A few days pass rather uneventfully as Lenata tends to Vedis. It’s a drawn out process getting rid of the layers of curses and disease she was afflicted with by the mummy… but thankfully there is progress and she’ll be ready to go soon.
In the meantime, I suggest to the others that we return to the library in the Temple of Thoth and try to read the rest of the scrolls for more information. I don’t want to go anywhere we haven’t been yet without our full compliment, so it seems as good as an idea as any.
As we’re getting ready to disembark, Leanata decides to join us. It seems that Vedis has improved to the point where she doesn’t need constant care, and besides… if we (goddess forbid) encounter another mummy, Lenata’s clerical abilities should be able to take care of it.
Once we’ve got our gear together, Ef Utan, Lenata, Word and I return to the temple of Thoth to discover something interesting.
… besides the fact that Lenata is allergic to dust.
As we walk into the temple, Ef Utan points to the back wall and the library door that is now closed. He looks to us with a raised brow, but we all shrug in confusion. Who closed the door to the library?
Carefully I examine the dusty ground in the hopes that I might find some tracks… and am rewarded with a new set of human-sized bipedal tracks that lead from the front door of the temple to the library. As I return to the now closed door, I can’t help but notice that the traps have returned too. This isn’t the same swingblade trap, however… there are now 3 more complicated traps, with some of them even being magical.
“Not that it will help them,” I mutter and crack my fingers before going to work on the door.
We enter the library carefully and discover more tracks leading to the sarcophagi… which is also now closed. “This time, don’t touch it,” I say before I go to check out the scroll cases.
“Sure thing… just be careful you don’t set anything on fire,” Ef Utan mutters back.
I growl under my breath as I run my fingers along the scrollcases to find the delicate wires attached to vials of alchemist fire along the inside edge of the case. I just manage to disable the wire in my irritation and keep this new set of scrolls from burning to a crisp. Don’t let him get to you, Kenari…just do some deep breathing exercises before you do delicate work again.
Once I’ve managed to disable the rest of the traps, we gather the rest of the scrolls and decide to return to the ship to decipher them all. Perhaps with the help of the magics of Lenata and Aspodel Quickfoot and my skills, we’ll be able to decipher these scrolls quickly.
Once we’ve returned to the ship we seperate the scrolls into piles and give Vedis and Aspodel a project while Vedis is recovering. I’ve found a comfortable spot on deck and am about to start on my pile of scrolls when suddenly I hear a strange whistling sound from above. Instinctively I take a quick step to the left and look up as a strange feather slams down to the deck, it’s color turning from white to black.
Ah crap… that’s just all we need…
“Really?” I yell in frustration as I stand and run my hand through my hair. “Now of all times…” I mutter.
“What is it?” Ef Utan asks as everyone gathers around the black feather floating just above the deck.
“Ever been summoned to court in Sigil to justify the things you’ve done?” I ask him. He shrugs and nods. “Consider this a court summons… from Ma’at, the goddess of Justice and Balance.”
“Allright, then… let’s not leave the goddess waiting,” Ef Utan replies.
It doesn’t take long for me to find the temple, as the symbols of scales and her symbolic feather are hard to miss if you know what you’re looking for. On the way there, I hear Vedis mumble that the doors to the library of Thoth are closed again.
Once inside the temple, it’s hard not to notice the large set of scales on the back wall instead of the usual statuary. Making a sacrifice seemed to help with the temple of Ra… so on the off chance that Ma’at is ticked at the burnt scrolls, I take out my conspiracy charts and place them in the bowl on the altar as I kneel.
“Forgive your servant in her clumsiness, great Goddess… I offer these scrolls of my own creation in hopes that I may help restore the imbalance that I accidentally created.”
As soon as I finish my benediction the scrolls burst into flames and the room becomes brighter. Vedis and Lenata come up to offer their own sacrifices… but I have to bite my tongue when Lenata takes a dagger to her braid. Such beautiful hair… but quite the personal sacrifice in my opinion; I only hope the gods appreciate it.
With each sacrifice the room becomes brighter lit. Taking that as a good sign, we try to leave… only to find ourselves blocked by a magical barrier. “Great,” I mumble. “It’s never that easy, is it?”
“It looks like the scales are magical,” Ef Utan says after his eyes glow for a moment. “Considering what you’ve said about her, Kenari… perhaps we need to get in the scales?”
Goddess forgive me, but my first instinct was to say no. I like to assume that what I am doing is for the sake of something better than myself… and after all that we’ve been through, I don’t know if I want to hear how I’ve been royaly cocking up my afterlife.
It seems my answer didn’t matter, though… as Ef Utan takes it upon himself to try his theory out and climbs into the left scale. In the meantime, I keep trying to convince myself that I won’t have to get in there by looking to the hieroglyphs for information or instructions.
With a flash of light a gray feather appears in the right scale, which is just little lighter than Ef Utan. The air shimmers for a moment as Ef Utan gets off the scale. One by one the others get on the scale, with Vedis being balanced, and Lenata and Word being heavier than their gray feathers.
Eventually I can’t ignore the expectant stares of the others… and I grit my teeth as I get into the scale. Big surprise… I am way heavier than my feather. As I rejoin the others the room becomes lit with an amber light and radiates magical energy through the hieroglyphs.
Suddenly 14ft tall ephemeral images of Ma’at, Nepthys and Bast appear in front of the scale, and I drop to my knees in supplication. I am too nervous to even look at what the others are doing. Will I finally get a chance to ask my goddess the questions I seek? Where has she been? Why has she left us?
“HOW SHALL I TASK THE TRANSGRESSORS?” asks Ma’at as she looks to the two goddesses with her.
“The dreamer is innocent,” Nepthys replies.
“The loud mouthed one is mine, and on a long path,” replies Bast. My fingers curl into the dirt as I bite my tongue till it bleeds. I try to reply… but it seems that Bast doesn’t want to hear from her servant. I don’t know why I am surprised, really. First she leaves her people, and when I finally cross galaxies to find her she won’t even let me ask her why. A part of me wants to mutter how Murlynd was willing to talk to me… but it’s just as well that I am silenced. The last thing I need is to get smited today.
Apparently they are willing to hear the rest of us, though… and Word and Lenata were able to plead our case rather eloquently in my opinion. In the end they decide our punishment for removing the scrolls from the temple is to stay in this sphere until we find out what happened to the people. Ironic really… because the only reason we took the scrolls in the first place was to find out what happened here.
Just to be safe, I keep my criticisms about their judgment to myself as we return to the ship and finish translating the scrolls.
After a while we finally finish our task and find that many of the scrolls are the usual dogma, rituals and stories, though some of them are about their relations with Nova Roma and their trade with other planets in the sphere.
There are about 10 magical scrolls that relate to the divine embalming process of mummies. Not exactly something we need… at least I hope we will never have use for them. I’ve heard how they remove the innards for the canopic jars…. ewww. Really… it’s quite gross.
The information that really strikes me is from some personal scrolls written soon before the strange occured here. They speak of a ‘strange, mishapen visitor looking for a pulsing heart’ before mentioning a great wrongness as things begin to change and the orbits of the planets halt.
Hmmn… my guess is that the ‘pulsing heart’ is the “silver diamond-like key that beats like a heart within a red celestial body.” …which brings up a rather large question that I don’t think anyone of us has bothered asking yet.
The EIN has ordered us to bring them the key to the Witchlight Marauder to keep out of Scro hands, right? But if this key is somehow the thing that powers the sun in this sphere… could we in all good conscience condemn this sphere to this continued pseudo-existence? For that matter… could we bring the key to the EIN if we even wanted to, considering the task put upon us by the gods here?
I don’t have any answers yet… but something tells me we’re going to be damned one way or the other.