592cy Season of Growfest on Earthday, the 13th day of the month of Planting
After making a deal with the Giants and the Fire Giant, Smolderheart the party leaves Kargyraa Fort (the Steading) bandaged and bruised. As they venture outside toward the back exit of the fort, the fire that the wizard Malador created is still burning. Next to the fire, two large Ogres, work as a team as one slowly tosses bodies on a cart while the other removes the bodies, placing them on the fire. After spending a day in the dungeons of the Fort, the newly orinated Knights of Dispatch can’t imagine that there could be a smell so hideous and vile, notwithstanding the burning of Ogre, Orc and Hill Giant is much worse. Soft hearted Cur, sees a few remains of Hill Giant children amongst the pile of bodies and wonders if the atrocities of war is something he can stomach much further.
The parties trek is slow and long up the hills of the Crystalmists as the badly tortured Half-Orc Javok and Zorn Ironbeard have to be carried along with the deceased Delita. Each person focuses on their movement and barely speaks as they forge their way up the mountain. Flavious scouts to see if the Giants are following the group, but they seem to pay no interest to the party exiting the fort. Fortunately, after an hour up the mountain, they are not met by any aggression and make it to the rendezvous point without any great difficulty.
Inside the cave, the two Dwarves Benij and Rynij are not to be found as well as the Hypogriffs they used to journey here. The pot that the two dwarves left over the fire is still hot, but they are nowhere to be found. Where the two have gone as well as the four Hypogriffs is a mystery to the group. However, minds and attitudes are changed when Malador casts a delightful spell that brings sustenance and warmth to the cave. A thick venison-barley stew, snails in honey and garlic, fresh trout baked in clay, pigeon pie, and lemon cakes are devoured by the tired giant slayers.
As the mood of the room changes dramatically as each person is satiated by the feast. Zorn Ironbeard and Javok, who were less than communicative, begin to express their gratitude to the party. They comment that there lives were in great jeopardy and if it wasn’t for the parties intervention they would certainly be dead.
Javok tells the party how he was part of a scouting that was gauging the giants movement. His commander Arco Iris, a large stubborn human of a man led them deep into this region. He continues and laments how his scouting party was ambushed by a stealthy blue dragon and a band of trolls a season ago. He was knocked unconscious by the dragon’s wings and left for dead by his scouting party. He was discovered by orcs and disguised himself, enlisting himself in their ranks. Javox has discovered that the orcs were actually under the yoke of the very Hill Giant his scouting party was looking to find, Chief Nosnra. A few days ago he infiltrated the Steading and found Zorn Ironbeard was a prisoner. He tried to free Zorn, but was discovered by the Bugbears as Zorn was too badly beaten and hobbled to run.
As Javox drowns on and on about the failed escape, Zorn interrupts him suggesting that we can laugh and talk about our mistakes later. Zorn insists he must return to his homeland and hopes the party can assist him. He does not like that you were adventuring with a Suel, as his eyes look to the your dead comrade Delita and sees no reason why you shouldn’t bury him and get rid of his kind. Venix defends Delita’s presence as a dutiful member of the group and sees no malace or evil in his heart. All Venix has experienced is a skilled warrior who has put his own life in danger time and time again and should be remembered as a hero, if they should not be able to find a way to bring life back in his body.
There is an unsettling silence among the group over the discussion of Delita. Halldor breaks the silence with a belch and begins singing an old Dwarven ballad about about the history of the dwarves in this region one thousand years ago. The dwarven kingdoms were destroyed in the Evoke Devastation in -422 CY. The last High King of the dwarves perished during that cataclysm, the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords lost, and the dwarven people have not been united by any king since. Legend has it that if the Axe is ever again found, the Age of High Kings will return.
Zorn Ironbeard explains that his clan the Ironbeards are the descendants of the High Kings and the fortress of Argent Tor is where he needs to go to reclaim his lordship. As Halldor informs him that when the Dwarves return with the Hypogriffs, we may begin that quest. The other party members are not so certain. Malador and Flavious are not interested in venturing from their mission. They have found the maps to the Giants strongholds and assisting Zorn is not part of the mission. Zorn laments that they are correct. The mission should be to cut the head off the Giant leadership. However, his returning to Argent Tor and regaining that citadel is important strategically for this region. They can restore Argent Tor as a base for operations for future rebel operations.
In the morning, after they rest, the party awakes to see that Benij and Rynig have returned. They tell the party that they were flying around watching the Steading and waiting to help anyone that had to escape. They are pleased to see that you all are safe and inform the group that since this mission has been accomplished they agree with Zorn and his mission, taking back Argent Tor should be our next mission and they will accompany them to Ironbeards stronghold in Argent Tor. They are extremely pleased that the group has acquired the location of the Giants lairs and ask to make copies of the maps immediately.
As the party begins their ride to the fortress of Argent Tor, they see a large plume of smoke coming from the valley of the fort. Malador is insistent that they take a closer look. As they fly closer, they see that Kargyraa Fort is ablaze. It looks as though the remaining survivors have put the wooden fortress to the torch.
SIEGE OF ARGENT
In Argent Tor, the party assists in its liberation. The forces of orcs, hobgoblins and ogres are easy foes for the likes of this party. Cur and Flavious were able to sneak in and defeat the Ogre leader, causing chaos in the humanoid ranks. While disorder ensued for the forces of Orcus, Malador was able to bring down wind and lightning upon them destroying their will to fight. The siege only lasted a few hours and Zorn Ironbeard was once again lord of Argent Tor.
In Argent Tor, priests of Moradin would not raise Delita from the dead. To them he was an agent of the Scarlet Brotherhood and no priest was going to raise his Suel soul from the dead. With no transport out of Argent Tor, as the Hippogriffs that brought them there were discharged immediately after the party had arrived, Malador spends this time rummaging through his books. Malador’s years of research and extraordinary knowledge of the arcane has led him to an ancient scroll which used Shadow magic to return those from the dead. He informed the party that he is working on a way that he could return Delita back from the dead. However, it may be very dangerous.
WARRENS OF THE STONE GIANT THANE
Of all the giant lords, Thane Arnak of the stone giants seems the least likely to rally behind the banner of Snurre, king of the fire giants. Until recently, the stone giant thane maintained a steady truce with neighboring clans of dwarves, and stone giants rarely ventured far from their warrens in the craggy foothills of the Crystalmist Mountains. But something has changed. Stone giants have emerged from Howling Crag to join the rampaging hordes, providing needed artillery to Snurre’s growing army. Dwarves are convinced that Arnak still commands the giants of Howling Crag, but they fear that a dark influence has persuaded the thane to act against his better nature.
In addition to convincing Thane Arnak to break his alliance with the other giant lords and King Snurre, Stone giant marauders attacked the Gray-Beards, an ally of the Ironbeards, dwarven military encampment and stole a battle standard, atop which was a golden falcon. The dwarves take it as a sign of ill omen that the falcon was lost. Return it to them if you can. Lastly, a Sterich delegation sent to negotiate a truce with Thane Arnak never returned. The group included a human noble named Merlian Saar, his two human bodyguards, and their guides—a pair of goliaths. Find and rescue any survivors.
Greyhawk (Against the Giants/Tyranny of Dragons)
Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (Epilogue)
592cy Season of Growfest on Earthday, the 13th day of the month of Planting