Crow Level 11
After a night of celebration in the boat, the group headed north towards Mkoz, the mining encampment of the dwarves. Another days travel brought them to a giant set of doors, sculpted into the side of the mountain. Brogdah noticed that there were plenty of tracks coming up to the doors, but none going in. Brogdah went up and knocked on the stone doors, hoping to hear an answer. It took a minute or two, but soon we heard the shifting of some mechanical gears of some sort. A moment later, a stone arm with an orb protruded out just next to the massive door. We approached it and began speaking. The dwarf on the other side, who we learned to be Delg, an appraiser and face of the tradesmen inside.
We said we would like to trade and then the orb went back into the side of the mountain. A moment later, on the other side of the large doors another small door opened up and four dwarves stepped outside and met us. Delg explained that no one goes inside Mkoz, just the dwarves that live there. Any and all trading must be done through him. We tried to convince him to let us in through a couple ways. One, for showing the signet ring from the Waterdeep Council, a connection through a powerful dwarf, and also to just get out of the cold. Each time Delg denied us entry, but instead went back inside. A couple minutes later, the King of Mkoz, Delg, a scribe, and a handful of armed guards came outside to meet us.
The King told us of an army growing inside the orc encampment to the west. It wasn’t just orcs. It was filled with thousands of cult members, including red wizards and a dracolich.
We asked the King for his help in the valley, to see if he and his craftsmen would be able to help and fix the flying castle so we could remove it from his territory, and hopefully the cult along with it. We also enticed him with a prospect of increased trade between Mkoz and Waterdeep. The King said he needed to speak with his council before promising anything and went back into Mkoz, but Delg, the scribe, and the guards all remained.
We conducted our business of trading in our treasures for services, goods, and platinum. While we were each speaking with Delg about the things we desired, Fryen approached Roderick and took the crossbow from off of his back and continued walking. Roderick stood dumbfounded, not knowing what to do and was soon walking around frantically without his weapon. Fryen took Roderick’s crossbow, his flail, and Ushen’s shield, along with other magic items the party had acquired, but found no use for, and had the dwarves imbue them with the magic from the other items. He had to pay a large amount of gold to have this done, along with another large sum to expedite the process so we could have them the next day. When Ushen was speaking with Delg, he asked if the dwarves had any diamonds available for trade. They did have a handful of very large diamonds that Ushen was able to trade for, but when he did, he also asked if the dwarves had any recent deaths in their ranks, as he could revive them. Delg informed us that there was a collapse in one of their mining tunnels that took two of their own 16 days earlier. Thankfully, their clerics attempted to preserve the bodies and they were still intact enough for Ushen to bring them back to life, only after disarming himself and being brought in by armed guards to do so. He was escorted back out and the dwarves were very grateful.
The next dawn the King, by himself, approached the group. He promised them a group of fifty artificers to accompany us to the castle, but there was one thing we needed to do first. Assure him that the frost giants, long time enemies of the dwarves, would not interfere. We told him we would go and speak with the frost giants, something that most people would never do, to try and ease his mind and ours. Before we left, our supplies we had purchased and items we had them work on were brought out to us. Fryen took the newly enchanted crossbow and handed it to Roderick, along with the bolt that he had kept from when Roderick shot him in the neck. He had carved the word “Redemption” into the bolt. The rest of the group was watching this take place and asked what that meant. Roderick told the rest of the group about the night that he had killed Mondath. About how Ushen tried to reviver her, but as he took out the diamond, Roderick shot at him, hoping to knock it out of his hand. Instead the bolt flew and hit Fryen, who had jumped in front of Ushen, in the neck. The group is silent, but not for long. Brogdah asked Roderick why he would do that, why he would attack one of his own, about why he should even be in the group anymore. Roderick tried to explain, but Brogdah stormed off.
The group arrived at the longhouse where the frost giants resided and walked right into the hall. Giants respect strength above all, so there was no need to beat around the bush. We notice the Jarl of the longhouse, Brunvild, sitting in his throne at the other end of the hall along with a hanging cage that has our werebear friend, Dalo, inside. He has multiple wounds and looked like he was in terrible pain. Compared to the other day when we saw him with a dozen arrows in his torso and showed no pain, it was a very different picture. We spoke with the Jarl about the cult in “his valley”. We tried to ally with him against the cult, but he needed us to prove ourselves before he would do so. One of the things he wished for us to do to prove our strength, was to get the castle up and running again so he could use it. Ushen said we had taken the castle down, but Brunvild did not believe us. Ushen said all he would need to do to prove that we did was have him come along with us to the castle. A spell would show the past battle that was fought and he could see us in action. Brunvild agreed, but did not agree to go himself. Instead, he said he would send someone else with us. He told the rest of the giants to leave the longhouse and it was Brunvild, Dalo, and us remaining. We said that we wanted Dalo to be released as well. Brunvild agreed on one condition. We must kill the frost giant that he sends with us to the castle. We were all caught off guard by that request, but he soon explained that a lot of the frost giants have left him and joined the cult. The giant he was sending with us was, to his knowledge, one of the leaders of the mutiny. We agreed and headed out towards the castle with our new mark walking along side of us.
During the days travel, Ushen and Roderick have a conversation using the spell, Message, to avoid any suspicion or chance of being overheard from the giant. Roderick expressed concern about killing this giant without telling the giant first. He didn’t think it noble. Ushen said it was going to happen and, if it came down to it, he would be the executioner. Ushen said Roderick didn’t have to participate, but the giant would die. When the sun began to set, we started to set up camp. Crow took out the boat and the group was about to head in for the night. The frost giant kept on walking towards the castle. Unlike the group, the frost giant didn’t have any trouble walking through the night. We told the frost giant that we needed to stop, we could not survive the cold temperatures like he could. He said he didn’t care. We told him that his Jarl commanded him to accompany us to the castle, but since he was not exactly the most loyal to the Jarl, he didn’t seem to care. He said that we needed him and if we were going to fulfill the Jarl’s request we had to continue too. We could not continue so we argued with him until he got so upset that he brought his axe up into the air and was about to chop the boat in half, but Crow was quick enough to say the command words to convert the giant boat back into a small box, making the giant miss completely. The giant then attacked us, but we were able to overcome him with ease. Crow immediately took the boat back out and ran inside for shelter from the bitter cold. During the fight, Roderick did not participate, he did not even raise his crossbow. Brogdah noticed this and approached Roderick. He grabbed his crossbow and snapped it in half and walked into the boat. Roderick was kneeling in the snow looking over his broken weapon and began to weep. Ushen went to go comfort him and even picked up the pieces and put them in his backpack. On their way to the boat, Roderick was stopped by Sarissa who shoved her heavy crossbow into his chest saying, “Make yourself useful.”
The next morning, Ushen used Sending to relay the message to the Jarl that the deed was done. He heard back saying that is good enough for the Jarl. He then sent a message to the King of the Mkoz stating that the frost giants would no longer be an issue. We started to make our way back towards the longhouse. That night, as we set up camp, we heard a knock on the cabin’s door. Outside was Dalo, who did not look happy. He asked us to explain what was happening and why the frost giants have magical weapons now. We explained to him about our encounter with the giants and the young dragon and apologized. We didn’t think about the consequences of that interaction. Normal weapons were all the giants and orcs had, so Dalo being a werebear couldn’t be killed by them, but now they had access to something that could. We also explained about our current mission, to go back and escort the dwarves to the castle to get it running again. He reluctantly agreed to join us for the time being.
We made our way back up to Mkoz and then back down to the castle with no issue, but the cult and orc army had amassed and we knew it was coming quickly. Our mission was to get the castle working again and take to the skies before we were overrun. Through use of our spies, courtesy of our Zhentarim agents, we had some intel on the army and knew that they had also sabotaged their siege equipment. We made some preparations for the upcoming battle before they arrived. We used a scroll to put a wind wall on the castle walls to protect the dwarves, Ushen summoned a Planar ally to fight along side us, and even planted a magic bean in the middle of the battlefield just before they arrived. Just before the battle started, a giant geyser of beer erupted where the magic bean was planted and seconds later, in the subzero temperatures, froze on the ground. They were soon at our gates with siege towers and a battering ram. Their ranks included the cultists, orcs, ogres, frost giants, red wizards, winter wolves, young remorhaz, and a dracolich. We were able to slow them down with walls of fire, insect plagues, spirit guardians, a barrage of arrows, and frozen beer. Shortly after the battle started, we felt the ground quake and two young remorhaz appeared behind our walls. One of them was close enough with it’s heated body to kill 5 dwarves outright. We started to fight the new threat behind our walls, but a moment later a hole was made by the frost giants and the wall came crumbling down. Thankfully, it hit on of the remorhaz and killed it. Were were able to hold back the tide of enemies head towards the new door thanks to our resident terrifying “Murdergoat”. We rallied and were able to repair the castle’s towers while keeping the swarms of enemies at bay. We all headed back to the castle and it took off to the skies. A couple more boulders thrown by the giants down below made contact and destroyed a couple more walls as we took off, but we were relatively safe for now.
We decided to head south, away from the valley, right away to try and avoid the dracolich that wasn’t too far behind. There are still 45 dwarves with us as well as Dalo. We told him of the alliance of the different factions for the time being and he has agreed to stay with us for a short while.