Endu has cleared a wellway to the palace cellars, and from there broken through to vaults which could not otherwise be reached because the stairways had completely caved in. Steps lead down from this vault to an underground river, which Endu thinks must connect to a lake several miles away.
Endu has a small coracle, large enough for two people, in which he has been exploring the flooded catacombs. He has drawn up a map of sorts, but it would be unintelligible to anyone else but him. (Of course, he hasn't spent every day searching these catacombs; he's also had to excavate areas and forage for food.)
If the characters have access to the Tamorian spell known as The Vessel of the Invisible Seekers, they can reach Prince Gali's tomb in little over an hour. (Special effect if the spell is used: the Vessel simply rises directly from the black water without a ripple, miraculously not full of water or even wet above the waterline. It is a gondola, high-prowed, almost scimitar shaped, lacquered azure blue and white, with room for four people to sit two abreast in the middle and two at either end; total length 7m, widest beam 1.6m. It contains some silk cushions and a lady's green slipper.)
They approach the tomb via a long chamber which is overlooked by a shadowy pillared gallery. At the far end of the chamber is a jetty, from where steps lead up to the gallery.
Before they reach the end of the chamber, three arrows rain down on them from the gallery. There stand three great warriors in scarlet and gold armour, faces wide-eyed with anger and livid in the torchlight. The great crests of their helmets stand out like the plumage of enraged birds of prey as they send volley after volley down among the party.
Despite this inconvenience, the Vessel of the Invisible Seekers continues at a leisurely 8m a round towards the jetty. It therefore takes six rounds to run the gauntlet of arrows.
If the characters survive to reach the jetty, the heroes will discontinue their bow attacks and fade back into the shadows of the balcony. They will be waiting at the bottom of the steps (amazingly) before the characters are out of the boat, ready to give battle there. In their gloriously lacquered armour they somehow seem larger than normal men, and their clenched teeth and fierce stares give them a genuinely alarming countenance.
THE PRINCE’S THANES (Sanik, Ramol, and Lakesh)
Sword (d8+1, 5) or Bow (d6+1, 5)
Armour Factor 5
MAGICAL DEFENCE 18
Health Points 25
They aren't strictly undead. More like mythagos.
Ascending to the gallery, characters find three great coffins of red granite with the images of ancient warriors incised into the lids. The style of armour evokes thoughts of the three they've just fought. Inside these sarcophagi are just mouldered remains, like dank earthy clay in the form of shrivelled bodies. A few scraps of jewellery remain amid the decay - worth maybe 200 Florins from each sarcophagus if you care to sift it out. After opening the sarcophagi, there'll be no sign of the heroes' bodies when they go back to look.
Beyond, a great slab of stone bars the way to the prince’s tomb chamber...
Prince Gali's tomb
A circular stone chamber in which rests another sarcophagus, like those outside but with a more finely-chiselled lid set with bosses of blue jade. To either side, the buttresses which support the low roof are carved with declarations of Gali's triumphs against the Ta’ashim, written in a debased local form of Classical Emphidian. Endu can make a stab at reading this, if he's present.
The sarcophagus contains Gali's mortal remains, along with the following treasure:
* A golden staff of power, probably a copy of a Selentine provincial governor's staff, surmounted by a scarlet-enamelled medallion with a silver thunderbolt.Apart from the sword, the scroll and the javelin-head, the rest of this lot is worth about 40,000 Florins just for the gold and gems, while the value of the remaining items depends on finding the right buyer. The treasure weighs as much as an armoured man and takes up almost twice as much space, so someone might not be making the return journey in the boat.
* Body-ornaments of beaten gold, including pectoral, diadem of office, kilt lappets, sandals, and wrist rings.
* A finely-decorated ceremonial sword with a handle of red gold, genuinely Selentine in origin, which can banish any ordinary undead or unholy creature on contact if the target fails to resist an effective MAGICAL ATTACK of 16. The sword counts as magical but gives no bonuses in combat.
* A scroll of laws set in a silver frame with each page beautifully illuminated, written in the same dog-Emphidian as before.
* A burnished steel javelin-head (the shaft needs replacing) decorated with a pattern of apple leaves, inscribed in true Ancient Emphidian with the words "The Anger of Phoebus". This is enchanted, and scores +1d6 damage when it strikes a blow in direct sunlight. (Phoebus was an incarnation of the god Apollo, as scholars in the party may know.)
The face of madness
Lastly, returning to the boat, they'll find a cowled figure standing in the prow. Water drips off his ragged robes. He lifts his hands to his cowl to pull it back...
The sensible thing is to yell an order to the Invisible Seekers immediately, if that's the means the characters used to get here. Failing that, they will have to fight the Mere-gaunt:
Bite (d10+1, 7)
Armour Factor 4
MAGICAL DEFENCE 12
Movement: 10m (20m)
Health Points 30
Regardless of whether the characters enter Prince Gali’s tomb, killing the disembodied heads will free them of the curse that caused their guide to go astray, and they will soon find their way up to the monastery. However, if the heads are not killed then the characters will wander, getting increasingly lost, until they find their way back to the town of Akshir in a week or so. If they then make a second attempt to reach the monastery, they will be able to do so without difficulty. (In the original scenario, the curse that caused them to lose their way was another of the previous plot threads I alluded to in the introductory notes.)