5 Awakening 508 (continued)
…The party leaves the room with the statue and enters a wide sanctuary split by the 5’-wide rift. The room is distinctive with 5′ × 5′ alcoves along its left side, the walls of each adorned in the nightmarish tentacle motif of the pillars. Rilka and Savaric lead the way, looking ahead with their darkvision, while the two sorcerers ( Surm and Mõrvar ) remain behind, lighting their way with the eldritch glow of magic upon Mõrvar’s spearhead.
Finally, the party comes to a halt at a scene of carnage. Five lifeless bodies lie on the ground before them. Two of them are warriors, marked as such by their weapons and armor. Another carries a crooked staff in the manner of a follower or priest of Yülthn. The two others are skeletons, covered in slick blood—both wear ragged chain armor and carry rusted, broken scimitars. While Mõrvar contemplates the scene, Rilka declares that the men were fighting the skeletons, citing her soldier’s training for her authority—an assertion with which Mõrvar concurs. Further, it appears that the follower of the All-Father had attempted to use holy water on one of the creatures. The blood on the skeletons is much fresher than that of the wounds on the men, which Surm ascertains occurred a few days ago. The sorcerers speculate that perhaps ritual magic was used in the case of the skeletons. In the meantime Savaric has determined that bloody trails lead from the skeletons into the darkness up ahead. Searching the bodies of the fallen, Surm finds another map to this location—this one more professionally made and using Josemeedt as a landmark. He also finds more holy water as well as assorted traveling gear.
While the party debates the grisly scene before them, they are interrupted by the sound of click-clack-clanging coming from ahead, further into the sanctuary. The party immediately goes on their guard as, emerging into the light, they see three armored, bloody skeletons coming towards them, weapons raised to attack. Rilka manages to dispatch hers with her falchion, though she notes that the bones are hard to cut with her blade. Savaric attempts to do the same to his creature but his blade is impeded by the lack of flesh on the bones. Mõrvar attempts to keep the third at bay with his long spear but fails as it moves in to attack. In the meantime, Surm had managed to take a flask of holy water from one of the bodies, water which he flings at the skeleton on his brother. It recoils in pain but continues to advance. Rilka moves to do battle with the creature fighting the humans—allowing Savaric’s foe to take a swipe at her with his blade. Savaric fells his skeleton while the others destroy theirs. Finally, the party bloody and tired, the battle is done.
More sounds of click-clanging are heard on the other side of the rift. Mõrvar casts light upon a stone and throws it across to light the area. Three more skeletons are scene advancing from alcoves across the way. They stop their advance at the rift. After an attack by Mõrvar with his long spear, the skeletons retreat to their alcoves, only to be spelled to destruction by Mõrvar, who lobs acid at them.
The party advances further into the sanctuary, wondering why people are seeking out this place of darkness—and just how many more have maps to find it.
At the north end of the sanctuary, they find a broken obsidian altar, carved with the same strange tentacle motif found on the pillars. Rilka inspects the altar and finds that it has grooves made to collect blood. Skirting past the altar through a doorway made narrow by the rift, the party finds themselves in a vestibule. The rift ends here in a 10’ wide pit. The floor and walls are covered in mosaics depicting tall, thin priests summoning tentacled clouds of darkness from the skies.
Moving on, the party enters a vestment chamber. Desiccated wardrobes hang open, revealing ancient rotten robes that disintegrate at a touch. Mosaics in the room depict tall thin priests being dressed by pages and servants wearing spiked, oppressive collars. The party must choose to continue to the east or west side of the structure. They choose west.
The party enters a wide, oddly-shaped corridor. Mosaics along the walls depict shadowy forms in the sky smiting armies upon the ground. From here the party decides to check out what is beyond a rotted wooden door. Entering, they find an receiving room with two rotted armchairs and an ancient sideboard. There is an arched doorway to the north that opens into a bedchamber. Delicate tapestries depict a tall, thin priest being crowned by shadowy figures in the sky. A large bed, a gold-trimmed basin table with a tarnished brass basin, a desk, and a wardrobe fill the room. The desk holds ancient parchments, crumbling to dust, covered in indecipherable marks and sigils. Extensive searches reveal nothing of interest in the room.
Leaving the bedchamber and returning to the corridor, the party arrives into an antechamber with an iron spiral staircase leading down. A rotted wooden door marks the south wall. Mosaics depict more of the tall, thin priests bowing before shadowy figures in the sky. The door reveals a long hallway lined with dormitory rooms, none of which hold anything of interest, save mosaics on the ceilings depicting tentacles descending down. After an extensive search of each room, the party heads down the spiral staircase.
The staircase descends into a large antechamber with mosaics depicting more of the strange thin priests bowing before shadowy figures in the sky. There is a corridor leading west. Following the corridor, the party comes upon a series of cells, each guarded with a locked door and a portcullis. Continuing down the corridor, they find a large room with a rotating table in the center. The table has leather binding straps upon it. Along the walls are chains and manacles. A wooden cabinet holds the rusted implements of torture within it. The party, save for Mõrvar, is appalled—though he does reiterate that there is something creepy about this place overall.
Nevertheless, they decide to open one of the cells. After ;Mõrvar and Rilka demonstrate their strength, they manage to open the rusty portcullis and break into a cell. Inside is the skeletal remains of an unusually tall and thin humanoid—not human. The party, despite an indifferent Mõrvar, decide to take out all of the bones to inter them outside the temple.
As Mõrvar heads toward the spiral staircase, he sees a vision of a tall, thin priest unlocking a secret panel in the wall opposite the corridor and heading inside. Mõrvar then sets down his load and goes to the wall—and sure enough, there is a secret panel. The others come with their burdens and ask him what he is up to. He tells them about the vision and the secret door. The party is instantly on its guard against whatever gave him that vision. Nevertheless, Mõrvar convinces the party to check out what is beyond the secret panel.
The party continues down a wide corridor until their way is blocked by a collapsed debris and a crawlspace. Crawling through, they find themselves in a partially collapsed chamber another altar in the center of the room. The mosaic on the floor here depicts a massive, tentacled beast. The walls have mosaics depicting this beast destroying cities and people. Set into the altar is a green gemstone, pulsing with green light. The room grows warm.
Mõrvar has another vision, this time of a tall, thin priest casting spells through the green gemstone and burning through warrior after warrior on a field of battle. This causes a great deal of consternation in the party—as well as fear. Suddenly, Mõrvar feels re-energized with life while everyone else feels a cold pain enter them. Surm declares that they need to get out of here now—that this gem is not good and who knows why it wants Mõrvar. He doubts that they have the power to destroy it—an utterance upon which the room starts to grow cold, convincing the party to leave with haste through the crawlspace. They decide to leave the bones behind.
Arriving at the sanctuary once again, the party is met by two bloody skeletons, returned to life! They once again strike them down. Continuing on, they discover that the skeleton that Surm had splashed with holy water did not rise—prompting Surm to sprinkle holy water on the fallen skeletons. Mõrvar casts their bones into the rift.
Surm thinks that the party should collect the fallen men and go to Josemeedt to find a priest of Yülthn and let them know what they found. He doesn’t want to loot the bodies to get the goodwill of the priest. So the party hauls the bodies up and out of the crawlspace and out of the temple. Dirty and tired, the party finds themselves outside in late afternoon with three dead bodies and a lot of unanswered questions.