Bjaritte says it will take roughly 2 days to get to the parts of the tunnels that link to the mines where the captives are.
Q: Are your people under Thoko’s thrall or willing?
A: Not sure, but kind of both. He’s able to command magically, but most wanted to follow him, as he brought a sense of organization. He has always been trapped in his chamber, for several centuries, only those who he wishes to do so can enter.
Q: What can you tell us of your people’s history?
A: The frost giants have always been on the mote. They knew of the storm giants; in fact the city on top of the waterfall used to be in the realm of the storm giant. They were run off before the frost giants came about 1000 years ago. Tribes of frost giants were mostly fighting among themselves until Thoko came.
Q: What is the white wyrm’s role in this?
A: The white wyrm is used to compel via fear, but not in the way thoko can.
Q: What about Belheim?
A: Belheim has always been a threat to them. Its seat of power was the tower that predated the town. Both the wyrm and thoko want it.
Q: Do you know of other dragons?
A: Just the white wyrm, and formerly the green wyrm.
Q: What is the status of Thoko’s army?
A: Their most powerful soldier is the white dragon. There are at least 100 frost giants who live in the city atop the waterfall. The orcs, who used to be slaves under the frost giants, now allies under Thoko, live in the slaves quarters. They are situated mostly in the mountain, and Thoko has imposed a chain of command upon them.
Q: Are there other places of note that the tunnels connect to?
A: They connect to natural caves, mines, but no one giant knows all paths.
Q: What is the status of Thoko’s brothers?
A: They are wrapped in chains and magically held by Thoko. Thoko’s torc is what he used to restrain them.
Q: Do you know of a white bearded sorcerer from Belheim?
A: Thoko’s pet? He groveled for his life in a pitiful fashion, a wicked awful person.
Q: What do you know about the Torc?
A: It is an ancient artifact. Legends say that it houses the soul of a giant god, Skov, and allows the command of many things, but greatest command over dragons.
Q: Do you know how to get to the sending pool?
A: Certainly, but we can only go in if Thoko invites us. He has sacrificed his own troops many times to fuel the pool. When going through the pool they give up a portion of their life and age rapidly. The pool loses power without souls. The amount of people sent depends on this power. It is almost as if the pool doesn’t want him to use it.
Bjaritte occasionally glances over to korrak’s sword with coveting looks
Rand addresses the group, “In my opinion the first priority of our mission is to rescue the captives. The second priority is to destroy that pool. The third priority is to get us and everyone else back safely to Grifton with our lives. The showdown with Thoko can wait for round two. He’s not nearly as big of a threat without souls to free himself or a pool to send troops anywhere.”
Zinnaerris receives a sending, “There’s no time, can’t teleport in here, made deal, moved everyone I could. They’re safe. Maybe yannick can help locate. Love to both my Zinns.”
Fraas sends to Yannick, “Jackmerius’s in trouble, and has been freeing captives of an evil rune giant on our mote. He said you’d know how to locate or help. Please advise?”
Yannick replies, “I’d rather not get involved with giants, but tell me more. Maybe I can help, if you can help me.”
Fraas back to Yannick, “What are your terms and when will you be back in griffton? Jack said to make haste.”
Yannick, “Don’t know. Don’t know what I’m doing yet. Arriving on tomorrow’s caravan.”
Bjaritte and Korrak talk about the Jarla’s sword. It seems to want Korrak to have it, with a will of its own. Korrak insults Bjaritte’s family and their inability to take hold of their heirloom.
The night passes uneventfully.
The next day they teleport to the center of town. Merchants are setting up stalls for the market. Tradespeople are startled by the group’s sudden appearance. Turnips roll across the ground. There is yelling, screaming in reaction to the frost giantess.
Zinn walks up to Yannick poking him on the shoulder, “you’re gonna help us…” Sentinel with a bit more tact, politely asks for assistance. He asks the group (with the exception of Rand) onto his ship. There is a slight smell of sulfur. Rand begins a spiel about not trusting devils, but the rest end up convincing him to give Bjaritte a town tour while they do business with Yannick.
Yannick’s dhampir shipmates have an offputting sense. They have pallid, grayish skin, tall and slender, keeping to shadowy areas of the ship. They get a bruised tint when standing in the bright light, some with elongated incisors.
In Yannick’s quarters there are mahogany shelves of books, curiosities, including a humanoid fetus, weird skulls and pieces of beast, reptilian claws, candles. After Yannick lights some incense, no sounds can be heard outside the ship.
Fraas describes the situation Yannick. Yannick claims to know little of magic, but he makes introductions to friends of his family. Jack had asked to know the name of his most powerful family friend, Beelodohr. After hearing this, Korrak goes to talk with Archibald about the meeting.
At the arrival of the caravan, a significant amount of townsfolk are buying passage offmote.
The group rejoins with rand, who wants to talk with Yannick. Rand convinces him to be let aboard to chat. After a short diplomatic chat, Korrak loses patience and picks him up and slams him against the wall. Yannick starts squealing, says contacting Beelodohr would be a bad idea, doesn’t know what would’ve happened. Korrak shakes him more; Yannick wets himself. The person he introduced Jack to, had told him to give this name to the adventurers. He offers the name of his true contact in exchange for the ring & spyglass. When they inquire why the ring is so valuable, Yannick claims the ring confers the magic of Lord Garland; bounty hunters, the Westfalls, hired by dragons, will pay a fine price for it. The price for this name is so high, because if we know the name, then that person knows how we found out. In spite, Fraas knocks something else on his shelf on the way out.
Not knowing what to do about Yannick’s deal, the group decides to investigate the scrying pool, whether it is somehow connected to Thoko’s or has a will of its own. Things that are intelligent often conceal that fact. An artifact level object may be overwhelmingly magical, or in some cases, not appear magical at all. Sentinel starts talking to the water in the pool, “I want to help save my friends and save this mote.” Deagha speaks to it as well, “We would like to interact with the portal of souls that the Thoko is using.”
A 60 foot tall charcoal, skin-covered giant appears in the pool. He is adorned in full-plate, has a long sword, and is covered in runes. Around his neck is a very shiny torc of reptilian scale. One hand of his is dipped down in the pool, shaking, the other hand holding an elf by the neck. The water is choppy. As the elf shrivels away Thoko discards the elf. Several more figures cower next to the pool, chained together. As Thoko does this, the runes on his body glow, and after he sacrifices this elf he moves to the next room, a room filled with treasure, perhaps the dragon’s horde. He tries to walk through the arch but cannot. Two other rune giants are wrapped in some kinds of bands of force.
Fraas tosses a pebble into the pool, much to everyone’s panicked chagrin, but it goes unnoticed by Thoko, as the pebble travels through the scrying pool and into Thoko’s chamber, creating a tiny ripple in his pool.
The scrying pool returns to normal and they go out to talk to Bjaritte about Thoko’s powers. He has been able to summon things to his side, some kind of giants, none like she’d ever seen before. Larger than frost giants, faces of boars, an evil planar chaotic demon. One was able to incinerate frost giants just using the magic of its body.
The decide to head to the ship to use Jack’s mirror to scry. Once aboard, Niowen reports on a recent prophecy she delivered, which caused her some considerable pain to retrieve, “The orc master’s progeny will return.” They reach the mirror. It’s midday; Ropey’s tying his knots.
In Shah’s quarters where the mirror was being stored, they attempt to scry Balin. They see a very happy looking Balin sitting at a wooden table. He is playfully biting on the leg of buxom, scantily-clad, dwarven lady. Figures, mostly elves, are eating delicious salads, music playing, it is well lit. Everyone seems well-mannered (with the exception of some playful nibbling), regal even, elven and dwarven languages being spoken — Fraas thinks the accents sound infernal.
When they try to scry Boko, nothing.
Scrying Zidane, they find him manacled, in a dark tunnel, hitting a wall with a pickaxe.
Deagha, Sentinel & Korrak head to the market toward Yannick’s stand. They find he is offering an evocation and necromancy staff, a staff of many rays, a longsword of black iron with a necromantic aura that drains life & restores health on critical hits, as well as a pale white wooden trident, goldish prongs, carved in aquatic scale patterns, with the capacity to command aquatic creatures.
Yannick is not around, but the salescreature states, “You know what my boss wants.” “Do you know what we did to your boss?” “(whisper) no, but I saw.”
Rand, Zinn & Fraas head to Rand’s mother’s house. Korrak reaches them before they get there to retrieve Fraas’ help in appraising items. Rand & Zinn chat with his Rand’s mother, then swing by Bas’s to say hello and see if he can start making alchemical fire to help ward off frost giants.
On the way to the market, Korrak asks Fraas to study her sword. While Fraas inspects the staff, he hears a commotion in Yannick’s tent. He moves to check the tent, but the attendant says, “you can’t go back there!” Fraas just keeps walking in. He sees Yannick on the ground, Korrak “negotiating”; she asks Fraas for some privacy.
Sentinel obtains from the market a scroll of restoration, which Rand casts on him. Everyone eventually meets up at Archibald’s. Korrak comes back saying the negotiations could knock the staff down to 60,000 GP. A precautious Fraas detects scrying, but sees nothing.
The next day is a festival day. The farmers come in bringing their crops, kind of subdued. People seemed worried, tense. Bjaritte is commissioned into town guard. Timmy begins ordering her around.
The group teleports outside of Thellan’s Cairn. The door is still ajar, just as they last left it. Air blowing out of it has a cold tinge to it, and the smell of a decaying swamp. It seems like there are undead inside. The room is very dark. A set of bones lay a bit up the path, two shiny scimitars laying next to the bones.
There seems to be shadows within shadows. Upon entering a chorus of wailing, a couple of sources, getting louder, unseen for the moment, but Zinn recognizes them as banshees. Out of the darkness, shadows start to swarm; one big one, many smaller ones. The big shadow reaches out and touches Zinnaerris.
Sentinel leaps up and flies down the pathway landing right in front of a shadow. Zinn & Fraas unleash lightning bolts on some shadows. Korrak charges at a shadow with her sword. Two large bats appear from behind stalactites. One of the bats blasts a cone of cold at Deagha, Zinn and Korrak, the other emits an enchanting sound at them & Fraas, but they all shrug it off. The banshees move forward. Deagha summons a manticore which spewed spikes at one of the bats, clanking off its natural armor.
Deagha unleashes a storm of lightning on every shadow in combat. The shadows swarm in toward Rand. Sentinel punches a shadow into oblivion and leaps at a banshee, but misses with his flurry of blows. Zinn zaps a banshee with a lightning bolt. The bats attempt to enchant Fraas, Zinn & Korrak, but only Korrak is affected. Confused, Korrak hits herself with the sword. Fraas lightning arcs between the two banshees. Rand and Korrak barely suppress the effects of the banshee’s wail. Deagha’s manticore attacks a bat, then Deagha unleashes more lightning bolts to finish off the shadows. Rand smites one of the banshees with a holy strike, its wailing stops; mythic sudden strike, another attack. Sentinel hits the same banshee with an unarmed strike. Zinn lightning bolts the other banshee. Korrak, still confused attacks Zinn. Fraas is paralyzed in place from a confusion attack from the nearest bat. Deagha sends a flame attack centered at his manticore, which hits both a banshee and a bat.