Part 19 - A Clash of Temples
They travelled west for eight uneventful days. They then came across two men arguing as they pulled a tied up man from the back of a wagon. One said they should first interrogate the man to determine who the traitor in the temple was, but the other said that their orders were to kill him. The group interceded and prevented the execution.
The saved man said he was a messenger from the temple of Tamuz in Bethjesama who was travelling to Shithum to inform the high priest there of a plot to kill him. The messenger said that it was believed that the temple of Erishkigalwas conspiring with the king of Bethjesama to destroy the temple of Tamuz there.
When he arrived, he learned that the high priest had already been murdered. It was then that he was jumped by the two individuals who had brought him out of the city to kill him. The group decided to join him as he investigated who killed the high priest.
The city had a large river flowing through the center of it. Three large bridges crossed the river. Built on one was the temple of Tamuz and on another was the temple of Dagon. They were able to get an audience with the king. When asked why he had the high priest of Tamuz killed, the king explained that he had gone mad. He had filed his teeth into fangs and his fingers into claws and was running through the streets praising the power of Baalzog.
They then spoke to the priests at the temple and they said the high priest had received a medallion as a gift a few weeks ago, and since then he had begun acting strange. When asked what happened to the medallion they were informed that it was taken by the temple of Dagon to be destroyed.
So they then went to the temple of Dagon and spoke with the high priest there. The high priest claimed the medallion was destroyed but the use of Ka-Vision detected the presence of a demonic object in the lower levels of the ziggurat.
They began plotting a way to break into the temple and retrieve the medallion. They decided to cast Phelagic Survival, which would allow them to approach the temple through the water. They then scaled the wall and climbed into the temple. They were able to retrieve the medallion with out encountering any temple guards.
They then traveled to Bethjesama where they were invited to stay at the temple of Tamuz. They studied the medallion and learned that it reduced the wearer’s resistance to possession.
Ranaseth, the man they had rescued said he had a contact in the temple of Erishkigal. They went and spoke to the. He stated that people had been appearing and disappearing from the temple without him actually seeing them come and go.
The group remembered that the Erishkigal temple that they had seen in Borsippa had tunnels running underneath it. When they learned that the current temple of Phanamog was formerly a temple of Erishkigal, they decided to investigate.
That night they snuck into the temple and did find tunnels beneath it. They entered the tunnels and soon encountered Darklings. They defeated the creatures and made their way inside the heavily guarded temple of Erishkigal.
As they ascended the temple they noticed that the motif began to change. Images of Erishkigal became less common and more and more images and statues of Baalzog and Tiamat began to appear. At the top of the temple, they encountered a priest of Tiamat and several guards. Combat ensued and the group was victorious.
When they explored the room they found stone tablets that discussed the ki-mon-tanko needed to create their gate. It showed what the sigil of Baalzog looked like and showed the size it needed to be, 20 cubits in diameter.
They began to fight there way out of the temple. They were able to fight off Darklings and temple guards with out too much trouble. But, then they were set upon by the Knights of Tiamat, heavily armed warriors with seemingly superhuman strength and toughness. Demethes was killed and Hamish was badly wounded. Sesshomaru reincarnated into a Knight of Tiamat named Drake and helped turned the tide of the battle.
They then left the city and began their journey towards Jericho.