Scouts report that four tribes of giants (hill, stone, frost and fire) are marching on Gorna and the village of Thorndyke appears bombarded and sacked with no human survivors.
High Chancellor Bran ap Aeron orders everyone into the city walls and prepared for a siege. Others advocated taking the fight to the giants, where they could be ambushed and the giants would be forced to approach single file. However, cooler heads prevailed and the giants were relatively peacefully contacted.
Annam, the patriarch of the giants’ gods, had sent visions to his followers that the old caste system called the Ordning, where cloud and storm giants ruled, has been swept aside. Now each of the giant tribes has a chance for rulership over all the other giants.
The Hill Giants’ Chief of Chiefs, Horus, believed the Brenin had recognized him as lord of all giants. Stone Giantess Thornshelda presented a manifesto which called for socio-economic reform and elections among the giant leaders. Jarl Starumpe came at the head of a pillaging horde of frost giants, who were not interested in negotiations. Princess Raseri of the fire giants wanted to resolve the issue of giant leadership and asked for the Brenin to recognize her claim.
High Chancellor Bran ap Aeron refused to negotiate with any of the giants, calling them “monsters”. When it was pointed out that Gyruff has granted orcs and goblins the cantrev of Melgorn, he almost speechless with fury.
Without recognition of the Brenin (or his High Chancellor), the giants tried to resolve the issue among themselves. Jarl Starumpe ended the discussions by attacking the stone giantess Thornshelda, and Chief Horus of the hill giants joined in. Then Princess Raseri attacked Starumpe. Thornshelda, defeated, withdrew from the fight, while the other two giants ganged up on Raseri. Their combined might was too much for the fire giantess, who withdrew, leaving the frost and hill giant leaders to fight among themselves. Starumpe was the more powerful of the two and further ended the confrontation by decapitating Horus. As undisputed leader of the giants, he started raiding the outer villages and put Gorna under siege.
Several groups of heroes escaped from Gorna to seek an even larger and more powerful giant to defeat Starumpe and take control of the giants.
First to return was Nimbostratus, a 24’ tall cloud giant elder, who arrives with his tribe of cloud giants and their cloud castle. Nimbostratus challenges Jarl Starumpe to personal combat for leadership over all giants and Starumpe agrees. The fight isn’t fair, but Starumpe was not about to back down.
• Nimbostratus is quicker (easily winning initiative) and takes flight, rising to 60’. Starumpe throws a rock, which harmlessly glances off Nimbostratus’ mage armor.
• Nimbostratus climbs above 60’ and creates a fire storm around Starumpe, who howls in pain.
• Starumpe throws another rock (missing wildly due to the distance/height) and calls Nimbostratus a coward.
• Nimbostratus swoops lower to cast another spell and then climbs outside of Starumpe’s effective rock throwing range. A thin green ray springs from his fingertip (Disintegrate), striking Starumpe, who again, howls in pain. Nimbostratus, seeing how wounded Starumpe is, calls out to him to yield.
• Starumpe, staggering from his burns and wound, defiantly throws a rock, which successfully strikes Nimbostratus.
• Nimbostratus shrugs his shoulders, creating a cloud of poisonous, yellow-green fog around Starumpe, who collapses and coughs himself to death. Nimbostratus then floats down effortlessly and dusts off where the frost giant’s lone boulder struck him.
“I am Nimbostratus, lord of all giants, and I command all giants to stop their raiding at once. Prince Rhys has promised to help find and give us all the ancient pieces of our precious status of Annam, which was broken apart thousands of years ago. As long as he fulfills his promise, we will have peace.” Nimbostratus bellows, his voice magically enhanced to carry across all of Gorna from the South Village to the North Village and Miner Town.
High Chancellor Bran ap Aeron, who was unaware of any deal made with the Prince, summons him at once. Once he discovers that these ancient statue pieces are many of the very stones that the Druids and Old Faith have incorporated into monoliths, menhir, lintels and other holy sites throughout Gyruff, he is furious. Prince Rhys ap Rhys is equally furious that Bran would attempt to have him and his Griffon Knights killed on the road to find a giant leader. Bran dismisses the charge as crazy talk and orders the Griffon Knights to confine the Prince to his quarters until he has time to deal with him. The Griffon Knights immediately comply with the High Chancellor’s order, which quickly proves where their loyalty lies.
Faithful followers of the Druids and Old Faith are horrified that not only would the giants attempt to desecrate their holy sites, but that Prince Rhys ap Rhys would have so casually agreed to such terms. Speaking out directly against one of the royal family is a crime, but whispered words spread quickly. Slogans of dissent are painted upon public buildings and disturbances break out throughout the city.
The High Chancellor refuses to deal with “monsters”, so he sends Lady Morrick, who appears to be friendly with the giants. He gives her a simple message: Nimbostratus and all the giants must immediately withdraw to Tjalf, recently recognized by the Brenin as a cantrev. There will be no more desecration of Gyri holy sites. Once they return to their reservation, the Brenin will choose a candidate for leadership of Tjalf, but that candidate must be confirmed by the Druids.
While you don’t know Nimbostratus’ response, you realize that it wasn’t favorable as Lady Morrick and her guards hurry back to the city. It seems that the giants will not leave and the High Chancellor won’t honor Prince Rhys’ agreement.
The siege lasts for several days. The stone giants have constructed a stone fortification outside bow and ballista range from Gorna. Frost giants have cut down many of the trees nearby, which have been fashioned by the fire giants into giant trebuchets. Hill giants have scrounged provisions and looted Miner Town, South Village and North Village, occasionally being shot with an arrow or ballista bolt for their efforts.
The people of Gorna have not been idle, either. They construct siege engines, traps and defenses of their own, in preparation of a potential attack.
Groups attempting to leave or approach the city are accosted and turned back; however, many of the giants are slow in body and mind, so small groups can slip past them. Even leaving by air is treacherous with Nimbostratus’ command of the air and cloud castle.
After a few days, a 26’ tall storm giant arrives with other heroes. Apparently he is the reincarnated form of Gruka Duk, a hero in the war against the giants and the defeat of the Whispered One’s aspect in Sigil. Rumors suggest that exposure to the ancient evil artifacts that helped defeat the Whispered One caused him to go power mad and attempted to conquer all of Gyruff for himself. Now that he has been reincarnated, he seems free of their evil influence, or is he?
With the Ordning discarded, Nimbostratus does not recognize Gruka’s superiority. Gruka’s only choice is a personal challenge or backing down and letting Nimbostratus rule the giants. – I’ll let you know how that turns out after I get a chance to play it out with Ken Z in a Giant Battle Royale.
A few days after the resolution of the Nimbostratus/Gruka conflict, Sjatte, the 30’ tall sole surviving son of the eldritch giant known as the Storm King, who was behind the war against the giants, arrives to take command. Eldritch giants are rumored to be ancient storm giants who have infused themselves with arcane lore and power using magical tattoos. The transformation has made them selfish and cruel, no longer embracing the ideals of most storm giants. All of Sjatte’s brothers exhibited all the power of an arch-mage in a body even more powerful than a storm giant. – Now, Sjatte has arrived to take his proper place as leader of the giants and pledges to restore his people to greatness and a restoration of the old order. He challenges whichever giant is currently ruling the giants.
And yet a couple more days pass, when Aurora Borealis, a 20’ tall half-fey cloud giantess druid with huge butterfly wings, arrives from Cloudcatcher Mountain. She may or may not challenge for leadership, depending on who the current leader is.
More on this story as it develops.