Julian Hengist and Horsa gang up on what looks to be a champion of the bugbears’ own.
DM The leader, better armored and armed than the others, fends off the attacks as best he can, but the trollkin are relentless. Two of his soldiers fling themselves in front of the troll’s swords to die in their leader’s place.
Julian Alhandra cuts down the other bugbear attacker.
DM His head tumbles away, and he collapses to his knees.
Julian Julian, finding himself suddenly beset by merely one goblin rather than three, focuses on that enemy.
DM His blade sears away most of the monster’s face, and suddenly he is beset by no goblins.
Kryss Ear moves across the corridor for more cover at the sight of the javelins being thrown and the two knights continue serving in reserve to protect the wounded. “Truly it is most noble to risk one’s life for the injured and innocent.” Rochefort says to his companion.
DM Alaric is accosted by the remaining three bugbears, but his armor is thick and their scourges fail to do him harm.
DM The bugbears try to surge past the trollkin, but the huscarls hold them back.
Kryss “Indeed,” Ear replies. “Anyone can dish out violence, brave men must place other’s before themselves.”
DM More rocks from the giants and a hail of spikes.
DM Their strange lion creatures are as savage and vile as the giants themselves.
DM The orcs flee up the stairs, and into the eastern tunnels.
Kryss Kryss glances to Alhandra and gives her a look, openly judging her willingness to charge alongside him into combat against unseen foes in the darkness.
Kryss “It would be smart for us to stay here and defend alongside our companions,” he says to her.
Kryss He spins away from her for a moment and puts Shatterspike to work against the three bugbears to his east. He catches her afterwards and says, “We should stay close together.”
DM The bugbear is dealt a mighty blow, but remains on its feet, though its eyes narrow and it focuses its lash on Kryss.
Julian Alaric takes advantage of that focus to chop his way first through that bugbear, then through its closest friends.
Julian Hengist and Horsa hew their way through the minions towards the bugbear chief.
Julian Julian ducks under a volley of spikes and rushes the vile lion-beast.
DM Hengist plunges his dark blade into one bugbear’s chest, and the creature turns pale and…empty, as it flops over. The huscarl appears invigorated by the death.
DM Upon charging towards the lion creature, Julian can see that it is made mostly of a dark, sharp metal, flinging steel blades off of its tail.
DM Still, his sunlight blade appears to do the creature harm, and it snarls. More concerning are two giants coming up behind the female hill, with two more such creatures. These towering creatures have hellred skin and look like nothing so much as infernal dwarves blown up to massive stature.
DM The bugbears swarm Alaric, while the rest continue flinging spears as their chief battles for his very life.
Kryss The two noble knights hold their ground bravely although everything in their being urges them into battle.
DM The lion creatures leap towards Julian, straining against their leashes as the fire giants jog towards the lone human warrior.
DM A rain of spikes and stones fall down around him.
Kryss Kryss throws an arm around Alhandra’s hip and carries her effortlessly with him as he rushes the lion beast to the north. He drops her part way and slides into a sidearm throw that catches the lion right in the face. He turns out of the slide and catches his footing before rushing back to Alhandra’s side.
DM The creature staggers from the force of it.
DM And then falls apart into a heap of wires.
Julian Alaric winces, but the bugbear he is fighting soon falls apart in a heap of bloody chunks.
DM The one behind him, however…receives a slash across its torso, and it bleeds profusely…it will not survive long.
Julian The slaughter of bugbears continues as Hengist and Horsa take full advantage of their heavier armor and weapons while the bugbears come at them in ones and twos in the tight confines of the doorway.
Julian Alhandra dodges the wreckage of the lion creature and hews at the hill giant’s calves.
Julian Realizing that he is in a more exposed position than he thought what with the two more giants, Julian makes a fighting withdrawal back towards the others.
DM Bugbears die as Hengist and Horsa do their grim work. The northern hill giant howls in fury as Alhandra’s blade slices through its ankle.
DM The chief fights back bravely, but he is clearly overmatched. He calculates in his eyes, how likely he is to survive this.
Kryss Rochefort suddenly sees his chance to get involved and runs across the room to support Alhandra. Ear’s jaw drops and he looks around lost for a moment before he chases off after Rochefort.
DM The fire giants fling what seem to be compressed molten steel balls at Julian and Alaric, the latter receiving a staggering blow from one. A rain of spikes from the metal lion’s tails pours down upon them.
Kryss Kryss dashes across the room and releases Shatterspike to undo the encroaching constructs.
DM Two of the creatures are reduced to scrap at his assault.
Julian Alaric runs his final opponent through, then looks south, sizing up a bigger target.
Julian The chieftain’s calculation of how likely he is to survive this diminishes with every swing of the Runesword.
DM Alaric’s mighty blow sinks deep into the female giant’s leg, and she screams with rage.
DM The Runesword, for the first point tonight, fails to claim a bugbear’s life…the minion who flings himself before his chieftain suffers a glancing blow.
Julian Alhandra moves around the giant’s flank to open it up to Rochefort and Ear from the east.
Julian Julian joins Alaric’s assault.
DM The bugbear leader apparently agrees with the Runesword’s math, and turns to flee. His warriors close the gap, holding the trollkin back from pursuit.
Kryss The knights assist Alhandra in encircling the lone giant, jabbing and poking at it anywhere they can reach.
DM The fire giants urge the female hill giant forward, and she moves around Julian. They step in, moving in unison, while their metal pet retreats to behind their massive thews. Their blades flash…
DM Alaric falls beneath the huge metal slabs, and Julian becomes their next target. A glancing blow from the fire giant distracts him long enough for the female hill giant’s club to sock him solidly in the skull.
DM The overconfident and lone giant suddenly finds himself surrounded by little men and women, who can hurt him. He flails around, knocking Earmanaric solidly in the chest.
Kryss The lead fire giant pays the price for turning away from Kryss as Shatterspike blows through his chest and boomerangs back to crash him in the face. Kryss catches her and flings her back into the fire giants knee.
DM The giant absorbs the hits stoically, considering Kryss carefully.
Kryss Kryss darts away under the giant table.
Julian “Help them, Brother. I will clear the rabble away.” Hengist instructs.
DM Another bugbear perishes, its soul drained by the Runesword, as Horsa brings his weaponry to bear on the female giant.
Julian Alhandra ducks out from under the table long enough to hack into the giant’s other ankle.
DM He howls, kicking at the table in anger.
Julian As the hill giantess turns to meet Horsa, meanwhile, Julian drives Lightbringer full through her foot, then through her hand as she tries to fend him off.
DM She shrieks, furious at the assault.
Julian A healing word brings Alaric back from the brink.
DM The bugbear leader heaves the door open slowly.
DM His minions surge out, surrounding Hengist.
DM With the superior positioning, their morningstars actually manage to strike the huscarl.
Kryss The knights pause in unison before attacking the giants knees at the same time, hoping to cripple it.
DM The hill giant nearly topples onto them, so savagely do they tear into his legs. Crawling forward, he grabs Sir Earmanaric and swings the warrior into his companion.
DM The brave knight avoids the grasp, and in a desperate attempt to accomplish something, the giant swats him, smashing him into the ground like a fly.
DM The fire giants bark orders at the giantess, and she focuses on Julian, as do they.
DM The massive blades fall, and so does the lord of Dragonfyre.
DM Alaric, in a pool of his own blood, feels the crash of a club upon his skull.
DM The metal lion fires off spikes at Kryss where he ducks beneath the table.
Kryss Shatterspike flies out from under the table to wreak havoc on the remaining lion and the giant behind it.
Kryss Kryss catches Shatterspike and runs north under the table, hoping to lure the giants away from his companions.
DM The giant staggers as the axe catches it in the kidney. Focused on Julian’s eminent demise, it had failed to heed the danger behind it.
Julian Hengist hews down his attackers as quickly as they come.
DM Another goblin dies, another surge of power for the trollkin.
Julian Horsa viciously kneecaps the giantess looming over his fallen lord.
DM Shattered bones and the stench of ozone in the air reveals the toll he is claiming upon her.
Julian Behind her, the left-for-dead Alaric lurches to his feet, his giant claymore clutched in a death grip.
Julian Blinded by blood but guided by instinct, he flings himself at the giantess.
DM The hill giant torturer collapses as he hacks her foot off, and then dies choking on her own blood as he slashes her throat.
DM The fire giants laugh uproariously.
Julian “Alhandra!” Horsa calls for the paladin’s aid.
Julian Even from the distance, lit up as Julian is with the light of the sun, it’s not hard for the other paladin to see that he has fallen, and she turns from her own battle.
Julian She calls on the power of the same rod Julian himself once wielded to knit his wounds.
DM The fire giants stop laughing.
Kryss Kryss begins laughing uproariously.
Julian Julian puts his blade through the wounded fire giant’s foot and uses it to lever himself back to his feet.
Julian Then he stabs upwards between the giant’s legs.
DM Luckily for the fire giant, they also believe in heavy plate armor, and the blow finds purchase but not such an expensive one.
DM The bugbears pound on the trollkin, hoping to finish him off.
Kryss The pair of knights cover Alhandra’s withdrawal perfectly with Ear rolling free of the debris and jumping up to take his place as Rochefort’s cover.
Kryss Rochefort is able to land a few blows as Ear finds his feet.
DM Rochefort strikes the giant’s leg, and as it falls, stabs his blade through the creature’s eye and out its ear.
DM The flame giants quickly flank the paladin and his champion, one taking Julian and the other Alaric.
DM The blades fall upon them both.
Kryss Kryss comes out from under the table, leaps up one the bench and runs down to position himself for a perfect double overhand throw and the giant harassing Julian.
DM It spins over the giant’s head, never coming near.
Julian Alaric is down for real this time… apparently.
Julian Horsa finds the fire giant a tougher target than the hill giant, while Hengist continues his relentless offensive.
Julian The same lifegiving power that restored Julian brings Alaric back from the brink as well.
DM Hengist puts down another bugbear.
Julian Julian drives Lightbringer into the back of a knee as the northern fire giant moves past him.
DM The bugbears continue trying to put down the relentless huscarl.
Kryss The knights rush down to see how they can help against the fire giants.
DM The giants continue their flanking attack, but immediately note that it is no longer as ideal as it had been previously.
Kryss Kryss races across the room as Shatterspike spins through the air, aiming to open up the fire giant’s belly.
DM It blasts through the armor and does in fact, open up the fire giant’s belly. The giant gasps in pain.
Julian Alaric grabs the dangling sliced-open belly armor with one hand and hauls himself onto the giant, peeling the armor down as he does. With the other he drives his claymore repeatedly into the now unprotected gash.
DM It takes one. The giant tumbles backwards, its spinal cord severed. Alaric leaps clear of the falling giant and savages its partner.
Julian Alhandra calls on the power of the rod again as Hengist faces down the final bugbear survivors and Horsa pursues the last giant.
Julian Julian piles onto that giant too.
DM The bugbears pound on Hengist, who barely feels it. His eyes look black as he idly notes that they are truly beating upon what remains of the soul of their former companion.
DM The giant, alone, looks concerned for a moment as the little warriors surround it.
DM The concern is passing however. It sets its jaw and chooses to spend its last moments in life fighting.
Kryss The knights join all the little warriors.
Kryss "This is your only chance for surrender, “Rochefort announces. Lay down your arms and swear fealty to me in lieu of your life!”
DM The giant pours an oil onto its body, which flares to life in conflagration. It then sweeps its massive sword down onto…
DM Sir Rochefort. The blade smashes the knight into the ground, and the giant grins.
DM If they could understand what it was saying…but then the devilish gleam needs no precise translation.
Kryss Rochefort laments that he was unable to get a parry up in time.
Kryss Kryss races past again and Shatterspike flies high towards the giants throat.
DM The axe cuts the giant’s head off as it flies with more power than Kryss has ever thrown before. The giant explodes like a volcano, throwing oil and flame everywhere.
Kryss Kryss takes the brunt of the flame and crashes into the wall before he can stop. His shirt burns away and the scars from the encounter with Ashardalon ignite like gunpowder (whatever that is)
Kryss The dragon screams.
Kryss He falls to the ground and the flames continue to engulf him.
Shael Despite recovering from the deadly explosion, Horsa grabs a giant sized hankie from the ground and runs over to extinguish Kryss.
Kryss “I’m feeling pain right now!” Kryss roars as the troll ministers to him. “I think this is what pain feels like!!”
DM Horrifically burnt and swaying on his legs, Sir Rochefort tries to roll his eyes. The brows and lashes have been burnt to ash.
DM “Wat..water…” the knight begs. “Something…cool…for my face.”
Shael “Yes, fire is pain.” the trollkin agrees.
Kryss “This is worse. This isn’t normal for me.”
Julian “Bring him water!” Julian orders Earmanaric, and the knight grabs his waterskin. “And Alhandra, take my rod and tend him. I will help Lord Kryss.”
Julian Julian’s blessing brings a moment’s relief at least.
Kryss “God’s Julian, is that was fire feels like to you guys?”
Julian “Being burnt?”
Kryss “Yes. This was different.”
Kryss “I think something is wrong with me.”Julian “That’s as may be.” Julian looks around. “But I have no more. I need rest before I can do anything else for you.”
Julian “We all need rest.”
DM What could be wrong with Lord Kryss? Will Sir Rochefort recover from his wounds? Will our heroes get their rest? Find out next time!
Julian Julian investigates when a live gnome is found in one of the sacks. “Who are you and how did you get here?”
Kryss “Gross!” Kryss exclaims. “Julian! Do NOT eat that!”
Julian " Thanks, Kryss, I’ll make sure not to."
Kryss "Its a simple process of decay. Shael had me read a book about it. Something dies and becomes food. For giants in this case. If left too long it rots. Apparently this bag of food grew mushrooms, which in turn attracted gnome. Hello there little gnome. Sorry to disturb your home.?
DM The gnome is terrified. “I’m Bewlander Fiddlelipschitz the twenty third and first. I was chatting with a delightful badger in the woods when this massive hand came down, snatched me up and stuffed me in a sack. This bed was here when I got here; I figured I’d sleep until they ate me.”
Julian “Bad luck!” Julian smiles. “Did you know a gnome named Cyrus?”
DM “Historically speaking, there are numerous gnomes by that name, Cyrus the Great, Cyrus the Not So Great, Cyrus the Terrible, Cyrus Borkleblender the Determined Fishmonger, Sy Ruz Yodelflense…a veritable horde of Cyrusi. As for personally, I’m significantly less knowledgeable. None of the gnomes in our garden have that distinguished moniker.”
Julian “Better luck. The one I had in mind was not so great.”
Julian “Well, Bewlander, you may find it difficult to get to the surface at the moment, but we intend to make a way, and I think before long we will. When we do, if you have been no trouble to us I see no reason not to set you at liberty.”
Julian “Until then, pick a safe spot and stay there.”
Julian “And keep the bed, if you please.”
DM “You have met Cyrus the Not So Great? I, Bewlander Historian Wondernaire, would be most obliged if you would set down your human opinion of his policies, carriage and ears. Perhaps at a better time, as you’ve mentioned you are frightfully busy at the moment. I will stay here in bed.”
Shael Shael glances at Julian before sharing that they had run across the 9 (?) princes and ended up facing off against Cyrus in the war for Storgaard. He keenly observes the gnomes reaction, earnestly expecting more interest than the dread that Julian is testing for, and is otherwise willing to swap stories, history, and lore with his fellow scholar.
DM Bewlander looks confused for a second and then bursts into laughter. “Ho, ho, well done! The “nine princes”!? Like, from the story about the witch? Thousands of years ago? You’ve clearly had some exposure to gnomish culture if you’ve heard THAT boogie tale! But clearly I’ve had the luck to be rescued by gnomefriends. I feel better already. What gnomish village did you come from to hear that tale told?”
Shael He again glances aside at Julian, and then Kryss. With a pensive frown he shrugs and mentions, “Time is a funny thing. The tale is true, though perhaps changed with history —” he shares what he knows.
DM Bewlander listens eagerly to every thing Shael says, but it is clear by his questions, expression and attitude that he believes Shael has gained this information some other way than actually meeting the Nine Gnomish Princes from thousands of years past. He finally resigns himself to the idea that Shael will not tell him which actual gnomish village he learned of the tale in. Furthermore, it is clear that the tale seems to be of some secretive nature to the gnomes, and while Bewlander remains friendly, possession of this secret knowledge is not being perceived as benign in nature. Despite Bewlander’s attempts to pass the story off as a fairy tale, his concealed concern has the opposite effect.
Julian While Shael talks with the gnome, and after finishing his examination of certain items the expedition has found, Julian returns his attention to Riles and Captain Ja’huhl. “Are there other men here, then?” he asks Riles, “or have the ogres put all the rest to death?”
Julian With Ja’huhl, he reviews those enemies that have already been destroyed, such as the lindworm, in order to get a sense of whether there may be any prominent foes remaining.
DM Riles shrugs. “I think they’ve got some goodly dwarves working in their forges, but a lot of the men that weren’t stomped or raped to death have been eaten. Pretty sure some of those that were got ate too.”
Julian “Which way to the forges?”
Kryss “I’ll not stand by while Smith’s work in slavery.”
DM Riles shrugs. “I have no idea, I’m afraid. This place is huge, and we’re not really let out to sight see.”
DM Captain Ja’huhl names the lindworm, the fomor, the less vile giants. “And as for the other things called up from the darkness by the fomor…there are demonic ape creatures, perverse degenerates, and some…” he gestures helplessly. “Indescribable horrors…I can give neither shape nor name to them, but they lurk at the edge of nightmare.”
Julian “Well. The fire giants came from the south. They might have been the ones at the forges. We’ll look that way first.”
Julian Julian does so, bringing Kryss and Shael.
DM The path south ends, with three massive doors, barred with iron rods, each holding a multitude of despondent orc slaves. Many of these miserable wretches are missing arms or legs, or have their appendages crushed to uselessness. There are probably seventy some of these wretches in total, with only a handful in fighting condition or spirit. Smoky torches in the cells allow Julian to see the horrible conditions within. The orcs by and large sleep on shit matted hay, with only a few crude benches carved from the wall offering an alternate perch for privileged prisoners.
To the east, boulders and debris block the way forward in a makeshift barricade, though hardly insurmountable to the Lords of Dragonfyre. To the west, the distant glow of a firepit beckons.
Kryss “Firepit,” Kryss suggests.
Julian “All right.” Julian heads that way. Something will have to be done about the orcs eventually, but it will have to wait until any fighting in this area is done with.
DM Heading west past the prisons, they pass a hallway leading at a southwesterly direction and another heading north. A loud ruckus can be heard up there, although they forgo exploring it momentarily for their destination. This large area contains various implements for torturing prisoners large and small — an iron maiden, two racks, thumbscrews, iron boots, chains, whips, branding irons, strappados, and so forth. Strewn across the room is atrocity. Far beyond the callous cruelty of the hill giants, or the savage sexual assaults of the ogres, this room holds what remains of dozens of former prisoners. Heads have been torn off and used in what look like games of sport, bodies have been smeared together and molded like clay into perverse and unnatural forms, chests have been chewed open with bones spit out nearby…it seems as though those who ended up in the dungeons or stomped flat were the lucky ones. A firepit in the center of the room lends it all a hellish light.
Kryss “I’m not sure we’ll find anything useful here right now,” Kryss says, hoping his friends can put the gruesome sight out of their minds long enough to accomplish their mission. “We will make this right.”
Kryss “There is more to explore south of here. I can feel it.”
DM The southwest forks off to the south east in a dead end, but continuing to the south west brings the lords to the forge. Stacks of giant arms and armor, either newly made or in need of repair, clutter this place. The alcove north of the entrance holds several pike-sized spears, battleaxes, two-handed swords, and other weapons and armor usable only by giants.
Some helmets are balanced on shields, each propped up by a warhammer or a mace. Near the forge and bellows in the southwest corner, are five dwarves chained to the floor. They toil away, repairing giant sized weapons. Compared to the victims of the torture chamber and the orcish prisoners, the dwarves are only slightly worse for the wear. They look a little underfed, and slightly overworked (for a dwarf, obviously a body breaking amount of toil for any lesser race), but do not immediately notice the visitors.
Julian Julian comes closer with his light and hails the dwarves in Common. If they respond positively, he explains that many giants have been slain and that the knights intend to rescue the prisoners. If they respond uncomprehendingly, he asks Shael translate the same in Dwarvish.
Shael Shael looks out to see who acts as a leader among the dwarves, prepared to speak with them in dwarfism whether or not they understand common.
Julian If friendly relations can be established, he further asks Kryss to strike off the dwarves’ chains while finding out if the prisoners can give any useful information about remaining enemies, other dwarves or prisoners, etc.
Kryss Kryss tosses Shatterspike in a soft underhand and sends her spinning across the floor. She slices neatly through the chains with barely a whisper and a flash of light. She slows to a stop before the dwarves field of vision, almost intentionally flashing her Durgeddin touchmark at them, before flying back into Kryss’ raised hand. “Be free in the name of your fellow Smith’s everywhere, as well as in the name of Thane Rollo of Stonehammer, heir to the secrets of Durgeddin.”
DM Only one of the dwarves speaks common, and he identifies himself as the de facto leader, Goldemar. A doughy dwarven warrior, he explains that the dwarves have been pressed into service by fire giants, who run the forge. They are being forced to soul forge, which Goldemar considers anathema to their craft, which hearkens back to the Uvandir. He knows that most of these weapons are intended for the armies of Warlord Imperagon.
Julian Julian seeks some information, including whose souls exactly are being forged here, how the giants gained knowledge of soul-forging, and whether these dwarves know of any more prisoners about, as he escorts the dwarves back to the safety of their camp.
Kryss Once the dwarves are in Julian’s capable hands Kryss takes a look around the room looking for anything that stands out.
DM Goldemar is forthcoming, as much as he is able to be. He doesn’t know whose souls have been forged, and he has no way of knowing. He does know that the amount of souls suddenly increased recently, over a dozen fold. He doesn’t know how, although he thinks it was part of the bargain between the giant lords and Imperagon. Goldemar speaks Jotun, although the giants do not know that fact. He does know for certain who the art of soul forging came to the giants and dwarves from. A dark dwarf, who united the warring factions of their clans, the devil worshipers, the giant thralls and the wakers of the dragon four years ago. Snurrevin the Eggflame. A madman, intent on forging an entire generation of dwarves into arms for their most hated foes.
Julian “Is he here?”
DM “The Eggflame? No, we were overseen by the fire giants stationed here. It has been over two years since I last saw him.”
DM Meanwhile, Kryss is able to evaluate the giants’ materials. The giant sized forge tools are mundane other than their massive size, and the smaller tools the dwarves were utilizing are relatively crude for dwarves…it seems likely that they are stolen goods from human settlements, for the purposes of allowing the dwarves to ply their craft. Relatively little soulsteel ore remains, less than half a pound. Still, it is valuable, easily worth over two thousand gold, to a buyer aware of its nature. The weapons the dwarves and giants have been working on of late have been mundane superheated steel.
Julian Julian turns to Shael as they return to rejoin Kryss. “Your insight?”
Shael “Who are you, Goldemar?” Shael asks when attention falls on him.
DM “Who? I am Goldemar, heir to the Uvandir, clan spokesman of the Trutmunt Canton, youngest brother of Elgidum, Alberich, Elberich, Elbegast, Eberk and Albegast, son of Morgrim, swinger of both hammer and axe in pursuit of life and death alike. Speaker of tongues, forger of alliances and bonds that last beyond death, and indebted to the wyrm.”
DM Kryss is further able to deduce that the weapons have been made for giants other than the hill giants lairing here. Either there was a plan to make the hill giants more dangerous by arming them in forged steel, or there were giant sized warriors who would be using this base as a staging point. Somewhat concernedly, none of the weapons are soulsteel. Not recovered and not wielded. Those weapons must have been sent out already, but where to?
Julian Julian looks between Kryss and Goldemar. “You are observant, Goldemar of many titles.”
Julian “If not Snurrevin, then who comes for the weapons?” Julian follows up on Kryss’s insight that it cannot have been the hill giants.
DM “Most recently, horned beings of smoke and flame, slightly less in stature to the giants, though they tower over the verbeeg and ogres. Before that, creatures I know not, though they looked as strange elves. The soulsteel goes only to select few. Most of the weapons go to giants and kin.”
Kryss “Why did you call yourself indebted to me?” Kryss asks, blunderingly.
DM “You are our liberator. As these dwarves leader, regardless of the circumstances that made it so, I must bear the debt of all.
DM You have given five dwarven lives back, such is the value of my debt.”
Kryss “A valuable treasure indeed,” Kryss scratches his beard. He looks over at Julian. “I forgive your debt and hope that you spend the rest of your long life making each day better than the last. I will suggest, however, that if you find need of work for fair pay I could certainly find you suitable employment.”
DM “Work is life. Payment is incidental, only to impress on those who measure in that manner, the worth of the work.”
Kryss “I think you would make a fine member of my organization, although this is a poor place for a job interview. I would like to have that conversation with you one day soon though. I do wonder how you realized my nature so readily though.”
DM “Oh, forgive me Liberator, I had not realized you were incognito. There was an air of honesty between you and the human magi, I hastily assumed. My deepest apologies. You see, you absolutely reek of gold, it’s a dead giveaway for anything but the youngest drakes.”
Shael “Hmm.” Shael agrees with Kryss once he is singled out as well. “I am his protector, of course he trusts me… but, you know how the Tallites are…” he tilts his head towards Julian, “…we try not to bring it up too often.” Even though he is speaking dwarven, he double-checks to make sure none of the other taggers-on have followed them before introducing himself, “I am Shael, Foundling of An-Havva and Blood Brother of Lord Boaz of Heredon, Lord Protector of Dragonfyre Dyre, Heru en’Ossington, Sword Prophet of Serra.”
Shael He pauses for a long moment before adding, “Nányë Imillirunando.” — in elvish, ‘I am the Redeemer of the Rings of Power.’
Kryss “And please call me Kryss.”
Shael “Kryss, he has shared with you who he is – I know you and I do not prefer our titles…” he shrugs as he speaks to his friend in Draconic, “…but in this case it would be impolite to share so little.” With Kryss’ tutoring over the last several years, he manages the sibilant nuance – share more, not everything.
DM The three lords are more or less alone with the five dwarves at this point, the others being left to guard their base in the dungeons.
DM Shael notes that Goldemar follows along in Draconic, but does not do so obviously so as to be polite. The dwarf looks slightly puzzled as Shael appears to exclude Julian from his mention of magi, but does not make the same mistake twice, instead nodding in response to Shael’s proclamation.
Kryss “Arm yourself as best you can, Good Dwarves, for the path ahead of us treads over the corpses of your oppressors.” Kryss uses every trick he knows to quickly refit some of the parts and pieces laying around for the dwarves. “Unless you all prefer to exit through the rubble behind us. If so, seek out Master Bing in Dragonfyre and he will see to your needs.”