Five Pillars of the Sun

The Barbarian

September 2nd – October 3rd, 15,827

Gorm was exiled from his tribe in Rabinastra for close to a year and has been roaming the countryside ever since. During his travels, he has ventured West along the Merfolk River from his home in the region of Rabinastra to the region of Cyriil. Following the banks of the river has led him to a small brush area where he eventually finds evidence of a heavy prairie animal nearby. The tracks, oddly enough, lead Gorm to a rope bridge that connects the two opposing cliffs that overlook the rapids of the river. Gorm, not being one to ask too many questions, begins the trek across the old bridge. It is late at night and a sudden breeze catches the bridge, causing it to sway from side to side. At once, it settles, but Gorm hasn’t a chance to recuperate his composure as the chilling hollow laughter of a child from far behind him. The elf does not stick around to find out where the laughter has come from, and bolts across to the other side of the bridge. As he reaches the end of it, a sharp warm painful sensation spreads and numbs his body from behind. As he falls, he manages to turn and look at his assailant. As his vision blurs and his consciousness winks away from him, Gorm catches the blurred visage of a dead girl with blood falling from her eyes and scattering across her blackened gums which are exposed by her vicious grin.

Gorm awakens, disoriented, during the afternoon the following day. Feeling even weaker than he had been and with great hunger overtaking him, he stands and follows the trail on this side of the river. Eventually, he finds, the trail leads into an odd forest filled with boulders and trees growing at odd angles. Continuing forward, Gorm finds the trail ends in a small clearing. At long last, he spots the subject of his tracking and the source of the footprints. With its back turned, a hefty looking cattle animal of some kind seems to Gorm to be grazing upon something red in a bundle, a dead traveler. To Gorm’s surprise, the animal suddenly turns to acknowledge his presence. It is at this moment that Gorm notices the corpses of many different people lodged amongst the branches in the trees. The cow’s eyes glow red wildly and it begins to speak, revealing itself as Hell Beef. Gorm engages the demon cow and throughout the battle, Hell Beef uses its hooves, acid-shooting utters, and throws the corpses of its victims at Gorm. Eventually, Gorm comes out on top, and finally manages to slaughter the stitched up demon cow. The necrotic energies spill forth from its body, and from within its undead bowels, the soul of a small elf girl escapes and finds refuge within Gorm’s own mind.

The spirit reveals itself as Lyanna, a small elf girl dressed in royal white garments, who’s memory, Gorm finds, has been partially wiped. What little she remembers, she tells Gorm, and she floods his mind with a vision of the small remainder of her memories. In this vision, Gorm sees the small girl, still living, being taken away from her parents by black robed men who grab her and teleport her to a large white castle tower atop a high place. Suddenly, the light of day fills the sky and the tower vanishes. Within the tower, the black robed men extract her soul from her body and they cause her body to disappear with strange magic, while sealing her soul within a crystal they use to create Hell Beef with. Gorm also sees that there were other small elf girls around Lyanna in this castle and they too endure similar horrors. Lyanna reveals that she does not know who she is, and that being inside the Hell Beef construct has done something to her memories and to her soul that prevents her from moving on to the afterlife. She tells Gorm that she has had dreams of his coming and rescuing her, and that he is to take her soul to a village within the Vermillion Forest, a wood where the season of autumn does not relent. It is within this village that a holy man lives that can help her move on to the hereafter. Gorm vows to assist her and takes off. After exiting the twisted forest, Gorm finds himself on a dirt path that leads into the autumn forest. However, he approaches quietly as he notices a camp of men resting right on top of the dirt path. Most of them are extremely drunk, but Gorm eventually steps out. The camp is a band of bandits and they attack Gorm, but Gorm’s axe is mighter than the axe of their orc leader. One theif surrenders to Gorm, another, high of skooma and drunk on ale, hallucinates Gorm as a reaper come for his soul, so he decides to take his own life by running towards the cliffside and jumping off. The thief that surrenders himself, reveals himself to be a human named Alefred, who comes from the alpine mountains in the North. Gorm collects some supplies from the bandit camp and takes off towards the Vermillion Forest.

Upon arrival, Gorm sees that the village of CopperLeaf has recently undergone an attack of some sort. Many corpses are lying about, some of normal people, some of ghouls and skeletons. He finds his way to the clerical house of Saranrae, the locally worshipped deity, and finds the cleric Augustine to be the head of town. He performs a prufication rite, allowing Lyanna to finally leave Gorm. As she begins to vanish, she leaves behind a small tear of glowing light that solidifies into an orb unlike anything either man has ever seen. Gorm slips the light orb into his pocket and Augustine informs him of a problem he needs assistance with. He offers Gorm lodging and food but that he needs the help rather soon. There has been a rising of the dead from the cemetery and several ghouls have also surfaced from somewhere within the crypt. The cleric informs Gorm that he has placed a temporary holy barrier around the cemetery but that it will fade by the next morning. Augustine employs the assistance of both Gorm and Alefred to go with him to investigate the cause for the sudden undead outbreak. Augustine tells the men that he believes that a recent major earthquake may have opened a connection between some old caverns and the crypt passages. Sabbatheus and Gorm speak that night and Gorm notices that Sabbetheus is not an old man, but that he is actually in disguise. He reveals himself to be a witch hunter and paranormal investigator of sorts who came to CopperLeaf to investigate the Vermillion Forest. He believes that there is a witch somewhere in the village.

The two get some sleep and rise early the next day. A local village woman brings them bread and coffee and they set off. Once they enter the barrier, they cannot exit. They all enter at once and they are instantly attacked by undead. They fight their way to the entrance of the crypt at the center of the cemetery and at long last, they enter. They clear the crypt and at the final chamber, they find that swamp water from FesterRot Swamp has leaked into the crypt and interfered with the holy water purification system that stops the corpses from rising after they are buried. An evil spirit resembling the evil girl Gorm saw at the rope bridge before he went unconscious is revealed to be the culprit of the events in CopperLeaf, and Gorm’s party lays the angered spirit to rest in an epic battle in a chamber flooding with swamp water with several undead. Alefred is lost in this battle as he distracted several undead to give the cleric time to heal the others.

After the ordeal in the crypt, Augustine sees to it that Gorm has plenty food and water to take on his journey. Augustine tells Gorm of Iomori and her situation with her grandmother’s recent death at the hands of some hooded men who stole a special book from her home. Augustine presents Iomori with a black notebook that the hooded men left behind as they ran off to the road where Gorm entered the Vermillion Forest from. The cleric tells Iomori that the notebook appears to be a dated journal of some sort, but seeing as it is in the language of Infernal, he is unable to read it. Much to everyone’s surprise, including Iomori herself, she is able to read this language. The journal details the meticulous instructions given by a man named Don Juan-Pierre to the two assassins, giving them the task of retrieving a book called the Heavenly Atlas. The journal goes on further to reveal that the assassins are to head to ForgeStone to deliver the Heavenly Codex to a caravan driver who will be waiting at the ForgeStone Trader’s Guild office to help smuggle it into AnvilGuard. Augustine reveals to Iomori that when he, Gorm, Alefred, and Sabbatheus all went into the crypt, they found that Sophie’s body had not decayed at all, and that she did not rise like the other corpses did. Iomori begins to pack her things and Sabbatheus decides to tag along to help her and Gorm find her grandmother’s assassins.

Upon setting out, Sabbatheus and Iomori get seperated from Gorm during an undead attack in the twisted forest. When they reunite, Gorm finds that Sabbatheus has been severely wounded and cannot continue. Iomori agrees to take him back to the village and that Gorm should wait for them at AnvilGuard. Gorm agrees and heads out alone towards ForgeStone to intercept the trade caravan, but instead, he finds them at the northern entrance to the fields of Black Wall. Here, Gorm joins the party and relates his stories, but he does not mention the objective of his current quest or the other two members of his party.

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