Return to the Necropolis: Prologue

Michael O. Varhola

could join them. Then, they would secure the door to the mausoleum-stable to keep the mule safe during the night and turn to the business at hand. 

As Paros and Parthenia headed out they heard Selene slide the iron bar they had brought with them through the handles on the inside of the mausoleum's bronze double doors. They then made their way over to the path leading up onto the wide, overgrown plaza before the black stone temple built into the side of the hill. Once there, they paused at the great green metal portals so that Paros could examine them for evidence of traps or other hazards, but the entryway did not seem to have been tampered with in any way since they had last passed through it. Inside, the statues of the eight gods peered down from their wallside pedestals at the companions, dark Hades, fleet Hermes, mighty Herakles, grieving Persephone, the three Judges of the Dead, and the archaic, three-faced goddess whose identity was still unknown to them. Paros and Parthenia walked past them and then down the broad stairway that led into the depths of the hill, hastening through the landing with the relief carving of dread Thanatos, god of death, and then into the chamber of the Styx.

Nothing had changed in this semi-improved natural cavern, and water still flowed out of a fountain carved in the form of an infernal Fury and thence across the chamber into a small pool at the base of a pedestal. A bronze statue of Achilles had stood upon that stone platform the first time they had entered this place and, after it came to life they had battled it, and it lay on the floor still, sundered and with Paros's dagger embedded in its heel. Beyond the stream a wide passageway disappeared into the darkness to the west and, as the companions had been magically prevented from crossing back over the water the last time they had gone in that direction, they had decided to avoid doing so this time.

The rogue and the female warrior went north first, to the room full of cabinets and moldering vestments that had apparently been used by the priests who once tended this place to dress and prepare themselves for their ritual duties. The companions had previously found a number of leaden amulets cast in the likenesses of ram skulls in