Return to the Necropolis: Prologue

Michael O. Varhola

knew more about what they were dealing with and had a better sense of how to leave the place when they were ready.

The party departed Kos City as early in the day as possible, knowing that they would be slowed by the cart and mule once they left the highway and began their ascent along the rougher tracks leading up into the hills. The entire trip was only about six miles, but it was slow going and, in the event they were delayed in any way, they did not want to arrive even close to the onset of darkness. As the companions had learned during their first visit to the huge cemetery, the corpses of those buried there rose up once the sun went down and that revelation had almost spelled their doom. They arrived at the wrought-iron gates to the place, however, a little after noon, and thereafter worked their way cautiously through the labyrinth of overgrown mausoleums, crumbling cenotaphs, and other funerary structures, and the trees, shrubs, and other flora that had grown up amongst them during the century since the last person had been buried there. When the cataclysmic eruption of the Thera volcano had destroyed the world as the people living at that time had known it, the Elysion was abandoned and had never been used since. Some few bands of adventurers appeared to have visited the place over the proceeding hundred years but it was still largely unexplored by the time Paros, Parthenia, and Selene had mounted their expedition to it.

The three of them were not molested during their brief passage through the cemetery to the mausoleum at the base of the hill containing the secret door that led directly into the embalming laboratory. Once there, they backed the cart into it and unhitched the mule; they would not try to complete their tasks and leave this day and would instead spend the night in the room that lay beyond, as they had done before. The secret marble slab that led into the laboratory, however, was dead-bolted from within and Paros had no means of opening it from the outside, so they would have to get to it by going through the temple of Hades on the hill above. Paros and Parthenia would do this, while Selene stood guard over the mule, and then open the door from within so that the priestess