Chapter 17

The Giant and the Genie

March 7, 2020

The Cloud Giant loomed over Salbrizaar, Zyastan and Naliyi while Theren and Raz dangled from their fingertips, unseen over the edge of the flat-topped roof of the giant’s home. Below was a fifty foot drop to the entrance, a doorway forty feet tall, out of which came two tigers, looking like housecats at that scale.

Zyastan knelt before the 35-foot tall behemoth, along with Naliyi as they tried to bluff their way around the giant’s anger over his ignored demands for tribute. Salbrizaar’s insolence nearly brought down his wrath, but Naliyi distracted him by pointing to the two elves just out of sight. As he stepped over to have a look, the duo quickly got on Theren’s flying broom and dipped down into the house.

Salbrizaar was backing off and casting spells to prepare for the coming fight while Naliyi and Zyastan’s exit was cut-off by the tigers coming up the stairs. The warrior quickly disengaged, moving away and leaving the monk alone against two of the big cats. As the giant turned his attention to Salbrizaar, the wizard cast a Fog Cloud to obscure him and his friends from sight.

And then, swinging from the end of a rope dangling from a skyboat overhead, came the dashing Captain Kaamber Beltroth of the Black Acacia, in a daring surprise attack from behind the giant to nick his ear with a sword cut and a yell before diving into the fog, leaving his boat to continue its downward descent until it touched water. The giant waded into the fog, dissipating it while swinging his huge morning-star to devastating effect on the sky pirate. Zyastan, still fighting two tigers nearby, was able to knock one out.

As all of this was going on, Theren and Raz were flying about inside the giant’s house where they spotted a third tiger rising from a slumber on the floor and also a strange block of reddish-grey stone set conspicuously on a giant-sized desk. Opting to inspect it later, the elves returned to the rooftop battle where Zyastan was finishing off the second tiger and Naliyi was heading for the stairs, only to be confronted by the third cat coming up.

Meanwhile, the giant was dividing his attention between Salbrizaar and Theren as Kaamber sought to withdraw. Zyastan ran over to the elves now landing and getting off the broom when she was felled by the vengeful strike of the giant whose cats she had just neutralized. This made Raz head for the stairs and away from the giant while Theren and Salbrizaar worked in tandem against him.

The Cloud Giant towering over everyone

And then, the giant bees attacked. Summoned by the gold and black-banded scepter the giant held like a wand, they had been heading this way from their hive on the nearby island since early in the fight and now swarmed around the giant in a 60 foot radius which halted Raz halfway down the stairs, forcing her to fight. Kaamber was stung and paralyzed by one man-sized bee.

Theren was felled by the giant after inflicting incredible damage with his sharp-shooting bowmanship. By then, the giant had been teetering so near to the brink of collapse that he couldn’t withstand the psychic acidity of a hellish rebuke from Salbrizaar and collapsed, falling over the edge of the roof. As he died, the bees relented in their attack and buzzed back to their hive.

Quickly, Salbrizaar made sure all of the fallen were not dead. Naliyi and Raz were the only other combatants still standing. They picked over the giant’s corpse for treasure and looked closer at the large cube of stone which Salbrizaar believed to be one of the three wards their lost companion Gloucester said were barring the Sultana Marid from returning here.

After an hour, night was falling and Theren, Zyastan and Kaamber were conscious. Captain Beltroth explained how he had hunted down the giant after driving him out of his cloud castle mere weeks before in an encounter which cost the life of the original captain of the Acacia, now renamed Black Acacia. His skyboat eventually docked along the beach of the main island where the party built a bonfire. The ship had been run ragged by Captain Beltroth’s quest for revenge, with only three crewmembers remaining, besides himself.

The next day was devoted to exploring and planning. Salbrizaar was able to attune himself to the Scepter of Swarm Command and used it to pacify the giant bees in order to explore their hive, along with Theren. At the base of the massive hive they found another ward-cube like the one in the giant’s house which they spent the day dragging and shoving up to the hive’s entrance.

Salbrizaar surmised that the third ward-cube should logically be on the third island which the Roc was using to nest upon. The titanic bird was asleep, for who knows how long, so the wizard used the scepter to summon the giant bees to agitate and stir the Roc out of its sleep and into the sky so the party could get the ward-cube.

Eventually, all three cubes were dumped into the limitless deep of the Elemental Plane of Water and soon the Sultana Marid appeared, overjoyed to be home and promising rewards to the party. All but Kaamber’s crewmen took her invitation to visit her coral palace on the Plane of Water where rooms were filled with air for their benefit and merrow, merfolk and water elementals served as happy slaves of the Sultana Marid. When the adventurers talked about their next move, she told them she was sending them after the wizard Tolok who had tricked her away from here and barred her return.

The mission: seek for the wizard Tolok in the sky-city of Cascaveda. Bring him back alive. Dead is also acceptable.

Chapter 18: Sailing the Skies