Against the Giants

Chapter 2 - Knock Knock
Who's there? jingle jingle Eeuurrk!

Marching with our escort for two days, we made our way into the forest undisturbed. As the soldiers set off towards their own patrol, Barrett took the lead and a day later we were overlooking a valley dominated by a huge wooden fort.

The hill giants hadn’t been subtle when designing and building their steading. Whole trees were simply uprooted and punched into the ground to make a fifteen foot high palisade at least thirty paces along each side. The main building reached at least fifty foot into the sky, and the smoking chimneys indicated a lot of activity. Another smaller outbuilding lay within the palisade across a small courtyard. To the north, we spied a watchtower set against the inside of the wall within some sort of smaller yard area.

Barrett led us to a small cave nearby where we could argue plan and having discarded my plan of getting Theseus to throw Wee Mad Malin onto the roof with a rope, Theses’ plan to simply shout at the door and charge in axes swinging or Wee Mad Malin’s potentially simple plan of setting fire to the place and hacking any survivors to death, we decided instead to make a stealthy attack on the watchtower so that we would at least have the advantage of height.

Making our way quietly around the walls, we reached the base of the tower and Vogue and Barrett climbed the wall to spy over the top. Barrett had already noted two hill giants in the hut at the top of the tower and peeking over the wall, they saw a scene of tranquil slumber. If you can call the din made by two hill giants and four ogres snoring their lungs out tranquil.

The tankards and barrels of ale around them indicated that they might be very solidly asleep, but just in case this was stock taken from the Troll and Lettuce recently, we took a care to work silently as Vogue and Barrett continued their climb up the supports of the tower and the rest of the party scaled the walls and crept up the stairs, Regdar the cleric preparing his blade wall just in case the slumbers awoke and we needed to make a desperate defence.

Reaching the top of the stairs, we could see that the two guards were alert, but hadn’t noticed us. A huge brass gong sat in the middle of the platform so we would have to be fast!

I called upon my Victim of the Feywild power to instantly teleport Malin and Jasper Trueforge next to the larger of the pair who started with pain from the arcane shockwave and was immediately attacked by them and knocked to the wall where Vogue was waiting to stab him in the throat. Jingle Jingle Eeeuurrrk!

Meanwhile Theseus charged at the other giant smashing with his maul and scoffing at the giant’s poor armour, Thames charged him, the force of the blow immobilising the foe, despite his size.

Pummelled by blows from the rest of the party, the hill giant didn’t even get a chance to see who was attacking him before another jingly slash dispatched him.

The tower taken, we crept back down the stairs to take care of the the sleeping uglies. Another musical gurgling sound indicated that Vogue had dealt with one of the giants at the door and Barrett had cut the throat of the other.

My heart stopped for a moment as two of the ogres woke from their slumber but they went down under a hail of blows before they could make a sound.

We had entered the Hill Giant’s Steading…

14

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A Bard walks into a bar
disappointing lack of a bar fight

It had been a day since the raid on Zander’s supply caravan and my enquiries into which particular Hill Giant clan had taken the survivors of the raid had so far involved every drinking establishment in Hochoch except this last one.

“The Troll and Lettuce”. Scummiest dive in the town, last place you’d ever go for any sort of useful help or professional adventurers. Still, the drinks were cheap. Only enough alcohol in them to get a gnome pissed, but cheap.

So far, the evidence pointed to a band of Hill Giants lead by a brute called Nosnra, but nobody was stupid brave enough to want to go up against him so far. I was hoping I’d find some more gullible adventurous types in the Troll, their “Buy 3 drinks, don’t get your head kicked in” promotion did attract a certain clientele.

Luck appeared to be on my side this evening. There were a good many adventurers in the main bar, mostly surrounding an odd pairing of a very drunk gnome, stood atop a roaring Minotaur, instantly recognisable as a member of one of the more ‘peaceful’ undermeadow clans from his delicately braided mane and silver bell on a ribbon around his neck.

The Gnome introduced himself and his friend as Wee Mad Malin, a giant slayer and Theseus (an undermeadow name, meaning “dick who uses string”) along with a new drinking buddy they had just met, “Fight Brain”. After further drinks, “Fight Brain” actually turned out to be the nickname Malin and Theseus had given one Jasper Trueforge, a Dwarven Battlemind volunteered into The Red Griffons in thanks for their breaking of the siege of the Trueforge homestead.

A young Eladrin over by the bar was obviously slumming it, but could be useful as it was also obvious that several of the men (and women) that had been sat around her in the hope of buying her a drink might be noticing their sudden shortness of coin or for that matter, purse. The simple promise of adventure was enough for her to join us, introducing herself as Vogue Sundance and promising not to ‘borrow’ any of our money or equipment without asking first.

“Ere mate, that armour of yours is a bit knackered in’it?”

“pardon?” I exclaimed at the young knight who had just approached me.

“well, it’s one of those old harper chainmail getups right? Some well heavy armorers in da harpers, but not well modern! Thames can borrow yous some fe real up to date plate mail hat da yorkie price.”

Fortunately I happened to understand the patiois of one of the local riversiders and while explaining to him that my armour had some rather useful properties that weren’t immediately obvious, we were bound on an adventure that might benefit from his combat skills.

“I iz gona dig to spitz on an adventure wiv yous an’ ya boys. nuff hof those troops who went hout to ruk da giants had some fe real sweet armour dat I might be able to recova.”

Now we were only short of magical powers, both holy and explosive to complete our party. A cleric by the name of Redgar had been listening in on our increasingly loud conversation and asked if he could help. It appears that news had reached him of an evil temple somewhere in one of the dungeons taken over by the giants and a chance to destroy it would be a great boon to his god.

“So, we just need a magic user of some sort” I exclaimed.

“What about this one?” asked Theseus. Depositing a worried looking Eladrin in a pointy hat down on the bench next to him.

“err, how do you do. My name is Erevan. Your friend does know I could have accidentally fireballed him into steak just then doesn’t he?”

“Oh I’m sure he meant no harm. Have another drink. Feel up to an adventure?”

“Absolutely. Boring as hell in this place. Haven’t blown up anything in weeks!”. Ah that Erevan. I heard the Thieves Guild were still repairing their headquarters after somebody picked his pockets last month.

The night was eventually brought to an end by the landlord apparently mislaying the keys to the wine cellar, so we made for our rooms he had kindly provided and in the morning we set off for the town gate in the direction of the Hill Giant steading.

We were met in the morning by an honour guard of Red Griffin troops. I suspect more to make sure we actually left the town, but they offered to march with us for the first two days of our trek, which would at least keep any minor bandits and raiders from bothering us.

Just as we were leaving the gate, we happened upon the final member of our party. He was an odd looking figure. Obviously a ranger, the moss coloured cloth over his armour and the bow gave him away, but oddly he had an entirely empty quiver. Maybe he had fallen upon hard times?

“Excuse me sirs, but you look like you might need someone who has experience with these woods.”

The ranger had spotted an obvious gap in our party. None of us had particularly useful local knowledge outside the town and empty quiver or no, he looked like he’d be useful in a fight. So Barrett the Ranger became our final companion in our adventure.

“So what do we call you Bard?” Barrett asked me.

“Oh, I’m just a storyteller. My name isn’t yet important enough to be known”…

A Bard

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