Diamonds are Never

by

Thomas Blackwell
(Pistoles to PLi Regulars)



CROFT MANOR



Lara lived a simple life, just her and Winston living in this awfully large house. She had way too many rooms to count and to be honest, if there was anywhere she needed to finish exploring, it was Croft Manor. Many rooms had no key, lost over the years. She could imagine those dreary, dusty, empty rooms. But now was no concern, for there was a massive hole. Not in her house, or anything she had control over, it was a hole in her heart. The trip back from Prague had been arduous, no taxis for miles around the Strahov. Trekking through thick snow back to the city, blood streaming from her leg from the bullet holes, with the acrid stench of burnt hair in her nostrils, she made it to Prague, where she chartered a private plane back to London. But he wasn’t there. He was always on her mind, Kurtis, they were so brief, no time, but then there was no time at all, just him and her. All Lara had to remember him by was the chirugai. That chirugai, it pointed the way for her to escape. Like Kurtis’ spirit wanted to guide her to safety. Well he was gone now; she has a job, now she has to get on with it. Lara walked into one of the houses many studies and started up her laptop. Searching through the blogs of prominent archaeologists, she came across a strange article, where someone found a cliff where diamonds were emerging from a cliff in the Holy Land, where an unknown break off group from the Knights Templar often met in their early years. Going over to one of the bookcases, she pulled a book about the Knights Templar out and looked through the index. Under L, she found something interesting: Lux Veritatis Pages 134, 135. Flicking back to page 134, she found a double page spread headed: Lux Veritatis: Light of Truth. Scan reading the page, Lara came down to the last paragraph: ‘All that is known of the Lux Veritatis in concern to location, shows they had three important strongholds; the Temple of Ancients, a location suspected to be in or near Paris; The Vault of Trophies, believed connection to the Strahov Mafia Fortress and finally, The Periapt Archive, a location which has only been able to be narrowed down to somewhere in the Middle East, despite many scriptures on this site. One legend claims that the fabled Periapt Shards were crafted from a cliff of pure diamond, forming one wall of the massive complex. Another rumour has claimed that the entire Archive is made of diamond, and that at once, a single bloody battle may have resulted in a large section of the Archive being buried under gemstone dust.’ Lara smiled, if she could find this Lux Veritatis stronghold there might be a chance of learning what happened to Kurtis. Before getting ready to leave, she checked the current archaeologist’s name, and swore. It was Patrick O’Reilly.



JERUSALEM


Patrick O’Reilly practically marched through the streets of Jerusalem, looking for that address. It was of a man called Karel. It didn’t sound like a Hebrew name, so it figures he must be one of those rich businessmen who love antiquities. It was simple. Finally stopping outside a small hut, he checked the address. Not very grand is it, he thought. Knocking on the door, a blond man of Patrick’s height opened the door. ‘Shalom, I am Ben, Ben Karel, come in.’ Patrick stepped through the door to be greeted by a dull interior. A few pieces of furniture, there was probably more upstairs but down here was a sofa, a chaise longue, a couple of small tables, a coal stove and a mini fridge. ‘My friend, I contact you not out of wealth, but out of necessity,’ Ben said. Patrick hadn’t even spoken yet, but he was clearly being listened to. Patrick, although slightly confused, he spoke with his usual Irish drawl, ‘What do you need then, you’re not from around here.’ Patrick may be a bit dim-witted, but he wasn’t completely stupid. Ben decided to lead him on a bit. ‘I was born in Turkey, when my father and my mother met in an Istanbul brothel. An impromptu pregnancy resulted in my mother losing everything she owned. She died in childbirth. I was sent to an orphanage, where I grew up, not knowing anything. Then my father enlightened me. I know more now, know more than you can ever imagine.’ Patrick raised an eyebrow, before Ben transformed into his full Nephilim form and devoured Patrick. The clean up was easy, as consuming him was managed very quickly and cleanly. He went into a back room to get some water. Ben departed, in the visage of Patrick O’Reilly, this will be fun...



BACK AT CROFT MANOR


Lara was very excited. Running up to her bedroom, she fetched her backpack and began packing. Firstly, she went over to her wardrobe and selected her turquoise tank top and khaki shorts. Picking up her brown hiking boots from the floor of the wardrobe and she stuffed them in the backpack along with a medical kit, her dual Browning Hi-Power pistols, her dual IMI Mini Uzi, her excellent Spas 12 Semi Automatic Shotgun, a Desert Eagle and finally her Heckler and Koch MP5-SD. Throwing in the appropriate ammunition, she got ready to leave. Asking Winston, politely, not to have any OAP’s parties while she was out, she walked out of the massive doors of Croft Manor. Climbing onto her Norton Streetfighter, she started it up a1nd speeded out of the gates.



BACK IN JERUSALEM


Ben Karel, still disguised as Patrick O’Reilly, walked into the dig site. As he flashed Patrick’s I.D. at the security guard. Walking into a supply shed, he plucked out a pack of dynamite, 400lbs exactly. He gave it to the workers and commanded them, ‘we’re blowing this cliff down!’ A worker stood forward, ‘Pardon me, Mr O’Reilly, yesterday you said we no blow down cliff. It would damage shiny stones inside cliff.’ Ben sneered back, ‘I don’t care now, and there will be more inside, trust me.’ Ben smiled as his plan unfolded. Years he had waited, in Jerusalem, for someone to find the Periapt Archive. Some say that the Lux Veritatis stored the greatest secret in Christian, Jewish and Islamic history; the location of the Garden of Eden. And in Eden, there is the Tree of Knowledge. All that knowledge, all that power, enough to rival that of the Atlanteans themselves. It was within his grasp. He just had to get inside. So close, but yet, it could be so far. Patience is virtue, find it when you can. Bah! What a quaint old English saying. A year ago he’d learnt of his father’s death, at the hand of that Englishwoman, Lara Croft; In Prague, at the foot of the Cubiculum Nephili. He’d only met his father once, in the dark catacombs of Paris. They sat in one of the deepest chambers, while Joachim Karel taught his son, at the tender age of 15, in the arts of the Nephilim. Throwing bolts of green energy, shape shifting, and their one hidden ability, such a powerful ability that only Joachim knew of it, as the last remaining living pure Nephilim. Ben was only half Nephilim, but he had all the powers of the Nephilim. Well he would eat from the tree of knowledge and then conquer the world.



Lara’s private jet landed at Ben Guren International Airport and carried her bike out of the plane. Driving off, she drove through a private check-in area, shouting, ‘I’ve nothing to declare!’ She made her way towards the labyrinth of streets and bazaars that people called Jerusalem. She took out her journal and opened it with her left hand, while she steered with her right. Using the map inside, she found her way to the dig site. Now.... How do I get in? She thought. She was about to go and find a hotel before a figure knocked her off her bike. Kicking him off her, she drew her Browning Hi-Powers and pointed them at the assailant. ‘Lara, relax! It’s me, Kurtis,’ the shadowy figure said, who was wearing a black shroud. Pulling down the hood, mysterious crystal blue eyes met tearful brown eyes, the cuddled, as the hole in Lara’s heart filled, and the one in Kurtis also. Lara was about to kiss him when some guards with dogs turned around the corner. Lara picked up her guns and Kurtis pulled out an Ithaca shotgun. Lara was confused, ‘What happened to that peashooter you had in Prague?’ Kurtis frowned, ‘Dunno, they must have took it off me in the hospital.’ Lara snapped, ‘I searched every hospital and I couldn’t find you!’ Kurtis indicated the guards closing in with stun rods. Lara shot at one, first in the stomach and then in the head, while Kurtis dealt with that guard’s dog. Lara ran up the chain link fence and back flipped, landing on the second guard’s head. Performing another perfect back flip, she drew pistols and fired, downing the guard quickly. They disposed of the last dog and then hid the bodies behind some barrels, surprised how nobody had come to their aid. Lara continued the conversation, ‘Every bloody hospital, all that blood...’ Kurtis smiled, ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m alive now, and that’s what matters.’ Lara began to cry and said, ‘I loved you, you just left me to die. You didn’t care!’ Kurtis tried to calm her, ‘Lara, I have always loved you, from the moment I watched you dive out of that sewer pipe in a cloud of flames. You have gripped my heart with the iron fists you use to cleave the dusty pages of history books, those callused, but gentle hands with which you pull the triggers of your guns. Forgive me; I thought I would get in the way of your life, your ever so complicated life. Ever since I left, I looked on the internet at articles of you, Croft bags Bigfoot, Mask of Tornasuk found in Ancient City, Meteorite Artefacts united by Countess, they all fascinated me.’ Lara was convinced, ‘OK, but what the bloody hell are you doing here?’ Kurtis’ expression dropped. He whispered, ‘I am looking for Karel’s son, Ben, and making sure he doesn’t get into the Periapt Archive.’ Lara smiled, ‘Still patriotic to your cause I see!’ Kurtis wasn’t amused by this fleeting comment. ‘Nevermind, this Patrick O’Reilly guy is acting suspiciously. First he wants the wall pulled down carefully to extract the jewel. Next day he wants it blown down, which he believes would bring down a large section of the gem. They think the gem is diamond, but it is actually something called Periapt, which the shards were made of. Use of the explosives may destroy all of Archive, if not half of Jerusalem. Periapt has an undiscovered form of energy inside it, called Mystic energy. The explosion would cause an energy transfer between Mystic into Thermal. The resulting blast would be catastrophic.’ Lara laughed, ‘At least you Americans understand basic science.’ Kurtis ceased the conversation and removed some wire cutters from his jacket pocket. Clipping through the chain link fence, he was ready for action. Lara readied her MP5 and crouched. Kurtis finished clipping through the fence and climbed through. Lara charged through and made sure the suppressor on her gun was secure. Making a quick decision, she gave Kurtis her Desert Eagle. Thanking her, Kurtis studied and readied the weapon. They opened a hut to find two workers. They grabbed their wrenches and ran at their assailants. Lara made quick work with the MP5-SD and dropped the men. Opening the office, glad of the cover of night, they discovered a very tidy room. ‘This is not Patrick’s style. Wait, you said Ben was Karel’s son?’ Kurtis approved this. ‘Maybe Patrick is dead, and Ben Karel has adopted his form.’ A figure emerged from a back room, clapping. ‘Oh well done Mr Trent, and Ms Croft, what a pleasant surprise. Well, I don’t have time to kill you myself, so I sounded the silent alarm. The police will arrive soon, with armed S.W.A.T. units. Enjoy!’ Ben Karel removed his hood, now in true Nephilim form, and burst through the roof, flying onto the top of the cliff. Lara wheeled around when she heard vehicles arriving.



Karel spied the scene below him. He extended his arms to his sides and gazed up at the moon, shouting, ‘Be proud father, I will bring again the age of Nephilim.’ Israeli Police spread out, aiming IMI Uzis and American M16s at the small Portakabin. Lara was stunned, trapped inside a small box, and surrounded by men who could kill her. Lara had one choice and one choice only. She drew her Uzis and kicked the door off. Shooting in many directions, Israeli gore flew across the site. With a shot to the left and a shot to the right, she dispatched the last guards. Suddenly a guard sat up and aimed his Uzi at Lara. Kurtis sprinted and dived out of the Portakabin, directly into the line of fire. Kurtis Trent was mown down by Uzi fire and he fell to ground, as the guard collapsed from blood loss. Lara ran over to Kurtis and tried to stop the bleeding. Kurtis protested weakly, ‘Promise me one thing.’ Lara’s eyes were flooded with tears, ‘Yes, Kurtis, what is it?’ Kurtis laid himself down and said, ‘Protect Eden...’ His voice faded as he began to slip into the final slumber. Lara let out a scream of anguish as Karel laughed, still watching the scene. The last of the Lux Veritatis has fallen, and now no one can stand in his way. He now knew that he couldn’t blow through the cliff, so now for something different. Karel remained in Nephilim form as he flew off of the cliff, performed a kind of roll in the air and flew into the cliff, creating a massive hole and allowing him access to the Periapt Archive.



Lara took her phone out of her backpack and called for an ambulance. Lara was so tense, he couldn’t die and he just couldn’t! Tears streamed down her face as she talked in frantic Hebrew at the Israeli operator. It took half to an hour for the ambulance to arrive, while Lara was trying to bind Kurtis with bandages, trying to heal him. She used a match to stop the bleeding, by burning the ends of the severed blood vessels. Lara had made a promise, and she wasn’t going to break it. Walking over to the large cavernous orifice, she gazed inside. This will be difficult.



Karel had no idea where he was going, in the vast catacombs of the Periapt Archive. Walking through a large annex, he looked at a Latin wall carving, translating: ‘The Council of Light meets here in 1345 to discuss the Holy Papal Order of the Lux Veritatis. The Scrolls of this meeting are in the Hall of Winter.’ Swearing, Karel shouted, ‘Be there no truth within the hallowed grounds of the truthful?’ He punched a wall in anger, and several pillars far away fell over.



Lara found herself in a great antechamber. Looking around, she noticed a compass rose engraved in the floor, with the symbol of the Lux Veritatis opposite it on the ceiling. She removed her compass from her backpack and her hand brushed over several objects in her bag. Pulling them out, along with the compass, she looked at the four extra objects in her hands. In her left were Kurtis’ chirugai and one Periapt shard, in her right were the other two shards. Looks like these could come in handy... The compass showed that the markings on the floor were accurate. Following a corridor to the North, she found herself in a massive library. Pulling a scroll off of an intricate marble shelf, she opened it up. She translated the Latin into English: ‘1968: Meeting of the Council of Light. Scribe: Giorgio Mizzoni. Council Head: Konstantin Treba (Attending with son, Kasper Treba).’ So that was Kurtis’ real name, Kasper. She had only heard whispers of his father, Konstantin, and she didn’t realise he was that important. Lara decided she was going for a little exploration...



Karel found himself in a massive central chamber. In the centre was a pedestal. The pedestal was a triangular prism, with a receptacle in each side. The way the room was carved from Periapt amazed him. One tiny explosion could destroy him and the map to Eden. He had one chance at it. Unless the Croft woman turned up... Damn, it’s her! Lara shouted, ‘Karel, you won’t get away with this!’ Ben looked up and laughed, ‘Ahaha, how do you intend to stop me. I am immortal!’ Lara didn’t hesitate; she drew her Spas-12 Shotgun and opened fire. Noticing some large pointy stalactites hanging over Karel, she shot them and they fell. Karel, still in Nephilim form, flew around the room, throwing green energy at her, breaking ledges and crystalline bridges. Lara looked at the pedestal, seeing the slots, she knew what to do. Pulling out a Periapt Shard, she flipped and jumped over to the pedestal and inserted a shard, inserting a second soon after. Karel pinned her up against the pedestal, neck being crushed by Ben Karel’s spindly, dark fingers. Lara’s shotgun had fallen into the deep chasm beneath them so she drew a pistol and fired a bullet into each of Karel’s eyes. Kicking Karel off the ledge, that’s the last of him, she thought. Placing the last Periapt shard into the pedestal, the intricately carved top opened up and a scroll floated out of the hole. Snatching the scroll, the Archive began to shake and portions of Periapt crystal collapsed from the glamorously detailed ceiling. Lara jumped over a break in a bridge and went out of an archway. Karel flew up into the archway and Lara drew her pistols. The archway collapsed and Karel was crushed. Lara retraced her steps out of the Archive and escaped just as an explosion consumed the entire cliff.



JERUSALEM HOSPITAL


Kurtis was barely conscious when Lara sat down at his side. Placing a kiss on his forehead, she wept. Lara picked up a plastic cup and filled it with cold water. Sipping the cool drink, she returned to her husband’s side, when the window at the end of the ward exploded inwards, and Karel was stood there. He was bleeding, his scarlet elixir flowing from his legs, arms and chest. He revealed a scalpel and he walked over to Kurtis and carved out his heart. Lara was furious and agonised. Drawing her Desert Eagle, she shot the Nephilim to the back of the ward, before the big window through which he entered. She pushed him, and he grabbed onto Lara’s arm. Taking a bone saw out of a tray, she sawed off Ben Karel’s arm and he fell, and fell, and fell, onto a flagpole, which skewered him through his black tainted heart. Lara fell to her knees and cried. She cried like she had never cried before. She just knelt there, weeping and sobbing. She heard the high tone indicating the lack of heart rate from Kurtis’ mutilated corpse.



100 MILES WEST OF ALEXANDRIA


This was it, the end. Lara lifted Kurtis’ body and walked, using the scroll she found in Jerusalem, which turned out to be a map, to find the entrance to Eden. Walking into a deep underground tunnel, Lara found herself surrounded by murals and a lever. She was in an octagonal room; seven of the eight walls had a fresco, depicting a day of creation. Lara pushed the lever and the room rotated, the only doorway moved over another tunnel. She walked further to find a large cavern, with an oculus at the top. She found an amazing array of wildlife, flora and fauna, behind some golden gates, with a gold and silver fence. Walked up and read the Latin inscription on the floor before the gates: ‘Hic lieth Eden, verus Cunabula de Vita,’ translating as ‘Here lies Eden, the true Cradle of Life.’ Lara pushed open the gates, still in remorse for her husband’s death. An angel with a flaming sword arose from behind some bushes but Lara lazily pulled a pistol and shot it down. Lara picked up Kurtis’ corpse again and took him to the centre of the Garden, beneath the Tree of Knowledge. Lara dug a small grave, and buried Kurtis within it. Lara took out a screwdriver and carved a message into the tree: Here lies the last of the Light of Truth Warriors. Permit him to hold a place in the sacred Garden of God forever. R.I.P. Kurtis Trent 1971-2010. Lara cried as she left Eden and was exposed the sunlight, its searing rays burning her pale skin. She left her jeep and she walked towards Alexandria, over the horizon and into the distance....

THE END



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.