Day 31) 10 Kythorn, 1490 DR
Before leaving Red Larch we planted the last of our three magic beans. We got a clutch of eggs two times, and the final time we got another bulette to fight. Warmed up for the road, we started out towards Keltar’s old tower.
When we got there it was indeed very old and mostly ruined, though it didn’t seem like we could get in the front. Ninya climbed the tower swiftly, but before she could throw us down a secure rope, she was attacked first by birds (which we dispatched in the blink of an eye) and then by a mystery hand which flung her off the tower. As she landed, unhurt, with us below, we heard a bellow and a womanly wail. Inside the tower was a crying hill giantess. I talked her down and tried to ask what was the matter. She was sad because her partner Hrug had left her. I had a feeling, and it was confirmed when I worked it out of her: Guh had monopolised all the males in the tribe and kicked Moog and all the other females out.
I promised to help Moog get Hrug back and she was very happy, though she did not seem keen on trying to beat up Guh. She explained that she still believed in parts of the Ordning, and that while Guh was Hill Giant #1, Moog is only #10. Before we left we asked her to just wait so we could search for any sign of Keltar Dardragon. In the rubble, we only found two potions in a chest, I suppose they must have been his. One was a potion of greater healing, and the other a potion of growth. I suppose these will help us, though I was honestly hoping for more. I guess I’m just happy he wasn’t here to make a pass at me or any of my party. Though I do wonder what exactly he was using this potion of growth on…
And so now we’re on our way to Gruud Haug! An unexpected turn, I must say. A little worried, but we meant to come this way last month, so we may as well.
Day 35) 14 Kythorn, 1490 DR
Am I a bad person? I didn’t mean for things to turn out the way they did, but…
Let me start from the beginning. We arrived at Gruud Haug. It was actually a very pleasant looking place, a giant dam on the river. Orcs tended to the giants’ sheep herds, and we walked right past them, feeling confident with Moog’s escort. I scrounged around for a gift for Guh amongst our possessions, and hit upon what I thought at the time would be the perfect solution: the potion of growth! After all, Guh was trying to be the biggest of all giants. I had Ninya carry it on my velvet cloak, piled up like a cushion.
As we got further in, Moog pointed us in the direction of Guh’s throne room, and then seeing Hrug, ran up to him and punched him. I’ve never seen a male so happy at being punched, but she dragged the smiling buffoon out of the settlement and into the hills. We carried on.
As soon as we entered the great building, we were set upon by orcs. We declared we had a gift for Guh, so they escorted us through the curtain to the throne room. The sight was one I hope to never see the like of again. Guh was huge… horizontally. Unable to carry her own weight anymore, she sat on a wagon. We weren’t to know this til later, but a goblin was trapped in the folds of her capacious stomach. Speaking of which, she was attended by multiple goblin archers, orcs, ogres, and lesser giants. She bellowed at us, and I stepped forward to explain:
“Great Guh, we have heard far and wide of your immensity, and we have come to bring a gift!”
Little did I realise this was the wrong tactic. She yelled, “EAT!” and we were set upon. I had enough time to yell “Growth potion!” The clamour stopped and an attendant of hers picked up the potion and gave it to Guh. Before I had a chance to tell her its effect, or to entreat her to save it for the moment she chose to confront the other giants, she gulped it down, glass and all.
The room went silent. When after a few seconds nothing seemed to happen, she yelled “EAT!” again. Umbero tumbled away as fast as he could. “She’s gonna blow!” The rest of us ran for it through the press of enemies, Ninya running faster than I ever knew possible.
Suddenly Guh let out a massive belch and began to grow exponentially. I managed to dodge quickly enough and cast a spell of Flying on myself, but Aukanthi was caught up as the very floor caved in, sending Guh and all her attendants into the river below. Aukanthi swam out of the ruins, and in the chaos, the four of us made a quick desicion. After all, Hill Giant #1 had just gone down.
We found Moog sitting down outside a cave looking very happy with herself. We told her what had past and explained that we had magical eggs that could make her the best hill giant so that she’d be able to lead her people. She ate all 9 of our magical eggs that we’d gained back in Red Larch, and suddenly she was much cleverer than before (for a hill giant, that is). We walked back with her to claim her seat of leadership, and meanwhile I tried to summarise for her, as I might for a small child, systems of good government, where the collective strength of the people strengthened the individual – basically, the opposite of Guh’s philosophy. Moog agreed that this sounded good, and together we hit on the idea that the best thing to do would be to gather as many giants as would be faithful to her, and make an alliance with Waterdeep and Goldenfields for the giants to live as part of that agricultural community. The giants could be used for their strengths (building, ploughing) and would be well fed without having to raid. Not to mention the defensive bonuses.
We promised Moog we would secure the alliance and set down the river posthaste for Goldenfields.
Day 39) 18 Kythorn, 1490 DR
Our journey downriver was uneventful except for one boat we passed, and the time when three aarakocra landed on the boat to ask what we had done to Gruud Haug. They were happy because the giants preyed on their people, but they laughed when we told them our plan of an alliance. A pity, I was hoping to potential enlist them, or at least get to know these elusive being better. We were fast running out of food after marching with Moog, so we had to fish and shoot river fowl to supplment our diet. We did fairly well most days, though I’m pretty sure Aukanthi went without food yesterday and just didn’t tell anyone. I think the magic of the dwarven boat is influencing him to be more stoic, and also I could swear he’s been injecting more dwarven jargon than usual into his speech lately.
With relief, we reached Goldenfields this morning and I write this from the inn, where once again we are treated with extreme generosity and good will. I have written hurried letters. First, to Lady Laeral regarding the potential for an alliance with Moog. I spoke with Naxene and she seemed very receptive to the idea and believes it will go down well with Laeral, but we will be gone before we learn the aftermath unfortunately.
I have also written to Daddy to update him on the situation. I have also made two requests of him. First is to send the four magical eggs I had stashed away at home to Goldenfields via Lady Laeral, in order that they be given to Moog when she arrives in Goldenfields to lead the giants, if the alliance goes well. The second request comes after meeting with Zi Liang. It seems my voice has been too effective in her cause. The previous captain of the guard has been let go of, and Zi Liang has been put in charge of the defenses. When I saw her she seemed stressed and out of her depth. I have asked for Daddy to put on retainer a retired adventurer, to come and live here and be a secret advisor to Zi Liang without her knowing. I want her to have an ally, and to not feel looked down on. Hopefully my plan works.
We set off again tomorrow, heading back up the river to get back on the track we were on before the diversion to Gruud Haug. Oh, before I forget, last night I had another strange dream. I dreamt of a golden goose. It was golden paint though, on a wooden relief. What a strange and particular thing to dream of, but there you have it.
Day 41) 20 Kythorn, 1490 DR
Morning now of our second day on the river. Just writing to say I am grateful to be alive. Yesterday was uneventful, but then in the night we were attacked by four Zhentarrim assassins (I can only assume). They very nearly had us, through the cunning use of area magic, but we fought fiercely, since our lives were at stake. We won, though it was very close, and if not for a stroke of luck in three of the four of us rolling out of our bedrolls smoothly right at the beginning, well. I may not have been writing in this diary right now!