We slept in the temple that night. The Crowley thug seems to be claustrophobic, superstitious, or both. Despite the obvious superiority of my plan to set up camp within the walls of His holy temple, Crowley insisted that we sleep out in the open where we could be easily attacked by assassins, mountain lions, or worse. He continued his stubborn refusal of my plan to the point that I was forced to tell our guide about the men that had attacked us at the outset of this endeavor. Salam grew angry with me and demanded that I pay the increased wages the old man was now asking of us. Though I agreed to give him the gold to avoid a confrontation (for I was relying on Salam for healing magic) the slight on Harik’s greatest warrior will not go unremembered.
I slept fitfully that night among the moldering remains of objects that had been forgotten in the temple for decades. Salam’s snores and the cuts the goblins had made took it in turns rousing me from my sleep. I stared at the cobwebs lit by our flickering fire and wondered when Harik intended to restore me to my rightful place as the first among his servants. Surely there was a purpose in him bringing me this far that I may walk this temple that few of his followers have even heard described. There may have been danger for us in the days ahead, but I knew that Harik had more in mind for me than an obscure death.
Once I had sufficiently recovered, we began to explore the temple. It was disgraceful to see a place devoted to Him in such a state of disrepair. Collapsed stonework and rubble littered the hallways. We had to stop to clear rocks from our path on two occasions. In the basement we found something that made me question Harik’s presence in this place altogether.
We came across the ancient sleeping chambers that had once housed the inhabitants of the place. Disintegrating linens covered skeletons reposing on rotted bed frames. The air was stale and suffocating. We made to move through the room without disturbing the rest of the dead, but an evil chill passed through the room. As one, they rose and attacked us.
We dispatched of the vile undead within moments, and although I single-handedly destroyed five of them, I was happy for the sword and bow of my companions. The skeletons made no sound as they clawed at us and lashed out with their rusting blades. The silence was broken in a cacophony of steel on bone, but as the last bones clattered to the floor, the oppressive quiet of the tomb was restored in an instant. The fight had not even lasted long enough for us to begin to breathe heavily. Though we suffered a few small wounds, it was the dread that they put in our hearts would take longest to fade. We hastily moved from the room.
Most of the rest of our explorations yielded only more dust and abandoned hallways. We were just beginning to wonder about the other inhabitants of place when we encountered three more of them. Some sort of spiked beast and two goblins ambushed us as we pressed on deeper into the ruined fane. They assaulted not only our bodies, but our minds as well. Thankfully, I shook the fog from my mind before it could truly set in and struck down our foes. It was then that we discovered that the goblins were diseased and somehow enthralled to the monster.
It boded ill.