The antrum at Baiæ proved difficult to explore. A sliver of tunnel, obviously ancient and manmade, disappeared into a hillside close to the ruins of a temple. The first curious onlookers who pressed their heads into its cramped entrance beat a hurried retreat–the pitch-black passageway was uncomfortably hot and wreathed in sulfurous smoke.
And there's more!
Following the tunnel downward, Paget and Jones calculated that it fell only
around 10 feet in the first 400 feet of its length before terminating in
a solid wall of rubble that blocked the way. But even the scanty
evidence the two men had managed to gather during this early phase of
their investigation persuaded them that it was worth pressing on. For
one thing, the sheer amount of spoil that had been hauled into the
depths suggested a considerable degree of organization–years later, when
the excavation of the tunnel was complete, it would be estimated that
700 cubic yards of rubble, and 30,000 man-journeys, had been required to
fill it. For another, using a compass, Paget determined that the
mysterious passage had been oriented to the sunrise on midsummer’s day.
This suggested that it served some ritual purpose.
It took Paget and Jones, working in difficult conditions with a small group of
volunteers, the beter part of a decade to clear and explore what turned
out to be a highly ambitious tunnel system. Its ceremonial function
seemed to be confirmed by the existence of huge numbers of niches for
oil lamps–they occurred every yard in the tunnels’ lower levels, far
more frequently than would have been required merely to provide
illumination. The builders had also given great thought to the layout of
the complex, which seemed to have been designed to conceal its
Secret passages! Forgotten rites! Unknown mysteries! You can't make this stuff up! OK, maybe you can. Alright, you definitely can make this stuff up, but it's really cool when it's real.
I've got it! I needed a way to show the leaders of the Larien Order as being corrupt, which is why Morna is on the run from them.