PrinceCon XL: Bob’s Scenario Recap

Kjallintar’s Revenge

Long ago, in the Sword Ages of the world, most Giants were still friendly with the Gods, and Kjallintar became the companion of the gods, but most especially of Janda and Mavors. Under their authority and tutelage, she judged the law among all the races, giant and non-giant. Indeed, she bore a son to Daglir, whom she named Djaglintar. The offspring of gods and giants may be of either kind, and Djaglintar was of Giant-kind, and remained with his mother. But, Kjallintar was jealous of her privileges as judge, and fearful to appear weak in her application of the law.

One day, in the Riven Shield Age, two mothers came before her, laying claim to the same child. The facts were easily ascertained: the birth-mother had fled before invaders, and was forced to abandon her son. The foster-mother rescued the child and lovingly raised him. Now, both mothers wanted custody. In a similar case, Janda had declared that law could not decide this, and handed the case to Mavors to decide on the equities. He offered to divide the child in twain, but this was merely a ruse to determine who loved the child more, and the child was restored to the foster-mother. Kjallintar tried the same ruse, but was unable to quickly decide which mother was more appalled. Afraid, lest indecisiveness undermine her reputation, she carried out the division, and handed each mother half the corpse. The mothers were distraught beyond words, and Janda was furious. She cursed Kjallintar to have two faces, and banished her. Her children followed and Mavors judged that the curse would fall upon them as well.

Kjallintar nursed her hatred. Djaglintar, being of god-blood, was able to modify the curse, so that each of the Ettin, as Kjallintar’s offspring were called, had two heads, not merely two faces, which gave them powers in addition to being hideous to all other races. All the Ettin swore revenge upon all the gods, that their tongues would be cut out, and that Janda should die painfully at the hands of Kjallintar.

Now, if came to pass that Djaglintar had a son, Albervir, who was subtle of craft and mighty to make marvelous things. But, Albervir was not content, and wanted to be the instrument of his grandmother’s revenge. So, during the Wind Age, he learned the arts of disguise from Ratri, and disguising himself as a Svartalfir, lived a mortal’s life as a faithful follower of Daglir, until he had gained the attention of the god himself and was taken to Godsheim to learn craft. Being the grandchild of Daglir, he learned quickly, and more than his grandfather wished or wot. Having learned deep secrets, he departed for Stoneheim, to perfect his arts. Keeping his disguise, he travelled to Mannheim, and tested many ideas there. But he lacked the power of Daglir’s Forge, that is until he learned of the great power hidden within the volcano Katla.

And so, in the Wolf Age, Albervir proposed to create five great items.

The first would be the Rings of Drawing Clerical Power. These would appear to be rings that gave additional prayers each day, and that would become more and more powerful as the days hastened to the Final Battle. But, in reality, they were drawing power from the Clerics, and at the appointed time would vanish with their accumulated power to add their power to that of Kjallintar. In this manner her vow to cut off the gods tongues would be fulfilled, for how do the gods speak if not through their clerics?

The second would be the spear Aetgir, which could allow a mortal to slay even a god. While Kjallintar, as primordial Ettin, had the stature to slay a god, this spear would make her twice as deadly.

The third would be the armor Weliundmail, which could protect the wearer from the attacks of the gods. The power of this armor would be greatly increased if the power of the wearer were enhanced, as by the rings.

The fourth would be the Helm of Forgetfulness. It was the plan to place this upon Mavors head, so that Janda could watch her brother disgrace himself by forgetting all oaths and promises. This would be her torture, before the blade struck.

The fifth would be the Hammers of Unfate. Albervir had learned of the Fatestones, upon which the Wyrd Sisters had written prophecies that could not fail unless the stone was broken. H bethought that some would protect the gods or foredoom Kjallintar and need to be destroyed. For this purpose, he created two great hammers that, if used to strike a Fatestone, would destroy it, though the energy released might cause great destruction. Djaglintar had learned that the Wyrd Sisters had inscribed two fatestones, one protecting Janda and one protecting Mavors. Both needed to be found and doubtless both destroyed.

He also created a variety of war statues, each with a different purpose, designed to protect his laboratory and to bring low the mortal realms. Some were agile and spider-like, to run down adversaries. Some were built like tortoises, with tails that could batter down castle walls and destroy siege engines. Some were predators, shaped like bipedal crocodiles, some of which were small and swift, and some slower and more powerful. And there were statues in the form of fire-breathing brazen bulls, while others were monstrous beasts with multiple horns and vast strength. And so matters lay, until the Valiant intervened.

Dramatis Personnae, in order of first appearance:

Martine Klaengrdottr Mannfolk Hero, NPC (backstory)
Len Vatenari Mage, follower of Mavors, played by Colin Sandon
Treeborn Mannfolk Guardian, Pantheist, played by Tim de Capio
t, r, a Svartalfir Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Elissa Hoeger
Bruce Battlestandard Svartalfir Mage, follower of Magus, played by Joshua Gabai
Jaru Fryen Katterfolk Hero, Pantheist, played by Peter Vancsa
Black Sun Mannfolk Mage, Storm Lion, played by Aaron Mulder
Hrothnjall Mannfolk Mage, Servant of Albervir, NPC
Krojin Ettin Guardian, Assistant to Albervir, NPC
Albervir Ettin Mage, NPC (offstage)
Hrolff the Burning Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Chris Cavender
Thunder Katterfolk Cleric of Storm Lion, played by Spencer Kipe
Alyeria Alfar Guardian, pantheist, played by Zen Zen
Thornflower Alfar Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Susan Bergeron
Krosp Katterfolk Hero, follower of Danu, played by Charles Taylor
Markus Katterfolk Cleric of Danu, played by Tim de Capio
Haldir Alfar Hero, follower of Carrunos, played by Michael Brokes
Pirata Fuerte Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Timothy Sullivan
KatteroHexMonkeybane Katterfolk Hero, follower of Storm Lion, played by Ryan Carr
Amberette Svartalfir Cleric of Danu, played by Megan Coppock
Pfferdsensen Riddari Guardian, follower of Carrunos, played by Greg Nelson
Magus God of Magic, played by Alex Reutter
Noly played by Charles Taylor
Rogar Ironheart Svartalfar Hero, follower of Daglir, played by Corwin Knaff
Vegt Mannfolk Mage, follower of Hione, played by Alan Zitomer
Mavors God of Justice, played by Robert West
Kjallintar Primordial Ettin, NPC

Chapter 1: In search of a lost expedition

The morning dawned as ever in Valor Hall, except that groups of the Valiant were preparing for missions to other realms — a thing that had not happened for an age. As groups were forming, and ways to forestall the evil times discussed, one lone survivor from such an expedition arrived. It was Martine Klaengrdottr, a Mannfolk Hero, who had travelled with six companions to Mannheim, following some vague clues. Moments before entering Valor Hall, where all her wounds would surely be cured, she collapsed. Several of the Valiant rushed to succor her, but she died in their arms. Her last words gave the location of a cavern in the great volcano Katla and the garbled phrase “Alb..collapse..second..” In her possession is a burnt-out Trollhammer and the fragments of a stone with an inscription in moving, magic writing, that somehow gave an impression of being of more-than-ordinary importance.

Examination of the broken stone revealed a text: “Janda will live longer than her brother, but if Mavors should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Janda shall not outlive that star.” Examination of the trollhammer revealed that it once was a fearsome weapon that had power to smash items of great power, perhaps even the fable fatestones. The burnout released such great power that it was now only under slight enchantment.

Seven members of the Valiant gathered to go to Katla, find the cavern and explore. Wishing to prepare themselves for what might be a desperate battle, they arrived at dusk in a secluded dell within sight of Katla, cast spells and prayers of preparation, and settled down to rest. In the morning, they ascended the forested slopes of Katla where they spied furtive movement underneath the trees and black crows at about the place where they expected to find the cavern. Moving cautiously, the group drove off an attack by huge dire wolves.

The cavern was nearly completely blocked by a rockfall, through the gaps of which carrion birds flew. Martine’s last words might have spoken of such a collapse, but was it a natural misadventure, or was it connected to the burned-out hammer? And what did this have to do with the danger to the Gods? With due care and great labor, the Svartalfir, aided by the remaining members of the party, removed the rocks and opened the way into what was left of the cavern. The interior was piles of rock, and the back was blocked by another rockfall. The whole smelled of burning and of the charnel-house.

More digging revealed the bodies of the lost expedition, and their magical treasures, mixed with burned parts of some sort of giant. A debate ensued on the proper disposition of the bodies, and whether their prized weapons and other magical possessions should be left with them as grave goods. An infernal machine soon dubbed the Hammer Wheel lay on its side. There were signs of an enormous fire and collapse, and a muffled, high-pitched laugh could be heard. One of the bodies had a sack, which contained an undamaged table with a prophecy concerning Hione. Was this the “second” of which Martine spoke? It did not read as something that ought to be destroyed; perhaps it was to be protected from destruction?

Digging some more, a door was found, and behind that door a filthy chamber, with a man, half-starved and dying of thirst, who identified himself as Hrothinjall, assistant to the Great Albervir. Albervir, it seems, had somehow fooled Daglir and received training as an artificer. (Was this what Martine meant by “Alb”?) Hrothinjall was clearly quite mad, but careful questioning and ESP revealed that Albervir was the grandson of Kjallintar, that “fate had been destroyed”, that the trollhammer and a vast explosion had a part in that, that turning on the Hammerwheel was dangerous, and that the party should remove the remaining rockfall so they could die. He also denied that the stone found was the “second”, saying that the first and second were “like, yet unlike, such as siblings ought to be.”

Hrothinjall was locked back in his cell, now cleaned and provisioned. The Hammerwheel was dragged outside, and Bruce Battlestandard began to play with it, trying to understand its function. Meanwhile, a metallic statue in spider-form strode through the rockfall on the far side of the cavern, and attacked the party. Another appeared, in the shape of a great tortoise with a shell made of stone and a tail in the form of a huge club. A third also appeared, in the form of a crocodile that walked upon two legs made of brass. Black Sun, having decided that the rockfall was an illusion that affected all senses, strode through it purposefully, and found himself confronting a small (20′) ettin who was starting up a fourth statue, this in the shape of a quadruped with three horns. A long corridor stretched behind. After a pitched battle, the spider was destroyed, and the turtle entangled with the Hammerwheel. Both went careening down the mountainside. Using spells of hallucination and tripping, the Ettin was disabled long enough for the party to effect its escape. In a valiant last blow, Treeborn blinded the Ettin, but was himself slain. The party escaped to the plain and sounded the horns to summon the Valkyrie to return them to the Halls of Valor.

Meanwhile, came the news that Janda was dead, and a new star had appeared that the sages said would soon vanish. In light of later events, it was clear that a servant of Kjallintar had given up his life to strike the Fatestone that protected Janda’s life, striking it with a Hammer of Unfate. Martine’s party had, doubtless, died attempting to prevent this. The nature and fate of the “second” stone would be revealed in due course.

Chapter 2: Exploring the Laboratory

Having confirmed from other sources that this was indeed a laboratory, a party of seven set forth to learn what could be learned, thwart what could be thwarted, and perhaps to wrest some powerful knowledge and/or weapons. It was agreed that there was a second fatestone somewhere that had to be destroyed before the new star faded, whatever doom it portended. Arriving, they saw a large number of Ettin, guarded by statues, bearing objects off to the Southwest. Rather than engage in a hopeless, but glorious, fight, the Valiant decided to enter the cavern complex. Using Locate Object, the mages were able to pinpoint the location of a stone, similar in substance to the broken one, but intact, and which gave off an air of portentousness. Hrothnjall was gone from his prison, and the corridors of the laboratory were vacant. Apparently all been abandoned in some haste: remnants of a library remained, as did component parts of various infernal devices and a rear guard of the combat statues. Some of these were gathered for later analysis.

Because time was believed to be of the essence, the party tried various ways to limit combat. Attempts to use Dimension Door and Teleport to reach the location failed. Eventually, using stealth, the Valiant found their way deep inside the mountain, to a chamber that contained a strange cylindrical device. The device seemed to bring up mud and steam from the unguessable depths at which the dormant volcano was active. Beyond the device was a narrow passage, too small for an ettin, or indeed a riddari. At the end of that passage was a smooth surface, impervious to Darkvision. Ordinary light would penetrate it, however, and beyond was a stone tablet, written with magic writing.

Hrolff the Burning had knowledge of a crystal that darkvision could not penetrate: such crystal is impervious even to the greatest of fire, or indeed lava itself. It is very hard, but very brittle. A strong stroke thrusting with a sword shattered it, and the stone was brought forth. Reading the magic writing, “Mavors will live longer than Janda, but if Janda should die, a new star shall appear and then fade, and Mavors shall not outlive that star.”

Obviously, this was the “second” stone, like a sibling to the first. Sages have since argued about the fact that two fatestones, both created by the Wyrd Sisters, contradict one another so directly. Some say that it shows limitations in the knowledge of the Fates, but others argue that a Fate is not contradicted until events inconsistent with that Fate transpire. If either Mavors or Janda died, one of the two Fatestones would be false, so clearly neither could die until one or the other stone was broken. And it was fated that at least one should be broken, as clearly as if that fact had itself been written on stone. Kjallintar’s plan was now clear: having destroyed the Janda stone, she would strive to preserve the Mavors-stone from all harm, thereby sealing his doom.

Hrolff knew of a method by which such a fatestone could be destroyed, but he had never seen it done, and did not know what the consequences were. So, he began a chant of the victory of his Will over Stone Sealed Fate. And when it was done, the stone shattered, but so did the cylinder behind him. A great gout of flame poured out, enveloping and incinerating him, as clearly foretold by his name. Thunder stepped forward, prepared to throw all his power into a massive cure that could save Hrolff, but it was too late. And, somehow, Thunder sensed that Hrolff had been chosen by Fate to die, and that interfering with that could only bring further woe.

The cylinder now spewed out mud and clay, which was glowed of magic. The party gathered up handsful of it and proceeded to return to Valor Hall, singing the praises of the mage who had sacrificed his life for Mavors as the star that was to herald his doom faded from sight. The clay that was extracted from the mud proved to have marvelous powers: a few minutes’ concentration, and it would transform itself into a magical weapon or armor. The more clay used, the bigger the weapon or armor.

Chapter 3: Out of the Frying Pan, into the Lava

Suspecting that there were secrets yet undiscovered lying within the abandoned caverns, Pirata Fuerte, KatteroHexMonkeybane, Amberette and Pfferdsensen set forth to explore them, only to find the entire region in great turmoil.  Volcanoes to the West and North were erupting. Katla was smoking, and the earth shaking.
Hurrying inside, they were trying to decide what to do and where to go first, when, suddenly, five figures appeared in their midst.  The tallest wore a strange hat and seemed somehow familiar.  He proclaimed himself Magus, God of Magic, and introduced his companions: Markus, Noly, Rogar Ironheart and Vegt. Magus proclaimed his mission — to seek the heart of the volcano.  The party gladly accompanied him: how could they fail with a god at their side?
Magus could sense that they needed to go deep, and Markus knew the way to the corridor that led to at least one deep chamber, and probably to more.  In a flash, the party was at that level, having bypassed all the remaining defenses.  Hearing from Markus of the wonderful clay that the previous group had found, many wanted to mine as much as they could.  Others wanted to continue.  A check of the ladder found that there was a large quantity of clay, mixed with common mud, that had been filling up the chamber. It would require a significant amount of time to sort out what was high quality and what was lesser quality.
Coming up from the depths, the sound of many feet were heard, and a quick check around the corner revealed a number of golems preparing to attack. As the Valiant prepared to fight their opponents, it suddenly became apparent that Magus had left them.  The monsters were restrained with webs, and with a combination of fierce blows and powerful spells were soon reduced to wrecks.  As had happened previously, the golems soon exploded when wrecked, but that was all one: the party had gone on to search for Magus.
At length, they found an open door, held in place with a spell of locking, and a ladder leading down.  There they found a workshop with discarded remnants, and a small tunnel leading beyond.  There, near the very throat of the volcano, they found a great steam-operated hammer, and a forge that appeared to have once been fed with lava from the very depths of the mountain.  Near the forge was a cache of rings, obviously magical in nature.  A quick analysis showed that had the same writing as a ring possessed by Markus, with words blessing all the priests of all the gods.  Such rings had been found before, and added greatly to a priest’s power to grant the favors of his or her god.  There were also other strange things found, remnants of great magical forgings.
Travelling on to the throat of the volcano itself, they found Magus engaged in conversation with some invisible being, whom Magus treated with respect. Even, if it were possible, asking advice, or perhaps permission?
Far below them, rising slowly, was a Bálroc. a foe beyond all present put together save, perhaps, the god himself.  Even Magus seemed concerned.  He informed his companions that this was not an inhabitant of the volcano, as many had thought, but the spirit of the volcano itself: the living embodiment of its power.  Its wings carried heat beyond mortal imagining: were it not for the power of the god, they would have not been able to resist it for long.   Still, Magus required more power, and asked for donations, whether of the quotidian numinous power vouchsafed to a priest, or the mental concentration that enables a mage or guardian to cast mighty spells, or of items in the group’s possession.
Even as the request was made, e’re it could be considered, Markus and Amberette felt much of their power flow to Magus, with no volition on their part. This was not only the power they got from their rings, but also an equal portion of the power that was their own. Concern over such matters aside, the party donated a great store of magical treasure to Magus, whereupon the items vanished.  Using this power in a manner that only Magus could explain, he was able to converse with the Bálroc, and convince it to calm.  In the process, he found it was his fate to converse with the Bálroc for a time, and bid his companions farewell.  As he left, he tossed his hat at them, which shredded into numerous pieces. A quick fly spell enabled the precious pieces of Magus’s hat to be caught, and it was soon found that each had a wondrous power.
No longer in danger of an erupting volcano, but sensing that the Final Battle was indeed approaching, the group explored further.  Nearly half of the time they dared allot, they spent recovering, sorting and cleansing the wonderful magical clay, of which they could quickly make magical weapons and armor. The rest of the time was spent exploring libraries and storage areas.  Parts that had been used to make tampers to excite other volcanoes were found, and it was soon realized that the Hammerwheel found by the first group was a failed experiment in the development of such items.  Descriptions of the golems were found, together with a catalog of their weaknesses.  And there was a description of magical components needed to complete a great weapon and great armor that could stand even against gods.
Armed with many new items, blessed by their intercourse with a god and enlightened by the knowledge they had discovered, they felt certain that the time of the Final Battle was approaching. What secrets were left unlearned, they regretfully had to leave behind.  Unfortunately, the secret of the Rings was not among those they found, and their experience with Magus and the ease with which power left those who wore them did not cause the Valiant to suspect the rings’ true nature.
Chapter 4: A Wild God Chase.
For as long as anyone could remember, Mavors had come to the feasts of the Valiant, and had boasted that he would lead them on the day of the Last Battle.  Then, one day, Mavors came to table, bragging not of his prowress, but of the beauty of his new helm and shield.  And, when one of the Valiant toasted him about his pledge to join the last defense of the gods, and asked when this would be, Mavors denied he had ever said such a thing, nor would he go to the Last Battle.
That the God of Justice should deny what all knew to be true, and abrogate his vow, this was thing such as had not been seen in all the Ages of the World! Even the mortal priests of Mavors were discomfited, as their prayers no longer worked to track or punish felons if their crimes were more than a few hours old.  It was as if Mavors no longer sought justice. Surely this was a sign of the End!
A party gathered to resolve the mystery and bring Mavors back for the Final Battle.  Their first stop was the Palace of Mavors in Goddesheim, There they were challenged by Rognir, keeper of the gate.  Discoursing at length with him, they were finally admitted to Godwulf, seneschal of Mavors.  There they learned that a dwarf, bearing the tokens of Daglir, had brought Mavors a new helm and shield for the upcoming battle, and that as soon as Mavors donned them, he became noticeably more vain.   After the uproar at Valor Hall, he had left for parts unknown, presumably to right some injustice, or visit just vengeance on the Giants.
Casting a Locate spell to find Mavors, Vegt was astonished to realize that he was in Stoneheim: such magics had never worked across the gulf between realms before.  But, there were reports of strange happenings in the wake of Magus’s departure: the governor seemed to be off magic, and spells now were much less predictable than they had always been.  Summoning the Valkyries to take them to Stoneheim, Vegt was able to get a distance and direction that seemed to correspond to a great castle.  Hiding as some of the local inhabitants passed by, the party learned that this was the stronghold of Kjallintar herself.
Unbeknownst to the party, as none of them were clerics, the Rings of Draining Clerical Power had all vanished, taking with them not only their own power, but an equal amount of the power belonging to the clerics wearing each.  This power had infused Kjallintar, and enabled her to let Albervir place the final touches on her armor, that made her proof against any god.  In fact, so much power had been drained, that she felt the first stirrings of divine abilities herself: to seek out followers and grant prayers.
Following the path to Kjallintar’s castle, the party listened, to some of the servants, and found that Mavors was an honored guest, making merry in the meadhall with Kjallintar.  That night, the party spied in the window, and found that this was true.  Mavors sat there, a gorgeous helm upon his head, with servant-maidens to either side taking care lest it fall off, even has he began to nod from the strong drink of the Ettin.  Soon, he was led off to a bedchamber, where he lay down, helm still upon his head, and again with maiden-Ettin as servants to see that it remained so all night.
Bravely sneaking in with invisibility and veil, Rogar Ironheart managed to strike the helm from Mavors head.  A battle was soon joined with the Ettin, but Mavors quickly awoke and put an end to that.  Into the corridor he strode, and was there confronted with Kjallintar in her splendid armor.  Wrathful, Mavors drew his red sword and struck with all his might, but his blow glanced off harmlessly.  And Kjallintar sang, sang a song of wrath and of vengeance for long-nursed wrongs. And as she sang, Mavor’s face grew pale: memories came flooding back to him of a vow repudiated, of wrongs left unpunished in the world because he had forgotten them.  Such was the power of the helm.
Screaming in anger and shame, Mavors turned from the scene, and unbound himself from his physical form, to fly where in the great Worldrealm he would go.  There, unprotected, were he erstwhile saviors, facing an Ettin that even a god could not harm, and her mighty followers. They gripped their weapons and awaited their doom.
But Kjallintar laughed.  She had grown, grown in wisdom and cruelty as she had grown in power. She knew where Mavors had gone and what he would do. And she knew what it would do to these mortals to see their last hope destroy himself; to see the Abyss as it were before their feet.  Let them live and feel her wrath a while longer before they were hunted down and destroyed!  Ettin no more, she was now the Goddess of Wrath, and mighty among the gods was she!
And so, the party fled the scene. There, Vegt prepared to locate Mavors, and found that his spell had great power, as if it were somehow aided.   Summoning the Valkyries, they went to the farthest limb of the World-Tree, where it hung out over the Void.  There was Mavors, desperate and sorrowful, knotting a noose in a great rope.
“I am guilty!  I, who have proclaimed duty and honor and virtue and justice with truth, I am the most guilty of all.  For it is I who was to be the font and source of justice, yet I have let injustice prevail!  I proclaimed oaths inviolate, and I violated mine!  God of Justice?  God of Hypocrisy!  Let me die here as I have condemned others to die and expiate my sin as my blood drains into the Void.”
The party remonstrated with him.  Each took his turn persuading Mavors: he was the victim of spells, of trickery, but he was adamant. Were his sister alive, he could have trusted himself to her justice. But now, there was none. None but he, and only self-slaying would stay the guilt in his heart.  He had willingly set aside the armor of eld, and put on the armor of vanity that was placed before him.  It was his weakness, his lack of virtue that made all this possible.
At length Sven Silverbeard spoke.  “Suffer your fate and punishment if you must, but you have a Last Battle to fight, and if you abandon that, and your followers as well, then you will break faith yet again, and commit even greater sins.  Can evil expiate evil?  Nay!  Then live, at least for the time appointed to this battle. Then, if justice requires that you be punished, let it be done with order, so that your oaths are fulfilled as much as they can be.”
And Mavors hearkened to the words. His sword he held high, and with his companions went to where he was needed, to fight for the gods, and for the mortals that follow them.

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