The day in the Palace of the Magistrate of Eshtaband opens as it usually does, with servants seeing to the needs of the officials and priests in the Palace. Rooms and food are prepared, passages swept and, in the quarters of the agents, Fetnah makes her peace with the spirit world, to clear her connection and enhance her powers.
The first order of business for the group comes from Shararah, the duty liason between the group and Harvan, once a position occupied by Utana before he became their, in Harvan’s eyes, leader or, to put it bluntly, the one to blame if things go wrong. Shararah takes them to the Palace armoury, there weapons and armour are made available to them, though José prefers to buy his own, which has been fabricated since he ordered it. The archers also had more silvered arrows made,
The group improve their protection, though, of course, wearing armour normally is frowned upon, on penalty of arrest as a possible bandit or rebel, and decide to get recruitment of the army of servants that they will need for the conference, started. Shararah points them at Tingis, the deputy to the Palace major-domo.
As this is very much in Tingis’s normal day to day work, he is more than happy to help though, of course, as he is doing the group’s work, they should pay him a consultant’s or finder’s fee. Fetnah and Utana persuaded him that instead, his fee would be expenses of the conference. Tingis drafted a requisition on a wax tablet, and got Utana’s mark authorising it.
That being done, they saddled up to ride the hour to the Palace of Nashwa, this ancient Hassaryu palace was once the home of Governors and before that, local monarchs. Within the walled pennisula, roughly six square miles, are a complex of buildings and, to the east some older ruins. In a small wood of trees, a large rock, the entrance to the tombs of the monarchs, south of that, a Temple to the cold ones, old, in need of repair, but sopunder than it looks, and to the east of that, a ruined tower.
The gates through the walls were closed, but opened to some pushing from Utana, after Jalabu’s attempts to open it with his head had failed. Inside the comple, they noticed the lack of upkeep, it was not fallimg down and it was untidy and, finding the head caretaker, Armon, an elderly human whose assistants, he said, were not much younger. The Palace gets maintenance once a year, but that is not, from what can be seen, enough to do all that is needful, the supplies are only enough for the current staff, and the bedding and accoutrements of a working palace are inadequate.
As they go, they check the wells, being surprised at how deep and sweet the water was, The lines were ling, the wells lined with smooth stone and lay
Confirming what they should have known about the state of the place, they decide to check out the ruins. Summoning a reluctant and surly spirit of the area, Fetnah learns that the area above ground is home to that one, underground in the tombs were the unquiet spirits of the dead monarchs, 5 of them and their servants, who resent their descendants no longer ruling. The local spirit offered two notions, the unquiet monarchs would have to be destroyed or placated with offerings, to show respect. The local guide did ask that, to persuade it to do what it could during the conference, offerings of incense and flowers be, made at the Temple.
Next, to the Temple of the Cold Ones. In better repair than it looked, the local spirit told of crypts underneath. These were after a store of religious regalia and tools. The crypt was in good order, niches of urns surrounded by model grave goods. Smersh’s connection with the Cold Ones let him know that they were still connected to the temple, and he felt that the local spirit’s desire for daily sacrifices would be easy to achieve with the normal worship.
Next to the Tower, a ruin, the upper floors fallen, but the group found that fallen wreckage was, in fact, a door, opening on a sloped passage leading down and east towards the salt lake. Jalabu led the way, his magic shield lighting as they went, until Utana and Smersh almost slipped on wet moss, into water as the passage continued down.
For some reason, Farshad admitted to being able to swim, so they sent him down into the water at the end of the rope. Farshad did not far well but, more worryingly, a serpentine figure with arms and hands came for him and he was yanked bodily out of the water, narriowly avoiding smashing his head on the ceiling.
The serpentine figure with its snaky face did not follow and so they left, intending next time to go to the tombs under the rock. Not sure why, but that is for next time, and there we left it.