Shadow of the Setting Sun

Hell Hath No Fury

Arriving on the small island of Heleca, the group immediately recognizes that something is amiss. Before reaching the village they notice an idol that has been defaced, the foliage around the statue having almost reclaimed it for the wilderness. Upon reaching the village they see that the villagers mill about with downcast eyes, going about their business almost in a stupor. After some investigating they find that the village is now at odds with the island’s God, B’gaan. Gwyn Branson is approached by a weeping woman who is desperate for someone to help her daughter, who has been poisoned by the angry God. Gwyn and Darian-Rashad Arbani tend to the child and due to her experience as an assassin, Gwyn recognizes the effects of the poison. After explaining that the poison is made from the sap of a specific tree that grows on the island, she sets out to make an antidote. Meanwhile Lukela Maite` and Phineas Poch seek out the island’s high priestess, Sirelia, a woman in her early 30’s who wears robes of the most brilliant blue. They find that the problems started just over a year ago, when B’gaan stopped speaking to the priestess. A few months later, the God had started to poison the village. The first to die had been the priestess’ apprentice, Ceala, but others soon followed. Distraught, the village had reached out to B’gaan, but when he refused to answer their cries, the village abandoned him as he had abandoned them.

The group reconvenes after Gwyn administers the antidote to the child and instructs the mother to continue administering it once per day. She explains to the group that this will, however only stall the poison until they can figure out how it is being delivered and stop the poisonings. Due to the versatility of the slow acting poison, it could be administered in either liquid or powdered form, making it difficult to pinpoint how people are being poisoned. Gwyn, suspicious about a God using such a mundane poison, suggests they pay Sirelia another visit. The group returns to the home of the high priestess, which is decorated inside with paint and silks of the same brilliant blue as her robes. Sirelia is looking ragged, after having spent the majority of the day, she explains, trying to discern a cure for the poisoned. Looking more closely, Gwyn notices that the priestess herself has the symptoms of the poison and postulates that the Sirelia has been being poisoned for at least a month. Her suspicions set aside, Gwyn teaches Sirelia about the poison and how to make its antidote. Sirelia thanks her profusely and immediately sets about making a large batch to administer to the poisoned villagers. At this point the group decides it is time to pay B’gaan a visit.

Following the slope of the island away from the village, the group eventually comes to its highest point, where they find a clearing with a single small cave jutting up from the earth. Near the edge of the clearing, where a shear vertical cliff face drops away to the beach far below, a single tree grows, and against the tree leans B’gaan. A massive figure, easily 8 feet tall, B’gaan’s blue green skin reflects like the surface of the ocean, and his hair and beard ripple even when the wind is still. The group approaches him cautiously and Lukela gives him the proper greeting of a western priestess. B’gaan stands and turns his attention to the group, asking what he can do for them. Gwyn explains the situation and asks why the God is poisoning his people. B’gaan’s eyes, two crystal clear globes of water, well with emotion as he explains that he would never poison his people. B’gaan tells a very different story, a story in which his priestess stopped visiting him, and the prayers of the village ceased. He says that he even went to the village once to speak to them but the villagers threw stones at him, and not wanting to hurt them in anger, he retreated to his cave, where he has languished ever since. Sensing the God’s sincerity the group is perplexed and heads back down to the village to speak with Sirelia again.

They find the priestess administering the antidote to the afflicted villagers and pull her aside, relaying what B’gaan told them. The priestess becomes angry, insisting that she had gone to him several times, and he had spurned her, turning his back to her and refusing to acknowledge her presence. Activating Mastery of Small Manners, Darian-Rashad notices that the priestess’ motivation has become desperate, and suggests that she come with the group to go speak to B’gaan and put things right. She agrees, and the group heads back up the island’s slope to meet with the God. Halfway up the group notices Sirelia’s increasing nervousness and Gwyn confronts her.

Bursting into tears, the priestess explains that she had never intended for so many people to be hurt, and that her plan had spiraled out of control. She had only intended to kill her apprentice, Ceala. She explains that one of the duties of the priestess of the island is to become B’gaan’s lover, and that in doing so, she had genuinely come to love the gentle and compassionate God. Just over a year ago, Ceala had completed her training, and become B’gaan’s lover as well. In a jealous rage, Sirelia had concocted the plan to rid herself of Ceala and make B’gaan feel the rejection he had made her suffer. If he would dare to love another, then she would take from him the love of the people. She explained that she hadn’t intended for anyone else to die, just to suffer enough to turn their backs on B’gaan as she felt he had done to her. Drying her tears, the priestess states that she is ready to face B’gaan, and the group continues on.

Upon reaching the crest of the island, the group hangs back, allowing Sirelia to speak with B’gaan in private. As the priestess tell her story, the God becomes increasingly angry, causing the island to shake with violent tremors. Finally he states that he can never forgive her for what she has done. She whispers something to him, which only Darian-Rashad is able to overhear.

“I know. I’m so sorry. Goodbye.”

Before anyone can react, Sirelia throws herself off the cliff, falling to the beach far, far below. Stunned, the group can only watch as the anger fades from B’gaan’s visage to be replaced by crushing sorrow. The God leaps after her, and landing on the beach below, picks up Sirelia’s broken body, weeping and clutching her close to his massive chest. As he weeps, the entire island blooms with brilliant blue flowers of the same hue that the priestess had favored. After a few minutes spent grieving, B’gaan stands and begins a slow march to the village. The group heads back down to the village to meet him there.

Upon reaching the village they find the villagers terrified, knowing that the tremors meant B’gaan was furious. Gwyn explains the situation fully just as B’gaan approaches from the beach. Still clutching Sirelia to his chest, he apologizes to the village for not having been more attentive and seeing through the deception. He takes Sirelia’s body to the village burial ground and lays her in the earth. B’gaan explains that he has learned from the events and that from now on he shall have only 1 priestess at a time. He kneels before a 16(ish) year old girl from the village and asks if she would be willing to train to become his new priestess. The girl accepts, and the villagers rejoice, their bonds with their local God reestablished. Lukela explains to the group that it will be years before the girl’s training is complete and she is ready to take her place by B’gaan’s side as a full priestess.

The next day the group treks back up the slope to B’gaan’s cave where they find him teaching the girl about the spirits. Leaving her to ponder his words, he approaches the group and asks what he can do for the Princes of the Earth, revealing he has known their nature all along. They explain that they are seeking the disappearing island, and the God pulls a pendant from around his neck. A teardrop shaped piece of black jade on a silver chain. He holds the pendant out to Darian-Rashad, remarking that he is somewhat surprised Darian-Rashad has not already found the island on his own. The moment Darian-Rashad’s hand closes around the pendant, it begins to tug gently, but consistently to the North-West. The group thanks B’gaan, who wishes them luck as the head back down to the village. Reaching the village, they see that all manner of riches have washed up on the beach. Crates, chests and lock boxes that look as though they had been plucked from a sunken ship lay scattered about the sand. Taking a few items for themselves, the group helps the villagers collect the riches and then stays to celebrate with the village planning to leave with the tide the next day.

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