A GRIPPING TITLE GOES HERE
Session 10: The Harder They Fall
The refugees spent about one week traveling, surviving on foraged wild pigs at a barely sustainable level once the food rations were gone. During the travels, Igan conducted ritual services in honor of the gods and began formal instruction of both Gruff and Jacopo in clerical arts (with the help of Eggsy and Sklooh for combat training). Lena began work on a mysterious magical item for the first time, learning the trade as she went. Eventually, the entire group reached the end of the steppes: the point at which the mountains to the south meet the forests to the north.
As the Argathans broke camp, Sklooh went to scout ahead. He noticed large trees shaking side to side, rustling in the leaves, and fleeing birds indicating something large headed in the party's direction. Sklooh turned to go back to camp and crested the hill just as the girthy and looming Hill Giant emerged from the tree line, a tree trunk and elephant-like creature in tow. After alerting the group, Raphael observed that there were man-made (albeit ruined) structures just beyond the Hill Giant's lean-to. The four Pillarmen decided to confront him.
While Sklooh attempted to sneak around behind the giant, Igan, Lena, and Egg-spiker decided to approach directly and attempt to reason with the creature. Using the magic of thaumaturgy, communication was attempted. The only trouble was that no one spoke more than a few words of Giant. Regardless, he was intrigued by the little people with the big voices who were very obviously dumber than him because "they can't talk good." Sklooh, who was coming up from behind, tried to take a few bites from the elephant creature while the giant's back was turned, but he was noticed and shoo'd away like a pest. The giant refocused his attention on the magic-users, and carried Lena and Igan away like toys. Soon, he was trying to exert his authority over his new play things, giving them nonsensical and crude orders. Igan used his powers to imitate the dead elephant, but the ruse went wrong and resulted in Igan's being hit by the giant. Eggsy responded with a magical bolt of searing energy.
There was no avoiding combat at that point and everyone jumped in. The giant tried to fight back, but was ultimately too slow despite being a glutton for punishment. After smashing up our heroes a bit with his tree trunk, the beasts Achilles' Tendon was severed under him, and he toppled backwards onto Igan, leaving the cleric unconscious and on the verge of death. Lena, though, used her abilities to gore out a portion of the giant, killing the creature in the process. Igan was recovered and healed.
The camp was alerted to the battles end and the party proceeded to find a couple of destroyed columns on either side of a mountain path. Inscribed on the columns in Elvish was: "Friends of Telor, advance; Enemies, beware." The refugees made their way through the mountain pass and were utterly enamored by the wild life. Dire rams, hippogryphs, griffons, and harpies all made their homes in the sides of cliffs and peaks of mountains around them. After a full day of travelling through the mountains, they made their beds for the night. Unfortunately, sleep was immediately intruded on when Sklooh--who had made his bed away from the others--was assaulted by harpies. They tore at his flesh and left him almost dead before fleeing after a few good attacks from Igan and Lena. Sklooh camped closer to the crowd afterwards.
The following day, they all came across a large, flat, sculpted valley with a door on the other side. A preliminary investigation revealed that the valley contained an invisible maze made up of arcane walls of freezing magic. Deciding not to tackle the maze that day, they bed down once more. The following morning, a plan was devised to navigate the maze using frosted pebbles and eventually they all reached the opposing door safely. Upon reaching the end, they found that the door was made up of two large stone slabs that detailed the history of Telor in Elvish.
When the refugees entered the mountain, they were immediately ambushed and detained. Lena, who had stayed behind the body of the Argathans, attempted to magic her way out of danger. It worked briefly before one of the mysterious figures countered and dispelled her magical influence. They were all led to the entrance of the city, Telor. Large temples and buttresses spiraled up the vacuous cavern of the mountain interior, all illuminated by magical light of various colors. The mountain was opened to the sky, and many stars were clearly visible. They were all welcomed.