The Frost Giant in the Trade District gripped Pickles around his waist, constricting him.
Before Pickles pulls his hood back to reveal his Third Eye, a familiar grip clutches his shoulders from behind and a whisper flows through his ear.
“Your blood runs black as the Touch despite my presence, Warlock. It grows darker by the day and soon I will no longer have use for you. Beware, Elfling, your dark heart gains attention in forbidden places not meant for mortal men. Continue your path, and the Old One will betray you and leave you vulnerable to those wishing to devour you from within. For now, I give you a glimpse of your future path.”
The shade speaks, suddenly transforming Pickles into the Lich-like creature he once became after stepping through the Nicodemus', the alchemist's, laboratory. The sight causes the giant to drop the Warlock then falls to the ground in agonizing pain, his blood vessels turning black and pulsating before bursting from his skin.
Zaburk and Pickles look for a retreat and are met with a dwarf looking as a blacksmith, begging for their assistance.
“Them giants gone crazy on us all! I’ll be dead if I don’t find a way outta here. Please! Ya gotta save meh!”
They notice a large stack of box crates against one wall and push several out of the way to find a small heat vent on the base of the wall. They crawl through and down a vertical tube into a huge cavern half covered by a lava lake. An obsidian bridge connects two small bodies of land masses: one containing huge double doors of iron and one containing a cave blocked by 6" iron rods.
Cedric is ordered to lift one of the rods, but when he tilts the upper end, a rod of 30 feet in length, the weight counterbalances the light mannequin, sending him like a catapult into the ceiling above. He breaks apart in each limb and falls lifelessly to the ground.
Inside the cave is a goat chained to the ground, and they are attacked by a red wyrmling above who blasts Pickles with its fire breath. They all attack through their ranged abilities, but the wyrmling isn't quite the match for the duo. Pickles cuts the dragon open and finds a potion of climbing inside.
A Fire Giant emerges from the double doors, and everyone takes cover to hide. The giant becomes enraged and returns to the fortress to get the others. Meanwhile the duo makes their escape the way they came, narrowly escaping the grip of a Fire Giant as it reaches up the vertical tube.
Back in the Trade District, they witness the sight of the massacre. No one is alive, and no body is whole, including the faces. Hundreds of bodies are slaughtered mercilessly, but there is no sign of the Frost Giants. Roy the blacksmith mourns his dead parents who he mentions are foster. Although they sift through the debris, they only find a peculiar black iron suit of platemail that gives off an interesting and odd aura to Pickles. They choose to leave it and wish to seek an alchemist in hopes of hiring one for their ship.
Unfortunately the only avenue that Roy knows of is blocked by two Frost Giants that prove impossible to distract or get around. They decide to leave Nanook City as most of the town appears to be completely killed.
The front door to the city is guarded by what looks like an adult white dragon, but the scales appear juvenile. They decide to take an easier alternative through the sewers, which takes them below the bridge just inside the front doors of the city where the dragon rests.
Pickles casts Fly and begins carrying Zaburk across only for the Half-Orc to hear the dragon speak to him. Zaburk tries to charm him with praise, but Pickles eventually enrages him by trickery of a fake spell that sends the dragon running into the city.
They escape on the Rising Sun and leave Valashra beyond, setting a course for Raven's Hollow for unfinished business.
With scroll in hand that he got from the Warlock Enclave, he eliminates the strange ritual symbol that matched Nub Sumat's robes. Before they can destroy the nest, the alpha male griffin attacks Zaburk in hatred. It calls for his mate and she brings their offspring to engage in combat.
The Alpha kills Zaburk's dog, Cujo, and its offspring lands a blow to Zaburk that takes him down as well. One on one with Pickles and the mate, they trade blows and shots back and forth until the griffin falls to her death.
Stabilizing himself, Zaburk lives to see another day, and they finish destroying the nest, allowing the water to flow back towards the village once again.
They break for camp for a much needed long rest.