Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 2

Michael O. Varhola

was the idea that an optimum adventuring band should include in equal proportions those skilled in stealth, combat, divine magic, and arcane spellcasting. Paros himself was, in fact, a rogue and adept at stealth, locating and disabling traps, and any number of related skills and abilities. Barbaric Elf Parthenia was a fierce warrior and thus filled the niche for that need, and Half-Elven Selene was devoted to and drew power from the Titan moon goddess Phoebe. But their party had not included anyone with arcane spellcasting abilities, and Paros wondered if this had not contributed to many of their difficulties and much of what they had suffered. And, as he had already learned, Pumayo was master of a number of spells that would have allowed the party to overcome or avoid many of the obstacles they had faced during their first foray into the necropolis.

Things did not go as well as Paros would have liked, however, when he introduced Parthenia and Pumayo during one of her visits to Kos and the Four Winds Bar. While the Levantine wizard went out of his way to be solicitous, Parthenia was notably sullen and withdrawn, and the involuntary curl of her thin lips revealed much of her distaste for the dusky, homely,  polydactylic man. Paros took her aside after this strained meeting and tried to explain to her all the ways that having Pumayo would have been to their benefit in the necropolis; she did not bother to respond to any of his points and only stated a number of times, somewhat counterproductively, that she did not trust wizards, but that Paros could do whatever he wanted and she would not try to stop him. When she departed soon thereafter the rogue was by no means confident in the outlook for another expedition to the necropolis.

A month later, however, while Paros and Pumayo were playing "Theran Chess" and sipping cups of wine at the Four Winds Bar, the rogue was surprised to look up and see Parthenia and Selene standing over their table, smiling down at him. He got up and embraced both women, ordered a round of drinks for everyone, and bade them sit down, whereupon he introduced Selene to Pumayo. Parthenia then explained that they had just arrived in Kos from Selene's village and gone straight to Paros's home, where they had dumped their gear with the intent of