Written in elegant draconic script
I’ve been in town full time for about six weeks now and I’m starting to feel finally settled in. Our ship, the Drake’s Luck has sailed back out through the semi-regular barricade that those thieving Luskan pirates have settled around the Bay of Mists. So far, I’ve found out that the south bank of the Neverwinter River (what used to be called ‘South River Street’) is some of the wildest areas in town – the undead, oozes, and plaguechanged humanoids are thought to cluster thickly there, though really, most of the humanoids have been driven out, or so I’ve been told. I’ve also been told that the river is hotter now than what it used to be, back before the Spellplague. Apparently the fish in the harbor are quite odd also – big toothy things – but I pray I’m never close enough to find out. Though now that I think of it, there’s probably some first rate finds under the river water, ones that haven’t been picked over or looted. Perhaps, if I can find some enterprising watersouls they might be willing to scout around…
The farms at the north side of the city are apparently preparing for spring planting – that’s good, because it means that it’s likely to warm up soon, I imagine. Most of the farmers (as well as the dockworkers, longshoremen, the cargo haulers, the bar staff, the guards, the wall-builders) are here as indentured servants from Baldur’s Gate. I imagine it’s a brutal life, but better than what they could expect back in civilzation. Ah, civilization… that memory only makes my own present state more miserable.
I am camping, yes, camping, out in the woods, on the way to take a sword to some giants. It’s worse than that, actually. I should start from the beginning.
has worked out the most amazing sending. I’ve no patience for ritual study, truly, but this almost makes me want to try it again! He managed to send simultaneous sendings to myself and several others to summon us to his offce. I met as I was coming towards Harzarim’s office. Isak, as per usual, was just waking up. , , and were already there. The whole household had been taking it’s orders from Harzarim, as had been closeted with some poor victim of the spellplague. I hope he can save her, him, whatever. Or at least provide it with some comfort in it’s last hours. A nasty business, the spellplague, just nasty. Regardless, he summoned us to his neat, orderly office. The picture window has an excellent view of the Bay of Mists and several fishing boats were plying their trade in the background. Apparently, we were going to be sent out on a diplomatic mission – surely that’s why Isak and I were involved.
Two merchants (a halfling named Erol and a northerner named Svarog) were going to be taking a magical frost sword (a big gaudy thing with a fine enchantment on it from Master Soloq) to the the king of the fire giants currently inhabiting Mount Hotenow. In return, King Thar was planning on gifting Master Soloq with a quantity of something called earthfire. I don’t recall that from my studies, Iskak still wasn’t fully awake, one can’t expect Aliona to know anything about that, but Nin and Kur’naj seemed to recognize the term. Apparently it’s an important alchemical reagent (a note in the margin of the journal here reads “Remember to ask ”wiki-content-link-not-found">_Content Not Found: akra_ about earthfire".) However, Erol and Svarog had gone missing, so Master Harzarim wanted us to take the great beastly thing to the giant. Some questions were asked, some were even answered. When we asked “well, how are we to get to Mount Hotenow?” Harzarim, in his usual style pointed at the plume of smoke that is visible to the northeast of the city most days and quipped “follow that plume of smoke!” Well! Really! Once we were dismissed, Isak and I decided to see if we could find more about Erol and Svarog within New Neverwinter. It wasn’t merely an excuse for a pub crawl, really…
Content Not Found: 32251, as usual, knew about the comings and goings of everyone of importance in New Neverwinter, and particularly those people of no particular importance! He’d mentioned that he’d seen Erol heading into the Bilge Rat. Ew. Well, so be it. The group of us headed to the Bilge Rat and found Erol. Poisoned, infected, wounded Erol. Isak cleverly tricked him into talking about the giants (we didn’t know what kind of information that Erol would let drop unexpectedly). He had blinding sickness, which while quite bad, isn’t the spellplague, y’know? Though I’m puzzled as to where he picked it up, because I think it comes from bad water. So we did what we could to try and fix him up. Isak’s medical skills… they leave something to be desired. Aliona tried to get a priest, but the priest of Ilmater was trying to torture a body back to life (I didn’t ask) and the priests of Waukeen demanded some really unreasonable amount of gold. So we tended him as best we could. Once he got healed up enough, he told us a little more about what had happened.
Apparently Erol and Svarog trade with these giants from time to time. They’ve never discovered alcohol, so he brings them horrible rotgut from the city (which he waters down halfway to Mount Hotenow at a stream, leaving the empty casks there for recycling) and some trade goods which he trades for diamonds and gold from the volcano. Clever, actually. Waukeen bless halflings little larcenous hearts. King Thar, in particular, enjoys the alcohol. Bregga is a older female giantess with white hair, who apparently has a sweet tooth – likes apple pies. She’s a firecaller, some sort of priestess or enchantress. Apparently Erol saw her with a tame primordial or elemental walking around with her. The king has two sons, Gorin and Hurlag. Gorin is skinnier and speaks common and primordial – he’s interested in trade and exploration. Hurlag, in contrast, is a mean-tempered brute who’s as likely to slay a non-giant as look at him. He’s as thickly muscled as a dwarf, apparently, and is also Thar’s favorite, which says nothing good about our potential diplomatic relations with our neighbors, nothing good at all. We’d be wise to win him over, or find some information that would be useful against him in the future. There are perhaps fifty or sixty giants, all told. Erol said that he and Svarog had seemed weak, overcome by the volcanic heat, when they first made contact with the giants and that they had been in a sore spot, politically, ever since. I imagine my inborn draconic resistance to fire might help there, but that the Endure Elements ritual will be necessary for everyone.
As far as explanation for his sorry state said that they were on their way back from Hotenow, and were attacked by small humanoids with darts and arrows, probably poisoned, that communicated by whistling. He ran off, and somehow made it back to Neverwinter. The description doesn’t ring a bell with me – nor even with . Goblins maybe, or kobolds.
As we nursed him back to health (and I don’t think Isak was quite successful) Erol said that the best way to get to the giants would be to take the logger’s track to a large rock shaped like a snake curled up on it’s tail. From there, he and Svarog marked trees along their route through Neverwinter Wood, and he advised us to take machetes to chop through any underbrush that will have grown up so that we won’t slow down the mule train. He also pointed out that one can’t see the smoke through the treecover. Hah! Then we were to take the marked trail to the foothills, and look to the left for a hilll of shiny black lava rock. There is a stone gong there that we can ring, and Gorin will come out to guide us in. When we got concerned about such a sizeable colony of giants so close to Neverwinter, Erol pointed out that he’d cleverly misled the giants into thinking that he’d come from Baldur’s Gate (which he had, actually, but just not directly from Baldur’s Gate…). That’s best, because the idea of the giants running loose is worse than the idea of the spellplagued orcs breaking free from the House of Justice! To think we have problems now, hah! Erol also indicated that the giants don’t stray far from the volcano because it’s too cold for them otherwise, and that while they do some hunting, they aren’t particularly afflicted with wanderlust or the urge to explore.
During this process, Kur’naj and Nin started thinking about the Earthfire, and they remembered that it has to be carried in special stone jugs. Another damned test of Harzarim’s! Apparently the deal was for 8, but they sent us with 12 jugs, because Isak is that good of a diplomat. Once we got final instructions from the drover about the care and feeding of mules (vile beasts) we were on our way. We made it to the rock shaped like a snake without particular trouble. Nin noted something about the rock, something about a connection to some ancient moldy snake-god. A single needlefang drake got into some of our supplies (we have a month of supplies for a 10 day trip). The trail is not any sort of real road. There are bugs (thank goodness I’m dragonborn) and the rest of my companions are quite unhappy. Nin has some protection from the bugs due to his own arcane abilities (Aliona seems to be quite taken with him, but that may just be a measure against the insects). The mules smell and the track is often muddy.
I’ve found something that makes New Neverwinter seem pleasant by comparison.