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Summary 308: Out With The Old King, In With The New (2022-10-29)

Giraine Summaries

Buenos dias,

Boamund recalls that the door to #8 from #2 was hopelessly blocked with rubble so you go west via #11. Maybe this room and the one to the west (#13) once connected to each other, but a wall here between them has totally fallen into ruin, blocking the western side, with a trail of rubble spilling out into the southern hallway. There is a normal stone door to the north and a snake-scaled door to the east. There is little left hinting at this room's former purpose, but there are gaps through the fallen masonry that reveal some decent frescoes and mozaics. Here and there, some glints show where metallic goods peak through the devastated chamber.

You look around and notice plenty of valuables. Sitting atop a little copper pedestal by the south wall, incongruously undisturbed, is a simple doll of roots and straw, but a red glint shows through its chest. You pick it up; Boamund tries prying the red thing out but it stuns him, repelling him backwards with great magical force, and he drops it; Orsattus takes it.

You go thru the door to #14. This large oblong chamber is in excellent condition except for some collapsed parts on its eastern side, but even those are not so bad. The floor has several fine carpets and numerous pillows, low stools ending in snake-feet, long bronze couches with green cushions, and other fineries. Some braziers in the corners stream little wisps of smoke, bringing a fine musky, spicy scent to the room. The walls are decorated with religious iconography clearly focused on devotion to Seshna, with female figures in lovely regalia making ritual or magical gestures or interacting with various beings. It is a scene frozen in Time, clearly a chamber for the priestesses of Seshna.

2 cobra-women (“nagas”) manifest with a whooshing hiss of air. “Who dares violate our chambers?” Fraud reveals himself and answers. “Can it be? The king foretold, of many kings?” “Yet king only in his own mind, or of a rubble heap.” “Or king of Seshna Gira's loins, if he knows what's good for him!” much laughter, chatter, etc. “And he brings friends? Or are they food? How long has it been since our last meal, seven centuries?” “Who knows, I am famished, that's all!” They laugh and prattle with each other, and Fraud. They are more aware than the serpent-priests.

“I am Larita, my sister is Minrissta.” “I can speak for myself! We are Seshna Gira's last priestesses, witnesses to her breaking.” “Yes, ever since keeping watch here from the Spirit Plane, which is quite boring if I may say so.” “Yes, at last some excitement. So, how can we help you? Is the Chaos dead? Is the old king gone?” “Have you found our great mother? What bad things have you done here? We don't want to clean up your messes. We're holy serpent-beings, not chambermaids!” They explain that Fraud's job as “new Froalar” or whatever is to take care of the Chaos and the immortal king, who they eventually get around to explaining is above (#23). Seshna is imprisoned by ancient magics not of her kind, and the snake-women helped prepare the temple for this but don't know the magics, they are foreign and alien to them. Later pressed for info, they say that a room down there (#19 surely?) was being prepared before they went to sleep but they never saw it, although they knew it explained what the nature of the magics was.

You go up to #23 to see what's up with this old king. This must have once been the most marvelous room in the Sepulchre of Seshna Gira, but the damage to the lower level continues up here, with the northwest side heavily collapsed. Some pillars have collapsed on the eastern side. Another scaly doorway to the southwest is broken open, the door lying to one side in pieces, whereas the southeastern one is in fair shape. Many treasures and containers are in a semicircle on and around the dais. Most prominently, to the south there is dais with a throne of copper legs, bronze frame, jade seat and elaborate golden serpent crest atop it. And on the throne sits a tall figure, wrapped in burial bandages, armoured in lacquered crocodile hide with a golden snake headdress and sapphire-studded silver bracers, wearing a snake skeleton on a silver chain around its neck, and with a decorated iron falchion leaning against the throne. The figure's eyes blaze blue as it looks right at you. It ignores everyone but Fraud.

It waits to be addressed, then proudly proclaims, “I am the Froalar of this Sepulchre of Seshna Gira. I am her husband protector as I have been for seven centuries, and I have done my task well. Our children are proof of this, as is the absence of mine enemies.” It discusses things with Fraud but remains imperiously proud. It does not care about much that Fraud raises, and insists that all here must remain as it was; asleep or dead. It is unaware that Chaos was here. It sensed the proximity of the Seshnelans and is curious of them. It lets on that it was an Old Seshnelan noble, in a way of the snake-blood, but it is short on details there. [Later from the snake-ladies you learn that the old king has no name, or known past. That has been shattered. He is / was an empty husk, only knowing his “duties”.] The old king does note some familiarity of the shells (from an earlier vision Fraud had w/Seshna Tibbolkorrin) when Fraud mentions them, saying (in a different, calmer tone) that these are “of the river”, but there are no shells here.

It finally says, “I cannot abandon my task as Froalar here. I am bound to it. Any who trifles with the Sepulchre must deal with me, and duel with me. You have done so, and so I must challenge you. There can be no mercy in this instance.” It stands, picking up its sword, and two snake guard mummies from #24 join in swiftly, keeping the others busy while Fraud tries to duel the old king.

The battle quickly goes poorly. The old king way outclasses Fraud; you were not ready for this confrontation. It ensorcels itself with speeding magics (33 DEX!), tries casting a spell on him but he evades (This was a -24 SIZ curse!), but then trips him and finally cripples Fraud with a terrible blow from its falchion. Meanwhile the others are doing their best with the two snakeman-mummies, who conjure fireblades on their broadswords, but they are skilled and even deal Bog a good head-wound. Orsattus joins the fray and tries to get Boamund to go confront the old Froalar as Fraud falls, but then the old king shouts out that Fraud is his and you “curs” must run away as cowards and depart the Sepulchre. You're all utterly terrified and run screaming down the way you came, but in #14 a snake-lady casts a spell on you before you run through her chamber, and your terror ends. She tells you to get back to finishing your job up there, and Orsattus is already going that way to aid his lord; the other two follow.

Boamund comes up with a plan to use his undead-repelling shield, and that's what he does as you return to the chamber, where Fraud is being decorated with jewelery as he lies unconscious, propped up on the dais. The shield works fantastically well; the old king sits back down on his throne, dropping his sword by him, and the two snake-men-mummies back off to their chamber. Bog uses Dark Walk and sneaks around, taking the iron falchion to keep himself safe (Orsattus later gets it for “safe keeping”), and then bashes the king from behind with a nice head-wound, but the king isn't even knocked off his throne. He stands, but lacks his sword, so he soon begins casting a spell as he condemns you for trying to take his prize. Boamund engages him soon while Orsattus drags Fraud away into the entry passageway, but it isn't long before Bog gets a heroic blow in from behind again and pulverises the king's head! The king falls, and Boamund sees that the two snake-men-mummies have collapsed into dust. Victory! Fraud is alive, but as Bog awakens him wiith a False Healing spell he gets a disturbing vision of the Old King removing his heart; this was the plan for some cruel ritual, surely.

You collect everything from the old king; Fraud secures it for his later ritual usage. You open the door to #25. This 6m hemispherical chamber is fabulously adorned and just as opulent with treasures. It boggles the eye, first with its d�cor and second with its wealth. The former consists of mozaics, themselves made of precious stones, showing gift-bringers presenting to Seshna and Froalar and their families; a jubilant scene. The latter consists of a wall-to-wall hoard that cannot easily be described in words, as one's eyes dance from one treasure to another with delight and wonder, but it could be a fortune to a whole county of any civilized realm. A coppery serpent with green spectral images of snaky power and vegetation “protects” the room. It slowly, silently comes into this world as the door is opened, weaving around as it coils calmly through stone, air and treasure, looking like it is of some physical substance but able to transcend any such thing in the Mortal Plane. It curiously looks your way from time to time as it does so. Feelings of peace wash over the chamber.

You realize in disbelief and awe that this is a Green Age being; older than some gods and beyond description in terms of power; from a time before things even had names or there was death. Surely it is so powerful that only some of its true essence is here on this plane; this is but a part of it and you could never fathom the whole. Orsattus kneels in rapt reverence and asks to partake of its peace, and it gazes into his eyes and he is overwhelmed with that power of Harmony, with all thoughts of violence fleeing him and any fear of violence befalling him gone, too. Bog keeps well away; this thing is not good for Uz!? Fraud asks if it can heal him and it calmly licks him; his chest is not only returned to prime health but he regains some magical energy! It nods to some of your questions and follows you back out into #23; while there is vast treasure in #25 none immediately looks helpful and it probably is unwise to touch it.

You debate a plan, as you return to the snake-women in #14, who chide you that Chaos must still be dealt with as Fraud's “job”. You relent and go to #17, with Boamund conjuring a fire-ring to protect you as you file in one by one thru the passage. Bog leads, Boamund next, Fraud third, Orsattus last. The chamber is coated on every surface by this disgusting tarry muck, and the air is thick with its smell like rotten fruit. There is extensive damage to the stone surfaces all over, with a clear appearance that the whole structural integrity of the chamber is weak. What features this place might have had have either been obliterated, or covered in mire.

Then the horrible Chaos-snake-monster rises out of the mire! <a href=“” target=“_blank”>Chaos-snake-monster</a> It's a terrible fight, as it vomits goo over everyone in the tunnel (Bog has rushed it) and they are coated in sticky slime that slows them. Bog is grabbed around the chest in danger of being crushed. Fraud throws a Curse Chaos but the spell arcs back on him! (we forgot that he was affected by it, minus a huge skill penalty, but oh well-most shockingly, he realises that he is Chaos-tainted) Boamund walks in but his fire-wall doesn't burn the thing enough. Fraud runs to attack but his treasured iron death-sword cracks loudly on striking the serpent and nearly is ruined, and hasn't harmed the monster at all. Orsattus throws a Demoralize but that too circles back on him, yet his peace-feelings protect him. Bog smashes its tail, freeing himself before being crushed, and then Boamund wounds its head with his bronze sword, and Bog deals the final blow as Fraud defends him. Yikes, that was a scary fight! The horror slowly drops to the floor and the ceiling rumbles, starting to collapse. You flee back down the passage.

The spirit of the warrior in #6 manifests, walking up to you in a swirl of perfumed air that drives the stench before it. It looks much like the skeleton but with spectral hints of its former fleshy features (female). It speaks in Old Seshnegi, “Blessings of Seshna Gira be upon you. My vigil has ended, I may go to serve Her again elsewhere. I could do but little to hold the blight from beyond at bay, but you have ended it. Its damage is done. Once the entry hall and chamber were a place of beauty, and that has not been so sorely blighted. Once the corner of this temple was a joyful place of birth and infancy, leading to the solemn cycle of adulthood, old age and death that the perimeter of the temple honours. I cannot let those wounds to Seshna Gira's temple gape open any longer. Depart from these ruined halls, I will close them.” And the southeast corner of the temple-tomb (#17-18) begins to collapse as the warrior walks through the passages, gesturing for the stones to crumble with her every step. And so the whole area slumps with a deafening boom, choking the central halls in dust. She vanishes into there.

You return to the snake-women; the snake-priests say that they can taste the improved air already; and they say that yes, Chaos has been driven out of the Sepulchre and now the way is clear to go down to try to awaken Seshna Gira, but they have no further helpful information.

You open the door down there and a purplish cloud blocks your view. You hesitate, but even Fraud's Soul Sight is blinded, the magic beyond being so strong. You reluctantly enter, feeling twilight's urge to go to sleep, perhaps deeply slumber for an Age, through these Hero Wars to see what the future holds. Bog surrenders to this feeling; Fraud grabs him as you survey the room.

A huge fresco covers the whole room in lavish detail that remains vivid despite the age and damage to the collapsed northern side. The scene is spectacularly impressive. From above, a whirling air god descends amidst lightning, bearing a huge sword. A second figure rises on the south side from blue waters that encircle the chamber; it is a scowling greenish creature with fins and barbed spear. They converge on a figure in the floor's centre, now familiar, as a human-headed serpent, but here her expression is difficult to understand-it is not happy, but rather sad, or angry, or what? She is surrounded by cracks in the earth that converge on her, too, and around all of these are purple-skinned people in bizarre attire and implements, but you can recognize them clearly as Luathans. They are all doing different odd things, but they all have in common that they are singing to the depiction of Seshna.

Boamund and Fraud recognise that the air god is Humat, a Burtae; the water god is Sramak, a Sruvali foe of Humat, but they work with Seshna Likita to call the Luathans to “ruin” Seshnela (sing her to sleep). What is most impressive is that this depicts an event of the Second Age (ending), but this temple is obviously of the First Age. A prophecy. You behold it for a while in wonder.

The door to #20 is decorated with a bas-relief of a sleeping serpent, its head buried in its coils. Opening the door works, but then Luathan shattering magics happen – there is a thunderous, clanging boom that shakes you terribly, and all awake are knocked prone, dropping everything you hold, and hurled into #20; Bog is left behind, deep in sleep. The magic pulled at you, threatening to tear you into seven pieces (which each would have lived, cruelly) but you tense up and endure with only some internal bleeding. The door closes behind you, and you lie on the floor, feeling held there as if you all have increased greatly in weight. What is there for you to confront? We shall see on Friday.


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