This saga recounts the burning of the Steading and the two forays into the Mountain Giant fortress, the second ending with the slaying of the Mountain Giant King by Gram Broad-shoulder.
The Viking’s rage-fueled fury prevented the words from sinking in… “These are not Giants…” As they gathered themselves the uttered verbiage of the womenfolk began to take effect… “True Giants… live in the mountain… They stand taller than a longhouse… Can kill a man in a single strike…” The pause was brief. Aki, Egil and Finn each grabbed a woman and followed Gram and the rest into the next hall.
Blazing spits, boiling pots and tables of meats and breads caught their senses as they scrambled into the Hill Giant kitchen. Half a dozen giantesses at work, adding chunks of this, that and the other into the stew… Ogres moving about and Orc slaves carrying the brunt of yells and punches… The Norsemen entered, cleaving their way about the mess leaving only a scattered handful of Orcs and three giantesses to escape. Down the long hall they fled, with the Norsemen swinging steel behind them, cutting down any Orc that fell over another in attempt to exit the slaughter filled hall.
The Giantesses and Orc slaves fled into the kennel yards, and all but a few caught the hungry jaws of the wolves. The giantesses opened the tall wooden gates and fled into the country side, wolves and surviving Orcs dashing for their lives. From the Kennel post, the Wolf Master emerged, a hill giant with a whip in his hand. Egil and Finn gave him the brother’s death greeting – sword and axe.
The Hall was theirs and the Vikings ransacked the rest of the rooms. They found nothing to loot save for a special find on the wall of the largest sleeping chamber. Desperate for more light Hrolf reached for a torch in a wall scone, and what was illusion reveled itself as a two-handed sword of the finest quality the Vikings had seen. Unknown to Hrolf, this blade was the fabled “Foehelm, the giant killer,". And the blade knew that one was near who could match its will and it let the young Viking take it for his weapon – for now.
Gram ordered the Vikings on and the womenfolk led them to the mountain by a straight path worn by the tireless trampling of giant feet. That path led straight up to a fifty foot tall crack in the rock, bounded on both sides by two slopes—certain death for anyone caught between them should giants begin hurling rocks. Aki and Ketil stepped forward to solve this dilemma.
Each warrior was an expert at stealth and the art of quickly dispatching a foe. But none could match the ease with which Ketil could slay an adversary. But these were giants, and each fought a pair at the top of the hills. Ketil was quick, slaying one of these Mountain Giants out right and severely wounding the other. Aki had the luck of the fool about him, and the Giants were ready for him. Two powerful blows of their clubs nearly slew the sklad. Hrolf threw another of the lightning javelins, while Egil and Finn finished off the pair. Ketil was knocked almost to his death as well, but the arrows of Gram and spear of Knut saved the half-orc’s life. The valkyries slew the last two giants. With two of their numbers nearly dead, the Norseman turned and headed for the safety of their hidden camp.
That night they rested while Knut healed what wounds he could and called out to The Norns for answers. The youngest of them gave the answer Knut had asked for. There was an item that would be helpful to the party somewhere in the giant hall. As they rested into the night, Gram and Finn on first watch could smell the smoldering of wood, and stepping outside, looking into the dark, a blazing fire could be seen in the distance. It was the exact spot of the Hall and the Giants sounded their great terrifying horns until the light of dawn. The end of the steading of the Hill Giants.
THE SAGA OF AKI
In the early hours of the sun Aki, unknown to most of his kinsmen, a shape-changer, took the form of a bear and explored the smoldering ruins of the hall. He found proof enough it was the work of the giants, then assuming human form he called upon the powers of Bragi and Odhinn and located an unharmed large shield the size of a kite. The runic lore upon the shield identified it as Wurmbite. Aki slung this magic item over his back and hiked toward the mountain. He befriended an owl that aided the skald in searching the mountain base. His search for another entrance was in vain, but he discovered fresh giant tracks, perhaps a dozen, trailing off in the direction of the camp. With the owl behind him Aki ran to warn his party.
The rest of the Vikings gathered outside the cave while Knut communed with The Norns again. They appeared as geese, flocking near a well with a giant tree root dipped into it. They seemed to pay little heed to Knut’s questions then a flying rock struck the priest from the perimeter of the camp. The Vikings grabbed their weapons as the giant who tossed the rock charged forth, a club the size of a tree in its free hand. But the giant ambusher fell quickly to Aki who had surprised the giant and plunged his long sword into his back. “They’re coming,” warned the skald.
The Vikings, womenfolk and Valkyries moved into the woods, working as a unit, and ambushed each giant one by one. In this fashion a single giant was no match for a united party. Ten giants in all they killed that day before the sun was mid way over the sky.
THE RAID ON THE MOUNTAIN KING
Unknown to the Norseman, most of the Mountain Giants were now dead. They assailed the mountain entrance without challenge and raided every mountain chamber slaying what few giants remained, including a horrid hunchback with a pet carnivorous ape. They slaughtered a small unit of Bugbears, and opened the slave pins. Here Hrolf found Slinor and she pledged loyalty to him and the Vikings for one year. They raided deeper into the mountain, finding Stone Giant builders who surrendered to their cause, and Aki discovered a group of dwarves at the thrall of two Fire Giants. These the Vikings slew and one of the dwarves, Kerndrol offered to assist the party with their quest. Lastly the slaves chambers were found of Orc and Human alike, many the Viking’s kin. They learned here that the giants had recently turned against their King and buried him in the mountain. He had apparently gone insane with his experiments – converting humans into hill giants. Yes. Those very Hill Giants the party slew were mostly their own kinsmen! As this horror hit them, the berserks among them, Hrolf, Gram, Egil and Finn ordered the blocked passage unsealed and charged in for the King. All they could hear was his echoing laughter as they charged into his chamber. Standing before his throne the Mountain Giant King called arcs of lightning down upon the Vikings, the Valkyries were incinerated, and had not the berserk rage been with them, most of the Vikings would have met their death. They were upon him, Gram spearing the white bearded giant-king through the throat, and he fell, nearly crushing Knut. They were still all in rage as they begin to feel the rock walls starting to tremble….
End session three. Link to session four.