Giant Slayer

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, Father
Oh, the unexpected turns our lives take...

With only the Mymrith’s clay left to acquire to grant us the ability to reignite the forge at Minderhall’s Cathedral, we set out for that point on the map, hoping that we’d beat Kuedo, and whatever friends he might have made, in getting there. We appeared to do so, finding the place sealed up tightly, which left Thorsten and I to batter the stone doorway to rubble in order to gain entry.

Inside, we were set upon by a trio of putrid stone golems that saw fit to explode the vile, worm-filled contents across the chamber upon the breaking of their shells. Revolted, I hung back from the bulk of the combat, sensing that the time for my adherence to cleanliness in the service of Apsu might be at an end.

We were, however, able to locate the clay, setting out into the valley once again on a return trip to the great cathedral. We knew that Urathash must die, the giants be disbanded, and the forge re-lit, but in service of a noble cause, this time.

Days of travel were left before us, however, when a great, winged dragon fell on us from the sky, diving in from the harsh light of the sun. Labeling us slayers of both giants and his own kind, he sought to tear my spear apart, even as my comrades and I tried to bring him down. During the brief, bloody fray, he declared that Kuedo’s intelligence had served him well, further enforcing our worries that our former ally had reported to the enemy.

My spear damaged, but unbroken, I landed a desperate attack against the dragon, Jahlvoraz, sending him to rest with his distant kin, Sermapholith, the white dragon I’d slain in vengeance for the fallen Ingrahild.

Tired and bloodied, we continued our journey to the cathedral, encountering a particularly awful giant witch and her band of trolls whom I was unable to touch directly for fear of breaking my vow of cleanliness. This was, as they say, the final straw, prompting me to have a deep moment of meditation with Apsu once the battle was won, asking to be free of my vow. In times and places such as these, a moment’s hesitation may mean my death, or the death of one of my comrades, and we have a vital mission to complete yet. With peace in my heart, I emerged from my prayer, confident that the wise Apsu understood my actions.

From there, we managed to sneak inside the outer walls of the fortress surrounding the cathedral, relying heavily on the aid of Elynnar and Thorsten’s magics. Having scaled the valley wall, we soon formulated a plan, intending to infiltrate the top tower of the cathedral from above, carried by Elynnar’s flying spells, in hopes that we might drop directly on Urathash himself, beheading the vile snake of his forces before a war might begin.

Agreed, and hoping my giant-slaying compulsion driven by the hand of Nargrym I bear would not overcome me, we took to the sky, the tower swiftly approaching through the clouds. It was then that we spotted a horrid butcher of a giant hauling a pair of humans into her tent below.

Driven to violent indignation, I led the charge downward, arriving too late to prevent the death screams that sounded from within. In a fury, I burst into the tent, ready to slaughter the vile beast, bereft of a soul!

Only to see that, over the table strewn with gore and stained red with the blood of innocents, the giant’s belly was distended in the final stages of pregnancy.

Shocked to inaction as thoughts of my sister, the nephew I never came to know, and even of young Sydney Uthra Lampwright back in Trunau assailed my mind, I was jarred back to conscious thought by Thorsten moving in to assault the giant from behind. With all of us under the effects of a magical silence, I frantically motioned for Thorsten to hold back from the killing blow. At his acquiescence, I surgically ended the giant’s life, quickly setting to work on freeing the child from within her.

It was a delicate operation, performed in the weighted silence that hung in the air, but soon a large, soundlessly-crying giant baby was in my arms. As I cleaned the blood and afterbirth from its form with my minor magics, I knew instinctively that I could not abandon this child. It is hard to explain the emotion that I felt as I looked into its contorted, infant face, but I think it was the hope I hadn’t realized I’d lost. In my time since leaving Master Hineda and Brimwill Monastery, I’d time and again reached out to those we’d fought in mercy: Ewiga, the hag who’d lost her child; Kuedo, the river giant traitor; even the orcs who’d attacked Trunau were given the chance to surrender.

But, somewhere along the way, it seems I’d lost faith. In the power of peace, in the ability of people to change, in allowing myself a moment of vulnerability…

Here, in my arms, however, there was new life, untainted by those who would have filled it with hate. Unbound by the prejudices of a world driven by fear. Unfettered by concerns of the blood that chanced to run in its veins.

It simply desired to live, and I found could not deny it.

So, above the sound objections of my companions, I let the child feed from its dead mother’s breast, beginning to fashion an over-sized child carrier to my chest from strips of the dead giant’s clothing, even fastening a pearl the brute had worn to the fabric. It belonged to the child now, after all.

No, not “the child.” Byrdverg; a name of the giant tongue I hoped she would live to bear with pride.

Byrdverg. Dwarf-born.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, drake-grappler
The things we do in desperation...

Taking our river giant companion, Kuedo, at his word, for the moment, we set out for the lair of the winged beast he had mentioned. On arrival, the beast set upon us almost instantly, attacking us with its deadly breath from the air. As I was rendered largely useless in the ensuing fray, it was left to Leetsa and Elynnar to fell the beast, which they did with style and finesse, indeed.

As we set about divvying up the hoard it had guarded, a band of giants, sounding as though they’d been directed to us by the conspicuously absent Kuedo, stumbled upon our position, a short fight ensuing, in which, managing to catch them unawares, we emerged victorious.

When we returned to Kuedo’s raft, however, the giant had, predictably, absconded with the vessel, as well as knowledge of the incantation inscribed on the disk we’d found int he sunken temple.

Deciding that we must continue in our goal, rather than pursue Kuedo in what would likely be a fruitless chase, we pressed on to the location of the fire geodes, another temple, finding the plant life within un-agreeable to our presence. An enormous, carnivorous flower attempted to make a meal of me, but, with the help of my friends, I was able to supply it with a severe case of indigestion, instead. We then set about searching the temple for the geodes that were meant to relight the Forge of Minderhall. We found suspicious-looking yellow geodes, though these proved to be volatile and rather scorching when handled. Upon exhausting that avenue, however, we did locate a secret door, finding the true fire geodes in a chest within.

Armed with our successes, we pressed on to the branch of the valley where the drakesbane horn was purported to rest, finding the mouth of the pathway marked with a sign of warning. Further on our guard, we pressed on, beginning to craft a raft that would carry us through the swampland (as neither Leetsa nor myself would fare well in the deep muck), and it was then that a band of odious, undead creatures swarmed us, sapping our strength and nearly slaughtering us all. It was only with the last, frantic efforts of the faltering Thorsten and myself that we managed to prevail, restoring our lost vitality with magics and some invigorating berries we had located in the fire geode temple.

From there, it was simply a matter of pushing on to the location of the horn. We found it to be at the top of a lofty cliff face, the base of it littered with the bodies of drakes and bits of what would likely become the undead creatures we’d encountered previously.

Seeing no immediate danger, I scaled the cliff, finding a cavernous tomb and apparent drake nest within. I’d no sooner called the rest of the party up afterward than a surviving drake swooped in on us from the sky, calling out for our blood. Left cornered and defenseless inside as the drake was free to spew volley after volley of toxic spores from his mouth, I landed on a desperate course of action. Setting down my spear, Heartspit, I sprinted from the cave opening, vaulting through across the considerable distance between myself and the airborne drake to collide with it in midair.

The beast attempted to rend me in two, but I held fast, pinning the creature’s wings in place to ensure we both plummeted the distance to the ground. Using the drake’s body to soften my fall, I came up on my feet, ready to press the fight, though I stood at death’s door. The drake, however, lay still, defenseless as I ended its life and settled into a healing meditative trance.

One artifact remains in this valley that we wish to keep from the hands of Volstis’s cronies; a mythical, life-bringing clay for giant-kind. What horrors await us at this next unholy site, I am reticent to ponder…

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, swimmer
It seems you can't trust anyone these days...

After some deliberation, my companions and I determined that our first stop would be the temple to the southwest that housed the incantation for reigniting the ancient giant forge. Without it, Urathash would be powerless to execute his plans, after all.

So, we set out, happening upon a herd of enormous mammoths upon departing the giant tunnels near the cathedral. Before we could determine how to respond, a river giant spotted us from the bushes, indicating for us to hold back as he calmed the beasts. To our amazement, he managed to do so, civilly introducing himself to our band as Kuedo as the mammoths retreated.

Following some discussion, we agreed to hire him as our guide in the valley, departing south and west along the river on our new giant ally’s raft. As we discussed our business in vague terms with Kuedo, he seemed very interested in our motives for our presence in Minderhall Valley, noting that I seemed to have no heart for giants, though he laughed the remark off as a joke. Still, it was…unsettling.

Along our voyage, we encountered a handful of giants who sought to harry our progress, though I was able to handle the first pair myself, and the trio that assaulted us from the muddy ruins further along were felled with timely magic from Elynnar and Leetsa’s surprisingly deadly flail (I still feel guilt at nearly getting my gnome friend killed, as well as for the loss of her bow in the process; still, I’ve tried to assist her in making a new one, and it’s coming along nicely).

At last, days later, we came upon the temple we sought, which had sunken to the bottom of a vast lake since its construction. Armed with appropriate magics from Elynnar, we dived in, instructing our giant guide to remain with the raft and guard the temple opening, to which he conceded, seeming contented with the jewels and baubles with which we’d bought his services.

No sooner had we entered the temple, however, when we were set upon by a large, vicious fish, a band of merrows, and a hideous chuul. Suited as we were to underwater combat at the time, however, we dispatched the temple’s denizens quickly, scouring the empty place for the incantation we sought.

We found only evidence of its recent departure, likely at the hands of one of the merrows who’d attempted escape, only to be slain by something beyond our sight.

Returning to the raft with deep-seeded suspicions, I surfaced to find Kuedo extending a hand to assist me up. Acting on my mistrust, I dived, resurfacing on the other side of the raft and hopping up to confront the coin-obsessed giant, declaring my suspicions.

Feigning indignance, thought not his anger, Kuedo threw me from the raft, attempting a speedy escape, as it was now clear I thought him our thief.

Thankfully, Elynnar came to the rescue, once again, arming both myself and Leetsa with further, water-faring magics that allowed us to give chase and bring the giant down, unconscious into the water.

My conscience overcoming me, I dived after, hauling the brute ashore before he could drown and tending to him through the night…after securing him fast with ropes.

Upon the next morning, and Kuedo’s waking, we renegotiated our deal. We’d taken his gear, though we’d return enough to maintain appearances, with pay still to be provided after we no longer needed his services, and, in turn, he would set aside his hatred for myself and the longspear, Heartspit, that I wielded; one he’d declared to be the very weapon to have slain an ancestor of his.

With everyone agreed, if not entirely appeased, we set out once more, this time with a slight detour at the mention of Kuedo. A great beast was laired nearby, it seemed, one that Kuedo believed to be guarding a great hoard of treasure. Thinking it would sate the giant’s bruised ego, the rest of us agreed, and, with the incantation we’d reclaimed in our possession, we made for our return journey down the river.

I only hope our giant friend has not manufactured an opportunity for him to be rid of us.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, spy
My heart beats with fear...and with resolve.

We retreated from the gate into the giant stronghold that evening, resting up and healing our wounds, and setting out the next day to find a new guard in place. After luring the new giants and their pet bear into a trap, we managed to overwhelm them, pressing on into the valley.

Before too long, however, we fell into an ambush of our own, set upon by a band of brutes shoveling manure, as well as a fierce, cloaked giant that seemed to blend into the trees. My friends and I were pushed to our limit as, without the aid of the departed Umlo, we were nearly overcome. Through sheer obstinance, however, we emerged victorious, wounded and creeping ever deeper into the giant stronghold.

Soon, we came upon a vast crossroads, dotted with seemingly endless giant encampments. Beyond them stood a towering cathedral that, upon inspection by an invisible Elynnar, we learned to be some sort of inner sanctum, and likely the location of the dragon we’d glimpsed earlier, as well as Volstis’s general, Urathash. To the north seemed to be a sort of brawling pit, while the slaves the giants had captured from the nearby settlements seemed to be held to the south.

Compelled that we could not leave the slaves to their cattle-like fate, I heatedly demanded action, though both Torsten and Elynnar refused, citing that the risk was too great; that the mission must come first. Leetsa, however, always up for a fight, stood at my side, and, together, we set out to see if we could free the poor individuals held in the giants’ pens.

Fury in my heart, I slew a defenseless giant along the way, brazenly rushing into battle as we encountered another band near a slave pen. A furious battle ensued that saw Leetsa fallen, and, only then did my senses return. Filled with remorse at sealing my companion’s fate, I flew from battle, snatching up Leetsa’s form and barely escaping with my own life.

It was with a judgmental look in my direction that Torsten patched up the battered Leetsa upon our return.

Subdued, I entered the tunnels Elynnar had since found near the cathedral along with my companions, soon encountering a giant with a pair of great lizard pets. Glad of the distraction, I made quick work of them, along with my friends, only to find a greater threat deeper in the tunnels.

In a large, etched chamber, the walls themselves fell in on us, the beast-filled murals coming alive and swarming our party, even completely slipping from the wall’s surface to attempt to envelop us. Between assaulting the manifested creatures, and damaging the murals beyond recognition, however, we were able to defeat the paintings, finding that the chamber itself was a guide to the greater tunnels, and the valleys beyond.

With the aid of a giant compass we discovered, we learned that four items of great value were scattered around the valley. A chapel to Aduromi, Priestess of Crystals, lay to the northeast, a set of mystical fire geodes hidden within that could be used to relight a fabled giant forge. To the northeast was a shrine to Jogrothir, the Hunter, where a powerful horn lay hidden that wielded some power against the valley’s many drakes. Another shrine lay to the southeast, once presided over by the priestess Mymrith, who used magical clay to prepare giants for the afterlife. And, to the southwest, lay a temple that seemingly held a tablet withing that contained the incantation to reignite the mysterious giant forge, along with Aduromi’s geodes.

A lengthy debate ensued, during which we argued whether reigniting this forge was something we wished to pursue at all, since this seemed to be Urathash’s goal in the first place. In the end, however, we determined that it would be best to hold the keys to the giants’ plan in our our own grasp, rather than leave for them to discover, and so we set out, passing eastward through the dark passage to see which of these artifacts might prove useful.

All the while, my spine prickling at the illusion of danger with every step.

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, the haunted
Is it not enough that we slew him the first time?

Much to my unease, Leetsa questioned the body of the great giant Gristlecrack before we departed, though we were still left without a decent heading. Still, with our combined tracking abilities, we were able to trail our quarry, finding soon that what appeared to be a mighty dragon had carried off the remaining captives.

Even so, we pressed on, attempting to find the most congregated giant tracks, finding that they led us south and west. Spent from the long day, we bedded down for the night…though we would not find true rest at the hands of our fallen enemies.

Just before the break of morning, an awful phantasm bearing the face of Lokmorr, betrayer of Nargrym, whose hand I now bear, laid into us all, his touch appearing to leech the very life essence from both Umlo and Leetsa. We were, at last, able to dissipate his fetid aura, but not before his cold presence had chilled me to the bone.

In our weakened state, we pressed on, managing to lure a massive stone giant into a fatal encounter before we pushed further westward, soon seeing before us a hodgepodge of a wall and gate.

Before we could plan our assault, a pair of brutish tigers laid into our mounts, rending one of Umlo’s mules before we could even react. We fared well in the fight, quickly dropping both great cats, though the giants on the wall had taken notice and begun to launch boulders and javelins at us from afar.

Capitalizing on Elynnar’s debilitating spells, I scaled the wall, squaring off with the giants atop it and quickly ending the fight. No joy filled my heart at the victory, however, for, as I looked along the great valley to the west, I saw many fires of a mighty host; countless giants spreading out as far as the valley could reach, then back along to the north and south where it veered. This had to be their stronghold, where they’d come to gather about the storied giant cathedral.

And where we must go to find those who’d been taken.

After deciding that Umlo should follow his duty to warn his people back at the Sky Citadel, Janderhoff, we rested for the night, bidding farewell to my kin and making back for the gate. A new and stronger guard had been set in place, but, with a well-timed invisibility sphere, we were able to catch them unawares, felling three more giants and a bear to leave the path into the giant stronghold clear once more.

So, firmly affixing our resolves in our chests, we pressed deeper into the giant-swept nightmare land before us. In all likelihood, we march to our ends, but we will not stand for this evil to go on, unchecked. Someone must hold the line against this threat.

And, whether by happenstance or the will of Apsu, we are the ones chosen to face it.

To our allies in Castle Everstand, Vigil, and Trunau
We have come to witness our worst fears made manifest...

To Halgra of the Blackened Blades, Kurst Grath, defender of Trunau, Leslie Krumpkin, head priestess of the Church of Abadar, Uskara Olm, head smith of Everstand’s garrison, Eldia Vesan, head priestess of Gorum, Keyron Saiville, Precentor Scouting Marshall of Vigil, 2nd Sword Aylunna Varvatos, and all those who would oppose great evil, greetings.

I, Ud Nibbleaxe, undertake the task of penning this letter to you all as great foreboding fills my heart. My companions and I have searched the width and breadth of Minderhall Valley, and have recently found ourselves on the doorstep of our promised foe.

Many giants patrol the great chasms of this valley, but we now see before us a mighty host of them, all gathered at an inlet of the valley that leads westward (the attached map and sketches will, I hope, guide you to the gate we’ve only just breached). Here they have congregated around a fabled cathedral at the will of a horrid, whispered name; Volstus.

There are powerful beings seemingly at this Volstus’s beck and call, as well, including a great brute by the name of Urathash, and a mighty dragon known as Jalvoraz. Together with their giant hordes, they’ve sacked the nearby town of Shinnerman’s Fortune, dragging many villagers away from their home to be eaten, or worse. We’ve freed many, but Jalvoraz has, it seemed, transported many directly to the cathedral. What foul fate awaits them there, we do not know, but we now press deeper into the giants’ putrid land in order to free them, and to be a thorn in Volstus’s side wherever me are able to strike.

Still mourning the death of his sister, who fell in our dangerous quest, Umlo Nargrymkin has parted ways with us, returning to his own people in the Sky Citadel of Janderhoff, that they might be warned as well. We are a mere four in number who press deeper toward the heart of this many-headed beast; the stalwart and deadly Leetsa, the powerful and dangerous Elynnar, the courageous and mighty Torsten, and myself.

My lords, ladies, and champions of deities, I implore you all to assess this threat with due caution, for I do not think it would be possible to overstate the evil that brews in the heart of Minderhall Valley. Examine your defenses, and, in completing that, shore them up with all redundancy. This is not a foe that will stagger before the might of stone walls or iron gates.

And, lastly, I would beg of you all to consider the force you might bring to bear against this army. The town of Shinnerman’s Fortune lies, broken and defeated, at the mouth of the valley, but still would serve as an ideal rallying point for your combined strength to launch a preemptive assault against Volstus and his minions. I hope that my meager words have adequately carried to you the weight of what festers on your doorstep, and that you would act upon the warning with due speed and ferocity.

Yours ever in service,

Ud Nibbleaxe

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, the fortunate
Is this luck, or are my efforts truly favored?

Shortly after setting out from the settlement on the trail of the marauding giants and their captives, our band encountered an enormous, ghastly cyclops, crashing through the trees after a pair of humans. As events unfolded, I found myself standing alone against the behemoth, its scything ax nearly bisecting me as I stood my ground to stay between the cyclops and those unable to defend themselves.

My companions, thankfully, were able to rush in after and save me from my own headstrong nature, bringing the one-eyed beast crashing down and patching me back together. Directed by the prisoners we rescued, we were also able to slaughter a straggling band of ogres who were about to devour their captives.

That night, as we attempted to rest for the evening, feeling encouraged by our recent successes, I heard what seemed to be the cry of a small girl, though, when I called out to her, she merely repeated her cry. Confused, I called out to the others, just as we were set upon by a pair of beasts Elynnar would later identify as leucrottas. They were vile, cat-like beasts in the light of the fire, eagerly attempting to shred us apart before we slew them.

Come the morning, we continued on our path, finding that we were also able to follow the leucrottas tracks back to their lair, though we were intercepted by a vile ettin, who seemed to be bitter about its rejection from the giant army’s ranks, and its brutish bear. We attacked swiftly, with Elynnar freezing the ettin in place, and we were able to make short work of them, pressing on to the leucrotta lair.

Inside, we found a mighty crossbow, along with other vomited treasure, preparing to set out once more…only to be set upon by a vicious rift drake. It swooped down on my companions again and again, finally spurring me to use my meager magics and take to the skies after it. Though I was able to combat it well, it spun about, shredding into me. I fell to the earth, near death, only to wake and find that my companions had slain the beast and rushed in to restore me, once again. I am ever humbled by their courage, and strive to be worthy of their friendship.

We bedded down in the leucrotta lair, set upon by what Elynnar identified as a barghest early that night. Umlo and I were able to drop the creature, and we set out the next morning.

Still a few hours behind the next band of giants, we sneaked up the last bit to where a blazing fire was in place that afternoon, spotting a pair of lookout trolls in trees. We attempted to remove them silently, but were overheard, another bear, more trolls, and the largest giant I’d seen yet thundering out of the trees toward us. The great giant could only have been Gristlecrack, the leader of the band that had attacked the settlement, Shinnerman’s Fortune. A fierce battle ensued, one that nearly claimed the life of my kinsman, Umlo, but, as Gristlecrack surged eagerly forward near the end, I seized my opportunity, channeling all I’ve learned of Giants and their weaknesses into a blinding flurry of fist and foot anywhere I was able to reach. When I retreated a step, prepared for Gristlecrack’s retaliation, I saw only that she swayed on her feet, her eyes rolling up in her head as she plummeted down to the ground with a mighty sound of thunder atop the one remaining troll. I sent a final blow into her temple as she lay there, and the ancient giant went forever still as I fought to catch my breath, basking in the glory of what we’d just accomplished and the potent evil that had been excised from the world.

With Umlo back on his feet, all that remains is to press on to the valley and to uncover the dark heart of the giant army’s plans, though it seems Leetsa may have other ideas before we depart…

From the Journal of Ud Nibbleaxe, Guardian of Children
The people of this land have endured so much...

Following the death of Ingrahild at the tooth and claw of Sermapholith, the vile white dragon, Umlo and I returned to the tomb of Nargrym Steelhand, laying the remains of my poor cousin’s sister to rest near the sarcophagus of Nargrym himself. Though Umlo still grieves, and will for some time, he can at least rest in the certainty that he has done his fallen sister a great honor.

When we rejoined the others, who’d held a ceremony for Leetsa’s fallen comrade, Thorsten informed me that he’d released Stilgrit into the wild. I listened to his reasoning, even admiring them, to a point, but I do not know if this is a rift that will easily heal between us. He claims to defer to my judgment, even when I feel I don’t deserve it, then countermands it the second my back is turned. The trust lost there is not easily regained.

Joining the caravan of Abadar, we continued our journey, some time later hearing cries for help along a narrow ravine. We rushed in to help, arriving just in time to see a human woman felled by a great boulder. Enraged, I scaled a nearby drop-off, catching the giant culprits in a narrow passage and using the tight quarters to my advantage. Soon, both lay dead at my fee, one with Leetsa’s arrows in its back.

The woman was dead when we went to her, so we tracked the giants’ steps back to where they met hers, finding a hideous troll attempting to devour a small, abandoned child inside. We slew her quickly, with Leetsa burning it with a grenade as I fled with the child, and we found the remains of the child’s father, as well.

From there, Leetsa and I carried the child onward to the nearby town, finding it ransacked by a giant horde the day earlier. As fortune would have it, the child’s surviving grandmother met us, thanking us for, at least, saving Elsie, her granddaughter, and urging us to recover the townsfolk captured in the raid.

The next morning, we set out to do so, encountering an enormous cyclops in the forest nearby. Though I was able to dodge the awful blasts from its eye, its monstrous axe was nearly the death of me before Umlo smashed in its knee and smashed its horrible eye to a pulp.

Delving further, we encountered a band of ogres who were about to banquet on the townsfolk they’d taken. We set up a clever ambush, making quick work of the brutes and setting the townspeople free.

More, however, remain to be rescued, and I worry about what all these dark tides mean for what we will find in Minderhall Valley. Whispers of a giant cathedral have caused my dreams to take darker turns even that usual…

leetsa's journal

As we journey into the ice cave at the top of this mountain, our bones chilled to the insides, many of us are thinking can we really kill a dragon? A foul beast, that with the swift pulse of a breath can freeze a person to death. And yet we move on, our minds faced with the possibility of instant death. All I can think about is recovering my friend & the blessed papers he was carrying & returning them both back to safety. My trusty foe, ever present in the face of danger and always, always there to fight beside me, Ud his frozen fingers blue to the eye still trudges on.

As we searched the cavern only to find ice & snow we made it back to the end of the cave. There we discovered a floor of glass ice. As some of us investigated it, the white beast burst forth attacking me viciously and with intent on total inhalation of us all. I went down feeling the warm blood oozing from several parts of my body. Still unable to move I watched in horror as the party was attacked several times, the cold breath of the beast & its claws making mockery of our feeble attempts to kill it.

Then Elynnar blasted it & then was overcome by its attacks. Could this be the end of our crusade to rid the worlds of giants? But true to the test Ud, his new hand & weapon struck true & the beast went down for good. But as I was healed & others too were attended I discovered that Umlo’s sister hand been torn apart by the white dragon.

When we were able to again move around we entered the vault below that the fallen dragon had opened up in its dying fall. There to my horror was my friend, half eaten half frozen. Buy we found the papers & several other valuables along with some scales from the beast. But as we make our way down the mountain, I contemplate the cost of these trinkets. We lost a great fighter & friend, almost lost 2 others including myself. Dragons shall always be part of my nightmares, but perhaps when all the foul giants are gone from this world, dragons shall be my next target with Abadars guidance. Anything to keep the bleaching from taking over my soul. Onward we go.

From the Journal of Ud Nibblaxe, Steel of Hand and Slayer of Dragons
Once again, loss strikes at our company...

The tomb of Nargrym Steelhand was as harrowing as expected, as we arrived to find the obelisk atop it strewn with foreboding webs. Within, we were assailed by spider creatures much like the ones that had ambushed on the road, the beasts led by a dwarven-spider hybrid born to mother these foul guardians of the tomb in the name of Nargrym’s betrayer, Lokmorr.

A vicious battle ensued, during which I leapt to tackle multiple foes, including Stilgrit, the mother guardian in a deep chasm of a stairwell. Though I fell unconscious to Stilgrit’s attacks, my companions were able to best her, and, when I came around, I found myself feeling pity for the monstrosity that had not chosen her dark path. To the disapproval of my kin and comrades, I chose to spare her life, attempting to show her the error of her beliefs that Lokmorr was the true hero of legend, but to no avail.

I rendered her unconscious as we carefully opened the tomb door, armed with the knowledge of Nargrym’s legend. However, no sooner had we begun to explore the interior than we were attacked by Lokmorr himself, the villain having been cursed to live immortally in the tomb of his rival. He was a clever foe, having set up traps that nearly drained me of my life force, but we managed to slay him, severing the steel hand he had stolen from Nargrym’s body on display below us.

Realizing the strength such a hand could bring, I volunteered myself to wield it, sacrificing my own hand for the ability to wield Nargrym’s ancient, giant-slaying spear, and we departed Nargrym’s tomb feeling more certain of our mission than ever. If giants wish to bring a fight to us, we will be ready.

Shortly after departing the tomb, however, we saw a caravan of travelers on the horizon, deciding to go forth and meet them, as they were on our path toward the Minderhall Valley. As we approached, my heart was gripped with terror as a large white dragon swept down to attack the travelers!

Though we rushed in to aid them, we arrived only in time to see the dragon carry off a poor gnome cleric of Abadar, finding that the one left behind was an acquaintance of Leetsa’s. Our gnome champion vowed to return or avenge the gnome who’d been taken, as well as to reclaim the holy relic the captive had been carrying; Leetsa’s former religious instructor.

So, we set out to scale the nearby mountain where we believed the dragon to reside, finding the conditions harsh and frigid. As we neared the cave, I was beginning to succumb to the cold, but the mission drove us inside, carefully peering around for any sign of danger…just not carefully enough.

The dragon burst forth, declaring its own, fearsome name, and tearing into poor Leetsa, nearly rending her apart right there. Acting on impulse, I attacked the horrible beast with my new spear, shouting stupidly for it to step away from what I was sure was Leetsa’s corpse.

A ferocious battle ensued, during which Elynnar proved his magical prowess by blasting the dragon with furious flame, but, even as the dragon’s wounds began to overcome it, it felled Elynnar with a blast of its frosty breath, shredding the unfortunate Ingrahild as well, while her brother, Umlo, could only look on in horror.

Snarling to those of us who still stood with finality, the dragon reared up as though to depart through the great opening in the chasm above us, but, with rage spilling over in my heart, I thrust forth my spear, Heartspit, the weapon earning the name as I skewered the dragon through its blackest of hearts, the beast letting out a cry of shock and anguish as it fell back to earth, crashing though the icy floor of its lair.

Beneath was the partially-eaten body of the captive gnome, as well as the relic Leetsa sought. So, as we revived both Leetsa and Elynnar, my companions set about retrieving our prize, as well as harvesting the dragon, while I was left to console my remaining kin, Umlo, as he heart-breakingly gathered the remains of his fallen sister.

I shed many a tear for the brave Ingrahild, recalling her ferocity at our first meeting, as well as the courage and nobility she’d displayed in our time together since, and I joined Umlo in reciting a brief eulogy for the great warrior she’d been.

Our mission concluded, we made a morose procession back down the slick, wind-sheered slopes of the mountain and back down into the valley, performing a small ceremony for Ingrahild as we laid her remains to rest in the ground. “I forgive you, my sister,” I heard Umlo whisper as he scooped the dirt and rock back in place over her mangled form, "for leading us into the Ghostlight Marsh. “I was only ever at my best when on the path of adventure with you.”

With righteous hatred in my heart for all dragons so vile as the one we slew, I eagerly await our return to Leetsa’s remaining gnome friend…as well as the horrid captive I left in his care…


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