Ophidian’s temple

[Mine, 29-6-1024 – 04-7–1024]

After resting and refreshing in Silvertown you return to Mine and the buried temple.

Deep below the earth you follow a smallish roxor carefully avoiding patches of its stone eating acid. The roxor stops, up ahead the eerie green of force dome dimly illuminates the tunnel. The towering cobra head statues stare solemnly forward as the black dragon circles around and dives slamming itself against the barrier just before you pass through. Occasionally you hear grinding of stone, as if whatever force moved the temple here is still driving it through the earth. You hear another tunnel collapse.

Quickly passing to the rear of the temple the party enacts it’s plan to rip away the rest of the false floor. Which, as expected, causes more snakemen skeleton’s to emerge from the columns. Being prepared for this the skeletons are dealt with. More than a couple get pushed down the shaft. The paintings of snakemen on the columns from which skeletons emerged become faded and start to peel. Several columns with pristine paintings remain. Some desire to burn the paint, others think that might not be so wise. Since all of the false floor is now gone it’s decided to leave them be and head down.

Carefully lowering yourselves down the shaft you retrieve Qazir’s staff, deal with the fallen snakemen and smash up every last snake skeleton. This room is supported by 10 columns. That, you note with considerable trepidation, are painted with giant snakes and more snakemen. On three walls are passages 10ft off the ground. Picking one you discover it is dead end and a trap! The back wall moves forward pushing you back into the central chamber were, as you feared, giant snake and snakemen skeletons await. Several people nearly do not survive this encounter but everyone barely makes it back up the shaft.

After that the burnators win all arguments. Several flasks of oil, dragon snot, and numerous torches are used to create an inferno of skeletal destruction. Unfortunately it also creates acrid poisonous smoke that fills the shaft and most of the temple. Some characters must be dragged unconscious from the force dome. Everyone spends the next week recovering in House Majid(Vareef’s old house claimed in their tribes name by Djinn and Tariq)

Returning you find a dead small winged lizard spiked on a pole near the mine shaft. Asking Eriboea “Yeah I finally caught that pest out in the open and nailed it with my xbow. Really hard to spot those annoying lizards, ya know. Who’s the great hunter, eh Djinn?” When it becomes apparent you don’t know what she is talking about. “What? I told you about that, I must of. Didn’t you hear it’s voice, in your head. You did? Well what the hell did you think it was. You foreigners and city types sure are weird”

The tunnel and the dome still reeks of foul smoke. It gets stronger as you make your way once more down the shaft. Other than several characters getting nauseous there are detrimental effects. You are surprised to see a couple charred but still animated skeletons meandering about. Easily dealt with. The paint on the columns and walls is blackened and burnt.

Picking another tunnel you find a roxor nodule and several more further along. The murals painted along the walls stylistically depict a cave or natural tunnel. Along with the usual assortment of humans and snake-human hybrids there are huge snakes and large humans with tall curved helmets. Djinn points “That’s them, the giants that attacked the caravan, those helmets are the same”. Qazir and Ian both recognize symbols and styles of earth magic. As you continue down the passage coughing and retching from the lingering poison your hair raises as a sense of dread overwhelms the group. One character refuses to continue for several minutes but eventually recovers his wits.

Shortly the passage opens up into a roughly hexagonal shaped room. The floor is covered by hundreds of nodules, gathered up one side due to the temple’s tilt. There is a “band” roughly 6’ tall after which the walls slant inward towards the floor and ceiling. Along this band are several alcoves and niches. On one side much of the contents have spilt out onto the nodules. On the other the alcoves are obscured by them. The back wall has a giant mural[handout I’ll have to give you]

Suspended from the ceiling by four green metal chains is a shallow metal “bowl”. In the bowl are several large and unusual rocks. Floating above this is a large glowing green crystal similar in shade to the force dome. Wisps of green “smoke” rise from the rocks to this crystal. Next to/with in this bowl is something indescribable, something that should not be, can not be. The air is split open for about a foot. It looks like a wound or rend. Even though looking into the rend you see churning rocks, peering at it from the side it is thin and flat, in fact it is only two dimensional.

The air vibrates with power, the crystal slowly spins casting shadows that seem to leap and claw at the characters. Those not sick from smoke become dizzy & disoriented or collapse passed out for several minutes. You Fight the urge to flee for your lives because even in Ian’s blue torchlight the amongst the debris spilled from the alcoves glint of gold is unmistakable. A horrible, piercing noise of gnashing rocks emits from the rend and you see a roxor nodule pushing it’s way out of the rend. Slightly too large, the rend stretches with a mighty groan rattling the shallow bowl. Slowly the nodule grinds it’s way and then rockets out at incredible speed piercing the wall without a trace. It is followed by another nodule which, being smaller, emerges and plops out into the pile of nodules on the floor.

[Eventually the rend unstretches and returns to a more vertical slit. The first nodule is not found within the force dome.]

[Additional information mostly from Ian using arcane magics to read the heiroglyphs] It is not a temple. It is a tomb for a “regional governor”, his wife and servants, in something called the Sun Kingdom. He and his wife are the two huge cobra head statues outside. “Uro-o-Nubi” - the govener. “Nubi-a-Hafsah” - his wife. A major responsibility was aiding agriculture, collecting/taxing the harvest. Hence all the agriculture scenes and scenes showing tribute(the harvest) given. There are details of the governor’s life/exploits/his properties/how much he was loved by subjects/how much he loved his God-King ‘Sa’.

You find nothing and no one outside the temple that knows of Sun Kingdom, serpent men, etc. After describing architecture/writings a few think you are talking about Sunesh. You learn about Sunesh mummification and how they bury their dead in tombs with deadly traps, surrounded by servants, and stuff needed in afterlife. Several mention all the snake type and green metal artifacts in the markets. Some of which depict snake men (and arent’ objects your group has sold) You even pressed Dyrkius to inquire with his contacts at the Amphipolis Tricademy, nothing.