Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Chapter 4e – Ethical Debate

Chapter 4e – Ethical Debate

They tended their wounds, had a bite to eat and got their map up to date.

Replenished, they headed off again.

Looks like a duvet-day to me
North, then west. Into a huge room. A bit of roof-fall had strewn rubble over the floor. This had opened up some rat-tunnels to the northern side. But the rats, numbers depleted, weren't coming out.

What took everyone's eye, however, were the sarcophagi scattered around the north side of the room.

Carefully Sir Baltimore and Thrilly approached the nearest one.

Like the veterans they were, Rockall and Bailey took up guard positions – one at the east side where they'd come in, one covering the unexplored western end of the room The continual light from their swords lit up the room enough to spot danger coming.

There were ten of the sarcophagi in total. Some of them had lids on them, most of them hadn't.

Sir Baltimore tip-toed over to the nearest coffin. Inside, the coffin contained only some mouldering old bones.

He moved behind that one to look in the second one. Thrilly the Dwarf moved with him, envying the human's height on this occasion.

The second coffin held a partially clothed skeleton holding a jewelled dagger in its bony hands folded across its chest.

I hope you're not thinking about defiling these graves” said Pious. He was
Hmmn. Not sure.
sure that these bodies hadn't been buried by his religion, but he still felt a bit morally squeamish about ransacking them.

I'm not sure we should be helping ourselves here” he said.

Well, these chaps aren't really doing anything with their kit these days” said Sir Baltimore. He peered inside the coffin. It looked like an Elfish skeleton. He could move the arms out of the way gently and that dagger would be his...

Yes” said Thrilly “these chaps are quite vulnerable here. We'll be doing them a favour taking their stuff into safe keeping”. He could see the glint of the jewelled dagger in the coffin. It had been a while since he had seen a gemstone and the red sparkle of the dagger-handle captivated him. “I'm surprised no one else has been in here, stuffing their sacks with what they like”

Leggyass chuckled away to herself in the background. She didn't understand their language but she got the gist of the argument.

Pious moved round to the head of the first sarcophagus. The mouldy old skeleton therein looked decrepit. I'll bless it, he thought. He took his Holy Symbol, the Cross of the Four Points, and pressed it firmly to the head of the skeleton. As he breathed in to start his prayer, a cloud of noxious fungal spores rose up in the air from the pressing cross on the mouldy old skull. Pious breathed it all in.

In an instant, Pious slumped to the floor, groaning out his breath. Rockall was closest. He sped over and pulled him from the coffin. “He's unconious” he said “but alive”.

Rockall propped him up, comfy against the wall, next to the door he was guarding.

Well, that finishes the ethical debate” he said.

Sir Baltimore had barely broken his concentration. “Now, if I just move that arm.... and I'll just lift that dagger away”

But as he did so, the dagger flashed away into the air, turned and attacked him. Baltimore reared back in shock, as did Thrilly.

They drew their swords and tried to hit the flying dagger, for want of anything more tangible to aim at. Leggyass minced about at the back, well away from the action.
That one's looted. Next!

Thrilly struck the dagger to the ground and Sir Baltimore threw it into the coffin where it came from. The dagger stopped flailing at them. It had slotted itself back into its masters hands again.

That wasn't so good as it looked” said Thrilly.

Well, no harm done” said Baltimore “Lets press on”. He was in a grave-robbing mood and his impetus was hard to stop.

They peered into the next raised sarcophagus. A skeletal form, probably Elf, was inside. It wore rings and a coronet. They looked to be of considerable worth.

That crown looks tasty” said Thrilly “solid gold by the looks of it”, quite plain but no less impressive for its simplicity”. Dwarfs knew about these things and could appreciate the beauty of a piece of jewellery.

Yes” said Baltimore “If I just ... lift it ...off this ...skull....gently...”. He lifted the coronet away, but the head of the skeleton slumped to one side. “Oops. Here, have a closer look”. He passed over the golden crown for his friend to look at.

Thrilly beckoned to the Elf, Leggyass, to come a bit closer with her light, so that he could get a closer look at it.

But the Elf was having none of it. Pretending not to understand was a prerogative of those without knowledge of the common tongue. She didn't feel the need to get any closer to the tombs.

I'll just lever these rings off” said Baltimore, in the swing of things now. Two of the fingers broke off but he dropped the three rings he'd acquired into a pouch, unconcerned.

The next coffin, nearby, held another Elf. Their jaws dropped as they noticed what lay under the dust at the head end.

This must have been their queen” said Sir Baltimore, a bit awestruck all-of-a-sudden.

I'm sure she'd be happy that her necklace was going to a safe place” said
Work of Art
Thrilly. “Get on with it”

Right. Gently, gently, and he reached round the back of the skeltal neck to unclasp the necklace. A bit of pulling and untangling and the necklace was away. He passed it over to Thrilly.

This looks like a Work of Art”, he said. He gazed at the three colours of gold bars on the necklace.

Ah! The lustre of gold, he thought. Timeless.

The next coffin held the skeleton of a warrior. Sir Baltimore carefully peeled away the hands from a beautiful sword handle. Gradually he lifted up the weapon. As he was drawing it from the scabbard, he could feel the surge of magical power it gave.
"Oooh! That feels nice"

That was it, really.

They levered off the lids of the four unscathed tombs. Eventually, Leggyass felt brave enough to help pry the lids off. She even used both hands at one stage. But there wasn't much excitement in these. Bit of coin.

They examined Pious. He was still groggy. So they slung him on a shoulder, grabbed their booty and left.

Outside on the Monastery Mound they partially revived Pious.

They packed up and an hour or so later, they were back in the village of Poggollo. The wounded were tended to, prayers were said, booty was piled high on the table.

They'd had tougher days.


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