Five Pillars of the Sun

Within the Belly of the Beast

Upon inspecting the odd looking plate of meat, the party members realize that it lacks both heat and scent, despite the smoke coming off of it. One of the adventurer’s attempts to touch the meat, but their hand phases through it. The cold stone walls around them seem to flicker for a second. The man that sprouted from the mouth of the monstrous mound introduces himself as Jose. The party ask him who he is and initially are not very trusting of him, however, seeing as they have little choice in the matter, they get over their suspicion and decide to put their faith in his skill. The party and Jose are summoned back after a night in the cell, and they are once again standing before the lizardfolk king Githdread. A large crowd of lizardfolk have gathered at the seats in the colosseum. When the party steps forth, Githdread welcomes them and reveals the method for selecting the first opponent of Jose’s. Raising his wand up and causing a giant twenty sided stone with names on it to appear, he rolls the giant dice, announcing himself to be Jose’s first opponent.

Each fighter is given the choice of a single weapon. Jose chooses his best dagger while the lizardfolk king opts out of wielding a weapon in order to insult Jose. The battle commences and the party is forced to watch at the front row seats of the colosseum. As the party watches on, they soon notice that the audience of lizardfolk flickers in and out of reality. The party jumps down while they have the chance and they charge Githdread together. They all hear the omnipresent voice of a woman coming from all directions. She reveals to the party that they are in the belly of a giant monster and that the only way out is to defeat the illusion. Jose recognizes her as a fortune teller from his universe. Meanwhile, the audience flickers back in and soon, they see that Jose, a mere human man, has successfully killed their king. Suddenly, the party members notice that they have all of their equipment and weapons with them, as they have seen through the illusion. The entire colosseum vanishes and they are left in a swirling dark and lonely void with the entire lizardfolk audience surrounding them. They dispatch several of them but struggle on as the lizardfolk mob appears to have no end to their numbers. The fortune teller from Jose’s universe summons the images of two heroes from Jose’s universe to temporarily fight by their side. A red-scaled lizarfolk barbarian and a human wizard with a magical staff appear in the party’s midst, and together, they defeat the numerous lizardfolk warriors at long last. The illusion begins to crumble and the ground of black stone shatters beneath the party, each adventurer being carried by ascending rocks that hurl the entire party into the dark sky of the void. The party members appear on a black stone cliff which overseas a hellish vista of volcanoes and giant evil behemoths of unspeakable horror. They ascend a land bridge across to another cliff, up a black marble staircase, defeat a flock of giant headless crows and two ogres, and enter a giant black tower. Upon reaching the top, they find themselves in a room with a purple pulsing crystal floating at the center, with several red veins sprouting from it which travel across the room’s interior.

The fortune teller appears before them and tells the party that her time is running out, and that the shifting veil around their planet of Midgard is blocking out her communication with them. She shows them a vision of their travels, revealing that they have been swallowed by an entity that has been stalking them since they arrived at WaveCrest, and that it swallowed them up as soon as they exited BlackWall field’s northernmost gateway. She explains that the shadow giant had been trying to catch up to the trader’s caravan they have been escorting, but that once they entered the BlackWall fields, the shadow giant was unable to enter due to an ancient protective barrier seal that has been in place for several centuries on the field, so it ran around the BlackWall where it waited for them to pass through the northern gate. The fortune teller explains that this seal was put in place to protect the last entrance to the sacred lost realm known as the Netherfey. She tells them that they must find a powerful mage known as Galadriel in their world who helped place this seal to protect what is left of the Netherfey from the shadow giants, as he is the last remaining wizard of the Four Great Mages of the North, and that only he will be able to explain to them why they were being stalked by a shadow giant. Jose asks the fortune teller why he has been sent to this realm, and the fortune teller only tells him that it was an unknown higher power that was responsible for him falling into the world of Midgard.

She reveals a final image of the giant creature that swallowed them up, running across a strange star filled ocean of darkness, a red star falling through this realm and being swallowed up by the shadow giant. The red star was Jose as he was being hurled through the Sea of Stars, the realm between worlds and dreams. As her image begins to wane, the fortune teller tells the party that they must strike the giant pulsating purple crystal, as it is the heart of the shadow giant. The party does so and they awaken as they are falling from a portal in the sky, crashing down into some of the wagons of the caravan. BobJoe asks them where they’ve been for the past few minutes because they disappeared right before his eyes. The party is confused as it appears that only a few moments passed in the real world while they were within the belly of the shadow giant. BobJoe casts a spell which repairs and reorganizes the broken wagons and their cargo and as it is night time and the party appears exhausted, they decide to stop at a guard’s watch post to rest for the night. In the middle of the night, a half-elf barbarian comes yelling as he is being chased by a mob of skeletons. He burries his great axe into the door of the guard’s garrison and proceeds to kill his pursuers single handedly as the guards watch in horror. Then, a giant blue star comes falling from somewhere in the sky and destroys the garrison all together. The star turns out to be a giant ice crystal with a man and an owl trapped inside.

The man seems to be a similar individual who’s image the fortune teller borrowed to assist the party against the lizardfolk earlier. The barbarian, being enraged by such a confusing sight, takes his axe to the ice cube, breaking it and releasing the imprisoned mage and his owl familiar. Jose recognizes the mage as Locke, a companion of his from Jose’s universe. He recalls the adventure they had been on and how they had been together in a war against an army of undead against a dark king. As Locke is about to be attacked by the barbarian, he swiftly produces a strange herb from his pouch and holds it up to the barbarian’s face, causing his knees to buckle as he crashes into the floor in a deep and relaxed sleep. Locke asks Jose where they are and what’s going on but Jose knows next to nothing and can only tell his friend that they are not in Kansas anymore. The party, having had next to no sleep, decide to set out for the last stretch in order to arrive at their final destination, the dwarven city at the foot of the Phoenix Spire Mountain, AnvilGuard. The half-elf barbarian introduces himself as Gorm, and both Gorm and Locke decide to journey with the party.

Upon arriving to AnvilGuard, BobJoe thanks them for their services and pays them a handsome amount of gold in thanks for their aptitude during the weeks he traveled with them. He gives each of them rings bearing the emblem of the Trader’s Guild of Cyriil and tells them that if they ever need a place to stay or extra help, that they should present those rings to the inn keepers of large cities like AnvilGuard and ForgeStone. He invites them to meet the Dwarven Lord of AnvilGuard, Zerik Runeseeker, at his palace. The party, led by BobJoe, enter the palace of the dwarven lord, and they overhear BobJoe telling Zerik that he owes him a favor for having gotten him out of some sort of situation in the past, and Zerik quickly calls for the party to step out before him. Zerik thanks them for saving BobJoe and the precious cargo throughout the past several weeks and offers the party a house in his city of AnvilGuard. The party eagerly accepts the suspiciously handsome offer and they are shown to their new home, a magical house with a special door that requires the touch of one of it’s residents for it to open. Inside, the party finds an invisible butler who shows each of them to their rooms. Each room is able to take on the appearance and environment that the owner of the room wishes, and each of the party members finds a treasure chest in their respective room. Gorm finds a magical whirlwind boomerang, Locke finds a special pair of spectacles, Grognak finds a magic sheathe that vorpalizes his weapons, Martelm finds an arrow that is as light as a feather when it’s in his possession, but becomes destructively heavy if he drops it, Jose finds a flute that can summon a bald eagle and a brown eagle, and Oscar finds a strange talking spellbook that absorbs the spells from his own spellbook, and destroys his old spellbook. The party rests momentarily only to be interrupted by the commotion of a crowd outside their home. The party rushes out but Gorm and Locke (and his owl familiar named Zarathustra) agree to stay and guard the home. Unbeknownst to the party however, Locke secretly sends out Zarathustra to watch over the party and report back if they appear to be in trouble.

The party arrives just in time to see the massive crowd gathered around a single man who has been captured by guards. The man is standing in front of a severely burned and ruined building which has collapsed in on itself. The man is BobJoe, the caravan driver, and he is wearing black robes and has a strange tattoo of a mouth with spider legs on his face. He calls out to the party and points them out and accuses them of leading him into the city. The crowd parts at both sides of the party and the guards cease them by the arms. They publicly execute BobJoe (presumably to intimidate any other potential members of the black robe gang in the crowd) and decide to take the party in for questioning. The guards notice that the party is wearing rings of the black robe gang, bearing the same insignia that BobJoe had tattooed on his cheek. The party determines that the rings are magical and somehow managed to slip on to their hands and shape-shift in order to incriminate the party. As the party is being cuffed by the guards, they notice a single short humanoid man with a hood that comes down to cover his eyes. Martelm is able to notice that the strange short man is mouthing something with his lips to the party. Martelm discerns the message to be “Galadriel awaits, go quietly.” Martelm then relay’s the message to the rest of the party, and they are wagoned off to a prison called HammerStrike Correctional Prison. They are taken down a fleet of stairs into a cold prison and thrown in a cell. The party ponders their next move, and from within a dark corner of the cell, a voice calls to them and says, “At last we meet. I am Galadriel.”

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