Tuhril, having now seen everyone and greeted them… slowly, and precisely… he states that there is now no need for him to travel to Hargijk, since he was only going there to find HexFang. Instead, he offers the group to follow him home. He turns and begins his walk back along the road. Every step he takes is slow and heavy, but he travels about the same distance in the same time as everyone else. He seems irritated by the concept of walking and talking at the same time, but seems comforted by any conversations that break out among the group.
The journey takes 4 days, with Tuhril sharing what he knows when he stops to rest each evening. His satchel contains a fold-out cot that he props up with stones. This raised bed presents a shelter from the elements during the evening. Tuhril shares many tales, and talks openly, albeit frustratingly slowly, about his quest to find HexFang.
The gist, strained over two nights, is that Gorbane was disappointed with HexFang leaving Hyxhuathil to travel with two Gnomes, instead of gathering intel from or taking action against the nearby tribes and encampments that were allies of the Beholder. Gorbane has since tasked another to accomplish this goal.
Gorbane wishes HexFang killed for her insolence and disobedience. He has given this message to all of his allies and contacts for a thousand miles in every direction. Tuhril decided to travel south and follow HexFang to warn her; he feels that one so young should not be held to account for so minor a thing. Once at his home, Tuhril wishes to provide temporary safe accommodation and gather some information on nearby movements of Gorbane’s contacts. With this he can find a safe path for HexFang to move beyond Gorbane’s reach, beyond the Crown of the World. The journey will be long and arduous, but it will be necessary for her survival until she grows to adulthood.
As the party approaches Hyxhuathil, the huge door slides open, pulled by a hill giant wearing torn hides knotted together, some of them not even cured or treated. The walls are wooden, shaved tree trunks treated with an unknown oil or cream; as strong as stone, and as tall as the hill giants themselves. The stone giants in this town, however, are considerably taller. They are all visible from outside the walls if they’re in the open. The structures are strangely built, certainly more vertical than horizontal. The buildings within are made from stone slabs cut and placed in tall arrangements, with rooms being roughly enough to fit two giants side by side. All the doors slide to the side, and are large sheets of wood or stone. Despite the crude architecture, the small community is bright and appears content. The stone reflects the light and appears a very pale shade, seeming almost white next to the cold, dark grey of the mountain beside it. Some giants sit outside on stone blocks, carved with simple patterns and set at odd angles, more trapezoidal frustum than cube.
The giants here are quiet, for the most part, seemingly content to just take in the outside world. Most stone giants live in complex cavern structures, rather than building freestanding buildings. This settlement was set up as a waystation, a meeting place for the giants to keep a handle on more worldy affairs without submitting their own homes to threats. There are only six other stone giants here, and four hill giants in their service, but even through the peace here you can sense that the giants do not enjoy being so close to each other.
Crossing what appears to be a village common, Tuhril takes the group into a building, the huge door sliding across making a satisfying scraping sound, smooth and demonstrative of worked stone that will take years to wear down.
Upon entering the “small” room a tall table can be seen, shaped much like those stools outside, standing tall and chest-height to the giant. Clearly carved into the table is a spiral designed as a small walkway to the tabletop, perhaps 3 feet wide.
Once there it can be seen that the tabletop is in fact a map carved into the stone that shows the local area. This is where HexFang and Tuhril discussed strategy before, and it was made clear at the time that Tuhril was a man of direct action rather than one of finesse. He gathers food for the group, however, and sits at the table. An odd silence falls as mid-day approaches.
What do you do?
It can be assumed that during the first 2 nights, Zadkiel is watched incredibly closely and perhaps bound. After this, it should become apparent that he is in full control of his faculties during these transformations.
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.
As a further note, I am willing to offer 1,800 XP per character to travel to the southern continent before level 4. This is so that you’ll either reach level 4 upon arrival, or be close enough that a few sessions is all it will take. The option is not there yet, but when it comes, it will be.