15th Kuthona, 4715
The Heroes of the Everflame met with venture-captain Sheila Heidmarch and were assigned to clear the Storval Stairs of an infestation of Hill Giants. They were given their orders along with a scroll of teleportation to carry them deep into the Cinderlands of Varisia. They arrived about 500 feet away from the the foot of the Storval Stairs to find the wreckage of a caravan with a group of hill giants picking through the refuse.
The warriors surprised the hill giants and set upon them with furious retribution. The hill giants were lead by a barbarian that ordered the others to attack the heroes on sight. Ug engaged in a brutal exchange with the giant barbarian that left him in a bloody and bruised – with the giant dead. Working in concert, the heroes were able to bring down the other giants and their dire wolf companions.
With the immediate vicinity cleared of threats, they searched through the caravan wreckage for signs of survivors but they were all dead. Ken the Kitsune convinced their captive hill giant that they were legendary giant slayers and that they would now return to their own caravan many miles away – laden with gold and riches. They released their captive to return to the hill giant enclave entrenched on the Storval Stairs.
Shortly after their prisoner returned to his fellows, a pair of hill giant warriors were sent out to investigate. The heroes watched from hiding as the hill giants searched the area around the foot of the Stairs and then searched the surrounding area. They did not stray too far from the Stairs in search of the fictitious caravan as they knew that all travelers through the area would need to make their way to the Stairs to continue into the Cinderlands above.
After that, the Heroes decided to send Matthis the druid in to scout the area to determine the number of adversaries they would face on the stairs. Matthis wildshaped into an earth elemental and used his earth glide ability to travel into the very stone of the stairs themselves. Matthis traveled two-hundred feet up the stairs to the open parade grounds were he found a grisly scene.
Several human cadavers had been hung up around the parade grounds alongside an unfortunate pair of hill giants that were bound next to them. Dark smoke billowed out of the covered area nearby. Rather than risk running into a group of hill giants on his own, he completed his scouting and returned to the group.
Armed with this knowledge, the Heroes of the Everflame set out determining how to best use the terrain to their advantage and keep themselves out of the reach of the hill giants. With their course of action determined, they rested for the night and gathered their strength for the coming assault.
The Heroes set out at dusk, traveling up the outer buildings of the Storval Stairs by flying and climbing up to the midway point of the Stairs and setting their ambush atop the building adjacent to the parade grounds. The warriors began the assault by having the druid cast thorny entangle on the grounds below causing all of the giants inside to be instantly covered in thorn covered vines.
The giants didn’t take long to burst through the sudden overgrowth and make their way out onto the parade grounds. The heroes rained down an assault of arrows and long range spells as the giants entered the area and began cutting them down. The giants were lead by a powerful pair of barbarian giants that began ripping chunks from the stairs and hurling the stone at the heroes above. Daedelon unleashed his strongest fireball spells and lightning bolts to weaken the giants. Ken the kitsune jumped onto the nearby stone ledge, but slipped and fell fifty feet to the parade grounds below. He was instantly covered by the thorny entangle and became a target to the rampaging giants.
Ug lowered a rope to Ken who used it to start climbing up, but was grabbed by a giant. An intense tug of war ensued with Ken caught in the middle, and Ug was able to pull the kitsune free from the grip of the powerful giant. Ken swung free against the stone wall and was subjected to target practice from the hill giants.
Suddenly, a quiet voice rose on the wind and the adventurers felt themselves slipping under the influence of a supernatural song. A set of harpies set upon the heroes from above. Daedelon succumbed to the call of the harpy and felt himself called to their side. They heroes battled on and managed to strike down the last of the giants. The harpies stopped their assault and fled into the skies.
The Heroes watched as the harpies disappeared in the clouds overhead. They were left alone halfway up the Storval Stairs to recover their strength and prepare for the assault to come. The King of the Storval Stairs was still to come.