The great bronze gate swings open, as soon as he can the pale man squeezes through. The men behind only open the heavy door just wide enough for you to get through one at a time and they shut the door behind you as fast as they can. Your guide shouts, "Its about time! Did you think the Crawler would wait forever?" The men he's shouting at are just as pale as your guide, one of them exclaims, "The Crawler? Aieee!"
Turning to you, "Now at last we are truly safe my friends. Even the Crawler can never break down the Door of the Eagle." Leading you down the hall he says, "Now, come... and I will take you to the rulers of Tecuhltli."
Another pair of doors swings open and the party enters a large open room with a raised dias at the far end. A pair of thrones flank a crimson stone pillar. A brawny man with a curly beard down to his waist stands and all but bellows, "In the name of Set, Farther of Serpents--Who dares disturb the solitude of Prince Olmec and Princess Tascela?"
Your pale guide immediately kneels and replies, "Y-your pardon, majesties--but I bring allies from the world beyond the forest. In the Chamber of Tezcoti I found them, after the slaying of my companion Chicmec--these men slew the Burning Skull himself!!"
The bearded man sits back down, "The Burning Skull you say?" He pauses to stroke his beard, "Well then, I bid these strangers welcome. I am Prince Olmec," pointing to the woman seated on the throne beside him, "and this is Tascela, a princess of Tecuhltli."
Olmec bids you sit and eat and asks how you made your way to the city. The court falls silent when you tell them how you made your way through the jungle and defeated the Hydra. When you have finished your tale and begin to query Olmec and his court about their city he recounts a tale of his own;Olmec finishes his bloody tale and the servants clear away the last of your meal, "Many would flee from this place at the tale of our endless struggle against the Xotalanc, but I beg of you, fight with us against them! You are mighty warriors indeed and we have treasures here we have no use for. Fight for us, and we'll give you all the jewels you can carry!"
Whatever happened to the woman who was at the heart of all this? Greil inquires after listening to the tale. i never caught her fate.
Blurting out before he really thinks Greil directly asks, Also why are so many of you so pale? do you not have the strength to stand under the sun?
In an aside to Greil, Rune mentions his unease with his previous questions. Greil, now is not the time to be so blunt. I know not what exactly they were talking about for the past hour, but I do know there is something not right with this "princess" of theirs. Either she knows something and cannot blurt it out in fear of punishment from these "palies" or she is the master mind behind this. Let me take a closer look into this first and then we'll try to come up with a course of action. Completely unsettled by the staring of the princess during the entire meal, perhaps because Rune did not touch a single morsel of the food since it would only jam up his internal mechanisms. He attempts to focus in on the princess to read more in to her, for he feels there may be some sinister magic lingering about the room, possibly emanating from herself.
Boone notes Olmec's stare and finally can take it no longer. "Do I know you from somewhere, friend? Perhaps you have an interest in matters arcane or believe that the powers of my art can aid you in your fued"
"We have many women," looking around you see Olmec tells the truth, "But they have not borne a child in twenty years. As for the color of our skin, we have not seen the Sun in longer than that for we dare not venture out into the desert." grimly Olmec explains, "There is no where else in the world for us; Stygia would have us killed, no other nation would accept as refugees. It has its perils, but this city is our home!"
When the meal is over and your questions answered (most of them anyway), your guide, whose name is Techotl, leads you to chambers where you can sleep the night. Greil, Orion and Finley in one room and Boone and Rune are taken down the hall to another.
Just before the alarm is sounded Orion bolts straight upright from where he had been asleep on the stone floor. He pulls his cloak up from the floor and over his shoulders and bolts out into the hallway and into the great hall there.
And there he see so much suffering. Born of jealousy and desire and now fuel by despair and rage the men of the city have made this place a beating heart of suffering in the world of men, the blood of their brothers on their hands for lust of a woman. Orion pauses at the threshold as a few tears stream down the monks face, one of the first genuine displays of emotion the others have seen of him. One of his hands reaches behind his back and clutches something that no one else can see, and the agile monk just stands stock still, eyes closed and weeping, as the vendetta ensues.
Shifting to get his armor on Greil lags behind. I'm not going anywhere near these crazies without my proper gear, he grumbles getting himself set.
Upon reaching the battle Greil instinctively brings his shield arm up in a defensive position. Leaning over to the monk he whispers. There must be something else to this attack. Why send such a small group to attack a lions den?