Skystorm

Ancient War Crimes

Beyond the doors we found a large room dominated by two Warforged Titans embossed with symbols of Erathis and a blinking control panel. Kong Meng and I walked into to investigate, but nothing reacted to our presence. Kong Meng then suggested he try to disable the titans as we had done to the outer guardians. The titans stirred to life as climbed onto one to begin. It demanded the passphrase. Terhali muttered some sort of nonsense response, which it did not accept. Thin red beams played over everything and then speakers screeched “Intruder Alert!” Additional small spiderlike automated defenses came online in the room and assaulted us with electric shocks. Javelin reported further activity in the hallway as two more insectile warforged excavated themselves from the rubble at either end of the entry corridor.

Kong Meng conjured a wall of ice to isolate one of the titan, and we began to deactivate the rest by beating them until they stopped moving. The walled off titan left the room by a door on the other side of the ice, then rammed the door into inoperability from its side.

After we had disabled the warforged, Oli retrieved her lightning weapon as the facility was clearly powered up based on some subterranean reactor. She chipped the ice away from the control panel and determined that she could open up all the interior doors at once much more easily than trying to get the ones we wanted one by one. We agreed that this would keep the defence units from barring us access to various rooms as the fleeing titan had done and so it was done.

Our further explorations revealed an ancient and macabre laboratory with odd religious overtones which reminded me of an Erathis holy place, but felt wrong. It held coffin shaped objects filled with blue crystals, which Oli stated had once been some sort of suspension liquid. It also contained an operating table equipped with restraints. Oli spent considerable time studying it for it seemed to be a medical device with both arcane and engineering components. Oli then said that if I wished to be encased in a metal body, I could lay down on the table to begin that process. I hope she was joking, for the system seemed to be barely operating at all, let alone fully functional.

On further analysis and discussion we deduced that the system had been designed to extract the soul from someone on the table, probably without their consent given the quality of the restraints. Then their soul would be transferred into the crystal lattice in the coffin shaped units, which would be moved by conveyor further into the facility for eventual inclusion into a warforged unit. The exact relationship between these crystal coffins and a warforged spark remained unclear.

Noname did not react well to the news and denied that it could have been used to make modern warforged, perhaps only for some ancient units. Yet there are no modern warforged. None known of any who were constructed after the breaking of the world. Javelin expressed no similar trouble with the notion that warforged had once been built using mortals as their motive spark.

I had no refutation to the idea and did not express my doubts aloud. I found the revelation wholly disturbing. The war must have been desperate indeed for Erathis to have given countenance for such experimentation.

No one wished to tamper with that device further, so we continued our explorations and found a much larger corridor extending back towards the area that the titan had sealed us out of. Continuing down it we found a large alcove with wires spilling out of it. Oddly distorted warforged, with an almost reptilian predatory demeanor, leapt out at us.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Prehistoric Monstrosities

We descended through the Maelstrom into a desolate valley. Captain Keffin stayed with the ship because of his peculiar ability to defend it from within. The rest of us disembarked and traversed the cratered floor of the valley. Oli identified some of the holes in the ground as the result of excavations. We chose a likely looking bore hole which led off into the darkness.

The long tunnel terminated in some natural looking caverns which housed Rageborn demons, shaggy firebreathing things with enormous claws. Nabasu flitted through the walls and attacked us as we engaged the Rageborn. They caused us a small amount of grief before they were all cut down.

Proceeding onward we found a grate which led to a partially collapsed ancient tunnel complex. It had been so sturdily warded against intrusion that even the demons and Maelstrom could not enter. Our further explorations uncovered a room guarded by four tall humanoid proto warforged and a single larger insectile warforged. They were coated in ancient dust and inactive. Labels on the two sets of adamantine doors were translated by Noname as “Garage” and “Assembly Room 3”. Signs on the walls read “Restricted Access. Authorized Personnel Only. Hard Hat Area”.

We investigated the garage first because its door was unlocked. It contained several ground vehicles which had been stripped for parts, and a control console. Noname brought it to life and translated its text as saying “Power Levels Critically Low. Reboot Y/N?” Which the engineers thought would reactivate the complex. We encouraged them to disable the guardians before we powered anything up. It took a while, but they were able to remove the motivators from all of the proto warforged.

I then tried the Cog of Erathis on the receptacle in the locked door, but nothing happened. Assuming that power was required, Oli charged up the console by rigging up a lightning weapon and rebooted it. The formerly silent facility rumbled to life with the sounds and vibration of machinery far below, and squares in the ceiling flickered with light. This time when I applied the Cog to the door, it interfaced with the door and the door unlocked and opened.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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Into the Maelstrom

After many interminable meetings between the Oathsworn and the Dwarven Homeguard, we completed the bathysphere using a highly modified dwarven vessel. In a textbook bureaucratic committee manuever, it is currently named the “Fool’s Errand”, much to Oli’s chagrin. It is a tediously spartan affair, all defensive function and no style. Oli’s handiwork has at least made it cleverly designed for its intended purpose.

Borne across the heavens by the Stormcrow, directed by the Cog of Erathis as focus for the Hand of Fate ritual, it took most of a week for us to arrive at our destination. A few peaks of Craggenschwein were occasionally visible above the Maelstrom’s chaos. We copied down the map constructed by the Stormcrow’s navigational equipment, and deployed to the Errand. I ordered its dwarven crew up into the Stormcrow, for our team of myself, Oli Molisdottir, Nameless, Kong Meng, Terhali, Gareth, and Deacon Novius should be more than sufficient.

Our descent was initially marked by our vessel being chased by several flying creatures. When they landed upon the Errand, Oli repelled them using built in electrical blasts from the hull. Then a much larger creature attached itself to the chain and began attacking it. I shifted my consciousness outside to observe it and found it to be some sort of maelstrom corrupted dragon. It took no harm from the electrical defenses, so I commenced assaulting it with the power of my mind while the others prepared to repel it by attacking it from the top of the Errand.

The incredible turbulence of the winds around the creature limited the ability of our team to engage it in melee, so we deployed our ranged combatants, while I reinforced them from within the ship. The storm dragon was soon joined by vrock and nabasu, which caused the team some difficulty. Ultimately we were able to destroy all of the chaos spawn and we resumed our descent.

- Captain Keffin Balnor

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Death of Bloodspire Arena

Disguised as undead drow bearing sacks of loot, we made our way through the devastated outlying neighboorhoods of Promontory Point city. A patrol stopped us, but Gareth deflected them from penetrating our illusion us by allowing an overly curious hill giant to inspect his bag. It was harshly disciplined for its failure to follow orders and interfering with loot which we was for the Thrymspaker. After that close call we made our way into the city proper and found it busy with giants.

I did not get to see much of Bloodspire Arena, but we found a few surviving goblins there maintaining the machinery and organizing loot collection. Gareth was able to explore it while we maintained our cover by hauling ore for fire giant smiths. He reported that the Thrymspaker was at least as impressive as described, a gargantuan giant emanating frost and death commanding an immense hammer which bore the maelstrom within it.

We considered a variety of assault options on the Thrymspaker, but none seemed terribly promising as we had no way to separate him from the multitude of giants who could easily come to his aid. In the end we resolved that the best use of this opportunity would be to collapse the arena upon them. It would delay them with confusion while slaying many of their elites who crowded the stands.

Oli reset our appearance to be that of goblin slaves and we talked our way into the maintenance chambers below the arena. We set demolition charges, suborned the slaves, and even freed a few humans of southern nobility who had fled to Promontory Point. Then we portaled everyone back to Vergeance. By the time we were able to portal back to the goblin factor’s to survey our handiwork, it had already blown Bloodspire Arena to rubble. One tower remained standing. In the distance we spied the Thrymspaker roused himself from the rubble, somewhat worse for the wear. It then called for its colossal mount, a shadow laced undead dragon, to bear it away to its home continent.

The best we could do at the time was to slow them down through sabotage. They remain an immense force, probably numbering greater than the Oathsworn. We must seek further aid against them, even with our reluctant and despised Craggen allies we are almost certainly overmatched in a direct confrontation.

- Deacon Novius Carnifex Vergilius

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So There ARE Lady Giants...

But it really doesn't matter. They don't seem any different than regular ones!

I wonder if there are factions among the giants, though? It would be worth considering. We blew a bunch to kingdom come, but we'll be tangling with them again, that's for sure. 

T.

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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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