Chapter Twelve: The First Task & Capture.

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   The tunnel widened quickly as they walked slowly down it, its rock walls squared off and slowly turned to polished marble, and scarcely ten minutes after entering the tunnel, Tauren found himself pacing down a marvelous white marble passageway.

The sound of their clacking boots echoed around them, and the light from their torches flickered softly, but otherwise there seemed to be nothing there.

Behind him Detrick swiped his finger along the wall muttering.” This is old.” and then wiping the thick coating of dust off on his coat.

Tauren ignored him; his mind was consumed still in the events of the past hours. How one’s life could change in such a short time. Why me! He kept asking himself, why is it me who ends up here?

Suddenly they stepped into a small circular chamber, it was made of white marble, like the hall, but in its walls were nine heavy steel doors.

“This is it.” He muttered to himself.

Detrick stepped up beside him, his jaw set, his torch crackling softly.” Well, we got into this; we might as well get done with it.” He growled, stepping over to one door.” Let’s just check through them, see what’s in them.”

Tauren nodded and stepping over to one door, jerked on it. To his surprise it wasn’t locked and it swung easily open.

Taking a deep breath he stepped inside, the room was small; practically all of its space was taken by a single dark granite sarcophagus. That must be one of the nine treasures. Either that or whatever was inside it.

But should he open it?

What should he do?

He sighed and stepped back out of the room, glancing around for Detrick. Detrick was opposite him, struggling to open one of the doors, futilely.” Tauren, give me a hand here.” He grunted.

“Never mind that one.” Tauren answered.” Come here, I could use some help.”

Detrick stepped away from the door, grunted angrily, and followed Tauren into the room with the sarcophagus. He glanced at the massive stone box and his eyes widened” One of these.” He muttered, dropping down next to it, and running his hands along the edge.” Have you looked at these?” He was staring intently at the side of the stone.

“What?” Tauren asked, kneeling down beside him.

There was no need to answer, carved into the soft stone of the sarcophagus were thousands of tiny pictures, depicting strange, humanoid creatures, massive trees, battles, and a burning city.” Beautiful.” He muttered, staring in amazement at the tiny pictures, carved with such detail into the hard stone.

Detrick coughed.” You were opening it?”

Tauren nodded.” I’ll get this end, you get the other, let’s see if we can lift the lid off.”

Detrick shook his head, instead he stepped forward, and with a mighty heave, shoved the whole massive stone lid off of the box, and sending it crashing violently to the floor.

They stood side by side, staring into the contents of the sarcophagus, their mouths open in amazement. Lying silently in a bed of sparkling, multicolored, magical light lay a girl, she could hardly have been too much older than either of them, with shoulder length honey-blonde hair, a thin nose, pale skin.

She seemed to be sleeping, but there were no sign of life about her, her thin, lithe body was still, and her chest was not moving, her eyes were closed, and when Detrick tentatively put a hand to her throat, there was no pulse.

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