17 Reaping, 592 CY (Continued)
The winding passageway was torchlit as the Silver Phoenixes descended into the temple hidden beneath Shatterhorn. The walls were made of mortared bricks of black volcanic rock covered with painted plaster murals depicting yuan-ti and other serpentine creatures. Most of the murals had faded, and in many areas the plaster had peeled or fallen away, revealing damp black stone underneath. In the dim light of the flickering torches, they saw tiny snakes slithering across the floor, emerging from cracks in the walls, or coiled around sundry objects. A rattling noise echoed through the halls from somewhere in the distance, but they were unsure from which direction.
The spiraling path finally exited into a large, unlit chamber, supported by ten thick pillars. Deep alcoves were recessed into the west and east walls, and a sculpted stone altar rested in the middle of the room, its surfaces stained with dried blood and carved with serpentine motifs. One end of the altar curled up to form the head of a great snake with stony fangs and gems for eyes. Still more snakes slithered across the floor, and the distant rattling noise continued to emanate from the deeper darkness.