The party walked down along the dry riverbed until they reached the wall of the cavern. Now that the illusion of the river had been dispelled, this proved to be only about 100 feet away. The burial mounds were still within sight and as the party passed by, they noticed signs that something was stirring within—cracks appearing in the hard-baked clay, clods of dirt rolling off. As the party reached the bronze doors of the pyramid, they began to see blackened fists breaking through, and red-eyed heads popping out of their graves. Erlo and Ju-Mei called upon their diverse understandings of the divine good to send the wights back into their graves, while the rest of the group studied the doors. They were 20-feet tall, and remarkably well-crafted, and still disturbing in their depictions of Sakatha’s domination over humankind, despite the fact that these hardy adventurers had already seen similar artwork throughout the tomb. The problem of opening them was not immediately solvable. The doors had no visible lock or even handle, and could not be pried open. Beyond the mechanical problem—the double doors had only the narrowest seam between them, too small for any type to tool that might pry them open— Bangqiu surmised that they were magically closed. His associate Erlo knew a spell for opening locked doors, but would need some time to prepare it. Meanwhile, over a dozen wights had broken out of their mounds and although they recoiled from the sight of a boldly-raised holy symbol, it seemed only a matter of time before one Erlo and Ju-Mei let one slip by unnoticed, and that could quickly lead to catastrophe.
The party moved around the pyramid, Erlo and Ju-Mei, bringing up the rear. On the other side of the pyramid, they saw several bonfires on the slopes of the cavern, with figures gathered around. These did not seem to be undead, but-- by their natural movements and long, thick tails-- living, breathing lizardmen.
Tetsukichi suggested they could evade the lizardfolk and find their own safe place on another side of the cavern, far from both the wights and the lizrdfolk. This, they did. A low narrow hole, opened into a sizeable cave-within-the-cave where, with a couple sohei on guard, the rest of the party could rest and plan. There were tree roots hanging down from the ceiling of the cave and the party found it reassuring to know they couldn’t be too far from the surface. These roots also reacted similarly to the party’s presence or at least their light sources—the roots sprouted buds and flowers and murmured deeply and softly. This murmuring reminded everyone of the comforting trees of their camp and also of those tree’s warning that the y must tarry. After an hour or so, the party returned to the pyramid. Erlo recited his spell and the doors opened. The party entered the pyramid and as the wights, now assembled in a semi-organized mob, charged, the doors closed. Howling and gnashing of teeth.
From the entryway, there were three doors.
Beatriss led the way toward the middle door, which seemed to lead toward the heart of pyramid. As she touched the door, she heard an oddly-familiar voice and felt a sharp pain on her neck. A spear shot out from the wall and hit her on the neck—at the exact place where O-me-sa had bit her and left his scar. The spear bounced off. “Good bye, Beatriss,” the voice said. Other party members were also struck by spears that had shot out of the walls, but thanks to luck, preparation, or some other unknown protection, these spears were repelled by armor. The spears were coated with a sticky green substance. Beatriss shivered and touched her neck to be sure she hadn’t been wounded. Her skin was whole. Even the scar was gone.
The door opened into a grand hall where a large table offered a sumptuous feast.—all kinds of food and wine, and all apparently fit for human consumption. The walls were painted with uncharacteristically light-hearted frescoes of lizard men frolicking feasting. Within moments, several of these lizardfolk stepped out of the frescoes and invited the visitors to feast. Beatriss was extremely skeptical. The lizardfolk were courteous and dismissed her questions, instead repeating their invitation. Bangqiu and Tetsukichi restrained Shu. Al-Fitar and Naron located a trapdoor, and the party lowered themselves into a tunnel beneath the pyramid. The lizardfolk bid them farewell and asked them to return and feast another time.
Exploring the tunnels beneath the pyramid the party stumbled upon a darker celebration—about a dozen lizardmen and three human priests gathered around a blood-stained altar. Seizing moment, Erlo unleashed a ball of fire on the unholy assembly, incinerating the reptilian worshippers. The human worshippers, on the other hand, responded with their own magic. Beatriss dropped her sword and was put to flight and two of the party’s warriors were transfixed. Tetsukichi identiefied the leader and charged him with sword drawn. Bangqiu blasted the others with his magic. By the time Beatriss returned, shrugging off her sudden bout of cowardice, all the enemies had been killed.
A secret door behind the altar provided access to more tunnels, one of which led to Sakatha’s throne room.