Against the Giants - Hall of the Fire Giant King, Part 3
Ambrie scouted the long corridor ahead of the group, quietly peering around the corner more than 100 feet ahead. Two more dusky-skinned armored ettins stood there, along with a half dozen fire giants and a strange, one-eyed, hunched humanoid on a chain. Apparently, the frost giants had warned them as well on their way out. The tiny halfling thief sneaked back to the group, who decided simply to charge and barrel through the obstruction.

Forget cave trolls. They had a hynotoad.

Their tactics were surprisingly successful. Rurik conjured a wall of spinning blades, seemingly pulled from Moradin's forge, cutting a swath through the giants and quite literally cutting down their mobility. Orosius, Krush and Hornbeast took the lead, engaging the giants and ettins as the rest of the group stayed back and peppered the enemy with missiles and spells. The monstrous black-skinned, one-eyed nothic was dominated by Ella, and she turned the power of its gaze back on the giants. In short order, the enemy was dispatched.

The heroes made their way down the long hall, past a ramp leading up and a pair of sealed iron doors. To their left, more than 100 feet ahead, a short flight of steps led up to a cavern-like smithy on the edge of a pool of molten rock. The fire giant smith was there, and he wore a cunningly-crafted golden helm. He was obviously blind, but seemed to sense the heroes' presence better than a sighted giant would. Despite Hornbeast's attempts at parley, the giant smith would have none of it. A series of ringing blows on his anvil summoned more giants from a nearby barracks, along with another pair of massive hell hounds. A construct of stone and iron, set with dozens of whirling blades, stood near the giant smith's forge.

Yup, he threw red hot anvils at the party. Freaking fire giants are METAL!

The battle was bloody and swift. Krush charged the fire giant smith, and despite being hammered by him and slashed by his construct, the dragonborn barbarian cut him down with Blackrazor, causing his body to tumble into the magma pool. Ella turned the nothic's gaze against the giants and hell hounds, and sent the monstrous beasts running off while the giants reeled under its hypnotic gaze. The heroes ended up cutting down the giants and smashing the construct, and took a moment to rest as they looted their barracks.

Backtracking to the sealed iron doors, Soren opened them using a knock spell. There were a few azer guards and a pair of fire giant guards waiting in a long hall lined with cell doors. The dungeon! As the heroes charged in, Sindri and Orosius were nearly crushed as the steam-driven doors slammed shut again. Ambrie and Krush had run in, and all four were nearly cut off. Apparently, someone had activated a mechanism to shut the massive doors. Ambrie quickly began unlocking cell doors, freeing a doughty dwarf warrior who gladly took her magic dagger when offered it and ran into the fray. She also freed an elf warrior, who conjured his own blade before moving in to fight. The halfling thief found a lever in a third room, and opened the doors once more before running forward.

Meanwhile Krush and Orosius engaged the giants and Rurik and Ella ran in. The doors slammed once again, but Ambrie found a second lever, dispatched the azer who had pulled it, and opened the doors one more time. The heroes discovered that the intersection ahead where the giants stood led to a torture chamber. A pair of fire giants - the torturer and an executioner by the look of them - stood ready, along with another member of Luskan's Arcane Brotherhood and his two barbarian bodyguards.

The fire giant executioner - chopping necks and cashing checks!

The battle spilled into the torture chamber, and Orosius found himself slammed into a giant iron maiden. Only his half-orc constitution kept him upright, despite half a dozen piercing wounds. Though it was a difficult battle, the heroes prevailed as Ella briefly banished the executioner to the para-elemental plane of frost with a powerful spell and the torturer was cut down.

After catching their breath, the heroes searched the remaining cells. They found a group of elvish warriors and the very elf princess they had been looking for - Moonshadow, daughter of King Melandrach of the Misty Forest. She was...well, a handful. Powerful and charismatic, no doubt, and a born leader. She was also kind of critical and demanding, and warned the heroes that other, darker forces were involved with the giants and the emissaries of Luskan's new war-leader; the drow. Specifically, it was a group of dark elves serving the cult of the Elder Elemental Eye, a power of darkness and corruption. The heroes had seen those same marks on the tools used by Sigryn's followers. There was a great conspiracy here, and it made them uneasy. All save Ella, perhaps. Despite her drive to continue on, Orosius and Ambrie convinced her to return home to her father and safety. Soren provided the princess and her retinue with a scroll containing the spell teleportation circle, and they departed. But the elf eldritch knight, Fonkin Hoddypeak, and the dwarf knight, Dram Blighthammer, agreed to stay with the group and fight the evil beneath the halls of the fire giant king.

"Are you really going to wear THAT into battle? And you should sharpen your axe. And..." Yeah. It was probably best they sent her back home. Adventurers never listen to authority figures! Don't they know a little guidance is necessary for success?

Perhaps more importantly, they also rescued a captive fire giant named Boldo, one of the former king's lieutenants. He vowed to unite the fire giants remaining and convince them to cease their attacks and sue for peace. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, the heroes turned over Snurre's iron crown to him and sent him on ahead. Meanwhile, they sneaked back to the king's treasure chamber to rest up in the still-extant extra-dimensional Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion spell. They were hurt and tired, and would let events progress as they would. After all, they had killed plenty of giants so far. What were a few dozen more?
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