We recently completed our expedition to Skyreach. The Cloud Giant brothers that confronted us outside Rezmir the Black’s chamber were willing to parlay. This time Soveliss volunteered to do the talking. Personally, I still wanted to kill the giants, particularly the one that left us to battle the dragon on our own. However, facing down two cloud giants would surely have been a difficult fight, so it is probably for the best that we managed to come to an accord. Soveliss convinced them that we were enemies of the cult only, and that the cultists had been manipulating them with dark magic and were in actual fact enemies of the giants.
We became their guests, and dined in their hall. The eldest brother, Blagothkus, was clearly in charge, and he insisted on challenging us to compete in a variety of contests, including a drinking contest with an ogre that Pug partook in and feats of strength. We did our best but were grossly overmatched. I will happily engage any man in a contest of strength, but I can’t compete with the might of a giant. At any rate, it was revealed to us soon enough that the challenges we faced had been rigged and disguised with illusion magic. For instance, I thought I was attempting to lift Blagothkus’s giant pet cat, when in actual fact it was the body of the dead dragon. Our hosts were amused by our perseverance, so in that regard we conducted ourselves well.
Giants and Dragons are ancient races and ancient enemies. We used this knowledge to convince Blagothkus that he might gather his kin and help us to attack the Well of Dragons- another stronghold of the Cult and possibly the place where they will attempt the final ritual to free Tiamat from her prison. It will take time, for the giant clans are widely spread out, and the sky citadel does not move with great speed. In the meantime, he has agreed to transport us back to Waterdeep in his flying longship. Ildaera was certainly eager to return to her home. However, we had some additional goals…
There was still the matter of the dead dragon’s treasure horde, which remained frozen in ice in the caves below the citadel. Blagothkus generously allowed us to keep the bulk of the horde. Though, if he hadn’t offered us a fair share I would have proposed that we kill the giants. He also made a deal with Pug. He would help construct a more man-sized sky ship for the half orc in exchange for his share of the treasure. Such an endeavour would take time, and Pug has decided to remain with the giants until the work is complete.
We spent several long days of chipping away at ice to free the treasure hoard. It was hard, tiring work. It was also a surprising amount of work to appraise the horde and portion it into shares, but after much tedium we accomplished the task.
Finally we returned to Waterdeep aboard the giants’ skyship. Blagothkus dropped us off well outside the city, and we proceeded to escort the missing lord through the gates. Our good work was well received. Over the days that have passed since our return to civilization much has happened. I have reported our exploits to Bronwyn the harper and have garnered good will with that organization. We also debriefed with the Lords of Waterdeep. We were rewarded by being made minor nobles. I have been dubbed a baronet and forced to take on a surname. I decided I would be the first of the house Darkblade in honour of Hazirawn the powerful new weapon that I have bonded myself to. Officially I am Sir Dorn Darkblade. I think it has a nice ring to it, and there is a certain amount of pleasure that comes from the common folk calling me “milord.”
Along with the title has come some land, for what is nobleman if he has no lands? I requested lands outside the city, a place with room to expand, where I will have plenty of autonomy and not have too many folk watching me. The lands I have been given will do for now. They used to belong to House Rundreth. It seems that they were wiped out in a drow raid many years ago, and their holdings have since sat abandoned. The land is situated along the Long Rode, many miles north of Waterdeep. My closest significant neighbours are probably the priests of Chauntea that tend the great farm abbey of Goldenfields. Unfortunately, the manor house that was the seat of the Rundreth lands is in ruin and is said to be haunted. Initially I did not see any evidence of haunts, but that has since changed.
In Waterdeep I have created a coat of arms for my fledgling house, and I have commissioned a new flail and suite of plate mail. I have also hired a small band of mercenaries to help me tame my lands and protect the workers that I’ve contracted to begin the construction of Darkblade keep. It was late in the season to begin such projects, but I had a enough to coin from my share of the dragon hoard to motivate a work force. I led them north with supplies, and they hastily erected a wooden palisade and ditch around the ruined manor house. We have built some cabins to serve as lodgings and we have constructed shelters to protect the supplies. All was going well. Then the workers started clearing out the rubble from the foundation of the old manor house. That’s when the first sightings of the haunt occurred. I’m not sure the exact nature of the fiend, but it has been described by terrified workers as an undead warrior wearing armour. It has been referred to as a “death knight”, but it seems unlikely that it is truly such a dangerous specimen of undead horror. Still it has been enough to cause the workers I hired to pack up and return to Waterdeep. This was fine with me. Winter is coming, and there is little more they would have accomplished before the snows.
My mercenaries and I have since escorted the labourers back to Waterdeep. I plan to resume work on my holdings in the spring. In the meantime I am considering trying to convince my adventuring companions to help me rid the place of any undead that haunt it. On the other hand, it may be better to leave it alone until spring. The haunted nature of the place could keep it from being overrun by bandits, orcs or worse during the winter.