Here we go!
"You have wronged me and my tribe, and I challenge you to a trial by combat," the barbarian told Stark after slapping him across the snout. The muscular red-maned man introduced himself as Cretik Elklord and glared at the dragonborn. Bran, Aera, and Malagoth stood up, protectively, and asked the tribesman what his problem was. He responded, "I trained those animals to hunt food for the Elk Tribe. It took me six months to train them after I raised them from cubs. Your loud and dangerous weapon has threatened the livelihood of my family and my tribe."
The party calmed Cretik, his anger still bubbling beneath the surface. Eventually, they were able to convince the barbarian by offering to go with him on a hunt to capture a male crag cat alive to serve as a new stud because the tribe's previous crag cat had died in captivity. Apparently, Cretik's hunting cats were offspring of a male crag cat and a female mountain lion.
Having come to an agreement, Cretik told the group that he would return at first light so that he could escort them to a crag cat's lair.
Deciding that the mountains would be too treacherous in their current state, the group went across the road to the most happening place in Fireshear, The Singing Manticore. The party quickly dispersed amongst the rowdy, and quite inebriated, patrons. Aera began to practice her craft on the unsuspecting miners only to realize that she was not the only professional in the room. Mal, on the other hand, decided to observe a rather peculiar form of entertainment, Gnome-Tossing.
Meanwhile, Bran and Stark consulted with the barkeep to find the local trackers and furies of Fireshear, in order to procure some winter-ware. They were successfully able to purchase some fine fur coats for the party (with the exception of the Goliath, who was accustomed to such climates.)
Eventually, Mal decided to try his hand at gnome-tossing, shot-putting a small gnome 21 feet across the room. Stark is then approached by a couple of drunken miners who challenge him to hit a target on the other side of the bar with his acidic spit (which he masterfully does). Bran then decides to join in the festivities as well and take up the gnome challenge himself, tossing his gnome (by the ankles) for 15 feet. Feeling lucky tonight, the dragonborn also partakes and hurricane-tosses his gnome for an astonishing 25 feet.
In the Final match to be crowned the "Gnome-Tossing Champion", and win a considerable amount of prize money, we saw four challenges step forward each tossing their gnome the furthest in each color category, Mal for the blue, a drunken miner for yellow, Stark for the red, and an unsavory looking fellow for the green.
Mal starts off the finals launching his gnome for 24 feet. The drunk miner fumbles his toss for only 15 feet. Stark steps up and lobs his gnome, barely beating the goliath with 25 feet. While all this is happening Aera takes it upon herself to assure that her fellow party members will win, deciding to warm up to the very stern green tosser and using her skills to tamper with his garments so that he will also fumble his throw.
As the shady character stepped up, sure enough, his pants fell around his ankles while winding up, and fell flat on his face sending his gnome a measly 4 feet. In a blind rage the man turns to a member of the crowd and begins attacking him while screaming "YOU SAID THAT POTION WOULD GUARANTEE MY WIN!!" The party began trying to pull the two men apart only to be tossed aside by the mans unnatural strength. It was only when he began assaulting the bird as well that the team drew their weapons and brought the fight to a swift end.
For delivering the finishing blow, Stark his hoisted high as a hero of the Singing Manticore (a welcome break from his recent misfortunes). While the crowd cheered Bran and Mal saw to the injured man, bringing him back to consciousness and healing his disfigured face. The man introduced himself as Ernie, a purveyor of potions, and confessed to giving his attack a potion of fire giant strength in order to secure his victory in the match. In gratitude, Ernie promised to sell the party potions at cost anytime that they were in Fireshear.
The party then retired to Drunken Dwarf after such… festivities, to plan and prepare for the hunt ahead.
The next morning, before the sun even had a chance to rise over the horizon, they were roused by Cretik who scoffed at their state and demanded that they hurry up. As they company left town Bran stopped off at the farm and… borrowed… as sheep from the boy whom they helped the day before. after a day of travel they reached a small hunting camp where Cretik made them food and spoke on how to wrangle crag-cats. As they proceeded up the mountain they eventually reached the cliffs where the ferocious felines dwelt.
Setting their traps and placing the sheep as bait, the group waited for the cats to descend from the cliff side. As one cat bounded toward the bait, it got caught in Stark's traps, prompting Cretik to leap onto the beast to lasso it. before they had a chance to assist, Stark and Mal were faced with 2 more cats appearing out of the snowy crags. After dealing with the 3 beasts, the party allowed Cretik to choose his favorite to return with him to his tribe, while the ranger and goliath skinned the other two for their pelts (proof of their conquest to win a 15:1 wager placed the night before)
Returning to the hunting camp, Mal spoke with the Uthgardt chief about spices and Giants in the area, unfortunately Cretik was unable to provide any new information on the latter. after resting for the night Cretik went his own way with his quarry, vowing to aid the party whenever they may need it.
On their way back to Fireshear, Bran returned the "borrowed" sheep to the boy (who was not too thrilled at his actions)
The group then decides to return to the Singing Manticore to collect their winnings for returning alive from their hunt. As they enter the establishment they discover the patrons unusually somber this morning. As they asked where the bookie was, the bartender informed them that he was "dead near the docks along with 15 of the towns best warriors".
Rushing to the docks, the team was met with horrifying sight, ships broken and burning, homes crushed inward, and bodies strewn about. The large imposing warehouse stood half collapsed next to the bay, large holes torn through its wooden sides. The goliath, pale in shock and anger, recognizes the massive ballista bolts impaled in the shacks and boats and utters two words: Frost Giants…