You knew a prophecy had to show up eventually. Continuing from part three…
Upon arriving back in town, the party headed for Lord-Protector Shendrel’s offices only to find an unruly mob of farmers complaining about Xerlo, the stone giant, who apparently defended an outlying farm from attack by throwing the farmer’s silo at a bunch of hill giants who were stealing all the livestock they could get ahold of while chanting “Food for Guh! Food for Guh!” They said they’d have a talk to him.
While they were in town, Inkblitz headed off to the Golden Compass Society for Exploration, Acquisition, and Monster Dispatch (a.k.a. the Adventurers Guild), while Sirfox headed for the Brotherhood of the Spider (a.k.a. the Thieves Guild). Jamie went off to the temple and the garrison to boost morale, aid the refugees of the volcano still clogging up the town, and presumably chop wood or something paladiney like that.
Investigation at the Adventurers Guild revealed that the only business for miles around seemed to be giants– hill giants around the mountains, cloud giants floating through the sky, frost giants raiding the coast, and fire giants everywhere tearing up stuff. Sirfie discovered that the Thieves Guild was in the back of the same building as the Adventurers Guild and was in fact run by the same gnome. He also was a bit surprised to discover a drow just sort of hanging out there.
He was pretty sure she was one of the drow who’d been meeting with Kolstaag Albrek and buggered off when a troll came bursting through the window, and he tried to to get her to own up to it, but she was cagey, more or less attempting to interrogate him right back. Three rounds and no decision later, the guild master came in and starting creeping on the drow (because blue-skinned elf chick in black leather, man). The guild master informed Nikki that with all the refugees in town trying to sell off their family’s heirlooms in order to afford a place to stay and food to eat, it was actually a pretty rough time to be a thief– none of the usual stuff was worth stealing.
Finally the group connected with Xerlo, who was sitting on a hill outside of town scribbling runes on a boulder. He told them he had been granted several visions. First was of Togar, “battling great spiders in the darkness.” Second was “a gargantuan red dragon, holding your group in the palm of a massive claw and smiling down upon you as a prized treasure.” Third was Hantamouse, “striding the lands as if you were yourself a giant, with the god Kord walking at your side.” (Hanta: “Woot!”) Finally, his last set of visions didn’t feature any of the heroes at all, just a series of images: “a black fortress surrounded by a moat of lava, great black tentacles in the crushing depths of the sea, and an ancient city lost in the sands of the desert.”
After wrangling with these visions a bit, Xerlo told them that their discussion had made up his mind: he was going to go north “to the land of the frost giants,” where there was supposedly a giant oracle called the Eye of the All-Father, to ask the oracle what these visions meant. When asked if he would be okay making a trip like that, he replied that it was hazardous in the extreme and he didn’t think it likely he would survive, but that he had to try. Being a bit concerned for their enormous, stoic-yet-strangely-vulnerable friend, they asked if he would like them to join him, to which he replied he would indeed like that very much.
They didn’t want to just bugger off to the frozen north leaving Three Roads vulnerable to hill giant attacks, however, so bringing Xerlo in tow they tracked down the hill giant raiding party and wiped it out, retrieving most of the livestock (but unfortunately unable to rescue the captured farmers, whom the giants had killed long before). Xerlo informed the party that “Guh” was in fact a great chieftain of the hill giants, who lived on the other side of the Silver Spires.
Before leaving town, they just barely remembered to look into the fate of Harthos Zymorven. In the town library they found accounts of his heroic career in Elsir Vale and Westdeep Forest, before becoming a mercenary for the dwarves of Starhold later in life. At the Adventurers Guild they found a reference to him signing over his guild membership to his son in Hierandal, to the north, twenty years ago, and apparently retiring. Since that was more-or-less the direction Xerlo wanted to go anyway, they chose that as a destination and headed off.
They were not expecting the dragon attack that comes in part five…
PS: Quit creeping on that drow, guildmaster! Don’t you know that’s Obsidian’s mother?