Meanwhile, King Charles grew impatient and ordered two more men to join the search team. Regardless of how many expeditions it took, he intended to get to the bottom of the mystery and retrieve Rais’ treasures. He suspected that the long-overdue English prisoner had ambushed his unsuspecting guard and messenger. This time he sent two of his best Knights into the crypt-like estate. Both of the battle-tested soldiers wore heavy suits of armor in case his hunch was correct. Their lives depended on caution and safety against the threat of such enemy treachery.
The elite knights decided to split-up; in order to cover more area inside Rais’ massive shuttered fortress. They agreed to call out if either of them encountered anything in the darkness. The heavy clanking of their suits made a jarring, metallic rasp on the stone floor which echoed noisily throughout the hallways. As the brave men moved further apart, their torch lights and the abrasive sounds of their creaking armor grew faint. The Red Knight chose the left wing of the castle to search. The White Knight explored the right wing; which led to a series of curved steps and the lower levels of the castle.
A few minutes later, the Red Knight thought he heard the other soldier call for help; off in the distance. When he reached the general area where the white Knight was; all he found was his abandoned sword on the floor. An eerie light beneath a nearby door glowed in tempting intensity. He heard struggling coming from the other side but there was no response when he called to his missing partner.
The possibility of an ambush was quite likely. He was sure the English prisoner was on the other side of the oak door, waiting on him. To counter attack, the Red Knight elected to sling open the door and rapidly hurl the abandoned sword at the prisoner. It seemed like a better strategy than charging in blindly and getting ran through. He would be at a severe disadvantage until his eyes adjusted to the light. Regardless, things didn’t go as planned and another one fell.
With darkness only a few hours away; the King had very few options remaining. He only had two prisoners left and two inexperienced soldiers from his army. After his elite Knights failed to return, morale was so poor that even the promise of the gold coins didn’t matter. He doubled and eventually tripled the reward but none of the remaining men were interested. “What good is money to a dead man”; They dared to retort.
“There is no proof that any of them are dead!”; The King snarled. He was doing all he could to prevent the few remaining men from abandoning the mission. It further incensed him that his generous offer of freedom for the prisoners and the reward of gold coins was being taken so lightly. “They may all be held captive at this very moment by our ungrateful foreign saboteur.”
“Or maybe he killed them all!”, said one the remaining defiant ‘volunteers’.
“Well”, replied the King, “We’ll just see how brave you are in front of my men and I. You can be our human shield. You will be the one to feel your countryman’s sword in the darkness!” With both of the prisoners bound and gagged to prevent escape or warning the suspected saboteur; the five men entered the Castle of Black, together.