Northeastern Crescent Forest; 190th King’s Age, Year of Priest’s Defiance, Day 2
As the team prepares for battle, two figures emerge from the depths of the strange ruined temple. One places a hand on the burning snake and soothes it into complacency. They explain that they are explorers as well, who know of this place and came in through another distant entrance — from a crystal mine deep in the compound.
The newcomers offer to escort the group, and though some suspicion lingers, the two parties agree to merge for the time being. They explore the complex and discover many empty rooms and sense that the place was deserted quite suddenly.
In one great chamber, after carefully disabling several traps, the group discovers several huge serpent-men encased in crystal. Somehow, the party accidentally frees them from the crystal, and the enraged hulking beasts attack at once. The team is forced to kill the snake-men in order to defend themselves.
One last ancient serpent-man remains, not quite a half-snake like the others. He explains that, long ago, this compound was attacked by a powerful mind-bender, a member of The Order. This psion apparently took umbrage at the serpent cult’s use of psychic powers in the creation of hybrid snake-men and took it upon himself to wipe out the cult. The cult could do little to stop him, as the psion was uncarnate — he had transcended the boundaries of his physical body. The last effort of the most powerful psion of the serpent cult was to encase himself and several of his guardians in ectoplasmic crystal in order to preserve them and hope that they would awaken at a later time when their attacker had turned his attention to other things.
The ancient serpent-cultist expires, and the group decides to beat a hasty retreat, but not until after they have secured a crystal dagger, a psionatrix, and a piece of valuable jewelry from atop an ancient throne in the heart of the temple.
As the group flees out the back door, they discover a guardsman from Nibenay. They carefully knock him senseless, but as they escape they notice more guards and a templar trying to get in through the front shaft of the compound — and their own psions sense that at least one of them is possessed by a malign intelligence. Perhaps the Order is not so distant after all? Or someone from Nibenay has been following them?
Regardless, the party flees south into the depths of the Crescent Forest.