Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 2

Michael O. Varhola

camping in the courtyard behind the townhouse (Paros would have been happier with them in the house but the rustic women preferred sleeping in the open air). They thought it a safe bet that they would find him at the popular watering hole and were not disappointed on that account.

"Oh, I still have these things!" Parthenia said, reaching into her belt pouch and retrieving from it three lead amulets, each fashioned in the form of a ram skull and somehow associated with the hoary cult of Hades that had tended the necropolis in the era before the cataclysm. Upon their return to Kos, the companions had liquidated everything that one of them had not claimed for personal use at the Hermesium, the massive brokerage hall at one end of the city's grand bazaar. They had neglected, however, to sell these amulets, which Paros had appraised as having very little material value anyway. "Maybe we can trade them for a round of drinks ... ."

"Wait!" said Pumayo. "Might I examine those?" Parthenia willingly enough passed them over to him and, after he spread them out on the table in front of him, the wizard moved his hand in an arcane gesture and uttered the syllables of a brief cantrip, and then stared briefly at each of the items. Paros also noted surreptitiously that the wizard allowed his gaze to briefly linger upon each of the companions as he slowly looked up from the table with a mystical look upon his face.

"These amulets reveal an aura of magic," Pumayo said.

"Can you tell what they do?" Paros asked, his interest piqued.

"I can, but it would be somewhat expensive ..." the wizard said. Discussion ensued on this and intensified when he revealed that he needed two fine pearls — worth about two-hundred gold drachmas altogether — as components for casting this spell.

"Why should we pay you two-hundred gold pieces to tell us what our own items do?" Selene demanded. Paros was stunned that, as a spellcaster who also required material components for some of her spells, she should somehow be perceiving that this was a fee that the wizard was demanding, and made some attempt to explain this to her. Parthenia, who with a word could have explained this to her friend, did not bother to do so, and the rogue did not know if this was because