It was the start of a relaxing evening in Phandalin when the farmers and miners came in to the Stonehill Inn to unwind after a long day of work. Murray, Harry, Qalaryu, and Firiel sat together sharing stories of their adventures, when they were joined by two new arrivals to Phandalin: Killia Xandar, a human cleric of Chauntea the Earthmother, and Cezary, a halfling druid.
As the tavern filled with patrons, a bard told a tale of the history of the giants. She played a tune on her lute while she unfolded all that she knew about giants. The giants are among the oldest creatures in the world, and their empire once covered almost the entire world, which they shared with the oldest and most hated enemies, the dragons. She finally told of the Ordning, a caste system which ranks the giants in a strict hierarchy.
All hill giants, stupid and voracious, fill out the bottom of the Ordning. Above them are the stone giants, who craft subterranean stone into impressive works of art and regard the surface world as a realm of dreams. Then there are the frost giants, tribes of humongous reavers that raid and pillage the settlements of the frozen north. Next are the fire giants, tyrannical slave masters who capture small folk to work in their mines, providing workable metal for them to craft impressive weapons and armor. The final two tribes of giants are rarely seen by the small folk. The cloud giants are reclusive treasure-seekers who sequester themselves in huge cloud castles that float above the world, and finally, the storm giants exist at the very top of the Ordning. They are even farther removed from the world than the cloud giants, making their kingdoms either so far above the clouds or so far below the sea that very few of any creature have ever seen them.
Suddenly, a pair of hill giants stumbled in to Phandalin, looking for food. The heroes stood between the giants and the village, defeating them, but not before the two hungry giants destroyed Halia Thornton's mining company, killing Semile Southwell, one of the workers.
The second of these giants was defeated by the surprising arrival of a bronze dragon named Felgolos, who disappeared after the skirmish. Murray was later visited by this dragon, who revealed himself to be Sildar Hallwinter. Sildar explained that as a bronze dragon, he enjoys taking a humanoid form and living among them, but he took off his disguise because the threat of the giants is a grave danger.
At the dragon's behest, the heroes set out for Icewind Dale, far to the north, to tell Markham Southwell of his sister's death, and to further investigate the actions of these giants.
On the way there, the heroes met an eccentric cloud giant wizard named Zephyros, who invited the six aboard his castle. What followed was a comfortable month-long journey instead of months of traveling the harsh wilderness alone. On the journey, they spoke with Zephyros about what's happened to the giants, and he told them grave news: The Ordning has been shattered, and Zephyros has been attempting to speak to the giant gods and find out why. All he's been able to find out is with the Ordning dissolved, all the giants are equal in ranking, and they are all now beginning to enact insane plans to impress the gods and reestablish themselves at the top of a new Ordning. That wasn't the end of the bad news, though. Word from the storm giants' undersea kingdom of Maelstrom has revealed that their Queen Neri is dead.
Once they arrived at Bryn Shander, the largest settlement of Ten Towns in Icewind Dale, Zephyros and the heroes said their goodbyes. As the party began their search for information, a large party of frost giants arrived, searching for someone named Artus Cimber. No such person came forward, so the giants attacked, killing the sheriff's deputy and destroying some of the homes in the southwest quadrant of the city. The session ended when our heroes defeated the frost giant leader, sending the remaining giants into a temporary retreat.