Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 5

Michael O. Varhola

moved down the large corridor and, when they came to the fourth one on the right, they turned into it and proceeded to its end. All along its length on either wall were individual vaults, stacked three high; most of these were sealed with flat, rectangular stones, but some were open and empty, never having been used to inter anyone. None of the vaults in this hallway had been violated, as was the case in some of the others they had explored previously. Periodically, a full-sized stone or metal door was set in the wall instead of a trio of individual vaults, and they knew that these led into larger personal or family tombs.

"Anemoi," Paros said, reading the word carved into the limestone above the large bronze door at the end of the corridor, just as he had the first time they had visited this place, and which he uttered now primarily for Pumayo's benefit. "'The Four Winds,' an aptly-named merchant family of ancient Kos whose main warehouse is now the site of the watering hole we spend so much of our free time and treasure at."

The door to this tomb was secured with a complex lock that Paros had managed to open on their previous visits with a hexagonal bronze key he had found among the effects of the adventurers slain in the four-way intersection they had recently passed through. Those now-dead intruders had obviously known something and been there with the rich Anemoi tomb in mind, but had apparently not found it by the time they had been slain, in all likelihood by the skeletal Cerberus. The only swag Paros and his companions had found on the dismembered adventurers had been relatively modest grave goods, primarily small votive statues, and this tomb did not appear to have been disturbed prior to their initial discovery of it.

Using his locksmithing skills, Paros had affixed a handle to the six-sided key, as he believed had originally been the case, and he now slid it into the lock, disengaged the mechanism, and pulled the heavy portal open. By the light of their sunrod, the companions could see the octagonal, twenty-foot-wide chamber, its floor, ceiling, and walls lined with pale-gray marble. In each of the four diagonal sections of wall there was a large copper panel engraved with images of the gods associated with the four cardinal winds,