Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 11 (Day 3)

Michael O. Varhola

Read "Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 10"

For the second time, Parthenia found herself in the bowl-shaped depression at the head of a ravine carved into the ridgeline that formed the western boundary of the necropolis. She clambered up out of it so that she could head due east, straight toward the rising sun, which she could see rising over the Bay of Kos, and expected that would bring her down near the grass-covered flagstone plaza in front of the black marble temple of Hades. Her reckoning was good and in about twenty minutes she found herself standing in front of the ominous-looking structure. The others were not there but she had no cause to worry about them yet and decided to go over to the edge of the hillside shelf upon which the temple was located and, after laying down to reduce the chance that she herself might be spotted by anyone, survey the overgrown cemetery.

Parthenia could see the hundreds upon hundreds of tombs, mausoleums, cenotaphs, and other structures spread out in the half-mile-long, quarter-mile-wide area below her. She knew there was much game and many edible plants among the meadows, groves, and other prolific vegetation that choked the cemetery, but that other creatures and hazards also lurked in the shadows, and she contemplated in which areas she would be most likely to find the one but not the other. As she scanned the valley, many parts of it still in shadows or pockets of mist not yet touched by the rising sun, she suddenly saw movement several hundred yards distant!

Right away the Elf could tell that she was not looking at a herd of deer, which was one of the things she hoped to see, as a single doe could provide the party with adequate meat for a week. What she saw was more humanoid in nature and moved more slowly and deliberately than deer, and at first she wondered if some of the undead monsters that haunted the cemetery at night had not yet retreated to the darkness of the many open tombs. But the figures she could make out, five of them, did not move with the lurching gait of the mindless zombies, and seemed more plodding and purposeful. They were, in fact, cloaked and hooded against the morning dew, and in the early light Parthenia could make out the glint of armor and