Returning to Brindol, the heroes were showered with praise and expensive gifts. They spent a week recuperating, drinking, doing magical research and starting churches (to Kord). Once exhausted, they teleported back to Four Corners to check on their castle.
Further research and divinations revealed several clues about Krelles; most notably, he was a Deathknight of Vecna. The party believes something inter-planar is going down, and some 20 questions with Kord suggests something is going down in Istivin, a small city far to the north.
They set out the next day, stopping briefly to check on the military outposts and newly-formed Free-Orc’s Hold, feeding them a giant feast in the process.
The remaining leagues go by in a literal blur due to the wizard’s shadow walk, and the party arrives in Sterich, a river valley cut from the giant-controlled mountains to the south. The first stop is a watch tower, similar to the signal towers of the south. After greeting the militia, the party learns the area is under frequent guerrilla attacks by hill giants. The watchmen offer the party a place to stay in exchange for extra swords in battle. Sure enough, giants attack that night, but instead of pounding the walls with thrown rocks until boredom drove them off, the party slew four of the six attackers and drove the rest back into the mountains.