Deep in the Cyonian Desert
Brother Rydan Garibaldi mopped the sweat from his tonsured brow with a dirty rag. He squinted at the sun beating down on the excavation site from the pale blue sky. No clouds had blocked its punishing rays since he arrived in the ancient land of Cyonia. The hard work of digging in this heat had taken its toll on the formerly plump Lucidian monk. He had shrunk considerably, a fact confirmed by the loose fit of his robes. His skin had also been heavily bronzed by the hours spent working in the sun. He looked like a local now, he would think on the odd occasion that he had to see his likeness reflected in a bucket of drinking water. Like he belonged in this ancient land.
The sound of excited voices drew Brother Rydan’s attention. Attacks from Bethuani tribesmen had been frequent and increasingly severe. The entire camp was attuned to the possibility of further raids. Faisal ali-Hudabri, the foreman of the work crew, came puffing along the path from the worksite, his face, though red from exertion, was also elated. “Brother, Brother,” he cried, “We have found something at last!”
Brother Rydan grabbed his wide brimmed hat and slapped it on his head and caught up his walking stick. “Let’s go, let’s go, tell me on the way,” he insisted, beetling past Faisal and heading towards the narrow canyon where his crew had been digging.
“A door, sir,” Faisal crowed, “Just where you said it should be.”
The canyon walls were steep, allowing no more than two men to walk abreast. Brother Rydan had to navigate around workers carrying heavy baskets of stone to the waste pits. A crowd of labourers had gathered at the end of the canyon. With Faisal shouting the dark-skinned Myvolin workers cleared a path for him and Brother Rydan.
The excavation was just as Faisal had said. The outline of a door could be clearly distinguished from the rough stone of the canyon walls. The portal was dressed in the same yellow stone of the surrounding valley, with hieroglyphs that indicated the Myvolin period. Brother Rydan quickly scanned the symbols, recognizing to his surprise two names: that of the famous and mighty Emperor Nemocasus III and that of his wicked and usurping adviser, Vizier Harjanni.
Excitement welled up within Brother Rydan. What treasures could be found in a tomb with the names of two such famous men of history upon its door! He trembled with anticipation as he nodded to Faisal. The foreman, recognizing the mood of his employer turned to the workers and in his gruffest voice commanded them to break open the stone blocking entry to the tomb.