Sheriff Hemlock and Mayor Deverin confer briefly, and the mayor defers to the Sheriff. Belor explains his plans, tentative as they are, to the heroes.
Belor will call up the entire town militia, both to supplement the limited town watch, and to serve as a bucket-brigade as needed. He will station three of the militia and two guards at each of the entries to the town: the north gate, Tanner Bridge, and the South Bridge. That will allow him to have all three entrances watched by a full group of guards day and night.
He and the mayor will go to speak with the priests at the Sandpoint Cathedral immediately. The influence of the town’s religious leaders will help sway the townsfolk, and the healing powers of the clergy may also be necessary. In addition, the town watch will signal any giant sightings with short blasts of their whistles, but the mayor intends for the cathedral bells to be used as an alarm for the entire town. Zendo suggests a series of whistles, and bells, which can be used to signal not only the attack, but the location of the attack, and the suggestion is adopted.
Kendra Deverin agrees that the Sandpoint Glassworks catacombs would be the most promising shelter for the townsfolk. The Glassworks is mostly stone, and thus, resistant to both damage and fire, and the large catacombs underneath it would be able to house more residents than the Garrison or Town Hall. Not only do the catacombs provide a secondary exit, but the Glassworks is also at the very edge of town, farthest from any of the town’s entry points, meaning that no matter from what direction a raid may emerge, the townsfolk can flee away from the encroaching giants. Zendo suggests that the Glassworks should be ‘shut down’ early, if possible, to allow the furnaces within to cool so that fleeing villagers do not have to file through a bustling factory. Belor glumly assures them that is not a concern with the Glassworks at present.
Based on the intelligence from the Lost Coast Avengers, the giants are raiding Sandpoint for some reason, rather than invading. For this reason, Belor says that his men, and the militia, will be instructed to fight as a rearguard, to allow villagers to retreat, rather than actively manning the gates or streets to repel intruders. If the giants were seeking to invade or raze the town, the sheriff would, reluctantly, put his forces in harms way to defend it, but it seems more astute to allow, so much as possible, the giants to roam if it minimizes casualties.
Mayor Deverin indicates that she will call a town meeting for the next day, to inform Sandpoint of their peril, but asks the men to ‘keep mum’ about the threat for the evening, so that panic does not arise before Belor can quietly activate the militia and summon the guards. Belor cautions them to speak very little about the matter to anyone, given the gossipy nature of the Sandpoint locals.
The men leave the town hall and go to speak to Vesnutt Parooh, in the hopes that the gnomish mapmaker may be able to give them some information about ‘Jorgenfist’. Sadly, he hasn’t heard of any such place, and the heroes are reluctant to tell Parooh much about their inquiries, in the fear that the gnome shares the other Sandpointer’s loose tongues. They know that Stone giants normally live in relatively isolated areas of hte Storval Plateau, however, so they do admit that they have been near the Storval Deep, and that ‘Jorgenfist’ might be somewhere on the Storval Plateau. Vesnutt still can’t recall any city, citadel, or fort by that name, but asks them about the spectactular dam said to be stopping the Storval Deep. He also inquires about the Storval Stair, an ancient stone stairway providing one of the few routes over the steep Storval Plateau rise.
Taking their leave of the inquisitive gnome, the heroes go their separate ways, Zendo calling upon Rynshinn Povalli at her home above Vernah’s Fine Clothing, and Gellius visiting Boudra Fullona at her parent’s riverfront home, while Corvus and Hikage go on their own errands. The men are careful not to let slip any hints of the dangers facing Sandpoint, despite Boudra’s persistent questions, but take every opportunity to urge the Sandpointers they visit to attend tomorrow’s town meeting (as most such sessions, evidently, are rather mundane and poorly attended).
On the morning of the 5th, Gellius and Corvus both begin to prepare scrolls that might be needed during the potential raid, while Hikage arises early to restlessly patrol the streets of town. Zendo regales the patrons of the Rusty Dragon with tales of their exploits, but reins in his urge to warn them, only encouraging the villagers to attend today’s town meeting.
At the town meeting later that day, many of the residents are in attendance, and are very curious. The mayor calls for attention, and announces that the recently returned Heroes of Sandpoint have brought back with them a grave warning: Sandpoint is the target of a raid by giants, and a dragon! Though this alarms the villagers, it also captures their attention, and Kendra quickly hands over the meeting to Belor Hemlock.
Belor reviews the plans which he had outlined to the heroes the night before to the townsfolk. He announces that, since the information on the raid is vague, Sandpoint will not cancel the Winter Week festivities, nor will the revelry planned for Ascension Day be postponed. Though the news is grave, to be sure, it makes no sense for Sandpoint to close their doors to returning visitors, nor to refuse their coin, at this point. Business might suffer as word of the raid spreads, but closing down shops and inns in advance of the raid could do even more damage.
Titus Scarnetti, son of one of the founding nobles, stands and questions the mayor, who defeated him in a previous election, Zendo remembers. He demands to know the substance and source of the information about this ‘giant raid’ and is frankly skeptical when Zendo produces a mammoth hide with a missive inscribed in Giant runes. Corvus translates the runes for the assembled villagers. Though Titus acknowledges the heroism of the men in driving off the goblins from Sandpoint, and in rescuing Ameiko from her villainous brother, he feels the raid is little more than an unfounded rumor, and more likely to harm the town’s businesses through panic than any real threat.Zendo deftly agrees that all of Sandpoint hopes the raid turns out to be little more than a rumor, and suggests that, despite that, cautious preparations should be made, trying to defuse a situation with the obstinate nobleman. Scarnetti cantankerously disagrees and suggests that ‘proper’ preparation would consist of constructing barricades at the bridges to Sandpoint, and bolstering the milita to repel intruders from the town, rather than planning to spinelessly retreat and hide, giving raiders freedom to roam the town. He suggests that the reluctance of the mayor and sheriff to spend town monies on proper defense might indicate that neither of them truly believes these warnings of a raid, and that they are merely making ‘motions’ of preparing the town while hoarding the townsfolk’s hard-earned taxes for some other purpose, while allowing the merchants of Sandpoint to suffer for their fecklessness.
Zendo realizes that Titus’ arguments are aimed more at weakening the positions of Mayor Deverin and Sheriff Hemlock than at any principled objection to the plans, and suggests that the head of the Sandpoint Mercantile League, Jasper Korvaski, be consulted for his opinion. This is a risky move on the bard’s part, as, though the animosity between the Scarnetti’s and Korvaski is well-known, the retired paladin is scrupulously honest, and, as a servant of Abadar, Jasper may be more inclined than others to counsel a stout defense of the town.
The solidly-built manager stands up and addresses the room as a whole, rather than his antagonist, TItus. “I would agree with the noble lord Scarnetti that the town must primarily muster its defenses,” begins Jasper, “if we were threatened by an attacking force, giants or no. Indeed, I would gladly stand beside these men and man the barricades myself, despite my time away from the field of battle.” He continues, “However, any and all information we have indicates that any supposed raid is entirely for the purpose of seeking some objective. In that case, it is foolish to sacrifice the lives of our townsfolk, and the sweat of their brow, needlessly. I support the mayor’s plan to evacuate to the Sandpoint Glassworks, depending on our watch and militia, and these brave men, to respond to any emergencies which arise.”
Scowling, Titus Scarnetti returns to his seat, having been grudgingly outmaneuvered.
Zendo requests to address the assembled townsfolk, and the mayor agrees. The half-elven bard asks the people of Sandpoint for any information that they may have on a site known as ‘Jorgenfist’. He requests that any resident who has information about Jorgenfist please meet with him after the assembly. Jubrayl Vhiski shouts out, to the gathering, “Are these giants stirred up because of something you and your compatriots have done? Are you planning on finding this Jorgenfist and angering these giants?” Zendo assures his old friend Jubrayl that he would do nothing of the sort, but Jubrayl seems unconvinced.
The men spend the rest of 6 Kuthona making preparations in town, and speaking to concerned locals. Brodert Quink professes ignorance of any Varisian site known as Jorgenfist, though he does agree with the heroes that any likely Stone Giant dwellings would be in the remote areas of the vast Storval Plateau, home to the nomadic Shoanti barbarians, and several Thassilonian ruins such as the Storval Stair. Zendo speaks to Father Zantus about the seven standing stones of the Varisians preserved within the courtyard of the cathedral. Abstalar says that they are much older than Sandpoint itself, and a focal point of Desna worship for the wandering Varisians for much longer than the Chelaxian Empire has stood. Zendo worries that the giants are coming for those stones, but Father Zantus urges him, and the others, to defend them if possible. The stones are almost certainly non-magical, but beyond their spiritual significance to the Varisians, the preservation of this sacred site stands as a symbol of a compact of peace between the nomadic Varisians and the Chelish immigrants who conquered and settled the land.
Zendo is still very curious about the seven stones, especially as they echo the seven points of the Sihedron rune, and he seeks out Madame Mvashti in hopes of learning more about them. The ancient harrower greets Zendo in Varisian, and tells the inquisitive bard that the ‘seven sisters’, as she calls them affectionately, represent the seven towers of Desna’s palace in the afterlife, and, due to their number, are often associated in sermons by Father Zantus with the seven virtues. However, she does tell Zendo that the significance of seven is not a widespread aspect of Desnan worship, but rather, significance assigned to the seven stones by Varisians ages ago. It is not the case that every church to Desna has seven standing stones, but that the seven standing stones here, at what became Sandpoint, were remarked upon by early Varisians as an earthly reminder of Desna’s palace.
On the morning of the 7th, the men spend some time making preparations in the town, before Corvus intends to teleport back to Turtleback Ferry to retrieve Ragnar and Shalelu. Hikage expresses concerns about his vow to Myriana to return the remains of Lamatar Bayden to her, but, ultimately, it is decided that the peril of Sandpoint is too grave and immediate for the monk, and any of the heroes, to journey back into the cold, wet marshes of Whitewillow right now. After the raid has been averted, hopefully, then Hikage can fulfill his obligations.
Corvus and Zendo magically transport back to the small village of Turtleback Ferry, to the surprise and astonishment of the folk in the small town square. Seeing that Ragnar and Shalelu have not yet returned on horseback, the wizard and bard call upon Maelin Shreed at the temple of Erastil, and give the town mayor the good news that the Ogres of Hook Mountain have been dealt a dolorous stroke which will take years in recovery. The weather-beaten priest talks to the two at length about their encounters with the ogres and their Stone Giant overseer, and seems pleased, and satisfied, with the resolution of this grave calamity. Corvus shares with the mayor the list of names taken from Lucretia, and, while waiting in the town’s small tavern for the tall Ulfen and the rangy elf maiden to return, he diligently copies the list for the mayor, in the hopes that those named might be convinced to have their ‘lucky star’ tattoos removed, magically, or otherwise, for their own protection.
Around evening, Corvus and Zendo hear the clatter of hooves, and arise from the dinner table to see Ragnar and Shalelu stabling the horses at the nearby inn. Before the two can even have a warm meal, Corvus transports them all back to the Rusty Dragon. Ameiko greets Shalelu with a warm hug, which is returned with some embarrassment by the elf. Over a trencher of meat and potatoes, Ragnar is quickly brought up to speed by the men on the defense of the town. Zendo entrusts him with the Shocking burst arrows from the Black Arrows, and the Ulfen presses the others about their mobility. He feels the ability of the Avengers to respond to threats promptly will be the greatest challenge, rather than the strength of their opposition.
Early the next morning, Hikage rises at dawn, and prepares to patrol the town, as he has done each day. Gellius has already arisen, as it is his duty as a druid of Gozreh to greet the sun each day in order to regain his spells. The others arise more slowly, but all of the heroes are up and about when Corvus, beginning to study his spellbooks, hears the dull crack of stone on stone in the distance. He alerts his companions in the Rusty Dragon, save Hikage, who is somewhere on the streets of Sandpoint, and they rush out of the inn to try to discover the source of the noise. As Zendo hears whistles sounding to the north, Gellius casts a spell high over the town, allowing him to look over Sandpoint from the perspective of a circling raptor. The druid sees three tall, lanky Stone Giants standing on the outside of the north gate, hurling stones at the structure and laughing to themselves. Corvus, though unable to prepare any new spells, utilizes some of those he had prepared the day before, and quickly tranports all four men as far as he is able, magically depositing them on the flagstones in front of the Sandpoint Cathedral just as the bells inside the tower begin to peal in alarm.