Tonight the group delved further into the Temple. A few characters hit 11th level tonight. They are much higher than the expected level so I replaced the barbarians with Stone Giants. This made more sense to me anyways. I used Stone Giant Dreamwalkers from Volo's Guide. They were religious zealots who had made a pilgrimage to the Oracle, not to consult it, but to keep others out. Harshnag explained it as another example of the misguided madness of his people without the Ordening. I've dropped the barbarian subplot completely. Having added a whole dragon conspiracy, the barbarian part seems unnecessary. Hopefully I'll some of all those locations in some later campaign.
Six stone giants was a challenging battle for a 9th and 10th level party, but it offered a lot of XP. The players enjoyed the puzzle of the statue room. They have a very good sense of the over arching plot, but they will still be shocked by what they discover at the site of the Oracle. I'm looking forward to an interesting next few months wherein the players attempt to stop the giants without alienating them and losing the possibility of calling on their aid for the final confrontation with Tiamat.
The mighty battle shook the cavernous hall. It was a near thing, but soon six stone giants lay defeated. The company was beaten within an inch of their lives, but unbowed. Their companion Harshnag pushed the huge double doors inward. Within was a massive cathedral room covered in thick ice. On the far wall glowed a misty archway, forty feet tall and just as wide. Six gigantic statues were arrayed around a single towering robed figure of stone. Each of the six bent in supplication, offering their weapon. All except one, who's stoney hands were empty.
Harshnag spoke, naming the six sons of Annam the All-Father.
After some study of the runes surrounding the arch and experimenting with Harshnag's axe, the group determined that by touching the spear to the "Skye" rune, the light of the thing turned to an iridescent purple. Touching the wrong weapon to the wrong rune could trigger a snow-pacalypse within the temple.
The group was missing one weapon, so they went exploring, eventually finding four doors hidden behind sheets of ice. Moving northward, a hall flanked by resting cubicles was explored, until a crack was detected in one of the walls.