Rise of the Runelords

Escape from Shahlaria

The Spires of Xin-Shalast, Part 16

Wealday, 25 Erastus, 4734

Twilight has settled over Xin-Shalast as the Rune Wardens take stock of their victory over Nenzir in the highest point of the Shahlaria’s keep. Lea, Reri, and Ameiko set about looting the storm giant. Zavian uses stone shape to block the staircase leading up to the room, attempting to disguise the blockage as a cave in. They all agree that they need to flee, quickly, but Amelia insists they try to get to the Misericorde in the courtyard below.

They decide to use feather fall to descend down to the ship. Marcus casts another veil spell to disguise everyone as tiny birds. They line up along the balcony and then jump. The winds tug and tear at them. Ameiko is blown far, and Lea fails to grab hold of her despite using the last moments of her angelic aspect to fly. Zavian chases after the Minkaian woman, but can’t reach her through the wind. By the time the party lands, they have been widely scattered.

Amelia, Reri, and Grenja touch down near the Misericorde in the front courtyard. They quickly scramble aboard.

Lea and Zavian land at opposite ends of the roof of a larger structure, which has many large square holes in it. Zavian flies over to Lea’s position and realizes the structure is the stables for the cloud giants’ rocs. The holes in the roof are exits for the riders to depart from.

Marcus and the lamia Malakah land in an isolated courtyard at the back of the fortress; it appears to be some sort of giant-sized garden. Ameiko landed here as well and quickly joins them.

Zavian and Lea fly over to the ship to link up with Amelia. A squad of cloud giants bursts into the front courtyard, their leader ordering them to sweep the area. The fortress continues to be on high alert after the attack on Nenzir. Up above, they can see other giants floating into his quarters to investigate.

It the rear courtyard, Marcus realizes that while he has spider climb active, Ameiko and Malakah have to ready means to scale the courtyard walls. He ends up having to carry them up one at a time to the top of the adjacent wall. They find themselves on the sloped roof of a structure attached to the main keep. Chimneys belch smoke from the fire giant forges below.

Out on the ship, Amelia decides to pull the dagger from the neck of the wooden figurehead. She holds up her Daelyn miniature protectively as she does so. The figurehead, an armored warrior woman, tries and fails to grab her wrist as soon as the dagger is free.

The wooden woman peels herself from the ship and climbs onto the deck. She is somewhat confused at the sight of Amelia and Zavian, who are still disguised as birds via the veil spell. The figurehead, a likeness of Keris Farima in her mid thirties, demands to know what’s going on and where her daughter is. Amelia explains that they are disguised and were sent by Daelyn to retrieve the ship.

Marcus, Ameiko and Malakah traverse the roof, passing between the chimneys. Marcus casts invisibility sphere on Ameiko to keep them hidden. They use feather fall to drop down into the courtyard and approach the ship. Grenja helps pull the two ladies up the side, while Marcus spider climbs up.

A badly burned lamia matriarch, Priseris, bursts into the front courtyard and urges the cloud giants to search the ship. She suspects it would be a point of interest for the infiltrators. One of the giants immediately spots the Keris Figurehead and batters it with his enormous mace. Two others follow suit and the construct collapses motionless to the deck.

Zavian calls forth a blade barrier to surround the ship. The spell that badly wounds the giants and eviscerates Priseris. Marcus unleashes a freezing sphere that further batters several cloud giants in the fore section of the ship.

Keris awakes as her body slowly self-mends. She commands the Misericorde to deploy its claws and come about two turns to port. The ship sprouts clawed legs and wheels around, trampling two wounded giants who are torn to shreds by the talons.

Ameiko sits tight, hidden in the invisibility sphere. Amelia unleashes a frightening tune, but the giants prove resistant to its effects. Grenja tries to chuck a boulder at one of the cloud giants but it slips from her hands. Reri snipes at them with her bow. Malakah casts mirror image on herself, turning into a flock of birds.

Zavian calls down a pillar of fire from the sky to strike two of the giants, scorching one to death. Marcus unleashes a fireball that drops another of the cloud giants but ignites the masts of the ship.

Keris commands the Misericorde to flog the remaining giant. The two burning masts whip against it, putting out their flames while battering the cloud giant to the ground. With the enemies brought down, the figurehead orders the ship to advance full speed ahead.

The Misericorde trundles towards the castle wall, then rears up unnaturally and begins climbing up the side. Zavian, Amelia and Lea use this opportunity to heal the wounded party. However, it becomes clear that the ship won’t be able to outrun pursuit from cloud giant roc riders.

From the mountainside, they can see some sort of commotion taking place in the giant encampment far below. Possibly a mutiny, or some sort of uprising.

Marcus realizes that he can use the shadow walk spell to transport all of them quickly. With Keris’ permission, he uses the spell to pull them into the shadow realm so that the Misericorde can travel rapidly to the Fen of the Ice Mists. The figurehead spends the trip grumbling about Daelyn’s ingratitude. The construct had apparently been deactivated for three years and mentions needing to sync up with the others.

After dropping the Rune Wardens off in the Fen, Keris prepares to take her ship south to Kaer Maga to reunite with her daughter. Amelia asks if any of their other companions are interested in traveling with her. Reri won’t leave until they find her missing commander, Viorian Dekanti. Malakah also wants to find her friend Nenet first.

Grenja is uncertain. Her quest for vengeance against Nenzir has been satisfied, but the danger that Karzoug poses still remains. And she is uncertain of what her next steps would be, since she has essentially spent her life fighting, first for her clan and then to avenge them.

Marcus thinks she could forge her own path. Zavian, meanwhile, notes that since Nenzir was dominated, those who controlled him would ultimately be responsible for the destruction of her clan. Amelia is concerned about Grenja traveling alone in the Kodar Mountains once she is shrunk to human size. The frost giantess decides to sleep on the issue.

Malakah reveals that she pilfered a map from Shahlaria, which appears is annotated with plans for the invasion of Varisia. Nenzir was hoping to use Shahlaria as a mobile command post, siege engine, and troop transport. More concerning, however, is that the plans call for a vast army of giants far beyond the numbers gathered in the camp at Xin-Shalast.

Zavian shares with the party his encounter with Sarenrae in the afterlife. He wonders if the souls passing into the spire are connected to the army of giants. Zavian and Lea get into a light-hearted argument about which of their goddesses is the better waifu.

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