Five Pillars of the Sun

Heroes of the Sun

An old man with leathery skin steps out from the shadows and presents himself as the last remaining great mage of Northeriin. The party finds that their magical items do not work outside of the magical house, except for Oscar’s spellbook, and they ask him why that is. Galadriel tells the party that the house they have been staying at is his house, and the reason the items don’t work is because he magically programmed them not to work outside of his house before he was taken by the black robed gang and thrown into the dungeon to ensure they didn’t fall into the wrong hands. He had been working on those weapons as he had been commissioned to craft those weapons by the Sword Lords of Kathos, an organization of secret heroes from around the world (Note: these items are the Sheath of Vorpal Honing, the Missile of Volatile Weight, the Flute of the Twin Gales, and the StormFeather Boomerang. The spellbook Rashandra and the Spectacles of Inspection were personal items of Galadriel, and are thus, unaffected and fully functional).

Galadriel informs the party that he is a specialist of the divination school, and that he has forseen his capture and willingly accepted it. He informs the party that Brenda Songsteel and her father Yennen Songsteel, the owner of the Trader’s Guild, are part of a cult and conspired to bring the party to the mouth of the shadow giant that swallowed them up. He also tells them that the Zerik Runeseeker they met was an imposter, a doppleganger, disguised as Zerik to fool the citizens of AnvilGuard into thinking nothing is going on. The real Zerik Runeseeker has been taken to a dungeon to the North of AnvilGuard, where no non-dwarf may enter. Furthermore, several of the guards have been brainwashed by the black robe gang, which Galadriel reveals is actually a cult that goes by the name of the Withering Hand. The party asks Galadriel why they have been involved in this mess, and Galadriel responds by asking Grognak about the dream he has every night. This dream is of a beautiful elf woman who tells Grognak whether he is getting closer or further from him. Recently, since arriving at Cyriil’s main harbor city from his homeland, the Blemished Wastes, the dreams have become more and more intense, and the elf woman has told him he is getting ever so closer. Grognak is surprised by the extent of Galadriel’s knowledge by this point, and the party asks what the dream has to do with them being swallowed up by a shadow giant and a cult. The old mage tells the party that the dream Grognak has been having is a distress signal being sent out by one of five very special persons, and that for some reason, she has chosen Grognak as the recipient of her message, or perhaps, he is the only one able to listen. Galadriel tells them that the shadow giants are ruthless predators, and that they do not usually associate themselves with anyone, so it is strange that they are helping the Withered Hand.

The party asks him what he means by this and he tell them that the one of the Withered Hand’s shadow giants had managed to sense the link between one of the Five Pillars of the Sun, and Grognak, and that the shadow giant reported it to the Withered Hand, causing them to set out to kidnap Grognak in order to force him to reveal the whereabouts of the elf woman from his dreams. However, little does the cult know that Grognak himself is unaware of anything beyond what Galadriel has revealed. The elf woman in Grognak’s dream is one of five elf women who are avatars of the sun goddess, Saranrae. Galadriel reveals that Gorm has encountered one, the spirit of a young elf princess named Lyanna, who has recently died at the hands of the Withered Hand cult. He admits that even he does not know why the cult is after the Five Pillars of the Sun, but he does know who is seeking them out. There was once a queen of a distant land of an ancient civilization, who had fallen madly in love with a soldier from a neighboring kingdom. He promised to return for her once the conflict in his kingdom was settled, but he never returned. Every day, she sought out to look for him and her kingdom eventually fell because of her obsession. She vowed to find him and she became a lich to gain an eternity to dedicate to finding out what happened to her lover. She founded the Withered Hand cult after she made a deal with a fallen god named Rovagug. He promised her that he would resurrect her lover and return her beauty and mortality to her, but that first, she had to find the Five Pillars of the Sun for him.

Galadriel tells the party that most likely, Rovagug lied to her and is using her for some unknown purpose, but the Wither Queen is too blinded and obsessed to consider the possibility. He further explains that part of the cargo that was onboard the caravan that they brought in to Anvilguard contained a book they stole from an Asamir in the Vermillion Forest, a tome known as the Heavenly Atlas (a book of prophecy containing the whereabouts of the Five Pillars of the Sun), which is written in a lost language known as Aetherian, which only the Cloud Giants of the Skyriil Mountain Range can read, and since the Withered Hand already has the Heavenly Atlas in their possession, the final key they need is Zerik, because his father was a friend to the Cloud Giants, who are normally extremely hostile to anyone else. Galadriel tells the party that Gorm, Locke, and the halfling in the hood they encountered earlier when they were being arrested, along with other associates are currently tracking down the Heavenly Atlas, and that the party should escape the prison so that they may find the real Zerik Runeseeker, who is being held in the dungeon to the north of AnvilGuard, where no non-dwarf may enter. He tells them that by the time they rescue Zerik, a man named Don Juan-Pierre and other cult members would have already taken Galadriel on a wagon out to the Disappearing Tower, their headquarters, to be tortured and possibly killed. He tells the party not to worry, as it is part of his plan to be captured to buy the party time and to potentially aid them by giving the cult misinformation when they question him at their headquarters. When the party returns with Zerik, they must join forces with the party that has retrieved the Heavenly Atlas from the cultists, escort Zerik to the Skyriil mountains, and find out where the remaining Pillars of the Sun are to warn them of the coming of the Withered Hand. The old mage tells the party that he fears that Don Juan-Pierre’s other henchmen will take Zerik away from where he is being kept, and transport him somewhere else before the party can reach him. He tells the party to meet up with the other group in front of his house two days from then in the evening at the tavern down the street, as that is all the time they have to rescue Zerik. Oscar, Martelm, Jose, and Grognak bust out of the prison and ascend the stairs up to the surface world, to where the danger lies waiting for them.

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