At the conclusion of my last entry, you may recall we had just arrived back at the Serpent Bloom, bloodied and battered from our battle with Livingston. Oddly, before our portal closed behind us, Smich, Grimhelm and Shady came through, apparently just missing us in our fight with Livingston. The three of them agree to watch over the party as they rest. After that, we bring them up to speed with a tale of our heroism in helping Sidwell with the statue with the missing hand, dealing with the coterie that controls Disentia Township, and of course, the penultimate battle with Livingston and the fleeing of the Necrodancer with the body of Tyvarius.
As I noted before, my heart was heavy thanks to the turn of events that seems to have left us with no path forward to finding Tyvarius and solving the riddle of how to get our souls back from the Necrodancer. Our group engages in a long discussion on what possible next steps may be.
In the course of this discussion, a disagreement erupts between Marmin and Jax concerning the statue hand. Raylin proceeds to charm Marmin so Jax can properly interrogate him and it appears Marmin is telling the truth about the hand. This still leaves us trying to figure out who put it in Jax’s backpack.
Sadly, strife and contentiousness seems to be spreading on this day as next up is a spat with Englebrecht. Despite completing the renovations that Raylin commissioned and having a fine estate to call home, Englebrecht takes the party to task over some conceived ills and eventually quits. He uses some illusory tricks to make his escape. That may be explained by the fact that we discover he has stolen half of the gems that Raylin was keeping in a chest at Serpent Bloom.
This enrages Jax who wants to try to intercept Englebrecht at Barmesa. More disagreement comes to the party as some believe Tyvarius should be the focus of our efforts and not retrieving the stolen gems.
Outside, Jax rashly uses a wish that he has available to try to summon Englebrecht back to the Serpent Bloom. This fails as we merely end up with some unrelated chap named Englebrecht and part of his house’s fortune – enough to equal the missing gems. This new Englebrecht explains the coins are marked and cannot be spent. This seems to only irritate Jax more as he seems to be intent upon killing this new Englebrecht. Melody and I engage in some shenanigans to divert the attention of the party from Englebrecht, quickly giving him a bag full of gold to help him get home, and sending him on his way before any more ill fortune falls on him.
At this point, Jax’s goddess Diziewona appears briefly to him. This causes some strange effect to overcome Jax and he seems to go into some kind of rage. Sensing we may be about to go into battle, I’m ready to strike before anyone else in the party. This creates a problem for me as I really do not want to attack my friend Jax and I debate just slipping quietly into a hiding place to see how this plays out. However, I know I would feel guilty if I miss an opportunity that could help protect the rest of the group.
So, I cast a fireball (12 damage) which causes Jax to attack me. With my divination abilities, I am able to foretell I have some brief safety from his attacks as I see they will fail. Before he can do any damage to me, I turn myself invisible and move out of his range. This ends up being especially effective as Shady casts an illusion of me to draw the attention of Jax. Meanwhile, Tally summons some wild beasts to aid in the attack. All of this gets Jax cornered and I am able to cast a cloud of daggers on him (4 pts).
The rest of the party then succeeds in overcoming Jax and we bind him up. After a while, the acute effects of Diziewona on Jax subside. However, he explains to us that he has been put on a hunt that he must complete. Failing to do so could leave him without the blessings of his goddess, which could be useful when we face the Necrodancer. Therefore, we agree to accompany him.
We travel down to Barmesa and determine we must cross the sea. We decide to teleport to the Phyto Florea Combine. This proves to be too far and we start to head back to Ecru when we are stopped by none other than Sidwell. He refuses to let us leave. We have a long discussion with Sidwell who seems to be under the impression that we are going to pay for all of the damage to the Combine caused by the Necrodancer and his ill-fated experiments on Tyvarius. Our cause is hampered somewhat by some deal that Smich made to cover the costs of damage caused by us. Only by touching the magic glass that reveals past events do we make some headway in convincing Sidwell that we were not the cause of the damage and should not be held liable.
Unfortunately, we spot Mob Smith hiding in the library. Events move quickly as Jax disappears and then Mob Smith walks out a side door to the library. I hasten after him at some peril and the rest of the party follows. We find ourselves in a looping staircase. Before we start working on how we may escape, Lord Marmoreal – the Earth Genasi who is second in command of the local coterie – appears to us. He informs us they are holding us responsible for the damage to the grounds. (Yes, more of this foolishness.) He tells us they will let us out, but that we owe them a university’s knowledge and they expect us to return books, scrolls and knowledge to them to make up for what they have lost. I am of a mind to prepare a lesson on not letting your books become infected with parasites and how to spot evil mages as the extent of the knowledge I’ll return to them.
They do let us go, but I am fairly certain we are now being watched at all times.
Following Jax’s lead, we head up into the mountains where we come across some very large footprints. As we approach the summit, we soon ascertain that Diziewona has sent Jax on a hunt to slay a stone giant. And it is a large stone giant standing over 19 feet tall and I’d estimate weighing 1,700 pounds.
We proceed to battle, though many of our fighting members are at a disadvantage as the giant has the high ground and the rocky terrain makes movement difficult for us. Jax is knocked back almost immediately by a boulder thrown at him.
I cast a Melf’s Minute Meteor spell and hurl two of the meteors at the giant causing some slight damage (7 pts). I next cast a fireball causing more significant damage (28 points) and follow this up with more meteors (16 points), a fire bolt (17 points), and the final two meteors (14 points). Needless to say, this seems to have a significant impact on the giant.
Combined with the attacks the others in the party are able to mount, Marmin delivers the final blow that topples the stone giant.
We search the grounds and find a variety of items. I find a chuck of amber that has something inside – a bug perhaps? – that I’d estimate has a value of 25 gold pieces if I find a buyer. However, I do wonder whether it could be used to unlock the secrets contained in the bug inside and allow me to open a location that replicates these beasts for the enjoyment of the commoners. Meanwhile, Melody finds an item believed to be an arcane focus that once belonged to a spellcaster. She gives it to me recognizing I might be able to unlock its secrets or otherwise make use of it.
With the giant slayed, we do take some dirt for our Epitaph collection and begin to ponder our next moves.