Fredas, 17th Second Seed

Writing this before setting off again immediately for Goldenfields. We’ve ridden our mounts hard through the night to Waterdeep with no interruptions. Headed straight to the spires of the morning to try and get a message sent to the town in advance. Renald was tremendous assistance of course and got the priests helped us send a message to the town in advance but the abbot at Goldenfields refuse to evacuate the town! The best we can get was a warning. We’re too exhausted to press on, so we’ve hunkered down for the night before setting out at first light.

Loredas, 18th Second Seed

We’ve gotten in a full day of riding but despite my urging to ride on, the group don’t want to arrive exhausted. It’s a reasonable concern but I can’t help but think well be too late, with the head start the giants have on us. We camped in a somewhat secure location and Lilli has cast a magical trap that will alert us if something closes in. I’ll settle in for a quick nap before taking the second watch.

Sundas, 19th Second Seed

We did well to survive today’s ambush. I was awoken not much longer after my shift, thankfully the rouge, Luke spotted the party of ogres, bugbears and goblins that were fast approaching our camp. I’m concerned about how they found us so easily and if they were a mere scouting party but there’s no time to worry about that now.

The group was split up and disorganised due to being out of position to defend against the likes of ogres. The druid, John showed us just how much of a grasp of nature he had by trying to use roots to keep the ogres in place, but they smashed apart them in fairly short order. Sancho the ranger, John and others all took knock down blows in the fight but we managed to keep everyone alive long enough.

We planned to press on today but we are far to exhausted to continue. We have some in the party that are seriously wounded so Sparky and I tend to the wounded. We will have to lose a day to rest up.

Morndas, 20th Second Seed

Lathander calls upon me again this night. This time we sit on a branch of a tree, overlooking the valley that is rife with people feeling, a stamped, hundreds, thousands. They stream from nearby mines and open field. From this vantage point, I can see shield dwarves and humans alike fleeing. I see now they are fleeing a mounted figure, in a grey-black robe. I can’t make out the detail clearly from here. I’m oath-bound to protect these people. Lathander silently offers me a shield from his left hand or a sword from his right.
The shield holds symbolism I recognise as Murdane, lesser deity and lover of Helm. The sword holds the blue-green wave opposing waves symbolising the Bitch Queen, Umberlee. I chose the sword. This is my choice. I pause momentarily, judging the task before me, kneel and swear to Lathander my Oath of Vengeance. I set off sword in hand in pursuit of the robed figure as the morning sunlight washes over everything.

The sunlight through the tent wakes me. We set off for Goldenfields as soon as we have broken fast, and ensure everyone is able to travel.

We reach the towering walls late in the afternoon. The guard conducts a quick search and allows us through unmolested. There isn’t much concern about out warning from the guards. But others have. A lady, Zi, has taken exception to the preparation and is loudly arguing with the Captain Strog, we learn later is the captain of the guard. Lilli talks to her as we proceed into town and finds out some of her ideas on how the town could be better prepared. She keeps her eyes downcast and her eyes evasive as she appears to believe her gender does not grant her status, but she clearly has fire in her soul. Giants have attacked recently but it sounds like a probing attack, and it has been ignored. It helps us see the weakness of the guard - they believe their mighty walls will keep them safe. We need to convince Strog the defenses need work but considering his mood, I’m not inclined to argue with a hot-headed orc when he’s in such a foul mood.

Upon the way, we met Lifferlas, a talking tree. Talking sarding tree, of course, why not. Good thing I was at the rear of the party, so the expression of shock my face wasn’t noticed. Lifferlas is a tree many hundreds of years old, the protector of the village. He tells the children a story and we listen for a while, how can we not.

We head to the Northfurrows end Inn to break the news to the innkeeper Meros, that his mother has passed in the attack on Nightstone. He is rightly devastated, but happy to have Rillex returned to him. Lilli was unhappy to lose her pet, but by nightfall, she had turned her familiar into her tressum friend.

On the way out we met Naxene, a mage in the Order of Magus and Protectors. She is in town as a hireling of sorts and is scrying for the castle the giants are arriving in. Nobody has had any luck finding the castle but she is unfamiliar with the object, so we lend her a copy of Rillex’s owner’s diaries to help her become unfamiliar with Nightstones obelisk that was stolen, in the hopes it helps her with her spellweaving.

We have found out that Abbot Daravikof has Strogs ear, so we have decided that he is the best bet to bend Strog into being more serious about the threat. The town here worships Chauntea, sometimes lover of Lathander and the grain goddess. They may as well be a part of my order.

The Abbot was most concerned and was happy to listen to our advice on improvements to the town’s defence. Whilst he did not want to cause panic amongst the populace, we insisted we round up the villagers at a general meeting and inform them of the threat and to hide below ground in the tunnels at a moments notice of danger.

Strog was drunk when he showed up to the general meeting. I moved to try and talk some sense into him before the situation got out of hand, but before we met Luke had slipped his arm around Strog and talked the man up, convinced the drunkard the improvements were all his idea! We swung the meeting toward telling the town it was Strog’s idea and building up his ego. I must thank Luke later; if I had have led the conversation with Strog I’m certain it would have escalated into violence quickly.

With the town better defended we retired to the inn to have some more delicious GoldenGulp, the town’s signature ale. John communed with the cat again and discovered the damn think lied about the attack! It just wanted us to take it back to its owners’ son, and used us to get us here. The others took it better than I thought; however, I think Luke was eying off cooking and eating it as a second meal.

With the threat lifted, it’s finally time to relax a little. The last few days have been arduous and I could use a brew. The others have wandered off or rested, Lilli is furiously scribing and identifying spells to improve her abilities, John is meditating, Luke has gone into the night to search for the town gossip. I decided to go and have an ale with Meros, I’m sure the poor man could use some companionship right now. The man doesn’t have the nickname ‘the Yeti’ for nothing, he is a massive man! As I retired to bed, a few more GoldenGulps under the belt that I should have, I heard the screams from outside, cries of an attack.

I roused the sleeping John and Lilli and we rushed downstairs, calling for Naxene and Meros to join us. Outside, we can see that there is no alert raised! The fires on the walls have not been lit, the church bell silent. Naxene casts a firebolt into the sky as a warning; as the halfling bard from the inn runs up, breathlessly explaining that there are ogres and goblins in the town centre! The sarding things must have climbed the walls in the large gaps between towers, in between patrols.

We all run to the town centre where Lifferlas is being mobbed by two ogres and goblins. Two goblins run for reinforcements and the rest tried to take the children. Luke and Sancho prioritise the runners and bring them down with excellent bow shots from extreme range. Lifferlas is surrounded and taking quite a beating, bleeding sap, but still manages to strike devastating blows against the foes, massive tree branches smashing goblins into the dirt like flies and severely wounding the ogres. Meros run out alone, unarmored to tackle a bugbear. Literally. I’ve never seen a man crash tackle a bugbear before, and pick it up into a fatal bearhug.

After the battle, John notices that the armour of the goblins carries a stylised eye being pierced by a dagger on it. There’s no time to ask questions, however, as the alert has still not been raised. Lilli sends her tressum familiar on ahead toward the church tower and we rush into the church proper.

There is another pack of foes here, these wearing armor depicting a mouth biting a moon. The earlier goblins did call out to ‘get the moonbiters’, these must have been the reinforcements they were intending to bring to the earlier fight. Buy they concentrate their offence against the doors of the church, where a lone clergywoman stands defending the church. Zi.

She stands over the body of many dead goblins, defending against the attacks of 4 goblins at once with the fluidity and ease that only the training of a monk can provide. Hidden archers take a shot at her whilst we watch, and she merely catches the arrow inches from her face and quick as a flash throws it back at them. We join the fight from their flank, making as much noise and distracting as many as possible to stop her getting swamped.
Naxene digs deep into her reserves and fires a blinding bolt of lighting that sizzles down the line of ogres and bugbears but then we are surrounded. It is a hard fought battle before we down the last foe, only to see the sarding ranged goblins run for the fields toward the wall.

Lilli had sent her tressum familiar ahead so now the church bell is finally ringing and the signal fires are lit on the wall. After making sure Zi and the Abbot are safe, we leave to chase down the fleeing goblins through the cornfields.

After a short chase, we burst out of the cornfields into the dim light provided by the signal fires. The church bell is ringing in the distance, and the goblins climbing the 20ft wall in front of us are dimly lit as they clamber up it. We stop dead in our pursuit, however, as the ground rumbles and a large shuffling noise is heard on top of the wall. A towering hill giant slowly stands up to its full height on top of the wall, then easily drops down to our level, the ground shaking as it lands on one knee and a fist. I can feel the pressure of its war cry as it looks at our little party and let’s loose a roar. Only then can dimly see a second giant standing up to full height on the wall above us.

Things happened all at once. The group scattered for the spare cover that was available as one giant threw a rock directly at Sancho. I just saw it catch him square in the stomach and knock him completely to the ground and, Lilli and John rushing to pick him back up. I managed to stop the other one in its tracks with my holy symbol, infused with Lathander’s will. It distracted our other foe long enough to bring down the first Giant, felled by an arrow from Sancho, back on his feet.

The second giant was easier to tackle as we had time to position ourselves, but it didn’t stop it landing a few decent blows on me. It actually ended up surrendering! It was surreal talking to such a beast. It was as stupid as they come, and didn’t really seem to realise it was really hurting people. It was sent by a Giant Cheif, Guh. Whilst it was too dangerous to leave alive and in the township, but I couldn’t watch as Luke ended it. Can a creature too stupid to understand good or bad truly be evil?

Lilli’s familiar spotted activity by the gate into the town so we set off to investigate what was happening. Abbott Daravik was there looking a little lost, explaining that ‘Captain Strog’ was nowhere to be seen and their forces were leaderless. There was a small army in the forests near the gates. Ogres with some sort of sarding catapult system strapped to themselves, able to propel goblins over walls. Luke spotted a few Giants as well

From what the Abbot explained, they archers lined up on the walls kept the ogres to keep enough of a distance so they couldn’t get goblins over the walls. But they retreated far enough to stay out of the archer’s range. The troops clearly can’t find a way to break the stalemate, and without a leader, they won’t be able to.

I can’t let these people fall apart leaderless, and it’s more important than forgetting my time at Mirabar. I’ve taken command of these troops at least until we can resolve the crisis. A runner returns to the Abbott, explaining that the orc Strog has been found too drunk to even wake. What a disgrace to the uniform, any uniform. We’re not in any condition for a fight so we decided to take advantage of the stalemate and rest.

The Abbott wakes barely after we shut our eyes to inform us that Strog has been brought to him. The drunken orc was stripped then and there of his command and armour, hardly sober enough to resist. We insisted that Zi should be given command of the troops. She still looks down at the ground but there is fire in her soul. I’m sure she will grow into command quickly and do the city proud. Abbott Daravik was even kind enough to suit us up with some better equipment for the trials ahead before we returned to our slumber.

During tonight’s rest, Lathander and I stand further down the hill overlooking the same valley. I can see the people running closer now, and they do not move like humans should. Their legs and arms move somewhat jerkily, unnatural like they are an ill clockwork construct. Still, they run, shambling, streaming down the valley. I can see the mounted figure, the dark rider, moving amongst them. He wields a large double headed axe with a pointed shaft and flared, flat base. The deep blood red axe smoothly swings like a pendulum against the dark dawn background, cutting down the runners with ease. The fallen figures it leaves in its wake let off a mist which rises to the heavens with a faint, tortured scream.

Tirdas, 21st Second Seed

Today’s battle was fierce. We lost 15 of the town’s rank today in the battle. Our group fared better but not by much. We had to almost carry Sancho back into the town, and my shiny new plate mail is going to need the attention of a smithy if I ever want to fit back into it again.

After breaking fast, we quickly viewed the encroaching force over the walls. The Abbott has found 50 men trained in melee for us to take out to face the foes, with the remaining forces staying equipped with longbows upon the walls. We need to draw them into the range of the archers if we want to have a chance at this.

Our party, Zi, Naxene and Lifferlas stormed out the gates. We decorated Lifferlas’ branches with the heads of the giant’s we felled last night. The animate tree storms out the front, bellowing ‘come join your friends, Lob and Og’. We decided in advance we would aim directly to engage the four giants in front of us, whilst the foot soldiers split into two groups onto our flanks to engage the ogre and goblins to each side.

Lifferlas took the brunt of the opening volley, coming from the ogres firing sarding goblins at us! They used contraptions on their backs to propel them like a catapult at Lifferlas. We didn’t have to worry about taking care of the goblins at all.

The four giants fell upon Lifferlas whilst the archers rained down arrows on them - I tried to denounce one but failed, and had to resort to the ability to infuse a single word with Lathander’s will. As they wailed on Lifferlas, I managed to make two of them flee to remove them from the fight temporarily.

Despite Naxene cutting powerful blasts across them, Sancho’s expert colossus slaying ability, and Zi’s expert martial arts, they proved tough enough to knock down many of us. I took a particularly nasty blow immediately after seeing Sancho and Luke get lain low, and woke to John tending to me.

By then, Zi had moved too far forward to engage, taking Lifferlas out of the fight due to his slower speed and being too far behind the new front. Thankfully, with our combined damage and the archers on the wall the giants fell, then the ogres. The towns rank and file carried their wounded or dead whilst we regrouped inside.

The Abbott was tired but delighted at our victory. He suspects the town would not have fared well without our assistance, and I fear he is correct. They want to put on a rudding feast on the night, and we agree. Never been comfortable with events, but they have been a part and parcel of command from my experience.

Before resting, we had a meal at the inn. Luke quietly slipped off with a stranger that came in, returning with information he brokered. From what he’s gathered, the Giant activity is in many areas and are not isolated. He has been asked to go to the Bargewright inn at Womford. I think we may accompany him shortly if we can’t find any further leads on the flying castle we chased here.