Return to the Necropolis: Prologue

Michael O. Varhola

For three days after they returned to Kos City from the abandoned necropolis known as the Elysion, wily Paros, barbaric Elf Parthenia, and moon priestess Selene did little more than eat, sleep, and recuperate from the physical and mental rigors they had experienced. By the morning of the fourth day they felt sufficiently recovered to set out with the priestess's recently acquired cart and mule to retrieve the items from the embalming chamber for Paros's new alchemy shop. Ideally they would have waited a little longer but Selene was eager to return to her hamlet in the interior of the island as soon as possible and, if Paros wanted avail himself of her equipment and assistance, he would have to do so now.

The companions decided that during this brief return they would enter only the outer areas associated with the black marble hillside temple of Hades Polydegmon — namely, the statue-filled entry hall, the chapel to dread Thanatos, the priestly dressing room, the chamber of the Styx-stream, and the area behind the secret door containing the storage room and the laboratory where they had battled the mummy. This latter room was, indeed, the object of their quest, and from it Paros wanted to carry away as much of the alchemical equipment as possible, along with any substances that were still good. While they were there they would also thoroughly re-search the other areas for anything of potential worth that they might have missed the first time.

But on this foray they resolved to abstain from exploring any other parts of the sprawling aboveground necropolis, and by no means to cross over the subterranean brook that seemed to both be symbolic of the River Styx and to share some of its characteristics. Whatever supernatural forces had led to them becoming trapped there before were presumably still in effect, and there was no reason to think they were better equipped to deal with them now than they had been before. During their previous incursion into the catacombs beneath the necropolis the adventurers had fully expected to encounter any number of hazards or guardians, but were not prepared for the place itself to be a giant deathtrap. They still had a large hoard of treasure hidden there, secure in the Anemoi family tomb and deep into the maze of underground vaults and sepulchers, but collecting it would have to wait until they