The Journals of Sparrowhawk
Tor Dreams with Toreth
You awake and find yourself atop the volcano on Mortabi island. Panoramic views of the island stretch out all around. A tall boreas giant stands before you, some two feet taller than yourself. He’s dressed in mithral full plate with a long grey cloak billowing in the wind. Beside him is a colossal bird upon which a riding saddle is strapped, with room for two.
“It’s a long time since we were last together, brother, and you’ve probably forgotten most of the details of where your family came from. I’ve been asked by Amigan to show you what we as a people stand to lose if the worst comes to pass. It’s time to go for a ride.”
You awkwardly climb aboard. The great bird flies quickly up beyond the cloud cover, through a rainy squall and to a clear sky above. You fly for many hours to the south. The day turns to night and still you fly, and then the night to day. The same, seemingly endless ocean, stretches in front of you and all around, as far as the eye can see.
Flying for a few more hours beyond dawn the clouds slowly draw in, eventually obscuring all view. Some further hours are spent flying through the mist when suddenly a great wall of natural stone appears in front of you.Your steed lurches violently upwards and soon breaks through the cloud cover. A great mountain range, covered in a thousand years of undisturbed snow, stretches well beyond the cloud cover above and below and from east to west as far as the eye can see dwarfing even your colossal mount.
Following the craggy rocks to the west. The first rumbles of thunder can be heard in the distance. Over time Torroth points out through a light mist what seem to be a series of great stone watch towers, several miles apart. An occasional glimpse can be seen of armoured giants keeping lookout over the mountains side. A further hour passes by, as do a dozen watchtowers. There appears to be no end to the cloud cover below, the mountain range or the towers themselves.You descend once more into the quickly greying clouds.
As time goes by the rumble of thunder grows in intensity until eventually becoming a defeaning roar. Lightning seems to flash all around and in every direction. Storm scale winds buffet and swirl about you, threatening to wrip off any clothing not firmly attached. Careful manouvering, or maybe just good fortune, sees you avoid the great pockets of driving ice, pieces of which more resemble large rocks than hailstones.Torroth seems unconcerned as he pushes the great bird on through what has now grown into a full scale storm.
Suddenly, in front of you the clouds seem to coalesce into the shape of a massive serpent like creature. This gargantuan figure resembles long clouds of mist, ranging from wispy white to threatening black, with many shades of grey in between. As it moves towards you it opens its massive maw. Great forks of lightning skitter along the inside of its mouth; a mouth almost certainly capable of engulfing the Roc upon which you’re sat. You brace yourself for the imminent assault but at the last moment the serpent swerves to the side and snakes slowly out of view.
Torroth points below. Suddenly breaking through the clouds you glimpse what’s clearly a massive keep.It appears to sit on a great outcrop of rock, enveloped by clouds in every direction. Great marble walls of perfectly fitting stones surround an open courtyard, seemingly wholly unobscured by the clouds.Built into the walls are 5 smaller towers, some 50 foot in diameter, and two larger ones. One of the great towers looks to guard over a set of great stairs winding their way up to the castle from the south while the largest of all the towers, some 100 foot in diameter, guards another great set of stairs snaking their way further up the mountains side.
Inside the castle courtyard lush fruit trees grow in orderly rows atop a well laid lawn, itself stretching some 600 foot across and covering the land between the walls. Fountains and giant benches present an area of tranquility and calm amid the tumult and cacophany of the storm. Gently meandering paths make their way around the courtyard connecting the towers to a central clearing. Large columns that look like unhewn stone formations are arranged in a circle, forming a giant ring some 200 feet across. At the edge of the ring, marble flagstones from the garden paths come to an end, revealing a great hole that is the ring. Within the hole great arcs of lighting flash and arc constantly within a single cloud, suggesting the hole connects to the clouds beneath the rocky outcrop. What looks like a temple stands to the east of the circle of stones – a great set of mithral double doors protecting its entrance, seemingly guarded by numerous stone statues conjuring lightning in their hands.
Atop one of the largest towers stand half a dozen giant figures; heavily muscled humanoids with snow-white skin and light blue hair and eyes, adorned in mithral plate mail and helms. They regard you as you pass.
Torroth gives a gentle tug on the reigns and the great bird, beating its massive wings more vigorously, heads steeply up. Following the staircase as it winds up the steep mountain slope, after a few minutes of flying you notice the staircase departs from the moutainside and continues upsupported. Following the staircase through the clouds for almost an hour you leave the mountain, lightning and driving ice storms quickly behind. Coming in to view, and atop the giants causeway, is a great tower, some 200 foot or so in height and made of the same well crafted marble blocks that made up the keep below. Torroth guides the bird to the top of the tower which lands, somewhat awkwardly. A slope exists leading down from the top of the tower to the inside. Torroth dismounts from the beast and indicates for you to do the same. The firm ground feels good underfoot after so many hours of flight. Sqwarks of other massive mounts can be heard coming from within.
Torroth turns to face you.
“Welcome home, Tor. This place may seem new to you but you lived here for the first three years of your life. This is where all of our race reside, what few of us there are. We are here to serve the Jotund giants who, in turn, serve the Storm Lord of this keep. Far above us, and well beyond these clouds, is Starswatch – the only place where the shadowlands of Discordant to the south, and the lands given to humanoid kind to the north can be seen from one place. For countless generations we’ve continued our vigilance over Discordant and the tide of evil that threatens to engulf the world.
The giants here differ from the other giants upon this world. When the gods first appeared many giants already walked the land. The gods gave to us a gift of reason such that we could create and craft for ourselves, that elevated us beyond the other giant-kind. We were also given an understanding of earth and of stone and of their use in constructing great fortified halls. In exchange we were given the task of acting as the messengers of the gods while they resided within this realm. Just before the gods left this world we were given a different task. To act as the first defensive line against Azumreh and his diabolic and demonic spawn. The gods had instructed us in the creation of this Keep, only some of which you’ve seen. Some of the gods themselves have even gazed out from this very platform. This place is one of the few that remain where the memory of our creators remains strong and can be felt every single day.
The reason I brought you here, my brother, is to show you what will be destroyed if we cannot stop those that seek to bring about their Night of Dissolution. For those that wish to bring a darkness to the world must conquer this place first. If they succeed then you and I may well be among the very last of the Boreas line of giants. The history of our proud race and our own bloodline will be lost forever.
I have spoken with Amigan and he feels there is at last a small amount of trust between us all. This has been too long in coming but is most welcome. I would urge you to remain open and honest with Amigan as there is no time left for any doubts. Though in all honesty I have a great feeling of dread in my heart. For too long the Order of Dawn has slept. It grew fat and lazy, much like any soldier would without a war. And in that time our enemies have prepared with great subtlety and silence. Furthermore, what appetite can mankind have for a battle that is almost lost even before it’s seen the first sight of its foe?
I have prepared some useful trinkets for you, brother. Within the bag are a few items that may be of some use to you in the coming weeks ahead. In addition I can open up the smitheries of the great halls to you. Feel free to make use of them whenever you require – just leave the money and your request in the bag – though I would not dally in making your choices. [in summary, any magic item or arms/armour from any book can be made for 35% of the in-book price. These items will only be made for those that have the giant sub-type and can only be activated by those that have the giant sub-type].
You awaken back in your bed.