I made my way to the top of the cliff, the sun just setting over the city. The location was unknown, but it was beautiful. The warm evening air was lovely, especially with the occasional cool breeze coming by. I looked over the cliff and exhaled at the sight of the drop. I swallowed hard and backed away slowly. I bumped into something solid and turned around to become face to face with my doppelganger. She grinned and crossed her arms. "What the hell are you?" I asked.
"I am you, with the flaws removed."
"Really? Free will is a flaw?"
She looked out into the sunset before turning her head to me. "Obsession and compulsion are much the same. Either way we are, neither of us, our own masters."
My forehead wrinkled, my eyes narrowing as I pondered what she had just said. I knew Jacqueline Natla controlled her, as she was her master. But, I was my own master wasn't I? "But if you were," I began, "What would you do?"
She paused for a moment and turned to face me again. "What would you do?"
Again, I remained quiet, wondering what she was talking about. Before I could ask, she vanished into thin air. I wanted to run, run from this place, but I couldn't move. Suddenly, my arms began to move, but I wasn't doing it. I looked at them and noticed I was attached to strings, coming from above. I looked up to see what was doing this to me, but before I could see--
I woke from that dream with a jump, the third time this week. The beads of sweat on my forehead began to descend, my wrist coming up to meet them and wipe them away. The sun shone brightly through the windows in my bedroom, illuminating the entire room, letting me know it was well past breakfast. I looked at the clock to see that it was 10:27am. "Well, I might as well just wait until lunch," I said aloud. I wasn't all that hungry anyway.
Climbing out of bed, I fixed the sheets and comforters, making the bed look as neat as possible without too much work. I was too tired to do much work at the moment. Heading downstairs, I made myself tea and looked over the mail that arrived. I heard faint music in the distance and left the kitchen, carrying my cup with me. I noticed Zip sitting at his desk in the tech room. Making my way to him, I smiled and set the cup down on the table nearest the door.
He was typing quickly on the computer, hip hop music playing lowly in the room. "Morning, Lara," he smiled.
"Hello, Zip. Do you have a moment?"
He smiled and finished typing before folding his hands over the desk. "What's on your mind?"
I sighed, leaning against the doorframe. "A lot, unfortunately. I keep having dreams about what my doppelganger told me. She said that neither of us are our own masters."
"What does that mean?" he asked, confused.
"It means that well, she did whatever she was told - she was a slave until I set her free. But what I don't understand is what she meant about me." I rubbed my forehead. "I am my own master. I do whatever I wish, I do not follow commands from anyone."
"That's pretty much how it's always been," he laughed.
I shot him a look firmly stating that this was no time for jokes. I then laughed and picked up the cup, walking away. I needed to get out, some fresh air would do me nicely. Heading out into the garden, I walked past the stables, feeding each horse a few carrots before making my way to the patio round the rear of the manor. Sitting down under the umbrella, I smiled as I noticed Winston coming around the path, trimming the hedges. He noticed me and waved. "Good morning, Lady Croft!"
I waved back, "Good morning, Winston." Finishing my tea, I decided to head back inside to get dressed. When I finished, I found myself walking the grounds, my MP3 player in hand. The soothing music wasn't loud enough to damage my hearing, but it was loud enough to block out all outside noise.
As I reached the main area, I thought I heard faint yelling, but I ignored it. Suddenly, a stone about the size of an apple landed in front of me. I rolled to the side, looking at the direction from where it was thrown. Zip was standing at the door, waving at me. Pulling my earphones out, I made my way to him. "What is it?"
He snapped his gum before speaking. "I meant to ask you, did you consider tracking down your doppelganger and asking her what she meant?"
"Of course I have, Zip. But where on Earth would she be?"
"Remember the documents your father had on Helheim, one mentioning a place called Yggdrasil? I looked it over and I noticed something that seemed to pop out at me; there was text that said Yggdrasil held a device capable of creating life and healing it."
"You think the doppelganger is there?"
"It's worth a shot," he smiled.
"And where would Yggdrasil be?" I asked, hoping he'd have an idea.
"I'm not entirely sure, but I did some research while you were outside and learned that it's connected to Helheim, not literally, but it must be close by."
I sighed and looked at my watch. "Looks like I'm heading back to the Arctic Sea."
The military brand helicopter fought falling snow and ice on the journey back to Helheim. I looked out the window and saw nothing but white. I shivered, still cold despite the warm clothes I wore. A dark blue winter jacket with black fur, black pants tucked into black boots with black fur. I adjusted my gloves and strummed my fingers along my leg. The green light came on and I heard the pilot's voice over the speaker. "Lady Croft, we'll be over the drop point in two minutes."
"Right, thank you David."
I felt the helicopter descend onto the snowy ground and the alarm go off, informing me all was safe. I opened the door and jumped out, turning to see David take a sip of coffee. He waved me good luck and leaned back in his seat, waiting for my return.
I noticed a worn out path and followed it until I reached two doors glowing with the luminescent blue light of Thor's belt and gauntlets. The three artifacts I wore lighted up as well as I touched the doors and opened them. The doors closed behind me as I made my way through the wide hallway. Ahead of me, I saw a pool of Eitr, Jormungandr's poison, and what looked like a fallen pillar on top of it. As I approached the liquid, I jumped back as I felt someone's presence. Looking to my right, I saw my doppelganger standing before me. "You," she spoke quietly.
"Hello," I replied.
"What are you doing here?"
I sighed and walked toward her. "I came to find you. I needed to ask you something rather important."
"Go ahead." I asked her the questions who's answers I desired, making her shake her head. "What did you think I was referring to?"
"Someone who controls me like Natla used to control you."
"No. Like I said, obsession and compulsion are much the same. You think you're obsessed with achieving your goals, but really, you're compelled."
I paused for a moment to think it over. "Compelled by what?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you. But I will tell you this; if you want to know, which I know you do, I'd start at 1127 Alpine Road, New Quay, Wales."
I nodded and thanked her, turning to leave. As I headed toward the door, I caught a glimpse of something in the pool of Eitr. Heading to it, I exhaled when I saw a figure engulfed in the liquid, it's flesh deteriorated to nothing. It was a person, I gathered. "Natla?"
The doppelganger nodded and walked over to me. "I think she's suffered to her last breath."
I couldn't help but share the smile across her face. I looked up at her to see her looking at me. She blinked and turned to sit on the steps beside the pool of poison. "I'll tell you one thing Lara, what you'll see there is real. Your eyes will not be deceiving you."
"I'm sure that given my past experiences, whatever I see might not come as much as a shock."
She smiled. "I highly doubt that. Good luck." I smiled a little, wondering what I'll find there.
I arrived at the location the doppelganger informed me of. It was a modern day castle, a residential one at that. I thought for a moment she was mistaken or I had gotten the address wrong, but neither were true. I noticed the door was unlocked and opened it, taking a step inside. The house was beautifully furnished in a Victorian decor. The house seemed entirely empty, from what I could see. Climbing the stairs, I inspected every room until I came across one where the door was closed. I pulled out my dual pistols and kicked the door open.
I entered the room, appearing to be a study. Aligned along every wall were bookshelves stocked with books. At the far end of the room was a window and to the right was a doorway leading to another part of the room. Entering it, I noticed a desk at the far end of the room. A computer sat atop it as well as a keyboard and an ash tray. Behind the desk was a brown leather chair, it's back facing me. I stepped forward and stopped when the person in the chair turned it around to look at me.
I exhaled, my bones feeling numb suddenly. Holstering my guns, I stared at the person before me, not at all believing what I was seeing. The man before me held a cigar in his hand, a warm smile on his face. "Lara. I've waited about twenty years for this."
My throat felt dry, aching terribly. I couldn't speak. I couldn't move. After a moment, I gained the strength to utter out a single word, in a tone of disbelief. "Father?"
NOTICE: This story is a work of fiction. Lara Croft, her likeness,
and the Tomb Raider games are all copyright of EIDOS Interactive. There is no challenge to these copyrights intended by this story, as it is a
non-sanctioned, unofficial work of the author's own.
Entry for the 4th Village of Tokakeriby Tomb Raider Story Competition, 2009.