Marcellus A5

The gilded hall was remarkably inactive when compared to it’s predecessors. We hobbled over towards the massive statue of man frozen in time by the keen eye of a long-forgotten artisan. The statue stood atop a pedestal almost twice our height, and the man himself, wielding an enormous gilded spear, stood another couple of men tall. His clothing sparkled and danced like an aurora as the light emanating from the bobbing wisps passed through the many-colored stones decorating his attire. The others seems to be more concerned about whether or not the statue was going to attack us (as if such a preposterous thing should happen) to truly appreciate the fine craftsmanship that went into this.

In the back of the room was an altar platform with a gilded sarcophagus on it, surrounded by a pair of warrior statues, which made the others wary (seriously, they must all have some terrible fear of statues or something. They get on edge every time they see one. As if gigantic bugs and re-awakened elementals weren’t enough for them). And because these guys don’t seem to be satisfied until they stir up trouble (though I must give The Fool credit for knowing exactly what to name his ship), so we were going to simply pass by this room and head through the north doors when the Priestess, in his infinite wisdom, realized that the statue was actually an effigy of the Ashurtan’s most prominent diety, and that failing to show it respect was to invoke the wrath of the gods.

Now, Alicia, you know my stance on gods of any make or model, but this place is dangerous enough without pulling an obvious trap trigger, so I limped over to it disarmed myself and meditated like you used to at its feet. The others followed similarly. The Fool, The Priestess, and Judgement all chose to kneel before it, while The Wheel dedicated his next battle to it and The Magician offered a vial of blood from his still-fresh wounds. Apparently the latter was particularly appeasing, or at least we stumbled upon what the creators intended, as we basked in the now-glowing runes on the pedestal and our injuries were washed away in a tide of light.

After a short while of discovering that the hallway north was a blocked-off passage back to the rune tile room, it was decided that the only thing left was to check the fancy sarcophagus on the altar. Our chef finally decided to try and make himself useful, but was unable to open the lid to the stone coffin himself. We all gathered around, unable to resist our own morbid curiosity towards what time had made of the tyrant king. As we tore through the magic sealing this ancient’s final resting place, we were met first with a blinding pulse of magical energy as whatever force was holding this earthen casket shut was ripped asunder. Once the light faded, the lid, we found, had become much lighter, and before us lay the long-dead warlord, the indent of a crown visible only on the head-shaped form of bound bandages and rags that he was wrapped in. The only other object in his eternal bed was a what looked to be a charm fashioned after ancient swords, but nary a crown to be seen.

In our confusion at this turn of events, we noticed another mural on the wall at the back of the altar platform. An old man standing alone to fight back against a mighty demon was depicted, with words under it that we were not the scholars it would likely take to understand. The alchemist suggested that perhaps the sword we found was an adornment of the crown and that the mural depicted Ashurta fighting off some sort of monstrous creature, and that the crown had been left in many parts. There was a chance, he postulated, that the mural told of a quest and had clues as to the whereabouts of the other parts of the crown.

We collected the trinket and decided to head back to the ship and regroup back at the city, but as we stepped off the altar, we heard a loud rumbling in the distance. Tired of being on the defensive, we took positions and concocted a plan to have the chef lure whatever had begun to stir down the hall and out into the open, but again our prediction was flawed, becuase it was not from the now-open passage that danger rose, but rather from the body we had just looted clambering from his eternal resting place.

When he escaped his sarcophagus, he stood, his torn wraps unraveling to reveal a mighty warrior in his prime, wearing light armor that looked to be designed for maximum mobility. A loose red cape hung from his back, torn and ragged from battle. He looked at us, and with the voice that can only belong to a true conqueror, demanded we tell him where his crown was.

At this point, The Wheel began to turn, apparently he had had enough of this place. Shouting angrily at the warlord, he charged in and you could literally hear the crash as his arm flew towards Ashurta’s face and crashed into barrier only inches from the tyrant. I took aim and fired, as did the engineer. He bullet was caught and mine only barely penetrated, but the Wheel’s second attack broke through as he delivered a solid blow to the reborn king, though his follow-up left something to be desired. The magister tried to command the Wheel to turn on and kill us (and for a moment, I was afraid he might), but his resolve was as steeled as his fist, and his onslaught forced the just-woken commander without an army to retreat. He left us a warning of his plans to regain his power and once again attempt to conquer the sky, but the crew was not to be intimidated.

He said he would let us live, only so we could herald his destruction to the world. I doubt the others truly grasp what a terrible foe he is. As he was taking blow after blow from the Wheel, I could see only amusement in his eyes. He had the eyes of a man who has long since forgone any concern for his own life, and there are few things more dangerous than a man without fear. We have since returned to the ship to gather ourselves and plan out next move. It seems I will be forced to stay with them at least until Ashurta is dealt with, though I suspect we may yet meet again before that happens

With all my love
18th of Virgo, 167 Sky

Marcellus A5

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