Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 4

Michael O. Varhola

was mystifying to him.

"You made that?" Parthenia asked Paros, indicating the sunrod, as they crossed the stream chamber once again. While the Elven women could see by starlight as well as a Human could in the noonday sun, they were no better able than the rogue to see in conditions of total darkness and also needed some source of illumination. With it, however, they could see about twice as far in the subterranean gloom as could their non-Elven comrade.

"Yes!" Paros said, appreciating the interest. "This and that tindertwig I used to light the incense in the temple above. I have learned to craft any number such things since we were last here. This device will serve us for about six hours before its light fades."

"It's magic?" she asked.

"No, not really," he replied. "Such things are made from substances found within the earth or distilled within my laboratory, but no spells are employed in their creation. The process is, in its way, not much different than crafting a sword or any other sort of item. I have also compounded for us several more vials of the liquid fire that served us so well in our battles with the mummified corpses."

When they reached the spot where the secret door was set in the wall, Paros had been planning on tracing its outlines for Pumayo and discussing with the others a plan for going through it. Parthenia, however, simply jammed her shoulder against the counterweighted slab and pushed it open, annoying the meticulous Paros.

"I could have searched that for traps ..." he said. "And something might have been waiting for us behind it."

"Yes, but there wasn't," Parthenia responded. Paros knew her mindset on this, that ill-considered actions were alright as long as they were not actually fatal, and knew nothing would be gained from arguing with or chastising her. She stepped through into the wide passageway beyond and began to follow its gentle incline upward to the south.

Coming to the open chamber that bumped out from the passageway to the right, the party could see that the equipment and supplies here had been disheveled but there was much less that could be done to things like casks of nails or paint powder than to cloth vestments. The boat-shaped funerary bier, which they had previously propped up in one of the corners, had been dumped onto