Rise of the Runelords

Out of the Closet

The Spires of Xin-Shalast, Part 13

Wealday, 25 Erastus, 4734

Having been shown a safe location in the tunnels by the Spared, the Rune Wardens take the time to investigate the Sihedron Ring. They determine that it has powerful protective magics, including a ward against the harmful effects of the occlusion field that surrounds the Spires. After some debate, they decide to give the ring to Lea. Zavian, meanwhile, takes the ring of invisibility.

As their next move, they decide to go after the storm giant lord Nenzir, who their friend Grenja has sworn to kill. Nenzir is based in the fortress of Shahlaria, where they’ve also heard that the ship Misericorde is being kept.

They use wind walk to approach, with the plan of going to ground a mile out and using prying eyes to scout ahead. They intend to disguise themselves as giants to gain entrance to the fortress.

But their wispy wind walk forms are spotted by a pair of cloud giants patrolling on enormous rocs. The Rune Wardens take refuge in a nearby building, a multi-story abandoned barracks for giants.

They hide in a utility closet on the ground floor. The cloud giants land on the upper floor and sound an alarm with their war horns but don’t descend. Marcus uses illusory wall to hide the party in the back of the closet. Zavian disguises himself as a kuchrima and then turns invisible.

After a few minutes, reinforcements arrive and begin searching the ground floor room by room. The party concocts a plan to mislead them into thinking that they had fled. Zavian uses shape stone to create a passage in the wall and Amelia uses ghost sound to create the sound of footsteps racing outside.

The reinforcements rush in: four stone giants and two lamias—Coruzha the white tiger and Malakah. The giants and Coruzha head outside, where the lamia messages the cloud giants perched up above. Malakah hangs back and realizes there are no footprints.

At this point, things quickly get out of hand.

Ameiko casts silence upon a coin and tosses it out to keep Malakah from raising an alarm. Zavian attempts to cast hold person, but the lamia resists it. The aasimar then uses shape stone to seal the hole in the wall and seize hold of Malakah’s paws. This pins her in place and also breaks Zavian’s invisibility, revealing him in his kuchrima disguise.

Lea then steps out from behind the illusory wall in the closet. She kicks the coin away from Malakah so they can speak. The lamia is intensely hostile and when Lea tries to explain that she is a friend of Seleval, Malakah becomes convinced that she stole Seleval’s armor.

That’s when the stone wall parts open again, this time at the command of Coruzha the white tiger. She sees Malakah pinned in place, as well as Lea and a strange kuchrima. Coruzha immediately orders her stone giants to attack. They move into a semi-circle around Lea, oblivious to the adventurers hiding in the closet.

From behind the illusory wall_, Ameiko casts -silence on a coin and tosses it at Malakah to keep her from sounding the alarm. Zavian attempts to cast hold person on the red headed lamia, breaking his invisibility and revealing his disguised self as a winged kuchrima. So he uses stone shape to seal up the hole in the wall and pin Malakah in place.

Lea emerges from her hiding place in the closet and kicks the enchanted coin away from the lamia so they can speak. She tries to explain that she is a friend of Seleval’s and is here to help Malakah.

Outside, Coruzha the white tiger sees the wall close up. She uses her own stone shape spell to open it back up and sees Lea. She orders her stone giants to attack. They rush into the room to surround Lea and prepare to deliver a pummeling. They are unaware of the rest of the Rune Wardens hidden in the closet. Coruzha takes cover by the tunnel entrance and casts mirror image on herself.

From the closet, Amelia casts mind fog on the stone giants, Marcus hurls a fireball (sparing Lea and Malakah, Reri fires arrows, and Ameiko casts crushing despair. Grenja, still human-sized, simply charges the nearest giant. Her greataxe Moonslicer slips from her grasp, resumes its normal size, and flies across the room to behead a wounded giant. Still disguised as a kuchrima, Zavian activates his aura of menace.

Under this barrage, more stone giants drop even as one of the cloud giants from upstairs joins the fray. Ameiko dominates the remaining stone giant, while Lea and Grenja take on the cloud giant.

Outside, an invisible Zavian sneaks up on Coruzha and her mirror images, but she manages to escape. The Rune Wardens quickly question the dominated stone giant. Marcus asks about his father’s whereabouts, Zavian asks after Elszevina, and Reri questions the giant about Viorian.

They are all told that what they seek is likely to be found in the Spires. Once question time is over, Amelia uses modify memories on the stone giant to make him think he was responsible for the murder of his fellows.

Marcus enlarges and veils the party to make them all look like giants. Everyone takes on the appearance of stone giants, except for Grenja who looks like a cloud giant. Malakah takes on the appearance of a different lamia, Zorem.

As they leave the building, they are approached by a cloud giant roc rider, Azar. Amelia uses glibness to convince him that they fought the adventurers who escaped. They tell him that his partner Rezzum was lost in the fighting. Azar also takes a moment to hit on Grenja’s cloud giant alter ego, “Tyreena.”

Once Azar flies off, the Rune Wardens march on the Shahlaria. They witness a pair of fire giants push an empty cart up to the fort, where the cloud giants tease their smaller cousins. Using glibness, Amelia and Grenja are able to talk their way inside.

In the courtyard, they discover the Misericorde propped up on wooden scaffolds and being inspected by a lamia matriarch and a lizard-bodied lamia. Before they can take in much else, the party is challenged by the largest giant they have encountered to date: Nezir the storm giant lord.

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