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Following the familiar passage Hiann slowly walked along the wall and laid his hand on an ornate panel. The name he spoke was feared and yet when he spoke, it resonated with power.

“Ametsam. Master. Father. I have come.” Hiann’s deep voice echoed along the passage and a section of wall swung away to reveal a dark passage. He stepped through the opening and the wall alongside him glowed softly. He paid it little attention but extinguished his torch. At the end of the short passage was a plain wooden door with a simple latch. There was no lock but the latch and door were warped and stiff from disuse. Hiann gripped the latch and pushed. The door shifted a little and then stuck. He placed a broad shoulder against the door and shoved hard, lending his weight and strength to the effort. The door grated a little further open and stuck against something. Another shove and there was just enough room for Hiann to squeeze through.

The room was devastated. Rubble was strewn across the floor and the ceiling mostly collapsed. Large cracks ran through the walls. Everything was covered with a thick layer of stone dust. Hiann gazed about in horrified fascination. Ametsam’s great hall was destroyed. The ancient laws and writings carved into the stones lost forever. Hiann picked his way carefully across the room.

Eventually he stood facing the wall where Ametsam was imprisoned. The outline of his form was clear and the fingers of one hand protruded from the stone. Hiann hesitatingly reached out to touch the stone fingertips. As his warm flesh brushed the cold stone he almost expected a reaction but there was none. Hiann sank to his knees in front of his father and former master.

“How could she have allowed this to happen?” he asked the floor by his knees. He cradled his head in his hands. “She knew. She must have known. She read the writings. I know she did. How could she let the mantle pass to one from that dead world?” The wall and Ametsam was silent. Hiann raised his head to gaze at the stone face towering over him. “Master.” He began, his voice faltering. “Father.” He took a breath and remained on his knees. “I will find a way. The bloodline will be restored to rule here. If there is no way to restore you to life then I will take it for myself.”

Ametsam continued to be silently frozen in the stone. If he even heard Hiann’s words there was no sign. Hiann rose, reached out again to touch the cold fingertips and lowering his eyes slowly walked away.

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