Session 7: Waves of Carnage
The heroes of Bolvirk return to the barricade and have their newest batch of wounds tended by the Sanctuary medics. During the short break, Duke jots down a few spells into the his spellbook, spells that he had just remembered might be useful. Arngeir feels the powerful connection to Hethroth grow as he has met his axe in much battle. Nyyrikki feels his own prowess has been tested and he is eager to fell more orcs. Esderal reflects on his many skills as Kiltro begins to tap into an inner reserve of power. Agandar feels his connection to the natural world strengthen and regrow.
The heroes set out again into the Inner Quarter of Bolvirk as the fires rage and battle can be heard afar in the Lower Quarter. They check out some buildings near the eastern towers, but find little more than ruined buildings, one of which is now aflame. They decide to check behind the buildings in the alleyways against the cliff-wall. They see that the fallen tower to the west has been shattered and a pile of rubble leads to the Inner Quarter. They then find the unconscious body of Silvermane among the debris of the houses. They are able to revive him and return him to the barricade with the Sanctuary medics.
When the heroes return to the walls and the barricades, they find Omast Frum in a drunken panic, trying to prepare a few defenses. There are numerous orcs holding a giant tree-trunk-like battering ram, slamming it into the crumbling portcullis. The heroes rush over to help, but Omast cannot articulate his defense plan in his drunken state. There are many bodies of dead Bolvirk militiamen around, it seems the wall has been lost to the onslaught.
The heroes realize they had been given an elixir of sobriety by Rabus Clarenstone and offer it to Omast. Almost immediately, Omast’s mind clears and he explains the defenses he has set up. The heroes get into position just as the portcullis is slammed by the battering ram and bursts out of the stone frame. The orcs come charging up the hill towards the barricades where the heroes stand.
Arngeir immediately moves to push the giant pitch-soaked boulder down the hill, successfully getting the large stone to move towards the orcs. It rolls down the hill, catching fire again as it does so. It slams into many of the orcs, felling the two in the front, but continuing onward as the orcs move around. Soon the orcs are charging at the heroes who throw spells and cut away at the enemies. A well placed fire spell by Duke causes the piled logs to break lose and roll down the hill, felling many orcs.
The battle rages on for many minutes as four waves of orcs charge at the heroes. The manage to hold the first barricade as Omast helps, swinging his mighty greatsword. At one point, Omast chases enemies into a nearby house just as the heroes fell the last of the orcs. As Omast emerges from the house, he announces their victory. Several guards come to reinforce the guard towers and they are able to lower the second portcullis and hold the Inner Quarter. The warriors are declared heroes by Omast and the other guards.
Session 8: The Cave Giant
The militia are able to hold the defense at the entrance to the Inner Quarter as the heroes have their wounds tended by the medics of the Sanctuary. The heroes gather what they can from the dead orcs, finding a small onyx magical figurine of a dog. Agandar finds that it has the power to summon a dog companion.
The heroes talk with Omast as they climb to the top of the guard tower and look out at the state of the battle. They see Kurst and his riders still working with many of the Bolvirk militia to route and strike many of the orcs out on the fields. To the north and west, the Lower Quarter of Bolvirk is dark and sounds of small fights can be heard below. Near the Barterstones, a catapult continues to launch flaming boulders at the town, some striking the Upper Quarter. Omast suggests the heroes head to light the final beacon then do something about that catapult.
The heroes sneak through the rubble of the fallen tower and climb into the Lower Quarter. They head over the beacon, which seems quiet and untouched in the chaos. The heroes prepare to ignite it, when Duke notices a strange yellowish powder upon the beacon’s wood. Esderal identifies it as an explosive powder combined with a sticky adhesive. He notes that alcohol would likely render the explosive inactive. The heroes then head over to the ruins of the Ramblehouse, where it seems most of the booze had been looted. However, Arngeir, reaches under the floorboards near the bar and pulls out two bottles of wine he knows Cham keeps for special guests. The heroes pour the wine on the explosive powder and it dissolves. They then light the beacon.
As the flames rise, a column of fire into the sky, the entire Inner Quarter comes alight and the surrounding battlefield gains some illumination to help to militia fight off the orcs. The heroes then sneak their way out with some help from a few guards to make their way towards the Barterstones. When they reach the area, they find orcs taunting them forward. The orcs at the catapult must have re-aimed it to fire close-by at the heroes, as a few fiery bombs explode at them. The heroes charge around the stone, with Nyyrikki and Arngeir leading the charge. The orcs charge back as a few of them throw javelins. Duke and Kiltro follow for magical aid. Although, Kiltro is nearly killed by a javelin.
Esderal climbs the center barricade between the stones, and throws a powerful acid flask upon the catapult, which slowly eats at the wood. He and Agandar then face off against a couple orcs that round the rocks. The other heroes take cover in the rocks as the orcs throw alchemical bombs at them. Duke then uses his magic to magically enlarge Nyrrikki, who charges from behind the rocks and throws the catapult over. The causes a few alchemical items to tumble and explode in a great blast. Soon the rest of the orcs are felled and the heroes loot the numerous alchemical items. Esderal takes a fine looking magical goggles that seems to aid the throwing of bombs.
The heroes sneak back into town where they are called down from the guards on the wall. The guards say that the giant came through town towards the Hopespring. The heroes charge forward, finding a massive cave giant standing at the entrance to a cave on the Hopespring’s rock face. It seems to have pummeled the stone to form an entrance to the caves behind the wall. Four orcs are attached to the cave giant by long thick chains and they seem to be trying to direct and lead the giant.
The orcs pull the giant forward to charge at the heroes, who respond by throwing spells and firing bolts and arrows. Esderal charges behind the giant and pummels it with numerous alchemical bombs. The giant throws one of the orcs at Arngeir, but it slams the wall nearby. The giant then charges through the road between the houses and slams Arngeir who tries to face it in one-to-one combat. Eventually Arngeir tries to pull back, but the giant slams him hard with the loose chain on his arm. Arngeir falls. Then the giant throws one of the orcs attached to his arm at Nyyrikki, as the barbarian charges into the fray. Nyyrikki falls. As things look most grim, Agandar, Duke, and Kiltro continue to blast the giant with spells until it falls.
The heroes are able to revive their companions and treat their wounds. They find a magical wand and a stolen Noradrie battlaxe on the orcs. Kurst rides in towards them on a wounded horse with two riders behind them, he is beaming with a sad confidence. He celebrates the heroes for their achievements in securing the Inner Quarter, destroying the catapult, and felling the cave giant. A guardsman notes that he saw a humanoid and a number of wolves climb into the new cave opening near the Hopespring. Kurst asks the heroes to pursue whomever had gone inside. However, he first tells them to take a rest until morning, appointing guards to ensure no one enters or leaves the cavern.
Cave Giant Defeated!
Session 9: The Giant’s Tomb
The heroes of Bolvirk gather move past the battle and their heroics, seeking only rest after their encounter with the mighty cave giant. They head over the the ruins of the Ramblehouse and set down for some rest as Arngeir heads out on a restless walk. Eventually Arngeir returns to the Longhouse and falls into a fitful sleep. Each of the brave heroes have dark and strange dreams.
Agandar finally sees a clear vision of his lost memories of the Council of Thorns, learning that he once accidentally entered a magical gateway through a circle of stone menhirs and came into contact with the mighty Hierophant leader of the Council of Thorns. However, he awoke before he could hear the words of the Hierophant.
The others had restless dreams of orcs and battle, great pain and suffering. Arngeir saw Kayla kidnapped and his brother Svien die again before him. Esderal watched the taunts of Urnsul as she cut Bhirn’s throat, and he drowned in a river of his father’s blood. Nyyrikki watched himself succumb to a horde of orcs and re-witnessed the death of his comrade and mentor, Grodmord. Duke dealt with his own fears of his failing memory and the death of his student, while Kiltro tried to comprehend the meaning of his orc heritage and the connection to his lost father.
The next morning (14th Rainfall, 692 G.R.), despite the fitful dreams, the heroes gathered for a mighty breakfast laid out for them by Arngeir and Kurst. Kurst talks with the others and explains that he asks them to enter the cavern beneath Bolvirk and see what the orcs were after and who might still remain in the cavern. The heroes agree to the task and Arngeir leads the charge towards the Hopespring and the newly created cavern in the side of the wall. The soldiers outside explain that no one has entered or leaved the cavern all night. But the previous day, someone saw a humanoid sneak into the cavern and several large wolves follow.
The heroes trudge through the waters of the Hopespring pond and climb up into the cavern entrance. They brandish some lights and prepare themselves as the step carefully down into the tunnel. The tunnel stretches for over 100 feet before coming into a large cavern. It is stuffy and quite humid. The sound of dripping water reverberates and numerous cobwebs and spider’s silks glisten with moisture throughout the chamber. The heroes enter the larger chamber and are immediately attacked by swarms of the undead shadow rats.
The heroes blast the rats with spells and well-placed strikes, eventually causing the creatures to flee. They tend to their few wounds and continue on exploring the cavern. They head westward and wrap around the side of the massive cave, coming to a lower section down a ramp. Below they find numerous massive skeletons of hill giants tucked into the stone wall as if they were interned in reverence. One of the skeletons steps out of the wall and charges at the heroes with a large rusted spear.
The skeleton charges at Arngeir and impales the warpriest, sending him sprawling back towards the others in a bloody heap. The heroes pull back and Duke empowers Nyyrikki with giant size as the others huddle behind the large barbarian. Nyyrikki tries to hold the line against the skeleton, but two large shadow rats emerge to attack as well. Agandar revives Arngeir and the warpriest summons a mighty spectral battleaxe to fight in his stead. Agandar blasts one of shadow rats with holy light, vaporizing it. Esderal throws a few alchemical bombs, as Duke provides an array of magical spells. Kiltro throws small boulders at the skeleton with his magic, which seem quite effective. Eventually the shadow rats and the giant skeleton are defeated.
The heroes tend to their wounds as Nyyrikki uses his giant strength to tear down the other large skeletons and destroy them. in his destruction, he comes across a large chest. Inside, the heroes find a magical coyote cloak and a powerful staff of animal summoning, both seemingly druidic items. Agandar takes the staff, but Nyyrikki takes the cloak.
The heroes then head into the next chamber, a massive cavern where they find a large spire of skeletons and bones, seemingly the grave of a mighty hill giant champion, surrounded by those they had slain. Standing at the base of this spire is a heavily tattooed half-orc holding numerous alchemical bombs and surrounded by two dire wolves.
Esderal angrily charges at who is presumably Skreed, and throws a dagger, missing the half-orc. The wolves the charge forward as Skreed throws alchemical bombs at the heroes. Soon, two more dire wolves leap from the side platforms startling and surprising the heroes. The heroes try their best to fend off the wolves as Skreed takes off into the dark cavern. Death comes close as the heroes struggle against the mighty wolves, but one by one the wolves fall and the heroes are able to claim victory.
Duke and Kiltro rush after Skreed as the others hang back, however, the two arcanists find only possible danger ahead and pull back to the others. As the heroes stand victory, they realize that the hill giant champion on this spire of skeletons is the mighty Usgroth, a hill giant of some renown many centuries ago. They also identify the armor and hammer carried by the hill giant’s skeleton. Both are quite magical, but Duke is nearly swooned over the power of the hammer. They identify it as Agrimmosh, the Hammer of Unmaking, a mighty artifact connect with the ancient folklore and creation myths of the stone giants. Nyyrikki dons both the armor and the hammer, hoping to use the armaments of the giants against the orcs that have wronged him.
Session 10: The Twisted Hearts
The heroes of Bolvirk stand among the fractured skeletal frame of the once infamous hill giant champion, Usgroth. Nyyrikki dons Usgroth’s armored breastplate, it magically resizes to fit his frame. He then wields the mighty artifact hammer, Agrimmosh. The heroes gather the rest of the treasure gathered at Usgroth’s feet and treat their wounds.
The heroes realize it has been at least an hour or more since they fought Skreed’s wolves and he fled into the darkness of the caverns. They set out to the northern passage where Kiltro and Duke found many wet, hanging spider webs. As the heroes cross a stony bridge-like outcropping, they are attacked. Skreed appears from behind a boulder and launches a flaming bomb at the heroes. The explosion sets off a commotion in the webbing and numerous giant spiders come out to attack the heroes. Two six-legged birds, known as gryphs, appear as well and strike at the heroes. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, the heroes pull together to defend themselves.
Esderal charges at Skreed, angry for what the half-orc had brought to his town, which resulted in the death of his father Bhirn. The wryly half-orc alchemist slashes Esderal with a poisoned blade, just as one of the gryphs comes from behind then claws Esderal in his abdomen and implants eggs inside. Agandar summons a fungus leshy to help Duke, who is surrounded by spiders and another grpyh. Ali holds off another spider as Nyyrikki and Arngeir head over to help Esderal. Kiltro throws some spells from relative safety.
Eventually Nyyrikki slams Skreed with a well-placed blow of Agrimmosh, busting the half-orc’s jaw. Then Kiltro blasts the half-orc to death with magical bolts of force. The heroes manage to fell the remaining spiders and grpyhs. They tend to their wounds and pick up Skreed’s body, leaving the caverns. They find a note in Skreed’s pocket from the hill giant chieftan, Grenseldek, of the united Twisted Heart tribe. An alliance between the Twisted Nail orcs and the Heart Eaters hill giants.
The heroes head out into the glorious day where they are greeted as heroes and many shout their names for their deeds in the Battle of Bolvirk Hill, as it came to be known. The heroes rest and recuperate for the next couple days, each tending to their own interests.
Arngeir spends his time helping the town with their recovery, and preparing the numerous funeral services for those that have been lost, including his brother, Svien.
Agandar attempts to see the rest of the vision, and finds that it is quite clear. He sees perfectly the lost memory and sees himself enter the fabled Vault of Thorns as a child. However, in his memory, when he arrives, he seems to be both in the present and the past at the same time. The older Agandar is able to speak through his young self with the Hierophant Thaunestando, leader of the Council of Thorns during that time. The Hierophant explains how the Vault of Thorns exists in a place beyond somewhat time and they had foreseen this conversation. He says that in old Agandar’s present, the Council will have already sacrificed themselves to defeat an orc horde, and the Council is no more. He tells Agandar that he is destined to return to the Vault of Thorns and restore the Council to power. Agandar then sees a young Silvermane, whom Thaunestando says will guide him when the time is right.
Back in present, Agandar awakens from his vision and speaks with Silvermane. It seems Silvermane knew of this prophecy and had been waiting over a century at the Hopespring for the day that Agandar would come. He gives Agandar a magical lantern which is to guide him back to the Vault of Thorns. However, he warns Agandar that the place has become overrun by evil fey creatures and to be wary. Silvermane also mentions a great cache of items stored there both made by the elven druids, and those taken from the orcs.
Duke spends the next few days studying spellcraft with Agandar when he is able, and exploring the ancient hill giant tomb beneath the town. He takes as many notes as he can, knowing that the Council of Defenders intend to have the tomb resealed to protect the town from any dangers that may lurk within.
Kiltro spends the next few days relaxing and basking in his newfound fame. He does take a moment to head to the dungeons beneath the Longhouse and speak with the half-orc Rishka who misidentified Kiltro as his father, Drukzerd. He is able to learn from Rishka, that his father had been captured by orc tribes nearly a decade ago and was passed along from tribe to tribe as a prized token prisoner. She explains that he used to fight in the bear pits at Redlake Fort last she saw him.
Esderal uses the next few days to prepare the funeral service for Bhirn. He is also able to spend some bonding time with Karguk, who seemed to be opening up more now that Bhirn was gone. He gives the young half-elf an elven medallion that bear’s Esderal’s name. He explains how it was on his neck when Bhirn and Karguk adopted him. He says that a man outside Bolvirk found an abandoned wagon with a baby Esderal inside it.
Nyyrikki uses the next few days to train at the Longhouse and get more familiar with the other militia fighters. He enjoys showing the younger militia members the many techniques he learned out in the wilds. He takes interest in a young recruit, named Ferod, who just joined prior to the siege, spending much time sparring with the young man.
After a few days pass (20th Rainfall, 692 G.R.), the Council of Defenders summon the heroes to the Ivory Hall. Each of the council members have gathered and the heroes join them. The council explains what they know about the situation. That the defeated orcs fled northward towards their lair in Redlake Fort. On the way, they accosted a trade caravan and kidnapped Haf Jojurin, Katla’s father. Some of the traders that escaped identified the half-orc Urnsul among them.
The Council of Defenders ask the heroes to head north to Raudrtjorn Skjold (Redlake Fort), an old Alliance fort lost over a century ago when the Hordeline was pushed back. It seems that the hill giant chieftain Grenseldek has followed Usgroth’s path and reformed the Twisted Hearts joined tribe. They ask the heroes to infiltrate the fort and fell Grenseldek, believing that the giants and orcs will fall to infighting once the leader is defeated.
Once the heroes agree to take on this quest, Halgra throws down a map and shows them the route they had planned. She had arranged for them to gain working passage on a riverboat captained by a half-orc named Raag Bloodtusk, a friend of Halgra’s. She says they are expected to help defend the boat and work, but it will be a far safer route than trudging northward through orc-infested lands. Raag has good relations with the orc tribes along the rivers and has safe passage. Additionally, Silvermane has informed Halgra of the weapons of the Vault of Thorns and Raag has agreed to stop there on the way.
After the meeting, the heroes reflect on what they have accomplished and what they must do as they join together once more to ensure the protection of Bolvirk.