But forgive me, I must introduce myself.
I am Xavier, the sorcerer, most beautiful man in creation! Who better to move the strands of The Weave?
Forgive me my conceit. And my appearance. Of my family I will not speak, but as for my race – I will satisfy your curiosity. Humans are an adaptive lot, perhaps most adaptive of all the species. We have settled everywhere in the multiverse, on every plane of existence. Including the Plane of Shadow – even there, there are enclaves. And as with the various other races of human, over time we come to adapt. Thus my skin, my hair, my admittedly stunning eyes, and most of all my fabulous beard. Yes, the dwarves pride themselves on their facial extrusions, but they go for mere volume! Can any of them match the luster? The softness? Yes of course you may feel it! Go right ahead, and tell your grandchildren the story of the day you ran your fingers through a beard the like of which you never saw again in this life!
Of course, my appearance excludes me from most company. But not all. I speak, of course, of Adventurers! Those whose profession it is to have adventures! Quite the euphemism, I assure you, but neverthless so it is, and I count myself among them. Once you Fireball a pursuing pack of giant wolves, they really don’t care where you come from. I have travelled alone and with companions for many years, and now find myself in the Illustrious company of the Heroes of Sandpoint.
How so? Well, the matter is simple. I made the error of passing through Sandpoint on the day that it was raided by an assortment of giants – a mere scouting party according to them, but dangerous. Being the man of action I am, I saved several of the townsfolk (I will not boast or inflate the tale, they were a mere dozen or so). The most serious part of the fight was dealt with by these aforementioned heroes. Having saved some myself, it was assumed that I was one of their number, and after some confusion they and I were introduced.
It seems they had information to the effect that the giants were massing up in the mountains, above the Storval Stairs. Again, modesty forbids me to say they begged me to join up with them, but they were pleased to have me and I pleased to join. I am not averse to doing good deeds for the mere sake of it, the rigours of travelling rough bother me not a bit, the finger pointing and whisperings of the common people in cities tends to grow tiresome after a bit, and there was sure to be loot and good company. And if that seems to you to not be reason enough, well – it is reason enough for me.
So, to the Storval Stairs!
The journey was uneventful, as they say. At a guess, every living thing the entire region is hiding underground to avoid being clubbed by giants, or has already been so clubbed. The stairs themselves are not, as one might suppose, a natural scarp or trail but are indeed a literal flight of stairs. Giant-sized, of course. We climbed all day and eventually came into the view of a gatehouse. We were immediately assailed by boulders, thrown and bouncing down the stairs – a sensible way to deal with intruders, in all truth.
Happily, I was able to step briefly into the etheral plane and to bring some of the fighters with me, while Vik Teleported the rest, depositing ourselves on top of the gatehouse. Our combatants charged (one of us has a permanent enlarge on him, and cuts quite the figure), and we spellcasters unleashed our various power. Mine are a ball of fire, and a cone of cold. Vik is a summonner, it seems, and Aeona – is difficult to categorise. Godkin, I think, and quite genuinely beautiful but in a weird nonsexual way and we have none of that sort of roleplaying in our group, thank you very much.
Giants began coming out of the rear of the gatehouse, and so I raised a Wall of Force to deal with boulders from that direction. And there is not much more to tell, aside from that these “Heroes of Sandpoint” do seem to live up to their reputation: cleaning up perhaps a half-dozen giants with really no difficulty at all.
We proceeded on into the mountains.
I personally prefer to ride a Phantom Steed when Shadow Walking is not feasible. It is not a spell that comes naturally to me, instead I have a most marvelous (and terribly expensive) ring into which the patterns of it are put. And where from, you may ask? Well – fancy myself something a student of the arcane, even if I do not work the weave by memorising the formulas as some do, and so I keep a book of spells. Mainly the odd and out-of-the-way sorts of things. One of the other spells in my book is one that conjures up a secure shelter from whatever comes to hand. I – foolishly, and keen to demonstrate my skill to my new companions – conjured up a shelter for us to camp in, and they – also foolishly – permitted themselves to be persuaded to sleep in it. After all, we had been untroubled all day.
Of course, the reason we were untroubled is that the entire plateau is currently being patrolled regularly by giants. We were, of course, found (giants and their pet wolves, if you must know). Worse still – one of them got away. There are other spells that permit one to safely camp in hostile territory, I simply must scribe one into my book at earliest opportunity.
Be that as it may, we are discovered. The next few days will prove to be diverting, if nothing else.