Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
IFNE 02/17, 18 In India. The one-hundred-foot, seven-tier gatehouse tower to the temple rose above the nearby simpler buildings of the city of Thiruvananthapuram. Elaborate depictions of gods, warriors, and couples sat carved into the stone. If the intricate stonework wasn’t sufficient to impress, the gold-plating over the tower would do the rest. Fencing and walls surrounded the outer ramparts of the temple complex, their steel contrasting with the older stone. The rise in thefts had led to a greater emphasis on security. Padmatheertham, a large pond dominated the area right outside of the temple complex. The safest way into the hidden tunnels involved a hidden underwater passage. There are a number of vaults there, and they used to be filled with treasure. Jewels, coins, idols made of precious metals collected over the centuries. They discovered several hidden vaults, too. I’ve heard some rumors though that they’ve opened even the hidden vaults and removed most of the treasure since the initial discoveries in the past couple decades.” (Inside, piles of gold, golden idols, and jewels littered the low-ceilinged chambers) “Aye, they have. There was no way they could leave all that treasure in there when people were already finding ways inside, including hidden tunnels. Most of the precious objects not used in rituals have already been relocated to protect them from thieves.” That’s the job? The left-over treasure?” "There is yet another hidden vault that is… Well, the best way to explain it is to note that it’s folded atop the existing space magically. That is there are two vaults occupying one space.” “And how does a woman, say your friendly greedy tomb raider, get to said second vault, then?” “To access the other vault, you’ll need another artifact. A flute.” "Okay, any line on the thing? Or is this a two-part deal?” “Oh, that’s not an issue. I already have the flute, and I’m more than happy to loan it to you.” I don’t know how to play any type of flute. If it needs a specific tune, I’m screwed.” “It’s not so complicated. Just blow on it. Well, you could try and use it before, but you’ll end up dead.” “I’ll need you to infiltrate the hidden tunnels beneath the main temple, make your way to the hidden vault, and then use the flute to transfer yourself to the target vault. I even have a perfect route for you to take. Once you agree to the job, I’ll share the information with you. There is an object inside that vault that is too dangerous to be left where it is. My flute isn’t the only way to find the final vault, and the temple’s security has always been lackluster. It's a small figurine depicting the four-armed blue-skinned form of the god Vishnu sleeping atop a golden serpent, specifically, Adishesha, the King of all Nagas, snake beings. Not evil inherently, or anything, but more powerful than humans, and some were just as cruel and dangerous as us. They were particularly known for fucking with humans who mess with areas they protect. At least that’s what legend says.The return of magic has awoken some of the surviving nagas, but most don’t interact with humans. Some nagas are looking for this figurine?” "They will be sooner rather than later. That’s why it’s important to get our hands on it now.” What's the big deal about the figurine? “It’s a key, Miss Carson. It has the potential to control a vimana.” “You mean one of those old-school Hindu god chariots?” “Some are associated with the ancient gods, yes. A true vimana is much more than a chariot. In this case, think more like a flying magical palace with magical weaponry. The descriptions in epics like the Ramayana are not to be dismissed as mere myth.” “Are you saying you have a flying castle parked somewhere, Professor?” “Not on this planet.You’re only being tasked with finding the key." "The premium for the job is for a far different reason. One you already highlighted.The temple is in use. This is a theft of sorts, even if a necessary one. I’m hoping the information I give you will allow you to recover the artifact without encountering resistance from innocent people.” Brownstone to go along? No. Case by case basis. Not this time.