6 Pharast, 4715 – Day 1: The Tomb of Akhentepi: 1000
Reaching the base of the collapsed staircase, the group finds the double doors are adorned with the image of a scarab, wings spread beneath a golden sun; like the ones on the doors at the top of the stairs. Pushing them open the party finds a large 20 × 30 chamber with a tapestry hangs from a frame against the southern wall. In each corner is a floor to ceiling column carved into the shape of an Osiriani warrior wielding a khopesh. The tapestry depicts an otherworldly vista where souls of the dead are shepherded by strange beings into an ethereal river which ambles and winds through space toward an impossibly tall spire. The floor is tiled in black marble, each tile adorned with a white spiral symbol representative of the goddess Pharasma. Elsin indicates the tapestry is a representation of the final judgment by the goddess Pharasma and the transition of souls into the afterlife. The only other feature in the room are double doors to the west and north, both of which are locked.
Janisa casts detect magic and surveys the room, but finding nothing she presses the group to move on. The party decides on checking the western set of doors first. Elsin is unsuccessful in his first attempt to pick the lock, but after a couple other tries he is able to open the doors. Inside there is a short hallway which narrows sharply as it continues west down a set of steps before abruptly ending rough rock wall as if construction was suddenly terminated. As the group studies the area, Farek discovers a secret door in the north wall, however finds no mechanism to open the door or hinges. He determines that it is specifically designed to be a one-way door which is opened from the other side.
Janisa wanders too close to the debris-covered stairs and is attacks by two mining beetles which have burrowed into the side wall. She is significantly injured and instinctively reacts by going into a defensive fighting posture, somehow activating the shield’s special healing power. The rest of the group comes to her aid and swiftly defeat the beetles. After the battle is over the Scarabs return to the tapestry room and inspect the second set of locked doors, which Elsin opens easily.
The group follows the steps down and through two sets of double doors and find a large octagonal room with a raised platform in the center. At each corner of the platform is a stone pillar and a gold-trimmed sarcophagus sits in the center. Flanking the platform are two statues of canine-headed beings holding an ankh in their hand. The group now recognizes these statues as the god Anubis. There are another set of double doors on the opposite side of the room. This is easily the largest room the group has come across so far. Farek asks the obvious question, “Is this the tomb?”
Knowing the reputation and stories of the dangers of ancient Orisiani tombs, the group proceeds slowly, circling the platform as they examine the space. On the west side of the room along the wall, Xenya finds a pressure plate in the floor. She directs the group around the plate and as they continue their investigation. Elsin soon discovers one of the torch holders serves as the trigger which deactivates the pressure plate. Although they do not realize it, the group has disarmed the deathtrap which was built into the room. The group still applies caution as they complete a sweep of the room. Although they are unable to open the locked doors in the northern wall, Xenya senses there is water on the other side of it. The group does find and open a set of secret doors in the eastern wall, behind which the group finds the mummified bodies of the enslaved tomb builders. Realizing that these are not undead, the group closes the door and leaves them to rest in peace.
Completing their sweep of the room, the group finally turns their attention to the platform and the sarcophagus resting on it. As Elsin is checking the sarcophagus for traps the casket animates and attempts to bite him. Even though he is caught off-guard, he is able to avoid the bite, but he is hit and knocked off the platform. The Scarabs jump to the defense of the investigator and all launch into attack against the jumping and bouncing casket. Although hectic and chaotic, the combat is short as the PCs all connect with their attacks and are able to fend off all efforts by the animated attacker and after only a couple of rounds the assault is over. Xenya answers Farek’s question, “I guess this isn’t the tomb after all.”
Xenya is able to open the secret doors on the west side of the room and the group discovers the locked double doors leading out of the chamber. On the other side of the double doors Farek finds another secret door and based on the construction, he surmises that it leads to the secret door they found up stairs. Opening the secret door the party finds a roughhewn tunnel which leads upward. Since the passage is only wide enough for the group to go single file, Xenya leads with Janisa, Elsin and Farek following. Detecting the sound of digging at the last minute the party is prepared and thus are able to avoid the initial attack when two more mining beetles break through the wall. The group fights a fighting withdrawal until they get back out to the hallway and can open up a bit. The enraged beetles follow behind and once in the open, they are defeated by the explorers. After killing off the beetles, Elsin once more collects their luminescent glands and then the group quickly traces the rough hewn secret passage back up to the secret door from the incomplete hallway upstairs as Farek guessed.
The group secures both of the doors to the secret passage with iron spikes in order to bypass the false burial chamber in case they need to make a hasty retreat from deeper in the tomb. With the doors spiked open, they proceed down the stairs and arrive at yet another set of double doors. Elsin and Xenya determine they are not trapped and quickly unlock them. Inside the party finds several neatly arranged chests, boxes and urns, all covered in a layer of dust centuries old and undisturbed as there are no signs of footsteps, either man or creature. However Janisa is able to detect magic on a section of wall on the middle section of the eastern wall. She mentions there is a weak conjuration aura on the wall and based on his knowledge of engineering, Farek speculates there is a secret door in the wall which summons some type of creature when activated. The group decides to take inventory of everything in the boxes before dealing with the door. Most of the items have either decayed or rusted into worthless junk, but a few hardier items withstand the test of time and are set aside to be collected later by the party, although Janisa claims a masterwork longbow and some cold iron arrows.
With the inventory complete, the party turns its attention to the secret door and the suspected trap. Farek aids Elsin as he attempts to disarm the trap and the group does indeed open the door without setting of the trap and reveal a long hallway. With Elsin leading the way scanning for traps, the party soon comes to what seems to be the actual tomb for Akhentepi; a square room with a gold leaf sarcophagus on a raised stone platform in the center of the room. Unlike the casket in the false tomb, this cover of this one is carved in the image of a regal-looking adult man with his arms crossed over his chest, a thick coating of dust covering the entire room. Ornate chests sit in the opposite corners from the only door with elaborately decorated funeral urns sitting between them. Janisa states, “It looks like we finally found the famous Akhentepi.” Farek replies, “Let’s just hope he doesn’t personally greet us.”
As the group examines the room they are attacked by an iron cobra which hits Xenya. Although she can feel the wave of nausea from the poison, she is able to save against it and ingest her cure light wounds potion before she passes out. The rest of the party quickly reacts to put the diabolical construct down before it can bite any other characters. With the guardian defeated, the party is free to explore the rest of the tomb. They find the rest of Akhentepi’s treasure and finish mapping out the entire tomb.