Blackmorn was consumed by his jealousy of the young King Idris. That was it, thought Learmouth, it would have something to do with his hatred of the King. Learmouth stood back and looked again, going over every inch, still nothing, growing more and more exasperated he pondered again and again. Then he saw it, the Kings’ coat of arms, beautifully carved, coloured and painted centred on the top shelf of each bookcase! Blackmorn would never have allowed this in any of his Manors or Castles, thought Learmouth. He examined them closely, too far apart to be used together, and Blackmorn would never trust anyone with this knowledge not even the Crone . I wonder, he thought after a good time had passed without result. He pressed one of the small embossed intricately carved coats of arms with his thumb and turned it upside down, it clicked with a dull metallic sound, instantly he went to the other; this turn was no good, so he tried the other way, and click, the floor board nearest to the fireplace slid underneath the hearth.
The oaken casket, covered in dust, lay exactly where it had been for the last twenty year; clever little twist, thought Learmouth, the little insult of the upside down royal coat of arms known only to those clever enough, and of course Blackmorn at the beginning of his madness.
Learmouth lifted the casket from its hiding place and wrapped it in his cloak. The candle in the lantern guttering, Learmouth turned the embossed wooden coats of arms the right way up and the floor board slid back into place. The candle light guttered and died, as he crossed the kitchen in darkness Learmouth felt with his feet his way forward to the door, once outside there was just enough moonlight to lock the door with his lock- picking tool and to see the way back to his wagon and camp site.
Once there, quiet as a dormouse, he stowed the oaken casket between the wool bales and hid it from view. Learmouth’s curiosity was on fire, desperate to know the contents of the casket. But no, he had waited, plotted and schemed for twenty years, he could wait a little longer; he would return directly to the Admirals Halt and only then in the safety of his room would he open the oaken casket.