Panic on the Streets of Sandpoint
From out of the swarming darkness above the city, a rush of wings and the sound of a bonfire dopplers across the sky. Trailing an inferno down its length, the saviors of Sandpoint look up, making out flashes of wing and scale, a long sinuous body sliding through the very air and bearing down upon them. As it swoops across the party square, they make it out more completely, a crimson shadow of destruction come to the town. With a negligent twist of a wing it turns and breathes fire down upon the garrison as it wheels past.
Balekh is uncertain what it plans to do next, and would rather it come to face them than visit any more harm upon the homes of the villagers. Summoning up his magic, he unleashes a storm of ice over the dragon, pelting the creature of fire with hailstones and sleet. As Shayliss races for a higher vantage, the dragon roars at the affront and blasts towards the wizard with his back to the cathedral, slamming into the ground behind a wall of seething flame that smashes into the two casters, scorching the wall of the church and blistering skin. Balekh takes the brunt of the attack, his wife being protected from flame and shielded such that most of her pain is shunted to the theurge. He grits his teeth as the rest of the party races back up the hill to the cathedral, casting a spell that turns him into living fog, hoping that will save him.
The young wyrm is not dissuaded, and stalks forward to snap at the Shoanti, tearing out a gout of mist and breathing again into the wound. Balekh’s silent screams emerge as steam from his mouth, and he begins trying to escape, drifting slowly through the air as his friends finally crest the ridge and begin to attack the dragon. The beast turns into Veshenga’s hail of arrowfire, not quite aware of the threat posed by the half-orc and gnome moving with practiced ease to either side of it. It soon learns, and then learns no more, as a brutal cavalcade of attacks rips it to shreds within seconds with little of its own fury visited against them in payback.
But the creature served as a distraction if not a serious threat, for as they stand over the corpse, through the heat haze of the lizard’s attacks and steaming blood, they see more giants racing across the city. Haggor grabs Veshenga and Taeva again as he starts to sprint after these new guests. Balekh frantically heals himself while he waits for Shayliss to return from her vantage atop the cathedral.
Dodging through alleys and down main roads, Haggor constantly glimpses the three stone giants moving at a full run down parallel streets, rushing towards the northwest end of town. He turns down the city’s central street when he thinks he’s close enough, staring past the still molten garrison at the strangely purposeful attackers. Two break off from the trio and run north to meet them. Haggor thinks about continuing to pursue the third, but decides to deal with the present threat. The giants and heroes clash in front of the town hall, and Balekh grabs his bride and warps across the intervening space to stare down from atop its roof. One giant goes down to focused fire in moments, and the other has the good sense to surrender at the puissant display. Realizing that these were certainly a distraction, Haggor grabs the beast’s club and tells it to leave and never come back.
The party faintly makes out the sound of more giants at the opposite end of town shouting for beer from the brewery. Though an attack on the source of the town’s alcohol fills Veshenga with rage, they all decide that the nearer threat merits more attention. Again, they race northwest, realizing that the giant’s only destination must be the Old Light. As Haggor races with his half-elven and gnomish cargo to close the distance, Balekh again warps himself and Shayliss to a point on the Thassilonian structure that he believes to be stable and provide a good vantage. From a hundred feet up, they make out a more thoroughly-outfitted giant, swinging an enormous mattock, moving towards the ruin. The two unleash sorcerous attacks at the seeming giant leader, and are greeted by a pair of head-sized boulders in return, cracking ribs and nearly knocking them free of the precarious position.
However, the ranged duel swiftly shifts tempo as the other three heroes leave behind the last row of houses and begin bearing down on the light. The giant rethinks his position, picking his way easily through the treacherous rubble surrounding the tower, grabbing pieces of the building, presumably for more ammo, and moving to a place that the casters cannot see him from their vantage. Haggor and Taeva are on him in moments, Veshenga racing up from behind while firing arrows into the great brute. He lays about with his enormous trenching tool, leaving a pair of terrible wounds in the rogue and causing her to curse the time pressure that kept her from donning her new armor.
Balekh taps into some of the last of his magic and begins to fly, drifting down and emitting a burst of mystical speed to hasten his friends’ attacks. With furious abandon, they tear into the leader, reducing him to a bleeding wreck before he can harm them further. Still hearing shouts at the brewery, the group has only a moment to consider the plan of this stone general before again racing off; this time, Haggor and his cargo move at an even more blinding speed thanks to Balekh’s magic. The theurge himself flies up to grab his wife, then begins to fly across town after them.
In less than twenty seconds, the trio clears the entire width and breadth of the town. As they pass near her house, Veshenga is only half surprised to see Madame Mvashti calmly waiting at the edge of the road in a dressing gown, holding out the ranger’s new magic bow. She grabs it as they race past, thanking the old Varisian seer. In moments, Haggor skids to a stop in an alley overlooking the water, right next to the brewery. He sets the girls down and waits for them to move quietly into position: Veshenga slips into a nearby doorway while Taeva moves like little more than a shadow into the midst of the two giants who are laughing and drinking from two open casks of beer. One giant is decapitated in less than a second by the grinning, beer-soaked gnome hiding in his drinking cask. The other has only a moment to appreciate his friend’s death before he notices the fiery, holy light from a nearby doorway: it will be the last sight he sees before a barrage of searing arrows blast through his chest.
Balekh can barely make out the fall of the giants across the way, and sets Shayliss down, hoping that it’s time to wrap up. Instead, he notices a glow to the south that was not present before; the others notice it, too. One of the mansions on the southern spur of the town is alight; Balekh thinks it seems to be coming from the Scarnettis’ house, so shrugs and grabs Shayliss again, mostly to put out the fire before it spreads. The trio begins the longer route of taking the bridge while Balekh drifts out above the harbor.
With their preternatural speed exhausted, it takes it takes a bit longer to make the journey than it took to cross the entire town, and as they race up the hill to the noble neighborhood, Haggor, Veshenga, and Taeva are met by a trio of giants, swarming into view at the edge of darkvision, dragging an immense wagon of spoils behind them. With the inertia of the previous few minutes of carnage behind them, the escaping thieves are barely a speedbump. Before Balekh has even made it across the harbor, he sees that the situation is in hand and moves to have Shayliss use her magic to put out the fires of the mansion. Veshenga stabilizes a single giant to question later, and, hearing no more sounds of battle or giants, the three lean wearily against the giant-sized cart and relax.
As Taeva lounges atop a pile of Scarnetti tapestries and rugs, she notices that a very nicely-crafted desk shares the cart. With a practiced eye, and an unhurried nosiness, she very quickly discovers a hidden compartment and opens it. Inside, she finds letters addressed to Jameson Scarnetti, the young patriarch of the family, implicating him in a series of terrible deeds. If the letters are to be believed, most of the threats they dealt with during their vacation in Sandpoint were the result of a Scarnetti bid to replace Kendra Deverin as mayor: poisoning the Valdemars chief among them, but not discounting culpability in introducing the town’s businesses to the trick locks Taeva found months previous as a payment to the Sczarni that made the wyvern-venom candles possible.
Once the Sheriff has gotten the town reduced from sheer panic to organized fear, he visits the heroes, thanking them for yet another save and finding out what exactly just happened. They show him the letter as something he’d be interested in, and hand over the unconscious giant to be guarded for the rest of the night.
Late the next morning, they rouse the captive and start the interrogation with Shayliss’ mental sorcery, ensuring the villain will answer every question. What they find is troubling: a great giant wizard named Mokmurian has organized the tribes of giants atop the plateau from a fortress called Jorgenfist, and soon plans to wage war against the entirety of Varisia. Wielding Thassilonian secrets, possibly a remnant of Thassilon himself, the giant elder has fed the greed of each of his subjects and they wear the Sihedron rune as his mark. This was just a scouting raid, probably looking for some Thassilonian secret in the Old Light, and hundreds more giants can soon move backed by potent magics. If the party’s suspicions about the meaning of the rune are correct, even defeating the oncoming giant horde will be dangerous, due to the greedy souls being fed to the dark eminence behind the recent woes.
They begin to assemble their things for an immediate trip to the Storval Plateau, hoping that they have not delayed too long to take out this giant uprising in a way that doesn’t spell doom for Golarion.