As we enter the Great Pyramid I can’t help but be attracted to the multitude of hieroglyphs along the walls. As I take a closer look, I decipher that the ancestors of the people here took the “scarlet pyramid” as a sign and settled here, forming the colony called Rhedoneth.
Interesting… so the ‘red celestial body’ as mentioned in the script given to us by the EIN could very well be the pyramid sun in this sphere. Thing is… it’s not red anymore, is it? Now that it’s this sickly green, everything seems to have stopped and been put into stasis to keep it alive.
Maybe if we can find more texts, we can figure out when this change happened… and how. I turn to Ef Utan to voice my idea, but he’s suddenly too busy to hear as he runs outside the temple yelling “I think I saw somebody!”
I quickly take off after him in the hopes to find a living person around here who might answer our questions. As I turn through the alleyways, unfortunately all I manage to find is a lone white cat rolling on the ground. Feeling frustrated, I take a piece of jerky out of my pack and keel down to the curious cat. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen anything, have you?” I ask as I hold out the food.
“Not since the monkeys fell asleep,” the cat replies.
“Oh really?” I ask as I pull another piece of jerky out of my pack and kneel down to scratch the cat’s head. “How long have they been asleep?”
“Six generations of my kin have come and gone since the monkeys,” the cat replies before it snags the jerky out of my hand and walks away.
Interesting… considering the life span of cats, that has to be at least 90 years or so ago. So… what better place to consult the history books than a library? And when we needed a libarary at home we went to…
“We need to find the Temple of Thoth,” I say as I rejoin the others. “It’s bound to have library where we can look for more information about what might have happened here.”
“Makes sense… let’s check it out,” Ef Utan replies.
As we enter the temple of the crane-headed god of knowledge Word takes note of the painted ceiling. After further study it seems that the ceiling mosaic is also a starchart of this system akin to the map we were given… but this one again shows the red sun.
At the other end of the temple are a set of locked doors. Considering there aren’t any scroll racks readily observable in the main area, my bet is that the library is somewhere beyond. After careful inspection of the door I manage to disable a rather nasty swingblade and crack the door open to take a peek.
Jackpot! I open the door carefully to find the walls of the room lined with shelves stocked with scrolls, and a decorated sarcophagi at each end. The coffins don’t seem to be trapped, and the names on them don’t seem to be of much import… so I leave them alone to check out the scrolls.
It’s when I’m carefully unrolling and examining each one that Ef Utan makes a comment about just grabbing the lot and reading them later. Frustrated at our lack of clues, I threw caution to the wind and sweeped my arm across a shelf, scooping the scrolls into my bag. Unfortunately… this is one of those times when I should’ve been more patient.
With a soft click and a woosh of air alchemist fire lights up the scroll case and I have to dive out of the way to avoid burning my fur. Fortunately I was able to save 6 (and a 1/2) scrolls for later investigation while Vedis used her psionic abilities to put out the fire.
It’s while we’re busy with the fire that Ef Utan decides to investigate the sarcophagi. I have to wonder what is up with him today. Is the ambiguity of this place getting to him as well? Because I’ve never seen him act so… so… like me, I guess.
Before I can reach a hand out to stop him, he’s cracked the lid to the coffin and the smell of moldy linens and death wrinkles my nose. No…no…no…don’t let it be…
With a crash the lid is launched aside and the moans of the mummy within send shivers up my spine.
Do as I say, Ef…not as I do…
I quickly grab one of the remaining bottle of Alchemist Fire from my pack and dive into a roll. “Set it on fire!” I yell as I come to my feet and toss the flask at the shambling mummy.
Word calls his weapons to him and Vedis smiles as she rears back before forcefully pushing out with her hands at the approaching monster. With a red flash of light and a sickening rush of flaming energy the mummy is slammed into the wall before she drops to her knees. Unfortunately it’s instinctual lashing out at the sudden pain was able to catch her across face before anyone could get to her.
With a roar of his own, Ef Utan unsheathes his swords and leaps at the mummy, decapitating the moldy guard with a few quick slices. Looking from his angry stance to Vedis collapsed on the floor has to make one wonder… but we’ll leave that for another day. I scoot over to the Maenad and roll her over before cringing back in surprise. _That… doesn’t look too good. _
“Word! Can you provide any help for her? I think the mummy might have cursed her or something…”
While Ef Utan and Word look to Vedis, I decide to take a look at what’s left of our mummy… because I could swear I saw the flash of jewelry on the thing while we were fighting it. The mummy didn’t leave much after it died other than a pile of rags and goo… but after carefully sifting through it I manage to find three or four nice pieces that should help us get new medicinal supplies to prevent whatever is afflicting Vedis from happening again… if we make it out of here.
“I suggest we take her back to the ship so that Lenata might tend to her,” Word says as he picks her up and begins to float.
“Go on ahead, and we’ll bring what scrolls we’ve salvaged to see if we can translate anything useful,” Ef Utan replied.
Back at the ship, Vedis is being tended by Lenata in her quarters. It turns out the poor thing has been touched by the Mummy Rot and it has left her weak as a newborn kitten. Fortunately Lenata’s magic will be able to help her… but it’s going to take a few days as her daily spells are limited.
Fortunately I have something to keep me busy as I return to my room and carefully unroll the scrolls we saved to see if we can find anything interesting.
Hmmn… some of them are your typical evocation rituals and rites for the gods… and one is an especially magical one that I will have to give to Ef Utan to check out… but these other three are informative.
One of the scrolls ends up being a guide to the tunnells we came through to get to the city. The four main tunnells bisect the area, with the one we came from being labeled “To the Stars.” The tunnell across from that is “The Path of the Sun,” which makes sense considering the flaming chariot we saw.
The tunnel to the left is “The Path of Nova Roma,” which is interesting… considering Nova Roma is also the home of the toga-wearing plague carriers we encountered while on The Infinite Staircase. I wonder… if we took that path… would we find them still ridden with plague, or was that a different time than now?
The last tunnel is labeled “The People.” Could this be where everyone went when this sphere was afflicted?
The last of the scolls seem to be more like journals and personal notes that speak of trading with the Helenic people of Nova Roma. I wonder… would they know anything of what happened here? For that matter… could the plague that they were afflicted with have come from what happened here? It is a dangerous possibility that we should be aware of as we continue to explore this place.
Strange… the notes speak of a delegation that struck the writer as particularly strange, because of the oddity of “The two that are one.”
Wait a minute… the Dvati? Could this delegation have been the people who kidnapped Melkot / Melkoth? I wonder if they were the ones responsible for what happened here?