Glastonbury Abbey, England
February 16, 2010
The woman knelt by the sign sticking out of the rectangular area in the ground, bordered off from the earth around it by long slats of half buried wood. The sign was one that had been here for years, and had been read by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world at one time or another.
The woman checked her watch. She expected the call in less than a minute. The woman flicked her long dark fringe out of her face, placing it behind her ear then absently stroked the tight braid flowing down her back as she waited.
The call came at 3:11 AM.
"You've found it?"
"Yes, madam, exactly where we suspected."
"I'll be right there."
The woman closed her mobile phone and strode calmly to the monastery nearby, heading for the hidden basement area she had uncovered the previous morning.
Her archaeologist spoke as she dropped into the concealed room under the old building.
"Right over here. The writing is old and worn, but the Latin is legible enough."
The woman knelt down next to him.
"Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arthurus in insula Avalonia...the same claim as on the sign up top. But I bet this one hasn't been seen by every tourist in the northern hemisphere. Open it up."
The archaeologist removed a foot long crowbar from the large backpack beside him and began to jimmy out the inscribed stone. It came away surprisingly easily, leaving a round hole thirty inches in diameter in the square recess.
"The priests must still use this entrance. No glowsticks, they mustn't know we're here." The woman said, climbing into the hole with a pair of night vision goggles freshly applied to her beautiful face. Her archaeologist waited, moving the goggles around his neck to cover his eyes.
The woman climbed back out of the hole only a second later. "The wall is covered with dozens of holes. I willing to bet that most of them hold trap mechanisms. Set up an A-Frame to lower me down – I don't want to set off any of those traps."
Soon afterwards the woman was descending slowly down the tight shaft, thanks to the rope connected to her waist. Taking care not to touch the recesses in the wall she steadied herself using her feet.
After a distance of about twenty feet the woman touched solid ground. She signalled to her man above, then detached herself from the rope. She would have to continue alone from here.
The woman walked sideways through the narrow tunnel connecting to the shaft. The back of her cargo pants brushed against one wall of the tunnel, while the front of her leather jacket brushed the opposite. The woman's eyes however were trained to the exit at the far end of the tunnel.
At the end of the subtly descending tunnel opened a large room, fifty feet a side and ten feet high. In the centre of the room lay the thing whose presence was implied above ground, exactly aligned to the sign above.
The woman carefully walked to the object in the middle of the room. No one knew what kind of traps could lay under any one of the dark stone tiles of the floor of the room. As she approached the object the woman realised just how large it was: ten feet wide on all of its four sides, and ten feet high, joining itself to the floor and the ceiling.
But the most important feature of the smooth stone column was the symbol carved into the wall which now faced the woman directly. It resembled an arch shield, much like a coat of arms, divided into four segments. In each segment was a crown shaped symbol.
"Here it is...the tomb of one of the Four Legendary Kings...the tomb of King Arthur."
The woman pressed her hands against the symbol, in awe of the discovery she had just made. But not a second later the wide smile she bore was wiped from her face. For underneath the symbol of the four kings, was another symbol.
"This could be a problem...who knew that they could have planned for this to be found after the return..."
The woman took several quick photos of the stone column, the two symbols in particular, and sent them in an E-Mail to an old acquaintance whom she hadn't seen in almost eight months, along with a message she'd hoped she wouldn't have to write.
The woman turned to leave, and navigated back to the shaft along the same path she had entered with. She knew that path was safe. It was odd that not a single trap had yet been activated, but the woman just figured they must activate after you got into the tomb. She walked quickly up the slight incline of the narrow tunnel and reattached the rope dangling from the shaft to her waist.
With a short tug on the rope, the woman was being pulled back up the shaft, the reverse of her descent twenty minutes previously. However this time when she poked her head above the surface, she stared not into the face of her archaeologist, but into the barrel of a Remington shotgun.
"Good morning Miss Compton-Jones. Come with me and you won't be harmed...much."