Session 58: Return to the Cathedral
[June 1st, 2021]
The heroes rest for some time in the timeless expanse outside the Temple of Memories. Duke conjures his homely cabin from within his old staff. The dust-filled chamber contains many humble comforts: a large fireplace, a small kitchenette, and numerous dusty tomes for light reading. They have to pull out extra cots, and most people have to sleep on the floor, but it is quite an upgrade from sleeping against hard stone and other uncomfortable spots in the long travels through the wilds of the Valley of Gigas.
The heroes rest for the night, and leave the timeless expanse the next day (4th Trurthword, 692 G.R.). They spend all the next day travelling to the eastern valley and settle for another night in Duke’s magical cabin. The following morning (5th Truthword, 692 G.R.), the heroes set out and reach the secret cavern entrance at noon. They wait out the rest of the day, leaving Lucias behind in the valley as they enter the caverns. They pass through and find that no new guards have been posted and the caverns are empty. They head through to the other side and try to sneak past the nearby encampments. In just the five days since they left, they find more tents have gathered around the area.
The heroes try to sneak past an encroaching group of tents, however, Duke gets tangled on a root and attracts the giant’s attention. They shout towards the heroes, not completely sure what they see. Brango uses his magical Dwarven belt to grant night vision to his allies as Kiltro summons a mighty wall of stone to block the giant’s from chasing them. Arngeir then blows from his ancient Noradrie horn, which bellows forth a great cloud of fog. With the cover of the fog, the heroes are able to escape into the night.
The heroes reach the outer palisade of tree trunks that guard the Cathedral’s grounds. They slip through the cistern hole again, which is thankfully drier than the last time. They then climb through the darkness towards the side entrance of the Cathedral. The giants inside the nearby tent overhear them and come out to investigate. A battle breaks out and the heroes watch the wall of the tent cut open, and a giant butcher wielding a cleaver stands there eager for fresh meat.
Brango and Arngeir cut down the foes as the others support them with spells. Shrugga tears down part of the tent that distracts Rotter Bloodfreckle. The heroes cut down the giants and fell Rotter quickly. Due to the flash of their spells, the heroes rush into the Cathedral quickly as they see the stone giant guards on the palisade gate coming towards them.
The heroes sneak into the Cathedral, where they overhear voices talking in the distance. They sneak between the pews and watch a group of hill giant warriors walk by, led by a massive, scarred hill giant. They head into the drinking hall. Duke then finishes his spell preparations and he makes them all invisible. They then slowly sneak up the well-lit dais to the secret door in the statue. Across the large room, they make out a small group of giants guarding the front entrance.
The heroes sneak down into the Forgeheart and speak with Ferin and Etena. Ferin repairs Brango’s sword, which was accidently damaged in the battle with Rotter. Etena explains how to relight Gigas’s Forge, stressing the need for dragonfire to ignite Aduromi’s fire geodes. Ferin says she saw a red dragon on the highest tower of the Cathedral, she suspects its a servant of the Storm Tyrant, who is known to have mastery over dragons. The heroes agree that it may be best to eliminate some of the giant henchmen of Urathash and perhaps Urathash himself before trying to relight the forge.
The heroes rest for an hour, before heading back upstairs. As they are sneaking away from the well-lit dais near the statue of Gigas, Abhlesh is lost in one of his trances. He stands there illuminated in the torchlight, which catches the attention of the ogres on the far end. Brango overhears them talking about the death of Rotter Bloodfreckle as they notice the oracle. The ogres and their leader, an insideous two-headed troll named Morog, charge across the room.
The heroes meet their charge and try to defend themselves. Kiltro and Duke throw numerous explosive spells across the chamber, shaking the old Cathedral and likely drawing more attention. As the heroes meet the giants in combat, the doors to the northern drinking hall open, and the inebriated giants come charging in.
Session 59: Slaughter in the Hallowed Halls
[June 8th, 2021]
The heroes hold their ground on the stairway as the giant’s charge in from the mead hall. Brango and Arngeir fight against the onslaught, but the larger hill giants prove more capable fighters than the ogres. Kiltro, Duke, and Agandar blast the giants with powerful spells, that continue to shake the Cathedral. Brango cuts down many of the giants as Duke then sends a couple of them to sleep. Shrugga tears down one giant as Agandar flies above, providing support.
The large leader of the hill giants, Ruddig Headstomper leaps into the fray, nearly felling Brango, Duke, and Kiltro with his deadly blows. Arngeir is knocked down by the hill giant’s heavy clubs. The heroes try to pull back slowly cutting away at the giant’s. Ruddig nearly kills Brango, but Kiltro is able to distract the giant by summoning a ferocious fire drake. Duke then cleverly blasts Ruddig with a wave of depressive emotions that greatly slows the giant’s attacks. Brango cuts Ruddig deep as the giant fells the drake. The hill giant warrior then falls to the ground in a pool of his own blood and tears.
The heroes act quickly to patch some wounds and hide their trail back into Etena’s secret underforge. However, Ferin and Etena do not seem happy about what occurred and worry their secrecy is at risk. Arngeir and Kiltro plead with Etena and convince her to let them rest in her room until the morning.
The next morning (6th Truthword, 692 G.R.), the heroes thank Etena and decide to strike out. Ferin warns them about Urathash’s allies, including a powerful frost giant that has been in the camp for a few days. They use Duke’s invisibility magic to sneak past the new guards in the Cathedral’s nave, and head into the mead hall. They hear giant’s drinking and fighting in the hall ahead, and so prepare themselves for a battle. Brango then throws the door open and charges in, asking for a drink.
The heroes find eleven giants in the hall, many ogres and hill giants, and one large frost giant. The heroes prepare themselves as the many giants grab their weapons and charge towards them.
Session 60: Brango Demands a Beer
[June 15th, 2021]
The heroes enter into the large mead hall and Brango calls out to the giants, demanding a beer. The giants laugh at the over-sized dwarf as they move in to attack the group of “little folk”. Duke rushes in and creates a large magical barrier of light that shimmers with poison. This slows the giant’s approach as the heroes move in to defensive positions.
The ogres and hill giants charge in first and Brango is ready to intercept them. He begins to cut and slice with his mighty sword, getting some assistance from Shrugga. Arngeir hangs back throwing spells, using the magical power of his pendant to share life energy with Brango. The invisible Abhlesh sneaks around the tables and tries to disrupt the frost giant. Kiltro and Duke throw powerful spells at the giants. Kiltro blasts them numerous times with deadly fiery explosions. Duke plays a more strategic game, using powers over the giant’s minds to incite fear and confusion. Duke also summons another wall of magical light that creates an acidic barrier.
One of the giants tries to leap over the wall of acid to strike at Duke, but compleltely trips and falls into the wall, disintegrating himself. The frost giant charges through the wall, ignoring the pain of the burning acid, as he breathes out a blast of freezing cold air. It freezes some of the heroes to the ground, encasing their legs into hard ice. Agandar flies over the group, commanding Shrugga and dodging thrown javelins. The elf descends to the ground, but is then hit hard by a giant’s club. Brango and Shrugga remain occupied by the eastern forces of hill giants while the others try to confront the frost giant.
Eventually, Duke is able to summon a powerful well of gravitonic energy that pulls the frost giant into the acidic wall, felling him instantly. Brango and Shrugga finish off most of the hill giants. Brango then leaps by Agandar and grabs the final giant. The giant surrenders. Abhlesh walks over to the hill giant and reaches deep into his mind. He learns that there are no longer regular patrols in the Cathedral itself and that the giants believe the corpses from the heroes’ first battle was due to inter-tribal warfare between giant clans.
The heroes quickly flee to the nearby storage room as a group of giants break through the southern doors. Through the gap in the door, they overhear the giants whispering. They believe there are intruders in the Cathedral, but one of the giants wanders aloud that it may be “the dragon” that caused this. The giants then head out of the room. The heroes burst out of the closet and chase after them, heading to the southwest chamber.
They find the ettin, Tharg Three-Eyes, still tied up to the stair banister. The ettin hoists its flails, ready to fight. Abhlesh then speaks out a mighty command and the ettin drops his flails. The heroes rush into strike down the ettin, but soon find four hill giants rush down the stairs to join the battle. The battle is quick and decisive, with the heroes felling the giants. They then hear the flapping wings of some sort of bird in the chambers above. They stop for a moment to decide what to do next, shall they use their momentum to continue striking at the giants, or do they seek a hidden spot to rest and recuperate their wounds?
Session 61: The Oculus Falls
[July 6th, 2021]
The heroes decide it best to recuperate a bit before heading up into the tower of the Cathedral of Gigas. They overhear the sound of giants coming, and they rush into the nearby storage room. Abhlesh uses the Spike of Safe Passage to create the illusion of a pile of crates as they huddle with the existing crates in the room. Numerous giants enter and leave the chamber as they seem to be looking for the culprits that felled the giants in the main hall and the mead hall. The heroes overhear one of the giants saying that “the Oculus” will find them.
The heroes wait until things quiet down before attempt to rush through the south doors, through the flea-ridden barracks. Kiltro and Agandar are accosted by the tiny critters as they rush to the outside grounds. It is there that they see a trio of marsh giants heading towards them. The one in the back wields a gnarled staff and wears a horned helm over his ugly visage, it is the Oculus.
The heroes prepare for battle, knowing they need to defeat these foes before they can flee from the Cathedral’s grounds. The Oculus flies into the air where Agandar summons forth a cloud of mist to blind him. Brango is overwhelmed by the spirit of Nargrym Steelhand, as his metal arm pulls him towards the giant. He leaps forth and strikes at the marsh giants. One of the marsh giants skewers Brango, leaving a bloody wound. The others charge in to help, with Kiltro and Duke throwing cracking bolts of lightning at the marsh giants. Agandar summons a giant wasp to strike at the Oculus up in the air.
The Oculus responds by destroying the wasp with a touch of an icy ray, then he proceeds to blast the heroes with concessive waves of freezing winds. The heroes are in dire straits as the Oculus blasts them with spells from above. The heroes manage to take out the two marsh giants and throw what few spells they have remaining up at the Oculus. Brango is given flight by Duke and he soars up to strike with Arngeir’s summoned spirit of Hethroth. However, the Oculus summons a great aura of fear that forces Brango to relive his parent’s death, sending Brango flying away like a scared child. Duke sends the Oculus into fits of manic laughter, slowing him down as Agandar rushes underneath the Oculus and blasts upward with a powerful torrent of water. A few more blasts of magical bolts from Duke and Kiltro finishes the spellcaster.
The heroes then take off, trying to get away as fast as they can. As they turn the corner of the nearby tent, they see a band of stone giants coming towards them, behind them they hear the roar of hill giants. It seems they have nowhere to run. The heroes then duck into the nearby tent. It is filled with grotesque alchemical lab that likely belonged to the Oculus. The heroes rush inside and use the Spike of Safe Passage again to create the illusion of a pile of crates. As the giants search inside the tent, they seem to find nothing and leave.
The heroes treat their wounds and wait over an hour until things quiet down again. They then decide to risk a longer rest, allowing the spellcasters to get some much needed sleep. They await the long day hidden in the tent of the Oculus as the hot sun comes and goes above them. It is night when they have finished resting, and the spellcasters have reattuned themselves, and Duke had studied his spellbook. Agandar uses the time to craft a brilliant makeshift scarecrow with a sign that reads, “The frost giant will rise again – The Oculus” in Jotun, he places the dark omen at the entrance of the Oculus’s tent.
The heroes hear the roar from inside the Cathdedral. It is late evening and the great sermon has begun. This time it sounds full of anger and hatred. The heroes decide to take advantage of this to sneak back into the Cathedral and check out the upper tower. They sneak past the flea-filled barracks and climb the stairs into the tower. It is there that they find a cyclops sleeping on a long L-shaped table, and a row of giant two-headed vultures, called rukhs, resting on perches by the windows.
The heroes decide to send Kiltro to sneak towards the cyclops. He climbs up on the table and quietly walks towards the giant and tries to stab the sleeping cyclops in the neck with his dagger. His strike hits more fat than arteries, and the giant awakens with a roar, which then awakens the sleeping rukhs…
Session 62: The Clash with Urathash
[July 13th, 2021]
The heroes charge forward as the cyclops awakens, hoping to help Kiltro. Kiltro blasts the cyclops with a bolt of lightning as he runs and leaps off the table. Brango jumps upon the table as the large two-headed vultures, the rukhs, fly at them. One grabs Brango, but Duke causes the dwarf to grow to giant-sized. Brango then begins to swing and cut down the ruhks. Arngeir joins Brango on the table and cuts at the ruhks as Agandar, Duke, and Abhlesh throws spells from afar. After some well-placed attacks, the ruhks finally fall and the cyclops is felled.
The heroes look about the messy chamber, trying to get more information from the pile of ledgers left upon the large conference table. They look through them for about 20 minutes as Arngeir and Agandar treat their wounds. They learn some key peices of information. First of all, Urathash does not seem to be very high up in Volstus’s growing army, he serves simply as a recruiter for the region. It seems the most promising giants are sent to a frost giant village called Skyrgaard, deeper in the Heropeak Mountains. It is there that they are fully trained by the mighty frost giant warriors who swear fealty to someone called Skirkatla. With this news, the heroes realize that the giants are far more numerous and organized than they originally thought.
Additionally, the heroes find maps that show the exact location of this Skygaard training camp. It’s location pins it very close to the northern Aelgardian cities and poses a significant threat to Jarnby. They also find some diagrams of a flying cloud castle. It seems it may belong to Volstus, though Urathash doesn’t seem to know where it is located.
The heroes decide to climb up to the next level of the imposing tower. They circle up into the next chamber, a massive bedchamber. There is a huge straw and fur-laden bed next to a large tub for bathing. Against the north wall is a large dining table and chairs. There are also three stone chests near the bed. Two of the chests contain mundane things, but the third is locked. Abhlesh tries to pick the lock, but struggles. It is then that the heroes hear the loud roar of the sermon has ceased and they hear the cries of anger in the room below them as the dead cyclops and ruhks are discovered.
The heroes rush to hidden places in the room, with Abhlesh and Duke simply turning invisible with magic. Agandar, Arngeir, and Shrugga run and hide behind a middle wall, while Kiltro ducks under the bed, crawling among the dust and loose straw. Brango, however, simply brandishes his blade and stands firm upon Urathash’s bed as he uses the power of Agrimmosh to become giant-sized.
Around the corner, two beastly dire bears and two stone giant guards lead the way as they enter the room. Then enters Urathash, the mighty stone giant leader. As Brango locks eyes with Urathash, Nargym’s fist burns with anger and hatred and Brango gives in to its power as he stares at the stony face of the one who murdered his parents.
Brango: Urathash Sneers
The bears charge forward as Brango downs a mystical elixir that causes him to become hazy and hard to see. Brango meets the charge of one of the bears, as the other turns and heads towards Arngeir, smelling him out. Duke and Kiltro summons powerful energy walls to slow the passing of the giants. The stone giants charge forward, ignoring the minor pain of the energy walls. A battle is fought over Urathash’s bed as Kiltro throws spells from underneath. Arngeir is soon grabbed by one of the bears and fights for his life as Shrugga and Agandar try to save him.
Brango fights off the bear and both stone giants as Duke and Abhlesh try to help. One of the giants knocks Brango off the bed, and causes it to break on one side. He later jumps upon the bed trying to smash Kiltro beneath him. Kiltro manages to escape with a magical doorway to the other side of the room. Brango is then knocked asunder by one of the stone giants as the others attempt to rescue him.
During the combat Abhlesh taunts and confront Urathash, as the time-bending Abhlesh sees the lines of fate converge upon Urathash. They argue and fight over their faith, with Urathash ensuring the dominance of giants and Gigas over the small folk, and Abhlesh speaking reverently about the all-powerful passing of time. They blast each other with their divine magic as if their two philosophies themselves were in combat.
Abhlesh: Urathash Battle of Faiths
The battle gets dangerous as Brango is barely able to recover and the stone giants continue to mount assaults upon them. Shrugga then charges forward and flips the bed, throwing the stone giant to the ground. Kiltro then summons a powerful wall of stone to surround Urathash and one of the stone giants, giving the heroes a short moment of relief. Urathash and the giant then burst through the wall, ready to continue the battle…
Session 63: Dragonfire to Light the Forge
[July 20th, 2021]
Urathash charges through the broken wall, through the magical field of fire, to strike down Abhlesh. The heavy blow knocks the oracle back as the others converge upon felling the final stone giant. Urathash then unleashes a blast of negative energy that saps the heroes’ strength. Brango charges forward hacking at Urathash going one on one. Brango reveals himself as the young child Urathash once let run free as he cuts him down. Felling the inquisitor of Gigas and the recruiter of Volstus. As Urathash lies in a pool of his blood, he remembers Brango and is in disbelief that such a child would one day defeat him. Before he passes completely, Abhlesh tries to read the lines of fate in his mind. However, Abhlesh is bombarded by the giant’s dying thoughts as his life flashes before his eyes. Abhlesh tries to impart one final happy thought before life leaves the stone giant’s eyes.
Urathash: The Death and Life
The heroes gather a few of Urathash’s belongings and find a key to his stone coffers. They find an ancient Nomen breastplate, that Arngeir dons and an ancient Jotun runestone of the frost giants. They then head upstairs to explore more while they have the chance. They find a dark and foul inquisition chamber of torture and pain etched with symbols of Gigas throughout. The walls have Jotun prayers to the dark god and six cages surround runic etchings upon the floor.
The heroes find the corpse of Tarram Hinderson among the four dead in the cages, but manage to save two prospectors from Hinderson’s Fortune, named Loust and Eigil. They are quite frightened and have been tortured for weeks since a dragon brought them here after being kidnapped by the giant Gristlecrack. The heroes tend their wounds and give them food and drink. They then head down to talk to Etena. The old slag giant is eager to start the ritual to light the forge, but the heroes need rest. They decide to craft a sign and place it outside the front door. The sign reads that the sermon is cancelled for the morning and a ritual is taking place instead, so do not enter.
Arngeir uses the moment to peer out beyond the Cathedral and the palisade gates using the eye of the gods. He sees many bands of giants gathering as they head out looking for those that attacked the Cathedral. The heroes head into Urathash’s room and rest until dawn. The next morning (7th Truthword, 692 G.R.), they head down to prepare the ritual.
Etena helps them line the forge with the sacred clay, then line it with the fire geodes. Now they need dragonfire to light the geodes. The heroes head up into the forge, at the center of the Cathedral, and Brango blows the mighty Drakesbane Horn. They wait for a good ten minutes, before the doors of the Cathedral burst open and a massive fire-breathing dragon flies in at them.
The battle is swift as Brango tries to hold the dragon off, even as its hot breath burns him and Arngeir. Abhlesh and Arngeir try to keep Brango alive as Agandar, Duke, and Kiltro blast the dragon with spells. Shrugga charges in but the dragon leaps away as it is pelted with bolts of lightning, clouds of noxious gases, and storms of hail and ice. The dragon tries to claw at Arngeir and Abhlesh, but the gods themselves see to protect them, blinding and deafened the dragon for a moment. It is blasted with a few more spells and it falls dead.
With the dragon defeated, Etena returns to help them finish the ritual with the Word of Creation and the saying of Rosag’s sacred prayer…
Session 64: The Legacy of the Forge
[July 27th, 2021]
Etena speaks the sacred prayer of Rosag:
Blessed be the Hammer of Making and Unmaking and the immortal craft of Gigas. In the infinite wisdom of the Almighty, may he bless this forge with divine providence. Ahk Khan Veis Daeus. Blessed be the will of Gigas and the Hammer of Making. Show me your might, show me the power of creation, Bless this forge with your power! Gigas’ will be done.”
Duke then steps up to the forge and releases the knowledge of the Word of Creation. The Forge lights up in a great burst of flames as the outer ring roars with hot red and blues. The forge in its center ignites as well ready to forge new creations under Gigas’s gaze.
The heroes then turn to find Etena staring at them with the hot fires of the Forge burning in her dull, glassy eyes. We see a glimpse of the ancient slag giant’s past, how she waited her entire life to become the Keeper of the Forge, only to guard a cold ancient relic, alone and isolated. Now the Forge is relit and her destiny is fulfilled.
Etena: The Keeper of the Forge
Etena demands Agrimmosh, the holy hammer of her god, from Brango, as well as the Drakesbane Horn and Nargrym’s Steelhand. Brango flatly refuses and the heroes prepare themselves as they stand in the inner ring of the forge, with the burning red and blue flames of the forge surrounding them. Etena then summons a wall of divine blades to cut Brango and nearly killing Kiltro, blocking the heroes from reaching her on the catwalk.
The heroes, still worn and weak from their battle with the dragon, try to defend themselves. Abhlesh quickly removes the magical blade barrier by reversing time as Duke summons a wall of fire to cut Etena off from fleeing. Brango prepares himself for battle as Arngeir revives Kiltro. Agandar prepares himself for flight.
Etena calls upon Gigas to protect her, and with the magic of the Forge, her will is granted. It is then that four large blobs of pure molten slag climb out of the burning ring, striking at the heroes.
The shard slags beat and grab the heroes, burning them with their intense heat as Etena walks into the air with divine magic, throwing deadly spells down from afar. Brango and Arngeir concentrate on taking out the shard slags as Duke and Kiltro assist with their magic. Agandar tries to get Shrugga away to safety after Etena bashes him with her hammer. The slags nearly kill Kiltro again and the battle grows dim for the heroes.
It is then that Kiltro blasts the slags with a wave of water that puts up a cloud of steam. Duke then becomes an elemental of pure water and begins bashing the shard slags with watery attacks, greatly weakening the molten slags. Agandar flies and Abhlesh fly into the air trying to keep people alive with healing magic. Kiltro, after being strangled by a shard slag, teleports to safety and throws spells from a safe distance away. Brango and Agandar notice Agrimmosh glows with great energy since the Forge has been lit. Agandar then tells Brango to strike Agrimmosh upon the forge. Brango does so, slamming the hammer upon the ancient anvil. It glows with renewed strength. Brango rushes into battle helping the others take out the remaining shard slags.
They heroes turn to Etena, who walks high in the air, still throwing life-draining spells upon them. Duke then calls upon the power of the earth to force Etena down to the ground, and she falls straight into the burning ring of molten slag. She screams in pain, as even her heat-tempered body cannot resist the hot fires of the Forge. She tries to climb out, slamming Brango and Arngeir with her hammer, but to no avail as she is pummeled by water spells. The heroes eventually watch Etena melt into fire and ash within the sacred Forge she spent her life trying to relight.
Ferin then climbs from the forgeheart, with a nasty bruise upon her head. She says Etena killed Laust and Eigil and knocked her out. She understands that she is now the Keeper of the Forge. However, she reassures the heroes that her view of Gigas differs from Etena. She does not agree with Gigas’s view of dominance and destruction, rather she only reveres the creation aspects of the giant god. She promises to only keep those teachings going forward. Ferin takes Urathash’s head from Brango and steps out to the gathering of giants out in the courtyard, who are quite curious of all the sounds they heard since the dragon flew through the front doors. She tells them to run from this place, that Urathash, Etena, and the dragon are dead and that the Storm Tyrant has forsaken them. This immediately leads to infighting and arguments among the giant clans as to who should be in charge. The heroes and Ferin bar the Cathedral’s doors as the aftermath begins.
The End of Urathash’s Reign
Over the next few days, the giants stop trying to enter the Cathedral and the giant camps disperse. The valley is quiet and somewhat peaceful, though the land remains ravaged by the excesses of the giants who dwelled there. The heroes find Lucias and rescue him from the valley, his small camp destroyed by the giants leaving the region. The heroes learn much from Ferin about how to use the Forge of Gigas as a tool to help them on their quest to stop the Storm Tyrant’s plan for domination. They prepare and create some items using the Forge’s power and Brango is able to grant additional power to Agrimmosh by using the blood of Urathash in a ritual.
Arngeir sends a dream message to the Alliance about their success, he eventually gets a response. The Alliance says that diplomacy among the groups have not been going well, but they expect diplomacy to prevail and to gather troops as quickly as they can. The tell Arngeir that they can learn more about these efforts when they reach Jarnby.
The heroes spend some time recovering at the Forge. They are able to find the dragon’s treasure hoard and gather all the wealth from Urathash and his minions. Eventually, they have to say their farewells to Ferin and continue on their quest. The heroes travel to Hinderson’s Fortune and tell the villagers what became of their comrades and their leader, Tarram. They then continue on head for the town of Jarnby to gather supplies before they continue their journey to the frost giant camp of Skyrgaard.
After sixteen long days of travel (26th Truthword, 692 G.R.), the heroes see the town of Jarnby before them.