The Secret Entrance
Wattabi told Cuana, Tullweim, and Xacksmith that the entrance to the hidden passage into the Red Citadel was located some distance outside of Bzambei. The description given was that of a shrine to strange leonine gods of the forgotten city atop which the citadel now rested. The Waddai exile then said, ‘Your passage to the shrine may be flooded due to the rain and the nearby river. Once inside, you will need to look for the third statue on the right, a lion-headed woman brandishing two sickles. At the feet of the statue is a hole through which is the catch that holds the shrine’s door shut.’ The guide continued, ‘Once the catch is released the statue can be pushed aside, revealing a narrow staircase going down. This passage will lead you directly into the citadel. But you must always move forward. Never deviate, it is a maze down there,’ Watabbi asserted. ‘You will never be seen again if you choose to explore it.’
The journey to the shrine was not long. About two miles from Bzambei’s walls, close to the banks of the river laid the crumbling ruin of which Wattabi spoke. The river had indeed burst its banks, as Wattabi had feared, and 100 feet from the temple the flood waters became more difficult to wade through as they rose above waist level. The exiled Waddai pointed out the entrance, then told the party he would pray the cost they’d pay for finding what they sought would not be too high, and turned to leave. The adventurers had to swim to progress the rest of the way without being knocked over by the current. Inside the shine’s walls, the current abated, but the structure was completely flooded and the party plodded around chest deep in the water. The temple itself was 50 feet wide, 60 feet long, and had a partially crumbling ceiling held up by a dozen pillars to the left and right. Three large female statues with leonine heads stood watch on either side of the temple, and the statue opposite the entry had an altar before it which rose from the swirling waters. Tullweim moved towards the statue Wattabi told them of, when a fanged maw burst from the shadowed murk and bit deep into the Aesir’s arm. Tullweim shouted an alarm to his companions when Cuana and Xacksmith noticed 3 more dark shapes moving quickly towards them.