Tales from the Road Less Traveled

Sky that rains Ice.

Beorhtic the Vast, Titled ruler of the Grimhold, back handed his manservant so fiercly that the novel he was holding followed with the trajectory of the strike and skittered across the room.
“How does such eloquent words follow such an imbecile!”
the manservant scurried to retrieve the book as his noble bellowed enviously of his sons fame and glory.
“Slaying a Cursed Giant in single combat, only because Tyr sent his avatar to break the curse! this cannot be true tales! MY son cannot garner that much favor to the gods!” his face reddened with anger looking expectantly at his servant as if awaiting an answer.
sheepishly he responded unsure if he was supposed to. “according to the tale m’lord the Giant grew in power each time he was slain, and your son somehow figured it out and finally pinned the flaming monstrosity until Tyr could arrive and deal the divine coup de grace. burning himself badly with the icy flames of the Fellfro-”
SEND FOR HIM AT ONCE!!!” Beorhtic cleared his dining table with a single sweep of his arm. standing almost as tall as dragonkin, He commanded with more than words. his manservant scurried out of the room, hurriedly ordering lesser servants to send for Maximus Thrax, Son of Beorhtic, Heir to the Grimhold.
“Yes M’lady, your father to be is quite upset at the adventures of your betrothed, Apparently the newest novel has decreed that he is blessed by the god of war and that he…is actually… a she. here is your liege’s copy if you would care to research further… like all the others.” giving a sly wink as they both understood she loved the books and her request that Valorous accompany Max was so that she could read of his adventures…

Fellmarg's Tomb

The journey to Fellmarg’s tomb seems calm an idyllic in the southern duchies of Cormyr, and even though the Order of the Griffon had no horses, there spirits remain high, mostly. Bulwurk boasts of the deeds they would accomplish and the songs that would be sung in their honor. Sora speaks little, and entirely in elvish, but the others cannot help but enjoy her presence as they walk. Often she will sprint ahead of the group to examine some bird or pick berries from trees. Stone plods along happily. Unlike other dwarves, Stone speaks often of gold and gems, and the best ways to find them. He claims he can even sniff out gold. For the other companions he speaks plainly and straight forward, but never passes an opportunity to jeer at Lucky, who appears to be the only member not enjoying their trek.

“I mean it Stone, I do not see why we can’t buy one horse. A small horse. A cheap. Small. Horse.” exclaims Lucky as he the group takes a break from their march. “I jest not when I say that I will be no good in a fight if my feet are battered and bruised.” Lucky had taken off his boots and is rubbing his feet, trying his best to present and honest visage of pain and suffering.

“Ye doan need a herse, Looky. The walk isn’t nearly as bod ’ere in the south lands. Moradan es coovered en rockeh heels that will really broose yer wee feet. An we cannae affoord a herse. Mehbe after we be compliten this mission fer the prince.” Stone takes a large bite from his dried venison as Sora came running back down the path. Lucky expects she found some rare skunk or another yellow flower that captivated her.

“Lufanis gowere moshen hai Fellmarg,” she exclaims excitingly. Bulwark and Lucky both turn to the dwarf, who has become her interpreter for the group. Sighing, Stone translates.

“She says we ‘ave foond the entrance to the toomb of Fellmarg, an that Looky should put back on his bewts ’cus he’s oopsetting the balence uf nature here.”

“You made that last part up Stone.” The troop quickly crested the hill revealing the cursed Tomb of Fellmarg.

The Trial

A fire burns warmly, but casts little light into Prince Heward’s study. The flickering shadows only hint at the vast number of books and scrolls that fill the many shelves. Slowly Prince Heward walks over to the fire.

“Well, my friends, you wish to work for the king? Go one a secret mission for king and country?”

“About that m’lord,” starts Lusciano, who is quickly silenced by the hand of the prince.

“Do not interrupt me again, mageling. As I see it, you volunteered for the job. Perhaps you’ve heard rumors around town about someone spreading the word of the Xoriati gods?” The blank looks on the companions faces told the prince that they were not familiar with the old ones. “I have reason to believe that someone seeks to bring back Zargon, the Returner. An ancient being from a time before the Vyshaantarii Empire. I need some adventurers that can work without being connected to the royal crown. I have sent a few Purple Dragons to find information and they have not returned. I am hoping you can prevail where they have not.”

“We will succeed!” exclaims Bulwark without a second thought.

“Indeed noble barbarian, I believe you can. Lets start this on a trial basis. I need you to enter the catacombs which contain Fellmarg’s Tomb. You must seek out and destroy Verag, a foul Gargoyle who hides in the catacombs. I believe the Verag is in league with the Cult of Zargon. Fellmarg’s Tomb is in the Duchy of Westvold, it is not hard to find, but many believe the place is cursed. Do not disturb the tomb, only Verag and his minions.”

“It shall be done. Come my friends, we have a mission.” Bulwark storms from the study with grim determination , followed quickly by Stone. Sora looks at Lucky and follows the dwarf, leaving Lucky looking between the open doorway and the prince.

“yes wizard, you will be compensated for your efforts,” says the prince, who then furrows his brow and adds, “Aventro, where have I heard that name before?”

“Fear not my liege, we are at your service. My stalwart companions are tenacious if nothing else.” Lucky bows and then exits the study, running to catch up with his band. Prince Heward waves his hand and the door closes, walks over to one of the many bookcases, and selects a text on Cormyrian lineage.

More Rumors and Wild Talk

News pertaining to Cormyr

Duke William of Northwarden has returned from Suzail and word is that he is under pressure to better defend his duchy from the giant raids from across the Sea of Storms.

Baron Baalthazar, formerly the half-dragon knight of Baron Giogioni Wyvernspur, has been elevated into the Barony of White Beard’s Landing. The town is said to already be prospering and merchants are now considering visiting the place.

King Svybaald of Telemark has sent word to King Roderick II of Cormyr that he has learned that the giants of Raumatharr have built some sort of colony within the fjords to west of his realm. He has suffered several raids from the giants and thinks that the colony within the fjords is the origin of the raids against northern Cormyr marshall from.

The forbidden Cult of the Dragon is said to have designs on one of a number of the baronies along the Sword Coast and Baron Carsyn Rowanmantle of Greenest has sent alarming reports to his liege lord, Count Carthyn Blacksilver of the County of North Forest, that his agents have learned that the area nearby has a large number of cultists operating within.

The Blue Company is rumored to be seeking new charter- this one signed by the new Baron Baalthazar. Moreover, the Moron of Grimhold, a member of the Company, has last month, reportedly slain a hill giant and exterminated a small clan of orcs within the Principality from whence he hails. It is rumored that he travels with a war priest of unknown origin and is seeking to return to the Blue Company.

The barons of the three Counties within the Duchy of the Northern Marches are said to have been embarrassed by the promotion of the lizard knight into their ranks. The Duke has sternly spoke in favor of the lizard and commands his counts to monitor their barons.

The High Priest of the Northwarden’s Temple to the Morninglord, The Citadel of the Northern Dawn, has continued to be alarmed at the rumors of someone preaching in the name of the Xoriati gods. He is said to be meeting with several of his peers within the Duchy of Yorkshire and the Duchy of Lancaster on the topic.

News from the mainland

The Magocracy of Gothaya has started to engage in naval raids upon the Kingdom of Svenlande from across the Bitter Sea, now that the spring thaw is underway. The Lotharian Theocracy is is bracing for renewed warfare from Gothaya upon its eastern frontier.

The Sultan of Calimshan is rumored to have issued letters of Marque to pirates and privateers so that raids along the western coast of Faerun and commence. These raids as said to maybe even go as far north as the coastlines of southern Cormyr.

The Brotherhood of the Griffon

People step gingerly out of the way as the tall dark-haired warrior as he strides into the magistrate’s office of Suzail. His muscular, shirtless frame draws eyes more than a few ladies in the stone building. They hide their smiles as they assess the northern barbarian’s swarthy physique. Bulwark wastes no time finding the well dressed scribe who scoffs at the barbarians approach. Behind them the door rattles open as the barbarian’s companions enter trying to keep up with him. They hurry to the table where the scribe gives an inaudible sigh and eyes each of the members. The dark haired barbarian, obviously from the principality of Grimhold stands proudly dressed only in buckskin breeches and fur boots. A broadsword that had seen too many winters, yet maintained with a well honed edge was strapped to his back. Besides him a dwarf, probably from the lands of Morridan to Grimholds west stands stoically beside him. Stones with dethek runes were woven into his bright red beard indicating he is a member of the Runestone clan. The dwarf wears simple leathers, leather cap and a drusus, unconventional for a dwarf and the scribe assumes that he is probably a rogue, the worst type, a dwarf rogue. Next to the dwarf stands a female sun elf, her golden hair is tied back and wears travelling leathers much like the dwarf. She also carries a short sword, but carries herself as a spellcaster. The Thieve’s Guild call them Spellfilchers and are highly paid in Cormyr. The scribe secretly motions to the guards who move to block the door and rest their hands on the swords. The last member of this troupe, a wizard who smiles sheepishly at the scribe. Wearing a blue tabbard and traveling breeches, the style of his clothes is that of Halruaa and the single gem on his forehead indicates he has been initiated as a wizard. The barbarian defiantly rests one fist on his hip and holds out pouch of silver falcons, allowing them to fall to the table with an audible clink.

“I’d like to purchase a writ of adventuring,” states the steely eyed Barbarian. The barbarian is taller than the stories he had heard, but it was obvious who he was, considering his lack of wit.

“It’s called an adventuring charter; you are the Moron of Grimhold, I presume,” replies the scribe. As expected Bulwark looks perplexed at the question, a look that quickly turns to rage as he reaches for the broadsword on his back. The guards draw their swords and prepare for the fight that is about to ensue. The dwarf quickly steps in front of the barbarian and places a hand on his companion to diffuse the situation.

“Are ye daft man? Aye this worrior be from the lands of Grimhold, but he not be dat idjit. Do ya see any lizards wit us. Dis be Bulwark, Barbarian warrior of Grimhold. I be the dwarf warrior Ulric Runestone.” The scribe motions for the guards to stand fast and smiles at the pair.

“My apologies, I mistook him for another Grimholder, they all look alike to me.” Opening the bag the scribe begins counting the falcons at an excruciatingly slow pace, going so far as to test the weight of suspicious looking coins. Even the normally patient dwarf seems irritated by the scribes antics. It’s not until the wizard steps forward, scoots the bag out of the way and taps on the table does the scribe take notice.

“Excuse me good sir, hi. How are you? Excellent. My name is Lusciano, Lusciano Aventro. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? No? Lucky Lusciano? Still nothing, huh? Oh never you worry, here’s the situation, we’re in town for a short period of time, we have a very special mission from a very special person, you may have heard of him, but we’re not allowed to tell you his name. All I can say is that he may or may not be a wizard and may or may not be of royal lineage. So that being said is there anyway we can speed up this process?” Lucky Lusciano places five gold lions onto the table hoping the bribe will speed the process up. The scribe, irritated by the group decides he has had enough of these outlanders and motions for the guards.

“Bribing a city official is capitol offense. Your request is forfiet and you shall…” The scribe is cut off before he can finish the sentence.

“That’s all right Cedric, these adventures are here at my behest. I asked them to obtain a charter so that everything can be legal when they assist me.” The scribe, Cedric, looks over to see Heward Ireabor step out of the shadows of the room. The arch-mage of the Cormyrian war wizards briskly dusts non-existent dirt from his impeccable purple robes. His neatly trimmed beard and shoulder length hair makes a dashing figure and he appears equally at ease in any setting.

“My apologies m’lord. I’ll get this done right away. What is the name of your company?” The scribe starts scribbling furiously with his quill.

“The Brotherhood of the Griffon,” states the barbarian, Bulwark, stepping forward.

“I heard the Brotherhood was wiped out in the northern wildlands, how did you come about this name?” Asks Prince Heward with genuine interest.

“I met a warrior in Skullwatch named Falin, he asked if I could help rebuild the brotherhood. So I came here to obtain a char-ter of adventuring.” Bulwark smiles at the scribe at remembering the name. The dwarf, Stone, puts his and over his face and the wizard, Lucky, just looks down and shakes his head. Prince Heward smirks and motions for the Cedric to continue.

“Can I get your names, any titles you carry, and your profession?” asks Cedric.

“In the effort to save time, allow me. The tall, dark, and shirtless one is Bulwark the Barbarian. He claims to have no last name, nor any title to speak of. My Short companion is, as he said, Ulric Runstone. We call him Stone for short. He is a warrior from Morridan. The quiet elf is Soranthena Hai Gwaedhel, we call her Sora; she is a Spellsword from some far away place I never learned to pronounce. And I am Lusciano “Lucky” Aventro, Halruuan wizard."

“And you are the leader of this group?” asks Cedric.

“Me? No; what would give you that idea. Bulwark is the leader.” Both Cedric and prince Heward look at the mage in astonishment.

Cedric quickly finishes the charter and sprinkles some sand to help it dry. “M’lord, would you like to sign this yourself?”

“Yes of course.” Prince Heward leans over the table, whispers and incantation, and a purple sigil appears on the page. “Now, if you four will accompany me. We’ll discuss that special mission you aren’t suppose to be talking about.”

Lucky gulped at the idea of what the arch-mage may have in store for them.

The Citadel of the Northern Dawn
The Tale of Sir Drake

The stables at the Citadel of the Northern Dawn bustle with activity. A young squiring, bearing the tabard of the drake family fervently polishes his liege’s armor; he directs one of the stable boys carrying rations to the tall, white mare in the center of the stable. Another stable boy cleans the hoofs of the mare as Brother Dunstan walks quietly past. Brother Dunstan, the abbot of the Citadel, looks aged beyond his years. His white hair is thin and wispy and his robes are thick to ward off any chill in the night air. His eyes are white with blindness from what he tells is looking too long at the Morninglord’s greatness. He walks with a gnarled ash staff, both to prevent him from tripping over things his failing sight misses, and to support his bent, hunched frame. Rarely does he come out to the stables and each of the young boys stop and look in awe. An aging knight wearing the tabard to the Order of the Purple Dragon quickly packs his saddle bags. He inspects each item, weighing its usefulness before thrusting it into the saddle bag or tossing it aside. Despite all of the old abbot’s ailments, he makes no noise as he approaches the knight. If the knight notices the abbot, he shows no sign.

“Sir Drake, may I have words with you?” asks Brother Dunstan.

“My path is clear Sun Father, I will not be dissuaded. The Morninglord has put this quest upon me.” Sir Corwin Drake turns to look at the abbot, his eyes resolute with his task.

“But it is late Sir Drake. In the dawn, beauty reigns, and the way is clearer.” The abbot’s pity is apparent on his face.

“This dragonborn is going to need my help. He was only given his station because he is not expected to survive the summer.”

“Do not speak so loudly my son, even the Citadel cannot dwell in the sun all times.”

“I thought Lathander’s protection was absolute.” Sir Drake regrets the statement as soon as he says it.

“I am not your enemy here Sir Drake. This dragonborn is young and impetuous. Your blade is valued, and if you leave now it will be noticed. Take heed of your actions. This baron is unpopular with the other Purple Dragons, not just the nobles. Those who oppose him will not stand idly by. You risk your family name and the life of those who follow you.”

Sir Drake stops packing to turn towards the abbot, his jaw clenched. “I will not stand idly by while those same people take actions against him. My family name is Drake, I risk it by doing nothing. If I fail, I will do so with honor, keeping the vows my family made to the dragons.”

Brother Dunstan smiles sincerely, “Then I will do what I can here. I have a quest for you Sir Drake.” The abbot hands the knight something wrapped in yellow silk. Sir Drake unwraps the silk to reveal a simple brass rod. With an impish smile he says, “This is the Sun Rod, I need you to take it to the Temple of Winter’s Morning.”

Sir Drake looks quizzically at the abbott. “Where is the Temple of the Winter’s Morning? I’ve never heard of it.”

Shrugging, Brother Dunstan turns to walk back to the Citadel. “I don’t know, only Brother Monroe knows, and he left with the pushy dragonborn a tenday ago.”

Smiling, Sir Drake places the rod in his saddle bag.

The echoes of armored boots resound against the stone walls as lone figure walks the castle hall. His Purple Dragon tabard is clearly visible, but his face is shadowed in the hood of his purple cloak. He stops at a suit of full plate bearing the engravings of King Azoun. Another figure masked in the shadows of the armor stands waiting.

“Please tell me you have something interesting.” The figure beside the armor speaks as if bored, but the knight knew better. It is a dangerous game they play, the nobles of Cormyr.

“Sir Drake has left to aid the dragonborn.”

“That fool. We can’t have him saving this lizard to strengthen his position. Make sure that Sir Drake is unable to complete his duties. If the lizard causes problems, help the giants finish what they’ve started.”

“Another thing, my lord; Brother Dunstan has sent Sir Drake to take the Sun Rod to the Temple of Winter’s Morning.”

“Bah, I think the abbot would send more knights to protect a piece of the Rod of Seven Parts. It’s a fool’s errand to throw others off. Even still, if you find the Rod on him, bring it to me.”

“Yes my lord.” The Purple Dragon turns sharply and walks down the corridor whence he came. The figure besides King Azoun’s armor thinks momentarily before traveling down the hall in the other direction.

A Letter of the Knight

It was late when Giogioni received the missive from his former knight and his face shows no emotions as he finishes reading it for the fifth time. He dismisses Baalthazar’s courier with a wave of the parchment, who bows as he exits the room. The dragonkith has always been honest and forthright, but cannot help but feel the beast understands the politics of the land well. They had once discussed securing the northern barony in the name of the Wyvernspur family and his ascension to baron was somewhat of a surprise, but perhaps the lizard was honest in his wishes and still seeks give the Wyvernspur house more holdings. The baron of Skullwatch reads the letter one last time, as if the parchment will reveal the lizard’s true intentions.

To Lord Giogioni of Skullwatch,
I send tidings of friendship from the Barony of Drachenheim and hope you are in good health. When last we spoke, we discussed many things including the fate of White Beard’s Landing. As you may well know, it is becoming the raiding season here on the north shores, and I fear I may not be able to stave off the ill foes that wash upon these rocks. My retinue, while faithful servants, are not trained in the matters of keeping up with the subtleties of running a barony. Perhaps you could send one of your kin that I could name as my warden, assist with running the barony and perhaps take over if I should befall some cruel fate in the coming months. Fear not, the protection of the Morninglord is absolute.
— Lord Baalthazar of Drachenheim

Perhaps a consort, one of his daughters would be the only sure way to lay claim on the lands should the Dragonkith fall, but another family member in his house may prove a suitable replacement. Giogioni decides he will sleep and send a reply in the morning.

And in the Shadows I Awaken....

Kuffuzle sat bolt upright in his small cot nestled within a cottage in White Beard’s Landing. It was well past the midnight hour and even in the month of Mirtul the nights were damp, cold and lonely. The little gnome though felt warm…no, he was hot, as if he awoke in the cramped and sweltering hold of some merchant dhow adrift with no wind in its sails somewhere west of Bijapur upon the Burning Sea.

In fact, he was, or he had been…whilst slumbering away bundled in his cot in that chilly seaside cottage, dreaming of far-off places with strange names. Yes, that’s it, he thought….twas nothing but a dream.

He shivered a bit as his sweaty skin caught a cold draft entering into his darkened room. He listened to the waves of the Sea of Storms as they rhythmically lapped, beat upon and washed up upon the rocks which made the nearby sea wall.

I must get back to sleep, he told himself sternly. Kufuzzle and his companions had been kept busy since Sir Baalthazar had taken up the barony.

As Kuffuzle lay back down and bundled his blankets around himself so that he could slip into a more restful slumber, within his mind, he again saw the vision of the dark nighttime waters of the Burning Sea…the dreams quickly found him again. This time he was floating upon some wreckage of the figmentary merchant dhow. Within his dream Kufuzzle’s mind was searching for some comprehension as to what had happened to the dhow and that is when he heard the low octaves of the whisper of a massive being echo within his soul….

…..“And in the Shadows I Awaken……”

The Blind Bard Lodge

As Renny proceeds to drink with his new found friends at the Blind Bard Lodge, he hops on the table and says..

“A dwarf goes to a cleric of Sharindlar, the Goddess of healing, and says,

‘Claric, it’s me ahrse. I’d like ye ta teyk a look, if ya woot’.

So the cleric gets him to remove his Culet and takes a look.

‘Incredible’, he says, ‘there is a platinum tricrown lodged up here.’

Tentatively he eases the piece out of the dwarf’s bottom, and then a two gold lions appear.

‘This is amazing!’ exclaims the cleric. ‘’What do you want me to do?’

‘Well fur gadness sake teyk it out, man!’ shrieks the dwarf.

So the cleric pulls out the lions and another tricrown appears, and another and another and another….. Finally the last coin comes out, no more appear, and the dwarf says,

‘Ah claric, tank ye koindly, dat’s moch batter. Just out of interest, how moch was in dare den?’

The cleric counts the pile of coins and says, ‘all total it equals 1,995 gold lions.’

‘Ah, dat’d be roit,’’ says the dwarf,

‘I knew I wasn’t feeling two grand.’"

The Tale of Jotenfell

The Blind Bard Lodge is not your typical ale house. The owner, a former travelling bard by the name of Rudvig FireTwyst, is a dwarf and caters to the performing arts. The Lodge is painted in bright colors with multi-colored sheets of fabric draped along the ceiling and down the walls. The main room is brightly lit and reminiscent of a large tent. Ludvig seems particularly jovial as the members of his old performing troupe, Clan FireTwyst are in town and staying at the lodge. A young half-elven bard plays ‘Hymn of the Haunted Hall’s on a hammered dulcimer. Renny quietly hums along as writes in the leatherbound journal Zashier had purchased for him. The girl plays decent, but Renny involuntarily flinches whenever she hits the c-note. No one else seems to notice that she plays slightly of tempo when she hits the chord.

At the table next to Renny, a group of grizzled watchmen drink their day’s wage away. One of their companions, a particularly gruff looking fellow with a patch over one eye, returns with four fresh steins of ale.

“Did you see the dragonfolk that came into town carrying the giant’s head? Two of them there were.” Claims one of the patrons has he took another swig of his ale.

“aaahhh, ye didn’t see anythin’. Yer just tryin’ to impress the wenches. Next you’ll be sayin’ that you were havin’ mead and swappin’ stories about yer adventurin’ days… before ye took an arrow in the knee.” His companions roared with laughter causing old one-eye to grimace.

“I did to see ‘em. I was workin’ the west gate when ‘e came through, Sir Ball-spar the great. He was as big as a giant ‘isself, carrying the ‘uge ‘ead of the monster on a pike as ‘e rode into town. He ‘ad near a dozen servants following ‘im. One of them gave me this pamphlet.” Old one-eye holds a pamphlet as proof. “He wore the crest of Skullwatch on his tabard. I ‘eard tell that he slew a dragon too.”

Renny looks up from the journal he had been scribbling in. “Excuse me good sirs. If you care to hear the tale, I would be happy to share it with you.”

The watchmen glare back at the Halfling, more embarrassed that they failed to notice him sooner. The watchmen each grab their, mostly empty, coin pouches before one asks, “Who in Tartarus are you?” Renny clamber up and stood on top of the table.

“I am Renny the Bold, Herald of Sir Baalthazar the Mighty. I can tell you first-hand what happened at the Jotunheim as I was there.” The four watchmen, as well as a number of other patrons, stop talking to hear the Halfling, who is bemused by their astonished looks. The half-elf smoothly transitions from the sullen song she was playing to the ‘Purple Dragon’s Charge’, a faster past more dramatic piece. The accompaniment was not lost on Renny.

“You see it was a hard four-day ride from White Beard’s Landing to find the giant’s lair. A snow storm had moved in, and many of us were worried that we would not be able to return to our camp, for fear of falling to winter’s last grasp. Sir Baalthazar never wavered; he took the time to breathe fire to keep us warm and dry on our trek and spoke with us of the need to fell this vile invader to our north lands. Now the cave itself was no hidden secret as hill giants do not fear much, but hike up to the opening was taxing.

We entered the cave in the early morning; Baalthazar believed this would be the best time to attack, as we would have the blessing of the Morning Lord at our backs. The cave itself was cold and dank, a fetid odor hung in the air that could only be the smell of foul giants latest victims. From the cave entrance, Baalthazar sent his trusted scout into the cave. What we had not counted on was the scores of orks that had gathered to the evil giant’s side. The caves were literally crawling with the foul beasts. No sooner than the scout turned the corner than he was beset by them.

The group ringed its defense, but Sir Baalthazar knew the group could not withstand an onslaught of orcs. The Mighty knight ran forward to stop the orcs from swarming from the main passage. Sir Baalthazar is truly blessed by the Morning Lord, he stood valiantly as the rest of us dealt with the few orcs that made it past. Suddenly, the ground began to shake and we could hear the large footsteps as the giant approached. What we had not expected, was that the giant was not in the caves. He came up behind the Blue Company from the entrance, and scattered us with a swing of hulking club. The foul giant was titanic, easily 3 times the height of even Sir Baalthazar and his club was actually a small tree stripped down to an enormous cudgel, twice the size of a large man. I look to my lord, but the orcs, emblazed by the appearance of their leader swarmed Sir Baalthazar. Three orcs, then half a dozen, then a dozen, then a score; wave after wave surge against the mighty Baalthazar until the unthinkable happened, Sir Baalthazar fell. For the first time, I feared for my life and I am ashamed to say that I thought about abandoning my liege lord.

The giant stood in the cave entrance keep us at bay. The wizard managed to obscure the thing’s sight, and it was swinging its huge club blindly through the air just trying to connect with something. It kept the others from being able to approach the entrance. I was fairly certain I could slip out, but something stopped me from making my escape.

A mighty roar arose from where Sir Baalthazar had fallen. As I looked hopefully to my lord, I saw the orcs engulfed in flames, writhing in agony. The ground shook and rocks fell, and Sir Baalthazar stood unscathed in the flames of his kith. Sir Baalthazar strode forward and let out a mighty gout of flame on the giant as the bodies of the orcs burned behind him. Their pitiful wails were unnerving, even to this giant, the scourge of the Northern Marches. Blinded and burnt, I think the giant knew the battle was lost, because it tore out of there like scalded dog. I think we all exhaled a sigh of relief, but Sir Baalthazar did not hesitate; he gave chase to the giant. We were hard pressed to keep Sir Baalthazar in our sights. Luckily, the giant’s path was easy to follow for all the trampled brush and uprooted saplings.

When we finally caught up to Sir Baalthazar, he had the giant corned in a small glen. The beast swung his great club in wide arcs, and threw rocks the size of a small man at us. It snarled like a wolf caught in a hunters trap. We attacked from a distance hurling arrows and spells at the thing, yet it did not fall until Sir Baalthazar ran forth and buried his twin swords into the giant’s chest and the thing pitched backwards like a fell tree.

As we sat there in the glen, joking about the battle the battle, I ask Sir balthazar, ‘Why did we come all the way out here in the backwaters of Cormyr to fight this giant?’ and do you know what he told me? He simply said ‘it needed to be done.’

Now, who wants to play a game of knuckle-bones?”


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