Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
Warnings: Same as ever
Pairings: None yet, please let me know if you are interested in having some.
A/N: Wow! Thank you guys so much for having read and reviewed. It really helps me feel I've accomplished something when I hear your thoughts on this. And so that you guys know, this chapter gave me the giddy sense of wowness when I wrote it! Now on with the chappy!
Harry fell to the scorching ground, the bitter and dry taste of sand penetrating his mouth before he slowly sat up and wiped his mouth clean. It was hot. Scratch that, it was beyond hot, it was white-hot, and the dark haired teen could feel the sweat rise on him almost instantly. His lungs cried out in protest from the sudden heat, launching him into a coughing attack. Moist lips dried, cracked and bleed within minutes.
'It's toasty…' Scycath commented in sheer pleasure as he basked in the glorious heat that the sun ravished upon the desert.
'For you maybe, but for me I feel like shit!' Harry snapped at his serpent friend in irritation that had been brought forth by the intense heat. "Stupid sun… Stupid sand… Stupid lack of clouds… Stupid everything." He muttered darkly as he forced himself to his feet. He could feel his skin burning already, and his vision grew green.
Harry Potter turned in his place from where he stood, green eyes scanning the golden dunes all around him, squinting his eyes so that he might see beyond the heat waves that were visibly rising from the burning sand. "I see sand every way that I look." He commented dejectedly before he retrieved his wand and began layering his clothing with the most potent cooling charms he knew.
The heat still penetrated his clothing, but it wasn't too unbearable, it was better then before. But his charms did nothing for the intense heat of the air that he was breathing in. He pulled up his hood so that it covered his head, protecting him from the direct heat of the scalding sun.
He attempted to summon water, but it evaporated instantly, leaving his throat parched and his tongue feeling like cotton through the dryer.
It was bloody hell on earth. Harry knew that if he were to stay there, he would die. With that thought he steeled himself and let his gut instincts guide his feet, while his familiars and he walked, floated or slithered through the sand, leaving tracks behind them. Their quest? They were seeking water and a place where they could stay to be protected from the worse of the elements.
Harry inwardly hoped they could find a place before sunset, as he was taught that deserts were like pregnant women. While women expecting children are generally susceptible to mood swings, the weather of a desert was well known for extreme weather changes during the night and day. By day it was a scorching hell, by night an icy cold wasteland. How thrilling this new world was.
He walked. Moving further and further forward, not once looking back. He felt exhausted, but Harry Potter was not one known to give up. So he just kept looking forward, brain unable to think, and his body moving on autopilot. His mind didn't even register the many water filled mirages as he passed them by.
Seconds trickled into minutes, minutes into hours and still he kept moving, though his pace gradually slowed with each step the longer he had been walking. He needed water. He needed it badly. His head was pounding like a tribal drum, and his body ached with sheer exertion.
Green lined the corner of his vision. Black spots danced before his eyes. It was so hot. The sun had just reached its peak.
Steps grew into forced movements, and his feet dragged carelessly in the blistering sands that radiated tremendous amounts of heat into his sore feet. It was way too hot. Scycath had long since fell into a deep slumber after having flown up to the teen's shoulder and Sylph had wilted before she vanished from sight.
Things were looking bleak.
His vision grew steadily more green and black, until he finally was unable to see a thing, but he could still feel his body take a few more steps before his knees met sizzling sand, completely wiping out his cooling charms that buckled and crumbled. Harry knew no more as he sunk into black oblivion out on a towering dune.
- - - - - - - -
Harry's head was pounding thunderously. His throat burned, his tongue felt non-existent and his body felt unresponsive. He ached. Voices filtered around him. Jumbled, twirling, dancing and merging, sounding like nothing more than nothing. Senseless clutter. He knew not the beginning, and he heard no end. Words melded together making new ones, and it moved through his mind, unprocessed before he slipped back into unconsciousness.
- - - - - - - -
Harry came to a second time. His head felt better than it had before, but it still ached. He felt stiff, he felt sore, but he felt decently cool.
"Hey kid. You awake?" A male voice questioned causing Harry to slowly crack intense green eyes open.
Green eyes met concerned brown. "Here, drink this." The deeply tanned man said as he helped Harry sit up before handing him a glass of cool water.
The teen took the glass with quivering hands before slowly drinking down the crystal water. He finished the whole glass without one break. "Where am I?" Harry croaked out, inwardly wincing at the harsh tone his voice held, his throat felt raw.
"Just below the Valley of the Kings. Egypt." The man clarified with a slight frown. "Judging from your accent, I'd say you're British. But that makes me wonder why a boy your age would be wandering about these deserts all alone and on the hottest day we have had out here." The man said thoughtfully as he poured more water into the teen's glass.
"I am British." Harry admitted before frowning. "But I haven't a clue as to how I wound up in the desert today."
"Today?" The man chuckled. "We found you over a week ago. You've been in a feverish sleep for the longest time. Heck we were thinking of radioing a chopper to air-lift you to the nearest Hospital if you didn't break the fever soon." The man admitted as he tucked sun bleached bangs behind his ears.
"Oh…" Harry said intelligently before gulping down some more water.
"You said you didn't remember how you got here, so what is the last thing you recall?"
"I recall going exploring with some friends, but after that I just have a big blank." Harry admitted sheepishly.
"Well that must blow. But hey, until you remember you can hang out with us. Oh! How rude of me! I'm Christopher Stawarz, archeologist extraordinaire." He greeted with a lopsided grin as he offer a tanned and calloused hand to the teen.
"Archaeous Black." Harry said with a smile as he own while he shook the man's hand.
"Strange name." Christopher commented thoughtfully before releasing his hand.
"I know. I have a weird family." Harry admitted sheepishly. "You keep saying we, are there others?" Harry inquired softly.
"Glad you asked! There are eight of us in total." The man began. "I'm the good looking male and the historical brain of the group. Then, there is Erin, she's one fiery girl, but she can decipher anything. Kyla, she's a babe, but she could kick major ass. She is able to squeeze into tiny places, and climb over things that the rest of us can't. The last woman of our group is Shelby. She's the creative one. She can tell you exactly what everything was used for by just glancing at it." He informed Harry. "Then there is Jason, he's rather… interesting. Bit of a fanatic when it comes to shiny things. Matt, my little brother, he's the brains of our operation. Dylan is the raw strength, he can move so much. And finally there is Aaron; he's the scribe that writes down everything in absolute detail." Christopher concluded with a smirk of endearment as he thought over his team and friends.
"So what are you guys looking at here? A lost Tomb of some ancient and not well known Pharaoh?" Harry asked as he looked around the massive sleeping trailer that they were in.
"Nah! Nothing that fun. We found some ancient Greek Temple ruins, which are quite strange to find here in this part of Egypt. So our museum asked us to check the place out and uncover some neat artifacts and such for the museum." The man explained thoughtfully. "So far all we've found was a few columns made of marble." He admitted dejectedly.
"I'd like to see these ruins." Harry declared softly.
"Well," Chris began while shifting in his chair. "I suppose that if you feel well enough tomorrow we could bring you along. We can't tonight as the sun is soon to set and the crew should be back shortly." He paused as he looked out the window, squinting into the distance. "In fact, I think I hear the truck coming back already." He said thoughtfully.
Both males fell into silence as they listened, and seconds later they could hear the distant rumble of an engine that grew steadily louder just as the sun sank on the horizon. The noise grew louder and louder, until it was right next to the trailer, before it vanished, only to be followed by the sound of doors opening and voices filling the air.
The group of archeologists trekked from the vehicle and moved towards the door before entering.
"The J-man has arrived!" A male voice announced as he walked inside with a broad smirk, only to be hit upside the head by a dark haired woman that was glaring daggers at him.
"Shut it Jason! There is a sick boy here remember!" She hissed in a low and dangerous tone, her thick Asian accent making her voice sound all the more condescending.
"It's alright Erin, no need to snap at him." Chris said with a shrug as he stood and motioned at the awake teen. "He's up and eager to join us on the dig tomorrow." He stated just as they all entered inside.
"Oh!" A girl with stylish glasses exclaimed as she looked on at the teen. "I hadn't anticipated him waking up so soon after having heat stroke and dehydration to that extent." She admitted softly before scratching her cheek in embarrassment.
"It's alright. Everyone, this is Archaeous Black." Chris said with a dramatic tone before he pointed to the man that had barged in. "That's Jason McGregory. To his left is the lovely Erin Lloyd. The burly guy is Dylan Maxwell and the chick to his right is the stylish Shelby. Kyla is the kick ass looking girl with the blue shades, and the blond that looks like me is my brother from a different daddy, Matt Duncan. And lastly, that scrawny little guy with the curly hair is Aaron Foorde." Christopher finished his introductions with taking a deep breath.
"I don't think we should bring him to the ruins, he could still be ill and he passed out from the heat already once, we don't need the kid being sick again." Aaron said with a frown on his pale features.
"Dude." Dylan said as he placed a well muscled arm around the thin man's shoulders. "That day was hot. We were stuck here playing cards all day." He said, his blue eyes showing annoyance.
"He's right." Shelby began as she pushed her glasses higher onto her nose. "That day was a scorcher, the hottest day we've ever seen while in these parts. If Kyla hadn't gone to pick up supplies when she did, she wouldn't have been able to return and find the kid lying in the sand." The girl said softly as she twirled long spiral-curled hair absently around her index finger.
"Yeah. Imagine my surprise when I was just a cruising back and saw this dark heap on some dune. I honestly thought I was seeing things. But I was curious so I drove closer. Imagine my surprise at finding a teenager all the way out here." The girl said before she blew a bubble with her gum.
"He can come along. Who knows, maybe he can help us." Matt said with a casual shrug before he moved over to the kitchen section of their trailer. "Who's hungry?"
- - - - - - - - -
The group of archeologists and Harry woke just as the sky turned pink in the distance. They were up, dressed and ready to go just as the sun herself broke the sky, and soon the nine of them were off, driving through the dust, Kyla at the wheel.
Within twenty minutes of driving at a speed that would land someone with an insanely high priced ticket in populated areas, they arrived at the site. "Welcome to our humble ruins." Chris said conversationally as they all pilled out of the massive truck.
Before them was sand. Lots of sand that was still cool as the sun had not yet warmed things up, but she would soon enough. And in the sand stood a tall column that was leaning dangerously to the side. Near the cracked and sand worn column sat chunks of walls.
"It's not much… But we have a theory that there might be more buried within the sand." Matt explained.
"But we won't get our hopes up until we find something substantial." Aaron added in as Harry approached the column at a slow pace. Green eyes were looking at the off-white marble, they were alight with interest.
"Pretty neat isn't it." Christopher said softly as he walked over to where the teen had halted just before the great column, his eyes also looking at the stone with careful interest. "To think, this used to be an establishment. Some great dwelling. In these parts you'd normally only find Egyptian structures, so it's quite something that these Greek designs are here."
"Yeah…" Harry whispered softly in return. "Do you guys mind if I wander around?" Harry inquired as he turned to look at the rest of the crew who were giving him contemplative looks.
"Nah. I think it'll be fine." Kyla said with a shrug before she tossed something at Harry, and thanks to his Seeker reflexes, he managed to catch it. "That's a radio. Use it to contact us if you need to." She explained as Chris plucked it from his hands and placed it over his ear before sticking the box that the ear and mouth piece was attached to, to his pants.
"There. Now behave little man!" Dylan called as he walked over to Harry and gently pushed him in a random direction.
Harry smirked before waving at the group and taking off in a random direction.
The sun rose higher and the air and sand began to warm up quickly, yet it did not get as hot as it had been on his first day there. And his cooling charms stayed with him this time, keeping him at a comfortable temperature. 'It's about time you got away from those humans. I had quite the time evading them while you were unwell.' Scycath hissed as he slithered out of his human's cloak.
'How sweet! You were worried.' Harry gushed; before he began cooing at his familiar while he gently pet the wyvern.
'Will you stop treating me like a baby?' The scaled one hissed in annoyance before he fluttered off and began slithering on the ground, moving away from Harry.
'Scycath! I was only joking! Come back!' Harry called after his friend.
Slowly he followed the wavy line through the sand, moving to a rockier hill side that was still visible from the ruins, where the group was dusting away at the column, searching for any details. 'Look at this.' Scycath called, causing Harry to duck behind a tall boulder, causing another piece of a column to come into view.
"Wow! I don't think they've found this one yet!" He exclaimed with a happy smirk, and was about to radio the others where he felt his wyvern nudge his ankle with his head.
Harry blinked once, before looking at what his snake was motioning towards. There, at the base of the boulder, where the column met the rock was a decent sized hole that descended down into the ground. It was where the column was coming from.
Curiosity made him cautiously climb down the hole, using the column to guide him as he slid down slowly, causing much dust and dirt to fall with him, the sound ringing eerily, echoing as though the place he was going down to was huge.
Harry slowly reached the bottom, and stood on soft sand. It was dark, the only light was streaming in through the hole he hand entered through, and yet a healthy, cool and refreshing breeze was down there with him. He pressed the button on the black box part of the radio. "Archaeous to base, come in base." Harry said in amusement, having always wanted to say that.
"This is Chris, the world's greatest base-master, what is your status Archaeous?" Chris called through the radio.
"You would never believe what I found." Harry said with a great grin.
"A tribe of gorgeous babes that want to lavish their attentions on me?" The man called back.
"Not even close." Harry said with a roll of his eyes. "Try another column." Harry began, only to be cut off with an excited female squeal.
"You found a column!?" Erin exclaimed happily onto the link. "Where are you? Where is the column? Is it big?" She asked excitedly.
"Well… You guys should follow my trail here. The column is huge, and the chamber it leads to is even bigger, but I need a flashlight so that I might be able to see how big." Harry explained.
"Chamber?!?!?" Shelby cut in.
"Yes. At least I think it is a chamber… can't really tell." The teen admitted. He knew that he could easily use his magic to see, but he figured that he wouldn't do that when he could just use a flashlight once the others got there.
"Hold on kid, we'll be right there." Chris called through; his smile could practically be heard in his voice.
"Don't enter into the chamber, it might not be safe." Aaron advised with seriousness.
"Too late." Harry said sheepishly as he looked back up at the light. "And I don't think I can just… crawl out." Harry admitted as he regarded the tilted column. "Well I might be able to… but that would be one heck of a task." He summed up.
"We'll be right there! Don't move!" Matt added sharply.
Harry waited. For how long, he wasn't sure. But soon enough he heard voices filter down from above.
"Ahoy down there!" Jason called from the top, as his face appeared. "Stand aside and the J-man will be down there right away." The guy said with a smirk before he clambered down the hole and slid down the column just as Harry had, his flash-light illuminating the ground.
"Holy!" Kyla whistled as she slid down with a rope in hand, one that was tied above and would provide them all with a way back out later.
The rest of the group then slid down, and soon the area was lit by flashlights.
They were in what looked to be a grand hall. One filled with many columns, and artworks. Draperies lie in tatters on the ground, and much dirt littered the area. Aaron immediately began taking pictures of things in detail as the group all broke off to look things over, and get pictures of things.
"You sure hit the jackpot kid." Chris complemented Harry as he placed his hand on his shoulder. "Have you ever thought of a career in archeology? With that luck you'd be one hell of a digs-man."
"I've never thought of that before." Harry admitted as he eyed the area in appreciation. "I was thinking of going into law enforcement though." Harry explained thoughtfully as his green eyes landed upon a painting that was partway hidden behind a fallen column.
Curiosity griped him yet again, and he slipped over there, while Chris was occupied with analyzing a piece of pottery shown to him. He clambered silently over the fallen cylindrical stone and dropped to the ground on the other side.
With the lights in the background, Harry could see through the dim lights the image of a lavishly dressed woman who looked very much Egyptian and a man that looked like he was some sort of Gladiator. Below the painting were some strange symbols that Harry did not recognize. "Hey Erin!" Harry called over his shoulder, gaining everyone's attentions.
"Yeah?" The woman called back as she moved towards Harry.
"You can decipher scribbles right?" Harry asked as the group all moved towards them.
"Yup!" She exclaimed as she and the other's joined Harry in front of the painting. Erin immediately went to the text, completely ignoring the image while everyone else focused on the painting.
"It says: 'My dearest princess, how my heart soars now that we are eternally wed together.'" She read with ease before looking up at the image with a frown.
"My guess…" Chris said thoughtfully. "Is that this is part of the myth of two lovers. It's an old and well told tale in many ancient writings in Egypt. It is about the only child of the Pharaoh, a daughter, who had fallen in love with a stranger from Greek. The Pharaoh was against their love for one another, and forbade his daughter from seeing the man.
"But she did not listen to her father's words, and she ran away from the great city, and met up with her lover who had been said to have built a great temple none too far away. They lived in happiness for eleven years, but then, with the birth of their first child darkness descended upon them, and the heavens unleashed their wrath." Chris said as he tapped his chin. "It was said that the temple vanished." He concluded softly.
"Vanished below the sands of Egypt." Shelby commented thoughtfully. "Judging by this, I'd say that this was done at least one thousand years ago. With special paints mixed with fruits and oil." She said as she brushed a corner of the portrait with a swab. "By their appearances, I'd say that this was done right after they ran away together. They look so young still, and the girl is still wearing the garbs of a princess of Egypt." She concluded with a nod.
Soon after Harry, Kyla, Chris, Shelby and Dylan slipped away from the portrait and resumed snooping through the massive room. And they continued for hours, taking things down in great detail.
"Hey guys!" Kyla called to her group. "Come here." She said before flashing her light on and off so that they could all head over there.
"What's up?" Dylan inquired as the group had all arrived.
"Technically it isn't up, but down." Kyla explained as she moved her light to shine upon a nearly completely buried stairway that leads down. "Dylan, after Aaron takes some snap shots, do you mind moving some of this rubble?" She asked, earning a nod from the burly man as Aaron jumped to take more pictures.
With help, Dylan managed to clear the way for them, and Kyla slipped down first, the rest following her down.
The descended for quite sometime, the temperature growing cooler with every few meters down that they went, until they arrived in a storage room that was in pitiful conditions.
"Whoa! Mummy!" Jason exclaimed, as he crouched down beside a well preserved body of what was obviously a young boy that couldn't be older then three. "Strange… You wouldn't normally find a preservation this good in conditions like these." He muttered to himself as he took a few snap-shots of the guy.
"Well… Looks like that story Chris spun might just have been true." Matt commented thoughtfully.
"Yeah…" Shelby said in agreement as she peered down at the prune like young boy, whose eyes were open and still blue, yet dull and dry. "I'd say that they lasted two and a half years before running out of rations down here. And, judging by that cave in we had to unbury, my guess is that he and his family were trapped down here." She summed up before looking around.
"I'd say you're right." Kyla commented from a ways over. "I found the daddy!" She called to them.
"The mummy is here!" Jason said humorously as he waved the others away from the daddy to look at the mommy. "Damn… I've never seen preservation like this." He admitted in awe, as he ran a latex glove covered hand gently over the sheer fabric of the corpse's dress.
"It's quite impressive." Aaron admitted more so to himself. "The museum will love this." He said for the others to hear, earning several murmured agreements.
A light rumbling echoed in the room as a section of the ceiling caved in at the far side of the store room that they were in, causing them all to exchange a look before flicking their flashlights so that they illuminated the ceiling above them.
Thankfully, where they were looked alright, solid, and showed no signs of cracking or strains. "I think it should be safe." Erin commented attentively as she studied the ceiling.
"Hey Matt, what'cha looking at?" Jason asked, causing everyone to look over at the young man who was crouching and looking down at something.
"There's a hole here." He commented. "Looks almost as though they were attempting to dig themselves out of here, but they didn't get very far. Also, they were digging down." He surmised before looking over at Kyla. "Would you do the honors?"
"Sure thing!" The girl said cheerfully as she pulled her dark shades from her eyes and handed them to the leader before slipping down the hole with expert ease, a mini flashlight clenched in her mouth.
Kyla descended at a quick pace, slipping out of their view after several moments. Minutes trickled by with Matt leaning over to peer down the hole attentively while the others continued to scope out the place.
"Hey guys! Guess where this tunnel leads!" Kyla called through the radio. "It leads to what looks like an Egyptian hall of sorts." She explained. "Come on down!" She beckoned over the radio, before the group trudged down the hole, most of them moving with far less grace then Kyla had, and in twice the time they arrived to see the sporty young woman squatting down before a solid gold statue of a jackal.
"Quite neat isn't it." Kyla commented as she peered over her shoulder at the newcomers. "Look at the piece of rubble there, I think that is part of the outer material for this place, looks strange though."
Dylan picked up a chuck of the stuff. "Looks like Onyx…" He commented, causing a thump to sound behind them, drawing all their attention to Chris who had just sat down. The man looked pale, as he looked around the place with wide eyes.
"What is it?" Matt inquired worriedly as he kneeled in front of his elder half brother.
"I once heard a myth. It was during my first dig where I found that Magi Hideout. You guys weren't part of that dig, but I remember it clearly. The locals of the area had many tales in regards to the ruins; one of such was that the Magi there were guarding a highly coveted secret within their walls. And upon a moonless night, they were attacked, the battle that had destroyed them all. It was said that bandits had attacked, ones that were looking for something in particular." Chris began softly as he ran a hand through his pale blond locks, eyes focused on the chunks of black onyx.
"They were said to have been after three pages that the Magi had stolen from The Book of the Dead. Pages that were a great secret. Two pages were said to be a map of three great pyramids, three onyx pyramids." He paused to swallow thickly. "These pyramids were legend to be the final resting place of an ancient and evil sorceress who brought much darkness upon the lands during a five hundred year reign of terror that was said to have been over ten thousand years ago."
Chris closed his eyes and frowned as he slowly regained his color. "The third page was said to be the final words and warnings left behind by the Sorceress herself, but knowledge of that is unknown." He admitted with a sigh as he reopened his eyes. "I remember that little was said about this Dark Sorceress, but one townswoman told me that there was a prophecy of her return, and it is believed that the back side of the third page held the means needed to return her to the living." He concluded softly as he looked around at his friends with serious eyes.
"Looks like we've stumbled upon one myth after the other." Matt commented thoughtfully as he moved over to the wall nearest him, waving Erin over. "Can you read some of these hieroglyphs to see if this is indeed what Chris said it to be?" Matt questioned quietly, earning a nod from the girl who immediately leapt to work, pulling out a pad of paper and pencil from a small sack upon her back.
The sounds of scribbling rose, only to be accompanied by the sound of the cameras taking pictures and the flashes of the cameras and moving lights of the flashlights. "Well…" Erin began slowly as Kyla squatted before the doorway that leads out of the room they were in. "It says: 'The Great Lady has risen to protect, but failed. Her kingdom lies in dark shambles. Her greed corrupted, her desire manifested and darkness befell us. With her perverted thoughts she turned against us. She built two more and linked them together with a great jewel of great suffering. The end draws near. With her foretold death brings the tale of her renewal written within the pages of the book that was once her grandfather's. She will be reborn, and she will conquer then if not stopped.'" Erin finished as she looked up from her scribbles and eyed the rest of them.
"Does anyone other then me get the chills at this whole thing?" Jason questioned softly as he tenderly ran his hand over the golden jackal. "How about we just take this," He motioned towards the statue, "and leave." He said pleadingly.
"Are you kidding!?" Aaron huffed incredulously as he looked at the man petting the gold. "We are onto a major discovery and you just want to bail and take the gold?" The man muttered with annoyance.
"Well." Kyla cut in. "If we continue we'll have to be very cautious. The way out of this room is booby-trapped." She commented as she stood up from peering into the hall beyond.
"Booby-traps?" Shelby asked with a frown. "Why in the world would they have ones outside of this door?" She muttered under her breath as she moved to the other woman's side and peered out, eyes looking for something. "I don't see any traps." She said in a sheepish manner after several moments.
"That's because you aren't looking in the right places." Kyla murmured thoughtfully as she drew out a pencil and sketchbook before plopping down onto the ground and carefully sketching the room beyond. She then withdrew a red pen and added some points onto the room, before adding in green lines, followed by blue. "Okay…" She began, as she motioned for the rest of the group to come over to where she was.
With her flashlight, she pointed at many stylish holes and statues situated within the hall beyond. "My guess is that there are darts of sorts ready to be fired from those holes. Those statues there have opened mouths, which are never seen in Egyptian pieces, meaning something is fired from them. If you look up, you'll see rows of spears that are ready to fall, and should you look at the ground, you'll note that there are several straight crack-like lines running from side wall to side wall, evenly placed throughout the entire hall. Pit falls." She summed up while pointing to each in turn.
"Well that explains why that family didn't go further then this room before returning to their stores room. The Greek man must have seen the traps." Shelby commented softly.
"So how do we get through?" Jason inquired as he plopped himself down. "Oh and what are the triggers?" He asked as an after thought, having remembered the last time he wound up in a place with booby traps; knowing that they all had triggers.
"Well… I'm not so sure." Kyla said as she bit her lower lip.
"Why not send someone through it to set all the traps off?" Aaron suggested with a frown on his pale face.
"Dude. That would be the fastest way to kill someone off." Dylan commented. "I don't think any of us could manage that type of thing. Plus we aren't certain so what sort of darts or things come from the walls and the statues." He added to that while motioning at the hall beyond.
"Looks like we are stuck on the drawing board." Erin muttered dejectedly as the group all moved into a seated circle to discuss things.
But Harry stood at the doorframe, his flashlight running over everything slowly, green eyes taking everything in. His mind measured out distances, patterns and such used in the set up. He felt reckless. He cast a quick glance over his shoulder before he quietly stuck his flashlight on one of the statues that lined the inside of the doorway so that the light shone into the room without him holding it.
Harry took a step into the room beyond and nothing happened. He had thought as much. He had noted that there was a longer stretch in the set up pattern at the beginning. With a smirk he raced off, the ping of arrows echoed ominously as they struck the walls opposite. All eyes turned to him in shock.
"Archaeous!!!" Was the collective shout as they all scrambled to their feet to watch in horror as Harry rolled under a stream of fire that erupted from the mouth of one of the statues, before he jumped into the air just as the ground he landed on fell open to a pike filled pit. Harry landed at the next point and had to throw himself out of the way of the falling spears that were attached to a metal frame as it fell. He then danced around several more arrows before leaping over the low statue that came next, using it to propel him over the larger pit that had opened before he landed and scrambled out of the way of the last set of falling spears.
Harry lay there panting before a whooshing noise had him rolling to his left just as a great axe crashed to where he had been lying mere seconds ago. "Archaeous!! Are you alright?" Chris called out.
"Of course he's not alright! There's no way a kid could make it through that and survive!" Aaron retorted with a worried voice.
"I'm okay!" Harry called as he shakily stood, panting hard as he leaned on the blunt end of the axe and waved at them. "I believe that all traps are now deactivated." He added on before he fell to his bum panting heavily.
His shoulder was burning, and after Harry looked more closely, he saw a cut that had penetrated the cloak of his battle robes and had left a gash well across his arm.
'Scycath? Are you alright?' Harry hissed softly, causing the small wyvern to emerge from his robes and nod before slipping back under just as Kyla peered down from over the axe.
"You are so totally my hero." Kyla said with a smirk as she jumped down beside Harry and offered him her canteen, which he quietly accepted before gulping a few mouthfuls of water down.
"Mine too." Chris added as he leapt down with a grunt. "I've never seen someone move like that before." He stated before he helped Shelby and Erin down, before Dylan leapt down and pulled Aaron with him, Matt and Jason hot on their heels.
"Has anyone told you how reckless you are?" Aaron asked with a frown as he placed his hands on his hips.
"Yup. Plenty of people have. I inherited it from my father, and I also added my own twist of attracting danger to the mix." Harry said with a grin as Dylan pulled him to his feet and dusted him off.
"You're injured." The strong man said in disapproval as he looked at the bleeding cut.
"Yeah. I think one of those arrows got me on the last statue." Harry said sheepishly as Chris carefully helped him remove his injured arm from his sleeve before looking it over.
"After that whole trap set up, one would have thought you'd have taken more damage." Matt commented thoughtfully as he watched as his brother patched up the wound. "Also, I am of the impression that you are used to injuries as you did not notice it." He concluded just as Harry slipped his arm back inside of his sleeve.
"I'm a magnet to danger, and with danger come injuries. Albeit, strange one." Harry admitted truthfully before he stood up and stretched; green eyes moving back to survey the hall they had all just emerged from.
"Well you did good Archaeous." Kyla commented with a cheeky grin before she bounded down the steps before her, flashlight flickering from side to side, top to bottom and was soon joined by multiple other beams of light as the rest of them followed.
"You might need this." Dylan whispered to Harry as he held out the flashlight he had left behind. Harry smiled, took it and nodded his thanks.
They went down at least a thousand steps, before they came to a halt. "I like this room!" Kyla exclaimed happily, the first in line, so the first to see.
"Holy shit." Erin whispered in awe as she peered into the room. Its floor was at least seven meters below the base of the stairways end, and had various wooden spikes with jagged edges facing upwards. "I bet that all those bones down there were from the builders of this room that slipped." She said conversationally.
"Sounds like a dangerous job." Aaron muttered darkly as he took photos of the room.
"No more then ours is." Matt said honestly as he gazed down.
"So now what do we do?" Shelby inquired curiously.
"We scale that edge over to the door." Harry whispered softly, causing all eyes to move to him before looking over to where his flashlight was pointed.
"Shit that's narrow!" Jason exclaimed with wide eyes. "Dylan my man, you might have issues with all that bulk you call muscles." He teased childishly, earning a smack over the head, courtesy of Erin.
"It's booby-trapped." Kyla spoke up suddenly, causing everyone to frown. "Look at the ledge floor," She began as she pointed her light at it. "Notice how the first bit is a solid thing, while the second is covered in design, signifying pressure released traps." She explained before continuing on. "Then there are those three heads, Anubis, Horus and Ra. They likely spurt some nasty thing just as the statues at the last trap did. And finally, if you can see it at this angle, there are lines of holes climbing parallel over the statues top. Something like arrows likely comes out of there." She calculated.
"Damn… There is no way some of us could make it. Heck I doubt most of us could." Chris whistled softly. "And the way you put it, makes it sound as though it'll continue for a long while after set off."
"Yeah…" Kyla muttered with a frown, her light scanning the walls. "There!" She suddenly exclaimed. "That rock is an oddity here. It's the deactivation piece." She said thoughtfully. "The best route to that." She paused as she looked from the wall across from her to scan the way. "Would be to traverse the traps, then use that far more narrow ledge there to ease the way over." She concluded with an excited look which suddenly fell.
"What's wrong?" Aaron asked instantly.
"There's no way I could do that…" She admitted darkly while pouting.
"I'll go." Harry spoke up, drawing all eyes to him.
"No way!" Erin exclaimed hotly. "If Kyla doesn't think she can, I highly doubt a little boy could." She said disapprovingly.
The Potter and Black heir rolled his eyes before he sprang into action, racing off the remainder of the stairway, dodging under Dylan's legs before coming out on the thickest part of the ledge. He then turned to the side, slowing right down as he arrived at the pressure trigger.
"Get back here!" Erin screeched hotly as they all moved onto the ledge, but was unable to race after him since Dylan placed his large hand on her shoulder to hold her in place.
Harry placed his left foot onto the designs before he leaned forward, causing a deep rumbling to occur. Fire began to shoot from the mouths of the three gods, and spikes rammed in and out of their holes at random intervals. "This one is more complicated." Harry muttered under his breath as he noted the tarantulas crawling along the walls.
Slowly Harry moved forward, moving until he was just before the first statue: Horus. There were four spear holes above his head, placed in a long parallel line. The top two shot out at the same time, while the bottom two shot out at a separate time. They remained out of their holes for a good five seconds before slinking back inside while the other two jutted out.
Harry slowly placed his foot on a part of Horus' head and reached up, grabbing a hold of one of the higher spears and hoisted himself up, careful to keep away from the holes and spiders. The top two retreated and Harry had to grip some rocks to hold himself in place while the bottom two came out.
Harry placed his foot on the lower of the two and pulled himself up and over just before they retreated and the other two emerged. He took a deep breath before walking cautiously over to the second head, his hands gripping the wall as he went so as to not chance following off the edge that was only a foot wide.
Next came the Head of Anubis. Above the head of the claimer of hearts were six holes in a parallel line. The bottom two and top one came out at the same time, holding out for only a second before retreating. Then the third from the top came out on its own for three seconds before withdrawing. And lastly the second from the top and third from the bottom came out staying about two seconds before they pulled back.
Harry reached out and grabbed the ear of Anubis and pulled himself over the top in a sliding motion, moving under the single spear that was out, and landing smoothly. He righted himself out before withdrawing his hands just as one of the lower spears came out.
Two down one to go: Ra. Harry approached the head of the god of the sun and smirked. This one would be easiest as the eagle headed god had a loopy snake on his head, one that sat in a circle, leaving a great hole that would allow him to go through and avoid the multitude of spears above. So he clambered through it, and came out on the other side with a victorious smirk.
The smirk vanished though as the part of the ledge that he stood upon gave way, making him fall towards the spikes below. Instincts kicked in, and he hurriedly grabbed hold of the remaining edge, letting himself dangle there above the jagged rocks and pikes below.
"Archaeous!" Chris shouted worriedly as he and the others watched with batted breath.
Harry was panting hard as he held on with one hand, one hand that was itching causing him to look up. A tarantula was crawling on his hand. With a sharp intake of breath, the teen reached up with his other hand and grabbed hold of a sturdy area before he flicked his other wrist to free him of the poisonous eight-legged beast. It went flying.
Slowly he pulled himself up to the edge and then used the rocks of the wall to help him stand and slink past the door and onto a far more narrow edge which he slowly moved down before arriving at a rock which he pushed in, successfully rendering the traps useless.
He moved back to the door he had just passed, while the others slowly navigated the area he had just cleared. "You are one jumping cat!" Kyla complimented Harry as she arrived at the door first, a happy glow shimmering about her.
"You are the man!" Jason exclaimed as he was next to make it over, and he gave Harry a rough pat on the back.
"You're a brash idiot!" Erin sneered with a glare at the young man as she stalked past him and moved into the door frame before pausing. "But you are strong enough to back yourself up." She whispered softly as they all moved to congregate around the newest door.
Matt winked at Harry as he began to descend the stairs beyond the door.
They moved down many steps, passing many sarcophagi that lined the stairwell. "Such a strange place to put these." Shelby commented with a frown as they continued downwards.
Finally they found the door out of the first pyramid and into a long dark tunnel, the only thing separating the sand from their path was the glass archway that was the entire tunnel. "Why hasn't this glass cracked?" Matt questioned softly as he regarded the solid glass with a critical eye.
"Probably some dark sorcery or something." Chris muttered thoughtfully as he stepped into the tunnel and gently set his hand on the smooth surface. "There could be no other explanation. This glass is very thin, yet it doesn't even have a scratch on it from all the weight of sand bearing down upon it." He explained as he pulled out a Swiss army knife and flipped out the knife part, which he then ran over the glass. "Not a scratch." He whispered thoughtfully.
"There is no such thing as magic. Also, how do we know this is glass? According to what I was taught, glass hadn't been made in the era of this pyramid's creation." Aaron interjected with a scowl as he crossed his arms.
"It is glass." Shelby said softly. "But its make is extraordinary." She whispered appraisingly as she ran her hand over it. "Maybe, just maybe magic existed once upon a time. Maybe it was once so great that it wrought forth many incredibly things, but with the years it weakened, growing less powerful until it finally fell into dormancy." She theorized quietly, unaware of Harry's eyes sharply regarding her.
"It is said that the younger you are, the more perceptive you are." Chris said softly before looking at the teen near him. "Archaeous, what do you make of this?" He questioned as he motioned towards their surroundings.
"I think that Shelby has a valid point. Perhaps magic did once exist in great quantities, and perhaps it did indeed grow weaker with time. But I doubt magic could just die out or vanish. I think" He paused in a hesitating manner, "I think that it still exists, but for fear of judgment, it hides." He concluded green eyes looking down into the distance of the pathway.
"We might as well continue on." Matt commented thoughtfully after a few moments of silence, and within seconds the group was moving on.
The tunnel led them forward in an uncurbed line of blackness. They walked, and walked and walked, making Harry feel as though by the time he returned to his world, that he'd be ready to walk a marathon.
"About time." Erin muttered darkly as they came to the tunnels and came upon a great golden door with the symbol of the sorceress placed upon it in great jewels. It was the image of an onyx pyramid that had wings of pure diamonds extending to the sky, while a sapphire flame burned over top, casting emerald rays all around.
"Holy shit!" Jason exclaimed like a child in a chocolate factory. "I think I'm in love." He whispered with awe as he began petting the shiny door. "Can I take it home? Please?!?" He begged as he turned to look at the rest of his team with puppy-dog eyes.
"Idiot." Aaron and Erin muttered simultaneously.
"I don't think that'll fit in your bag." Dylan commented with all seriousness while Kyla began tapping on the solid work.
"Hey, Erin what does this script at the bottom of the pyramid say?" Kyla asked as she placed her finger just before the beginning of the words.
Erin moved forward and began looking over it. "I'm not sure." She admitted after a few moments. "I've never seen symbols like these." She muttered with excitement as she began copying them down.
"You've never seen them!" Jason exclaimed before nuzzling the door. "Good door! Smart shiny door! Knowing more then our linguist does!" He cooed softly, earning him several doubting looks.
"'By sun of day," Harry's voice cut in, causing them all to look at the teen who was peering over Erin's shoulder. "By moon of night, herein lies our challenge. With blazing fires, and jagged ice, the path is littered with great uncertainty. Through these doors lies our challenge, through these doors lie the path to the fallen Queen. By Magic's hands alone shall she be reborn.'" Harry finished thoughtfully.
"What was that?" Dylan asked with a curious glance at the door.
"Just what that says." Harry said offhandedly. "It's plain old English." Harry said with a shrug earning him incredulous glances.
"No…" Erin began slowly. "That is not English. Those squiggles and swirls are no language known to me." She admitted with a troubled look, causing Harry to do a double take on the door.
Harry frowned, before his eyes widened. "Parseltongue." He whispered in shock, inwardly relieved that he hadn't read that out in the snake tongue.
"Parseltongue?" Erin inquired. "Is that the language?" She asked as she wrote it down in her note book, obviously planning to try and research it.
"It is… But you won't find that language in any books." Harry said softly as he placed his hand upon the flame on the door, causing it to quiver before opening. "It was an ancient language, a very rare one, which only could be spoken by those born with the ability. It can not be taught, it can not be learnt." Harry concluded as he went through the door just as blue flame torches sprung to life in the room beyond the door.
The group of archeologists exchanged a look before they followed inside.
A gasp tore itself for everyone's throat.
"Now do you believe in magic?" Chris whispered in awe.
The nine of them stood on pure white sand that glistened in the torchlight. The air all around them was misty with fog that made it difficult to see too far. Just before them sat a large body of crystal clear water that stood as smooth as a mirror, while in the distance they could hear the muffled sound of falling water.
Kyla pulled a penny from her pocket and tossed it in the water, causing it to ripple as the penny sank visibly to the sandy bottom. "Well… I think we just found ourselves an oasis." She commented thoughtfully as Matt moved forward and scooped some water in a vial which he then tucked into his pocket.
A soft song reached their ears as the waters stilled once more. The sound of a harp traveled clearly across the water, followed shortly by a flute and then a beating drum. The three instruments sang together in a beautiful song, one that sent waves of peace down their spines. "Where does this music come from?" Dylan whispered quietly as though afraid he might ruin the song if he were too loud.
As though to answer three feminine voices began signing with the music, causing small ripples to race slowly across the water. But the louder the song became, the larger and faster the ripples were, until the once mirror like surface was a mess of waves.
In the distance, upon the waves and within the fog came a shimmering outline, one that screamed a golden radiance, and it slowly moved forward smoothly as though it was not deterred in the least by the insane waves that now rampage violently over the water.
The group watched on with tense shoulders, each prepared for some action should this thing be a trap of sorts. Harry on the other hand looked relaxed, but his right hand was up his left sleeve, gripping his wand just incase a threat came that the others wouldn't be able to handle.
A great golden ship with black sails emerged from the mists, the music pouring off it in great volume as the group backed up until most of them were back to back with a wall. As the ship hit the beach, the music stopped and the waters stilled as everything became eerily silent.
"Humans." A tinkling voice spoke out, her words loud and clear, ringing like gentle bells. "The prophesy has come. And soon our Mistress will walk again." The same voice added softly as a golden boarding plank lowered itself from the ship's deck to the sands.
Three beings materialized atop the plank. They were beautiful creatures; even the one with two heads was incredibly gorgeous in a mythical and mysterious way. Harpies. They were harpies, and their wings were magnificent.
"My god!" Dylan breathed sharply, his eyes wide.
"The gods have foretold us of your arrival." The tallest of the three bird-women said softly, her voice tinkling.
"The Knight of Emerald has come to save her." The two headed Harpy said quietly.
As one, the three descended the plank and walked over to the group, the tallest was dressed in sheer pink robes, the two headed one in purple, while the smallest one wore white.
"Child." The one in pink began softly as she brought her winged arm forward so that her clawed hand could rub Harry's cheek gently. "You're destiny is complicated, and long. You have much to do." She said quietly, her pink eyes showing great honesty as she leaned in and pressed her pale lips to his forehead.
"Use our ship." The smallest of the trio spoke up, her voice more angelic then even the angles. "She will bare you through the hardships of this place."
With those words spoken, the three of them brought their winged arms up before leaping into the air and flying away.
"I think we are all suffering from hallucinations." Aaron finally spoke up, while Harry stared off into the distance.
"Why did the babe kiss you?" Jason asked with a pout as he sulked, bringing forth laughter from everyone, including Harry.
"Because I'm just that hot." Harry said before he and the other fell into renewed peels of laughter.
"Does anyone else question the defiance of the laws of physics that this ship harbors?" Aaron questioned softly as he patted the plank of gold that was sturdy and strong, obviously not pure gold.
"Magic." Chris said with a shrug before he clambered aboard with a broad grin.
"There is no such thing as magic. This is all just some vivid hallucination derived from gases locked under ground with us and lack of proper and fresh air." Aaron muttered as he and the others clambered onto the shiny golden boat, Erin dragging the drooling Jason with her.
"So where do you all suppose this boat leads?" Kyla asked softly as she peered over the railing and out into the foggy water filled distance as a wind suddenly swept over them, causing the plank to vanish and the ship to drift out onto the mirror like waters, not even rippling the surface.
"Out into the pyramid." Matt said with a shrug as they drifted into the fog which seemingly grew thicker and thicker the further they went.
The great golden ship moved noiselessly across the mirror-like waters. Inducing not a single sound. The nine of them could see nothing with the fog being so thick that a meter in diameter was all each of them could see.
"What's that?" Kyla's voice whispered in a muffled way, sounding as though she was drowning in the fog itself as it grew thicker and thicker. In the distance a sound was heard, rumbling softly, but the further their ship glided, the louder it became until it was a rushing noise.
"Water!" Shelby exclaimed. "It's a waterfall!" She added on hastily.
"Shit!" Kyla cursed. "Stupid bird women." She muttered before steeling her resolve. "Everyone go and grab a hold of something sturdy, be it the mast or the railings, just do it and do it fast!" She ordered sharply, causing them all to leap into action.
The ship began trembling as the water around them grew vigorously rough. "I can't see the mast or the railing!" Shelby's distraught voice cut in, panic leaking into her words.
"Just follow my voice!" Matt called out reassuringly.
The golden ship began rocking and swaying, jamming left and right, right and left, pitching back and forth, sending all unsecured objects aboard the vessel in all directions; a few things even tumbled overboard. "You guys!" Shelby's voice cried out in panic before she shrieked in horror, her voice growing somewhat distant before it was silenced with a great splash.
"Shelby went over!" Erin screamed out, as she held on for dear life as they pitched dangerously to the port side.
A second scream followed hers, this one also cut off by a splash, but this voice was also masculine.
"Archaeous!" Chris called out, having recognized the young teen's voice.
"No body move!" Matt ordered sharply through the fog, his voice sounding eerily quiet through the fog and crashing waters.
The golden ship lurched suddenly to the side, tipping dangerously, before falling back the other way. Cracking noises ran through the air, hushed by the raging waters as they moved faster and faster, hurling to and fro, whipping back and forth.
The seven still aboard were bashed with moving objects, and splashed with ruthless and icy waters. For them it looked bad, but not as bleak as it did for the two overboard…
Harry was cold. His lungs burned with the salty water he had swallowed and breathed in. He struggled with all his might to stay above the frenzied waves, but the current savagely kept pulling at him, dragging him down mercilessly. The only good thing about being in the water was that the fog only hovered ominously above it by several meters.
He gasped, he panted, he scrambled, he swam, he twisted, and he turned. Yet all his movements were seemingly futile as he was just yanked all around like a child's toy, the waves his master. Green eyes burned with the salt, yet he kept them open. He was Gryffindor. He was brave, and he would not hide, he would fight, and he would survive.
Yet again he was dragged under by the invisible hand of the water, green eyes burning savagely as he glanced around within the clear yet troubled depths. Sinking before him was the curly haired young woman. 'Shelby!' His mind inwardly shouted before he hastily altered his position and half scrambled half swam down to the girl. Fighting tooth and nail with the current so that he might reach her.
His left hand wrapped firmly around her wrist, and he began to struggle towards the surface. His vision was spotted and he knew that he had to get above the water and fast. With sudden desperation he lifted his free arm and pushed his entire mind and will into summoning the ceiling to him. And yet, since the ceiling couldn't move, it was he that moved up, up, and up, shooting out of the water with the unconscious Shelby in tow.
They both flew out of the water before Harry hastily transfigured a piece of wood into a raft and magiked it to be below them as gravity pulled them back down. Both landed upon the black raft.
Just as the ship did, the raft raged back and forth, completely at the mercy of the water, and soon then began moving faster and faster, leaving Harry no time to check over Shelby. Within seconds they hurtled off the end of the rapid flowing waterfall, falling down, down, down and down. Darkness descended upon Harry too as they hit the waters below.
Green eyes snapped open as he sunk lower and lower into the icy abyss of water, brain immediately kicking into overdrive as his body was rushed with adrenaline. He swam to the surface, and he broke the surface, and latched onto a long jagged rock that was a deep blue, while he surveyed the fogless area.
The waters were still raging, and in the distance he could see a whirlpool swirling sharply. Just behind him crashed the waters of the falls into jagged rocks that he thanked his lucky stars that he had missed.
Green eyes scanned the water for his female acquaintance. Yet he saw no sign of Shelby, but he could see the Golden ship not too terribly far to the side, and he debated trying his luck at swimming there.
He decided against it, not trusting the currents or that whirlpool swirling off in the distance.
He was just debating calling out for the ship when Scycath slithered out from his robes. 'Cold.' The serpentine creature hissed before snuggling back down just as Harry's rock suddenly shifted rising higher and higher into the air. The dark haired teen held on for dear life as he was rapidly drawn up, and a great serpentine body covered in blue spin spikes rose.
"Holy Sea Serpent!" Harry breathed as he slid down the spine spike, and landed on the slippery snake-like skin as the massive creature reared its head out of the waters with a mighty roar that overpowered the raging falls.
"Archaeous!" Chris' voice rang out after the creature finished its wakening wail.
- - - - - - - - - - -
To Be Continued in Chapter 3b
Well that's all for this chapter. I had initially planned to go further than this for this chapter, but I felt it had gotten too long, meaning that this will all fall over into the next chapter. Thank you kindly for reading this, and please review.