Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 6

Michael O. Varhola

Read "Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 5"

All four of the companions were angry, baffled, and a bit despondent at the discovery that their hoard of treasure was gone and had apparently been swapped out for a collection of potentially deadly crossbow traps. An examination of these weapons indicated they were of Dwarven manufacture, more evidence that a rapacious band of such folk had been wreaking havoc throughout the catacombs.

"How did they even get in here?" Paros asked indignantly. "The door is sealed with an exceedingly complex lock." He knew, however, that the lock was not really "exceedingly" complex, just moderately so, and that if he could open it then others could as well. And if whoever had rigged those crossbows was as adept at lockpicking as they were at trapmaking then it would not be too surprising that they could have breached the portal.

"Sorcery could have accomplished this as well," Pumayo said, raising an alternative possibility. "I myself can employ magic sufficient to open this door ... ." Hearing this did not please Paros much but he did silently resolve to test the wizard's assertion next time he himself was not able to successfully open something.

"What I'm more interested is how someone knew to loot this tomb!" Parthenia asked heatedly.

"Probably just dumb luck ..." Paros said, recalling silently that he had, in fact, made reference to "the Four Winds" any number of times when he regaled listeners with the tale of the party's battle with the armored skeletons in this room. "Probably no way we will ever know."

"Dwarves have many means for disclosing the location of treasure," Pumayo said, glancing at his friend and recalling the details in the some of those stories himself. "It is one of the things they specialize in. So, it is not surprising that they would be able to locate such a rich hoard, no matter how well hidden it would seem to be to anyone else."

A long and heated discussion ensued as to what the party should do and, as they spoke, the companions began to set up and lounge on their bedrolls, nurse skins of wine, and munch on trail rations.

Parthenia was in favor of hunting down the thieves, wreaking vengeance upon them, and retrieving their treasure. There was pretty much unanimous support for this and the conversation centered on it for awhile, until, upon