Guardians of the Past

27th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Skullduggery

The party spends the day creating outfits that will pass as drow. Rehs uses his hat of disguise to create his drow appearance. They wait until it is late at night. Right before stepping through the mirror gate, Erith casts a vocalize spell on both Samira and Tellazar. Meanwhile Samira casts a Silence spell on Tellazar to help with the mission.

The party steps through the portal created by the scrying mirror to the quarters of Chief Nosnra. Samira casts a mind reading on to the sleeping chief. She is unsuccessful, so Ayremyr dispatches the hill giant chief. The party grabs anything of value. A search reveals a secret door. The party leaves through it and makes their way to the chief’s study.

Not much is found. A hide map on the wall shows the area as well as the lands to the south. Rehs locates a secret door. Passing through, the find a small room with a stack of firewood and steps descending into the darkness. Corthen searches the woodpile and finds two ornate scroll tubes, with one still sealed.

Rehs examines the stairs and the party makes their way into the lower chambers. The hall opens into a large chamber. Across the room Corthen catches a gleam and notices a spilled coffer. an invisible Rehs rushes over to inspect the treasure when he feels the sinking of a pressure plate in the floor. Suddenly two portcullises slam down effectively locking the party into the room. Then another portcullis raises and missiles begin flying from behind this gate at the party.

Several members are hit, but none seriously. The group realizes they are under attack by creatures that are likely manticores. The group uses arrows and spells to slay the creatures on the other side of the southern portcullis. Looking for a way out, Corthen opens a secret door and finds a series of levers. He eventually moves them as needed and the party searches the manticore lair.

In another chamber the party finds the treasure of Chief Nosnra. Corthen counts and catalogs the treasure, and then has it packed into the portable hole. Having finished, the party, still disguised as drow return upstairs, to scare the other giants and make them believe the drow executed Nosnra. The party goes back to the hall outside the chief’s chamber. Some of the group start yelling and creating a ruckus to draw any guards to their location. Once several giants and ogres make their way to them, the party runs into the chief’s chamber and exit the room through the mirror’s gate to Waterdeep.

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26th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Scrying Nosnra

Tellazar casts identify spells on the shield and other enchanted items plundered from the giants. Once the items’ powers are learned many of the choice magic items are distributed to the members of the adventuring group.

The party discusses plans to regain the staff. The majority agree that they must learn its whereabouts from Chief Nosnra himself. Samira shares that she can use some of her holy spells to attempt to read the thoughts of the giant. Corthen suggests that they really need to survey the chief’s location and learn when he is the most vulnerable. The party agrees to use the mirror to scry Nosnra and watch him for at least a day.

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25th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Axes and Allies

The party rested and re-equipped opens a gate into the prison cells under the giant fortress of Chief Nosnra. Upon leaving the prison, the adventurers encounter a large band of orcs, former slaves of the hill giants. Corthen and the party keep their guard up but they talk to the free orcs. Questioned the orc band leader tells the group that his band is out foraging for food. The orcs are not hostile, they actually offer to help the party battle their former captors. Corthen and Tellazar tell the others that they do not want orcish assistance. Samira and Rehs give the band some of their iron rations before the group departs down the south hallway.

Corthen leads his companions to the hellish-looking torture chamber that the group discovered on their last visit but did not get an opportunity to enter. The warriors charge the two fire giants while Tellazar unleashes several of his powerful spells helping to defeat the torturers. The enemy is looted and the room examined. Ayremyr and Corthen regroup the party and they discover empty slave pens, once occupied by the orcs.

Traveling east the party comes to hall filled halfway with broken rock and shattered stone. Preparing to climb the obstacle, the group is warned in orc to stop. The party soon learns that the have discovered the base of the freed orcs. Corthen tries to convince the sentries that they should be allowed to pass. The orcs dismiss his reasons and state that the party has rejected their offer of an alliance against the giants in the stockade above. They tell the party that they should go elsewhere since they are not allied.

Corthen speaks to Rehs and convinces the party rogue that he should use his enchanted to slip past the sentries and scout out their camp. Rehs uses his ring to slowly climb up and over the rock barricade while the party retreats to a nearby slave pen and await his return. The thief discovers a long hall where an ancient looking door has been blocked by many stone blocks. Rehs move invisibly past more orc guards and into a large cavern where orcs of both genders and several orc whelps cry. Rehs skirts the large groups and enters another passage. During his exploration, he runs into an unseen reptilian creature that he hadn’t seen. Startled, the thief runs away and does his best to slide past the sentries once again. Covered in sweat, Rehs reappears to the group shaken but unharmed.

The group decides not to engage the orcs. Corthen leads the party up another hallway. He discovers a cistern chamber. Corthen investigates the water and finally dives in to check the pool. He discovers an outlet on the bottom. Swimming through the passage he eventually emerges in a dark cavern of immense size with a small underground stream running through it. Assessing that the group can make the journey, the elven warrior returns to his waiting comrades and tells them of his find.

The Guardians each dive into the cold water and swim through the tunnel guided by a rope that Corthen led off with. On the other side, the party discovers that the floor of the cavern is littered with many bones, old ones, yellowed with age. Quickly the party discovers coins, gems, and some unbroken weapons, and shields in the muck of the soft floor of the wet cavern.

Suddenly a 9’ long pale monster with many legs and a mass of tentacles near its mouth climbs down a nearby rock formation and attacks the party. Ayremyr is paralyzed by the lashing tentacles. The party kills the monster. The elf regains mobility after several minutes. The party continues to search the immense underground graveyard. The party finds much wealth. The group discovers a large sinkhole along one wall of the chamber. While the band moves the splintered skulls of the deceased humans for ages past, two more monsters climb from the sinkhole and engage the group.

The heroes dispatch the skittering creatures. Ayremyr argues in favor of descending down into the deep sinkhole in search treasure. Finding few allies in his plan, he reluctantly gives up but not without grumbling about his belief that great treasure lies below. Erith quickly reminds the elf that two of the paralyzing beasts climbed from the deep shaft and that being paralyzed is not very conducive to climbing with ropes. Finishing up their search after nearly six hours, the group re-enters the water and travels back to the cistern.

The group discovers a storeroom with picks and other digging implements. Nearby the party breaks into a wine cellar belonging to the giants. They loot 13 wooden tuns placing these into their portable hole. The party leaves this area to explore passages north of the prison cells. There the party discovers several large rooms under excavation. The party remarks that these are likely the chambers that Ruddick Freeiron informed them that the giants had him engineering.

The next chamber turns out to be occupied. Three stone giants are quartered here. The elven warriors charge and the others begin throwing spells or enter melee to aid the warriors. The party kills one giant and the others are wounded. One giant speaks a thick common tongue and asks to parley. The party ceases their attacks while the giant speaks to the group. Tellazar asks the stone giant about a staff that the hill giants took from humans on a recent raid to the south. The giant tells the Guardians that he did see the item and that Chief Nosnra turned it over to the dark llewyr who left traveling back east. Corthen asks about the forces of the chief and learns that the stone giants number four and that they are here only to dig chambers for the hill giants. Asked why, the giant says that the dark llewyr directed Chief Nosnra to expand the chambers below the keep.

Corthen extracts a promise that the stone giants will not work against the party or attack them in the future. Searching the room, Rehs and Corthen discover a chest. Looking inside the elf sees that it is a large amount of gold coins. Conflicted, he finally closes the lid and walks away leaving the remaining giants with their pay for the mining they have done. Gathering the group, the party passes through gate created by the magic mirror. Back in Waterdeep, the mage detects the treasure haul for magic and prepares these objects for identification.

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23rd of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff

Corthen and Rehs go to Essimuth’s Equipment. After visiting with the retired adventurer, Corthen purchases his stock of steel vials with the intention of replacing as many of the glass vials of magic potions carried by the party into the strong steel containers.

The duo travel to Millomyr Harps and talk with Jhandess. They pass along the most recent events from the Moonshae Isles to the Harper agent.

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22nd of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff

Tellazar spends the day casting Identify on the recent group of enchanted items.

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21st of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Freedom

The heroes leave Ruddick and Garvis at the caves and return to the fortress of the hill giants. Erith once again uses his scroll of portals to open a passage into the keep at the pantry. Ayremyr discovers that the giants have repaired the broken door that Corthen broke the other day gaining entry to the lower level.

The party returns to the dungeons. Rehs scouts ahead and discovers a smithy and a torture chamber both occupied by fire giants. He returns and shares his findings with the group. Corthen leads to band to the smithy. The heroes attack the two fire giants. They are aided by one of the dwarf slaves who grabs a nearby weapon and he helps defeat the evil giants.

Rehs, Corthen, and Ayremyr work on freeing the chained dwarven prisoners. Erith and Samira speak to them and learn their names and where they hail from. Leshar, Kodal, Garedren, Mordan, Horgan, and Thorgrim were captured outside of Gnarlhelm and held in captivity for two years. The other dwarf, Kiersan Goldbeard, is a mercenary warrior and has been imprisoned for the last ten months.

The party decides they will help the dwarves by sending them home using their magical mirror. Corthen asks Erith to teleport to Waterdeep and open a gate to the smithy. The bard complies; everyone steps through the gate back to the City of Splendors. Tellazar has Kodal visualize the dwarves home and the six smiths thank the group and step through to Gnarlhelm. Kiersan offers to help the party fight the giants. He asks for an equal share of the treasure and the party quickly agrees.

Corthen opens a portal to the cave and sends Garvis back to Caer Callidyr. The elf offers the engineer Ruddick employment in Waterdeep. The grateful man agrees to terms and promises to aid in the repairs needed to Erith’s damaged home in the Castle Ward to start with. Several members go to the Riven Shield. Delborrgan sells Tellazar a dagger and a shield that are enchanted. The group takes the time to buy armor and equipment for Kiersan and Rithal.

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20th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
In Search of the Staff

The party rested and ready to go, brings Rithal, the rescued elven warrior mage, with them to retrieve the staff of the druids. Approaching the hill giant fortress from the North, the party approaches the log walls. Erith uses his scroll of portals which opens a magical circle 10’ in diameter in the outer wall. The party quickly enter and discover that the room is occupied by giants.

One male hill giant and four unarmed female giantesses occupy the sleeping chamber. Corthen and Ayremyr swiftly move to engage the male giant. They make short work of the warrior. The females scream and move about the chamber in terror. Corthen directs the others to help him to dispatch the giantesses. Rehs, Tellazar, and Samira assist him. One female runs for a door left unguarded out into the worg courtyard and Ayremyr quickly slams the door shut to avoid an attack by the foul worgs. Soon a loud horn bellows from somewhere near the courtyard.

The heroes wait for a counter attack of giants but one does not come. Corthen decides that the party should push on, out another set of doors. He has Rehs scout the hallway beyond using his ring of invisibility. The hidden rogue stealthily checks out the area. He discovers a busy kitchen full of giantesses, ogres, and orc slaves being ordered around and he feels bad for them.

A closed door in the hall is locked and Rehs is unable to bypass the lock. There is another door that is unlocked but Rehs calls the others forward to help. Corthen opens the door and interrupts a game of knucklebones by a group of gambling ogres. The party charges the surprised ogres and makes short work of them. Corthen leads a search of the room for treasure and secret doors. Finding only some coins, the group leaves the room and crosses the hall to the locked door.

Corthen borrows Samira’s enchanted hammer which is designed to punch holes in doors and walls. The elven warrior breaches the bottom of the door and the others follow him inside. The room beyond appears to be a food storage pantry which the party gives a cursory examination before locating the descending stairs used the previous day while etheral.

Rehs checks several doors lining the chamber. At the south door the thief hears some muttered voices through the locked door. Working quietly, Rehs picks the lock; the Guardians of the Past open the door ready for combat. Inside the room are a dozen armed bugbears. The party rushes in and engage the enemy. Reinforcements arrive from another hallway and Ayremyr is seriously wounded and falls. Rithal acts quickly and drags the fallen elf through another door and shuts it while the remaining adventurers battle the remaining creatures.

After dispatching the bugbears Erith and Corthen make contact with Rithal and Samira tends to Ayremyr. Her prayers heal the the serious wound to his leg. Once the group is ready, Rehs scouts the hallway that the bugbears had come from. The rogue discovers that the remaining bugbears have fortified themselves in the end chamber with barricades of tables and other furniture.

Corthen parlays with the cornered bugbears. He asks them what their duties are for the giants. The leader informs the adventurers that they are paid to guard prisoners to attempt recapture of the escaped orc slaves that are in another part of the dungeon. Corthen asks about the giants, who their leader is how many soldiers does he have. The bugbear tells him that Chief Nosnra is the leader and that he has many warriors. Corthen offers to let the bugbears go with their treasury intact if they offer no resistance and if they turn over all their prisoners to him.

The bugbear, Gnarhk, agrees and sends a runner to his other troops to give word of the cease fire and to bring the remaining prisoners out. The party learns that the bugbears are of the Ulgdush or Glorious Pride in common tongue. The bugbears bring two men to Corthen and the others. Questioning the men Samira learns that one named Garvis has lost his mind and the other man, Ruddick Freeiron is an engineer.

Ruddick shares that the giants had him working with giants and orcs digging new chambers beneath the keep. Samira uses her powers and cures Garvis. Regaining his mind, they learn he is a merchant from Caer Callidyr. The party also learn from the Ulgdush bugbears that the giant known as the Keeper lairs in a chamber north of the prison cells and that he is rumored to have great treasure.

The party asks Rithal to guard the two freed prisoners while they engage the Keeper. Corthen and Ayremyr lead the others into the Keeper’s room. He is a hideous one-eyed hunchback hill giant. He and his two pet bears batter the invaders but they are no match for the martial skills of the attackers. The wounded heroes gather up his treasure hidden in the floor. They rejoin Rithal and the two men and retreat up the stairs. The bugbears join the party and flee out the opening Erith magically creates in the fortress wall. The Ulgdush run north towards the mountains while party makes their circuitous way back to the base camp in the cave. Corthen and Erith take turns playing the healing harp at the camp while Samira uses prayers to heal the most seriously wounded of the party.

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19th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
The Fortress

The heroes break camp come morning. They follow the tracks left by the giants who attacked the North Grove. Near Highsun the Guardians of the Past reach the foothills of the mountains to the North. The giants tracks connect to an established trail. Following it it several hours the group spies a structure on the horizon. Tellazar casts Fly upon Rehs and he flies upward to scout the nearby terrain.

While the rogue is airborne, Erith discovers a small cave entrance in the scrub growing upon the hillside. Rehs returns from his flying and reports that structure is one large building and is likely the home of the giants. The party decides that the cave should be investigated since it is so well hidden.

Rehs scouts forward, checking the cavern for hidden dangers and tripwires. The party explores the passages and checks several descending shafts that are not passable. A large chamber is discovered at the rear of the main passage. The party agrees that this cavern could be used as a base if needed while they reconnoiter the giant’s base.

Near twilight the party moves towards the giant camp. Clearly visible hundreds of yards away, the heroes see that the structure is a wooden fortress over two stories tall made of huge logs. A stockade connects two smaller structures to the main keep. A tower is evident on the other side, guarding the main entrance.

Ayremyr is loaned Reh’s ring. He turns invisible and spider climbs the stockade wall looking for an easier way into the keep. When he reaches the top of the palisade, the elf is spooked by the snarling of dozens of creatures! The courtyard is home to a pack of large worgs. Quickly retreating, Ayremyr returns to inform the group that the courtyard is not safe.

The party discusses several options, before settling on using Samira’s prayer to become etheral and walk through one side of the fortress. The group enters etherally. They see a sleeping area where two human women in rags lie on pallets. They next cross a kitchen area. The party discovers several hallways and a set of descending stairs before Samira’s spell expires. The party retreats to the hidden cave to use a Nap spell.

Revived and with spells replenished, the Guardians return to the lair of the giants. Becoming etheral once more, the group scouts the stairs leading below. They pass through stone walls and several chambers before discovering a prison cell holding a male elf. Ending the spell, the party surprises the dazed elf. Corthen promises him that they will return to rescue him. Several others are unwilling to leave the wounded elf to the mistreatment of the evil giants. It is decided that the party and the elf, Rithal Yaltharion, will use Samira’s etheral prayer to escape and that Erith will sneak out of the keep using his Invisibility spell.

The group follows their plan and return to the cave with Erith rejoining them shortly. At the caves, the party starts a fire and Samira tends to the wounded Rithal. Corthen questions the male elf on his captors and how he came to be there. The grateful elf shares his story. He tells the group that he hails from the elven home of Evermeet and that he is the only survivor of a shipwreck that was driven ashore in the Northern reaches of Alaron. Rithal says that he was soon captured by a band of hill giants and bugbears and has been imprisoned for nearly eight months. He thanks the party for his rescue. In return, he pledges to serve Corthen for one year since he owes him his life. Corthen tries to shrug off Rithal’s offer, but the elf refuses and demands that he accept his service. The party lends the elf armor and weapons before setting watches for the night and discussing plans to return to fight the hill giants.

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18th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff

The party has left the forest and the grasslands to the north. They have reached the foothills south of the Hardangheight Mountains. The trail left by the giants is easy to follow. They have not attempted to cover their tracks so the heroes have a easy go of it and make good time. At dusk, Erith and the others make camp. The night is uneventful and everyone rests when not on watch.

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16th of Elient 1366 Year of the Staff
Druids

Between dawn and Highsun the Guardians of the Past arrive at the despoiled North Grove of Chauntea. The tainted moonwell is covered with a dark mist like the fallen Great Grove of Gwynneth. The decaying remains of the fallen guardians lie scattered about the torn earth untouched by scavengers.

Corthen locates the point of attack and a broken path to the north likely made by the attackers. Samira uses the Spear of Lochal to converse with the spirit of an elderly woman whose broken corpse lies among the dead. The Mystran priestess learns that the woman was the Grand Druidess of Chauntea.

Samira speaks to the others and everyone agrees that they should use their staff of resurrection to bring her back. Samira uses the staff bring the druids back to life. The druids thank the party and introduce themselves. The Grand Druidess is Elanna Greensap. The other druidess is Hergela Snaptooth, her husband a druid as well is named Savin Snaptooth. The other druid is Garderin Mistmoor.

The druids tell the heroes that they were overwhelmed by an army of giants and the Cyricists who led the assault. Corthen offers to help them guard the other groves in danger. Elanna asks the adventurers if they will attempt to recover the staff that she had carried. It is the holy Staff of Chauntea. It is described as a bark covered ash staff crowned with branches and leaves. It is living without being physically connected to the earth.

Elanna Greensap promises that should the party recover the holy staff that she will be able to repair the moonwell and that she will allow each hero to place an enchanted item into the waters of the moonwell which will increase the number of times the item may be used.

Garderin speaks up and informs the party that the giants were being directed by a dark llewyrr. The party knows now that the drow are aiding the Dark Druidess in her campaign against Chauntea and the High Queen. After assisting in the burial of the fallen Harpers, Elanna informs the party that she wishes to aid the other druids in the guardianship of the remaining groves. She informs Samira that should they win back the staff, they can contact the Chauntean priest Elden in Caer Callidyr. The druids shapechange into great hawks and fly off leaving the party to champion the fight against the evil unleashed on the land. Corthen leads the party north following the trail left by the giants.

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