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Obsidian knight adventures

Prologue

There was no light in the mine shaft. Malikeith’s miners were used to working in the dark. Even their well-adjusted eyes could see no shapes in this complete darkness. But it mattered not; by now they knew their surroundings by touch and by ear. The sound of their pick-axes and shovels pinged and ponged all the way back to the surface. They could follow the sounds if they needed to go topside with a message or just to get a breath of fresh air. The Crew Supervisor paused to drink from his canteen and brush the sweat away from his brow. It was hot down here even without the hard work, he thought, as he felt a droplet of sweat run down his nose and hang there. When it fell, his sensitive ears could hear the small splash resounding on the wall beside him.

He wanted to let his men stop for a break but it was not yet lunch time and they had a quota to meet. Ever since a year ago, when it was discovered that they could power the whole city with the mineral, Opalzine, the Mining Corps had been under tremendous pressure to haul up more and more of the powerful stone. Conveniently, one of the largest known stores of this valuable ore was located directly beneath the castle. The Supervisor was glad he no longer had to travel miles upon miles to the various deposit sites he had mined in the past; but even here, right below the castle, a thousand feet below the surface did not feel like home. Brushing more sweat from his brow, he pulled his work gloves back on, lifted his pick and laid into the wall with a heavy blow.

They were deep inside a large vein of the dynamic Opalzine. His men had been pulling out a hundred pounds every day this week. No matter how much they brought up, however, the king always demanded more. King Malikeith was paying handsomely for the yellowish stone, but even good mining wages were less than what the Supervisor’s brother-in-law was making over in Engineering Corps.

For the millionth time, the Supervisor thought with bitter jealousy of his wife’s brother. He had been on the team that developed the Opalrite Energy Core, which now ran the whole city, and the force fields that protected it. They had all become rich for their work. Meanwhile, the Supervisor was still making an hourly wage to dig in the dirt. Miners, he thought with a chuckle, quite literally get the shaft. For a while he hacked away at the stone as if it was his brother-in-law’s face.

He suddenly heard one of his men address him in the dark.

“Hey boss, we found something. You might want to take a look.” The Supervisor, glad to give his weary muscles a rest, dropped his pick and followed the sound of the worker’s voice. They walked about a hundred yards deeper into the dark passage, knowing their way by sense.

“We came across it ‘bout an hour ago. Didn’t think nuttin’ of it at foist. A smooth soiface, some kind of hard stone behind the dirt. It’s not Opalzine. Some kind of wall. When we realized how big it was I t’ought we should come find you. There’s some sort of pattern etched in it. Like a picture or somet’in.” The Supervisor reached out and felt the wall where the miners were gathered. It was surprisingly smooth, like marble. He could feel the engravings that the miner was talking about. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket-torch. He lit a match and used it to ignite the torch. The small light was like the blaze of the sun in that dark chamber. He could suddenly see a handful of dirt-smeared and curious faces all around him. But they all turned immediately to look at the mysterious wall.

Before them was a smooth surface of black stone. In the light of the torch they could make out the etchings. It was some kind of official crest, but none that was recognized by any of the miners.

“Is that the crest of one of the Obsidian Knights’ Departments, boss?”

“Not that I’ve ever seen. What language is this? The letters don’t even look familiar.”

“You want me to go up top and find the Commander of the Mining Corps?”

“No. Give me a hammer.” He waited while the men in the back passed a hammer forward. He gave the wall a nice hard stroke that went reverberating back up his arm all the way to the shoulder. He grimaced with the pain but only turned to his men and said: “We’re gonna need a bigger tool.”

The Supervisor had a feeling there were treasures behind this wall, and if there were, he wasn’t going to let the Mines Commander take credit for finding them. If this worked out, he would have a house bigger than his brother-in-law’s. It took about an hour to bring down the siege hammer and set it up in front of the wall. He rubbed his hands together greedily as he watched the men pull back on the giant mallet and let it swung full force into the black stone. It took three big hits before the wall started to crumble. By the sixth they were through. When the seal of the chamber broke he could hear the air of the vacuum release with a sound like a thousand spirits crying out in pain.

Without hesitation he was the first one inside. He no longer needed the light of his pocket torch to see about him. The room was several stories high and illuminated by an eerie blue light. He stood in awe of what was before him. The light seemed to come from the very walls, which were pure blue azurite. But what really caught the eye were the seven towers of pure crystal that rose above him. The floor was littered with giant hunks of Opalzine, all bigger than any single stone they had ever found. Treasures indeed! The Opalrite was enough to make him rich for life, but the Supervisor suspected that the greatest treasure yet lay inside these crystal towers. He turned to the miner beside him.

“Go get a sample drill. I want a core sample to bring up top.”

“Sure boss.” Then he hesitated. “Do you want me to get the Mines Commander too?”

“No,” said the Supervisor with a mad gleam in his eye. “We are taking this one directly to the king!”

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