The Forests were beset by a number of troubles during the Bad Times.
First came the Winds which threatened to tear down the trees. Many stood up against the Winds and many were destroyed. One of those was Yelmalio, the Defender and Forest Sun who stood against the wind. First he threw his Lightning Spear at Orlanth who laughed and caught it harmlessly. Then Yelmalio stood firm and was blown down, his legs broken and his armour ripped off. The remaining trees spoke to the Winds and agreed that they would bend and allow the Winds to roar through the forests unhindered if the Winds would not break their backs. Even now, some of the Trees forget and stand up to the Winds only to be broken and destroyed.
Second was Zorak Zoran the Destroyer who had always hated Aldrya and had killed Flamal. He saw broken Yelmalio and attacked him with his great club. He beat the broken God and beat him almost to death, but Yelmalio gathered all his energy and hurled his Fires at Zorak Zoran, burning him horribly and making him forget about hurting the Forests, at least for that day. Zorak Zoran ran off, leaving Yelmalio a cold shell. However, he was so frightened of the Fires that he ate that he ran screaming from the Forests and even now cannot use the Fires properly. However, the Forests are sometimes dark even in the daytime and scare the unprepared.
Third was the Dark Mother who hated the Forest People. She led the forces of Darkness and Cold and tried to cover the land in Ice. Yelmalio was cold, for he had lost his Fire. He was defenceless for he had lost his Spear and Armour. In desparation, Yelmalio used his Brilliance to blind the Dark Goddess and to drive her off before she could kill him.
Finally, came the Eaters who loved nothing and hated everything. They almost devoured Yelmalio as he was naked and defenceless in the Forests, but his one of the Eaters was kind-hearted and spoke to Yelmalio. He told him that Orlanth, Zorak Zoran and The Dark Mother hated the Eaters and were their sworn enemies. He said that the only way to survive was to accept his help. In desparation, to save the Forests, Yelmalio agreed and allowed the Eater inside him. The others stood aside and would not attack him and Yelmalio stood once more, strong, powerful and full of Glory. He had achieved the Big Prize and could defend the Forests from all enemies. His friends, Arroin and High King Elf, saw him and approached him. High King Elf drove off the Eaters and Arroin would have healed Yelmalio but he was not wounded. Ever since, Yelmalio has helped the Forests and is the prime Guardian with High King Elf but strengthened with the power of the Hidden Eater.
The Hill of Gold Quest as known by the Aldryami is basically a Defence of the Forest where Yelmalio defends the Forest against all-comers, is defeated by each but succeeds in protecting the Forest by each defeat. Unlike the normal Yelmalian Quest it is not a Loser Quest as Yelmalio succeeds by sacrificing himself. It can therefore also be seen as a Morality Play where the lesson of self-sacrifice is taught to young elves.
At the culmination of the Quest, Yelmalio takes the forces of Chaos as allies and becomes on of the Krjalki but only in order to protectthe Forest and avoid defeat. Theres is a tragic story and they should be pitied as well as admired for their self-sacrifice.
The Yelmalian Hill of Gold Quest has Four Stations.
On the Stations, Yelmalio may not heal himself of any of the wounds taken earlier in the Quest. Only Inora and Arroin may heal him.
Here, Orlanth storms into the Forest and fights Yelmalio. This is a toe-to-toe slugging contest where Yelmalio traditionally goes into Shield Wall mode and tries to resist Orlanth's attacks. However, Orlanth is too strong for him and knocks him down.
Orlanth uses Storm magic here to blow Yelmalio over, often summoning strong winds for this very purpose. Orlanth's prize is the Yelmalian's Spear which he throws at Orlanth (and always misses) and his armour.
Yelmalio must defeat this god or lose Fire Powers.
Zorak Zoran must fight Yelmalio here. If Yelmalio was defeated by Orlanth previously he will have no armour and no spear and will be unable to cast Protection or Shield. If he has the Cloak of Brilliance he may cast Sunbright and Shimmer. Obviously, this will be an unequal contest. If Yelmalio defeated Orlanth but gave up his armour and Spear then he may still cast Shield and Protection. If he defeated Orlanth and kept his armour and spear then he may fight as normal.
If Zorak Zoran wins here then he may take all Fire Powers owned by Yelmalio. This includes magic items, spells and abilities. He may choose to kill Yelmalio but will be prevented if Yelmalio makes a Just trait roll. If Yelmalio wins here he may take any Fire Powers owned by the Zorak Zoran Questor and may use them without the normal Yelmalian restrictions.
The Troll Mother is substituted here as Hell Wood is too far from Saird to have Inora's prescence. Yelmalio fights the Troll Goddess by blinding her with his Light and running away. Hecan use Sunbright or Lantern for this and usually fights trollkin or Cave Trolls who are scared of Light.
If Yelmalio has his Armour then he can wear it and can cast Protection and Shield. If he does not have his armour but defeated Orlanth and gave up his armour then he may cast Shield and protection. If he was defeated by Orlanth and does not have his armour then he cannot cast Protection or Shield. If he does not have his Fire then he cannot cast Fire Magics. If he resisted Inora then he will not have the Cloak of Brilliance and will not be able to cast Shimmer of Sunbright.
He is faced by a number of Chaos Creatures, the number varies but always starts from a base. For every Station he defeats the number of Chaos Creatures is increased by the base number. So, if the Base Number is 3 and the Questor defeats Orlanth and Zorak Zoran then he is faced by 9 Creatures of Chaos, 3 for Orlanth, 3 for Zorak Zoran and 3 to start off with. At this stage, he will still have the unhealed wounds he gained on the earlier stations so the fight should be one-sided. Bear in mind that each of the Chaos Beasts should be at approximately the same level as the Questor.Sometimes the Chaos will try to kill the Questor, other times they will merely go through the motions. One of the Questors will be from the Krjalk cult and will try to persuade Yelmalio to accept his strength in order to defeat the Chaos. If Yelmalio rolls his Piety he will agree and will accept the Krjalki prescence.
If Yelmalio takes the Krjalki influence, he becomes one of the Krjalki and the Chaos stop attacking him. He becomes a member of the Krjalk cult and gains a Blessing of Krjalk, a series of Chaos Features that are hidden and only become visible through the Become Krjalk spell. He will be healed of all damage.
If this is the way he joins the Krjalk cult, the benefits he gets will mimic the Big Prize and will include thick skin, regenerate, protection from damage or other similar abilities. If he already has Krjalki powers, the new powers will be randomly rolled. Some Yelmalians perform this Quest often to gain more abilities. In this case, they may mot use their Krjalki abilities during the Quest as to do so would invalidate the myths.
If Yelmalio is being defeated by Chaos then he will be rescued by Arroin and High King Elf. These will often take the form of a HeroQuest party of Elves and Healers who perform their part of the Hill of Gold time and time again. They will drive off the Chaos without much combat. High King Elf will arm Yelmalio with a new Spear and new Armour. In return, Yelmalio agrees to help defend the Forests and Arroin, becoming an Elf Friend.
Should Yelmalio defeat or embrace the Chaos then Arroin and High King Elf will meet him as an ally rather than rescuing him. If he defeated the Chaos without Weapons, Armour or Fire then he gains the Big Prize, otherwise he merely survives and can add the combat to his Victory list. It is quite possible to defeat Orlanth, Zorak Zoran and Inora yet at each stage to give up his abilities as if he lost. This proves how strong and pious he is. If he takes the Krjalki powers then he has the equivalent of the Big Prize.
Yelmalians do not gain the Big Prize from Yelmalio, but rather from Krjalk. This is a mockeryof the Big Prize, according to foreign Yelmalians and is nowhere near as effective. However, it is effective enough and does not stop Yelmalians from attempting the Quest.