Five Pillars of the Sun

The Depths of Death

The sunlight from outside shot down the long staircase down, gradually dimming as their descent carried them deeper and deeper into the throat of the dungeon. Now within the belly, the light seemed to be far behind them, as though they had entered another world. Not being able to see beyond where the dim morning light poured through from the entrance, the party proceeded cautiously, lighting a torch to guide their way into the depths of this black new world they now found themselves in. Several tiny red glowing eyes filled the room and flickered in a disgusted rage, but being sure to avoid the light of the torch’s flame. The party ventured across this vast room and into a narrow hall where they dispatched two rust monsters. At the end of the corridor, the party halted suddenly as they found themselves on a cliff made of old worn out tiles in a large room where most of the ground had collapsed into a glowing green pit of acid, filled with swarms of strange leech like creatures. After carefully maneuvering and anchoring themselves with ropes, the party carefully inched their way along the side edges of the room on what was left of the floor. Making their way towards another hallway on the eastern side of the room, the party indadvertedly triggered a trap that caused the entrance from where they came from to collapse at the sudden sound shockwaves caused by a sequence of explosives. Without a way back out, the party proceeded deeper still within the dungeon that seemed to be set on swallowing them up. At the end of the hallway, the party finds themselves descending further into the earth and into a room that has been partially destroyed. The earthen wall splitting into three different tunnels, the party decides to map out the tunnels and tread carefully. Within this labyrinth of tunnels, the party eventually reach a chamber at the end in which a single stone coffer rests. Hearing the sound of a women yelling for help, the party naively pry upon the coffer only to find a succubus within its confines.

The succubus attempt to seduce the party at first, but they know all too well the stories of the she-demons and their deadly kiss. Ignoring the offers of pleasure and passion, the party is nearly overcome when she summons another demon to fight along side her. As the party finally turns the tides, it is Jose’s dagger that brings the adventurers victory as it pierces the abdomen of the seductress, frantically absorbing her innards as she had tried to do to the party earlier before. Leaving the succubus an empty dry husk as well as slaying her assistant, the party then proceeds into the rest of the dungeon. Beyond a corridor, they find themselves gobbled up by another shadow giant that had been awaiting their arrival there. Within the shadow giant’s belly of illusions, the party seemingly enters an ice cold chamber and battles a weakened ice dragon. After defeating it by having it become enraged so that it impales itself on a hot metal spike protruding from the ceiling, the party is spat out by the shadow giant. They see its corpse become visible and, although none of the rest of the party can identify what kind of creature it resembles, Jose is able to recognize that this creature bears a resembles to the kuo-toa from his realm. Eventually, the party manages to retrieve a key from the chest at the bottom of the pit where the shadow giant was, which they take back to the acid pit room. Once again, the maneuver their way into, this time, the northern end of the chamber where they use their strange stone key to open the closed stone walls that blocked off the path here. Upon entering the room here, the giant stone doors quickly slammed behind them, sealing them within the strange round chamber alone with the statue of a strange creature, with a metal plate with dwarven inscriptions. Having some knowledge of older scripts, Oscar and Martelm happen to decipher the message as saying “Wealth, Courage, Power”. Confused by this riddle, the party spends a while attempting to comprehend its meaning. The statue before them seems to be some strange humanoid shape wrapped in wings with its head down, face buried in the cocoon of arms and wings. At the top of its head, the statue has some strange curved glasslike stone embedded in its skull, pointing at the party as though it were an eye. Oscar uses his magic to cast a light spell into the eye and to the party’s surprise, the statue begins to tremble and with a sudden mechanical jerk, the statue reacts by unfolding itself. The statue’s new form reveals a frightful image in this darkened chamber. Several strange glyphs fill the room and glow with a gloomy blue hue and reveal the shape of the statue in a ghastly light. The statue seems to have a tall female body in ceremonial garments with the head and wings of a manticore with a large and open mouth. Two of the arms spring up with open palms as though they ought to hold something. At first, the party manages to deduce that the old dwarven inscription at the foot of the statue means that they must place a weapon (Power) and a golden coin (Wealth) into each hand. It is then that they figure that one of them must place their arm into the mouth of the statue to represent Courage. Grognak volunteers for this, however, having placed the coin and weapon in the wrong order in the statue, the statue reacts by biting off Grognak’s arm.

The party then realizes that they must place the items in the same order as presented in the inscription. Doing so, the party manages to activate the mechanism of the chamber, and it begins to rotate downwards clockwise. They exit the elevator chamber and find that the chamber leads to a dead end room with a pool of water filled with several snakes. However, before returning into the elevator chamber, they all freeze when they notice the sounds of the tumbling gears come alive from the direction of the elevator. After several tense minutes of planning, Oscar and Grognak decide to enter the elevator while Jose and Martelm elect to stay behind. They all agree that Oscar and Grognak are to return within 3 minutes for Jose and Martelm. Soon, the doors on the elevator close and the elevator room rotates back up to its initial level. As the entire room rises, Jose and Martelm, still in the corridor, see that beneath the elevator is a giant cylindrical chamber that goes far down. They see that chamber has a spiral staircase along the edges of the wall and they await or the return of the rest of the party. Once the party is together, they wait for the elevator to leave them behind and the staircase down is revealed once again. The whole party takes the staircase down and at the bottom, they find yet another corridor. This corridor leads them to a minotaur labyrinth and after defeating all the creatures within it, they reach the end of the maze. They descend down a staircase and find themselves in a highly decorated burial chamber, with two large stone statues at the side of a beautifully carved stone coffin. They approach the tomb and hear the feint, haggard plea of a weak Zerik Runeseeker within the tomb. The party uses their full strength to remove the lid of the coffin, freeing Zerik from his prison. Zerik Runeseeker is hardly recognizable and has been beaten within an inch of his life. The vast majority of his bones broken, his beard ripped off, and his eyes receding deep into his face. Within the coffin, the party also find the remains of an ancient dwarven king from long ago. Suddenly, as though a reaction to party opening the coffin of the dwarven king, the two giant stone statues begin to move. In an epic battle that nearly costs everyone their life, the party narrowly escapes being ripped apart by the mighty stone guardians. They realize that the only way to escape is by returning from whence they came, however, the stone statues beat the ground with their stone axes, causing the staircases out of the chamber to collapse into the ground. The party fights valiantly but in the end, they retreat into the cliff now formed by the missing staircase. They desperately climb out and the statues return to their watch at the sides of the king’s coffin. After rescuing Zerik, they manage to find a teleportation chamber room with several strange red glowing glyphs forming an intricate spell circle on the floor. At the center of the spell circle is a cast iron statue in the shape of a dwarf. Zerik explains that this type of spell circle is activated by sacrifice, and that their only way out is to place him within the iron statue and drive a sword through a slit in the heart of the statue. He tells the party that they will be teleported out if they do this and that they must take his body to be resurrected by a cleric named Augustine at a village named CopperLeaf in a forest where the season of autumn never ceases. With several ogres aware of their presence and hot on their tail, the party regretfully agrees that this is the only way they can succeed. With sword in hand, Martelm buries the sword deep into the statue. A grizzly scream can be heard from within the statue and the sword wrenches itself deeper still as the slit rotates the blade, causing fountains of warm dwarven blood to fill the chamber. The red glyphs on the spell circle glow a violent red and the party is engulfed in a nauseating crimson light. The party is then teleported into the center of the town square in AnvilGuard, with Grognak nowhere to be found and the corpse of Zerik Runeseeker in their hands.

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