In Westbridge we bided our time before heading into the woods. Every history, every story, every rumor says one does not venture into a dragon's territory unprepared, so we spoke with nearly everyone in town who had anything to say about "Old Gnawbones" and these were the main points:
Sees herself as something of a schemer, mastermind behind the scenes
Is interested in beautiful powerful women, especially elves - it's unclear if that's because she wants to be one, or to bed one, or both. Some suggested she was looking for magic that would allow her to take other forms.
Recently bested a silver dragon over territory
Was involved in some way with the Red Crown Company - an all-female mercenary group
Uses scrying magic
Has had a number of children, including an ettin named Bonespitter
In preparation, we assembled several gifts to offer her. I acquired an old fancy dress, while Brother Flint and Joda worked together to fashion a necklace of gold and gems. It was a stunningly beautiful work of art. Flint has the heart of an artist. Mordian would be pleased with his cleric's work.
Departing Westbridge, we entered the Kryptgarden Woods... An hour later, as we made our way slowly through the woods, our only direction at this point being "deeper" the distinctive sound of a massive form landing, the snap of leathery wings, and the acrid smell rotten eggs heralded the arrival of Old Gnawbones herself. As the only speaker of Draconic, I stepped forward, bowing before her mighty presence. I didn't look behind me to see whose knees were knocking.
Before going into why we had come, I opened with our first gift, the dress and necklace. It was a gamble, and I was worried that rather than please her, it might upset her that she couldn't shift into humanoid form. It isn't easy to judge such an ancient and powerful being, but if I was forced to put words to what I saw, it would be... wistfulness.
We spoke of the giants then, and after assuring her that we would NEVER suggest she do something so base as to fight with us, but rather we were hoping that we might beg for her knowledge and experience... I was about to hand over a magical staff we'd acquired when she suggested we visit the Eye of the Allfather in the Valley of Kadroon, and to be on the lookout for a frost giant with a helm made from the skull of a white dragon.
With that she ordered us from her woods, and departed with her dress and necklace.
Returning to Westbridge we stopped in to visit Harban Dardragon's Ribald Bibelot and Souvenir Shop. Rin, wanting to make use of the ring, whispered Hairban's name into the ring, and the dead Halfling appeared before use. He was rather at peace with being... dead. And happily told us of a treasure he'd buried under the floor of a nearby tower. Harban decided to join us as we went looking for it.
The trip to the tower was uneventful, and when we arrived we noted 2 things. First, that a flock of blood hawks were circling the roof. Second, the tower was partly ruined, and from within came a sad voice singing a dirge. Turned out a hill giant was inside, and was sad that her partner had been stolen by Gua, the hill giant matriarch. At least that's what Joda told us after. He and Bran kept her distracted and talking while the rest of us dug up the treasure. Astonishingly everyone seemed rather soft hearted about the giant, and wanted to not only not kill her, but to help her...
Rin "picked" the lock for us. To be fair, the chest was pretty rotten anyway. Within we found a potion, an orb, and 6 or 7 pounds of mostly silver coins of various types. I gave my share of the coins to Hairban, since it was his uncle's treasure, but kept the drift orb for myself.
We discussed heading out directly, but decided to escort Hairban back to Westbridge first. The trip back was more eventful as we spied some giant gulls circling by the river. We chased the gulls away, and found they'd been picking at a large cocoon of some sort. Within was a diseased young noble scion of Yartar city. He'd been in contact with an aboleth, based on his condition. Thankfully both Flint and Joda had healing magics that set the young man to rights, and after dropping Hairban off in Westbridge, we continued on through Tribor, picked up a rumor of a giant slaying greatsword owned by a retired adventurer Harthos Zymorvan, now living in Silverymoon.
Arriving in Yartar, we went directly to the Rosilio Manor. The butler Kenned was officious. The Lady Desia, Artan's mother, was cold. But she offered a couple of pounds of gold for her son's return, and another 20 pounds if we can both find a family heirloom, and discover what actually happened to her son, and end the threat. Joda was remarkably hot headed, unusual for him.
Lady Desia gave us a letter of introduction for the Water-Baron Lord Dryland (what odd titles these humans take) to find out about other noble families that have lost scions. We met with him, and found there are 2 other missing; Jacob and Timmothy.
Given our needing to hobnob with some rich folks, we also ordered some finery to be made for us.
Outstanding Rumors/Plot Points
Harthos Zymorvan, retired adventurer with giant slaying greatsword in Silverymoon
Hand of Yatara - Thieves Guild
Golden Goose - Gambling boat?
Fire Giants attacked Tribor and took a rod from the center of town.
Gua - Hill Giant Matriarch - Grug-Hug Village location generally described
House Nustrio - enemy of House Rosilio
Eye of the Allfather in the Valley of Kadroon
Frost Giant w/ White Dragon Helm
When was the last time we checked in with Hilda?