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Weakness plagued his arms and legs and the frigid air shuttered his breath. The fire was but a mere flame smoldering ashes around his silver dagger. Balamor began to cough as he leaned against the pale interior. A trace of energy surged through his blood and shook him to the cold stone floor.His foggy vision suddenly cleared and his hairs stood straight with a great gasp of air. Balamor’s eyes darted around him, the slight red glow of embers shined off the silver blade of his dagger. Quickly he moved the to center of the room and grabbed its porcelain hilt. Ignoring the heat he waved the remaining light across the dwarf.

Awkid Anvorbeard’s stocky figure laid on the ground, blood soaked his tunic but his breathing returned to normal. He moved his hand to the left of the cavern and the small patch of light revealed the broken leg of a skeleton. Balamor jumped before slowly tracing it from the foot to the shattered end of the tibia. His hand moved the faint light toward the wall where the dry bones of a man were slouched against a broken polearm. A torn black banner draped against the wall, on its surface an elaborate white crest of a cane and a sword crossed below a curved horn. Who was this man? Balamor contemplated the figure, thick rust consumed the metal plating of his heavy armor and flakes littered the long black tunic beneath. Suddenly Balamor caught a glimpse of a satchel and the last bit of cloth around his dagger burned out. He sheathed his blade and slowly felt for the old leather pack, shifting the arms and torso of the rattling corpse Balamor could finally slip the bag free. The darkness made the cold bone chilling and the decayed leather felt coarse against his hands as he searched the contents with haste.

Long moments passed before Balamor emptied the pack onto the cave floor. The sound of metal jingling and a heavy wooden thud echoed through the cave. Balamor reached into his bag and removed the flint and steel once more. Strikes against the firesteel spawned cherry red sparks and flashes of bright light. Balamor examined the items with each strobe, hoping there something of use. The first was a small pouch made of fine ringmail, inside was a strange black stone. Balamor rubbed its polished surface with his fingers, no symbols surprisingly. The black stone and ringmail bag made its way into his pack before Balamor moved on to the second item, a small chest. It was made of a hardwood and coated in a thin layer of lacquer. The flat metal latch holding it shut was locked. Balamor shook it next to his ear, a few small thuds verified something was inside. He placed it into his bag before striking the firesteel again, the flash of light revealed a bundle of dark metal rods. Balamor leaned closer and struck again, the white light splashed against the cave interior and the surface of what he now thought were torches of some sort. He grabbed them from the ground and placed two in his pack. He felt its smooth surface and at the very end the wet bristles of a wick. Placing it back on the ground he grabbed the flint and steel and struck once more. Sparks ignited the wick wick end of the black steel rod and filled the area with a fierce blue light.

The End

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