Rise of the Thrall Lord
The Battle of Fisheye Cove - Part 7
Perovich Fichgotz crept carefully down the stone steps into the depth of the temple ruins. He used his stout oaken staff in one hand to test the steps ahead. The torch of wicker and pitch sputtered brightly in his other hand; there were five more in the satchel at his side. He had prepared for this excursion carefully this time; carefully and secretly. His brother would not approve.
He remembered coming to these ruins as kids; following his older brother Hevik around. They would roam the overgrown courtyards and skip stones across the murky pools, pretending they were princes in a palace. He idolized Hevik back then, his bravery and sense of adventure. Someday they said, they’d follow that old road and see where it went.
Father would shout at them to get out of there; to be careful. Brave Hevik would sneer at such concerns and make up stories for Perovich about the vast riches buried beneath the temple and how they’d find it and both become lords.
Somehow, over the intervening years, Hevik had become like father; always concerned with practicalities and avoiding risks. He supposed it was the curse of parenthood. Now Hevik wouldn’t recognize an adventure if it fell out of the sky in front of him.
The stairs curved left and ended in an archway into a large vaulted chamber. This section had not been accessible until a tree fall only a month ago had smashed part of the old wall and revealed the steps down.
After stumbling upon the new entrance several weeks ago without light or gear to explore with, he had planned to come back this very week. It was great fortune that Irweena had suggested the family fishing trip today, not only would he have the boat to haul his loot back with, he’d be able to gloat the whole trip home about his new found wealth. Those fools out fishing were missing all the adventure.
The high arch of the chamber brought the ceiling low at the sides where he entered. A row of pillars ran the length of the room on either side, a double arm’s length from either wall. In the center, a channel twice as wide across as he was tall was cut from end to end, and filled with still dark water, without wave or ripple.
As he cast his gaze down the long chamber to his right, his heart skipped a beat. The far eastern end of the chamber was bathed in an unnatural blue-green light that waved as if underwater. Standing there, in the center of the light, its scales dully glinting, watching him with its great emerald eyes, was a huge dragon of bronze.