Shadow of the Setting Sun

Forgetting One's Place

The next day the characters decide to explore the town since a storm is rolling in and the beach is unpleasantly windy and overcast. They head from shop to shop, stopping in the local museum to learn the history of the island, hoping to learn more about the ruins. Their field trip is cut short when the hotel owner bursts into the museum, telling them that an Immaculate monk kicked in the door to his hotel and threatened to harm him if he didn’t reveal Phineas Poch’s location. Angry with his mistreatment at the monk’s hands, the hotel owner had told the Immaculate that the characters were at the ruins on the far side of the island. They thank the hotel owner, and Darian-Rashad Arbani gives him more than enough money to fix the broken door. The hotel owner tells them that there are several small docks along the beach where merchants rent out boats to tourists, and that they make themselves scarce before the monk returns.

The characters head down the beach, only to find that each of the merchants only have small fishing boats, row boats, or canoes. The merchants explain to them that with the ocean riled up by the coming storm the boats will capsize and thus can not be rented right now. Attempting to figure a way off the island, the group spots a white sail heading toward Ragara’s Rest. As the boat gets closer the characters notice it is a trimaran, being sailed by a single, panic stricken boy. When the boat beaches itself nearby, the boy sprints across the sand to the group, begging them to come help. It’s clear the boy has been crying from the trails in his sand and grime smeared face. He explains that a spirit is going to eat his sister and that the characters must come to help her before she is delivered to the spirit. With no other way off the island, the characters agree and set sail with the boy, who introduces himself as Kolua.

While the characters sail, a traveling priestess from elsewhere in The Neck arrives on Sib. The Priestess, Lukela Maite`, heads to the island’s only village to find its inhabitants in a somber state. They have gathered to see off a young girl, who is being dressed and painted in a fashion somewhere in between a wedding and a funeral. Lukela investigates and is informed by the village elder that the girl is to be sacrificed to a cruel local God. While investigating further, Lukela spots Kolua’s trimaran approaching and sees the group having trouble sailing it in. Lukela takes to the waves, swimming to the ship and using her sailing experience to bring the ship in safely.

As the group ties off the ship and introduces themselves to one another, Darian-Rashad and Lukela notice a Vodonik silently emerging from the surf and reaching for Kolua. Lukela throws a knife at the Vodonik as Darian-Rashad pulls the boy to safety. The Vodonik immediately becomes diplomatic, and tries to explain his actions and why the boy should belong to him. Lukela, increasingly irritated with the Vodonik begins to admonish him rudely, much to the elemental’s displeasure. Deciding it was done being spoken to so rudely by a mortal, the Vodonik pulls a hardened kelp spear from the surf, and blasts Lukela off her feet with a wave from the sea. Advancing on Lukela and Gwyn Branson, the Vodonik raises its spear to throw it, but is driven back as Gwyn exalts in a glorious display of golden light.

Gwyn has a vision of herself in the 1st Age, atop a towering manse by the sea. She watches over a battlefield, her forces in retreat. Dragon Blooded warriors run, climb, and bound their way up the side of the manse, and she looks to her left to see a beautiful woman with eyes of solid black. The woman looks at her with resignation and declares “I will stand beside you to the death, my love.” Gwyn embraces her, then stabs a needle into the woman’s side, seeing the shock in her eyes as she struggles to stand, Gwyn quickly scoops her up and tosses her off the back side of the manse, into the ocean. The woman screams in defiance all the way to the waves, and Gwyn’s 1st Age self smiles as several jade blades erupt through her chest from behind. Even as she falls to the ground, she smiles, knowing her love is safe.

Gwyn Branson screams in fury as her anima banner takes the form of a variety of deadly and venomous plants behind and around her. She slips into Ill-Lily Form and advances on the surprised Vodonik. Caught off guard only for a moment by Gwyn’s transformation, Lukela throws her head back in laughter before igniting her own anima banner, surrounding her with a massive, perfected island-goddess form of herself. Seeing no reason to deny their own identities any longer, Darian-Rashad and Phineas reveal their caste marks as well. Realizing it is badly outclassed the Vodonik drops its spear in the surf and begs forgiveness before slipping away into the waves.

Now aware of their mutual condition the characters allow their animas to subside before heading to the village to aid Kolua‘s sister. Meeting Sib’s high priestess and village elder, the characters offer to help defeat the spirit. The elder informs them that this is no minor spirit, but the god of the island. He thanks the group for their offer, but insists that they not anger Lord Malith. The priestess tells them that the village has begged the Immaculates for help with the God for years, but that none have ever come to assist. She goes on to tell them that as they lost more and more girls to the God, that the village began to entreat other Gods to intervene on their behalf, even praying to The Unconquered Sun, despite the Immaculate’s warnings. The group looks to one another, as Lukela reveals her caste mark, telling the priestess that the Unconquered Sun has heard her prayers, and that they have come to set things right. Desperate, the village elder gives them a necklace made of whale bone links and a blue pearl. He tells the characters that if they hold the necklace and step into a certain tidal pool at low tide, they will be transported to the God’s sanctum to deal with him. He tells them the tidal pool they seek is ringed in mother of pearl, and is filled with water of the deepest blue.

While they wait for the tide to recede, Lukela uses Disguise of the New Face to take the form of Kolua‘s sister. The group then takes the pearl pendant and enters Lord Malith’s Sanctum. The others wait around the corner as Lukela attempts to talk sense into Lord Malith. The two speak at length in his gallery, where the previous sacrifices are displayed, frozen in large crystals so that their beauty will never fade. After deciding negotiations would be fruitless, Lukela drops her disguise and the others rush around the corner to aid her. The group reveals themselves as Solars and demand that the God right his wrongs and return to his rightful place in the Celestial Order. Incensed, Lord Malith draws his coral swords and attacks.

Lukela uses Voice of the Night Bird to disarm the God, while Darian-Rashad lashes out with Peony Blossom Attack. Gwyn takes Ill-Lily Form and attacks with her quarterstaff, while Phineas draws his bow and fires a volley of arrows, thus harrying the God from every direction. Lord Malith soon succumbs, pinned to the floor by Darian-Rashad’s rapier, his nose broken by Gwyn’s quarterstaff, he yields demanding to know the Solars’ terms. The group forces him to free the captive girls and return them to the village, promising not to take villagers ever again. The God agrees, and promises to provide good fishing and fertile crops if the villagers will leave him an offering of fish at the entrance to his Sanctum once a month, and hold a festival in his honor one day a year. The eldest of the captive girls steps forward to represent her village and accepts his terms as Darian-Rashad activates his anima power so sanctify the oath.

Returning to the village the group is greeted as heroes, having brought back the missing girls and stopped the God’s reign of tyranny.

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