On the sandbank, strewn among detritus and fleshy bits, the adventurers find the site of Aven’s laboratory, now a collapsed-in sand bar. Behind some kelp, Fraas & Bork recognize the fish that ate Aven’s floating eye. Fraas freezes the water around it and extracts the eye post haste.
The party spends the day digging out the caved in area. After noticing a large amount of stray coinage, a worried Fraas and Bork rush to the ship to check on their loot, worries confirmed, finding most of their cash reserves missing. Fraas casts a spell to secure all the remaining gold and platinum pieces.
Rand and Laush, head to Rose’s, who was busy fashioning iron nails. Laush recognizes that Rose’s holy symbol matches her own deity, Ragash. Rose looks up from her anvil, “you didn’t tell me you brought royalty with you!” After a moment, she emerges carrying an orcish warhammer, with a design of Ragash in the hilt. “This was the axe of my grandfather, Grim Grom Grummer. It is yours now.”
Night falls, and the crew has finally dug through to Aven’s chamber. It’s a watery, unlit, circular room, covered in insane gnomish scribbling. Bits of wood, bits of Aven floating in the ruddy-stained water. Fraas manages to scrounge back a mere 1000 gp from the detritus. Among the workshop, which is now all rubble, Bork discovers a bejeweled scimitar, perfectly cut with small dark gems. In the workshop is a lingering magical aura, Fraas senses it is linked to explosion and very powerful; Gfed discerns it is a planar magic. Fraas casts blood biography, confirming that Aven was indeed dead and was “grabbed & torn apart, this morning.”
Rand checks in with Belheim Zinn and Azaria for details on Belheim’s layout. He asks about Jackmerius & Zidane, but they have no info. The group makes plans to ready for two more days before heading north. They use the scrying pool below the town to look in on Jackmerius, but nothing appears. Fraas scries the white dragon, sees a large sleeping scaly form, atop a stone structure, snowy peaks. It is significantly larger than Lord Garland. Its eye opens and it looks back at the scrying eye. Bork sees its lips start moving as if casting a spell, and quickly alerts Fraas who closes the scry. After a few moments they try to scry Rust, but again, nothing. The rest of the night passes uneventfully.
Gfed’s eagle is sent to Sentinel’s reach. Meanwhile, Rand at practice with his new abilities, shouts “Qas Am”, this time stronger, spewing flame, singeing the grass. Riding the griffon still requires more practive. Rose & Laush chat about home. Zinn heads to her tower to retrieve a silvered mirror along with Rand and Fraas. They use the mirror to scry the eagle at Sentinel’s Reach, but only see it happily eating squirrel, a golden hill and fruit tree farms to the south. Scrying Balin Barduke, Fraas sees Balin chained at the neck to other elves. On bricks of ice, Balin is on his knees. A booming terran voice “Prepare the sacrificial portal!” Fraas recognizes Jackmerius’s voice “Up The Rope” and watches the sacrifice move into Jackmerius’s rope trick. “Back to the mines,” booms the Terran voice. A bit distraught, Rand, Zinn & Fraas head back into town.
The next day, the adventurers meet up with Sylviana, who portents “Dark defender exiled will save his people”. Fraas flits to the crow’s nest. Rand tries “Qas Am Unaat!” this time generating a 200ft forward by 20ft wide column of incinerating fire. Another attempt at scrying, this time for Belheim Zinn’s husband, seeing no child and it is clear he is in the same mining area as Balin. Laush’s armor order is ready at Rose’s. All is ready for the northbound journey.
Upon reaching the end of the northern tunnel, Fraas sends his arcane eye to spy ahead. It looks quiet, so they use the lyre to head out. Laush covers tracks as they go, following giant tracks northward. They rest up Fraas’ rope trick to rest and take watches, though it is clearly not as nice as Jack’s.
After another day of travel, it seems like they are reaching the edge of Belheim. A stone wall, vined, with a tree gate. Through the opening, they espy piles of stones and it feels unnaturally, hauntingly cold. Fraas cloud shapes to check out the city, but finds it is completely lifeless and still. Frozen bodies in various states of destruction, large giant, wolf and giant giant tracks all over, columns knocked over from blunt force, blast patterns of frost on remaining columns. Westward there are 100ft wide swaths of tracks leading to a huge opening in the city wall; far to the west Fraas can make out small fires. There are dozens of different giant tracks, large humanoid shaped tracks, armored prints, and tracks for what are presumably former Belheim inhabitants become prisoners. It is too cold to explore the town right away, so they spend the night in Fraas’ rope trick.
Next morning, Fraas casts a communal endure elements and the group walks into town. For about an hour, they pass through more rings of wall, seeing a lot of toppled columns. 1000ft ahead they see a frozen lake, within a single island housing a dark tower with a white wyrm atop. They quickly hide behind a rubble wall and instead move west, see lights about 100ft out at a guard tower. Near the tower they see giant shapes milling about, a rough wooden palisade, human figures. Fraas cloudshapes, while the rest of the group moves closer over felled trees & rubble. When Fraas is high enough he sees a wooden apparatus inside the stone tower, the back half totally knocked away, chained-together humanoids and larger giant shapes inside. Meanwhile, Bork puts poison on Shah’s blade, Zinn’s sword & Laush’s hammer and bolsters the speed of Gfed, Laush & Zinn. Zinn bull strengths herself.
Bork teleports in invisibly, seeing a horned cyclopic giant & two fur adorned orcs, weaponless. Bork bombs fire, but without effect on the cyclops. Fraas drops out of cloudshape, feather falls & lightning bolts a hill giant, orc & the cyclops, again not damaging the cyclops. The cyclops moves at Fraas and hurls a boulder; Fraas windy escapes and only takes part of the hit. Bork bombs one of the orcs on the ground, the other flies up. Zinn swings at a giant with dragonsbane and shocking grasp. Laush and Shah charge in. Sentinel leaps into the air hauls Gfed, dropping him off on a nearby rampart. Sentinel grapples the levitating orc, tackling him to the ground. Gfed casts distressing tone, whereby figure appear beside him signing dischordantly. The badly injured orc lashes out with a blast of cold energy at Bork who resists most of it. The hill giant fighting Zinn swings its club twice, but Rand charges it with a power attack and two vital strikes; the giant is now very badly hurt. The hill giant that was zapped by Fraas heals its wounds. A third hill giant circles around to Sentinel with it club, trying to attack the grappling ironborn. Fraas goes invisible and scurries away. Bork bombs one of the orcs to death and attempts to climb the cyclops. Laush charges a hill giant with her warhammer. Shah lights up his rapier and while invisible, slays one of the giants. Gfed casts hideous laughter at the hill giant. Sentinel punches the orc he was grappling. Fraas ice spears the cyclops & fireballs the orc who ungrapples from Sentinel & flies up. The cyclops knocks Rand unconscious with its big club, but Rand defiantly regains consciousness and uses his holy great axe to end the cyclops. Gfed weird words the orc mage, Bork ice bombs the mage to death and staggers the giggling hill giant. Sentinel walks over and crushes the hill giant in a coup de grace.