Return to the Necropolis: Prologue

Michael O. Varhola

a magically-trapped box there, but these had little apparent value and they did not find anything else. They briefly perused it and then moved on, crossing the stream chamber again to the place on the southern wall where they knew there to be a secret door. Passing through this portal and then closing it behind them, they walked up the narrow passageway, through the storage room full of tools and building supplies, and to the reinforced wooden door that secured the entrance to the embalming room. Paros had locked it the last time they were here and unlocked it now with the makeshift key he had fashioned and then pulled the door open, revealing the large room full of cabinets, workbenches, and a stone embalming bier. As with everything else, it was just as it had been weeks earlier, before they had become trapped deeper in the catacombs and unable to return, and the gear they had left here during their last visit was undisturbed.

Paros walked over to the iron door in the east wall, shot back the two deadbolts, and then pulled it open, revealing Selene waiting for them on the other side; the heavy portal was faced with marble on its other side so, while it was clearly visible from inside the room, was not apparent from outside of it. This concealed entryway had apparently once been used for discretely bringing bodies into the embalming room, and the eminently presentable mausoleum had probably been used as a model for the sort of thing affluent clients could have had built for themselves in the necropolis.

Paros had already conducted a thorough inventory of the laboratory's contents and now began to pack and move onto the cart everything he had decided to take with him; Parthenia and Half-Elven Selene both offered to help him but the fastidious alchemist-rogue preferred to work alone and firmly declined their assistance. There was not much in the way of loot for the two women but, as they were here as a favor to Paros, he agreed to let them split anything they wanted that was not strictly alchemical in nature. This included a box of semi-precious stones etched with arcane symbols and used in the preparation of bodies that was once done here. The rogue was not entirely happy with this arrangement, as it seemed to violate the convention for splitting loot dictating