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Heroes of Mystara - Chapter 22by Jesper Andersen
The air in the tomb was dusty and dry. As they crawled on their hands and knees through the old ventilation shaft the picks and shovels they had brought made a clanking noise whenever they scratched the ceiling.
They emerged in a large room with cracked columns supporting an arched ceiling. In the light of their flickering torches they could see ancient frescoes on the walls.
'Look!' the first man said. 'Death murals! This must be the outer chambers of the tomb'.
He was dressed in dark studded leather armour and a grey cape. Apart from a pick and shovel he also carried a length of rope over his shoulder and a short sword by his side. His dark, unkempt hair and unshaven face gave him a devil-may-care look but the light shining in his eyes revealed his boyish excitement.
'You're right Misha. This could be the place' the other man nodded. He was probably a year or two older than Misha but still just a young man.
They proceeded down the steps of a large gallery presumably leading to the inners of the tomb. At the end of the gallery was a large set of heavy, brass-clad doors covered with obscure markings and runes.
'I don't like it' Misha said. 'Unless I am mistaken, these markings are a warning not to disturb the contents of the tomb. It says eternal torment is sure to befall anyone who enters'.
'Rubbish' the other man said. 'Just old wives' tales. Think about all the treasure inside! We are going to be rich!'
'I don't know...' Misha said hesitatingly. 'Maybe we should just go back?'
'Nonsense'. His companion had already picked the lock and started to push open the great doors.
Inside was a chamber beyond even their wildest dreams. Several large columns supported a ceiling more than 50 feet above. In the middle of the chamber was a stone platform rising out of pool of dark water. A narrow bridge led across from a ledge just inside the doors to the platform. On the platform stood a sarcophagus and all around it were clay pots filled to the rim with gold and glistening gemstones.
A broad smile lit up on the face of Misha's companion as he strode across the bridge. Misha followed close on his heels. When they reached the platform they started searching though the gold and gems and laughing hysterically.
'We're rich! Rich!'
'I know!' Misha shouted.
They started to fill their pockets and the sacks they had brought. When they had taken all they could carry Misha turned and started walking across the bridge. A noise behind him made him stop. He turned and saw his companion attempting to open the sarcophagus.
'Don't mess with that! Leave it alone!' he warned.
'Aren't you curious to see what is inside?'
'No! We got what we came for! Let's get the hell out of here!' Misha said in a fearful voice.
Just then, his companion managed to pry open the lid of the sarcophagus with his crowbar. He started sliding it over when a low rumbling noise made them both look up at the ceiling. There was a flash of heat and light as liquid fire started falling on them.
'Get out! Get out!'
They both ran as fast as they could across the bridge, up a few stairs and out the door into the gallery beyond. The floor of the gallery was already aflame as fire rained from the ceiling here as well.
As they raced up the stairs of the gallery towards the outer tomb a heavy wall of stone began to descend in front of them, blocking their only escape route. When it was a mere three feet off the floor, Misha's companion leaped forward and tumbled underneath it. But Misha tripped on the stairs before he could reach it.
'Misha! Get up! Grab my hand!'
But Misha couldn't reach it.
Just before the huge stone wall slammed down into the floor he could hear Misha scream as a large blob of flame set his clothes on fire.
He was drenched with sweat as he jolted up in his sleep.
He felt terrible. Pain was throbbing though his every limb and his vision was blurred. He looked around and saw Wulfgar stare at him from across a campfire. They were in a forest. It was dark. He could hear the river nearby... and the sound of animals in the bushes.
'Are you all right, Petja?' Wulfgar asked. 'It is good to see you finally awake. I was beginning to worry'.
'Whoa...who...how?' Petja began to mumble confused.
'You fell of the raft and into the river', Wulfgar explained. 'I dove in and found you at the bottom. You had hit your head pretty bad and were unconscious. I managed to get you out of the river and stop the bleeding'.
Petja touched his forehead and felt a bandage of torn cloth. 'Thanks'.
'Don't mention it. I got a fire going and have been waiting for you to wake up for half a day now'.
'Any sign of the others?'
'No'. Wulfgar shook his head and looked into the fire. 'I wanted to go looking for them downstream, but I didn't want to leave you the way you were'.
'I appreciate that' the rogue said dryly.
'Who's Misha?' Wulfgar asked.
'Nobody. Just a bad dream' Petja said and looked away. His hand felt inside his tunic. They had not found it. From a secret pocket he took forth a small silver medallion and held it into the light of the campfire.
'Damn, I hate the forest at night!' Whitemane growled. He kept tripping in the wines and underbrush.
'Well, we can't very well just sit here. We need to find the others!' Thaminor replied. He was in the lead and the elven blood in his veins gave him no problems at all finding his way over rocks and wines along the riverbank.
They had started walking upstream on the side of the river they had stranded on and let Eveil's parrot, Pesh, scout the far bank for any signs of Petja and Wulfgar. They were alert, for the members of the Iron Ring could still be lurking further up river.
They continued on in silence.
Next time: Searching for each other