Rise of the Runelords

Charge of the Mammoths

Fortress of the Stone Giants, Part 13

Oathday, 8 Pharast, 4734

Having rested up, the Rune Wardens exit the rope trick and decide to venture up into the main fortress to take out another ally of Mokmurian’s, the Black Monk. Following Conna’s directions, they head to the central pit.

As they wind their way around the side of the crater, they come across a trio of dire bears. Amelia attempts to fascinate the beasts with her performance, but is only able to get two out of three. Which is not sufficient.

In the ensuing violence, two of the dire bears are slain and a third is stricken with nausea. The angry bears draw the attention of a patrol of stone giants, which hurry towards the fighting. Marcus uses stone shape to barricade the entry to the pit, and the adventurers race upstairs.

The Rune Wardens emerge into the open courtyard of Jorgenfist. There is a stone giant riding a mammoth in the practice yard, while an armored lamia and a young red dragon patrol the grounds.

Thankfully, the party is not immediately noticed thanks to the disturbance going on outside the fort. Plumes of black smoke rise up from the camps surrounding Jorgenfist, as Longtooth swoops overhead spewing down fire. He is pursued by the other young dragon, while the other lamia and several stone giants watch from a nearby tower.

The adventurers duck behind the large stables to get some cover. Inside are three woolly mammoths, who quickly become agitated by the presence of strangers. The Rune Wardens then concoct a plan to try to lure in the nearby lamia and its pet dragon.

Making use of a bead from the necklace of fireballs, the party sets the corner of the stables on fire in an attempt to provoke the mammoths to stampede. They hope this will draw over the lamia and dragon.

Once the blaze is set and the northern stable doors are left open, they hurry over to the burning end of the building. From there, Marcus peers up at the battle in the sky between Longtooth and the other red dragon. Observing their behavior, he comes to realize that the lamias’ two dragons are under some sort of charm effect.

As planned, the unusually knightly lamia and her enthralled dragon approach the burning stables to investigate. Lea, having heard Marcus’ discovery, activates her boots of speed to race out to the dragon and cast protection from evil onto it. This allows the creature to shake off its charm spell and immediately turns on the lamia knight. It ignores Lea’s clumsy attempts to build a rapport.

With the party’s position now revealed, the stone giant rider charges on his mammoth. The prehistoric creature inflicts fearsome wounds onto Astrid, but the giant has less luck. He over-extends with his greatclub and falls off.

The fallen giant is swiftly set upon and slain, but the rampaging mammoth remains a hazard. Lea races back to the creature and miraculously manages to climb onto it. She holds on while the great beast tramples over her friends, then begins trying to coax the creature into arcing around the burning stables.

Meanwhile, the other mammoths charge out of the burning stables, trumpeting in terror and fleeing north across the courtyard. Elsewhere, the knightly lamia and the red dragon fight it out in the mud. Up in the towers, the red headed lamia directs the stone giants to pelt the party with boulders.

Amelia and Marcus start to investigate the Thassilonian tower, but the second young red dragon swoops down and blasts them and Astrid with flame. Zavian, meanwhile, has taken flight with his metal wings, rising up to level with the fort’s walls. He notices that two of the frightened mammoths have been found and calmed by two frost giant who’ve emerged from an outbuilding.

The knightly lamia manages to slay her treacherous dragon as Lea rounds the corner of the stables on the back of the mammoth. The paladin lines up a charge and the lamia turns to face her, grinning with anticipation. The mammoth hurtles forward. The lamia manages to avoid the worst of the beast’s wrath.

Lea leaps off to confront the lion-woman, despite not having drawn a weapon. She asks the lamia knight’s name and learns she is called Seleval of Xin-Shalast. Lea in turn shares her full royal titles. The lamia invites her to fight.

As the two prepare to duel, the two frost giants ride over to excitedly survey the chaos. Zavian flies overhead, trying to get closer to the stone giants in the tower. The red-headed lamia meanwhile has descended to the courtyard.

Lea weathers a devastating series of blows from the lamia Seleval. However, thanks to Iomedae’s grace she is able to withstand the assault. Seleval, realizing that she cannot survive a counterattack, attempts to flee. Lea punches her with a spiked gauntlet, driving the lamia to her knees and to death’s door. Surprisingly, Seleval yields and offers to swear fealty to Lea in exchange for her life.

While all this has been going on, Astrid has been firing arrow after arrow at the stone giants in the tower. Marcus has thrown multiple fireballs at them, but the remaining red dragon gets in his face. Amelia tries to overpower the dragon’s charm spell with a charm of her own, but can quite overcomes the lamia’s magic. She tries again with a scroll of dispell magic. The dragon Econtredor abandons the fight to go after the red-headed lamia, keeping its distance to bath her in fire.

Touched by Seleval’s display of chivalry and sensing a test from Iomedae, Lea accepts Seleval’s fealty. The paladin then moves to heal the party, calling on Seleval to come to her side and loudly declaring that the lamia is under her protection. As the Inheritor’s warmth radiates from Lea’s outstretched arms, she deliberately includes Seleval in its embrace.

The frost giant duo of Istvig and Jaansk charge their mammoths down onto Lea, who scrambles away from their heavy footfalls and dodges their axes. The mammoths press on into the the cluster of Astrid, Marcus, and Amelia. Up above, Zavian summons a speedy Bralani Azata to aid the party with its magic.

Seleval comes to Lea’s side and snares Istvig with a hold person spell. Marcus unleashes a fireball on the fire-allergic frost giants. Zavian’s azata ally lines up a lightning bolt on the two unfortunates.

Meanwhile, the remaining dragon is forced to abandon its fight with the red-headed lamia Zaelsar due to a barrage of boulders from the stone giants. Zaelsar tries to make a break back for the safety of the tower. Lea gives chase and forces Seleval to watch as she kills the lamia’s sister. Feeling a little guilty, the paladin invites her to perform whatever funerary rites are necessary. Seleval blasts the body to ash with magic and then scoops some of the ashes into a leather pouch. Lea realizes that both lamias were priestesses of Lamashtu.

Zavian brings Istvig’s mammoth to its knees and Astrid delivers the finishing cut. The other mammoths mournfully retreat as the frost giants are slain. The azata confronts the last stone giant in the far tower, but is vanquished. Even so, the giant retreats into the tower.

The courtyard is by now littered with bodies. The stables have burnt down. the party investigates the Black Monk’s unnaturally cold tower and discover a trap door that leads below.

Lea introduces the shell-shocked Seleval to the rest of the Rune Wardens. The lamia warns them that the Black Monk is an ancient undead creature from the days of Thassilon. She also notes that it has a trio of harpy acolytes that might come to its aid.

Armed with this information, the adventurers open the trap door.

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