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Roshim's take on Mitch's escape from the Frost Giants
Winter's Heat: A tale of heroism, courage, and love in the shadow of the cold unfeeling Frost Giant brutes.

Mitch wasn't sure if he had ever been this cold, and his body hurt. His right eye was swollen shut and he could only see a little
through his left. Wherever he was is was dark, cold, and dirty. "Damn those giants hit hard" he mumbled as he tried to sit up.

A gentle hand pressed into his bare chest and kept him from moving. "Try not to move to much. I have bound your wounds the best that I can, but if you move to much you will tear them open again." a quiet voice whispered.
"Where am I?" asked Mitch.
"You are in the Frost Giants prison. Here drink this, I was able to save you some food as well" the stranger held a bowl to his lips.
Mitch hadn't realized just how thirsty he was and drank deeply. "I am your cellmate Richard, and I have been looking after you. Not sure what you did to the giants, but you sure must have pissed them off. I don't think I have ever seen someone so beaten up. And that cut on your inner thigh, if it had been any deeper you would
have bleed out. I should probably check on that again... make sure you haven't torn it open again." His warm gentle hand slid down his chest, past his stomach and started to move his dirty loincloth to the side. Mitch caught his hand before it went under the small slip of cloth.
"Why are you helping me? You don't know me, I might be a bad man." Mitch said.
Richard laughed "Aren't we all." there was an amused sparkle in his beautiful blue eyes. Then Ricky moved the cloth aside and began to tend to his wound with a tenderness that Mitch had never had shown to him before. "While I am making sure everything down here is in working order why don't you tell me how such a powerful man finds himself in the clutches of a bunch of Frost Giants." As Richard's delicate fingers traced one of his old scars he said "I can see this isn't the first time you have been in combat"
Mitch sighed as Ricky tended to him and eased his pain.
"My name is Mitch and I am a bad man, or at least I have done bad things. I have killed many people, and the weight of it has made my soul heavy. I have done what others didn't have the courage to do. Sometimes bad men are necessary to save the world. You see the world is in great danger and I have gathered a group of adventurers to stop the coming apocalypse. The giants will bring about the end of the world if they are allowed to continue their plans. Which is why I came here with one of my group to steal the conch from the Frost Giant Jarl. With it he would have killed countless innocents. I couldn't allow that. We snuck into the throne room and I stole the conch, which they didn't like very much. I killed many of them, but the Conch was more important than my life so I tossed the Conch to the Cleric of my party and told him, "Roshim take the Conch and run. I will hold them off. You must save the world."
He caught the Conch and with tears in his eyes said, "Mitch... you will always be remembered. I will tell all of your bravery!"
I then killed four more Giants and a Winter Wolf before they overwhelmed me and brought me down. They tortured me trying to get the location of the Conch, but I would not bend! There is nothing they can do to me to force me to talk, they can't ever be allowed to blow the Conch and unleash the horror." Mitch then looked to Richard to find him looking at him with admiration and sadness. "You have sacrificed so much." Richard said with genuine sorrow in his voice as a tear slid down his face. "Rest now, I will watch over you as you sleep." Mitch was still tired, and world weary, maybe it was a good idea to rest...
Sometime later he awoke to a gentle tugging and soft hands tending to him. "Good you are awake. You were asleep for a long time and although I have tended to all of your needs the jailers won't give food to those who are sick or unconscious. Hopefully my administrations have relieved your tensions and aided in your recovery."
"Thank you Richard, would it be ok if I called you Ricky, Richard just seems so formal now. I do feel a bit more relaxed and a little stronger today. I am not sure I would be better cared for if I were being tended to by the goddess Sune herself."
Ricky's cheeks colored above his salt and pepper colored beard and he shyly looked away. "I do what I can Mitch. I haven't lived as exciting a life as you have, but I did learn some healing techniques from my villages elder. I wish that I had payed more attention now to his teachings so that I could ease your suffering more."
Mitch smiled and gazed at Ricky as he turned to get something from beneath his tattered blanket. Ricky was thin from being jailed for so long, but he was still fit and strong. As he continued to search under his blanket his loincloth creeped up higher. "Here it is" Ricky said as he stood up. "It's not much, but you need to eat and get your strength back up." he handed Mitch a stale loaf of bread which he ravenously began eating.
The rest of that day went by with each man telling stories of their past, what their hopes for a future might be, and ultimately how they would escape the Frost Giant prison. That night as the huddled together for warmth Ricky looked into Mitch's eyes and said "I am not sure why, but right now with your arms wrapped around me I feel some hope for the future. I have been here for so long that I had given up hope. But now..."
Mitch pressed his finger to Ricky's lips "Shhh. I know. We will find a way out together if I have to tear this place down brick by brick. Ricky you have awakened something in me I thought was long dead." They embraced tighter and drifted off to sleep.
"It's been two days!" the Jarl's voice rang out startling the two awake. "Where is it!? Where is the Conch!?"
Ricky rubbed the sleep from his eyes as Mitch stood up to face the angry giant. "I told you two days ago I don't know and even if I did I wouldn't tell you where it was. Your evil plans have failed! You will never get the Conch!"
"I knew that's how you would respond so I made other plans." he made a gesture, "He is all yours red wizard. Do with him what you will." Then the Jarl turned and left as a figure began to materialize just outside of the cage.
"At last I have you in my grasp. You thought you could disrespect a Red Wizard of Thay and live to tell of it. How foolish you were. You will regret the day you crossed me!"
Mitch gave a shrug and mockingly said, "Oh no the big bad red wizard has come for me. What ever shall I do."
Sputtering with rage the Red Wizard spat, "You mock me now, but after I have peeled your skin off you will mock me no more! But for now how about I just cause you pain!"
He then cast a spell that hit Mitch with waves of crippling pain. He tried to ignore it but the pain was to much and he fell screaming to the floor.
"Stop that you evil red asshole!" Ricky screamed.
As Mitch twitched on the ground he watched in horror as the wizard looked at Ricky and laughed, "Here is something for you too then!" and he cast a spell that engulfed Ricky in flames. In slow motion Mitch watched as Ricky fell to the ground burning and something inside him snapped. He no longer felt the pain and stood up.
"I love the smell of burnt flesh don't you?" The wizard asked Mitch. "That was diverting, but time to get you back home so that the real fun can begin!" and he began casting again.
"No." Mitch said and countered his spell.
"You can't resist me!" the wizard shouted and cast again.
Mitch countered that spell as well "I said No." and he cast scorching ray at him, but they passed through him as if he wasn't there.
"Fine then you can just drown then." he cackled and cast something then disappeared.
Mitch ran over to Ricky who was still burning. "Ricky hang in there I will get you fixed up!"
"To late. Mitch I... I..." he began coughing up blood.
"No! I can fix this!" Mitch sobbed.
Ricky struggled to smile at Mitch despite his horribly burned face. "You beautiful man... Stay strong for me... and save the world... I love..." Then Ricky's body was wracked with coughing
then he sighed and moved no more.
"NOOOOOO!" Mitch cried as the wizards laughter filled the air. That was when he noticed the water rising around him. The wizard was flooding the room with a torrent of water. He had
to escape, he had to live on for Ricky. But how? He had no spells that will set him free. Yelling in rage he cast every spell he knew, then something unexpected happened. One of the
spells went wild and there was a flash of light and he was outside. He cast invisibility on himself and ran out of the Frost Giant stronghold. Only after getting safely away did he
take the time to mourn the loss of Ricky. Why must he always loose that one he loved? Tears poured from his eyes and the gut wrench loss hit him fully.
"Hey there Mitch. It's me Roshim. We are about an hour away. Need our help to escape? By the way who is Ricky?" Mitch chocked back his tears and responded to the sending.
"Roshim I escaped. Going to try to get my stuff back. It's been a bad day. Will meet you at rendezvous. Ricky was cellmate." Ricky was his cellmate, friend and so much more. The tears came
again and he let them. Soon he would need to save the world, but for now there was only grief and tears.

(note to reader. Several pages of the story were torn out, but on the scraps of paper are words like "his strong hands gripped... as he gasped in pleasure... his warrior stood proudly...)

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Holding Pattern
(Doing this assuming we're staying in Burnchander for at least a night)

Nothing, nothing again. I really should be used to this by now.

Dornan looked at himself in the scratched and worn mirror as he finished washing his face. No weapon, no armor. Nothing left to him but his life. His eyes looked down at the reflection's neck, then away from the mirror down to his left hand.

The ring was gone again, and now her symbol with it. He only frowned idly. It wasn't real yet, he knew that.

"Just not holding onto anything lately, are we?"

Dornan didn't turn to look. There was no one else in the old tavern's washroom, and he'd know the voice anywhere. The mage let out a tired sigh and shook the excess water from his fingers.

"Suppose not. You want something, or is this just a social call?" He started buttoning his shirt, giving a moment's glance to the growing dark spot on his chest over the heart.

More problems for later, I guess.

"Well, a thank you would be a good start." Dornan didn't react as the skeletal hand rested on his shoulder. "At the very least, it couldn't hurt your chances."

"Yeah, that's fair." The mage put a hand on the skeletal digits, removing the offending limb without looking in the mirror at the presence behind. "Thanks for helping me out for once. Couldn't have done it without you or whatever."

Dornan put down the mirror and finally turned to face it. "I know you don't give a shit, but does this really need to be a thing right now? Hasn't enough happened in the past few days?"

He paused.

"Haven't you had more than enough chances to do whatever this is in that time?" He leaned against the washbasin, waiting with whatever patience was still left to him.

"No, no I suppose not." The shade drew back slowly, leering at him from beneath the folds of the hood. "But I'll leave you with one thing to dwell on before I go." It stepped forward, jabbing a skeletal finger into Dornan's chest.

"In your desperate moment, there were no allies. There were no gods." Beneath the hood the shade's eyes burned like distant stars in a sea of blackness. "There was only me. I am all that is left for you, in this world and any other."

Darkness filled the room, and as it faded away a distant laugh echoed in the silence.

Once again alone in the washroom, Dornan scowled at the space where the shade had been just before. "It's not like you would ever let me forget anyhow." The mage scoffed and reached for the flask that he always carried. It wasn't until after nearly a full minute of searching that he remembered the last place it had been.

Without thinking Dornan quickly turned and swatted the washing bowl off of the counter. "I fucking hate today."
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From A Desk
I’m writing all this here to make sense of things, but in spite of that none of it makes any sense.

No one’s been right since that dream. It isn’t showing on everyone unless you know what to look for. Mistmi’s hand hesitates before pressing against the trigger of her weapon. Pearl’s legs and shoulders have adopted a permanent sense of tension, as if she’s ready to bolt any second. Orn moves and looks like he’s carrying an invisible weight as big as that dragon we saw just before the end. For the life of me I don’t know what to do about Roshim.

I don’t know if he’s ever taken the life of another person before now. What do I say to him about that? Don’t do that thing that’s guaranteed to remove bad people from the world? I don’t get to throw that stone. Not now, not ever. The number of dead in my wake is enough to bury me if I ever pull that sanctimonious card, and if I try I deserve to be crushed under them. We’re a mess right now, and with everything that’s happening we can’t afford to be. Too much rides on our decisions.

Do we even have a right to be shaping the power dynamics of an entire race? Do we understand what will happen if we’re wrong? Are there even right choices for this, or is it just a matter of putting the most amenable breeds at the top or hoping for the best? Is there a best? I have to believe for the most part that giants are little more than giant people, and people aren’t so easily lumped together. History has proven that much at least.

Whatever we do and however we choose to go about this won’t be the end of things. Our choices will have, HAVE had consequences. We’re being watched by bigger and bigger players in this game, and there’s not much to be done about that.

I’m not cut out for this. Them? The others? They can do this. It’ll be hard and it will force them to make tough choices along the way, but me? That’s not me. I’m just a con man, here and gone in a day or two with as much coin as I can swindle from people that are better than me.

No. No, no… I think I can fix this.

[At this point the flow of the writing changes, as if the page was left and then returned to.]

Yeah. Yeah, I think I can fix this!

I’ve spent a lot of time watching them, I have notes on how to bring each of them down if I need to… but it works in reverse as well! If I can recognize the signs, look for the tells that indicate problems I can help them to shore up those areas!

Alright, this can work. This HAS to work. No one would be trying to tear us down in our sleep like this if we didn’t stand a chance of success to begin with. I’m going to watch them, without them knowing it if I can manage. For this to be effective it’ll have to be that way. They can be mad at me for prying later, in the meantime I can help them to keep themselves alive.

I’ll record what I can on each person as I discover it, in the meantime I have work to do.
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Whoever is watching us? Whoever just decided to take her face and warp it to their own ends? To make me watch as she burned away to nothing a SECOND time?

That was your last mistake.

I'm going to find you. I'm going to take everything you have. I'm going to take everyone you have. There is nowhere in the heavens, the hells, or any other plane that will save you from me.

Pray, if you are the sort. Run, if you are able. But while you do so? Keep this one little thing in mind.

You won't escape the inevitable.
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Orn's thoughts
I commit these thoughts to writen words.
After many months with this group, and I cant imagine finer folk to be traveling down this road with. However I feel that I should be doing more. There are things that I vaguely remember from my childhood, taught to me by my detested father, while I called Norland home.
The ways of my kin say a mother who died giving birth is a noble hero, and she gave birth to a son at that. One would assume a man like my father would feel honored and blessed, instead of spiteful, and cruel.
I cant help but think back to that last beating I received from him, even if I did kind a earned it by sneaking on to his raiding boat as child. Blast that sea sickness. I can still remember the point when the raid fleet was attacked near Calimshan shores, and the ship sinking underneath me. I can recall awaking in the home of Fabron and his daughter Adela, and when I first met Wiltummil in Ormpur. But not once can I remember seeing my father's loving smile.
Ah but at last not to get carried away I need to train, maybe I should ask the others for assistance, maybe some sparring matches?
"Follow where I go" he says, and I follow twin tracks in the snow. Curving and banking past the evergreens, he turns, lighting fast, and shoots. Swift as a serpent through the air. And it thuds home, I cannot see where "stay on your toes!" he orders, and with a swish of fir branches, he is gone. I follow, tracking as I can, as if one could track a god; it is only that I know he wishes to be found that I have any hope.- excerpt of In Praise of Uller
Master of rain and torrents, son of the strength of the Mother Earth, I ask you to grant me that strength for myself.

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