Skystorm

Novius Says Pantry Raid, Terhali Plots Panty Raid

So far there have been no lady giants. Unless giants "do it" in a very different way than the rest of us (and if so, fie, how boring!) there must be some?

Thus I can come up with a plan that makes use of lady giants! Surely these idiotic male giants cannot keep their ladies satisfied? It is truly a pity that Raiden isn't here, as I have little doubt that he is (or thinks he is) man, or could be goaded into taking the challenge.

So who should? 

Novius? No, I don't see it.

Gareth? He seems like the kind of brooding bad boy who might appeal to a lonely lady giant.

Kong Ming? Hah. He has the charisma (in spades) but, much like Novius, I suspect he couldn't interest a room full of women prisoners with a fistful of pardons. 

Oli I just don't see managing such a plan, though that Seeming ritual is very useful. 

Is it going to fall to me? 

Truly I fear for my life! I am sure they are all hideous and probably don't even wear panties! 

Maybe this plan isn't so great after all….  

T. 

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Chilly Reception

We came upon a troop of arguing giants halted in a ravine. It was apparently their duty to transport a large iron bound cage container to the Thrymspaker. Why they had halted was somewhat difficult to make out, as I do not speak giant, but presumably it had to do with the inherent conflict between toil and the sloth of giants. The frost and stone giants were accompanied by silent black armored humanoids with an odd loping gate.

Naturally, we concluded that it would best to interfere with their mission. Terhali approached their iron cage by stealth and opened it. The opening of the cage alarmed them, and signalled our assault. Their humanoid servants were ineffective, but were revealed to be undead with preternaturally long tongues. The giants themselves gave a good fight and battered the unlucky Gareth harshly. In the end we knocked out their leader for questioning.

The cage proved to contain a half dozen exceptionally foul smelling reptilian humanoids, though so torpid in the cold they could barely be roused to seek their own freedom. Oli was able to converse with them to determine that they were the last of their kind as the giants had shattered their caves and carried off these last few survivors for sport. After Oli enchanted them against the cold, we persuaded them to go into the Factor’s to await our return where we could offer them an opportunity to exact some vengeance. They did not understand our non-confrontational intent and seemed unlikely to have offered us any mercy if our positions had been reversed. Thus continues our depressing chain of finding new peoples whose ways are antithetical to our own.

The frost giant leader was easily persuaded to speak and brag to us about their forces and the Thrymspaker. If he is to be believed, and he did not seem to dissemble, there are thousands of giants serving the Thrymspaker. The Thrymspaker had begun life as a giant, but was raised up to become much greater by his elevation. He believed the Thrymspaker to be vastly superior in strength to all of us and fated to destroy these lands to further their glory. He can currently be found in Bloodspire Arena watching the blood sports that are put on for his entertainment. They will end when he stands and departs. The undead elves are a conquered race who they wrested from caverns beneath their continent. Terhali recalled old stories of such subterranean elves and did not speak well of them. The Thrymspaker and an elite circle of priests have the secret of raising and commanding such creatures. The undead elves will attack living non-giants on sight, but are considered with little regard by the giants.

It is our current intention to pass into the city while Seeming disguises us as those undead dark elves.

-Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Giant Pantry Raid

Upon the Emperor’s permission we informed the Bane leaders of the entire matter of the chains. They were suitably impressed.

We got the coordinates to the Goblin Factor’s portal and arranged for a reconnassance raid. We found his halls in ruins, but infested with hill giants along with frost wolves, a frost giant, a stone giant, and eventually a stone giant titan. Oli used the “Seeming” ritual to make us appear to be orc servant/slaves and Terhali led us through a ruse whereby we were deliving food to them. The ruse worked well enough to draw them in close enough for us to cut down the stone and hill giants we met at first. The wolves and other giants came to reinforce them just as we were finishing up the first group.

After recovering the factor’s stolen treasures from the giants, we climbed out of his ruined halls to see promontory point entirely overrun. In the distance, perhaps only a mile or two off, and many hundreds of feet up, hung the icy home continet of the invading giants. Between it we spied several vessels going back and forth. Much of the town lay in ruins, but the old coliseum still stood and seemed like a focus of activity.

-Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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A Poem From "Orcs" to Giants

Greetings fair giant folk

We are the orcs

Here to bring you tribute

Made up of delicious pork!

It is time for you to feast

On this delectably roasted beast

While we serve your ev'ry need

And you, dear lords of elemental mein,

At last, slake your hunger,

And FEED!

—-Terhali  

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Combustible Conversations

Gareth sought me out and indicated that he had been invited dinner to discuss his situation with some leaders from the Bane priesthood among the Craggen we had given sanctuary from the storm. It was clear that they were curious regarding the nature of the ongoing threat which had not been discussed outside of a restricted few among us and Rote Stang. I joined them for dinner and we found them making due with minimal rations in one of the unoccupied garrisons.

The two Craggen were Hewalna of Bane, she who had assisted us in the defense of the breech at the start of the storm, and Sergeant [Name not recalled]. They were brusque and reluctant to take us at our word regarding the nature of the existential threat. We went round and around on a few matters, with some concordance on our mutual dislike of thrymspakers and the Heretics history as one. However, we were not able to convince them of the truly dire nature of the threat without fully informing them of the nature of our true opponent, the Eye. We could not do so without leave from the Emperor, so we agreed to take their request to him and recommend that they be informed. Gareth judged that including these two Bane worshippers could forestall the doubts of many among the Craggen. I hope he is correct.

Shortly after we had reached that point in the discussion the building was brought down on our heads by a series of explosions. Fortunately several Oathsworn, and Kong Meng, were near enough to aid us and minimize casualties to three. Once we had finished extracting the wounded from the rubble, we went in search of the cause and traced it back to a fuse lit from a nearby sewer entry. Ritual magic led us to the engineers of this and we found ourselves below the barracks housing the goblin refugees.

The apparently guilty goblins resisted further questioning and felt secure in their denials due the Oathsworn regulations against torture. The Oathsworn have wisely forgone the terrors of the torturer, but have not yet ruled out the subtler arts of Captain Keffin. Perhaps they will if they ever come to understand how he accomplishes his feats. After some alarmingly effective questioning by Captain Keffin, he determined that eight of the goblins had been involved in the conspiracy. They had ventured to supply warehouses through the sewers to obtain the necessary bomb making materials, then deployed the bombs to blow up their hated former masters. They had been given the map by one of the rabble-rouser’s hangers on. The Oathsworn arrested the goblins, the map giver, and eventually the rabble rouser himself when he refused to relent on his tirades. He can prevail upon the Emperor regarding his harsh agenda while confined.

Emperor Marcus gave us permission to bring the two Bane devotees in on the matter of the chains. We determined to tell them about the matter of the chains before leaving for the Feywild to track down components necessary for exploring our extra planar options.

-Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Uneasy Alliances

We moved towards the breech and were faced by the huge spider thing, which someone called a Bebelith, and some corrupted Craggen. I engaged the Bebelith in melee and faced down its flaming web spew, claws, and fangs. Kong Meng walled out a horde of corrupted Craggen using Ice as everyone else moved into sweep up the remaining corrupted Craggen. After a somewhat prolonged struggle with all of our attention focused on the Bebelith, Terhali took its life by striking into the vitals.

Oli’s team descended with the patch for the dome and we held off the horde long enough for them to rivet it into place after the ice wall was dispelled. The rest of the night was spent hunting down demons throughout the city. The overhead maintenance cars were quite useful for this as I could drop down to take out infestations and swiftly return using high default load stone.

The next day we met with Commodore Shale to consider our next missions. Several possibilities present themselves and it is difficult to choose the one which is most important.

1. Goblin refugees report that the Firbolg, accompanied by other giants, have invaded Promontory point and their continent is now within sight of the point. We expect that they will secure that area and work towards Elvenhome and the chain that we had previously driven them from.

2. We could seek out the Bright Isles to follow the rumored path of the Eladrin. Rituals magics could get us to the Astral Sea and we could seek our way from there.

2a. We could seek out the Hestavar and/or Celestia in the Astral sea to warn the gods. It is not clear whether this could be accomplished as the gods’ own enchantment blinds them to the problem. Still we might make our general plight known and receive some guidance or aid.

3. Krieg brought a journal and a relic of Erathis that had been found in Gericscht’s sanctum. The journal describes a venture into an ancient laboratory which held the secrets of the original warforged. It had lain on the original lands of the Craggen, and so was likely now lost to the maelstrom. However, due to its enchantments it probably survives and may still be found and opened using the relic as a key.

We debated which course is most promising, but did not reach a consensus. Keffin wishes to seek the Eladrin, as does Oli. Both are also interested in the warforged lab. I think the clear and present danged of the Firbolg is the most urgent problem, but it will take some time to deploy forces there.

After the meeting our attention was drawn to a disturbance in the center square of Vergence. A man had erected a wooden sign with demands and was harranging the crowd regarding the succor being given to the Craggen. His points regarding their horrible war crimes and the terrible state of our current diplomacy with them were generally valid. His desires, their ensalvement, abasement, and genocide were unacceptable. We eventually talked the crowd down and convinced him to make his case directly to Emperor Marcus. However, the general sentiments which were expressed remain to be dealt with. We have recommended that Craggen Warlords be put to trial for war crimes and perhaps some formal reparations be enacted.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Uninvited Guests

In the aftermath of the battle, a team of Craggen came to tend to their wounded. They were too few to cope with the magnitude of destruction which had been inflicted upon them. As we watched from the walls it occured to me that we could help them to our mutual benefit. So, with the emperor’s permission, I offered them a deal.

We would provide medical assistance for the price of them turning over all the slaves on the battlefield to us. Each would become a free person who can apply for imperial citizenship once they have been educated as to the meaning of the term. Once healthy, and freed from magical constraint, they could choose to return to the Craggen if they so desire.

Their leader, Deacon Brogun of Bane, was reluctant to accept such a deal, ostensibly due to the loss of secrecy, but I was eventually able to convince him of its merits, with the proviso that slaves of Bane rescued by them, who do not prevail upon us for sanctuary, will not be claimed by us. After spending the day sifting through the wreckage for those who could be saved, we were chagrined to spot an upwelling of the Maelstrom rolling in from the west. We pulled the remaining wounded into the Stormcrow, leaving the dead, and regrettably some few who we had not been able to reach, to be annihilated by bombardment.

Once within the walls of Vergence it became clear that the as yet unrepaired breach in the dome was being exploited by the creatures of the Maelstrom to gain entry. One Craggen from their band, a female Hand of Bane, forcefully volunteered to help us hold the breech. We dashed through the streets and found a phalanx of oathsworn beleagured by mezzodemons, maws, and swarms of demonic flies. They were glad of our aid, and I left them to hold the square, after we handily dispatched the demons and proceeded towards the sounds of growling and crashing.

The loudest disturbance was caused by a giant with the head of a bison (goristro) paired with a multi clawed pillar of dark flame (immolith) and two corrupted vulture demons (vrocks). Our new Craggen friend [missing name] engaged the immolith while I commenced hacking away at the goristro. Terhali and Raiden focused on the vrocks. Our Hand of Bane ally ended up with the worse end of the bargain, as the vrocks and immolith brought her near death until Kong Meng’s timely assistance brought her back. We cut the corrupt things down, only to hear the skittering of enormous insectile legs on the outside of the dome.

As we moved toward the breech, in the distance we saw Oli’s team slowly approaching with the new patch for the dome. Before they had made much progress towards us, or we to the breech, an enormous spidery demon (Bebelith) climbed in through the breech along with a few more mezzodemon.

-Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Gericscht's Final Flight

After Gericscht’s final heretical statement, I flew at him to cut him down. Unfortunately I only discovered that the Gericscht in the throne was yet another ruse when it exploded as I struck it. Erathis smiled upon me and I avoided taking the brunt of the blast despite the wreckage it made of the throne room. Fortunately my companions had not been so swift and avoided the explosion entirely. I spied a secret door beyond the throne and we found ourselves in crude passages. An even more cunningly disguised secret door at the bend of the passage led through to a hidden cache and heard the sounds of airship engines spinning up from a further passage. We leaped from the end of that passage down onto the deck of Gericscht’s yacht to confront him just before it took off.

Initially there was no sign of Gericscht on board. We were faced by a gigantic warforged Titan backed up by a more normal sized warforged that the others informed me was their old companion Javelin. As Javelin was known to be a formidable ranged combatant I introduced myself to him by flying across the ship and slashed him. Gericscht arose from concealment beneath a tarpaulin behind me and retaliated by striking me with his flail to control my mind. The battle proceeded somewhat chaotically from there after Noname confronted the titan and Gericscht, as goblins swarmed all over the deck after Kong Meng walled off the Titan using some terrible ice from the Shadowfell.

Once I was finally in control again, I called upon divine vengeance and mightily smote Gericscht twice, leaving him clattering up against Kong Meng’s wall of terrible cold. He wavered and appeared to be at the end of his life. Struggling against his inevitable death, he attempted to draw more lifeforce from his two warforged puppets, but his invocation of this vile magic did not have the effect he had intended. After a loud clang as if from the largest prison door slamming, a mighty angel of Torog appeared. I recognized it to be Azumel who we had met below Zhia after the breaking of the chain. Azumel recognized me and bid me stand aside for his lord had a stronger claim upon Gericscht. I accepted his priority and rested my blade out of respect for the Angel’s duty to reclaim one who has strayed.

Azumel extracted the protesting pallid and scarred hobgoblin form of Gericscht from within its warforged shell and imprisoned it in a fiery cage within Azumel’s chest. As Gericscht was separated from his shell, all his servants went berserk. Though Javelin simply collapsed, the Titan charged off the ship and rampaged on the lands at the edge of Zhia. Azumel warned us that this was a final result of Gericscht’s doing, not of Torog. We conducted a short discussion with Azumel over Gericscht’s screams. Azumel approved of our idea to pursue the Thrymspaker on the northern continent, but also recommended that we find the bright ones. They had escaped into the domain of their gods in the astral sea and could be found in a bright place that I would find most welcoming. I took this elliptical statement to mean that we should seek after them in the Bright City of Hestavar. He also wished me to pass friendly greetings from his god to the blessed Erathis, but did not expect her to accept them warmly. Finally he stated that his god extended a welcome to any remaining priests of Torog who would forswore their heretical ways with warforged accoutrement. Perhaps some survived in the fleet or in the Crag outside Gericscht’s compound.

Kong Meng reported our mission success to command who ordered us to return. They eventually notified us of the current state of armistice. We spent a few minutes recovering the non-goblin slaves and usable treasures from Gericscht’s lair, subdued the Titan, and journeyed to Vergeance with Gericscht’s yacht and the Stormcrow in formation. We flew over the battle scarred returning Craggen fleet en route, but there was no confrontation.

At Vergence, we beheld a battlefield strewn with the wrecked hulls of many Craggen vessels. Vergence had lost one tower and crews worked to seal a few holes in the dome, but it appeared that the Craggen had lost this confrontation rather decisively. Doubtless, things would have gone much harder for the Oathsworn if the Craggen’s slaves hadn’t all “mysteriously” gone mad at the height of the battle.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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The lesser of two evils

Emperor Marcus’ fall was interrupted by Rote Stang and Flail flying down to catch him. We pursed them back to Rote Stang’s vessel and found that the Emperor and Rote Stang had arranged a duel. I consulted with the emperor telepathically and he confirmed his command that the duel proceed. The entire battlefield paused and maneuvered to observe their battle.

Rote Stang initially appeared to have the upper hand, for he was frequently capable of striking the Emperor with deeply cutting swipes from his spear. While the Emperor’s sword cuts did not cut so deeply or so often. Rote Stang used these opportunities to taunt Emperor Marcus, but he was not discomfited by such base taunting. The Emperor’s tactic was a longer term one in which he gradually wore Rote Stang down as he healed himself. This won the respect of the Craggen for no one had ever been seen to stand so long against Rote Stang. After the emperor struck a particularly telling blow while left Rote Stang’s blood staining his armor, a remarkable thing happened. Rote Stang’s own mount Flail shrieked in agony and attempted to bite him, but failed. Then all across the fleet many shrieks were heard and fighting erupted everywhere.

It soon became clear to us that the tech priests of Torog had engaged in some foul treachery, for all of their slaves and beasts had gone wild and rampaged against all. The emperor and Rote Stang agreed to pause their duel and work against the enraged slaves until this attack could be resolved. As I prepared to hurl goblin weapons teams off the ship, a strange catlike beast ran up over the side of the ship and tried to whip me down with its many tentacles, it was immediately followed by some even more peculiar rocklike creature with many eyes that sought to crush me in its claws. I blocked these attempts by reinforcing my reality over theirs, then I hurled the hulking rock thing at the tentacle creature with the power of my mind. It nearly fell off the ship, but hung on just long enough for Gareth to push it over the side.

With our might combined with the Craggen commandos we made swift work of the remaining beast and slaves. One of our newly secured Kodanian allies made alarmingly short work of Flail, but reluctantly battered it until unconsciousness at Rote Stang’s request.

Then we surveyed the rest of the fleet and found Rote Stang’s to still be in disarray while our’s was largely intact. The Emperor convinced Rote Stang to accept our aid against this tech priest insurrection in return for an armistice until those who sought to destroy the world could be stopped. This deal was sealed by our forces working against any of the Craggen vessels until they struck their colors, as that would signal that the ship had been restored to the warlord’s control.

We had put much of the insurrection down, except for a huge blue dragon while was devastating vessels with its lightning breath. Fortunately, Cryptic, the mirage dragon, chose that moment to come to our aid and struck the berserk dragon down. After we cleaned up the remaining mad creatures we met with the other warlords.

They too agreed that the tech priests sermons about the necessity of genocide had been soundly disproven. We had behaved honorably, while they had engaged in base treachery. Our fragile armistice had a few new supporters. We sent word to the Deacon that the brand suppression device was required and awaited his reply.

- Commander Keffin

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Clearing the Path

The shortest path to Gerichst brought us to a long passage guarded by artillery and at least one Angel of Torog. Balin walled it up to protect our flank and we moved to take the longer route around, but one which Ella’s map indicated was composed of fewer long passage. The Craggen forces maneuvered around to intercept our new path, but the long transit for the other half of their forces gave us an advantage in picking apart the forces they had sent against our rearguard.

These forces were composed of Angels of Torog, phalanxes of grenadiers and artillery, a few stray crossbowmen, and another tech priest. The Angels of Torog attempted to cow us with howls of agony, but their pain proved no match for our divine wrath and we soon put them out of their misery. Raiden had some odd reluctance to fully engage them, perhaps it was the professional courtesy of an exarch. I had no such compunctions and discorporated them with abandon. Their tech priest’s tricks provided the usual level of irritation, but were insufficient to do more than delay the inevitable.

We turned the final corner and beheld our quarry, Gerichst. He proved to be a large and hideous abomination of warforged components encasing and replacing the now almost unrecognizable form of his craven slave master body. Gerichst continued spouting his genocidal mania against humanity as we expressed our disdain for his methods. When we reminded him of historical precedent for his religion failing when going against the will of a coalition of others, he blasphemed against his own god by claiming to have exceeded him. The Jailer’s unconscionable religious practices aside, I expect him to be highly intolerant of blatant apostasy from his high priest, for the caged prisoners stopped crying out and clutching at us at those words. I do not welcome assisting Torog in any way, but as it matches the just wrath of Erathis, I will cut down this vile heretic.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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