The old timbers proved to be stuck firm, and it took both men
pulling as hard as they could to heave it out of its position.
When at last the lid popped free, a dank musty smell swirled
around their nostrils, making them step back for a moment.
Some of the other villagers clustered around, their curiosity
heightened. The sun's rays, flowing over the blackened stone
wall and striking part of the hole, revealed a glint of silver.
Alan knelt down and peered into the hole. "I'll be damned,"
he whispered. "It's a broadsword. And the hole goes back under
the fireplace by the looks of it." He reached in and grabbed
the blade of the sword, but there was some resistance.
A twist and a yank freed it, then he drew it out for all to
see the once shiny blade, and firmly grasping the hilt, a skeleton
hand, the tatters of a lace cuff still attached to it.