Sunday, July 21, 2013

Inspiring Illustrations - The Gateway of Cruel Desire

27). The Gateway of Cruel Desire

NOTE: These are adventure seeds and setting work for my own Hyperborea campaign inspired by the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerors of Hyperborea Gazetteer

Cold is the path of the dead and colder still is the heart of the Necromancer. And yet there is a passion that lurks within this twisted breed of mage that drives them forward into the darkest and most loathsome of places; none more so than the tomb-temple to be found on the Isle of Ghul.

The gateway is ancient, older than the Necromancer that rules the isle, and in a language that only the daemon's of the abyss can recognize, though they curse and shun the place, a story of power, lust in all its meanings, and torment is spelled out in the carven entranceway to this labyrinth. Twisted and endless are the passageways of the Tomb, lost is the temple, and lost as well are the souls of all who have fallen within this accursed charnel house. The carven gateway is beautiful and the massive doors of bronze, green with verdigris, sit open, the outer chamber is marble and granite, a dried fountain with sculptures of water nymphs surrounding its bowl, but from the open grill of its drain, too small for any human to utilize, come the screams of the dead, and the massive doors are shut, silently without warning, and no spike or iron or blockade of stone can prevent their closure, not to open again till the sun has set and risen once more.

Hiding behind a marble bench in a room further into the labyrinth will be found a young girl, emaciated, scarred from torture, wild-eyed and clad in rags. She will speak in a language that only the aid of sorcery will make clear, and pleas for help. Her tormentor is within the tomb, he has set her here to hunt down and torture. She has no idea how long she has been within the tomb, she has never seen the temple, but she is of flesh and blood, though weak and starved. She can lead any who would follow her to a secret room entered through a series of levers held as spears and swords among an array of statues that bear an uniformity of look but of no make recognizable to any living in this age of the world since the fall of Atlantis.

Inside the chamber is a clear pool and drinking from it will heal wounds but alleviate hunger any more than the taste of unenchanted water would. This has been her refuge.

Stepping back outside this room will find the scowling visages of half a score of animated warriors. Defeating them, now flesh and blood themselves, will be no easy task, but the rewards are the armor and weapons of these doughty foes. The tomb goes further...

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