The Duchess’ expedition succeed in slaying the Fire Giant guards and freeing the Frost Giantess held in torturous captivity. Grateful from her freedom, the Frost Giantess, Eyalla , revealed what she had observed since her capture and the slaying of her companion mount, a large white dragon, the bones of which the party had observed amongst the bone-yard the necromancer giant was tending.
The Fire Giants hold sway over the ogres, while normally this area is ogre territory, the giants arrived around the same time as the first eruption from the volcano, although Eyalla isn’t sure of the exact timing. The King of the Fire Giants takes council from an Ogre Mage, who then takes the King’s orders and disseminates them to the various ogre clans. The Giants and Ogres mainly stick to themselves, Eyalla has observed arguments between them, but no real violence. The Ogre Mage appears to have a amulet identical to the corrupting crystal the group found in the druidic tomb months ago.
Eyalla believes that the giants are itching to move on with their invasion of Avenesse, but the King is waiting on something from the volcano. She has heard them mention moving on a druid stronghold first, then assaulting the capitol city. She’s seen Ogres and humans enter and exit the mountain, some humans as captives others as conspirators. There were several tieflings mixed in with the human conspirators. While she didn’t get the whole story from them, from what Elyalla gathered, something happened here at the mountain that called the Fire Giants. Since this mountain isn’t naturally volcanic, it is doubted that the eruption itself is what called them.
The druidess, Phen’dria, explained that the mountain shrine was created at this mountain because it had been a ley-line nexus point, in the days before the ley-lines were destroyed. The shrine had fallen into disuse as the ogres moved in, and even with the return of the ley-line energies about two hundred years ago, the shrine was mostly forgotten. Now it appears that whomever is behind all this is attempting to destroy the shrine by directing a lava flow into it.
Deciding the best course of action is to stick together and find out who is behind all this, the expedition decided they would delve into the mountain and uncover this mystery. The doorway immediately revealed this unusual nature of this place, there is no way all this construction could have taken place in the weeks since the first volcanic eruption. It took a sacrifice of blood to open the doors, revealing a dark, hot hallway stretching off into the mountain itself. The devious design including numerous deadly traps to not just prevent entry, but to slay would be intruders.
At the end of the first hallway, all heard a darkly feminine voice speak into their minds, it taunted them, seeming uncaring at their intrusion. The elder scholar, Mina, panicked at whatever was said to her and sprinted toward the exit of the mountain, this triggered a trap that released the chains supporting several heavy blocks in the ceiling. Mina was crushed and the entrance to the mountain was sealed shut. The voice’s haunting laughter the only response.
Pushing on, the expedition encountered several guards, identical to the ones the tiefling priestess brought with her in her attack upon them in the mountains. They encountered several disturbing visual anomalies in the deep corridors, when passing through them, the their surroundings and themselves took on a disturbing appearance, reminding Gretel of several of her more disturbing dreams.
Eventually, this led them to a chamber in which several humans, no doubt numbered amongst the collaborators Eyalla spoke of, sparing under the tutelage of a man recognized as the commander at Skyscar Keep and a woman clad in silks. Parley proved difficult as the commander immediately ordered his men to battle. He joined in, while the woman unleashed several fireballs from a wand. In the melee, all of the enemy were slain, save for the woman who fled down one of the two corridors. Shortly after each enemy fell, a demon rose from the corpse, but they too were dispatched…