Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 23 (Day 7)

Michael O. Varhola

Read "Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 22"

Parthenia limped forward on her injured leg and tried to push open the metal door but it did not budge.

"The Orcs must have wedged it shut again," Paros said. "To cover their retreat, just like they did with the dog. Let's not mess with it now; I want to go get our treasure and maybe see if there is another way out of here in case they come back with allies. And we can get those spikes out of there later if we need to."

Parthenia nodded and then stepped back from the door. She wanted to recover their loot as well. The party headed back down the passageway toward the vault, Pumayo stationing Kidna a ways back in the corridor so that she could monitor the Orcs if they did return but also have an unimpeded line of retreat back to him. In short order they found themselves once again before the two locked vault doors and picking their way over the collection of bedrolls, rations, equipment, and trash that was haphazardly scattered throughout the room. A stench of sweat-stained gear accented with hints of rotting garbage and urine filled the room.

Paros stepped over to the right-hand door and gave it a good once-over; he had no reason to think it would be trapped, and there was certainly no place to conceal a trap of the sort the Orcs likely would have been able to construct, but he was still injured from his last lapse in diligence. Eventually satisfied there was no cause for concern, he quickly picked the padlock, stuffed it in his backpack in case he needed it for something later, and then opened the iron portal.

Gasps of joy from he and his companions followed, as they gazed with unbridled pleasure at the hoard of loot piled in the ten-by-ten room. It looked as if the collection of treasure they had amassed and left behind, the votive statues of brass, electrum, and gold, the masterwork weapons and armor, the gems, jewelry, and art objects, all or most of it, was here! It appeared, in fact, that the hoard also included a number of items they did not recognize, presumably things that the Orcs had found in their own explorations (or, quite possibly, stolen from other adventuring parties). The items they had left behind, naturally, were those that they had deemed least valuable, and the most precious things were those they had carried out with them on their previous foray. They could once again critically appraise the items in the hoard, taking into account the things the Orcs had added to it and the things they had pillaged from the Eptaeinai family tomb, and carry out in four backpacks of the most valuable portions of it. Because they had already taken the items that were indisputably of the first water, of course, and what they each netted from this venture would thus likely be substantially less than the two-thousand-or-so gold drachmas each they had before. Unless ...

"The other vault!" Paros said, visions of the workshop's repository of most valuable supplies dancing in his mind. "This is almost certainly where they kept things like gold and other precious materials for embellishing monuments and the like. What lies beyond this door could be worth more than everything we have already found in this place ... " Once again, he satisfied any fears that the door might be trapped, quickly removed the padlock, and then, with a sense of anticipation, opened the door. He peered into the room, his companions eagerly look past him, and their jaws all dropped in shock. 

Read "Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 24"