He didn't have much time. One of these piles belonged to his father and he hastily searched the area nearest his mother. Somehow that didn't seem right. On impulse he moved over to the other side of the altar and the cushion nearest it on that side.
There were items that belonged to the High Priest and he remembered similar items that had been placed around his mother's seat. His eye was drawn to a ceremonial dagger and sheath that lay in front of the cushion. Picking it up he saw that R.K. had been burned into the sheath and he knew it belonged to his father. He slipped his own knife out of its sheath and strapped the dagger hurriedly into it. He didn't have time to find a belt for the dagger and sheath.
Taking his own torch he walked around the chamber trying to get an idea of its true size. There was an opening off to the left of the altar that led deeper into the cave through some type of corridor. He stooped and walked down the corridor gasping in surprise as he turned a quick corner and gazed upon an unbelievable sight.
It was another large cavern but filled with artifacts like those at the antique shop in Old Seattle. His torch reflected off burnished armor and weapons of steel and bronze.
Even stranger was one area that was set aside from the others. The items collected here were not of the world he knew. They did not belong to either the present or the past. He didn't even know if these items were made by human hands.
There was a slender silver rod that glinted in the torchlight and he picked it up. It had some small buttons on the side near the grip and a cord that went around the wrist to keep from loosing it. Pushing the first button made the tip of the rod glow with a comfortable light that lit up the room.
He pushed the second button and a beam shot out from the wand touching the wall of the cave. Within seconds the cave wall began glowing red with heat. He hastily released the button and prayed nothing else would happen.
He slipped the cord around his wrist for carrying the wand and retraced his steps back to the other cavern. He snuffed out the two torches on the wall above the altar and made his way back to the pool.
At the edge of the pool he set the tinder and another torch ready for the next time he came and then carefully set the torch where it would burn out on its own without hurting anything.
Then he slipped off the woolen robe, put the two hospital bracelets in his mouth and taking a deep breath dove into the black pool of freezing water. Moments later he was outside climbing the stone stairs out of the pool.
He wasted no time sliding into his tunic and furs. He was still wet as he hastily donned his boots and grabbed his pack and equipment. He put the wand into his pack and the hospital bracelets in a leather pouch on his waist for safe keeping. He guessed it was about 3:00 a.m. and the air sleds would be looking for him anytime
He headed at a dog trot through the maze of rock toward the edge of the lake. He hurried toward his burned out campsite planning to stop there and rest. He was halfway around the lake in the predawn light and walking normally when the first air sled appeared. He was not surprised to see the air sled drop to the ground on the beach in front of him and a medic step toward him.