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By Reginus Buca, Historian, University of Gwylim
As we saw in the other parts of the city we have already explored, the same odd figures appear throughout the Nedic architecture. Clearly, a serpentine motif is depicted everywhere. I contend that this is proof positive that the Nedes worshipped some sort of serpent god and were so enamored of this deity that they wanted to see him wherever they looked.
Verita says my theory has merit, and I thank her for that. But she insists on offering an alternate opinion. She says it's to make sure all avenues of possibility are explored, but I contend she just wants to be contrary. She does enjoy disagreeing with me at every chance she gets. Her theory is that the snake was simply a popular figure in Nedic culture, not unlike the Friendly Netch, the Brave Little, or the Gift-Giving Guar of our own popular legends.
We must agree to disagree, as the other popular saying goes.
Other images we have spotted over and over again in the stonework include an odd, Orcish face, a stag-skull sort of creature, and a winged serpent, which could be related to the other snake images. Gods? Popular story characters? Simple decorative elements without higher meaning? I believe we are looking upon the Nedic pantheon, for I can't imagine going to all this trouble just to depict imaginary creatures from camp-fire tales.
* * *
We now believe that the catacombs were originally used as the city of Skyreach's graveyard. We have found evidence that the interred came from all walks of life, from commoners to crafters, nobles to royals. We have also developed conflicting theories about why the confines of these catacombs have disturbed us so profoundly.
I believe that it is shared illusion, given substance by lingering legends and fueled by our own fears. We just need to rely on our intellects and strength of will, then everything will be fine. Besides, illusions cannot hurt us. Of that, I am fairly certain.
Verita, of course, has a differing opinion. She believes that the legends concerning Virmaril the Betrayer, who we know of only through the remains of a text now called the Perenaal Fragment, have at least a grain of truth to them. It is her belief that Virmaril was indeed a necromancer, and that somehow he has defied the laws of nature and still exists in one form or another somewhere deep within this labyrinth. I say balderdash, but as I agreed to let her join this expedition, I feel somewhat obligated to allow her to express her theories—no matter how outlandish they may be.
It is Verita's contention that Virmaril has been asleep these long aeons, and we have somehow begun the process of awakening him from his eternal slumber. Just to be on the safe side, we have decided to cut our exploration of the catacombs short and move on to the next site in the complex. Perhaps we shall return to these ruins at a later time, after our heads have cleared.