We are the last. With our death, we shut gates that must never be opened.Once hidden and condemned to the dark by rubble and time, Cenotaph have been unlocked once more. A sprawling complex of connected caves, hewn into shape with meticulous care by what must have been skilled artisans, it is a quiet tomb in the heart of Patala. Within it rests the bones of a folk, their names and stories lost to the darkness, consumed by time, just as they were consumed by what lurks in Patala.
A Puzzle Of Bones
I am the last. There is no one else. No one to put my bones into place.The Cenotaph is a tomb the size of a city, with tunnels and caverns that reach for miles, with only parts still explored. Walls of bone stretch to the ceiling, hiding the stone behind them, with skulls stacked in neat patterns in the bone. In places, time has claimed its due and collapsed some vital support, resulting in bone fragments scattering the path into the Cenotaph.
Few explorer are willing to brave the Cenotaph. It is a place beyond ill-omened, and even those not prone to superstition find it ominous.
Like the rest of Patala, the caverns are humid and moist. Some of the skulls are slick with water or a greasy corpse-wax, but nothing grows within the Cenotaph, neither mold nor fungi, or bone-chewing insects. The air holds an echo of decay, all flesh long since rotted away, with wet bone and broken corpse-dust settling across the Cenotaph as an ever-present stench.
Among the human bones are the desiccated remnants of the occasional Shrike, dismembered and bound.Only dreams remain here; those who have slept in the Cenotaph see visions of some ancient past, when there was still light and life in Patala. Shifting dreams that turn into dark, until each of the caverns go dark, one by one. Few are willing to repeat the experience, and many fear that by opening the path to the Cenotaph, they have unleashed a great evil on Patala. Only fragments of the cuneiform symbols have been deciphered, and they have done nothing to dispel those worries.
Many of the skulls in the Cenotaph are damaged or mutilated, with many looking like the bone been flayed back from the inside.Only three caverns of the Cenotaph have been explored so far, with several more still cloaked in gloom. Some believe that some great horde of treasure lies at the heart of the Cenotaph, the collected riches of a dead folk, ripe for the taking. Others fear the Cenotaph was locked beneath rubble and stone for a reason, and that whatever is in there can't be good.
Patala, the Descent A recently discovered region of the Inner Shell, Patala is a cavernous realm of great, canyon-like tunnels and abyssal descents into further darkness. Deep within the winding grey halls and bone-strewn charnel pit lies the Cenotaph. Early explorers thought they were the first to step foot in Patala, to caves that had never heard a human voice before. The Cenotaph told them otherwise, a stark warning of what might become of them, too. Read More About Patala