Children of Netherhearth
The mysteries of the temple
The four of you began exploring a network of earthen tunnels leading off the rear of the vast chamber. You were soon set upon by a trio of the reptilian humanoids depicted in the mosaic, who seemed to have chameleon abilities. Fortunately, you had been forewarned of the attack by Grindle’s precognitive ritual, and so were able to thwart a would-be ambush. Nevertheless it was still a hard fought battle in cramped conditions, and you may have only prevailed because the creatures were clearly juveniles of the species and seemed just as intent on attacking each other.
Further searches of the tunnels unearthed the ancient remains of a pair of humans among the bones of many of the reptilians, along with a pair of holy symbols (one of Valleron and one of Erydes) and a cubical piece of stone artifice that seemed to be the key to the receptacle in the entrance room above.
Returning there, you inserted the cube, which opened the room’s doors and activated some magical illumination. Through the main double doors in the back wall was a short tunnel leading out to a massive cavern, not dissimilar to Netherhearth in scale, including its own Skystone set in the ceiling hundreds of yards away (which was currently in its moonglow phase). However, rather than cool grasslands and pastures, the cavern was filled with an oppressively hot jungle, at the centre of which lay a huge tiered temple topped by an enormous arch. Nearby lay a small lake; rising out of it was the enormous statue whose base lay in the vast chamber you had fought in earlier. You could now see that it was a depiction of Netherhearth’s founder, Paterthenius.
The end of the tunnel was blocked by a magical force field generated by a crystal whose original enchantment had been reconfigured to create the barrier. At your approach, a pre-programmed illusion flickered into existence showing a priest of Erydes and a priest of Valleron – likely the pair who had met their end at the hands of the reptilian humanoids below – but the image faded before it could pass on its message.
As Stanley and Grindle scrutinised the crystal with their powers, you were approached by a partially mutated adult of the reptilian species who emerged from the jungle and approached to within touching distance of the magical barrier. After mimicking Leo’s gestures and words of greeting – and transforming its face into a hideous parody of his own – it suddenly launched a frenzied attack against you through the barrier. However, it was unable to breach the field and abruptly fled back into the trees.