The giants were powerful, strong and determined, but the combined power of our small group has withstood stronger challenges than these, at far greater odds. They stood nary a chance. If only these beings could have been negotiated with, they might have kept their lives. Still, evil must be met and destroyed as it is found for the good of Iomedae and our fledgling kingdom.
All that was left was the cold, and a massive ice monolith, detailing all the names of those close to me in common, as those it was recording their deaths, like a giant tombstone. The bloom was obviously still in effect as the cold was still clearly evident. With little idea on how to deal with this, I asked if I could carry Oret further into the skies to search for more clues.
While this didn’t reveal any more information, those below focused on destroying the monolith. Fire, dazzling rays and swords all struck the ice, finally toppling it over, and like that, a breath of warmer air flowed through the mountain pass over the shattered remains of the ice monolith.
One of the shards radiated the now familiar aura of the bloom and I touched my sword to it, the essence being drawn into Briar yet again.
With this bloom dealt with, it was becoming obvious that the blooms were getting grander in scale, and this represented an ever growing threat to our kingdom, prompting Learion to insist that we go to where this gate may be.
With no other real leads at this stage, I agreed, but as it was on the other side of our kingdom, we stopped off in Shrike City first to recover.
The researches that Imajica had working on our behalf were able to find out a reasonable amount of information for us, but the most valuable was the suspected requirement of at least three blooms worth of essence to open the gate through to the Thousand Breaths.
As we made to leave, we were met with a disheveled Andromeda Niska, angry at the something destroying her home. At Io’s very strong insistence, we moved quickly to help, only to find a large wall of thorny bushes not far from the city gates.
Flying above them provided us with the view of over two miles of this scrub, thick and fifteen feet high, and apparently growing as Andromeda had not traveled through that much of it to get to us. Inside, those sharp eyed of us spotted three large humanoid shapes moving around, plucking seeds from the thorns and planting, having more grow in their place remarkably quickly.
The three giants, three armed and standing at nearly twenty feet tall each, were spread throughout the forest of thorns. Both Khan and Imajica used fire to good effect, but it only served to anger the plants and they struck out in retaliation.
With little other options, I devised a plan to attack each of the giants at the same time, since they could not be corralled together. Khan, in the form of a sparrow, was to harass and detain one, Learion, Imajica, Oret and Io were to destroy the second and Rafe and I were to destroy the third.
Rafe is clearly very adept with his weapon of choice, and between the two of us, the giant was unable to flee and was cut down, it’s evil no longer endangering the kingdom…or so I thought.
We flew back to help the other dispose of their opponents, but there was only a wolf herding a sheep remaining, so clearly our King had been successful in his task as the other were there, blood staining their weapons, as proof of their vanquished enemy.
The sheep was quickly cut down and a pod grew from the ground where it died. Horrifyingly, inside the pod was small version of what we had just killed, and it was growing at an alarming rate. This was quickly dashed to pieces and the other two were sought and destroyed.
Once this was done, thankfully the forest of thorns dissipated and left a thorn that emitted the bloom essence. Khan kept a hold of this one instead of allowing it to be absorbed by Briar. we will see how this works to open the gate in time.
The people of Shrike City, able to see the threat from the walls, were exceedingly grateful and thanked us profusely as we returned, like conquering heroes from the sagas “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.3”.
Our original plan was to go to where the gate supposedly was, so some teleportation magic later, we were in Pitax and making our way to the site of some elven ruins. An amusing run in with some fey dragons sped our way to the place.
A crumbled ruin greeted us, but when we went through the gates, the place changed into something majestic. Those with magic senses were able to tell the rest of us that this was a powerful illusion magic. Iomedae gave me the strength to withstand the magic and I was able to see it for what it really was…a crumbling ruin.