Age of Worms

The Ettin's Riddle

Along the way to Newkeep, the heroes come across a tavern where they decided to relax for a bit. After being int he tavern for some time and buying some drinks they meet Davlymin Glorygem a strong dwarven fighter and his half-dragon Rogue adventuring partner. The two partys decided to join forces.

After a few days journey through swamps and jungles the heroes have finally made their way to Newkeep. The heroes catch their first glance of the small peaceful hamlet. In front of them is a field filled with wheat, barley and cows. The hamlet is made up of about forty small buildings. Suddenly, the heroes realize that something is amiss. A two headed giant comes into view. It is holding a tree trunk in it’s hand and smashing buildings with it. The giant gives out a loud bellow and strikes at something on the ground. It picks up a cow and stomps off into the forest. The heroes rush towards the hamlet and when they arrive they start to approach people asking if they need help. Their efforts are ignored as the people are far to busy with the cleanup. Some of the villagers are taking it in stride though. A few man start chopping wood from demolished buildings for fire, and some children play in a pool of water inside one of the giant’s footsteps. They find a militiaman that tells them he’s too busy at the moment to explain what’s happening but he says that they should look for Hannah, Restik, or Malwick. They find the town cleric, Restik, healing some injured people and ask him what’s happening. He explains that about five weeks ago, a hunter that was passing through saw a giant crossing through the wheat field north of town, in the middle of the night. The townspeople set up watches but they didn’t see any signs of a giant. And then three weeks ago, a few villagers saw it just before dawn. Malwick‘s father was able to get a few arrows in it but this just angered and it killed him and four other men. Then it ran off. Since then it comes back every day. It storms into town and starts chasing cattle, crushing homes, sometimes with families still inside, in the process. If they try to attack it it just kills more of them while they are barely even able to hurt it. Also, it comes out at night but it doesn’t destroy anything at night. At first the villagers thought it was even a different giant because of how different it was acting. Villagers have seen it almost acting stealthily and sneaking around. But they know it’s the same giant because someone saw the marks on it from the arrows. At this point, a man walks up to the heroes and introduces himself as Malwick. Malwick, as the leader of the volunteer militia, asks the heroes for their help in getting rid of the giant. The heroes agree and he thanks them. Hannah, a woman who owns the local tavern, offers the heroes free rooms and free meals until the problem is solved.

The heroes decide to gather some information before charging off to kill a giant. Restik says that there is something he thinks they should see. He brings them to his temple and shows them something strange. Along the outside of one of the walls of the temple is some writing that was painted onto the wall. It reads,
“Two heads have we, but born with one.
We have avenged, healed and protected.
Our Master was Invincible.
But punished we, all who objected.
Heeded we, the six-armed king.
And so by our God were rejected.
Thus, this is our fate:
One head, twice bisected.”
__

Restik explains that some of the villagers in town have been coming to the message everyday and praying because they think it is a sign from their God. Restik is certain that this is not a sign from Heironeous. He says the paint and paintbrush was stolen from a farm in town. He says he thinks that it looks like someone was trying to figure out a riddle, and wrote it out so they could keep it straight. The heroes ask Restik what he think the answer to the riddle is and he replies, “The Ettin. But that’s crazy. Ettin’s are mindless monsters. They certainly can’t read or write, let alone solve riddles.” The heroes ask what an Ettin is and Restik explains that the two-headed giant they saw is called an Ettin.

The heroes also speak to Malwick who, still furious about his father’s death, says that if the heroes don’t kill the Ettin than he will. They ask if he knows anything else that might help them and he says the local farmer’s son Joldan was able to track the Ettin all the way up to the road to Oldkeep but he lost the trail there. Malwick explains that he suspects that the Ettin might be hiding in Oldkeep and he mentions something under his breath about a man named Stondylus. But he will not speak on the matter further. The heroes decide to try to set a trap for the Ettin. That night they tie their ropes together and secure the end to two houses, making a tripwire. They all hide in nearby houses and sit by the windows and wait. Sure enough the Ettin emerges from the forest and, just like the villagers said, it is acting stealthily. It circles the entire village once all the way around looking around. It avoids the trap that the heroes set completely and heads to the painting on the wall of the temple. The heroes are surprised at what they are seeing when the Ettin kneels down and starts praying in front of the riddle painted on the wall. They can see that the Ettin’s left head apppears to be asleep while the right head is in control of the body. The heroes, assuming that this Ettin is somehow more intelligent than most of it’s kin, decided to approach the Ettin and try to speak with it. As they get closer to it, it stops praying and gets noticeably nervous. The heroes call out to it in Common, saying that they mean it no harm they just want to talk. Surprisingly the Ettin replies to them and accepts the invitation to speak. The Ettin explains it’s story,

I was once a man, like yourselves, but the magic
of the wizard Stondylus has trapped me in this
form. Now, Muck, my second head, is exerting his
independence, and I cannot control him any
more. I beg of you, if you cannot help me solve
the riddle that is my salvation, then please, take
my life before Muck kills again.

The heroes not wanting to kill an innocent man trapped in a monster’s body decided to try to help him solve the riddle. He introduces himself as Kyrnyn. He says that he used to be cleric of Heironeous. When he was cursed and turned into an Ettin he simply tried to cast Dispel Magic on himself but it did not work. He is not able to cast any of his spells that are tied to his god, Heironeous. When he prayed to Heironeous for help, he received a vision of the riddle and then he painted it on the temple so he would not forget it. He believes that the answer to the riddle is simply ‘himself’. But nothing has happened. He believes that if he solves the riddle he will be returned to his original form. He says he has to go back before Muck wakes up because Muck will hurt him. The heroes ask where he is living, and he tells them in Stondylus’ old fortress in Oldkeep. Then he leaves.

The next morning the heroes explain to Restik and Malwick what they discovered from Kyrnyn. Malwick‘s opinion is unchanged and he is still set on destroying the Ettin. While on the other hand, Restik is shocked by the news. He says he has to tell them a story that he thinks will help them solve the riddle. He says he actually knows Kyrnyn and he wants to help them. He tells them that months ago an evil wizard named Stondylus had taken over the town and no one was strong enough to oppose his magic, so they were helpless. Luckily, a group of four adventurers was passing by and when they stopped in town they grew sympathetic to the plight of the townsfolk. Among them was the young Cleric of Heironeous, Kyrnyn. Both being priests of Heironeous, Restik and Kyrnyn became good friends. Then the adventurers decided to head to Oldkeep to defeat Stondylus and free the town. The party of adventures was never heard from again. Restik doesn’t know what happened to the others but he believes that Kyrnyn was cursed by Stondylus. After hearing Restik‘s story the heroes decided to follow in the old adventurer’s footsteps and head to Oldkeep to help Kyrnyn.

They set out early that afternoon. After about half a day of walking, not much has happened. They are walking down a narrow path in the forest when suddenly they are surround by a party of eight orcs. The orcs call out to the heroes in Orcish. Egzour Dukesberg being the only member of the party that understands and speaks Orcish converses with them. After some time of talking Egzour translates into Common for the rest of the party. He says that the orcs wanted to know what they were doing in the forest and he explained to them that they were trying to find the Ettin that has been attacking Newkeep. The orcs say they know where he is and are willing to give directions for a little bit of money. Egzour asked them why they were being so helpful, the Orcs explained that they had tried to get the Ettin to help them in attacking Newkeep and he agreed but, when the Orcs gave him his payment, a few cows, he took them and killed half of the orcs’ tribe. So they want revenge. They would actually come and help kill him. Egzour explained to them that they are not planning on killing him but rather helping him. The orcs leave without a confrontation, not wanting to lose any more members of their dwindling tribe.

Further along the path a small child is running and screaming toward the heroes. They stop and ask him what’s wrong and he explains that for some reason Malwick thinks that the heroes are abandoning him and he has gathered a mob and they are on their way to Oldkeep to kill the Ettin. The heroes thank the child and move even faster to get to Kyrnyn before the angry mob does.

That night the heroes arrive at Oldkeep. Ruined, overgrown buildings surround the place indicating that not very long ago this use to be a community. They see three makeshift graves next to the entrance to the old stronghold. They are marked, Zimmian, Gordell, and Thorvald Halfgranite. The heroes assume that these are the final resting places of Kyrnyn‘s friends. They approach the entrance to the fortress and see that the door has been left ajar. Stepping inside they see the large bestial form of the Ettin. The left head, Muck, is sleeping and Kyrnyn’s head is awake. It looks happily at them but motions for them to be quiet. The heroes try for hours in vain with the help of Kyrnyn to solve his riddle and free him of his curse, but it’s no use. They cannot figure it out. As the sun starts to rise the heroes can hear the bustling of the approaching mob. They explain to Kyrnyn that the townsfolk are coming to kill him. He begs the heroes to mercy kill him and put him out his misery. The heroes are divided on what to do and waste more time debating what to do. The heroes here shouting outside, it is Malwick. He yells. “Come out you foul beast so I can avenge my father”! The crowd roars in support. Sildras notices that Muck’s eyes are opening. The heroes and Kyrnyn are filled with fear. Muck looks around the room and figures out what is happening. He screams at the heroes, “NO ONE HELP KYRNYN!” and he smashes one of his giant fists into Kyrnyn’s face. The heroes split up, Davlymin and Katzan go outside to try to calm the crowd down while Sildras and Egzour give the riddle one last shot. They go through it line by line.

_"Two heads have we".
_We is Kyrnyn and he wasn’t always an Ettin so he was born with one head.
“We avenged, healed and protected.”
Egzour recognizes this as the creed of all clerics, so that means Kyrnyn was a cleric.
“Our master was Invincible.”
Using his knowledge of religion Egzour knows that Heironeous is known as Heironeous the Invincible. So Kyrnyn was a cleric of Heironeos.
“But punished we, all who objected.”
Kyrnyn suddenly understands this line, he says that when he was adventuring he used his powers to exact vengeance instead of justice.
_"Heeded we the six-armed king."
_Sildras using his knowledge of religion remembers that the evil god Hextor is known as the six-armed king. And that Hextor and Heironeous are brothers. So this must mean that by abusing his power Kyrnyn started to worship Hextor instead of Heironeous.
_"And so by our god were rejected."
_Kyrnyn already understands this line that by straying from the path of justice Heironeous rejected him and took away his divine spells.
“Thus, this is our fate:
One head, twice bisected.”

Egzour and Sildras finally understand the riddle. The last line means that Kyrnyn who was already of two minds, one that served Heironeous and one that was starting to serve Hextor was punished with two heads. With each head represting each half of his personality.

Kyrnyn stands up and starts shouting, looking up to the sky. “My god! I finally understand the riddle you have given me! I have betrayed you and I have betrayed myself! I am sorry for what I have done! And I promise to only use your given powers to strive for justice!”
Kyrnyn crumples to the ground and his body begins to glow. Suddenly the angry mob bursts in with their weapons drawn ready to kill the Ettin. The heroes hold them back and they all watch as the two halves of Kyrnyn start to fight. Muck is trying to kill Kyrnyn before he can be brought back to original form. The fight goes on for a long time and then suddenly the room fills with a blinding white light. When everyone can see again they see the body of a young man laying on the ground where the Ettin was. The heroes wake him up and Kyrnyn thanks them for their help. Kyrnyn apologizes to the townsfolk and Malwick. They are not too happy about the outcome but they accept his apology. Kyrnyn is eternally grateful and asks if he could accompany the party on their further adventures. The heroes accept venture off. While traveling Kyrnyn tells them of a town to the west called Diamond Lake and the party decides to head to it.
Ettin

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