"Keep digging," Yink commanded.
The golems didn't need to be ordered. If he walked away, never returned, they would dig without resting until they broke through the crust into molten rock to be swallowed up. He would have used living creatures — men, even, perhaps — but that would have involved a certain amount of risk, at least until he had it, held it in his hands.
"How did you know where to dig?" Whitfield peered into the hole, at the stony heads and shoulders of the golems.
"There was a letter, detailing where it was buried."
"So why wasn't it dug up before now?"
"The letter was coded; old Foresh was a clever bird. But not as clever as me."
"How did you break it? The code."
"I didn't. I raised Foresh from the dead and made him decode it for me." Yink grinned. "Don't look at me like that. It worked, didn't it?"
"Necromancy, now?" Whitfield shook his head. "This is a mistake."
"You won't think so when you're sitting on the throne."
"I've told you, magician, I don't want the throne for myself. I want there not to be a throne at all."
"And this will help us with that." Yink's tone was professorial. "Magic is magic, Whitfield. It works for cavaliers and roundheads alike."
The man shrugged. "It is your risk to take. May the Gods help you if you're wrong."
A golem hand was raised out of the hole, holding a small wooden box with silver latch and hinges. At least one of them had been paying attention. "At last!" Yink gestured and the box lifted out of the golem's hand and flew gracefully to be caught in his own.
"And the golems?" Whitfield nodded towards the upraised stony hand.
Yink stepped forward, peered into the hole. "Stop digging and wait." The sounds of scratching and pulling at earth stopped. To Whitfield he said, "This is a momentous occasion, Whitfield. The last sorcerer to use the totem in this box conquered half the known world for his Liege—"
"And ended up a zombie translator," Whitfield scoffed. He noted that Yink hadn't opened the box yet. "What are you waiting for?"
"I should do this in private. I should wait until we've returned to the keep."
"I'd rather you did it out here, away from my people, where only our lives are at risk."
"Actually…" Yink stared at the box, ran his thumb over the latch. "You should return to the keep. I'll do it here, alone.
"You don't want me to see it, is that it? You don't want me to—"
"While we talk, the King is assembling his army. His power grows by the minute."
Whitfield looked at the box, looked at Yink, said, "Then do it," and then turned and walked away.
Yink held the box up, and chanted a few words — taught to him by a zombie, its rotten lips mouthing silently — and the latch popped, and the box opened.
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