The party waited to see if Ikil’s shot brought any more of the kharisiri into sight. After a few minutes, it seemed evident, however, that nothing else was stirring among the ruins.
Thus, still discussing possible uses for George’s dynamite, the party cautiously made their way down a steep path to the ruin. The trail was so difficult the expedition had to leave all its pack animals behind. That didn’t mean a donkey wouldn’t play its part later, though…
Reaching the ruins, the expedition began to explore. They soon discovered several four-foot square stone covers set into the ground like covers for something. One of the stones was cracked, and Jacob saw that a 15-foot deep, stone-lined shaft plunged into the valley’s bedrock below the cover.
Meanwhile, Ikil and Dr Dudley had discovered a horrible charnel pit filled with the decomposing and skeletal remains of scores of people. Dudley spotted what looked like a passageway in one of the walls, but before he could investigate further, Jezebel Slaughter burst into action.
She had decided that something lived in the pyramid and that the kharisiri were feeding it. She decided to lure it out by using bits of dead donkey. Jezebel procured said bait by clambering back up to the plateau and slaughtering one of the party’s pack animals. Clambering up the pyramid, she reached the flat top to discover two things: the crack was too narrow for the donkey’s leg she had brought with her, and the stench of rotting and decaying meat was unendurable. A prolonged bout of sustained vomiting only ended when the tempestuous woman—covered in her own bile and the donkey’s blood—managed to crawl away from the crack.
After Jezebel had recovered, the party decided to investigate the other four-foot square stones dotting the ground around the ruins. Moving these stones revealed identical stone-lined shafts about 15-foot deep. Each bore a steep chute at the bottom that disappeared further underground.
No one wanted to climb down into what looked like a labyrinth so Ikil volunteered to climb the pyramid and look into the crack. What he saw within the pyramid almost shattered his grip on reality. Ikil was a hardened veteran of the Great War, but even his iron will almost crumbled at the blasphemous impossibility he saw within.
When Ikil had recovered enough to describe—shakily—what he had seen, the party again fell to discussing their next move. It now seemed unwise to try to blow up the pyramid for the Thing Inside, a kind of roiling pustular ooze was huge and almost completely filled the interior. If the explosion did not kill the thing, it was doubtful the party’s pitiful collection of firearms would have much effect.
Thus, investigating the tunnels seemed wiser. Not wanting to dare any of the other shafts, the party decided to crawl through the charnel pit. That was where the kharisiri were last seen, and vengeance for Reginald’s terrible, tragic and wholly unnecessary death burned brightly in the investigators’ breasts.
One by one, Jezebel and Jacob leading the way, the expedition members crawled through the jumbled mass of corpses. Another steep chute sloped almost 100 feet down into the bedrock far below the pyramid. At its terminus, they discovered a wider passage. Although the corridor was ten-foot wide, it was only four-foot high. Thus the investigators were forced to crawl slowly forward. As they moved north on their hands and knees, they discovered the terminus of several other chutes that seemed to correspond to the locations of the shafts they had found above.
Crawling on, they came to a T-junction. If they were right, the pyramid and the Thing Inside lay to the west. Quickly looking east to make sure no kharisiri lurked in that direction, Jezebel discovered a room filled with many golden trinkets—some old and clearly from the time of the conquistadors, others much, much newer. However, the two shrivelled kharisiri lying on sleeping mats in the far corner of the room drew the murderous woman’s attention. After a hurried and whispered conversation, the explorers decided the kharisiri had to be dealt with. With this and mind, both Ikil and Jezebel crept into the room…
This post is a session summary for my weekly 7th edition Call of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign.
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