Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 2

Michael O. Varhola

Read "Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 1"

As one year passed into the next, Paros began to think more and more about the necropolis and his long-absent companions and to begin planning for a return, both to retrieve the treasure they had cached there and to continue searching for as-yet unfound wealth. Reorganizing the party, however, was proving problematic. And, while Paros could have returned there on his own or with new companions, he was hesitant to do so for a number of reasons. One was that Parthenia and Selene were a known quantity, and another was that his return might be perceived by them as a betrayal or attempt to despoil them of treasure they had shed blood, sweat, and tears to collect.

Selene, however, had completely disappeared and, as far as Paros could tell, had not come back to Kos since leaving it for her hill country hamlet. And, while he had considered tracking her down himself, he was apprehensive about venturing alone into the rural interior of the island.

Parthenia, on the other hand, had turned up about once a month at the Four Winds Bar on her way to or from adventures on the Anatolian mainland, and if half the stories she told about slaughtering Goblinoid soldiery was true then the Tetrarchy certainly had a hefty bounty on her head. She proudly pointed out to Paros a number of additions to the barbaric tribal tattoos she wore and regaled him with the incidents that they signified. But she, too, was eager to return to the necropolis to retrieve the treasure they had left cached there, if not to explore the place further; like many of her uncivilized ilk, necromancy and other dark magic of the sort they had encountered in the burial ground was her Achilles' Heel, at least from a psychological point of view. She did promise, however, to visit Selene and to bring her back to Kos City as soon as it was expedient to do so.

One way or another, Paros was committed to expanding their group to include the sorcerous Pumayo. Even before making his acquaintance, Paros had spoken with other fortune-hunters at the Four Winds Bar, particularly one Jason of Argos, head of a would-be "adventurers' guild," and in these conversations had been swayed by certain popular theories on the composition of parties. One, which had both pragmatic and metaphysical underpinnings,