Against the Giants - Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, Parts 2 & 3
After taking a moment to regroup in the ice dome that was the lair of the remorhaz, the heroes set about waking their frost giant captive. With Krush holding the ebon blade of Blackrazor at his throat, the giant seemed a bit more willing to talk. Hornbeast asked him where they could find the Jarl, and he promised to show them a cave entrance at the bottom of the rift. Ella decided she would keep a close eye on the giant as they made their way past the jagged ice and mounds of snow and a rough ice stair ascending the far side. The group approached a cave entrance and the frost giant called out. What answered was not the Jarl they were expecting.

"Uh...wrong cave?"

A frost giant that was no more than a skeletal corpse in full armor accompanied by a massive winter wolf with frozen fur lurched out of the cave, bellowing in the giant-tongue that all entering its domain faced death. It seemed disinclined to negotiate. Krush engaged the great wolf as the black blade howled for souls, while Orosius and Hornbeast faced the undead giant. Soren and Rurik offered support, while Ella hurled spells and Ambrie and Sindri used their bows. The frost giant attempted to flee, only to be cut down. The battle was fierce, but the heroes proved triumphant. They found a frozen, iron chest in the cave, and after chipping away the ice they found a small fortune in coins and diamonds, and a shortbow made of dark wood. Known as Autumn's Flame, it had been crafted by gnomes in the hills of the north and was a bane to trolls. It was decided that it would do best in Sindri's hands. A fine, gray cloak that protected against both heat and cold found a new home with Ella.

Opting to head up the icy stair they had found, the heroes scouted a ledge along the far side of the glacial rift. As Ambrie scouted ahead into a frozen cave slick with ice and filled with thick mist, the heroes were nearly caught by surprise as a band of huge, white-furred, ape-like creatures moved up the ledge behind them. Yeti, a whole band of them, led by a massive Alpha female wielding a sword! Following a fierce battle, one that saw both Orosius and the yeti alpha plunge off the cliff to the floor of the rift 200 feet below (and survive!), the wounded heroes recovered the blade, which turned out to be no less than the Sword of Croodle! The icy blade had a will of its own, and none took it to wield, instead planning on returning it to the noble family out of Neverwinter to whom it rightly belonged.

There was a whole lot of hairy, angry, and ape-like after the party.

After a moment of rest, the heroes found more cave entrances along the ledge...a lot more. And a lot of frost giants. There was a fierce battle along the ledge and the cave entrances, with Rurik placing a blade barrier spell smack dab in the middle of the giants while Ella cut off their retreat with a wall of fire spell from her magical helm. One by one, the giants fell. Sorely wounded, the heroes holed up to rest for a short time.

After tending to their wounds, they pressed on along the ledge and into another set of cave tunnels leading off. They were ambushed from behind by a group of ogre mercenaries, the same Ambrie had seen on the far side of the rift! Apparently, they had been tracking the heroes and finally caught up to them. Despite their numbers, the heroes overcame the ogres and pressed forward. Ambrie and Sindri scouted a few caves ahead, and found several other giants - a small group of hill giants, a pair of fire giants, and a trio of stone giants, to be precise! No doubt emissaries from the various giant leaders, the fire giants' pet hell hounds heard the group approach. A potentially tense negotiation got underway, with Hornbeast (!) convincing the fire giants to let them pass and see the Jarl. The hill giants would have none of it though, and engaged the heroes in battle as a pair of frost giant guards came on the scene. The stone giants held up, intimidated the heroes' ferocity, and opted to let them pass as well. Both groups of giants agreed to let them give their "tribute" to the Jarl, though the fire giants warned that if the heroes came to their king's halls, the only tribute he would take would be to flay them alive.

Thus warned, the heroes found a tunnel descending steeply, below the floor of the rift, into a system of caves that were more rock than ice. Making their way through a cavern with icy stalagmites and columns lined with ledges and smaller caves, the heroes found themselves under attack by giant blue-white toads, all radiating terrible cold. Some were the size of men and some the size of horses, and they leaped down to attack, biting with sharp teeth as they tried to grab the heroes with their long tongues. Sindri was swallowed - twice - and Krush found himself inside one of the massive ice toads as well. They managed to carve through the beasts, which seemed to communicate with each other. Krush was carried into a nearby cave, only to carve his way out of the huge ice toad that had swallowed him.

The cave beyond was massive, fully 60 feet high, more than 200 feet long, and nearly 100 feet across. To one side, cave entrances led off, and to the other, massive double doors carved from ice were flanked by stone platforms. A frost giant guard stood atop each, and they were alerted as more ice toads perched along ledges nearby began to croak in alarm. The heroes began to move in, ready to tackle the frost giants, when two other forms emerged from a large cave entrance to the east - a pair of huge white dragons!

"Do I have something in my teeth? Oh, not yet!"

The heroes withstood multiple blasts of the dragons' breath weapons and shrugged off thrown rocks from the giants. The ice toads wisely retreated. Despite the odds, the heroes managed to prevail, though one of the frost giants fled down a stair leading from his stone platform back further into the caves. No doubt, the giants would be alerted and a counter-attack could be expected. The heroes fell back into the dragons' cave, finding some treasure, including a fine suit of mail that Orosius took for his own. As they tended their wounds as best they could, they could swear they heard voices in the giant-tongue approaching....
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