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Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 1 — A Giant Waste of Time
~ first-day, 11th of Eleint, The Year of Wild Magic, morning
Nafni's Palace, Lugalpgotak Range

The next day, Skata left to show the pebble to her father and granduncle. She was gone for several hours. While she was gone, Szordrin was playing "catch" with the minotaur with one of Skata's ear studs, except that he was using telekinetic magic to float the jewelry just out of reach from the minotaur's leaps. This was quite a height, as the minotaur could jump nearly four feet straight in the air without a running start and, since he was almost eight feet tall and had such long arms, could reach about fifteen feet into the air. If he got a running start across the floor of Skata's bedroom, he could almost grab at it from twenty feet. In every case, however, Szordrin kept it just out of reach.

   When Skata returned, she was beaming with excitement. "Come! Come! You must ready yourselves to present before our chieftain, my granduncle. I am having Elda bring several mugs of warm water in which you can all bathe. Be quick, for he wishes to see all of you in two hours time."

   So they readied themselves as best they could. While few of them had any change of clothes, at least the baths left them feeling refreshed and smelling somewhat better.

   Before they entered the room, Szordrin held a copper piece between his fingers and cast a divination spell.

   The giant chieftain sat in a large meeting room at the head of a table. Several other giants also sat to his left and right. All were far taller than Skata, and they began to grasp that she was indeed only an adolescent. Szordrin glanced at each of them, his magic spell revealed to him that all five of the giants were more intelligent than the average human, and one of them seemed to have a deeper intellect than him, but all of them also had strong minds, and he could not sense any of their thoughts successfully beyond a strong sense of pride from the chieftain for his grandniece.

   Skata's granduncle stood to his feet with a delighted expression on his face, and he was over 25 feet tall. He was clean-shaven with handsome features and milky white skin and silver-colored hair. His looked like the clothes of a noble, and he wore a massive torc of gold around his neck and golden bracers also.

   To the side, a magical harp was playing a peaceful tune. The giant silenced the harp with a word and spoke to the adventurers in booming Common. "I am Nafni, et, son of Garth, et, sky-sailor,... but I shall not bore you with the usual giant introductions. You must be the tiny adventurers about whom my grandniece has told me. Welcome! Welcome to my palace, as much as it is such these days."

   "It is a great honor to be in such a grand palace as yours," said Hakam, trying hard to mimic the tone he had been taught from Jayce. "We believe that we have brought you an ancient stone of great importance to your clan."

   "And for that we are most thankful," said Nafni Garthson. "Indeed, we are in your debt. Consider our home your home; enjoy yourselves in our pools and in our sauna. Feel free to peruse the library of magic found within our walls and use whatever materials you find there. They go unused, as we no longer have any sorcerers among us. We also offer you this: We do not keep many treasures in tiny sizes, but we do have a collection of tiny coins and gems for occasions when we wish to trade with little people. Bard, present them with their gift."

   One of the other giants stood and walked around the table to them, carrying a large chest as if it were a small jewelry box. He set it to the ground with a thud and lifted back the cover. It was full of gold coins and several sparkling gems.

   Mythlos lifted the chest. He guessed that it was between 20 and 25 pounds in weight and informed his partners of this.

   "Now, such monetary reward does not fittingly reward you for what you have done," continued Nafni. "Are there any other ways we might offer assistance to you?"

   Szordrin held up the stone fragment he carried with the Interlink Consortium symbol. "Do you know anything about this symbol," asked Szordrin, "or about the Interlink Consortium?" The giant, Bard, took it carefully and handed it to Nafni, who held it close to his eyes and squinted to make out the interlinking circles.

   "No and no," said Nafni. "I do not know of either." He handed back the fragment to Bard.

   "We greatly appreciate your gift to us and the opening of your palace, Chieftain Nafni;" said Hakam, "however, what we need most is a way to our homes far to the south and west. When you raise your palace back to its rightful place among the clouds, would you so kindly be able to drop us off somewhere over the southern mountains?"

   "Ah, I fear my grandniece may have lacked complete understanding of the magic of a levitation runestone," said Nafni. "She is brilliant for her age and well-learned, but she is not learned in the art and discipline of the sacred path of runecasting.

   "The stone is crucial to raising this palace again, but it will take months before beginning the levitation ritual. It requires nearly a dozen runecasters, and we have only a few with us here. We will have to send word to our cousins in other clans to send some to us. Then, when enough have gathered, the ritual takes many days and great concentration, as each caster exhausts his or her full power to call clouds from all corners of the sky to join together at the ground. Then and only then can the magic of the runestone be activated — and only with great care. If properly activated, the clouds will become as solid as earth and our palace will rise again, though almost certainly while sustaining further structural damage.

   "Now, even if they can successfully raise the cloud, we do not control where it floats; we rely on the winds and Stronmaus' guiding. If Skata did not know this, truly, I am sorry."

   Szordrin asked Nafni if they knew of any portals out of the region. The giants did not. They also asked if the giants could spare a guide or a bodyguard for a journey over the Southern Shield, but they were told that all able-bodied giants would be preparing to raise the palace again. When shown the slab of giant poetry, Nafni did not recognize the tale nor the names mentioned. The only other request Nafni seemed able to grant, despite his offer for assistance, was to play music for the minotaur on the magic harp.

   When they had left the audience of Nafni Garthson, Leokas expressed his frustration. "This whole thing was a complete waste of time.

   "Hakam, is this not a violation of the agreement made to us?" asked Szordrin. "Why are you not more upset?"

   "It was not a written agreement or contract," said Hakam. "We may as well take a few more days here learning what we can from the library. Then, I suppose we have no choice but to head back the way we came and continue on to the Southern Shield."


So began another several days of down time for the adventurers. As they no longer were being hidden, they met many of the giants living in the complex, and all were kind to them, but they were treated more like children than like equals by the giants. They were given a collection of guest rooms, and the giants tried to find objects and means of making giant-sized things accessible. The giants exchanged the giant-sized coins that they had taken for human-sized gold coins and provided them with any other supplies they might desire.

   They met Bjorn, who was excited to meet them, even though his sister had won. "She beat me fair and square!" he said. He was 20-feet tall and had brass-colored hair like his sister, cut very short. He had several piercings in his ears and a ring in his nose. He was disappointed that the eighteen sled dogs were not in fact for him, but during the several days, he enjoyed playing fetch with the dogs in the wide open courtyard.

   Ilthian expertly mended Hakam's clothing and armor and sewed them all simple tunics to wear from material Skata provided for her, so they would have other clothing to wear besides their adventuring gear. She managed to make the garments for the elves more "elf-like" and Hakam's tunic more Calishite in style. (He had her redo it when it did not satisfy him the first time.)

   Ilthian also spent more time with the minotaur than the others, as the friendly beast was always wanting to play. Soon, she was acting almost like a nanny to him.

   The minotaur took delight in new discoveries each day. He was enthralled by colors and lights, and when one of the cloud giant residents noticed his interest in a magical torch, he gave him one to take with him.

   Mythlos and Szrodrin spent much of their time in the library. Mythlos focused intently on learning new spells and transcribing them into his spell book. Szordrin's spellbook, on the other hand, only had a single blank page remaining. Instead, he busied himself at the task of scribing scrolls.

   Szordrin also tried getting to know Cassiera better, as she was still the newest member of the party and the only one without a connection of some sort to Samber.

   She responded with her usual answer. "I fled the evil of my homeland and of my people," she said. "That is all there is to tell."

   "Do you not have a plan for your life?"

   "I have not thought that far ahead," she answered. "I would like to continue exploring the sorcerous powers I seem to be developing, but beyond that...? I wish to do something for good; I just do not know yet. It is not like I have had any choice since sneaking aboard The Daisy in Samarach as to where I could go. I am exiled just as you."

   For her part, Cassiera tried to learn more about herself. She hoped she might find something about her race among the dusty tomes, but the yuan-ti seemed of little import to the myths of the jotunbrud. The only history that she was able to learn was an acknowledgement that before the peak of giant civilization, one of the five Creator Races, known as the sarrukh, "twisted and corrupted the little peoples with the blood of serpents into monstrosities and aberrations, which were called 'man-snakes'."

   When she looked into the study of magic, she learned a bit more, for sorcery was apparently common among giants. She only vaguely understood the new powers she seemed to be developing, and she wanted to grow in her understanding of what was happening to her. She learned that a sorceress gained power through raw creative power, much like a skald composing a poem, and new abilities came with practice as one honed her inborn talent. She confirmed that what was true for her was true for all sorcerers; their first, rudimentary powers developed with puberty and were almost always the sign of the blood of some inherently magical beings flowing within. When she herself had first been able to create a tiny spark with her fingertips, she had thought that it was a natural sign of her coming to age, but it soon became clear that the creation of fire was not among the psionic powers common to her aha'ss, her bloodkin, nor to her ssrath, her lesser tribe. She had kept her power secret, fearing that she might be ostracized for it, and then she began to wonder if the God of Fire had perhaps chosen her for some special purpose. Unfortunately, Kossuth seemed an aloof deity. She hoped that somewhere on her rebellious flight from her homeland that she might find out more about the silent god whom she had chosen as her patron. She wondered what the point was of dedicating herself to such an entity if it did not care enough to guide her. On the other hand, the impressive feats that Hakam performed were proof that not all deities behaved like this. In any case, it did not seem like the cloud giants' palace was going to be the place to learn more about the elemental god of fire, for the giants' writings were focused solely on their own pantheon.

   Szordrin also identified the vial Hakam had found in the frost giant's cloak. "It is an elixir of love," Szordrin told Hakam, "a love potion. Shall I give it to Ilthian?"

   "You are a terrible liar for the thief you are," said Hakam. "What is it in truth?"

   "In truth, it is an elixir of truth," said the roguish wizard. "Whoever drinks it is bound to speak only the truth while the effect lasts."

   "I should make one of you drink it," said Hakam.

   "Surely you no longer need to make me drink it," said Cassiera. "I have more than proven myself to this group and saved your skins on several occasions now!"

   "Why would anyone not tell the truth?" asked the minotaur.

   Hakam tried to find information in the library regarding remorhaz, the polar worms that were said to infest the mountains to the south. He read a tome of famous monsters across the realms but only confirmed that the creatures were able to generate vast amounts of heat, which was how they survived in cold regions.

   Leokas tried to ignore his frustration at their current situation and passed the time crafting arrows from wood provided to him by the giants. Each day when he was ready to leave, Mythlos requested "just one more day" to learn more spells. Belvin, as usual, rode Kamil and relaxed, seemingly unconcerned with the group's lack of progress.

   Leokas did find something constructive to do, however, because of the minotaur. The young beast observed him crafting arrows and practicing his archery and became fascinated, asking Leokas to show him how to aim and shoot. Leokas was concerned — and rightly so — that a creature so strong as a minotaur might snap the drawstring, so he did not permit the minotaur to shoot his precious weapon. However, the wood elf agreed to craft the minotaur his own composite bow. Leokas had never before crafted a bow for such a large creature nor one with such a tight pull, so he delighted in the challenge. The giants had a good supply of quality woods from across Faerûn, and he began the long process of carving and layering the separate pieces of what would be a six-foot tall, recurved bow. Over the next several days, Leokas completed about a quarter of the process of making the new ranged weapon.
Session: 67th Game Session - Thursday, Mar 03 2016 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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