10 Sunsheat to 11 Sunsheat, 960 RM
Valley of Steading, 10 Sunsheat, 960 RM
Once the battle was over, the first order of business was to hide the bodies. After that Captain Hawthorne sent Keinan and Gunn to scout out the stronghold at the center of the valley. She sent Damien and Tatiana as one group and Brictius and Benedikt as another group to find campsites and food. Wythri linked the scouting parties and Brandwyn and Hawthorne.
The two groups looking for campsites found several likely spots, with Benedikt’s being the best.
Keinan and Gunn stealthily made their way toward the stronghold. They saw several small groups of giants patrolling the valley, but not in any regular fashion. Keinan realized that security was good, but not great. The stronghold had a watchtower that could see all the way around the complex. There were two entrances, one in front that was regularly used and one in back that looked like a stockade gate. There were no trees in the valley, but the grass was very tall. Gunn talked to a bird who told him that there were big dogs and big men in the stronghold. The two men scouted around the fortress to see if they could find a water supply or herd animals.
While the scouting parties were out, Wythri, Quion, and Errol analyzed the Flow of the area. Brandwyn sang a song to help the mages concentration. Quion and Errol saw that the valley was flooded with magic, but a type that Quion was not familiar with. The magic had an old taste to it, very primitive with a touch of theologic taint to it. The three thought it might be grimerist magic. Wythri told the others that she had seen the magic flowing into the valley this morning. Captain Hawthorne asked if one of Nonsra’s magic items could have caused the magic, but the three mages thought that would not be possible.
On the way back to the others, Benedikt noticed that the stronghold was made from a great many trees, but there were no signs of major deforestation in the valley.
Keinan and Gunn continued to scout around the perimeter of the stronghold. They did not see any cultivated fields, although they did see some wild sheep and mountain goats. The two thought that was strange as they thought the animals would have been severely culled by hunting by now.
After the two scouting parties had returned with their reports of campsites, the party moved to the site Benedikt had found and waited for Keinan and Gunn to rejoin them. It was well past dark before the two men returned to camp.
The first watch passed without incident or those on watch falling asleep. During the second watch, Wythri noticed that the magic in the valley was beginning to fade. Those asleep had bad dreams, similar to the previous evening. During the last watch, Quion noticed an influx of magic entering the valley.
11 Sunsheat, 960 RM
After breakfast, Caption Hawthorne asked Wythri, Quion, and Errol to continue to study the magic in the valley. Keinan, Gunn, and Damien went with them for protection.
Studying the area, Quion and Keinan noticed that the foliage and insects were from the late summer or early fall, but the Summer Solstice had past just last month.
Wythri tried tapping into the magic by creating a fireball, which had all the normal effects and effort usually associated with casting that type of spell. Errol suggested she try casting an illusion spell. Wythri created an illusion of Captain Hawthorne. Errol pointed out that the spell seemed very easy for Wythri to cast and that he could actually touch the illusion and that the illusionary Captain Hawthorn reacted to his touch, both things that should not happen with this type of spell. Quion then created an illusion of a raven, which ended up being better than his level of skill should have produced. Wythri then summoned an earth elemental, with the same effects and effort usually associated with casting that type of spell. Errol and Quion noticed that when that spell was cast, the flow rippled with the energy.
Captain Hawthorn had decided a night assault on the stronghold would be strategically wise, so the rest of the afternoon was spent resting. The first watch was uneventful. The second watch had trouble staying awake in the warm afternoon sun. Captain Hawthorne kept herself awake by constantly patrolling the area. She heard something approaching the camp and sent Brandwyn to wake the rest of the party.
Captain Hawthorne and Tatiana spotted a giant stealthily moving toward them. The giant threw a boulder at Captain Hawthorne, but Wythri had prepared a spell that deflected the boulder away from the Captain. Suddenly, Randall was hit by a second boulder that had been thrown from a different direction. Tatiana ran toward the first giant hitting him in the arm. Hawthorne drew her swords and yelled at everyone to look lively. Brandwyn starting chanting a song of fighting to aid her companions in the battle.
The rest of the party rose from their naps and prepared for battle. Wythri was struck by a boulder and Brandwyn pulled her back out of harm’s way. While Quion bandaged Wythri’s wounds, the rest of the party attacked the two giants. After several blows had been exchanged, the two giants started to flee. Errol caught one in the edge of a fire ball, stunning him and Gunn hit him in the vitals, dropping him. Brictius and Tatiana chased down the last giant, killing him.
While Benedikt healed Wythri, the unconscious giant was bound. When the giant regained consciousness, Brandwyn, Hawthorne, and Quion questioned him. They learned that Baylor was a giant with “big magic” who had come from far away. The giant could not remember how the stronghold had been rebuild, or how long Baylor had been in the valley. They learned that Baylor was planning on attacking the humans, but that he was still gathering together the rest of the tribes. They also learned that the giant had been impressed by Baylor’s magic, including making the dead talk; he had seen Baylor do that to the giant Orda, after killing him for disagreeing with Baylor. The giant had also not seen any other “little” people in the valley other than the party.
The party moved the bound giant into the cave they had been sleeping in and moved to a new camp site. The giant had confirmed Brandwyn’s suspicion that Baylor was not a local giant. Wythri, Quion, and Brandwyn discussed the different types of giants that could work magic. There were the Fire and Ice giants to the north and the Carraig Daoine, or Stone Giants, and the Formorian giants from Kalon.