Mirthal 14th, 638 CF
We descend the stair case into the lower level of the giant’s keep. The floor of the place is made of smooth polished black stone. Phariss finds a hidden door near along the wall to the left of the stairs. It opens to a short hall, no more than 30 paces long. The ceilings here, like those above, are towering up to and beyond 20 feet tall.
We spread out and search the chamber. It has several exits from it. The whole place smells of sweat and urine, mixed with a strong sooty smell. The sooty smell no doubt comes from a forge and we can hear hammer and anvil echoing down the halls from the right side of the room. The rest of chamber has many other halls and large doors to explore.
We must have made to much noise because soon, one of the doors opens and a very large bugbear strides in followed by dozens of others. They attack en masse, swarming around us. They will not stand and fight honorably. The rush me at once and although I am able to cut several down they succeed and pulling me to the ground. I glanced about during the fray…
Phariss moved about quickly using his swords and magic to kill one bugbear after the next.
Sariya soon becomes surrounded but Renee’s new bear companion, Thor, comes to her defense. The cave bear swats bugbears like a man swats a fly.
Brak was more successful in fending off the rush of bugbears and making short work of them with his axe. Renee called forth a wall of flames that scorched the bugbears.
Eventually I was able to free myself and slay those evil creatures. The room filled with there corpses.
Our chests still heaving, the air still filled with the iron smell of blood and singed hair we found ourselves facing another enemy. A foul one-eyed hill giant, one side of showing a disfiguring scar came into the chamber bellowing. He was flanked by two sharp toothed apes of unusual size.
Renee uses some druid magic to entrance the apes and holds them in place. Phariss, Brak and I charge the ugly brute and cut him down while his pets are only able to watch.
After the giant is dead we dispatch with two apes.
The bugbears held little wealth only a few gold coins among each of them. Tired and worn we except the healing blessing of Renee’s herbs and balms.
The decision is made to barricade ourselves in the giants lair. It is rudely furnished with a over sized bed and table. A door at the rear of the lair is left unopened for now.
Our sleep is disturbed twice by a pair of fire giants. We spring upon both of them and slay them easily. After the second battle we decide to move our camp to a more secure location.
We move to the secret passage and close the door behind us, we are finally able to rest.
Mirthal 15th, 638 CF
We explore more of the lower level. I’m able to use the power of Morganti to locate nearby traps! We discovered dozens of orc slaves that had been kept prisoner by the giants. They are grateful for their release. They claim to be fighting in a civil war of sorts with the giants. They leave us to return to their ‘king’.
We return to the giants lair and explore the hall beyond the door in his chamber. It reveals a corridor filled with prison cells.
We find an insane human in the first cell who just babbles and shouts nonsense, the next one houses a merchant named, Miles Weatherby from Wexford.
We free Miles who promises us repayment many times over when we next come to Wexford.
In the next cell we find a wood elf, badly injured, by the name of Maeglin Moonglum. I heal his wounds and cleanse him of disease. The elf tells us he is from the Great Forbidden Forest and that he came south seeking the council of a powerful druid. He pledges to serve me for one year to repay me for his freedom.
Although it is difficult to admit I’m glad for his council in the ways of armor and weapon care. Never having truly been squired myself I have yet to learn many of the ways of knights.
The next cell was filled with evil and was in itself, empty, so we let it be. I thought for a moment to investigate further but then decided that awakening a latent evil could harm our quest. It is possible that perhaps the evil taint is left over from the long forgotten temple that stood on this ground. I have no wish to awaken an Old One and allow it transport to Tellus-Aboreah.
The last cell contained five orcs, all claiming to be in a war with the giants. The largest of the orcs speaks for the group and tells Renee that they were captured by the giants during a recent battle. The large orc, Oolak Blooddrinker claims to serve King Nambug, some sort of orc “king” from a nearby cavern.
Brak argues they should be free. Others council that it would be unwise to free because of what might happen later. As we are slaying all of the giants and ogres they would have no enemy to suppress their growth. What if they grow large enough to harm the very village we aim to help now? We decide that because of their evil souls they will be left in the cells. If they escape then so be it, if they are unable then that is Morganti’s will. I’m not sure I’ve made the right choice.
Perhaps a swift execution would have been best?
We leave the cells behind and the cries of the orc prisoners for the their freedom.
From the cells we rummage through the fifth of the bugbear warren. It is crude set of chambers filled with worn tables, benches, and cots. The place reeks of a nasty animal stench and it is difficult not to gag because of.
Both Maeglin and Niles are able to find some of their belongings. In the ugly one-eyed hill giants treasure we uncover a hidden treasure trove of coins, gem stones and a magic potion of elemental magic.
Maeglin and Sariya find a secret door at the back side of the first hidden passage we found when we came underground.
It leads to a large chamber that appears to house the hill giant’s treasure horde. Seven chests, piles of coins and gemstones fill one corner of the room.
Renee believes it a trap, others of us are less cautious and advance into the room to collect our hard fought reward.
As we collect the jewels and coins a large portcullis opens on the far side of the room and four enraged manticore’s sweep into the chamber. They circle about, roaring terrible roars, and launch a volley of spikes at us.
One of the evil beasts comes at me, I draw forth my Claymore to smite it when my armor seizes up and locks my arm in place after just one hack with the weapon! I struggle with it for the remainder of the battle.
Luckily the rest of the party was more than capable and defeated all the beast. To my amazement Renee enlarges Thor to nearly twice his size, he becomes a towering twenty or more feet tall and his great claws swat the manticores like play-things. When he connects the crack from the impact thunders across the room like a lightning strike. Renee has turned out to be a powerful ally!
After the beasts are slain and I freed from my armor snag we explored their lair.
In the far back wall we find another large horde of treasure, but when Brak goes to move it, we find it to coated with a deadly poison! Worse the jewels we so coveted turn out to be nothing more than cut glass and crystal!
Our gloom over the false treasure is soon dispelled. We follow a third corridor away from the first false treasure chamber and Maeglin spots a hidden door along the wall.
We enter into a small room, not more than 20 paces wide filled with more treasure! Unlike before we find this treasure to be quite real. Phariss does most of the scouting and for his efforts uncovers a magical blade that he takes for himself!
The most interesting finding though is a weird black chain found in a metal box that can, according to the scroll with it, transport the party to the kingdom of the Frost Giants.
More Giants? Why are they cooperating? Usually racial prejudices keep them apart. The questions become what to do next and also what to do with all of this treasure….