After defeating the shadow at Grommel Keep and stopping to resupply with Lieutenent Rathar, the heroes set out for Stonewatch. The letter written by Captain Arganis had suggested the fortress was in dire straights and the heroes had decided to travel all night to get there in time.
To their dismay, the keep was already under attack by a group of wild men led by a Frost Giant. The Dwarves of Stonewatch were holding their own, but the giant’s forces outnumbered them and they were slowly being driven towards the Grey Deep.
Fortunately, the heroes timely arrival took the wild men completely by surprise and after Tandros Kreel and Rhogar dragonspine cut their numbers in half, the beserkers fled back into the hills of Morh, leaving the Frost Giant wounded and alone.
One of the dwarves offered the Giant a chance to surrender and the brute, seeing itself clearly outnumbered, surrendered.
However, despite the heroes’ assistance, the men of the Frontier Watch eyed them wearily and the lead dwarf demanded they lay down their weapons and explain what heavily armed strangers like themselves are doing in this part of the world. After showing him the letter and Lt. Rathar’s sigil, he begrudgingly introduced himself as Captain Fritz Arganis, took them to the ancient keep of Stonewatch.
Once inside, Captain Arganis explained that after decades of infighting and ineffective raids, the Fire Giants of the Hellsforge clans had allied themselves with the Frost Giant of Morh. Some dark force had brought the two together and turned there fury on the people of the north. The dwarves standing in front of them were all that remained of the brave men and women of the Frontier Watch.
The captain said that he hopes to get more information out of the captured giant, but he believes that without backup from the Silven Glade, the rest of the north will fall to the beasts. He tells the heroes that supplies are too limited to share; they’ve got to hang on to all the Silven weapons they’ve got, since they’re the only thing that can hurt the beasts.
Seeing that their help is unwanted, the heroes turn to leave. As they do, one of the other dwarfs, Harsk, approached the heroes and tells them that leaving the Frost Giant alive is making the rest of the men mutinous. He suggests that the best thing the heroes could do would be to get rid of the Giant.
The heroes ponder his words and set out to explore the rest of the area. They come across another band of wild men and manage to defeat them, despite a cleverly staged ambush. They discover the broken pieces of a rune and decide to collect them for further study.
As the heroes explore the snowy hills of Morh, they stumble upon a magically warded chest. Attempts to open it fail, as the chest lashes out at the heroes dealing damage, and summons a mighty Ice Elemental. The fire from the mystic combined with the steel of Rhogar and Tandros manage to fell the beast, but the contents of the chest remain beyond their reach.
The heroes return to the keep and discover the blacksmith is overjoyed that they recovered the lost Rune of Rannveig. He promises to repair it and will let the heroes know if its magic still works.
Meanwhile, Harsk approaches the heroes again and asks them to get rid of the giant problem before the men do something stupid. Recognizing his plight, the heroes trick the guard in to letting them question the prisoner.
To their surprise, the Frost Giant seems almost melancholy and does not respond to their threats of violence. It tells the “little people” that the “true people” are coming soon and offers them a trade – if they can retrieve an item from its chest, it will give them 3 gifts.
The heroes eagerly agree and back at the chest find an enchanted rune that allows its user to walk on water. The heroes realize the Frost Giant means to escape its prisoner via the sea and debate whether to inform the Captain.
The heroes approach the Frost Giant with a colorful tale of their deceased comrade, but the beast sees right through their ruse. It threatens to takes its information to a watery grave unless the heroes act “true”. The heroes relent and hand over the rune. The giant then keeps its promise and gives the heroes their gifts. One is a rune to give the heroes giant strength. Another is information about the “Young Great One” who uses strong magic and makes promises to the “true people”. The last is a warning that this “Young Great One” has given the giants magic to use against Stonewatch. It finishes by warning the heroes that dark things are coming from beyond the Grey Deep and that the little people may not survive its return…
The heroes make the giant promise to wait until the cover of darkness to make its escape and then inform the captain about what the giant said. The captain dismisses the claim about “Great Ones” saying the term refers to the long-banished dragons. He also wonders if one of the Giants hasn’t just gotten a hold of an extra powerful bit of magic and was using it to impress the others into making peace.
Either way, he argues the important part is that the Giants are coming and thanks to the heroes’ efforts, they now have advance warning. He grants them the next Prestige Level and provides them with Silven weapons for the eventual assault.
However, the heroes have another plan in mind and tell the captain that they intend to strike the Hellsforge clans first and disrupt the Giants assault before they’re ready. The captain says its suicide and jokes that the heroes would need a ridiculously powerful artifact to survive the choking ash of the tunnels. To his surprise, the blacksmith points out that the heroes have the Protective Rune of Kelda, gifted to mortals by the Ancient Kyrie Healer. The magic of the rune should protect them in the Hellsforge, at least long enough to disrupt the Giant’s plan.
The heroes agree to let him activate it, astonished that the random artifact they collected months ago from the caverns beneath Rookwood is astonishingly rare and powerful. Wishing the heroes luck, the Frontier Watch sends them on their way, telling them they’ll be sure to prepare Stonewatch’s defenses in case the heroes fail.
Armed with new weapons, new abilities, and new magic, the heroes delve into the volcanic tunnels of the Hellsforge. They battle fiery elementals, molten rock beasts, bloodthirsty monsters, and battle-crazed giants, and finally work their way to the place where the magic is deepest and darkest.
At the heart of the cavern, a mad cultist performed a dark ritual and opened a small hole in the world. A shadow swallows him up whole and out from the twisting nether came the Archdemon Taelord. The foul creature raised its voice high and summoned three fire demons. Beasts attack with reckless abandon and the heroes soon found themselves fighting for their lives against forces beyond understanding.
The fire of chaos swirled about the horrible creatures, each blow weakening the already weary heroes. The magic of the Rune of Kelda began to wane in the presence of such evil and it seemed only a matter of time before the heroes fell.
But, a lucky strike by Brandis Skyhunter killed two of the demons in one blow and the mystic managed to shatter the other with a curse. Enraged, Taelord flew to another perch and attempted to cast down the heroes with a dark spell. However, the battle-hardened team of Tandros and Rhogar struck first, and with two carefully coordinated attacks, cut off the demon’s spell arm and skewered it into the molten lava.
The silven blades bore deep into the heart of the demon and with a final shriek it exploded into ash. With a shudder, the darkness inside the Hellsforge was lifted and the heroes watched as the remnants of the Giant’s army fled deep into the twisting caverns beneath the Coastal Ridge. For now at least, the grey keep and the lands it protected were safe…