Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 9 (Day 2)

Michael O. Varhola

Read "Return to the Necropolis: Chapter 8"

Back in the Anemoi family tomb for the night, the companions discussed by candlelight what they would do next. Pillaging the individual vaults was a lot like real work and, if they kept collecting treasure from them at the rate they had thus far, it would probably take about a month to collect the four backpacks full of loot that they had expected to walk out with right away. The payoff for that month would, of course, be pretty good, and allow them to turn their attentions to less lucrative ventures for six months or even a year thereafter, until their purses grew light or boredom weighed too heavily. They could increase their haul and decrease the amount of time they had to spend in the catacombs by focusing on larger sepulchers, like the one they were in now, but these were also more likely to contain traps, guardians, or other hazards. A combination of both less hazardous individual vaults — that being relative, of course, as some of those were trapped or contained the odd ghoul — and more rich family tombs would thus seem to be the best course of action.

In order to proceed in this manner, however, they would need to stretch their already-waning rations. The companions therefore decided that in the morning they would first visit the sinkhole-cavern and replenish their water from the spring that trickled into it. They resolved, however, to under no circumstances eat any of the pomegranates or asphodel that grew there, as they had come to believe that consuming them had both made it more difficult to muster the will needed to cross out of the virtual underworld and hastened their transformation into shades. After filling their waterskins, they would return to the surface to hunt and forage for a few days worth of food, and then either spend the rest of the day tomb raiding if time permitted or ensconce themselves for the night and turn their attentions to it once again the next morning.

When the group discussion was done, Paros and Pumayo sat down together against the wall on one of their bedrolls and started munching on cheese, olives, and pieces of flatbread, washing it all down with wine from the wizard's wineskin.

"Why didn't we bring our game?" Paros asked. "You always say you're not going to have time