The party, seeing that the number of undead in the ruins is obscenely high, knows that they cannot continue this war of attrition. Taking a page from Gjalund’s book, they take the slower, but stealthier, approach into the ruins, and manage to make it to a large temple unmolested. After some initial scouting from the outside and the discovery that McMasters and his spider appear to have entered the ruins at some point, the party decides to follow.
The temple is pitch dark, except for the main entry hall which lights up as the party enters, glowing orbs of witchlight automatically illuminating the hall as they traverse deeper in. Lyndir manages to decipher enough of the decorations to determine that this was a large central meeting area for the culture originally inhabiting the ruins, though not necessarily a religious one.
Finally making their way to a large circular room with stairs and a raised dais with an altar on top and hieroglyphs covering the walls and ceiling, the party decides to barricade themselves within and set up camp. Stormfury, Scara, and Alexandross take a rest, while Anzula begins properly tending to their wounds. The Judge and Garson begin trying to decipher the meaning of the drawings using the shards of pottery while Gjalund begins exploring deeper into the temple, outwardly reasoning that whatever McMasters was looking for, may not have been in the central hall. Inwardly, he was looking for hidden wealth long forgotten.
Over the course of the next several days, Stormfury’s wound healed nicely, though Scara and Alexandross took a turn for the worse, with infection setting in from the bites they received from the zombies. Scara’s infection eventually turned around without too much detriment, but Alexandross was not so lucky. The infection grew, despite Anzula’s best efforts, and began causing other health problems. Stormfury made a hasty trip back topside for more and stronger healing supplies, avoiding most of the undead in the process, but they didn’t seem to help. And so, after nearly 8 days spent in the temple, Alexandross finally succumbs to the fever and infection from his wounds, but not before passing on the title of 14th Beach Prince of Tel’Eros to Anzula (viewing her as the technical cause of his death), and explaining to Garson of a gruesome sounding ritual that needed to be conducted with his face in order to prove to Tel’Eros he had passed.
Meanwhile, Gjalund managed to find several ancient books, only one of which could survive being touched, an old sword covered in runes, and an odd suit of armor, also covered in runes. The breastplate he kept to himself, but showed the book and sword to Lyndir, hoping it would help decipher the script on the walls. The book was an aid, but Lyndir identified the runes on the sword as appearing to be some old form of magical runes, predating modern rune techniques. He kept the sword, as it was a style similar to what he carried, but was unable to deduce the meaning of the magical runes.
The party was able to eventually learn several things:
- The civilization that had previously inhabited the ruins either created or discovered Gateway technology.
- There were many other temples, likely in similar ruins, scattered under Jord.
- The temples held pieces of some sort of key, the purpose of which is still unknown.
- One of the temples appears to match the location of the ruins found outside Ajjatara, Gjalund deduced, using that assumption, that another temple would be located just west of Refuge.
- McMasters had already made off with the key from this temple, which appeared to be a crystal shard larger than Lyndir’s fist.
Armed with this knowledge, and burdened by the loss of their companion, the party makes their way from the ruins back topside, keeping their discoveries secret from the excavation teams, and returns to Gargatua, though not before Lyndir made a rubbing of the temple locations map.