Reader: The following takes place during the long search of Kadar Ravaning. As I previously noted, my account hits only the highlights, to avoid boring you with a page full of statements like "and then we turned east and saw a long hallway with five doors". I apologize for any confusion or disappointment that may result.
Chapter 61: More Clues
Bats, frogs, and blind fish.
Stone and rock, water, thrones, runes.
Faeries delving deep.
~ Miyara Miwa
There was nothing else here, so we returned to the octagonal room. There was one more exit: some stairs led down a short way and Res Lee said it ended in another octagonal room. Another black stone in the middle of room: about 6ft long, 4 ft wide, 2.5 ft high. Solid stone again, with runes and strange symbols on it, some of which were inlaid with silver leaf. He said they looked like all the other runes around here. Probably ancient faerie, then. Kyosuke believes all these black rocks are altars: they are near rooms with robes nearby. He is likely right.
We went into the room anyway, and discovered exactly what Res Li described to us. The White Faerie confirmed that the runes are the usual indecipherable faerie runes. The rest of the room was pretty plain. The top edge corner of this altar that points to the other door out was worn down, as of numerous hands brushing against it over time. Habit? Ritual? Kyosuke rubbed his hand along the corner experimentally, but nothing happened.
Res Li reported that he could see nothing but the exit tunnel all around us, which was stairs going down as far as he could see. There was a trap on the stairs; if we step on a certain five steps, they will cave in and a bear trap will close on our legs.
Looking at Ravena's map, we could see that all the stairs leading to the lake did so going up; perhaps we needed to go further down to find their origins. Res Li defused the trap in the stairs with a flourish, and we proceeded safely. A few more steps down, and Res Li said, "Ah, I see it now!" At the end was another Octagonal room with a big stone dais, two thrones, and a big black block of stone. This was the temple room we saw from the other side.
I asked Res Li to look for a trap on the this side, but he said there was none. He described for us what was on the other side of the closed door. Res Li opened the door and we saw what he described:
The great temple of Kada Ravaning is one of the few areas still undisturbed. The room was 20 feet high, and all surfaces were painted black. A few tapestries hung from rails near the ceiling while the rest of the rails were bare. The tapestries for the north wall were puddled on the floor with several orc skeletons. Damp, moldy. But the designs were visible and were like the robes in the vestry area. In middle was a three-step stone dais, about 20 feet by 12 feet by 2 feet. On it was a large solid black rock, about 8 by 5 by 3. It was carved with archaic runes, some inlaid with gold leaf, others crumbled. At each corner of the block were twisted faerie gargoyles. At either end was an ornately carved stone throne facing away from the block. The north one was inlaid with gold and silver while the south one was quite plain. Scattered around were the remains of wooden furniture, some charred as though there had been an explosion in here. There were three doors, as we had seen before. We were looking through on the two sets of western doors. The other one was the door we saw on the other side of the trap. On the south wall were double doors. Res Li said there were stairs that led up to the lake room in a steep climb.
Hosei looked for magic before we entered, and reported that the room absolutely reeked of magic. The big block was powerful, as were the thrones, all the tapestries, the gargoyles, the south doors. The rest of the room echoed all that magic.
He said the stone had to do with burial rites, rites of the dead. Same for the thrones. same for the gargoyles. The tapestries were protective against all who are unclean, or defilers, or intruders, or sacrilegious. The south doors were locked by the magic.
Hosei guessed that the room was used as part of the burial rites for kings, so the priests who did the burying had a way to come in here without getting being affected by the gargoyles and tapestries and the other protective magic.
Kyosuke and I both think wearing the robes and carrying the sticks might help.
The scroll we have is obviously incomplete and part of a greater ritual which we don't have. But the other scrolls might be somewhere around here. Until we discover the complete ritual, though, it would be foolish to enter the room.
We again carefully studied Ravena's map. She pointed out that during our short employment with the faeries here, we had been walked upstairs through a long series of tunnels which she didn't map at the time. There were some forks we didn't follow, some doors, other passages. And when we were given our first (and last) assignment, there were also some forks we didn't follow. The faeries were all over the place at the time, but they're likely busy elsewhere because of Menduri's arrival. So we decided to return to that level and finish searching it. Perhaps the faeries already found some of the scrolls we need.
We retraced our steps up the stairs, and Res Li reset the trap at the top. Back at the top, we figured which rooms we hadn't been to yet. Some of them connected to the long staircase Kyosuke and Res Li surveyed. The guards had indeed vanished.
We searched several rooms, some empty, others being used as sleeping quarters or guard rooms. We found nothing. We eventually found ourselves back in the throne room Sundurimu was using as his workshop and private quarters, and then into an entire area we hadn't seen yet.
In the room with the shrine that hid the ladder, Res Li took a more careful look and discovered that the top rung of the ladder was actually a carefully constructed hollow tube that held safe a scroll. We retrieved it. Hosei confirmed it was not magical, and the White Faeire read it.
Speak the runes, and with hands fresh cleansed, touch the holy signs which weave around the words. This, then, shall pass you on into the holy place free from taint and free from hurt.
Our ticket in. Assuming we can read the runes correctly, which may be a big assumption.
Res Li said there was nothing else of interest in the area, and we returned to the throne room. He looked around very carefully and said there didn't seem to be anything particularly special here, except he could see a scrollcase on the floor of the dais, hidden behind the center throne at the foot of the faerie warrior statue behind it.
Unfortunately, he pointed, and Kyosuke took that as a directive to go up and look. I had not had time to ask Hosei about magic nor Res Li about traps. I shouted, "Wait!" but it was too late.
He stepped on the dais, and the five statues came to life, leaping to attack him and the rest of the party.