The adventure begins again in the great stone trough with Quin insisting that something isn't right about the construction. The party is weak and wounded from their last battle and know that more punishment is coming. They know they need respite. Still, Budokai looks to his faithful squire, the boy Jarvis, and informs him that his period of apprenticeship is over. Jarvis takes a knee before the old master knight who lays his sword upon each of the boy's shoulders in turn.
"Rise, Jarvis, before the almighty God above and all these assembled. Do battle with your enemies, and conduct yourself in all ways, in the manner of a gentleman. By the right of my sword and upon the risk of pain to my own reputation, I call thee Sir Jarvis the Bold."
There is hardly a dry eye between Mai and the Girl Aria, as Jarvis is given the armor of the fallen priest, Fr. Caeli. It is a gift of the deceased's spiritual master, Patrick. From Budokai, Jarvis gains his first sword. Once a boy, now a man, Jarvis stands saying, "I, Sir Jarvis the Bold, rise a gentleman by the decree of my betters and I swear that I take this obligation freely, to fight and to live, as befits my station."
Then, though the party was desperately looking to gain distance from the Jarl's compound, they begin poking around the stonework trough. Finally, clambering over the walled side, Mai makes a discovery of a ventilation like opening every hundred feet or so on the Southern face. Fr. Patrick uses his stone shaping faculty to craft a door in the side of the construct. Soon the party is below their former path and hidden from view.
The passage here is dark and covered with a thick layer of soot, as are the interior walls and the ceiling. The smell of burnt cinder and baked rock permeates everything. In the very center of the rough hewn passage is a smooth gutter of sorts. The party spends some time deliberating over what they find and then, incredibly, decides to head back toward the Jarl's redoubt.
When they estimate that they are within a few hundred feet of the keep, they come across two iron doors set in the ceiling and a long ramp leading up. Here, they hole up and intend to rest for a day and a night. They are certain of their safety, but post guards. Fr. Patrick is deep in his devotions. Mai withdraws to a lonely place to take up mana from her surroundings.
Soon the party hears a distant sound of scraping, and after several minutes, a faint chant and chorus. Way off in the distance, coming toward them, a fiery pinpoint of light flickers ever larger. The party decides to lay an ambuscade for whatever approaches, while Budokai watches the iron doors carefully.
The sound proves to be a curious two-wheeled cart and basin. An unearthly fire glows within. The cart is pushed along by several Fire Giants who are singing in Graetish. They are obviously on their way to the Frost Giant's fortress. As the Fire Giants pass the ambush point they suddenly stop and look around. The trap is sprung to some limited effect, but what is lost in surprise is gained in ferocity by the adventurers. Before long, ten Fire Giants are dead. Their leader's armor and flaming sword are taken by the party as spoils.
Using magical rocks provided by Mai, the party obscures the dead bodies of the giants and their fiery basin with an enchantment of darkness. Then moving farther away from the iron doors, they resume resting in order to regain their strength and tend to their many wounds, both fresh and old.
Several hours later, their rest is interrupted by the sound of a great knocking. Soot and ash fall from the ceiling as block and mortar begin to fall in on the tunnel. The party tries to sprint past the intended entry point, but once again Mai is unable to move quickly enough. A hole is broken in the ceiling and the warm soot filled tunnel is filled with falling snow and blowing wind. Slowly the hole is widened as the Frost Giants above continue battering their way in.
In order to draw them in, Quin steps into view and motions for the giants to approach. Instead, they reply with hurled balls of ice. Quin handily deflects them with his magical sword, much to the amazement of his fellows and the Frost Giants alike. Still, the massive foes will not enter the cramped passage and provide taunts of their own in Graetish, which Mai dutifully translates.
Once again, Quin steps into the giants' view and motions. Again, the balls of ice are thrown. Now, in addition to driving wind and snow, hail begins to hammer through the gaping hole in the ceiling. Quin is buffeted roundly before Mai lobs a fireball into the enemies' midst.
Meanwhile Budokai rushes back toward the iron doors knowing that the party's magical darkness obscures any attack from their rear. He finds the iron doors flung wide, the strange cart and laver are gone. He calls out to his distracted fellows and then using his amazing jumping ability leaps up out of the passage and into the main courtyard of the Frost Giant Jarl's keep. His fellows come following swiftly behind.
In the courtyard, Budokai sees the vehicle being pushed toward the manor by two captive Stone Giants. Four Frost Giants, dressed for battle, lie in wait. A host of enslaved Dwarves stand witness. Angrath, the Frost Giant Jarl, flanked by Winter Wolves, festooned with a mighty breastplate and armed with his bitter cold blue axe sneers. Unbeknownst to him, two Gnome apprentices of the Frost Giant Shaman are hidden and ready to cast their magical mayhem.
The battle is joined!
Budokai and his companions fight valiantly. Fr. Patrick calls strokes of lightning from the Mace of Valoren. Beleg hurls his axe and recalls it only to hurl again. Sabretooth, magically enlarged and wearing the armor of the fallen Fire Giant Lord, also swings that foe's fiery blade. Quin wields the dweomered steel of Miyamoto. Tireo Redshirt and the new knight Jarvis run into the fray with more courage than might. And behind all, Mai supports her companions with magical fury.
Several of the party are wounded and some are forced to retreat back into the tunnel, others are beaten senseless. The hired man, Tireo Redshirt is slain. But despite this, one by one, the four Frost Giant's fall. The Winter Wolves are burned alive. The apprentice Gnomes of the Shaman are killed. Even the Frost Giant himself is slowly, but decisively bested. And when evil is reinforced from those still outside the keep, they too eventually join the slain. An eerie calm descends on the courtyard.
Only the Stone Giants remain. They bow low before the party and swear to serve them if they will be spared. They, along with the Dwarven crowds (now cheering) are questioned about the manor house and confess their ignorance. Despite the jubilance around them the party feels uneasy.
A Frost Giant Shaman is unaccounted for.
*edit deleted "when"
*edit deleled "before"