It was an ancient structure and it had long been emptied of its contents. Over the long centuries, it had been used as a lair by countless creatures and as base for bandits and monsters out of the Vast Swamp to assault travelers on the road. Smugglers also made use of it.
In the early 1370s DR, the smugglers Coobert Draftworth and Norry Waywocket made the Tomb of Chonis their favorite drop-site, storing their illicit goods here. Over three months in the Year of Lightning Storms, 1374 DR, they'd accumulated a stash of stolen jewelry, bottles of utterdark wine, and royal attire. In early Eleint, they came to collect it but discovered others lurking in the tomb.
A dark stalker and four dark creepers had since taken up residence in the Tomb of Chonis. These were mercenaries, hired by clerics of Shar involved in the operations at the Temple of Mystra in Wheloon and the Lost Refuge in the Vast Swamp to watch over the petitioners travelling between the two. In particular, they watched for groups investigating these petitioners. After spying for a while, Norry and Coobert instead camped at the nearby Unknown Shrine while they thought about what to do about it. They'd only been there a day when adventurers investigating the Temple of Mystra in Wheloon may have encountered and questioned them, learning about the strange creatures waiting in the tomb. These adventurers may have then encountered the dark ones at the Tomb and dealt with them.
It was a long low barrow mound resembling a hill, running north to south. Like the surrounding landscape, it was covered over with grass, heather, and thistle. At the base of the hill on the southern end yawned an open door. A heavy stone lintel hung over the entrance, with deeply carved letters in the Thorass alphabet giving the name "Chonis".
The barrow tomb was constructed of great stone slabs about 3 feet (1 meter) thick that had been roughly cut and loosely joined together. It was then buried in earth to form the mound.
Inside, the floors, wall, and ceiling of the tomb were all of roughly hewn stone, with the earth visible between them. The ceiling was 10 feet high, but nonetheless visitors felt an oppressive feeling from the great masses of earth and stone above their heads.
The entrance chamber was a long, low-ceilinged room, 15 feet wide and 50 long (4.5 by 15 meters). It appeared to have once been some kind of ceremonial chamber, but the paintings on the walls had been utterly erased by time and vandalism. A wide pit took up much of the northern half, the remains of an ancient pit trap and since filled in with refuse, dirt, rocks, bones, and rusted weaponry. Coobert and Norry built a rope bridge over this, anchored by iron spikes hammered into the floor. On the north wall, visitors were greeted by a wide circular face, horned and frowning, carved in a crude and archaic style.
To left and right ran a long loop of catacombs over an area of 50 feet by 50 feet (15 meters by 15 meters). Niches were cut into the stone walls to hold the bodies of the dead; with these niches stacked four high, there was space for a total of 320 bodies. Their valuables had once been contained in clay pots beside their bodies. By the 14th century DR, all that remained were a few broken bones and potsherds, with the most intact on the uppermost row. On the rear wall was another frowned, horn face. Its deep mouth concealed a catch for a secret room behind it, used as the smugglers' secret hiding place.
Finally, at the rear of the tomb was the so-called great hall, thought to be the final resting place of "Chonis". It was 25 feet by 35 feet (7.6 meters by 10.6 meters) and supported by six 5-foot-wide columns (1.5 meters). At the end was a stone dais bearing a crude stone casket, but this was entirely empty. Over it, on the wall, was another horned face, now smiling.
The dark ones carved holes through the corpse niches and the mouth of the first stone face, forming arrow slits and turning the catacombs into a gauntlet for intruders.
Rumors and legendsEdit
By the 1370s DR, the meaning of the name "Chonis" was unknown. The name also appeared in the ruins called Chonis' Temple in the west, so some speculated it was a long-forgotten deity, demigod, or fiend.
The Tomb of Chonis remained little known; few people in Wheloon knew of it. Those people who did it recall it knew it as a lair for bandits, smugglers, or monsters venturing out of the Vast Swamp.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Eric Haddock (1994). Cormyr. (TSR, Inc), p. map. ISBN 1-56076-818-5.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 151–152. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 38, 44–45. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.
- ↑ Richard Baker, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan, Matthew Sernett, James Wyatt (2007). Cormyr: The Tearing of the Weave. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 36. ISBN 07-8694-119-7.