The Pillar of Heaven
Legend of the Pillar of Heaven
The Pillar of Heaven was an ancient structure of divine origin. It existed in an ancient age of the world, but it has been lost for so long now that for centuries the thought of finding it has been like saying, “When pigs fly,” or “When Hell freezes over.”
According to the tale, Golodun himself wrought the artifact, with the aid of many fellow gods including Atmo, Yenaelweth, Gwalto, Aearmo, Zumbar, Olorwe, and perhaps others as well. No one is exactly sure what shape it took. Some say it was a gigantic stone and metal pillar that stretched so high that no mortal could see the top from the bottom. Others tell that it was an ornately carved golden box imbued with magic power to launch a column of flame heavenward. Yet other legends say the Pillar of Heaven was a windmill that the gods imbued to run in perpetual motion. And some people say it was not a pillar at all, but a bejeweled ceremonial chalice from which all the gods drank at feasting.
Indeed, no one is really sure of the artifact’s true powers, either. Tales tell that the device ensured a bountiful harvest, good soil, rain in proper measure, and succor for land and animal alike. Other rumored powers talk of how the Pillar could produce an unlimited supply of food itself. They it say could turn wheat into gold, and that it could turn wood into fine cloth. Those who hold to the golden box myth say that it was a weapon of unspeakable power, enough to make an army of the possessor’s utterly invincible. When people talk about the bejeweled chalice, they talk of the power to grant everlasting life to the drinker, the power to heal wounds by pouring water from it, and the power to purify land, plants, and water by doing the same.
In the legends, the gods shared this boon with their mortal counterparts, the elves, dwarves, and humans, in the dawn age when peace reigned on Verdens. Long years rolled by in the prosperous golden era. Eventually, a group of humans became too enamored of the Pillar of Heaven and its boons. They thought they could use it to become gods themselves. It was then that Atmo tasked Kultakhor with the sundering of the Pillar of Heaven, and indeed with the sundering of the lands of Verdens itself. The mortals were scattered and separated, and the Pillar of Heaven destroyed utterly. It would be many long centuries before the peoples of Verdens rebuilt their civilizations in a manner that came close to their form in the golden age. Since that time, the reality of what the Pillar of Heaven might have been has become suffused with myths, legends, rumors, and lies.
Stories have also been handed down over the eons regarding the final resting place of the Pillar of Heaven. Some say it was broken and sunken to the bottom of the ocean. Others hold that the broken pieces were buried under an unknown mountain on Verdens. Clerics may tell you that Atmo gave the pieces to Aerandir, who scattered them in forgotten corners around Verdens so that they might never again be found and reassembled. Singers say that the pieces were cast into the void of the deep Astral plane.
Over the centuries, adventurers, heroes, and villains have made efforts to retrieve the Pillar of Heaven. Obviously, no one has ever succeeded. However, when word has spread that an effort to retrieve the Pillar is underway, tension among nations increases, and the gods themselves grow restless. For example, some 400 years ago, war erupted between Fairhaven and the Golden Delta sent groups of mariners in search of a rumor that the Pillar of Heaven had been discovered on an unmapped island in the middle of the vast World Ocean. None returned from the expedition, and calamity befell both kingdoms. Diviners later said that Aearmo had created a mighty tempest on the water that drowned both fleets or cast them to the far-flung shores of Verdens.
In addition to the problem of finding the Pillar Heaven, there is the challenge of reassembling it, if the legend of its destruction is to be believed. Who on Verdens would have the skill to reconstruct an artifice of Golodun himself? Even if a group to find and retrieve the Pillar of Heaven itself, could it be put back together and used as intended?