While Zadkiel attempts to discuss the nature of mortality, Gemscale and Knives decide against continuing their gold refinement. Lorrias mentions his wish to continue on towards the Spine of the World, but concedes that strength in numbers is probably best for now. It appears that for now, at least, he’s presently embroiled in the affairs of these Dragons. Perhaps an opportunity will present itself in the Orc city they’re travelling to.
Gemscale then exits the room as the sun begins to drift towards the far horizon, the clouds gathering for a windswept afternoon. He begins slowly, but then unleashes a torrent of questions on Tuhril. Why is Death Lake called that? What help can Tuhril offer with the Dragon Eggs? What dragons live near Hadrukk that could have given away the eggs?
Tuhril answers carefully and deliberately, sharing what he knows. The Mountains near Hadrukk house a small White Dragon family that lives near the peaks. He doesn’t know much about Dragon Eggs, but he does know they’re not given away lightly, and that there are myths that tell of Giants that grew to be powerful heroes after eating Dragon Eggs whole and raw.
After learning that Death Lake is so called because of the annual floods that, when they recede, leave dead fish and plants that aren’t found in the lake during the rest of the year. It’s a mystery none have solved, but an ancient civilisation once theorised that the lake lead to the land of the dead, and the waters simply deposited the dead from elsewhere.
The party rests for the evening, noting that within the village the temperature remains comfortably cool throughout the night. As the sun sets, all the Giants, including Tuhril, emerge from their rooms and congregate in the middle of the village square. There, they discuss plans for the following day in their own tongue. Jobs are allocated out, and all tasks, it seems, are simply assumed to have been completed from the previous day. No one Giant seems to be the leader. The Hill Giants sit in the corner near the gates and sleep in a pile, disconnected from the rest of the goings-on in the village. Once it gets suitably late, the Giants all gather in one of the larger rooms near the rear of the village. Once there, more frenzied discussion can be heard in their language, and it seems they are sharing a clan meal together.
The size and material of the table allows for a rudimentary campfire to be constructed upon it. As the party settles down for the night, more stories are shared. The bards revel in their larger audience, performing great ballads and poems for the newcomers. As the night begins to die out and the dawn arise, some sleep is had before rising for breakfast.
Eagerly, the party leave Tuhril’s room to find this trader. Tuhril is awake with seemingly all the other Giants, and they are slowly wandering about, tending to various duties. The trader is now in the square, a small gaggle of humanoid customers gathering around. A couple of cloaked Kobolds barter for cured meats, a black-skinned Elf and a grey-skinned Dwarf argue over the value of a small mineral-flecked rock, and a few others fawn over the variety of pickled vegetables and fresh fruits from nearby villages. The trader is a Svirfneblin, standing about three feet tall. He’s stocky, has a disdended gut that peeks out of his jerkin, and seems to be chewing… something…
Halfdan huffs as he crests the next hill, silently cursing the landscape he has followed the thief into. Stopping in that Orc city was bad enough; their taste for stringy, pungeant meats is difficult to stomach. But to have his quest almost completed only to be interrupted by a thief is the ultimate insult! Halfdan had spent weeks tracking down the lost Gem of Syterrac, a royal jewel from an ancient Orc civilisation. Coveted by the current chief of Gorgek, the Orc city, Halfdan decided that such an adventure would be worthy of a good story and a hearty meal back home with his wife.
After retrieving the gem, at great cost to his purse and leisure time, Halfdan had managed to escape from the goblin mine it was buried in, leaving the screaming locals behind as he swung across a subterranean gorge using a rope he’d secured earlier; preparation was his forte. After reaching the other side, and hearing the screeches getting closer, he stood tall and stared at the edge on the other side. Concentrating, he pictured a swirl of fluid in his mind. Forming it and holding the shape, feeling around it, he makes it cloudy. More and more he moves it in his mind, makes it still and examines every inch. Growing this image, his eyes cloud over and his arm almost takes a life of its own as it makes swirling motions. The air across the gorge moves with his arm, beginning to make the shape of the image in his mind. As the air moves, it gets cloudier and cloudier, thicker and darker. Soon, a wall of cloud covers the edge.
Snapping out of it, Halfdan smiles, cupping the gem in his hand before placing it in his pack. Getting up again to run away, his escape is framed by the fading yelps of goblins falling into the gorge, failing to see the edge. A smile spreads across his jaw, his eyes still darting around looking for danger.
After all that, and reaching the Orc city, only to have some street-thief take the gem from him before he could deliver it and collect the reward. Upon realising the theft, Halfdan tracked them down. It seems they worked for one Kejermann, a Svirfneblin thief known in the region. Alas, Halfdan was too late to catch up to the mastermind behind this theft, and instead followed a day behind. Choosing to sleep strategically, he managed to close the gap and now, after weeks, he has him close. There, nestled between mountains and along a winding path, sits a Stone Giant outpost, a village of sorts. Approaching, the cold light of the sun making his joints ache as they realise their lack of rest, Halfdan curses, again, the hilly terrain and long distances between places. Long gone are the days of manning the rigging and sailing freely on the open sea, it seems.
The large gates of the outpost are pulled open, shabby-looking Hill Giants pulling them open for Halfdan’s approach. No sooner are the gates open than he sees his quarry! Kejermann! The Svirfneblin thief, bane of Halfdan’s month, simply standing a few hundred feeet away amidst a crowd. He stands atop an open wagon, racks of shelves showing many trinkets and novelties along with foodstuffs. A minor horde of customers surrounds him, and massive Stone Giants wander the place slowly, seemingly busy with other tasks. The streets are wide, the buildings are stone, and the thieves, it seems, operate openly. Angered, Halfdan begins to stride into the village.
What do you do?
Gemscale can sense some magical properties coming from the egg, but is unable to determine what, exactly. It feels natural, and is likely just the magical life-force of the dragon within.
Feel free to post a tale (or more than one). This “Bard’s Tale” can be a story set within the game world involving people and kingdoms we’ve encountered and dealt with, or they can be other stories that could be told in this world. It can be an account your character shares of their own experiences, if you like.