Hanging by a Thread

Grudd Haug

Day Seven

Session Eight (continued)

Getting up the next day Dagon, Lloyd and Kashag go out to try to buy some horses. They make a deal and get 3 horses, although the seller tried to get more out of them since their armor is coated in literal gold. They head toward Grudd Haug to face Guh and end the hill giant threat. On the way there they discover an old tower. Upon nearing the tower Kashag sees four hawks circling it and calls out to them, but upon his call the hawks cry out and attack him. Their beaks cut into him at all angles, flailing through the air he swings his wings hard and pulls back from them throwing a fireball into them. He scorches the birds, the party beneath him sees the struggle, and Shorty commands her spider to make a web to catch the birds.

As they near the tower the crying stops, Dagon Lloyd and Yudani manage to push the boulder out of the way and meet Moog. She initially attacks, but Dagon suggests they are friends with each other. She tells them about her husband Hruk and how Guh stole him from her. The party offers to help her and she is ecstatic to tell them everything she knows about the den.

Dagon’s ring from Arleosa disintegrates upon entering the tower and he finds treasure that Keltar Dardragon had left there. With specific directions to Grudd Haug the party arrives before noon. Flying above the group Kashag manages to see the den within a mile.

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Session Nine

The party decides to send Kashag, Dagon and Shorty into the cave off of the den to scout it out. Kashag and Dagon go invisible and Shorty darts along the stumps scattered on the outskirts of the den. Upon entering they are met with the stench of blood and sweat, the floors and walls are damp mud, and the room is filled with the sound of snoring. The party sees several cots lying around the room, one of which is occupied by a sleeping hill giant. Kashag moves into a western chamber to see more cots and a second sleeping giant. Creeping along further west the path opens up into a cave with a bloodstained wooden table of giant size, two crates of pig entrails, a barrel of filth, and two iron cages, each containing a boar.

Kashag follows the cave further west and sees a massive cave, a river seeps through a gash in the north wall and forms a stream that cuts across the eastern half of the area before spilling out through a hole in the south wall, tumbling down logs as it goes. A wooden bridge spans the stream at one point. Smaller rivulets also seep into the room and connect to the wider stream, but they are narrow enough to step over. Timber pillars caked in mud support the 30 foot high ceiling, which has three circular holes cut into it. Crisscrossing wooden beams cover these holes. Scores of fat pigs snort, waddle about, wallow in the mud, and gorge themselves at wooden troughs overflowing with slop. Tending the pigs are seven mud-covered bugbears and an ettin.

Kashag backs off and tells his comrades the situation, he and Dagon return to Lloyd Yudani and Stella to tell them of the enemies ahead. They decide this entrance is their best bet and head toward the cave entrance. Yudani blunders along and the sound of a gong crashes through the air from the tower to the west and the party realizes their approach is a bit less sneaky now. They enter the cave entrance and Dagon quickly makes an illusion of a female hill giant in an attempt to distract the male. Shorty lies in wait along the north-western cave.

Dagon hides and tries to throw his voice to the female giant near Shorty’s location but he can’t manage it and instead of falling for the trick the male giant investigates the area Dagon is hiding. But being unable to find him approaches the female illusion. Dagon, not trusting his performance, creeps nearer to the illusion and speaks to the male, “I’ll lay with you if you find me some food, it has to be fresh though. What’s your name?”

The male, having been down here for quite some time, is not keen on waiting, “Bed now, then food. Gar.”

Dagon, frustrated, “I’m so hungry, no bed.”

Not persuaded in the slightest the giant reaches for her, “Bed now!”

Shorty decides to attack at that moment before they are found out. Striking quickly against him, Dagon follows suit, Kashag backs away watching for the second giant, Yudani swings against the giant hard sending it stumbling, Stella sweeps her claws at him with three hard blows, Lloyd takes up the rear calling out “Shillelagh” as he imbues his staff with power and hits the giant hard. In an instant the giant has fallen, tumbling forward toward Dagon and Shorty. Dagon manages to dart out of the way but Shorty is pinned beneath the creature, crushed into the blood and mud beneath.

The second giant rushes into the room to be met with Kashag hitting him with spells before he can step into the room. Angry with these small folk he strikes out, hitting Kashag with two fists. The party strikes out at the giant quickly, feeling overwhelmed in the cave entrance the giant swings wildly, crushing his own hand against a wall. He crumples to the ground in agony, Dagon approaches him and asks his name. Unwilling to speak Dagon demands if he knows Moog, he cradles his hand and looks at his tormentors, “Who?” Dagon asks where Hruk is, hoping to save his own life the giant tells them Hruk guards the main entrance.

Shorty cuts across his throat, spilling the last of his life as he falls into the mud at his feet. Advancing toward the pig den the party attempts to sneak in, Kashag manages to crouch behind some pigs, Dagon creeps toward a trough of slop, Yudani tries to enter the room stealthily but alerts the entire room to her presence. Shorty and Stella are hidden around the bend of the cave. Dagon, caught in the open, creates an illusion of a bridge near the real one in the hope that the bugbears will be swept away by the river.

Upon seeing the adventurers the ettin leaves the room toward a western cave. The seven bugbears begin to converge on the party, Dagon with his arms outstretched to create the illusion is struck from the left, a javelin piercing straight through his arm. The other bugbears throw wide hitting the mud walls to no effect. Using the distraction Shorty darts toward Kashag, hiding with him. Using the distraction of Dagon and Yudani, Kashag takes flight, preparing to throw a fireball at the real bridge to destroy it if any bugbears try to cross.

Another volley of javelins miss their targets entirely except for one that nics Yudani. Stella rushes out and leaps across the river toward an unfortunate bugbear tearing straight through him and making her way to a second one tearing out his throat just as viciously. Her comrades look on in abject horror as they wonder just what type of woman they invited into their midst. Three bugbears step onto the illusory bridge at the same time and tumble into the river. One of them manages to grab onto the soft muddy bank while his comrade disappears. He pulls himself onto the bank only to swing his morningstar to wide in an attempt to crush Lloyd and he stumbles back into the river and goes crashing out of the cave.

Two bugbears step out of a cave to the north but Kashag throws out the fireball he created, completely incinerating them before they can even gauge the situation. The remaining two bugbears are killed with ease by the party as they move toward the cave the ettin escaped to. Upon entering the room they find the ettin, a male hill giant and an otyugh. A river has punched a hole in the north wall, near a tunnel leading north, creating a stream that runs through the place. A crude log bridge spans the waterway, which flows out a gash in the south wall. Flies buzz around three blood-spattered wooden tables spaced about the room. A 30 foot wooden ladder climbs to a 20 foot wide hole in the ceiling. Lying atop the easternmost table is the carcass of a slaughtered pig.

Kashag transforms Dagon into a giant gorilla, Dagon moves almost within range of the giant and otyugh, Stella rushes toward the ettin and slashes at him three times. The first two blows land true but the third hits wide and she loses her balance, falling at the feet of the enemy. Lloyd, seeing three huge monsters casts slow, hitting all three of them. Shorty reaches into her Bag of Tricks and throws out a giant badger then draws her bow and fires at the giant. The ettin slams dangerously close to Stella, the giant tries to move toward the adventurers but can’t get within reach. The otyugh moves toward Dagon and lashes out with its tentacle opening up a gash on his arm. Yudani moves toward the ettin, attempting to protect Stella, striking against the giant with her bloodthirsty mace.

Kashag holds his attack, fascinated by the sight of his creation and the otyugh about to battle one another. Dagon picks up the earth beneath the giant badger and flings it toward the giant, slamming against him hard then he leaps onto the back of the otyugh. Stella slices into the ettin that dared to attempt to hit her, killing him viciously. Lloyd hangs back and uses ranged spells, unsure if he should move to far into the battlefield. Shorty fires another arrow at the giant, cutting into its throat, her badger tearing into his face in the same instant. Furious the giant crushes the badger on its shoulder. The otyugh lashes out but misses completely, their morale completely lost the giant and otyugh fall quickly.

Dagon tears the back of the otyugh open and tries to climb inside of it for warmth. The rest of the party collapses and rests after the battle.

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