Disclaimer: I do not own Lara Croft or Tomb Raider, and I made up Adventure Magazine, so any similarities to a real magazine is purely coincidence.
Article: Meeting Lady Lara Croft
For Adventurer Magazine
By Marcus Trent

As I drove up to the wrought iron gates, I wondered yet again what I was doing. It had seemed simple enough when I had left London: Interview Lady Lara Croft about her recent explorations and write an article about it. But as I gazed through the gate at the elegant manor house beyond, my task suddenly seemed harder than ever. It struck me at that moment, just how little I knew about this woman. I had inevitably heard the rumours and heard about her many exploits on the news, but I had little idea of what type of woman she was. Who exactly was Lady Lara Croft?

I was met at the door by a proper English butler. Hilary was polite, discrete and efficient. As he led me through the sprawling manor to where I was to meet Lady Croft, I noticed the elegant and refined d├ęcor of the rooms we passed. This surprised me as I reflected on the image of a tough, resourceful adventurer that I had always believed Lara Croft was. But then I realised I shouldn't really be surprised. She was the daughter of an Earl and had been brought up in cultured upper class society. It struck me again just how little I knew about the woman I was about to interview.

My first glimpse of Lady Croft was a pair of curious brown eyes staring at me from where she was hanging upside down near the ceiling of her converted ballroom. Dusty relics that looked Egyptian to my untrained eye surrounded me as I stood just inside the doorway. As I continued to watch in amazement, Lara flipped backwards off the rope she had been hanging by, somersaulted in the air and landed in a slight crouch right in front of me.

Despite the fact, or maybe because of it, she was simply dressed in boots, shorts and a T-shirt; Lara Croft was a strikingly beautiful woman. But it wasn't just that that had me staring like a silly schoolboy. There was just something about her. Whether it was her confidant bearing, her sure movements or the intelligent gleam in her eye, I don't know. But there was just something magnetic about Lara Croft that drew you in.

"HI." She said in a cultured voice. "You must be Mr. Trent from Adventurer Magazine."

"Yes, I am." I replied, trying not to continue staring stupidly at her.

She smiled, a soft smile that made her eyes twinkle. "You'll have to excuse me." She said, waving her hand to encompass the room. "But I was just doing some light exercise."

I began to get an idea of why she was so formidable in the field. If this is what Lady Croft called light exercise, then I could understand just how good she really was. "Would you like some tea?" she asked me, still smiling.

"Yes, thank you." My words came out in a rush as I realised why I was here.

I cleared my throat and tried to appear more business like. "That would be great." I added.

"Hilary," she said, looking over my shoulder. "We'll take tea in the library."

"Very good, Lady Croft." Hilary replied.

I followed Lady Croft down a winding corridor and up a flight of stairs to a room filled from floor to ceiling with books. Some of my amazement or surprise must have shown on my face because she raised an eyebrow at me. "I have a passion for reading." She said.

I nodded as she offered me a seat. I sat down in a rather comfortable armchair in the corner of the room and looked across at her. "It quite a collection." I said.

A shadow past over Lara's face, but it was gone as soon as it came. "They were my father's."

I remembered my research notes. Lady Croft's father, Lord Richard Croft, had died on May 5th, 1985. From what I had heard, Lara had been very close to her father. I took a deep breath as I looked back at Lady Croft. She was sitting opposite me in another chair, obviously waiting for my questions.

"Well," I began, suddenly nervous. "You've been dubbed a 'Tomb Raider' by the press. Do you consider yourself as one?"

"No, I don't." she said. "I consider myself to be an adventurer and a bit of an explorer as well as an archaeologist. To say that I spend my life raiding tombs, as it were, it wrong. What try and do is find artefacts that were previously believed lost so that everyone can have a chance to see them. The only thing I gain from this is a challenge."

I nodded. "So, you like a challenge, then?"

Lara grinned. "Yes." She said. "I do love a challenge. There's nothing quite like the feeling of succeeding when you weren't sure you could."

"I am curious about something, Lady Croft..." I began.

"Call me Lara." She interrupted.

"Well, Lara, I'm curious. What exactly is 'tomb raiding' like? What exactly do you do?"

"Ah." She said. "Well, for one thing, there's a lot more running that you would think. A large part of what I do is puzzle solving. That part of it is rather like cracking an ancient security system, which is essentially what booby traps are. And sometimes that can get quite physical."

"And the other part?"

"The other part is actually finding the location of the artefact." She said. "Because the artefact in question has usually been missing for thousands of years." Lara answered.

We chatted for a while longer, mostly about what Lara had been up to in the past. We talked about Jacqueline Natla, Bigfoot, the Dagger of Xian, the Triangle of Light, the places she had been and the places she wanted to visit. I was absolutely fascinated, both with Lara's adventurers and by the woman herself. She talked with a quiet passion about history and the past, and I could see the joy she got from adventuring.

"What exactly is it that attracts you so much?" I had to ask. "About 'tomb raiding' I mean?"

Lara looked at me with a curious look in her eye. "The freedom." She said without hesitation. "And I guess a need to protect the past from being ignored and destroyed by people. But definitely the freedom."

"The freedom?"

"Yes." She smiled. "Being out there, alone, only relying on yourself and making your own choices. But also the way that out there the only expectations I have to live up to are my own."

"That I can understand." I said. "So what's next in the life of Lara Croft?"

"I don't know." She said. "I guess I'm just waiting right now. But I know something will come along soon. It always does."

"Well thank you for taking the time to speak to me." I said. "It was very nice to meet you."

"It was no trouble." Lara said. "I enjoyed it."

I left the manor feeling almost bemused. The woman I had met was nothing like the one I had imagined I would meet. The feeling persisted later that night when I sat down to write the article. I didn't know where to begin. Finally I decided to write about my first thought: who exactly was Lara Croft? I began by listing everything I knew about her.

Strong. Adventurous. Tough. Intelligent. Resourceful. Independent. Beautiful. Wealthy. Courageous. Vivid. Passionate. Stubborn. Sexy. Elegant. Graceful. Alive.

I sat there for a long time, staring at the words, noticing the way she was more than she appeared. She was definitely a complex woman. She thrived on a challenge, but tried to live a simple life. She had a flair for the dramatic and a way of embracing life that seemed to light up a room. She was a woman who was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in. A woman who loved Mozart and beans on toast.

I noticed then the answer to my question. There was only one way to describe Lara and all her uniqueness. Three deceptively simple words:

Lady Lara Croft.