The Giantslayers—as your party has now come to be known—spend the next week helping rebuild Trunau and healing the wounded. The admiration of the townsfolk is clear from the moment you emerge from Uskroth’s Tomb, but becomes muted as everyone faces the situation at hand. Restoring the city to its original might will be a long process.
Turin manages to steal some time to copy the two spells (Phantasmal Killer and Tongues) from the scrolls you found in the tomb into his spellbook. Silaqui recruits a blackbird companion, whom she names Bracken, during a hunting expedition with some Trunau militia members.
After three days, when you’re not rebuilding and healing, Gydion, Jane and Turin finish identifying the magic items retrieved from the tomb. Uskroth’s armor is +1 half-plate that changes size based on the size of its wearer. In addition, the wearer can invoke Righteous Might once per day for five consecutive rounds. You also learn that the four magic arrows found in Uskroth’s funerary are Human Bane.
Being an artifact hunter, it doesn’t take long for Turin to confirm that Uskroth’s war hammer is indeed the mighty dwarven artifact Agrimmosh, the “Hammer of Unmaking”, as he originally guessed. Legend has it that it was used to forge the first dwarf! Made of stone and bearing the symbol of Minderhal (dwarven god of creation and justice), this item has significant magical ability, and unlocking its secrets is a complex affair. So, to that end, Turin enlists the help of Trunau’s resident dwarven wizard, Agrit Staginsdar. Together, you confirm that it’s a +2 Impact Warhammer that resizes to fit its owner. In addition, once per day as a full-round action, the wielder can use it to cast heightened Enlarge Person (Fortitude DC 23 negates), which lasts for 20 minutes. You’re both convinced that the artifact has additional powers, but you cannot discern them at this time.
After five days, some of the shops re-open, allowing you to sell and trade your newly acquired non-magic treasure. If you attempt to sell any items which belong to the town, or to the survivors of the raid, you are compensated for your heroic efforts with an amount of gold equal to half the items’ value.
At this point, in the evenings, you’re able to relax a bit, and share war stories with the Trunuan natives in the Killing Ground Pub. Although its owner, Rabus Clarenston, perished in the raid, the pub is open for business under temporary management. One patron is very interested to hear that Gydion and Jane are Druids, and his interest is piqued when he learns that Jane is Silvermane’s granddaughter.
“Silvermane—now there’s a character for ya! Word is, he’s the last survivin’ member of the Council of Thorns—Druids who died defendin’ Ghostlight Marsh when the orcs of the Hold of Belkzen pushed their southern border to Lastwall. That was way back in 4237, I reckon. Silvermane never says nuthin’ ‘bout it—in fact, he never says nuthin’ a’tall! Been hearin’ some words about the goin’s on up there recently. Me bruver, Max, he says he seen strange lights and shapes moving in the mist. Nobody goes near that nasty bog now—not even orcs.”
At the pub, you also learn some interesting facts about the orcs who raided Trunau. “Did you see their banners? Their insignia? They’re called the Twisted Hearts—so-called because they’re a combination of the Twisted Nail orc tribe and the Heart Eater hill giant tribe,” one Trunaun old-timer tells you. “They operate out of the Mindspin Mountains to the west and north. Tribe’s been around a long time—since the forty-third century AR, if memory serves. That’s when their Chieftain, Uskroth, led them south and conquered these parts of Belkzen. They were finally defeated by crusaders from Lastwall. Looks like they’re on the move again!”
On the seventh day after the raid, Trunau’s Council of Defenders meets at the Ivory Hall in Upper Trunau, which was untouched by the devastation inflicted on most of the city. All of you—Draken, Gydion, Jane, Silaqui and Turin—are summoned by Halgra. You are asked to bring the warhammer with you. “Well then,” begins Halgra, “Trunau owes you Giantslayers our thanks. Trunau is forever in your debt.” She looks around at the rest of the Council. “I’ve reconsidered my original assessment of you. I… misjudged,” she adds. You notice Council Members Agrit Standisdar and Sara Morninghawk exchange a knowing glance, and a wink. High Priestess and Council Member Tyari Varvatos nods and smiles at you.
Council Member Lessie Crumkin speaks up. “The note you found on your captives is alarming, to say the least.” Tyari nods. “The Council is very concerned that a Hill Giant chieftain engineered this attack, and in addition, that she was searching for objects long-buried and forgotten beneath our fair city,” she says solemnly.
“About those objects,” Halgra interjects, regaining control of the meeting. She scans each of you with her eyes, and then she looks at the war hammer on the table in front of her. “What have you learned about that hammer?” she asks. You tell them that you believe it is a mighty dwarven relic, Agrimmosh the Hammer of Unmaking, and they look at you with wide eyes. Halgra nods, looks at Trunau’s Master of Stores and says: “Kessen, tell the Giantslayers what you’ve learned about the geode they discovered.”
Council Member Kessen Plumb rises, and places the sparkling stone on the table in front of you. Unable to glean any more information from it, you had left it—together with the note from Grendelsek—in the Council’s hands, soon after emerging from the tomb. “As Draken said, it is a rare tourmaline, almost certainly from the Mindspin Mountains,” he begins. Then his face becomes hard as he leans forward and squints at the stone. “See here,” he continues, pointing at the crystals inside the geode. “As Turin suspected, the pattern of crystals is not random—it has meaning.” Then, looking up at you, he declares, “It’s a detailed map of the southern reaches of the Mindspin Mountains.”
Kessen takes a few minutes to show you the geode and explain the map in detail. He and other Council members tell you that, according to the note you found on the half-orc alchemist’s body, it appears to be a map to the tomb of the “giant-killer” mentioned in the note. “We believe this ‘giant-killer’ to be none other than the legendary dwarven giantslayer Nargrym Steelhand,” he adds, quickly glancing over at Draken. “Unfortunately, the map is incomplete,” he continues. “The other half of it, according to the note, is in the hands of Grendelsek, evil Chief of the Twisted Nail Tribe.” He then looks at Halgra, who addresses you again.
“We’ve…interviewed…the two half-orcs you captured in Uskroth’s Tomb,” she says. “Their names are Skreed Gorewillow and Urnsul Vandro. Apparently, they and a team of four other half-orc saboteurs infiltrated Trunau months ago, casing the town and providing vital information to Grendelsek. Skreed was their leader, but he always kept his identity safe using his magic tattoo. He told us he was using the Plague House to meet with flood troll allies, who sent messages back and forth to Grendelsek, whose headquarters is an abandoned border station known as Redlake Fort, located on the River Esk at the base of the Mindspin Mountains to the north of here.”
She continues: “Which brings us to Rodrik’s unfortunate death. From what Skreed told us, Rodrik Grath accidentally came across one of Skreed’s flood trolls at the Plague House while on patrol. Skreed couldn’t risk Rodrik pursuing the matter any further, so he murdered him in his sleep—making it look like a suicide, using a fake hopeknife crafted by Urnsul, who was working undercover at Morninghawk’s Fine Steel.” You look over to see Sara Morninghawk gazing at the floor and slowly shaking her head. Agrit has her arm around her.
Halgra then produces a map from a desk drawer and hands it to Silaqui. It details the area north of Trunau, and a route is traced on it. As you pass the map around the table, you note that the Kestrel River, Ghostlight Marsh, the River Esk, and Redlake Fort are all labeled—the route spans all four. “We can’t risk Trunau being targeted by Grendelsek—we can’t afford another raid. You will follow this map to Redlake Fort, and eliminate Grendelsek and her monstrous minions once and for all. You must also obtain the other half of the geode, as a guarantee that none of Trunau’s enemies will ever lay hands on Nargrym Steelhand’s secrets.”
Halgra then takes the map, holds it up, and points to an area just north of Trunau on the southern bank of the Kestrel River. “You will begin your journey here,” she says. She informs you that she has already secured passage for you aboard a keelboat owned by a half-orc named Raag Bloodtusk, who has agreed to transport you to Ghostlight Marsh, and then up the River Esk to a location near Redlake Fort. The only things he wants in exchange, she explains, are your assistance in sailing the boat, and defending it from any dangerous river denizens. “Why can’t we just journey overland to Redlake Fort? It seems more direct,” interjects Silaqui, who has studied the maps of southern Belkzen extensively. Halgra considers the ranger’s suggestion thoughtfully. “Overland travel to Redlake Fort would be foolhardy and dangerous, as it would take you right through the orc-infested Hold of Belkzen,” she says. “On the other hand, Bloodtusk’s riverboat is well-known among the orc tribes along the river, and he enjoys rights of safe passage from those tribe’s chieftains.” Halgra then takes a document from her robe and hands it to Gydion. “This is a letter of introduction to give to Bloodtusk,” she says.
Tyari looks between you and Chief Defender Halgra, and then speaks: “I will send Asa de Ray with you as an emissary, as soon as he and the rest of my paladins finish burning the Plague House—as Iomedae has commanded.” She smiles again. “Right, now, if you need anything while you are in town, you have but ask. If there are no other questions, you have preparations to make: you’ve a long journey ahead of you. Thank you, good luck, and may our Lady of Valor guide you and keep you in her care.”
In the space below, indicate what YOU are doing to prepare for the journey to Redlake Fort. What items are you selling, and what equipment will you buy? What magic items might you be creating or buying? Is there anybody you want to interact with before you leave Trunau? [NB: You can email this information to Scott if you don’t want to post it publicly here]