The Bridge to the Underworld
I arrived at Cambridge University around noontime, the busy students studying like mad while the athletics threw and caught an American football on the grass. I pulled the silver Aston Martin V12 Vanquish to a halt outside of the Cavendish Laboratory and stepped outside, the sun reflecting off my black sunglasses. I slammed the door behind me and activated the alarm before pocketing the keys and heading for the laboratory.
I noticed several students had their eyes on me, mine rolling clockwise in minor disgust. Even on a bright, breezy day, I decided to wear black skinny jeans tucked into Shift combat boots, a black leather jacket with a white tank top underneath, and a black belt with a white stripe in the middle. I gazed at some of the students watching me and flipped my hair, my ponytail landing on my left shoulder.
As I opened the door to the laboratory, I walked toward the service desk and removed my sunglasses, hooking them onto the collar of my shirt. The man at the desk looked up and smiled. “May I help you?”
“Hello. I’m here to see Professor Eddington.”
“Ah, Ms. Croft?”. I nodded once. “His office is down the hall on my left, the third door on the right.”
“Thank you”. I smiled and took his directions. I found the office door, the gold nameplate reading P. Eddington. Knocking twice, I heard his voice greeting me in. Entering the room, I closed the door behind me and walked toward his desk. He stood up and smiled. “Lara. How good to see you again.”
I held my hand out and nodded when he kissed it. “Peter. It’s been too long. How’s Jessica?”
“She’s well, thank you.”
Peter Eddington, a dear friend to my father. He was in his mid-thirties, but looked very much younger. His hair, dark brown and groomed properly, his eyes were green and sincere. He wore a white dress shirt, the sleeves rolled up, a beige sweater vest over it, a red tie around his neck. Perfectly pressed olive pants with a silver chain going from one of the front belt loops no doubt to the wallet in his left pocket. His thin framed glasses were perfectly positioned on his face. Jessica was his niece whom he was looking after since her parents died. The poor girl was never the same since then, but she seems to be doing very well for herself.
His office was very neat and organized. His certificates of achievement and his college degrees were framed and hung on the walls. Against the wall to the left of the door you come in was a classy little home bar with drinking glasses on the top. Across the room, opposite the bar was a long bookshelf, rather stocked.
His desk was completely organized, papers appropriately categorized in incoming/outgoing trays. His computer monitor sat diagonally facing him from the right side of his desk, his keyboard on the desk tray underneath the desk top. The only thing that seemed out of place was the half eaten ham and cheese on rye that sat on a plate on his desk.
I sat in one of the armchairs in front of his desk and crossed my right leg over my left, my hands folded in my lap. “Lara, what brings you here?”
“Peter, I’ll get straight to the point. My father was right about everything regarding my mother.”
“How do you mean?”, a look of intrigue on his face.
“Avalon exists, I’ve seen proof that’s more than enough to make me a believer. My mother, when I was nine, removed a sword from a stone dais in Nepal. Come to find out, that sword was Excalibur, King Arthur’s. The confusing bit is, there is more than one sword, and they’re scattered about the globe.”
“You’re mother then went to Avalon by pulling out this sword of which you speak?”
“Yes. Remember the research that you and my father were doing? It said something about a travel network?”
“Indeed, I do.”
“I believe that my mother, when pulling out the sword, was sent to Avalon by that travel network. But I don’t know how or where.”
“How did you find all of this out? Definitely not in a tomb.”
I laughed. “No, not in a tomb, Peter. Years ago, I was digging at Peru with an archaeological team; Anaya Imanu, Amanda Evert, her father Kent, Sarah Rinaldi, and a few others. Anaya, who was doing excavation at the main site didn’t see what Amanda and I saw down in the temple. There was this creature that looked like black and red smoke, it killed everyone. Amanda found a stone that apparently controlled the creature, but removing it from where it came caused the temple to cave in. Amanda didn’t make it out…or so I thought.”
He nodded. “Well, what happened to Amanda?”
“She controlled the creature with that stone, and it helped her get out. She swore revenge on me for not going back to look for her. A foolish reason to take revenge on someone, don’t you find?” He nodded. “So, after going through hell and back trying to get the pieces of that sword and reunite them, I went to Bolivia to use the stone dais that was there, thanks to Anaya for the tip on the temple of Tiwanaku.”
I sighed, remembering what had happened there. “I activated the dais with the stone and saw my mother through the portal. Amanda was there with a mercenary team led by the late James Rutland Jr.”
“What, the American? He’s dead?”
I nodded. “He worked with Amanda against me. Amanda yelled to pull out the sword, but I didn’t know she was speaking to me. My mother, like in the past, pulled out the sword, and the dais in Bolivia exploded, rendering it useless. After putting a gun to Amanda’s head, she revealed that my mother wasn’t dead, but in Avalon where Amanda was supposed to go. She said the King Arthur story wasn’t a myth after all.”
Peter nodded. “There’s just something I don’t understand, Lara. How were you able to see your mother through the portal in Bolivia? I mean, wasn’t that in the past? And how could Amanda’s having said to pull out the sword now make Amelia pull it out back then?”
“That I don’t know either. I’m willing to bet it was a time warp of some sort.”
Standing, Peter went over to his filing cabinet and removed a document. Closing the cabinet, he handed it to me and sat back down. “Your father believed Avalon was below the Mediterranean Sea, in some place called Niflheim. It’s the path to Avalon. In that document you’ll find coordinates, a map, and a brief summary of what you’ll need to do to get into the temple and what you might find there.”
I looked over it briefly and smiled. Standing, I hugged him, “Thank you, Peter. Give Jessica my regards, won’t you?”
“Of course. Good luck, Lara.”
Heading to the campus grounds, I dialed Zip on my cell phone. “Zip, I’m on my way back. Do me a favor and make sure my yacht is set and ready to go.”
“All right, Lara. What’s the plan?”
“I got help from Professor Eddington. What I’m looking for is in the Mediterranean Sea”, I began. Opening the door to the Aston Martin, I got inside, closed the door, and started the engine. “I’m going to take the yacht through the Celtic Sea and against the Bay of Biscay. Going around Portugal, I’ll enter the Mediterranean Sea from the West and start my excavation. I’ve got the proper coordinates.”
“What did you find out?”
“Don’t worry Zip”, I smiled, “You’ll hear of it soon enough.”
I arrived at the location Professor Eddington described, finally. The fog in the distance blocked any views past a few kilometres. I squinted ahead, trying to see past the fog - no luck. My black leather swimsuit with yellow stripes going down the sides shone in the sunlight. Below, the laptop started beeping. Descending down to the cabin, I pressed the button on the laptop, and smiled when I saw Zip on the video chat. “Hey Lara”, he greeted, “Find it yet?”
“Patience Zip. I warned you that conveniently undiscovered islands would be scarce in the Mediterranean”.
Behind him, Alister came into view. “Are you sure this Eddington chap knows what he’s talking about?”, Alister asked.
I looked at the framed photograph of my father and Professor Eddington at an archaeological dig site. “If he says Father was convinced the path to Avalon was here, I have no reason to doubt it”.
“Fair enough”, Alister replied, “But it’s, well, we’ve been talking and--”
“You’ve been talking, man”, Zip interrupted, getting out of the chair and heading to the back of the tech room, “Leave me out of it”.
I loaded up my gear as I listened to Alister speak. Loading my pistols, I cocked the slide back and turned to the screen when I heard Alister’s voice of disbelief.
“It’s just, all right, maybe Avalon is real, but just because some mad woman tells you your mother didn’t die after all - I mean, look, I don’t mean to seem heartless, but this idea of your mum living in some, some Celtic underworld…well, it’s a little bit mental, isn’t it?”
I picked up my scuba gear and walked over to the laptop. “I have no illusions that my mother is holding court in some mythical paradise, Alister. I only want the truth…whatever it may be. I’ll ring you later”. I narrowed my eyes briefly before turning to the stern of the yacht, preparing myself for the adventure that lies ahead.
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.