And, like all vacations, Summer is gone. The party members find themselves a bit surprised that it’s already time for the harvest festival; with all the buildup for Balekh’s wedding, they’d forgotten that he’d scheduled it for the day before. It’s been a year since all of this started, and, once the casters finish their honeymoon, it’ll be time to get back to investigating the giant threat at their borders.
For now, however, it’s time to party! This year, the town has planned the theme of the festival to be “Goblin Day,” celebrating the party’s victory over the threat to the town last year. The festivities are, over all, very similar to the Swallowtail Festival of last year, but with more children in goblin costumes running amok (Haggor is specifically cautioned to try to avoid punching kids). The party is invited to give speeches after being talked up as having saved the town at least twice in the last year; Balekh tries gamely, but creates a rambling and depressing speech once put on the spot. Talk turns to the impending giant threat, with Taeva predicting doom, and the locals begin to share the rumors they’ve heard about the giants.
It’s not enough to truly dampen the mood, however, and the roaring party filling the town square continues until late at night. Taeva, Balekh, and Shayliss leave not too long after dark, but Veshenga and Haggor are dedicated to the idea of closing the party out. However, Haggor makes the mistake of challenging Veshenga to a drinking contest, and passes out after midnight, leaving a barely conscious Veshenga to try to sober up enough by the end of the party to drag him home. Perhaps, had they only been slightly inebriated, they would have seen the dark shadows against the moonlit sky…
A reverberating crash echoes throughout the city.
Veshenga stumbles, orients, believes it came from the gate.
She shakes Haggor, yells “Giants,” races off.
He staggers up, barely conscious, and dashes to the church.
Somewhere, sleeping deeply, the other heroes wake.
They wonder what is going on.
Rushing north through Sandpoint, Veshenga wonders:
Should she try to get her weapons? She forges ahead.
Haggor, quickly gaining his footing, dashes upstairs.
With a flying leap, he begins ringing the church bell.
The others, in their bedrooms, confirm the threat,
and begin struggling into clothing and gear.
The wall looms ahead, but Veshenga can make out little;
the city has enough torches for navigation, but not for combat.
Haggor sprints back down the stairs, trying to catch up.
Taeva throws on magical items and grabs swords.
Balekh and Shayliss are slower, grab less, head out.
Veshenga is almost to the wall, sees guards rushing about.
Haggor can barely make her out ahead, running fast.
Hasty barricades are forming against the gate.
Taeva grabs a few more things, then heads out.
Balekh and Shayliss hit the street, try to find a direction,
and begin casting spells as they move.
Veshenga hits the wall at a run, grabbing a bow from a guard,
Haggor close behind and running at full tilt.
Another crash as a boulder smashes into the gate, splinters flying.
They can make out three giants against the sky. Veshenga shoots,
while Haggor taunts the creatures. The others begin making their way,
still barely cognizant of the threat to the town.
The giants rush the walls, into a hail of arrows, moving slowly to speed.
Balekh and Shayliss know only that the church bells were ringing,
can’t pinpoint the sound of boulders, so heads that way.
Taeva leaps onto her horse and dashes down an embankment,
catching movement to the south of town: Giants!
She kicks her horse into a trot, riding hard into town.
As the rain of arrows hit the charging giants, Haggor braces for impact.
They are almost to the wall, and tower over it by head and shoulders.
Balekh and Shayliss finish their preparations and begin to run.
Taeva sees the panicked faces of the townsfolk as she rides,
she wonders if she should turn and fight the giants behind her.
But for now she rushes on.
The giants hit the wall with the force of a ram, it shudders.
Two wield massive clubs, another begins to climb the very wall,
swinging at the retreating Veshenga who has nowhere else to go.
She and Haggor fight off the beasts, the monk dazing one it his fury.
Balekh and Shayliss charge through the city, passing terrorized people.
Taeva considers turning, only to spot more giants to the east.
In a storm of arrows and fists, one of the giants falls,
but not before both ranger and monk take serious hits.
They duck and weave as best they can against the onslaught,
as the guards fortify the gate below.
The casters make out the looming form of the church ahead,
while Taeva slips off her horse to spy on the new threat.
Furious battle continues atop the wall, and a second giant,
stunned and battered, falls with a mighty thud.
His last fellow considers flight, but instead attacks,
his rage dealing painful blows to Haggor.
Balekh and Shayliss reach the church yard, casting about,
as Taeva sees five towering forms across the Mill Pond.
The last giant at the wall falls but not without a fight,
and Haggor grabs Veshenga, leaping down, starting to run,
worried about the other, less defended town entries.
The casters could confirm the danger: at the pond,
two giants and three dire bears run screaming into town,
driving panicked citizens before them.
As the monk flies south, dragging his arrow-laden cargo,
the casters move to overlook the oncoming enemies;
they unleash fire and magic upon them, gaining screams of rage.
Two giants and two bears scramble at the cliff to get to them,
while one bear continues chasing civilians…
unaware that Taeva is even now bearing down upon him from the shadows.
The enemy begins scaling the cliff wall, and two quickly reach the top.
Balekh and Shayliss continue to rain magic upon those they can see.
Haggor and Veshenga round the corner into the cemetary,
eye-to-eye with a giant and a bear across the open expanse
They let out a battle cry and rush forward, not seeing their friends,
but hearing the sizzle of magic nearby.
Haggor launches himself at the foes, arrows flying around him,
as the gigantic creatures rush forward to meet him.
On the ground, a giant begins hurling rocks and Balekh,
wounding him even through his magical protections,
but withering under a hail of missiles. The second bear reaches the top,
while the third continues to terrorize the city.
Haggor and Veshenga send their giant toppling to the ground,
and the bear that just topped the cliff runs away in fear.
The casters unleash another barrage of magic upon the other giant,
who begins to consider his options. Two bears remain standing,
one continues to claw at Haggor, dealing minor wounds,
while the last rushes into town, right where Taeva wants him…
The last giant realizes his predicament, suddenly, wounded and exposed;
he dashes back out of the city the way he came in.
The first bear falls to the ground full of arrows and fists,
while the last, completely unaware of its danger,
passes a shadowy corner where a small gnome is waiting;
it doesn’t even time to roar in pain as she cuts her way through its flesh.
Finding themselves suddenly ahead of the attack, Haggor and Veshenga take a moment to breathe and rush to where they think Balekh is standing. He furiously expends healing magic, as Taeva shouts at them that there are more giants coming, before rushing up the cliff herself. Less than thirty seconds after the last visible enemy fell, they’re ready to take on whatever happens next…
They didn’t exactly expect it would be a dragon.