Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Three Crowns continued.

Three Crowns
Chapter 2

Myro took a moment to take stock. The chamber he was in was pitch dark. The floor and walls were old, worked stone. The stone was cold and seemed to suck the energy from his body when he brushed against it. He waved his hand in front of his face and thought he could see the hint of motion or it could be his imagination. Once he had closed the opening to the Tavern’s cellar all light had been extinguished. Myro paused his breath and really listened. All he could hear was the blood pounding in this ears

Well, he was safe for now. Time to get his bearings. Myro reached into his cloak and his hand closed on his flint and steel striker. Working it from memory he struck the flint. A spark lit the chamber briefly. The chamber was small, nearby on the wall was an old unlit torch. Now that it was dark again, Myro reached for the torch on the wall and closed his hand on the dry wood. Bringing the flint to steel again he sparked the head of the torch that glowed red. Blowing on the head of the torch Myro worked it to a flame.

Able to see the chamber now, Myro saw that it was an empty room, only about five feet square with a low ceiling. Facing him in the far wall was a stone door. On the face of the door was the symbol of three crowns.

“Huh”, Myro said aloud. What were the chances he thought?

Myro stepped forward toward the door and put his shoulder to it. It did not budge. He examined the crowns on the iron surface of the door. The symbols were raised figures. By the looks of it, the symbols could be depressed. Myro’s hand wavered over one of the crowns but he stopped before pressing it. Why would all three crowns be part of the door latch? It was likely, he thought, that only one of the symbols was the correct symbol. The other two might be trapped. Or maybe it has to be a pattern?

The torch guttered and slowly the flame went lower. Myro checked the torch. It was old and was going to stop burning soon. He needed to make a decision quickly before the chamber was plunged into darkness again.

Looking at the crown symbols more closely Myro could see that one seemed to have received more use. The edges were not as sharp and the others. The torch guttered again and the flame went out. All that remained was a low glow from the torch. Making up his mind, Myro pressed the more worn crown symbol. The raised symbol depressed smoothly until it was level with the surface of the door. There was a loud click sound. The door shuddered but did not move. Myro cautiously pressed against the door and it swung open easily. Beyond was a larger, cooler chamber. In the dim glow of the torch, Myro could see little. Rough shapes on the floor and no hint of the size of the chamber.

He stepped forward into the room and took a few steps. His foot slipped on something round and brittle. Like a small stick. Myro reached down and his hands closed on a slick, foot long stick. He took a few practice swings with it satisfied. Feeling ahead his hands came to a stone form rising from the floor. Feeling along the top of the stone Myro felt the familiar shape of a large candle. Relieved he used his flint and steel again, this time to light the candle. The wick lit almost immediately. The candle was a pale brown colour and longer than his forearm. The light flickered with the motion of his hand but lit a small circle of the chamber. Myro looked down at his other hand and immediately dropped his stick. It was not a stick it was a human bone.

Raising the candle, careful not to put it out, Myro took stock of the chamber. He was in a large chamber, at least fifteen feet square. Four stone biers rested against one wall. Atop the bier were several candles. One of which was now lit in his hand.

No windows and no doors, Myro mentally said in his head. It looks like the basement of some old temple. Perhaps for some long-forgotten god. The building must have fallen into ruin and the buildings of the Marn’s Crossing were built atop it. Hopefully, there was a way out of here somewhere they did not involve going back to the tavern. Myro thought that worst case he could wait a few hours and slip back into the cellar. Probably the excitement would have died down.

Myro walked carefully down the aisle in front of the stone crypts. I wonder if they buried their dead with their gold he thought. Myro moved to the closest bier and looked at it carefully. There was an obvious indentation along the edge marking a lid on a crypt. He quickly made the sign of Juvan the patron of thieves. Then he pushed against the lid of the crypt. The stone moved a few inches revealing that there was indeed a crypt beneath the stone lid. Re-doubling his efforts, Myro put down the candle on the nearest bier and put his back into it. The stone lid slid off the crypt and fell onto the floor with a crash. Myro nervously looked about then chuckled.

“No one is coming.”

Myro reached over, grabbing the candle and shone it into the crypt. Expecting to see a moldy skeleton he was surprised to see a set of stone steps leading down into the darkness.

“Well, what do we have here, then?” he said.

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