The first thing that Arcturas saw on the other side of the gate was another gate. Surrounding a wide courtyard, were tall stone walls, crenellated at the top and pierced well below by arrow slits. The floor of the courtyard was paved with stones and beyond was an identical gate to the one he had just passed through except that it was closed.

After listening for a moment and waiting for something to happen, he strode quickly across the courtyard and pushed against the gate, but it did not move. He tilted his head to listen for some response but the only sound was the faint sound of the breeze.

The ground underfoot was cobblestone. Arcturas turned back the the cooling bodies behind him and drew one of their knives. Advancing, once again, upon the door, he used the knife to dig and pry one of the stones out, breaking the snapping the tip of the knife off in the process. But the first stone was the most difficult, and he moved quickly lifting and prying stones out of the ground around the center of the gate.

Periodically, he stopped to listen, but heard no sounds of other guards, nor saw a single moving shadow under the gate.

An hour passed quickly; he had cleared a wide enough path in the cobblestone for his body to fit in and dug enough earth out of that space to fit his head under the gate. After a quick look, he scooted out of the trough he had dug and grabbed his sword.

He put the sword and then his arm under the gate and then squeezed his head and one shoulder under. With his sword, he lifted and pushed aside the bar that lay across the back of the gate, then he extricated himself and walked through like he was meant to be there.

The End

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