Chasing the Former Besiegers

Where the frost giants' trail gets warmer

17 Eleasias 1372
(I lost my calendar notes starting at this point of the campaign, so this is unfortunately the last exact date of the Frostfell adventure log.)

As the party of five makes its way toward the Monastery of the Yellow Rose, everyone spots obvious traces of battle. Only a few hundred yards from the monastery’s walls, themselves damaged as though by siege engines, lie the corpses of two frost giants, many human-sized lesser giants known as taers, and a few feral garguns, savage relatives of goliaths, all spread between human-sized boulders. Most bodies are marked by flames and bludgeons, but two appear untouched, as though they had died from exhaustion in the middle of battle.

Skipping the sinister scene, the party heads straight to the monastery’s door where they’re greeted by a pair of grey-robed monks armed with heavy crossbows. It takes only a few words, however, before the party is told to hurry inside, the massive stone doors closed right on their heels. The desolation is just as great on the inside. Boulders cover most of the visible ground, and entire wall sections lie in rubble. One of the monks explains that a tribe of frost giants and their minions had recently laid siege to the monastery, seeking to get their hands on some ancient maps of the White Worm Glacier from the library. Though they were no match for the Grandmaster of Flowers Cantoule and his strongest monks, and would have been defeated eventually, the monastery had already lost four acolytes in the first few skirmishes. Rather than let further suffering take place, Cantoule had reluctantly resolved to give the giant the maps they so wanted. Shortly after, the entire tribe at lifted the siege and headed west on the Glacier. Luckily, one of the clerics took care to make copies of the maps before giving the original away. As the party finds out by searching the monastery’s archives that evening, it seems there was once a tribe of human barbarians worshiping Ulutiu, Larena’s patron deity, living on the Glacier of the White Worm. Though they’ve all disapeared a long time ago, their places of worship might still exist, and the map the giants stole shows the location of such a site. Furthermore, the the party learns that the Glacier itself seems to have once been a part of the Great Glacier that remained behind when the latter retreated over two thousand years ago. As far as the monks know, the Glacier of the White Worm is too far south to have perdured that long, yet it still stands mostly intact after two millenia.

The next day, the party goes out on the battlefield to search for tracks left by the giants, Galen and Lazoryel easily find the days-old footprints, but the tracks disappear where the giants set foot on the solid ice where the glacier meets the Earthspur Mountains. However, a sidetrack leads them to a cave relatively close to the monastry. As the group enters, they are quickly ambushed by a pair of gargun barbarians. The chokepoint makes it a hard fight, but the party manages to subdue one, and the second surrender when it’s made clear the newcomers are not in league with the frost giants. As it happened, the tunnel leads to an secret exit underneath the monastry of Ilmater. As the entry is too tight for them, the giants sent two of their garguns slaves to sneak in and hopefully steal the maps they needed. The doorto the monastery, however, is solidly barred and warded with spells. Rather than go back after a failure and suffer the giants’ wrath, the two garguns, despite havin no food nor water, decided to act as though they’d been caught and hide in the cave until the giants would leave. The giants did send two taers after the garguns, but they’d been easily dispatched by the same ambush they would use against the group of adventurers. The garguns are relunctant to go fight the giants, even if two of them are dead by that point, but they agree to lead the party in view of the giants’s based camp, telling them to be especially wary of a frost giant shaman with white hair and glowing eyes.

The camp is located above a sixty-foot tall icy cliff. From the bottom, all that can be seen is a group of hide tents. There’s no smoke burning nor any noise. It looks very well like the camp is abandoned. As Lazoryel flies above the cliff to make sure, however, a taer gets out of one of the tents and impales him with a harpoon. Unable to dislodge the barbed head, Lazoryel is pulled toward the cliff as two more taers guards come out. With the pain affecting his concentration, the fey’ri has little chances to win against three foes with ranged weapons. Using one of his soulmelds, Dragonkiller manages to climb onto a ledge halfway up the cliff but is jumped on and knocked prone by one of the taers. Galen gets ready to shoot it down, but the third taer hits hits him with a tanglefoot bag, greatly diminishing the archer’s effectiveness. Larena contributes to the fight by summoning a giant owl to rake at the taers atop the cliff, and then throw flames at the one attacking Dragonkiller, but she too gets englued by a tanglefoot bag. Meanwhile, Ruknar takes the shape of a great hunting cat, and simply climbs the vertical wall by planting his claws in the ice. By the time he gets to the top, Lazoryel is nearly has dropped unconscious. Ripping his weapon from the fey’ri’s stomach, the taer plants it in Ruknar’s flank, preventing the druid to pounce on him. Fortunately, at this time, Dragonkiller has been freed from his attacker and has reached the summit where he’s started to fight the third and last taer. A few instants later, the three giants are taken care of, and ropes can be lowered so the rest of the team can take its time to climb the cliff and heal the wounded. Impressed by the display of strength they’ve just witnessed, the two garguns rush catch up with the party at the top of the escapment and, convinced such a group can take even the fearful shaman, swear to accompany them on the glacier and do whatever they can to help fight the frost giants.

Aided by their own copy of the map, the group is able to follow the steps of the frost giants until they finally where a fresh deposit of snow on the ice allows them to spot some more tracks. The part follows them for a while until a strong tremor knocks most of them down. Looking for the source of this unnatural earthquake allows them to spot a 15-feet tall frost giant charging toward them along with a pack of winter wolves. Fortunately, while the layer of snow on the ground grealy slows down the frost giants and the garguns, none of the five adventurers is more than inconvenienced by this. Lazoryel somply flies above the ice. As a druid of the frostfell, Ruknar is unimpaired by cold or snow, and Galen’s experience as a scout allows him to ignore most terrain that would slow others down. The pair of boots of the winterlands Larena has acquired in Damara allow her to travel across the thickest snow or most slippery ice at normal speed, while the greaves Dragonkiller has shaped through his soulmelds grant him the same effect. The five wisely choose to back away slowly and focus their fire or flames and arrows on the charging giant. When the winter wolves catch up with them, the giant is still fifty feet away and heavily wounded while his opponents still don’t have as much as a scratch. The giant proves his deadly strength once he manages to get in melee reach, but Dragonkiller enters his mountain rage and uses his spiked chain to trip the giant on his back. The others make small work of the winter wolves and then turn toward their master, who doesn’t stand much of a chance against the focussed fire of everyone. As they loot the body, Ruknar finds a metal choker in the giant’s bag, and as the item radiates a strong magic aura, he swiftly puts it around his neck.

Searching the area, the party eventually finds a large, almost perfectly round hole in the ice that leads far underground in a gentle slope.The walls of the tunnel look like someone had recently melted and refrozen the ice of the glacier. Before the party can go any further, a second, more powerful tremor shakes the ground and sends most of the group down once again. Less than a minute later, a giant white centipede, which Lazoryel identifies as a remorhaz, emerges from the tunnel, a choker similar to the one Ruknar found, a metal chain trailing from it all the way to the wrist of a dead frost giant. The giant beast swiftly attacks the one blocking its way, grabbing Dragonkiller in its mandible before diving back under the ice as though it were no thicker than mud. Before the party could decide what to do, the remorhaz resurfaces a hundred feet later, spitting out Dragonkiller, apparently too hard to chew. Instead, the monster decides to dive toward the two garguns, left a little behind as they trod in the snow. After one is caught in the remorhaz’ mouth, the other climbs onto the beast’s back to try and free his friend. The remorhaz then plunges again under the solid ice, vanishing along with the two garguns. Once more, the ground shakes, even more strongly than before.

Considering their options, the party resolves to enter the tunnel under the glacier. The frost giant shaman the garguns warned them about is still unaccounted for, and whatever the frost giants were planning to do in the ancient shrine to Ulutiu, the five adventurers are the only ones with the chance to stop them.



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