Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Session 53: Flint's Report, or What the Hell is Up With This Masonry?

After our last run in with the fire giant, we were a bit wary and more than a little thankful that Ghal'Alkr still had his instant fortress to protect us. Volodemir tells us the rod is beckoning him towards the castle in the clouds in the distance. Even though I don't know how we're going to get to it once we near it, I follow, having felt the call of the rod in the past and knowing that it needs to be reassembled for some greater purpose.

Early in the hike, we came upon a large lizard, who turned out to be quite polite if a bit haughty. It seems that this youngling, Kieran, was a small silver dragon. His mischievous sister, Ariele, disobeyed their parents and went near the giant tower, with the result being both her capture, and the slaughtered fire giants we saw yesterday. Volodemir took pity on the wyrm and said we'd try to find his sister, though he lied to us about not knowing where to bring her to sample their parents' gratitude. Probably for the best. Dragons may be quick to react to the sight of their young in the company of humanoids, and we don't want to tangle with any grown ones over a misunderstanding.

Midway through the day's trek, we spot a number of winged beasts circling, and before we know it, they're diving at us. I was able to summon a spiritual hammer and tongs to batter one nearest the ground, and Ghal'Akr knocked another out of the air with a skillful shot. Volodemir confused yet another, and Goliath charged the felled one. As the battle continued, we managed to kill the felled one and two more, but two more got away. Looking closer, they were griffons. It seems like they may be giants' companions. Good riddance, but I feel bad for the others who may have wanted to tame and ride them. I'll stick to the ground, or under it.

Finally making some progress up the mountain, we came across a decent sized ledge with some dead giants and two elves poring over them. We introduced ourselves, and found out that they were spider hunters on their way to the castle to do some exterminating before an upcoming nuptials. They were called Ciellan and Ruusa, a brother and sister warrior and mage. Volodemir had heard of them, and they us. Ghal'Alkr seemed to be eyeing the male the way he does sometimes and flexing a little. I wonder what that's about. When they asked us what we were doing on our way to the mountain, Volodemir and I didn't miss a beat and said "We're with the bride's side!" Relieved to have gotten that far through a lie without contradicting someone or my voice cracking, I let him do the rest of the talking. After some negotiating, they agreed to let us in on their invitation for a fee. We countered their offer to include a ride on their magic carpet to the top, and to my relief, they accepted.
The sight that greeted us was impressive indeed. A 30 foot gate in a cloud castle, the make and material of which I couldn't really fathom. It lacks the art of a craftsman's touch, though, so I assume it's a mage's doing. Within, we find a large cloud meadow and giants and ogres busy making preparations for the wedding. We managed to speak with a huge cloud giant, Yurik, and found he was the proud father of the groom, Diomed, who was to wed a fire giantess, Siiri. Strange bedfellows-to-be, in my opinion. After amusing ourselves with the giant versions of fruits and vegetables, and peeping at some giant tools in a toolshed, we got down to business, and followed the rod's divining to the inside. There, we snuck around and found a guardroom, and a chamber holding an impatient Sirie yelling at servants trying to fix her hair. Using some guile and magic, we managed to send a flying invisible warlock within to pilfer the piece of the rod. I was for leaving unnoticed, but the others wanted to try rescuing the wyrmling Ariele. We deduced that any dungeons must be in the lower levels of the castle, which were below ground/cloud I guess. This is one place I really don't want to dig too deep. I find myself having to force myself to stop asking questions about how any of this works just to stay sane.

In the cellars, we managed to find a guard we could not sneak or talk our way past. Undeterred, we feigned ignorance and pretended to leave, secretly letting the flying warlock do some reconnaissance. After finding a pit he thought might hold the dragon past the guard, we readied ourselves for a fight. Calling on a guardian of faith, I effectively pinned the dutiful gaoler in the corner, and we were all over him before he could move or raise an alarm. A great deal of stabbing, spell flinging, blinding, and shooting, he was done for. With nothing of interest on his person, we moved on and pushed aside a huge stone from above a pit containing a small, presumably frightened Ariele. Adreham knows how we're going to get her out of here alive. If we the elves and/or their carpet, it would be child's play, but I suspect our lack of planning may come back to haunt us next.

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