Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 4

Michael O. Varhola

statue and touch the cool metal leg.

"Based on what you told me, Paros, there is little reason to think it will reanimate as long as that dagger remains embedded in its 'Achilles' heel.'" He withdrew his hand, damp from condensation beading on the metal skin, and regarded the steel dagger, now rusty from months in the humid room. "And it is corroded enough by now that it will certainly not come out very easily." They all regarded the somewhat grotesque spectacle of the upside-down warrior, immersed down to the waist in the water, with his crested helmet resting on the floor of the pool.

"What should be of larger concern to us is who would have done this," Parthenia said, looking down the wide passageway that led off into the darkness to the west.

"Why do we care if someone threw this statue into the water?" Selene asked flatly.

"It's not that someone threw it in the water," Paros sputtered, "it's that it suggests someone else might be here too ... ." Parthenia simply acted as if she had not heard the priestess's inane query, while Pumayo chuckled cheerfully at the rogue's consternation, rising from beside the pool and following the water to where it flowed out of the wall from the mouth of the wrathful female face carved into it. He briefly caressed the visage of the Erinyes, the Fury, and then rejoined his companions. 

Guided by the light of Paros's sunrod, the party went down the narrow corridor the north. Even before they reached the room at the end, however, they knew something was wrong. A stench of bodily waste assailed their nostrils as Parthenia cautiously pushed the unsecured door all the way open, as did the sound of buzzing, and they were greeted with a scene of disorder. All of the cabinets and benches in the twenty-foot-square room had been tipped over, some smashed or lying haphazardly across others, many of the remnants of black ritual clothing appeared to have been smeared with defecation or urinated upon, and innumerable unwholesome flies swarmed around in the room. Not seeing anything else of note, Parthenia stepped back and pulled the door shut.

"Who in the name of Tartarus would have done this?" Paros asked. It all seemed so gratuitous and pointless; looting the unexploited treasure of this place was one thing, but this sort of vandalism and indecency