The Jewel of Smokara

Tomb Raider pt. 2
How to summon the devil 101

Two doors stand before them, right and left.  Opting to go right, the group finds a hallway with a massive carving hastily scrawled over some worn paint.  Trevor is quick to point out the symbol of Pelor while Aang investigates the painting beneath.  He finds the same symbol as on the doors.  Having researched the history prior to their journey, Trevor tells the group of the the cults downfall – how priests of Pelor and Bahamut came to desecrate the grounds and eradicate the worshipers.  

Through the winding corridor they find what appears to be a sitting room.  After killing the ghouls and skeletons that were left scavenging through the ruble, they make their way to what appears to be a library.  Books, tomes, and ledgers line the walls floor to ceiling.  After looking at a few of the volumes, Trevor and Aang realize that one shelf contains ledgers with dates falling back to 3,000 at the oldest – 1,500 at the earliest.  Bex digs through the desks to try and find valuables while Luther finds tomes in languages he cant comprehend.  

Off to the right side of the library, Marx notices a book that isnt sitting right with the rest and an outline of what appears to be a door.  After pulling the mysterious book from the shelf, a door appears and a long corridor that does not appear to have been traveled recently.  After navigating through traps and skeleton warriors, the group stumbles upon a private library with tomes and books that appear to be in complete contrast with the room they were in previously.

Lining the walls were tomes, journals, and books with silver and gold leafed pages, mostly in a language that they couldnt comprehend.  To Trevor and Aang, their best guest was Draconic but it did not fully look like the same alphabet.  Knowing that the secret door appeared from a book on the shelf, Luther begins to start pulling tomes and throwing them on the floor.  During the frenzy, two torn pages fly to the ground from an unknown book.  Written in a gold ink on fine linen paper,  Luther assumes they are valuable and gives them to Trevor for safe keeping.  Aang takes a few of the books from the shelves knowing that they must be priceless. Able to decifer a few of the symbols, it appears to be books related to the Draconic pantheon.

 Marxs notices that there has not been any traffic in this room – at least not like the others that have had recent evidence of people.  In one of the couch cushions he finds a piece of obsidian and pockets it.

Moving back through the library and sitting room, the group finds what appears to be an alter.  Aang points out that it is customary to leave trinkets and offerings on alters like this – gifts for the god's favor.  The slab before them is barren. Items that had once been there are no longer present.

Bex begins to feel uneasy when she hears noises coming from a near by door.  While the rest of the group charges in to investigate the noise, Bex and Luther hang back a little apprehensive.  Hearing that there are more skeletons and wolves in the next room, Bex takes Luther around to the side to meet in what appears to be a large banquet hall.  

Inside they find evidence of a hasty exit – over turned chairs and rotting food.  Aang offers Luther a gold if he licks the black ooze coming from one of the crates.  Not one of his best moments, Luther agrees and immediately begins  vomiting.  Once he composes himself, Luther pulls Aang aside to have a conversation while Bex, Marx and Trevor continue to investigate the kitchen.

At the other end of the room there is a hallway leading to what appears to be rooms. Marx notices another secret passage.  While the others continue to look through the rooms and scavenge through the debris, Marx and Bex go through the passage to find a long dark hallway.  

When the group eventually comes together, Aang notices the illusion as a curtain of magical darkness.  With Luther's flaming sword, the group ventures down the long hallway.  About mid-way down they notice a shadowy figure pressed against the right side of the wall.  Upon further investigation it appears to be a body.  Marx is able to tell that it had been there for a very long time – nailed to the stone with its face burned, stretched, and mangled.  Trevor notices through its mangled clothes that it appears to be a priest of Bahamut.  Offended by the desecration, Trevor vows to take the corpse with him and give the cleric his proper rights.  Aang takes caution, seeing this as a warning.  Further down the hall is evidence of previous attempt to desecrate – verses of Bahamut's scripture are scrawled in the stone.

Turning the corner, Bex and Marx notice what appears to be a trap in the floor.  Unsure what it is, Marx stops – Aang and Luther follow suit behind him.  Left on his own, Trevor walks through the trap and triggers a panic alarm causing him to run randomly into a massive hall.  Not wanting him to get far, Aang runs to grab him but the nimble teen is able to squirm his way from his grip.   When Trevor comes to he realizes the presence of the room – large, dimly lit and oppressing.

When Marx enters the room he notices the sharp smell of metal and the dark colors on the walls.  The dark maroon color is actually from layers of dried blood.  Along the walls are symbols and sigils of the Demon Prince, Orcus.  In the center of the room sits a large dais with a massive scull that appears to have come from a goat.  Trevor quickly gets up to try and defile the symbols with his mark of Heronious using a scimitar from one of the skeletons.

Aang goes to search the dais, knowing that it is common for places of worship to hide trinkets to help improve the potency of their power.  Enlisting Luther's strength, he is able to shove the stone slab enough to crawl into the hollow dais and retrieve its contents.  Curious as to where the massive skull could have come from, he picks it up to examine it further.

Whether the defiling of the symbols or the disruption of the dais, the group wasn't quite sure which triggered the tremor. Once the temple settled, each exit filled with skeleton warriors with wolves in tow.  

Making quick work of the defenders, the group takes a moment to rest and eat while Trevor hacks at the symbols on the wall.

The party is initially split on which direction to go.  Luther wishes to check the hallway leading from the giant worship room while the others want to check the locked door in the far corner.  With some persuading from Marx, Luther follows.  Behind the door, the group finds a large circle connecting 5 symbols similar to the ones lining the walls of the hall they were in a moment ago.  Inside the circle, a pedestal sits with a slit at the top. 

A few head to the corner of the room to rummage through a pile of debris, making sure to avoid the marks carved in the floor.  Marx and Trevor move around the opposite way. Overcome by the pungent smell of blood, death, and decay, Trevor runs to the opposite corner of the room and throws up.  

In the room where the smell is emanating, piles of dead bodies line the walls.  Marx is able to determine that they are all in various states of decay – the most recent falling in line with the the activity seen through most of the temple.  Aang picks up a basic dagger from one of the bodies and holds onto it for later use.  The group goes back to the previous room to try and decipher the meaning of the room.

Aang and Trevor are able to determine that the room was used for summoning, but what they are not sure.  Luther takes the dagger that Aang lifted from the corps and is able to determine that the hole inside the pillar fits the dagger, but nothing happens once a dagger is placed in the slot.  

Bex asks for 'Anthon's dagger' which fuels Luther's suspicions of Bex not being 100% truthful about her being in the temple before.  Afraid of what the circle might summon, Trevor warns Luther that they should not try and activate the circle.  Trevor is ignored.

Bex and Marx decide to go and check the other end of the large hall but realize that it would be a better idea to go as a group.  When they return, Luther and Trevor are on the cusp of a fight as Trevor attempts to break the circle with his mark of Heronious. They eventually follow Bex and Marx back down the hall.

At the other end of the great hall, a wide corridor lined with torches opens to tombs flanking each side.  While in the hallway, Luther calls out Bex and questions her again about the dagger. Hearing this, Trevor also begins questioning her with a little more force. Tensions rise and Bex is pushed into admitting her previous involvement with the thieves that came down a week ago.  She admits that things turned bad and she was only narrowly able to escape alive.  She again brings Osmund Riddle's intentions into question.  Trevor backs off slightly, more concerned with the impending evil th at surrounds the temple.  Luther agrees to move on, but still does not trust Bex.

While the three are fighting, Marx approaches Aang about a secret door he found at the bottom of the hall.

 

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They awoke to find the same thing – a pressed white linen stationary with an embossed crest of a griffin head in a crisp black ink.  The letters 'OM' woven into the crest. 'Fox and Thistle  4:30' hand written in perfect penmanship.

Trevor Sayre – the youngest child of Bernard from house Sayre – knew this establishment well.  It was known through out the city of Albuxa as being an inn catering to the well established merchants of the city.  It was a notorious place for making deals.

Both Luther and Marx, being suspicious of both the invitation and their proposal from the day before, decided to arrive early and scope the inn out before entering.  Though trying to be stealthy, Marx notices Luther and they both decide to enter the establishment together. Aang has similar thoughts and decides to watch the building from the center of the market plaza.  Trevor arrives earliy for the meeting and sits at a table with a good view of the door.

Once inside, the motley crew realizes that they recieved a similar summons – Luther, Marx, Aang, Trevor and Bex.  

"He'll see you now" an Elven female approaches the group and ushers them to a room down a hallway and back behind the bar.  Bex and the woman exchange a few thinly veiled jabs as they are led to a small room with a large wooden table and a spread of food.  Trevor and Bex both take no time to sit and eat while Marx and Luther still remain cautious.  Aang stands and the door and awaits their guest.

Within a few moments a man enters the room – tall and slight with dark features and chin-length dark hair.  Behind him, a short young woman with an unfortunate scar under her eye and a permanent scowl.  The group recognizes him as the merchant Osmond Riddle – the mysterious man who approached them a few days earlier contracting them for a job.

After encouraging everyone to sit and enjoy the spread laid before them, he begins to tell the group of the long forgotten temple sitting below the city and the brief history of the Cult of Orcus. Unfortunately, over the past few days the temple had become unsealed and the evil contained inside threatened to spill out into the city once more.  Having a vested interest in the wellbeing of the trade city, Osmond asks for the groups help in securing the temple.

Trevor gladly agrees to smite all the evil, seeing this as a way to get his feet wet. Bex scoffs and banters shortly with both Osmond and the young woman. They eventually agree and Osmond offers to purchase any interesting relics or artifacts found inside the temple.  It had been sealed for centuries with unknown treasures lying within the walls.

After the meeting, Aang addresses the young woman as Bryn, and tried to engage in conversation with her.  She has no interest in talking. While exiting the room- they agree to rest for the evening before heading out to find the temple the next morning.  To prepare for the trip, many begin shopping for rations and potions, Marx agrees to make healing salves at cost – undercutting the price of the vendors. Trevor goes to speak to his family to get more information on the temple and see if his more experienced siblings have anything to combat undead. Aang offers to buy the group rooms at the inn he is staying – the Ram's Horn.  All agree except Marx – he returns the room for a refund and goes to sleep in a tree in a nearby patch of woods.

The next morning, Aang awakes to a letter written on the same stationary.  'Seawolf.  Right Left Right Left Left.' 

Everyone meets for breakfast and Trevor shares his knowledge about the Cult and stresses how grave the situation could be if this evil escaped. Aang shares the note that he recieved and goes to ask Copperbeard some questions if 'Seawolf' means anything to him.  He learns that a boat with the same name just docked this morning.  The Ram's Horn being a popular stop for tradesman and sailors, he is familiar with several of the shipping schedules.

The group goes to find the ship and tries to decipher what the rest of the note means.  Once at the pier Copperbeard told them to look at, the group begins to look at the docked ships, searching for the one named 'Seawolf'.  Aang is distracted by what appears to be a tunnel under the ramp to the dock and dashes off – following the directions on the card. 

Trevor is torn with whether to follow, but instead stays with Luther, Marx, and Bex while they continue to search for the ship.  The eventually find the Seawolf and see nothing out of the ordinary – just some exceptionally strong sailors and crates full of fruits and tropical exports.  Satisfied with the assessment the run to follow Aang.  Trevor then remembers the network of tunnels under the market – as a child he was always warned against going near them.  When the Cult was at its rise, these tunnels were how they traveled through the city unnoticed.

Aang finds the temple first – two large fire-washed metal door with a relief of the symbol of Orcus.  Trevor notices the shattered handles and makes the assessment that something large and powerful tried to attack the door.  Outside the doors Marx spots patches of dried blood that look to be left within the past week.

While investigating, Aang and Trevor notice the temple has been warded against evil – the ward does not appear to be broken.  Bex immediately brings the intentions of Osmond Riddle into question.  While they discuss the situation, noises can be heard from inside the temple.  Cautiously they enter the temple to find a mangled corpse in the corner of the antechamber – eviscerated and eyes scorched.   After some investigation, it appears the sconces on the wall are trapped.

They follow the trail to the next room into what appears to be a worship hall – large 20ft ceilings with murals of deplorable acts, devils and demons.  In the corner of the room, wolf skeleton gnawing on parts of the corpse from the other room. The wolf is no match for the group, though, is obliterated .

 

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