Part 22 - The Tomb of Solomon
They pried away several stones revealing steps descending into the ground. Fahdal and David stayed outside, refusing to enter the tomb. Fahdal told them he would wait no more than 12 hours, after which he would bury the tomb, with them in it if need be.
The Nephilim lit torches and descended into the tunnel. At the bottom, a lone skull whispered a warning on their impending doom.
The circular chamber beyond contained the statues of four kings, David, Solomon, and two others. When the Nephilim moved passed the center of the chamber, the statues animated. They had to battle their way past the guardians to get to the chambers beyond.
The chambers beyond were circular rooms connected by tunnels. By mapping out the rooms, they came to realize that the entire layout of the tomb was based on the Sephirot of Kabbala.
Each chamber contained a test. In one chamber they had to deal with a tempting spirit, in another a spirit of vengeance. In one chamber it seemed as though they were in an endless desert, and only by showing great perseverance did they find the other side. In another chamber, they encountered the “Wrath of God”, a storm cloud of destructive force. Only by aiming “God’s Mercy”, a beam of light emanating from one of the other chambers, were they able to dissipate the cloud enough to pass through.
In one chamber they came upon a woman on a stone alter. She said she was the least of Solomon’s wives, and that she ruled the world from her throne. She offered to let any of the Nephilim take her place. Ronald agreed. He sat on the throne and found himself bound to it. She explained that the world could be without its ruler so he must never leave the throne. She then moved away from the throne, at which point several millennia of aging caught up with her and she fell to the ground, a decayed husk. The other Nephilim were unsure what to do and decided to leave him there for the time being and come back to him later.
The final chamber contained a series of locks, each undone when one of the challenges were passed. With all of the locks removed, they found themselves in a vast chamber full of piles of gold and treasure. Along one side was a series of shelves all containing jars similar to the ones they saw in the lair of The Witch of Irem. One jar stood out as it was made of blue crystal, with the phrase “Open Me”, written upon it in Sanskrit.
After much debate, they cautiously opened the jar. A blue smoke erupted and a voice demanded to know who they were. They stated their true names and the entity revealed itself to be King Solomon. He demanded to know what they wanted, and they knew instinctively that the wrong answer would lead to their destruction. They told him they sought wisdom. He declared that it was a worthy quest and he would impart some of his knowledge to them. It would take time though, more than their physical bodies could withstand. So with no apparent effort, all five Nephilim were pulled from their Simulacra and placed in jars, where time would have no effect. He then began to teach them.
Outside, as the sun went down, Fahdal decided that time was up. He called upon the desert spirits, and the Tomb of Solomon sunk deep into the ground.