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Shiver
Posted in Greyhawk Wars
The Rite of Battle Fitness, Part One
In an effort to get the tyrannical lord of Stonefist, Sevvord Redbeard, to enter into a treaty with the other barbarian kingdoms, the Awakeners of Vatun were sent to parlay with him. Just before we left, we were told by our lord's scholars that Stonefist has an ancient--and potentially deadly--tradition. It is called the Rite of Battle Fitness, and it is used occasionally to test the worthiness of the land's warriors. Our allies believed there was a good chance Redbeard would call for one during our visit. They were proven correct.

There are several tests, the first of which was an overland journey through the mountains with only a weapon, a shield, and a bottle of water. My weapon of choice was, of course, my staff. We obeyed the rules and only brought the items indicated, but Thotham's hunting skills and my spells (especially goodberry) prevented us from ever going hungry. The object of this test was to arrive at the destination alive and, ideally, with the head of a giant...or the heads of three competitors.

With our wilderness skills, we left the other warrior parties behind (though not before facing a troll at night in our camp at the base of the mountain) and made good time through the highlands. The weather was much milder than I was used to and we hustled along quickly and easily. Finally, just as we climbed a steep hill and reached a high clearing, we came upon a fearsome Eldritch Giant.

The battle was epic. The giant dispelled most of our magical defenses and its attacks were brutal. Our combat medic was busy healing at every turn, struggling to keep us alive. Zephar's songs gave us the strength to keep fighting even when all seemed lost. Thotham waded in with his sword and slashed mightily at the huge monster while I launched several powerful spells. We were hurting the thing, but it was still very much in the fight. I used my staff to summon a fire elemental, which battered the giant with a fiery assault. (Yay, fire!!) Between all of us, we were finally able to slay the monster. All of us were hurt and weary, but we stumbled down from the mountains with quite a prize. The giant's head put all the others' trophies to shame.

The next phase was the test of endurance. All the competitors would have to swim a hundred and fifty kilometers (whatever in the Abyss that measurement means) down the (thankfully unfrozen) Frozen River. This should have been an intimidating challenge, but it was not. I was able to cast cloak of the sea on my three companions, which gave them water breathing and freedom of movement. Meanwhile, I wild shaped into a shark. We made it down the river in record time, and were basking at the finish line hours before the next competitor arrived.

The third challenge, however, was a bit more daunting...
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A kilometer is a unit of measure used on another continent of Oerth across the Solnor Ocean. The people of this land, called Aquatica, fancy themselves superior to the nations of the Flanaess and have developed their own measurement system. 150 kilometers is approximately 3 leagues.
Aha! Everything becomes clear. Of course, I swam the river as a shark, so I wasn't even measuring by leagues. Instead, I was keeping track of each krunnderr, a measurement used by sharks to determine how far potential prey can possibly swim before being eaten. I believe one krunnderr equals about two feet.