Cresting the ridge we come upon a picture-perfect temple in the mountainside. Water flows around the temple off the roof and down the steps. The serene scene in front of us soothes with the gentle sounds of nature and water. Old runes carved into the temple resemble giant snakes running across the side of the temple with symbols of waves/water. The sun begins to set as we gather ourselves and follow Carter into the chamber before us.
The dim light of the chamber casts flickering shadows on a large pool and large swells making rounds. Our first path takes us into a small room with what appears to be mother croc and child. Not wanting anything to do with this we take to the next corridor.
The room is small but contains a dozen or so pygmy workers, seemingly mindlessly, bailing water out of the room into a hole in the wall. Carter murmurs something about drugs before taking aim at the nearest one. Scipio follows suit and pins one to the wall with his arrow. Short work is made of the remaining… zombies… and the room is searched. A couple of pouches of fine powder are stowed. Stepping back into the main chamber the dwarf tosses the dead pygmies into the water to the obvious glee of its residents.
A group of pygmy’s are chanting around a fire. Could this be a place of worship for them? Why haven’t we seen more? Dispatching them was easy enough in any case. This room, this is a room. One of the doors has a coiled serpent made out of stone. It’s very… uncomfortable. It’s undulating. A second door is covered with that black stone, which appears to be bleeding into the surrounding wall.
And bowl of some sort sits on a stone altar. Evidence of stains within are apparent but more importantly there is a sort of mechanism in the altar. Without experimenting further I spend some time on the black wall. The mass reacts to my presence, almost like it wants to pull away from me. I can sense… something? Something… confused? It’s squishy but… provides a resistance.
Ricfire pours water into the offering bowl which triggers ancient machinery in the walls to slide the serpent door open. Through the doors another lever beckons. Without hesitation he rushes forward to pull the lever. In the distance we again hear the sound of stone grinding. Tracing out path back we discover a now uncovered spiral staircase heading up into the ceiling. Reveling in the ancient stonework we ascend.
Shortly later we exit the spiral stairs onto the roof of the temple complex. To one side is the mountainside, to the other, a raised wall running most of the way down the roof’s length. Directly above us, attached to the wall, is a sort of gutter or aqueduct blocking a waterfall. Rails run from the wall to the mountainside, a total of four on each side of the spiral stairs.
Looking around wall, the rest of the roof comes into view. Starting from just beyond it lie deep, empty channels are carved around the perimeter of the temple roof. It doesn’t take long to surmise these are part of a drainage system, though right now only the overflow from the central pool is actually finding its way into the channel.
The aqueduct is directing the waterfall that central pool, which is in turn draining over the front ledge of the temple. What was our grand entrance we now understand was not entirely intended by the architects. The current is strong here but we are able to catch a glimpse of another mechanism under the water’s surface close to the front. Further inspection of the pool reveals a polished obelisk in its depths… with a serpent wrapped around it!
With a practiced throw Ricfire is able to catch hold with a grappling hook and pulls. Yet another tremble felt through the stone signifies something else has changed. The serpent remains motionless. A quick trip back down the stairs reveals another opened wall and another switch. Another pull and another echo of stone movement.
Something has clearly changed on the roof. Ascending the spiral we are greeted by the deafening crash of the waterfall. Evidently, the aqueduct has moved along the rails, no longer redirecting the flow of the waterfall. A curtain of water pours down flowing into the channels carved into the temple roof. The water gushes through the drains in the channel, giving the entire rooftop temple the appearance of an enormous fountainhead. Alas, the dark form in the water begins to stir, uncoiling itself from around the obelisk. A great, winged serpent emerges from the depths and takes to the air!
We mostly flail about trying to best the beast. At one point it even tried to coil itself around me and was nearly killed me. Luckily Carter’s aim was true and finished it off with a dagger to the eye.
The obelisk is a sight to behold. Oddly, the stonework of old hasn’t aged or decayed. The hairs on my neck raise as I take a closer look. There is a hum in the air as if the stone was vibrating. Reaching out turned out to be a bad decision as touching the stone sent me flying backwards. My bracer is now glowing? Could this stone be a large focus or center of energy for magic just as the legends told? I wonder…
Clouds swirl overhead, the ground rumbles, the obelisk starts to crack. My bracer glows brightly and sears my arm. The Obelisk cracks and shimmers, and them I’m on the ground. “It was good”. The throbbing magic dissipates in the air. Now, the only sense of magic is the bits and pieces of the obelisk.
Eventually we go back downstairs to the black door. I go to reach out to see what happens and the black mass grabs me! It continues to envelop my arm until it reaches an open wound. At the touch of my blood the black stone retreats.
As it melts away it reveals a chamber with bulbous black tendrils. The tendrils throb and expand coating the remaining bare stone. The floor heaves; the stone has become pliable. The source of the corruption was obvious: a hole, no, a wound in the floor, yawning up at us. The floor gives slightly when you stand on it, giving you the unsettling impression of flesh.
Ricfire obviously walks into the room and gets attacked by a camouflaged man-sized amorphous slug. After a bit of lazy fighting Carter finally kills it, again claiming victory of another fight. The dwarf cuts it open and out falls some sort of animal skeleton.
Carter tosses a grenade down the maw. Shockwaves spread and the floor caves in.