through the gaps between ring and stone. The facade of the stone
doorframe popped open, releasing centuries of dust into the air.
The dust settled to reveal a ring, a scroll, a scabbard, and a belt.
He withdrew the scroll and ring and placed them in a pocket inside the
fold of his cloak. Then he removed the scabbard and belt, and
strapped them around his waist. He closed the secret compartment
door with an audible “click.”
he directed his light beam on the wall carving just to his left.
There, in detailed relief, the life size image of a knight slaying a
dragon-like creature called a korax had been carved into the stone.
The korax, similar to the tyrannosaurs rex on our world, ran on two
large, powerful hind legs with an oversized, retractable claw with which
to slash at its victims. It used a huge tail for balance and two
smaller forelegs or arms for grasping. These forearms looked small
compared to the rest of the massive body, but were actually larger and
stronger than a human arm. And just like a t-rex, the mouth
contained large, serrated teeth, some longer than a human hand.
The korax had nearly been brought to extinction centuries ago, but now
they were coming back especially in the winter when the snow forced them
out of the frontier and into villages looking for food. Years
before, some looter had even tried desperately to chisel this image from
the walls. Pit marks could be seen along its border. The
thief was barely able to chip away at the wall itself, but the carving
lay unmarred. Apparently, the carving must have been made of
tougher material than even the mountain bedrock was. Despite its
toughness, the image was intricate and extremely lifelike. One
could see the fierce determination in the knight’s face that
contrasted with the look of lingering defiance in the korax’s.
Long ago the stone mason inscribed the knight’s name in ancient runes,
Firesmyth Mancuso the Golden Lion.
cloaked man stood back and remembered the scene. Only one
commander had his quarters decorated this elaborately, but it wasn’t
by his own volition. The former resident of these quarters,
Firesmyth Mancuso, had lead his men so well that one of them, a skilled
stone cutter who was injured in battle dedicated this work in his
commander’s honor after he