Death is an Open Door* (Storm King’s Thunder #12)

Having defeated the dragonling-led group of berserkers who were trying to loot the shrine known as the Eye of the All-Father, we looted them (a-HA!) and then proceeded through the massive, ice-encrusted doors to the next part of the shrine. It looks like it’s been decades since the last visitor—everything is all quiet and cold, like Lambeau Field on a Tuesday night. We enter a chamber that contains a statue of the All-Father in the middle, with six statues flanking it, representing each kind of giant, all holding weapons…except…the frost giant statue is missing its ax! Huh.

On the far wall of the room is an archway filled with some sort of misty….mist. None of us, even Harshnag, can pass through it. So evidently we need to figure out how to open this door. There are runes for each kind of giant on the archway, but no other writing.

We go through the side doors and search the rooms to the north. They appear to be dormitories and contain nothing particularly interesting. In an old sack, we find some random stuff and one pretty cool object that looks like a dagger made of ice. Svela took it, since she enjoys stabbing things with daggers sometimes. (And let’s face it, everyone else has swords and axes and magical whips and stuff).

We then figured out that there are a couple secret rooms that hide the mechanisms for the shrine’s defenses (portcullises, giant blocks of stone, etc.). Why does a shrine need defenses? We don’t know. Sometimes religion is a bit stabby.

We explored the southern wing next. It looks like a banquet hall/eating area/kitchen. There are huge, huge stone tables and benches. A large fire burns in the center of the room, seemingly fueled by natural gas coming up from the floor. And oh, hey, we’re not alone! As soon as we get sort of close to the center of the room, a gigantic centipede/cobra/on-fire-but-also-with-ice-spikes thing comes charging at us!

Luckily, the room is so stupidly big that we’ve got a chance to array ourselves before it reaches us. Svela shot at it with arrows, with minor effect. Bardalph, Rothe, and Harshnag all lined up to hack away at it, and some got scorched for their trouble. Redfang flung a bunch of magic missiles from a distance, and Svela nearly got bitten but then Harshnag basically went to town and the evil hot/cold, too-many-legs thing finally died. Yay! Even better, we found a large ax where the thing was nesting. Seems we found out statue weapon thief!

We returned to the center room and replaced the ax in the frost giant statue’s hands. Nothing happened. We talked to the archway in Common and Giant. Nothing happened. We tried reciting the runes. Nothing happened. Harshnag tried asking the All-Father for answers. He tried using the newly-found ax to hack through the mist. The frost rune flickered! Inspired, Bardalph told Harshnag to touch the ax to the frost rune. A storm explodes above us and knocks some of us off our feet. Yikes. We all dash through the open door to another, non-stormy room. This one looks like a hexagon, with six statues (yep, all different giants) in a circle, holding lit lanterns. And in the middle….a frozen body!

Before we can figure out how to deal with this, a ghostly form rises out of the body. It tells us that it’s the ghost of Eigeior, who came here with his father Blegothkus to ask questions of the All-Father. Unfortunately, his dad killed him when he didn’t like one of the answers. He asks us if we could avenge his death, if we get a minute. Then he sort of fades away.

We (respectfully!) chip the icy corpse out of the way and then Harshnag steps into the revealed circle to ask his questions. Each time he asks, a lantern goes out — so we get six answers, tops.

Harshnag asks what’s going on to have shattered the Ordening, and we learn that the disappearance of Hekaton (aka. the top Giant guy) has thrown everything into disarray and that giants are trying to find glory in the best ways they can so that they can rise in the new ordening, or possibly take over, depending on how high up they are. The oracle also revealed that we need to go to the Court of the Storm King and find Serissa, who might help us find out where Hekaton is and how to get him back. It warned us that a blue dragon disguised as a giant is also there in the court, fucking shit up all quiet-like. To get to the court, we need a special conch shell engraved with a rune….which we have! (It was among the loots from Gruud Haug).

As the chamber lights go out, we resolve to tell the Harpers what we’ve learned, and also to tell that copper dragon (who owes us!) what’s up so he can hopefully tell the other dragons not to get dragoned-in to a war. Then we’ll conch ourselves to the Storm King’s Court! Easy peasy.

(*This is a Frozen joke, and thus is fitting for the setting.)

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