The Box (Part XVII)

The hobbit watched silently as the events unfolded before him. He was hidden, but only from the sorcerer.  He would be a fool to think that the great red knew not of his presence.

He blinked slowly, wearily, the eyelids over his sunken eye socket smacking wetly together, reminding him that there was very little time before this scene was finished playing out.  Even though the wyrm stalked the other with deadly focus, he shuddered when it he saw one mountainous eye mark his position.  Though its gaze only fell on him briefly, it promised of a dark eternity soon to be bestowed unto him.

He paid one more glance to the sorcerer and smiled when the other noticed for the first time that the elf’s blade was missing.  If only he could witness the expression on the other’s face, perhaps he would be satisfied for the loss that he placed upon him and Elladuer!

Joeshan shifted his weight, quickly checking the bindings that held the sword against his back, and began to make his way to the ground.  The dragon was enraged, its attention was solely on the spellcaster it was now preparing for attack, but it had made one mistake. In passing him over, it had secured its own place in the afterlife.

His bare feet padded softly across the cavern floor.  He ran across a king’s treasure, making a sound no greater than a whisper.  Not a single coin shifted beneath his gift of grace.  No treasure was disturbed.  He ran doubled over, that he may be closer to the ground.  As a ‘finder’ of things unique, he had learned that the larger folk overlooked him because of his short stature.  More difficult to see him, still, when he hugged the ground as he was now!

Occasionally, one of his deft hands would pluck a gem from the horde around him.  Some were cut while others were untouched by a jeweler’s skilled hand, and before he was halfway to his goal, he carried a king’s ransom in one pouch alone!

There were more coins in this one cavern than water in his fishing hole back home!  They were beautiful.  Gold, silver, copper and even platinum coins were heaped into careless mountains.  He could spend the next ten years filling his magical pouches and not even empty a quarter of the beast’s lair!

“By the gods…”

The sorcerer’s words startled him from his thoughts as they continued to echo through the dragon’s domain.  They were fading, and it wouldn’t be long before they were gone altogether, but they reminded him of the one thing he was here for.

It waited silently, less than a giant’s stone throw away, watching for the one who would free it from its confinement.

The Eye of Necrodemus.

There were legends around the one whom the eye once belonged to.  Many people still huddled in fear beneath the darkness of night, hidden behind spells of protection and countless traps designed to keep intruders at bay.

So many lifetimes had passed since the Lich God had been defeated, but the land also slow to recover.  In the places where no man or beast still dared to tread were the abandoned camps of his armies, still protected by the undead he had resurrected all those years ago.

The Eye was the last relic of a time when gods walked amongst men.  It was the only piece of the Lich to have survived its defeat and it possessed enough of the creature’s power to embolden one, no matter what path they walked.

His mind churned as he drew closer to the box.  It sought him, much as he did it, desperately calling for his attention.  He could feel the Eye focused on him, using every bit of its magical will to pull to where it lay.

“No,” he grumbled angrily.  “You.  Won’t.  Have.  ME!”

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