The group continues to try and recover the white jade statuette of Ahera and Ba intertwined, known as the Seal of the Faithful, that serves as a symbol of the bond between the long ago Priests of Nashwa, and the Ketaorum (aquatic serpent folk) who guard it, stolen by unfriendly Ketaorum, known as the Bond of Isthimil, trying to take over the area. With time, the Bond can use the Seal to control the Faithful.
The chamber they were in was dominated by a seated statue of Tevamurtyu, an ancieny kingdom’s goddess of the Underworld at one end, around the chamber were pillars carved into the shape of attendants, some flanking larger corridors, some concealing narrow ones. The goddess is taller than the others, and in her right hand is a palm leaf, held like a fan, in her left is a heart. The attendants, are carved to lookless distinct, to be the shades of the dead.
Fetnah found where one part of the floor had collapsed into a river, even with the magic armlets it was tricky to cross as a current pulled down, the silt of the sea being drawn here, making the area murky.
Smersh and the others looked around for secrets, hidden compartments in the friezes, secret drawers in the statues and the like, but the only thing of note was one part of the carved wall, an archway whose borders showed a waxing, full and waning moon, the central part within the border decorated with planets and stars.
Fetnah found that one of the moon decorations moved in a little, and, with experimentation and memories of decorations showing the passage of the soul, the sequence of waning, full and waxing opened a gate under the arch, to an ante-chamber used by the Priests .
This had a font with a statue of the goddess built on one side, on the opposite wall from the door were cupboards containing rotted clothing and objects. Within that were found somethings in good condition.
The statue of the goddess here also head a palm fan and a heart, but they were removeable. The fan was a bronze waraxe, the heart was hollow silver.
José took the axe, the heart was a more complex matter. The feeling Smersh had holding it seemed uncomfortably soul searching. He passed it to Fetnah, and in the following conversation, Fetnah got some insight into when Smersh was skirting falsehood. Arpaesis arrived,
A reminder that the heart, to this goddess, is a symbol of the inner state of the soul, and this silver heart allowed her priests to see past the surface of worshippers’ thoughts, and uncover deceit
Disturbed by this, Smersh prayed to the Goddess but was actually surprised to get an answer. The Goddess would lend her aid to the group but all the artefacts of her temple must be placed in the care of the temple in Nashwa when they an done.
Somewhat flabbergasted, Smersh tidied up this chamber, as best as he could in its flooded state, showing respect to Tevamurtyu. Whether that was from fear or honour no-one, save maybe the Cold Ones, Tevamurtyu and Smersh (and perhaps Fetnah holding the silver heart) knows for sure.
From the antechamber, they headed back into the main temple then south into a large corridor. To the east were three Ketaorum with swords, to the west were two robed Ketaorum, each brandishing a short wand.
The robed priests do something with the wands, and rods of red light extend, the heat from them boiling the water around them.
[NOTE this game was being played on May 4th, as written they would have been summoning a demon ]
A fight ensues. Farshad utilises the magic of his sword, which coats it in shadow. Some jokes about ruling Mandatory. Arpaesis uses “Bar the Way” to hold back a swordserpent in a very Forceful way. These made me happy given the day.
Generally though, the fight was with the group. Only Farshad received a grievous wound, but Fetnah risked possession to cast a healing spell, but the group handed out grievous injuries.
Again, I will have to look at the armour again, to rebalance heavy armour from being TOO impervious, especially with a shield, either that and/or look at ganging up and increasing damage.
Utana especially seemed invulnerable
After the fight, it was late, it was time to go for the night, but I didn’t think that there was enough to pick up and keep going in the temple, so I wrapped up with the information that they discovered three Faliscan captives, ambassadors heading to Nashwa and captured by the Keteaorum, and collars put on them.
They return to Nashwa, to find all others arrived, including Niralha the magistrate, the conference is finally begun.
And there we left it