From the Inside Flap
"Is that Jinn?" Nerris asked Len-Ahl.
She nodded. "Look upon his chest."
Nerris did as she said. Above his folded arms, something shiny was embedded in his chest. It was a medallion the size of Nerris's palm, round and golden in color.
"Is that what we're after?" Jhareth asked, a glint in his eyes.
"Yes," Len-Ahl said. "I must be the one to take it. Jhareth, please watch for dangers."
Jhareth nodded, and they started forward. As they approached the statue, Dist came to an abrupt stop and leaned over."What is it?" Nerris asked, looking back.
"My foot caught on something." Dist brushed the dirt aside with his boot. Not satisfied, he crouched down and dug with his hands, lifting something out of the dirt floor. He cried out in surprise and swore, flinging the object away. It landed in front of Nerris, and his eyes grew wide. It was old and deteriorated, but he knew what the top halfof a human skull looked like.
Jhareth swore also and whipped out two of his knives. Nerris yanked Noruken from its scabbard and brandished it in both hands, looking around. Dist found his feet and raised the Big Black, three bolts ready to loose. Len-Ahl approached the skull, hand across her mouth to hide her revulsion.
"Why would it bury its victims?" Jhareth asked.
"To lure more people in," Nerris answered.
No sooner were those words spoken than a series of low growls resonated throughout the chamber. The wall burst open in several places, as if Dist's exploding casks had been placed inside. Shadowy forms stepped out of the new holes and through the rock dust, screeching defiance at them.
The creatures' bodies resembled lions, with hairy manes and powerful hind legs ending in sharp claws on each paw. Their heads were those of hawks, feathery with round, unforgiving eyes and hooked beaks. Instinctively, Nerris stepped in front of Len-Ahl, and Jhareth and Dist took up positions on her other side. A quick count put their stalkers at a half-dozen.
The beasts made to surround them, blocking off both the dais and the entrance. They crept closer, their beaks snapping open and shut with a hollow sound as their bodies made ready to pounce. Nerris thought of the unearthed skull, and hoped the fate of thatunknown adventurer would not find them this deep in the earth.