In my novel, A Knight's Enchantment, - which takes place during the reign of the unfortunate King John - the heroine Joanna discovers a hoard of hidden gold hidden by a Viking adventurer. Here’s the excerpt. Joanna and Hugh have been forced to spend the night together, out of doors in a small cave. This action takes place the following morning:
Hugh tethered and tended Lucifer, roughed a little with Beowulf, cut reeds for bedding, collected firewood and kept a sharp eye on Joanna. She made no move to flee from the cave, which surprised him, and met him at the cave mouth with his armload of reeds, which astonished him.
"What is it?" he asked. Her eyes were wide and her color high, lighting up her tanned face, making her very pretty. This would be how she would look in love-making, he realized, and felt a mingled twist of desire and jealousy. "Well?" he demanded, now using a hated phrase of his father's, "Must I wait for doomsday before you speak?"
"I know what the runes say, and we must dig." She was clearly too excited to notice his rudeness. "There is treasure here! Viking gold! Look -"
She caught his hand in hers and fairly dragged him back with her, careless of whether he smacked his head on the low cave roof. Crook-backed, he let her guide him, enjoying the feel of her small fingers round his palm.
"Look!" She dropped to her knees beside the maze of marks he had found at the back of the cave years earlier. The setting sun blazed into the small dry space - had it always been this small? - turning rock and stone golden. The runes on one darker-hued stone close to the cave floor seemed faded to Hugh's eyes, but his eager companion read them easily.
"Orri's horde is here. A mighty gift." She pointed to an X shaped rune. "This rune, Gebo, means gift." She touched three straight lines with her foot. "Three, then dig, it goes on."
She stepped three paces from the cave wall and began to hack at the earth floor with her knife.
"Wait!" She was wilder than he was, in a fight, Hugh thought, astonished by this whirl of activity. "You will blunt your blade. I have something better."
He looked amongst his things and found the small hammer he used to drive in tent and baggage pegs and the metal file he used to sharpen his sword. He set to work, driving the file into the hard-packed soil where Joanna was laboring, and in a few moments struck something that rang out like a broken bell.
"Let me -" Joanna had her fingers probing and tearing at the loosened earth and now she sat back on her heels, a great smile of pleasure breaking on her face. "We have it!"
Down by her knees was a torn bag, gray-black and half-rotten, no more than wisps of cloth. But through the tangle of fraying threads he saw the unmistakable gleam of gold.
"Orri's hoard," Joanna said softly. "He must have left it here for safety and never come back."
She moved but Hugh was swifter, scooping the coins and rings out of the dirt and onto his cloak.
Fairness made him look at her and offer her a ring: a pretty one, he thought. "Thank you," he said. "That will be most useful."
Joanna stared at the ring without taking it. "You do not think we should share?"
He smiled at the question. "What use would you have for old coins? Your lord gives you all you need, but I must make my own way."
Her eyes narrowed. "You do not think I have expenses? Debts?"
"Take the ring, and this golden chain," he urged, shrugging off her questions, dismissing them as girlish folly. "Both would look well on you, I think. Were I your bishop, it would give me pleasure to see you wearing them."
'Thank you, my lord." She took them, almost a snatch, and retreated to the very back of the cave, leaving him to make up their rough reed mattresses, and a fire.
"Will you leave scrabbling for more messages and condescend to help me a little?" he demanded, some time later, as the fire began to smoke. "Feed this while I find food to feed us."
"I thought you preferred to do all things yourself," she retorted. "Besides, you do not have enough kindling."
"If you can do better, do so." Hugh left her sulking over the crackling flames and stamped off outside again. When he returned, Joanna was nowhere to be seen and the fire was a glowing, growing mass of orange. Even as he stared in amazement, the whole mass exploded into more flames and gushed a fog-bank of purple smoke.
Best wishes, Lindsay Townsend http://www.lindsaytownsend.net