The group took stock after the fight in the first courtyard of the drowned temple. Annoyed by the court demands up in the palace, Utana found the note, grabbed the armlet and darts and got a fisherman to take him to the island. There, he and Jalabu went to join the others, though Farshad and Arpaesis went back up to help Dhran guard their boat.
There they caught up with events, seemingly unfazed by being able to speak underwater or a temple carved into rock, made to imitate architecture. The group got a good look around the first courtyard and spotted that it was lit from above by a hole in the “roof” of the cave. Smersh scrambled up and out, saw that there was a cairn around the hole and the only creature he could see was a rabbit, munching heartily on the toe shaped leaves of a plant.
Returning to the group, they headed on southward, travelling a short corridor that came to an East-West T-junction. The way ahead was darker, even with the enhancement to vision from the magical armlets, so the group relied on the light from Jalabu’s magical buckler.
They chose to head Eastward as that was shorter and they could see a room ahead. Smersh leading the way, to find a room with three stone biers end on to the doorway and on the opposite wall, an altar. The floor and flat surfaces were covered in bones, rotting cloth and leather and gobbets of deliquescing flesh. Smersh looked through seeking valuables, Fetnah used Ibalka’s senses, seeking for spirits, and Jalabu was giving the stone biers and altar a once over.
Fetnah did see a spirit, however too late for Smersh, whose sorting through the detritus of the room disturbed a disease spirit which he failed to fight off. Fetnah quizzed the spirit, hoping to persuade it to leave, but the spirit told her that it was comfy and warm where it was, thank you very much. It was decided that, as the spirit wouldn’t kill Smersh immediately, they could get rid of it later. If Smersh should die, however, getting rid off the spirit should be a lot easier, so that’s fine.
However Smersh did find some valuables in there, an untarnished silver ring, and a cracked ivory box. The box had a bronze roller seal in it. As Smersh tried on the ring, hoping to be suddenly infused with superpowers, Juan José spotted that the insignia on it, a wolf’s head, was of Faliscan design, his homeland. There was no special significance he placed on it regarding its origin or ownership, instead he explained that the wolf s a good luck token, signifying loyalty, bravery and resolve.
The altar was decorated, showing what seemed to be the purpose of this room, a preparation room for the dead, where they were cleaned and reclothed ready for the next stage of their journey.
Smersh and Fetnah are the only ones who might have known, but Fetnah is from the far East, so it is only Smersh’s memory that is jogged. He recognises that the symbology and rites is that of the Goddess of the Underworld Tevamurtyu of the pantheon worshipped by those that existed here then.
Satisfied that they understood this room, the group proceeded now to the West, the corridor ahead was undecorated, until it reached a bordered doorway that marked more storytelling. The corridor led to an alcove capping a route south. The story told here, Smersh recounted as of images of the long walk through the Forest of Twilight, towards the plains of reflection. Poking through the trees of the forest and in the grass of the plains are peacocks. (not that anyone noticed, but the ‘eyes’ of the tail feathers were the hands and heart symbol of Tevamurtyu.)
They noticed that, away from the light of the first chamber, the water was getting murkier, and the pathway south from the alcove also sloped down, and the water became darker yet, reducing their magically enhanced vision. Even Jalabu’s lamp-shield was reduced in effectiveness.
Following the corridor south to another crossroads, they decided to go East again, towards another doorway. However this passage had short narrow offshoots, though it was impossible to see past them as some kind of vertical surface was in the way. As the group continued East, Smersh decided to see what was down there.
The surface was the plain side of a carved pillar, the decorated side facing into a larger chamber. Smersh’s time to view the room was interrupted by two darts thrown by Keteaorum. Utana squeezed through to help, but from the western corridor came more, engaging Juan José and Jalabu.
Utana slew his foe with contemptuous ease, as did Smersh. (The critical Hit system is deadly.) and decent armour saved Juan José as he and Jalabu provided Fetnah with a meatshield as she recited a prayer that reduced the effectiveness of their foes.
Blood diffused through the water, but the group were victorious, and only lightly blooded, though remonstrative with Smersh for pulling them into an ambush.
And there we left it, until next time
(I need to check the armour protection vs damage, ensure that invincibility is not a thing)