Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 1

Michael O. Varhola

enlightening to learn that it was located in a building formerly owned by a family whose very name meant "the four winds."

His venture into the Anemoi tomb was, in fact, one of the episodes that Paros regaled other bar patrons with, and it did not fail to please or to garner him some applause and a few drinks. He told the tales of all the things he, Parthenia, and Selene had experienced in the necropolis — save anything about the shade of the Koan lady, which he kept strictly to himself — especially the account of his grueling ascent up the shaft to escape from the place. The rogue was, however, careful to omit anything about the location of the place, especially when pressed for details by those who seemed a little too eager to learn them, and even went so far as to suggest that it was located on the Anatolian mainland rather than a mere six miles from the city. He was nonetheless sometimes concerned that he might have given away too much, or piqued the interest of those who might themselves be interested in enriching themselves from the ancient cemetery.

That might almost have been worth it, of course, had a bard of note composed some ballad based on his experiences, and he had very much hoped to entice the minstrel Desdinova to do so. That personage was absent on some extended personal business, however, and the only entertainer who expressed any interest in his tales was the Half-Orc crooner Hate Rockma, whose songs used a style of chanted rhyming lyrics that Paros found repulsive. The two of them had talked a bit but both seemed to lose interest in the collaboration even before the rogue blacked out from the strong mixture of juniper-flavored distilled spirits mixed with the juice of crushed oranges favored by the gold-toothed entertainer.

Paros also frequently brought with him to the tavern the ancient game board and the blue and green soapstone pieces that he had found in the catacombs. He did not know what rules applied to this game, however, and had put some time into contemplating how to play it; it was reminiscent of chess in many ways, but used a different color scheme, had more and different pieces, and somehow seemed more mercantile or even occult than martial in character. It was easy to imagine, correctly or not,