Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 39

In an age of gentleman adventurers, studious researchers and roguish archaeologists some of the greatest treasures are found not by luck but by following the vaguest of clues, the slightest of hints and the oldest of maps. Rumours and myths are a staple and every treasure seeker must be aware of all and every means that will lead them to that long lost fortune of gold and gems. One such story that had spread across Europe and had been whispered by gossips and rumour mongers was of an explorer from China who had ventured into the mountains of Tibet seeking ancient treasures hidden to avoid a war centuries ago and now long lost. This man explored far and wide, risking death from the cold and the mountain heights. Then one day he staggered into a village tavern and collapsed in front of the gathered locals. He was barely alive and while the locals and a handful of westerners stood and listened he spoke haltingly of his quest. Then he died and was buried in a nameless grave beside the mountains he had crossed again and again. His last words have been repeated many times over the years, many have tried to follow in his footsteps to find the cave he spoke of but it has never been found. He told of his final days, of his finding of a cave deep within a valley, a cave of great crystals. He spoke of guardian dragons and demons of cold in the mists. He said that he took one of the crystals and tried to make his way back down the mountains but he became lost and finally too cold and tired to continue. He said that he sheltered among the bones of a dragon, a great horned beast with a curtain of bone at the back of its skull. He said that he thought he would die so he took a stone and scratched a map with the path to the cave of crystals; the route was recorded on the bones of a dragon. That was all he said, he died soon afterwards without saying any more. Now this would be nothing more than an interesting story were it not for that fact that on his body was found the crystal he spoke of. But it was no crystal, it was an uncut diamond of great size and worth a fortune. A cave full of such diamonds could buy a small country or make the man that found it wealthy beyond measure. So many had looked and some had died but all who survived returned empty handed. So over the years people stopped looking and the story became just another myth. Until the London Post ran a story about an archaeologist who was returning to England from Tibet, the man had discovered several dinosaurs, remarkably intact specimens of a size and type seldom found. His PAGE 39