Aboard my vessel, I reflected upon my filed plans for this expedition. Eleven days were to be expended in travel to Pan Arbnhap. Three days would be necessary to gather preliminary samples for the atypical soil prolificacy in the region. However, I had gathered all necessary samples in two days. I would need to spend the agreed upon time departed from Maatottem, as per standard collection policy. Rather than spending a third day amongst xiruens, I set off for the far western edge of Vale Reef. When the ship landed on a dock on some world whose name was not particularly memorable, I implored the captain to calculate how much time I had remaining. In less than seven hours, I believed I could find some ruin or cultural event to pique my interest before returning to my laboratory.
After near an hour I had made up to visit a local temple, or ruin since it had fallen to disuse.
The local kets I spoke to did not have a name for it, as there is no spoken form of Logophem and translations seem to still evade the Kettlah themselves. Nevertheless, I resolved to make a side trip to view these ruins. It was not long before I was upon the structure, a curved and elegant structure of clearly Kettlah origin, but an older architectural style than the one currently employed. i would wager that the structure predate the first contact between species. From a distance, one could mistake the structure for far too perfect of a hill for nature to craft. The temple was large enough for certain, but was too rounded or spherical atop to be natural. The exterior was divided with radial precision between the off-white stone used in similar structures and the coloured glass that the Kettlah as a whole are fond of. Immediately inside, I was struck by the sight of a slim statue in the central chamber to Haket. The statue rose tall in this main chamber, coated with some sort of luminescent material, in addition to the faint colouring from the light of star-planets far away through the stained glass during the dark period on this planet-star. This spectacle caused me to postulate on what must have once occurred in the great history of such a monument, in opposition to the increasing civility and technological capability of Omneutta that lead to temples such as this one becoming little more than abandoned ruins today.
Basins adorning the chamber fanned out from the statue in non-identical curvatures and led independently to each main column of the structure. From the central statue, pathways between the basins led to and fro entrances to smaller chambers underneath vaulted ceilings. These separate chambers seemed to not have an exterior wall, and as such were dimly if not at all lit. I was surprised to find little to no plant growth inside the abandoned temple. By the ancient and faded light I knelt and contemplated the long-dead Kettlah, those who were architects and those who had traveled here. I deliberated on why this structure had been abandoned, perhaps due to the fall of hard-theistic-Uatti across Omneutta. Gazing through the chamber, I could see, that the statue stood on several pillars, much like a propylaea. On the floor between these pillars was a stairwell that led downward, tightly spun around a cylindrical shaft with an opening larger than my own body but not substantially so.
Unlike other ruins both read and personally explored, there were no traps to keep outsiders away from this lower level. Dimly lit only by the light that made its way down the stairwell, I could faintly make out the bodies that lay in long alcoves on top of each other, stacked above one another, splayed outwards the further up the tombs rose. I could see now the purpose of this underground chamber and likely the structure as a whole. Each layer further down was dug more narrow so that the dead were not laying directly on top of each other, with walkways following the paths of the basins above to meet a circular edge. The temple and this chamber were the same structure; it was not the loss of belief that has led to the structure’s abandonment. I took as many steps from the stairwell as I could without losing track of where I was — each space that I could see was filled by a Kettlah body. The path was narrow, the chamber was as deep as it could be. This temple-burial-chamber was full. At that revelation, I made my way back up the stairs and returned to my ship, to depart to Maatottem when ready.