True to his research, the cave entrance did not loom imposing over Dr. Anton, but was secreted away between the folds of two jagged edges of the mountainside. Its almost inaccessible interior seemed to whisper a benediction, beckoning him inside to plunder the riches it held in wait for him.
The anthropologist slung off his pack and shimmied into the cave sideways, bidding his crew to do the same. After nearly half an hour of this, a sharp turn revealed the sudden opening to a massive cavern. Not realizing he was holding his breath, Dr. Anton swept his beam of light over its expanse.
It was full of treasure. Gold and jewelry, yes, but even more precious than that, it was the greatest discovery of Viking artifacts in modern history. Weapons, armor, tools, and more had been stored here to serve as a final refuge for the small army of Viking knights whose skeletons lay scattered along the cave floor.
Dr. Anton began crying with joy. His reverie was only broken when one of the guides announced that there were runes inscribed around the entrance the party had just used. The professor gently touched the Nordic symbols.
“It says, ‘Welcome to any traveler who may find this place,’” Dr. Anton beamed.
“What about this?” asked one of his students. “Doesn’t this say ‘curse?’”
After staring at the inscription for a few minutes, his eyes darting across the message, Dr. Anton pronounced, “No, you see, this says, ‘But beware the curse of greed.’ Even if we were superstitious, we certainly are not avaricious.”
The researcher’s answer did not seem to satisfy his guides, who expressed interest in leaving. He convinced many to stay long enough for him and his assistants to take copious pictures of the site. Few remained as he loaded an empty pack with a choice selection of artifacts.
The snow that fell upon Dr. Anton as he emerged from the cave soon became a torrent of ice, blinding him to both his fellow travelers and the path back to camp. When he could move no further, alone and shivering, the call of wolves reminded him: a man can be greedy for many things.