After the battle with the purple worm, the PCs continued on deeper into the mountains toward Norvaldr’s palace. Toward the end of the day, the cold started to seep through Helmirion’s protective rituals, which under normal circumstances would not have been possible. There was foul magic in the area which was preventing cold protective magic from working. Even more worrisome, those PCs with natural protection from cold were also feeling its effects.
Toward dusk, the PCs were start to try to find a place to make shelter. With the cold now affecting them, fatigue was setting in quickly. A snowstorm had moved into the area, accompanied by heavy winds. Suddenly shapes materilazed out of the swirling snow and attacked: barbarian humanoids that seemed to have command of the winter cold, along with winter wolves under their command. The PCs slew them all, their bodies disappearing back into the snowstorm.
As they were recovering, the leader of the barbarians, seemingly unharmed, appeared again. He introduced himself as Garko of the Eisk Jaat, and explained to the PCs that they had passed the test. He led them back to his village where the PCs were given food, shelter, and warmer clothing. They spent the night in the village. In the morning, Garko found them again and brought them before the Earthmother.
The Earthmother was an ancient, shriveled woman. The PCs were ushered into her hut and then sat uncomfortably before her while she examined them, spending a few minutes in front of each PC measuring their worth. She was satisfied by what she saw, indicating that the gods had sent heroes that could truly rescue her people.
She told the PCs that they would have to go on a vision quest to reveal their fate. She prepared the ritual, and the PCs fell into a deep sleep. They were given visions of their future:
- The frost giant compound built on a plateau within the mountains. Thick walls of ice with a heavy iron gate. Many guards manning the walls. Large huts made of wood and straw scattered around the compound. In the center of the compound, a large palace of stone and ice. Large white dragons fly above the palace.
- A small hidden entrance through the ice walls. A frost giant would have to squeeze crawl, but the vision shows the PCs walking through with ease into the compound.
- One of the huts packed with Eisk Jaat slaves. Many are old or infirm, but there are a number of strong warriors that still have a fight in them.
- The slaves freed, charging at their giant captures. At the same time, Eisk Jaat swarm in from the mountains, scale the walls, break the gates, and join their slave brethren in the fight for their salvation.
- The king Norvaldr waiting for the PCs on the roof of his palace, atop his dragon. A vicious battle, with the PCs victorious, standing above the fallen king, while his giant subjects die below by the hands of their slaves.
The Earthmother explains to the PCs that it was prophesied that they would appear to rescue her people from the oppression of Norvaldr and his frost giants. She gave the PCs what help she could: a new magic item for each of them, and command of 60 of her strongest warriors, along with Garko to lead them.
The PCs set out at once with Garko and the rest of the Eisk Jaat. They arrived at Norvaldr’s compound after a couple days travel. The compound and the palace were just as in their vision. After a bit of searching, they also found the hidden entrance through the walls.
Helmirion created some invisibility elixirs to allow the party to sneak into the compound. Sariel went first, sneaking into the hut where the slaves were kept, and picking the locks on the chains that bound them. Despite the language barrier, she got the slaves to attack, charging into the compound to get revenge on their captors. Their free brethren joined in, scaling the walls and unlocking the gates to allow their winter wolves to attack as well.
While the battle raged, the PCs snuck through to the palace, and made their way to the roof where the vision showed they would find Norvaldr. Rohak, familiar with the design of such a building, led the way, easily navigating to the throne room on the top floor which adjoined the roof. The PCs looked into the throne room and found that Norvaldr had retained his elite guard to protect him. Over a dozen fearsome frost giants blocked the way between the PCs and their target…