Sunday 28 May 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #148: The Temple of Aish Mashuila

Eleven hexes north of Alakran.


"Aish Mashuila" -- odd name for a temple! It literally means "the lid of rats." Queries lead straight to a long-winded legend of how a plague of demonic rats from the underworld was foiled by a coalition of animal gods in ancient days. A "lid" having been placed firmly on the rat-hole, the temple was built to guard it. 

The tale of how the temple, consecrated to Set and Mitra in present days, became corrupted has already been told by Halpashulupi. Further details await in the module that inspired it, but we can say that the temple is high-walled, ringed round with tents of guards, acolytes, and Sethian pilgrims, and furthermore guarded by animated statues and (deeper in the temple) various undead. At the same time Zazalla and Khuseth the mysterious man wearing a mask of the god Set are sacrificing animals to Illuyanka at the edge of the Cedars, Azeneth is preparing to make a human sacrifice of one of the kidnapped youths, whose disappearance has been attributed to the blameless serpent. 

The blood of this sacrifice drips down to a lower chamber (not included in the original module) straight beneath the altar, that contained the Lid of Rats itself, which has been shifted slightly, allowing fiery demonic rats to issue forth from it. The swarms are contained by the ravenous appetite of a gaint mutated spawn of Illuyanka, who from so much feeding on magical rats has become rat-like in the head and grown a pair of stunted fore-paws. Next to this chamber is another one where dwells Khuseth, actually a shape-shifting snake-person with coded instructions from the cult of Apep to infiltrate and corrupt Shasari. He carries a prism which is the only way to decipher the glitchy, dotty snake-letters.

The various villages on this Plain of Pethalah can be summarized as follows:

Sannapi: farming center, population 300, preferential suppliers and brokers of goods for the temple.

Hulali and Kursa: each population around 150, cattle herding and tanning centers, rivals in supplying sacrifices to the temple.

Hupiki: 250 people dwell here, where there is a scriptorium, an archive, a pilgrims' rest, a Setho-Mitraic seminary, and priests and scholars to match.

Iskalla: village of 200 with the exclusive franchise to fell and cut the Cedars of Pethalah, with specialists in lumber harvesting, lumber milling, and carpentry.

No comments:

Post a Comment