I suggested that, since Lydia apparently used Taki to home in on the Air Node, that we could draw a picture or something on one of the cliffs here to help her find it, if we ever need her to send us back here. So this morning, Mikael asked for stone-shape, and made a statue of Nori on the side of this cliff here.
We had a little excitement early this morning. Ezekiel and Mikael were on watch, when Mikael suddenly started poking us and shouting us awake. Heiron and I grabbed our bows and followed him up to the battlements. There, we saw a huge blue man-thing (actually a Cloud Giant) clutching Ezekiel with one hand and trying to climb down the fortress.
A moment later, Raven’s rope snaked out of an arrow slit below us and wrapped around the giant. Heiron and I let loose into him, and he dropped like a stone – still clutching Ezekiel.
We piled out of the fortress to check on him, and although he had a broken bone or two, it seems he’ll recover. Raven said he should have been a monk (because they’re special about falling off walls) and Mikael said he should have turned into a bird (while casting healing on him). I think this trick of his is going to Mikael’s head.
I fetched Tressarian so he could tell us if the giant had anything magical, and we got a couple scrolls out of it – plus money, and a dagger that looks really funny to me, but Raven’s going to try it.
We also found some human-sized armor that Ezekiel says is better than what I was wearing before (we waved a couple of our weapons at it, just to test the resistances) so I guess I get an upgrade!
Ezekiel is still dead-set on fighting the dragons, and suggested that maybe Wizard Abi Marn back at the tower could watch the mirror and scry Lydia out of the node, so that she can help us in the fight – then return to being our escape hatch. I’m still not convinced we need to tempt fate, since we got what we came for here, but he’s right there might be prisoners that need rescuing down there. Maybe not likely, but possible.
We talked with Taki a bit more, and he decided that he probably won’t find any more news of his party here in the nodes, and he might as well return to Orth. So we drew the circle and waited for Lydia to notice.
While we were waiting, the inside of the door frosted over – but when Ezekiel peeked outside, he just saw ice toads, not undead. So Heiron and I drove them off with arrows.
Lydia finally peeked through the mirror (still seems kinda grumpy) and Ezekiel and Taki went through (Taki had some trouble, being so very tall!). Ez’s going to talk plans with Lydia, and ask her what she knows about White Dragons and such.
(I wonder if you can skin them…??)
When Ezekiel finally returned, we set out – collecting the fortress as we left. The giant’s body was already covered in ocher jellies. I hold no sympathy for giants in general, but jellies of all types unnerve me.
As we headed down the ramp back to the ravine floor, we explored the caves we passed. In the second one, in the far back corner, we found a big square engraved on the ground. (Tres confirmed that it was magical.)
Ezekiel, Wonillon, and I all got out our notes, and we eventually agreed that it’s probably the teleport symbol for the water node that Taki told us about. When we’re ready to move on, we’ll probably use it, so maybe we don’t get dropped into water first-off.
We did fight some strange air-creatures. They look more like “swirling mists” with tentacles than the last bunch did, and their lashes can really sting. One of them even wrapped up Ezekiel or something and sucked on him for a bit until we could beat it off (we avoided hitting Ez instead). They also had something funky going on, where Tressarian and Mikael’s magic rod could hurt them, and Heiron’s flame-sword could – but Raven’s rope and the mace of the ram seemed to slide right through them. Very sneaky air-creatures.
They also had a “nest” full of gems and jewelry. I don’t know what these creatures would want with that – but then, I don’t know if they need a nest for “nesting,” either.
We also fought some sphinxes – much like the last group we fought. Raven grabbed a couple of them with his rope, and made them crash into the ground, while the rest of us hammered away with our weapon of choice. (I’m glad the random buffets of wind haven’t affected my accuracy so far.)
We reached the foot of the ramp that leads to the “gru” cave (the things Mikael called “wind terrors”), so I guess that means we’ve circled the northern arc of the ravine. About straight north, on the level of the ravine floor, another huge cave mouth opens up – and we headed into it.
Inside, the cavern veered left, and split into two paths: one sloping up, one running level. We took the slope, since we don’t like the idea of people having the high ground on us.
As we climbed, we heard the sound of picks working on rock. A couple humans came into view, dressed in rags and mining at the rocks or something. And then…
Then, then, then. As the humans cowered into a corner, four huge, blue cloud giants came stomping forward.
Mikael threw faery fire – and even his powerful spell only coated the front three. Then Raven whipped out his magic rope – and it snarled the arms of the foremost one!
I put my training into practice and made it bleed before a boulder came out of nowhere and knocked the wind out of me. Then a second boulder hit – and my eyesight went all blurry, and I couldn’t raise my arms.
Heiron tells me he and Ezekiel finished off the giant that was tangled while Mikael got me back on my feet. I dug my bow arm into the Keoghtim’s Ointment on my belt and managed to get off a shot – into a female giant, no less (they’re all vicious, so there’s no real distinction).
By that time, Raven had tangled another giant in his rope – and although this giant struggled, Raven found a purchase for his heels, and held on.
Heiron ran up closer and landed a flurry on arrows into the giant, bringing it down. I’m so proud.
Another giant punched him for his trouble, though – and Mikael ran behind the lines to touch him with healing. Wonillon and I took down another giant, and Heiron powered through and killed the last one.
I was a bit worried that one of my arms was crooked, but Ezekiel fixed it up all right. Heiron and I are still a little battered, but we can stand.
Ezekiel tended to the two slaves – they say there aren’t any other slaves (that they know of, I guess) but they were worried that there was one more giant that was out running errands or something until we told them he was dead.
The giants had a bunch of magic weapons – including a pile of magic crossbow bolts! I don’t have a crossbow, of course, and couldn’t really use it if I did, but sometimes having magic ranged attacks makes all the difference…so Heiron, Raven, and I divvied them up.
There was also a man-sized suit of plate-mail that Ezekiel said was better than what Heiron was wearing, so he got an upgrade. When we found a couple scrolls, Ezekiel got a birthday present, too, so I guess it’s been a full day.
I’m glad to have finally used my cloud-giant techniques, but I really should have dodged those boulders. I still get fuzzy vision if I move my head too fast…though the clerics assure me they can fix that in the morning.
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