Indiana Jones and The Golden Cross of the Zampur'
Chapter 15 - Alexandroplis -
Southwestern Bulgaria - 50 Miles from Sandanski -
" Marcus, are you sure this is the city of Alexandropolis ? " Henry asked, kicking over a mound of dirt. They were high into the barren hills in the middle of nowhere. The area was an endless sea of boulders and dirt. They had uncovered old settlements from primitive tribes here and there, but nothing of any significance.
" Adjust your eyes, my friend. Picture this land a long time ago. There were natives living here first, then Alexander took this place for himself and renamed it. But many wars have passed and this area long forgotten. " Marcus rubbed his hand over the side of a large boulder to reveal an unnatural indent on the side.
" What is it ? " Alex Boone asked, staring into the carved square in the boulder.
" Judging by the debris in the area, this was used to prop a large piece of timber over a settlement. " Indiana explained as he pointed to old pieces of wood scattered at the far side of the clearing. He cleared off more dirt inside the carved out squared and examined the cuts made. He made a face and turned to Marcus, " Hey. "
" What is it ? " Marcus said absently as he walked slowly around another boulder.
" What about the Alexandroupolis that we know about ? You know, the one on the map ? " Indy was irritated, he assumed that they were going to that particular location, instead they were here in the middle of nowhere.
" An unimportant fishing village. This area is where we're supposed to be. This is The City of Alexander. " Marcus wiped his sweat filled forehead and continued walking around the area.
" You've been here before ? " Seth asked, watching Marcus carefully.
" Don't be silly, young man. " Marcus nervously answered, " its merely common knowledge among us Greek experts. "
" Is it ? " Henry eyed his old friend as well.
Marcus tried to ignore his companions as he searched around more, but he could feel all their eyes on him now.
" I surrender, " He smiled as he looked at Seth, " many years ago, we discovered an old map while we were digging around a well known ruin site in Kalavryta. This location was marked on the map as Thracedonis. We know every region Alexander conquered, but never has Thracedonis come up as one of them. Soon we understood that Thracedonis was Alexandropolis. We searched this area for hours, but I was a little under the weather at the time and we abandoned our search. "
" I don't see any evidence to suggest that there was anything here much larger than a tent. Are you sure we're in the right spot ? Wouldn't we see at least some remains of a least a home or temple ? " Indiana threw down an old piece of timber and clapped the dust off of his hands.
Marcus walked to the edge of a steep embankment, it overlooked another stretch of barren hillside. He stood there for a moment, in silence as he viewed something near the side of a distant hill. It was an odd triangular shaped mound of dirt sticking out over the slope. We were on the wrong hill the entire time. We're going to need to get the shovels.
" Patience is the key to paradise. " Marcus said finally as he smiled.
Hours later ...
After a long hike back to the truck to retrieve some shovels, and the return hike over the unridable terrain, Indy, Seth and Alexis continued to dig into the oddly shaped triangular dirt mound jutting out of the hillside. The sun had dipped out of sight and Henry placed lamps around the perimeter of the dig.
" Let's call it a day. " Alexis wheezed as she leaned on her shovel, she was drenched with sweat. Indy and Seth both had their shirts off and had them wrapped around their heads. Seth took a long drink of water and patted his partner on the arm. She took a drink and handed it back.
" I found something ! " Indiana roared from inside the large hole they had dug out. Everyone ran around the edge of the hole, Henry grabbed a lamp and shined the light right on Indy. Indiana Jones rammed his shovel hard into the ground and watched the others react as the metal shovel hit a solid object and clanked loudly.
" You found rock, Junior. Good work. " Henry teased.
" It's a kind of rock that shouldn't be there. " Indy shot back as he continued to clear the dirt away from the rock. Everyone remained silent as Seth pitched in with his own shovel.
" Incredible. " Marcus breathed as the rock became more visible, it was black volcanic rock.
Indy and Seth crawled out of the hole and removed their shirt hats, they each began to wipe the sweat and dirt off their faces.
" It's a door. " Indy said simply as he took a long drink of water.
" Gear up then lads. We're going to open it ! " Marcus was full of excitement as he grabbed a nearby lamp. Indy, Seth and Alexis put on fresh clothes. Finally, Indy placed his fedora firmly on his head.
" What are we waiting for ? Age before beauty. " Indy held out his hand for Henry and Marcus to pass into the hole.
" Wisdom before brawn. " Henry muttered as he slid into the dug out earth.
" Perfection before incomp..."
Indy quickly cut off Marcus , " Just get in the hole, you old fossil ."
They entered the cavern after sliding the large volcanic door to one side. A wave of stale air hit them immediately. All of them held a small lantern to light the way. There was a shoulder width stone path that stretched into the darkness ahead. After a few minutes of walking the path widened, there were Zampur' warrior carvings on each side of the walls now. They arrived at a stone wall with a detailed fighting scene carved into the stone. A troop of Macedonian warriors on horse back, armoured fully, fighting an outnumbered group of Persians who were barely clothed, but with lions and dogs helping them fight.
" Dead end ? " Alexis breathed, barely over a whisper to Seth.
" I doubt it. Why go through all the trouble ? " He whispered back.
Indy rubbed his hand over the carving. Marcus and Henry started dusting off different parts of the detailed stone carving. They searched every inch of the battle scene without success.
" Alexander was a bit of an ego maniac. " Marcus muttered, mainly to himself.
" He was also an alcoholic, " Indy barked, " what's your point ? "
" Well, " Marcus rubbed his chin, " he doesn't seem to be here on this carving. If he used this facility at all, he'd be portrayed all over it. "
Henry walked back to where the Zampur' warrior carvings began at the end of the tunnel. Every Zampur' warrior had identical armour, with the sun shaped Macedonian symbol proudly displayed on the front of the shield.
" Here, " Henry pointed to the last warrior in line on the right side, " every warrior has the same armour. But this one has a slightly different symbol on his shield. " Everyone gathered and stared at the carving. The warrior's shield was different, instead of the wavy lines coming from the sun, the lines were jagged, like lightning bolts.
Indy gave the others a look then pressed the middle of the sun. The sun moved in and a clicking noise could be heard. There was a loud clanking, grinding noise coming from behind the battle carving. Then, the carving separated in the middle and moved to each side.
Indiana gave his father a pat on the back. " Now I know where I get it from. "
" Your looks still remain a mystery. " Henry smirked as they entered the new hallway beyond the carving. Indy's expression quickly turned sour as Alexis and Seth started to visibly shake from withheld laughter.
They approached a large, upper torso statue of Alexander The Great, from the floor to the ceiling, the detailed statue exaggerated his greatness. He was depicted as an Apotheosis of Alexander , his transformation into a god, his hair entwined with lightning bolts, his muscles bulging, a sword in one hand and the remains of something in the other. Whatever it was, it had broken off and all that remained was a small cylinder shaped object in his fist.
" Well, " Marcus smiled, " that's more like it. "
There was another volcanic rock door just to the right of the massive statue. They slid that door aside and entered a massive room. There were giant, bare pillars of all shapes and sizes stretching out to the tall ceiling above. Some pillars seemed to be made of solid gold. The large area created echo's from even the slightest movement. They stood on a raised platform that dipped twenty feet to the floor beyond. But there was nothing of significance on the platform.
" What is this ? " Seth asked, astounded. His voice echoed.
" I assume that this is the map room Pausanias referred to in his letter. " Marcus took in the view of the massive room.
" I don't see any maps, Marcus. " Indy stated as he started to feel around the nearby walls.
" Curious. This looks like a giant storage facility of some kind. I can't imagine this place would be full of maps. The walls are bare, everything is..." Henry trailed off.
" Everything is bare. Even the pillars. " Marcus added, bewildered.
" Hold on to my whip, " Indy elbowed Seth, " I'm goin' down there. "
Seth held tight as Indy started to rappel down to the floor. Indiana Jones walked across the large area, kicking up small clouds of dust as he walked across the huge, pillar dotted room. He came to the far wall and looked to the ceiling. Something didn't sit right with him as he realized something. I shouldn't be able to see the ceiling from here. He touched the wall and felt the odd texture of the surface.
" Turn off your lamps ! " Indy roared at the others up on the platform. Everyone turned off their lamps, the room remained lit.
" What in the world ? " Seth and the others stared in amazement.
" The room is naturally lit by the stonework ! It's glowing ! " Indy roared again, creating a long echo.
" That's...that's impossible. " Marcus sputtered.
" That, " Henry patted Marcus Brody on the back, " is ingenious carpentry at it's very best. "
Indy crawled back onto the platform with Seth's help. Marcus and Henry were in a deep discussion on how to proceed.
" Figure anything out yet ? " Indy said as he dusted off his pants.
" Not yet. " Marcus gave Indy a hopeless shrug. Indy walked back out of the room and stared at the huge statue of the Apotheosis of Alexander. Seth and Alexis joined him. They lit their lamps that created long shadows over Alexander's face.
" What are you thinking, Jones ? " Alexis asked as she studied the statue more closely.
" I'm thinking there's another entrance somewhere, " Indy started pressing on different parts of the statue, " there's something were obviously missing here. "
" Well, " Seth started, " there is something missing in his hand there. "
Indy looked at the broken off part of whatever the fist held in the statues hand.
" Could be a shield or probably the staff itself. But he's holding it sideways. " Indy rubbed his chin.
Indy reached up and punched the object in the statues fist. It moved slightly. He gave the agents a satisfied grin. He punched the object a few more times before it came loose and fell out one side of the stone fist, a chain was attached to the heavy stone. It started to drag the large arm of Alexander to the floor, slowly.
" Hey, " Marcus roared from inside the chamber, " you did something ! " They ran into the room to see a square alter rise up in the middle of the platform.
They studied the top of the alter, it was also bare. Except one small, rounded knob sticking out of the direct centre of it. Indy stared at the protrusion. He reached into his sack and retrieved The Ica Stone. He turned the stone over to see the small indentation in the dead centre of the Golden Cross engraving. He placed the stone directly over the protrusion and it fit perfectly. They waited for something to happen, but nothing did.
" It fits, " Indy said, taking off his fedora and wiping his brow, " but it doesn't do anything. "
" Turn it. " Marcus suggested. Indy tried, but the stone was fasted to the contours of the hole, he couldn't manipulate it at all.
Alexis raised her arm that was holding the lantern to wipe her brow, she stood behind the stone alter, the room flashed in a dramatically different colour for a split second while she wiped the sweat away. Everyone except Alexis noticed the split second change and gave each other a slack jawed excited look. " What's with you guys ? "
" Step aside for a second. " Indy commanded as he grabbed a lamp off of the floor.
Indy held the lamp up to one of the triangular gems on the end of the Ice Stone. The room changed into a huge display of Europe. Everyone gasped. They suddenly understood why it was called the map room now.
" Fascinating. Just completely fascinating. " Marcus could hardly contain his excitement.
The pillars added a three dimensional effect as the map showed every city, river and castle base in Europe. The names were outdated, some cities no longer existed, plenty of the names have changed, some woods no longer there.
" It's essentially an old, highly detailed map of Europe. With the exception of a few details here and there, I have the same map at home. " Marcus said, dejected.
" I don't get it. Besides being extremely useful to Alexander, how does this tie into the golden cross ? " Seth asked, mesmerized by the room filled with names.
" Let me try something." Indy took the lamp away from the stone and the room returned to the normal blandness. Everyone rubbed their eyes to adjust to the change. He picked up the stone and turned it around, he replaced the stone then held the lamp up to the gem. The room filled up with a different version of Europe.
" This looks like a tactical version of Europe before Alexander. There's routes and bases named here and there. Wait, there's where we are. Right there. " Marcus pointed to an area on the map. " Thracedonis, you see. We are..."
" Marcus, " Indiana interrupted, " check out the name under Mesopotamia. "
"The Great Temple, in Persian. Witch translates to Greek to English... " Marcus's voice caught, " Sashmeal Kaan. "
End of chapter 15 -