Lara Croft's pulse was racing. The giant sphinx loomed above her bathing her in shadow. She could hear the prancing of the centaur somewhere close by. After flexing her fingers Lara pulled the Uzis out and inched her way along the leg of the sphinx.
The centaur was stamping impatiently as Lara reached the end of the sphinx's leg. She peered around the end and glimpsed the centaur rearing up near the other leg. After taking a breath, Lara ran out of the shadow guns blazing. She was immediately met with a ball of fire which knocked her onto her back.
Lara quickly scrambled to her feet and ran toward the wall of the cavernous room, barely missing a second fire ball. She dived to the ground, firing at the centaur. In response, the centaur ran behind one of the sphinx's legs. Lara ran after the centaur. The minute the centaur came into view, she was hit square in the chest with a ball of fire.
Lara Croft woke up with a start. Her bedroom was dark and all was quiet. For a moment Lara looked around then she turned on a lamp that was beside her bed. Her dreams were getting worse. Ever since she had witnessed her mother being taken through the portal Lara had never been the same.
Lara then did what she always did when she couldn't sleep, walked around her mansion. As she walked she thought or tried not to think about her mother. To get herself to think about other subjects, Lara went to where her various trophies that she had taken over the years were kept. Numerous items were here, including the Dagger of Xian, which she had procured from the Temple in China, and the Spear of Destiny. In the middle of the room was the broken Scion.
Lara walked up to the Scion and looked at it. After she had shattered the artifact to keep it away from Natla, the fragments were thrown all over. The artifact still missed several pieces.
The next morning came quickly. After her morning workout, Lara ate breakfast. It was then that the doorbell rang. A few moments later, Winston entered the dining room.
"Ms. Croft," Winston said, "Alex West is here to see you."
Alex was in the library looking at the books when Lara entered.
"Alex," Lara said. "How are you?"
"Not too bad, Lara," Alex replied. "I have something for you."
Alex picked up a long case that was setting on the floor. "You mentioned about this in one of your books; the one where you went to Antarctica."
Alex carried the case over to one of the large tables that were in the room and Lara followed.
"I didn't know you were such a fan of my books," Lara replied.
Alex grinned shyly. "Actually, I've read all of them, even the least popular ones."
Alex opened the case. It was a relic that was long with points at the ends and seemed to be stone and metal that had been fused together.
"It's the Ora Dagger," Lara stated. "Where did you find it?"
"Where you left it," Alex replied. "I traced your path back to the meteorite. I searched for the other artifacts mentioned in your book, but this is the only one that I could find. Someone else might have taken them. There were signs that other prospectors had been there before I arrived."
"And this one?" Lara asked.
"I wanted you to have it," Alex said. "I mean if I kept it, it would just gather dust somewhere since it's not the most popular item."
"Winston," Lara called to her servant. After a moment Winston entered. "Yes, Ms. Croft?"
"Have a space cleared in the trophy room," Lara said.
"At once, Ms. Croft," Winston responded.
The day progressed uneventfully. Alex West had left, and Winston was busy preparing room for Lara's newest addition. During Lara's trip to Antarctica she had left behind the four artifacts that she had taken with her when the cave that the meteorite was in collapsed. It had been her intention to destroy the four artifacts before they caused anymore trouble. Lara had secretly wanted to have at least one of the artifacts for her own.
Lara was in the trophy room helping Winston, when her satellite phone rang. She hustled to her study, and went to her desk. She then keyed the receive button on the phone. A monitor on her one wall came on and viewed a man dressed in a suit.
"Ms. Croft?" the man said.
"Yes," Lara replied to the stranger.
"I was told to call you," the man said. "You were said to know about what I am going to show you."
"A colleague of mine was exploring a series of abandoned mines when he vanished," the man stated. "We searched for him, but our search was unproductive."
"So why are you calling me?" Lara asked.
On the screen the man picked up a photograph. "All that we found of him was this."
When Lara saw the picture, she almost gasped. The photo was a wide angle shot of a red creature that was crouched over into an almost crawling position. It was an Atlantian.
"Where was that taken?" Lara asked.
"I'll take you there," the man replied.
Lara packed some things and flew out of England by private jet. She had a very unsettling feeling in her stomach about the photo. Could a portion of the pyramid have survived? Could Atlantians be hiding in other places?
Her jet was somewhere over France when Winston contacted her.
"The new artifact has been added to your trophies," Winston told her.
"Thank you, Winston," Lara replied.
"If I may," Winston said, "I'd like to take the rest of the day off."
"Sure," Lara replied, looking at a display of her servant. "You don't look so good."
"I'm feeling a bit peeked. My head hurts something fierce."
"Fine," Lara replied. "Go home and rest."
After cutting the communication with Winston, Lara called Zip. The man's house looked like it was being remodeled when he answered.
"Zip, I'm going to be out of town for a while, and Winston isn't feeling well," Lara said. "Could you keep an eye of the mansion while I'm out?"
"Can do," Zip replied.
"Thanks," Lara responded. "Could you check on Winston as well?"
"Yep," Zip replied, "if I can get this place fixed up right."
There was a huge crashing sound that seemed to come from behind Zip, causing Zip to whirl around.
"Hey," Zip shouted," that wall was supposed to stay!"
Lara cringed a little, but could not help laughing to herself.
"Bye," Lara said to Zip, "and good luck."
Lara met the stranger in southern Turkey. The man introduced himself as Herald Summers from the United States. He and a colleague, Lester by name, were at an archeological dig when they stumbled upon the abandoned mines. The colleague went into the mines one day and never came out.
"These tunnels go for miles," Herald said to Lara, "or so I was told."
The two walked in the light of a lantern, which lit the mine tunnel rather efficiently. Lara followed Herald into a large room in which several old mine carts were stored. The air was moist and cool, the sound of dripping water echoed from somewhere.
Herald pointed to an alcove in the wall. "From the photo, we determined that Les was hiding there when he took it."
Lara walked over to the alcove and looked at the floor. "The photo was all you found?"
"We found his camera," Harold replied. "We then had the film developed. You say you have seen this type of creature before?"
Harold handed the picture of the Atlantian to Lara. Lara took it. "I have."
Lara went back to her jet and prepared to explore the mines. When she emerged she had on her signature outfit; form-fitting top, shorts, boots, gun belt, and backpack. She met Harold again at the entrance to the mines.
"I'll be back in a while," Lara said. "I can't say how long."
Harold handed her a burning torch. "Please be careful Ms. Croft."
"I will," Lara replied.
In England, the workers that were remodeling Zip's house were calling it a day. Zip was glad, since they had done enough damage today. After eating a light meal, he headed out toward the Croft mansion.
The gate to the mansion was closed, and Zip used a special access code to enter. Winston's Rolls Royce was still parked by the mansion entrance. After parking his car behind Winston's, Zip entered the mansion.
"Winston," Zip called. "Yo Winston, you here?"
There was no answer.
Zip went to the control room that monitored the entire structure. It did not take long to find Winston. He was lying on the floor of the trophy room. Zip then noticed something else. He ran from the control room.
In the trophy room, the Scion was glowing. The Ora Dagger had glowing sections that looked like veins that went from one point to the other. There was also a deafening high-pitched tone filling the room.
Zip heard the tone well before getting to the trophy room. Reaching the entrance to the trophy room he had to stop. The sound was too loud. He looked at the glowing artifacts as he backed away.
Zip quickly went to Lara's shooting range and got a pair of ear muffs. He then hustled back to the trophy room. With the ear muffs on Zip entered and, not being able to lift Winston, settled for dragging him out of the room. He dragged Winston as far from the trophy room as he could.
Lara had gone back to where the photo of the Atlantian had been taken. There she looked closely at the ground. Along with several human footprints there were strange tracks that Lara guessed were from the Atlantian.
Lara followed the tracks through a few mine tunnels until they led to a large crack in the one wall. She listened but did not hear anything. She stepped into the crack. The crack led to a small system of caves that Lara navigated easily. Following the tracks of the Atlantian creature was a different matter. The tracks seemed to disappear within the first few meters of the caves.
Following the largest passages, Lara searched for where the creature might have come from. She then found something that she did not expect. One of the tunnels dead ended, and it appeared that the floor of the cave had fallen through. There was soft light coming from the hole.
After tying a rope off, Lara went down through the hole. For a moment she hung and looked around at the large hall. The light was from fire containing bowls and the hall was longer than wide and had several large columns in it. Lara then saw something moving at the far end of the hall.
Lara quickly slid down to the floor and pulled out her pistols. Using the columns for cover Lara made her way to the other end of the hall. At the other end of the hall there was a large crack in the one wall as well as a closed door off to Lara's left. After looking at the door for a long moment, Lara walked up to the crack. It was the only place that whatever she had seen could have gone. She wanted to see what was beyond the closed door, but she was on a mission. Maybe when all this was over and done with, she could explore.
Inside the crack Lara followed the cave passage to a large open cavernous room. She immediately knew that she had found a nest. Four to five large embryonic pods hung on the walls. She also spied two Atlantian creatures at the far side. As the two creatures turned to Lara, Lara pulled out her pistols and did what she did best. After killing the two creatures, Lara destroyed the pods.
On her way back to the hall, Lara had to wonder how the nest got there. She was nowhere near where the pyramid had been. The nest could not have spawned itself.
Resisting the urge to explore behind the door, Lara made her way back to the mines. She was concerned with how Winston was. She loved Winston like a father.
Harold was waiting at the mine entrance when Lara emerged.
"Did you find the creature?" he asked.
"Yes," Lara replied, "Several of them."
A Turkish man ran up to Lara and Harold.
"Ms. Croft," the man said, "there is a telephone call for you."
Lara went to where a large tent was set up at the edge of the archeological dig. A satellite phone was there, and on the monitor was Alex West with Zip standing beside him.
"What's going on?" Lara said to them.
Zip told Lara about how he had found Winston unconscious in the trophy room. He had contacted Alex, and together they had taken Winston to the hospital. Winston had awakened shortly after arriving at the hospital.
"How is he?" Lara asked.
"He's doing alright now," Zip said. "They're keeping him for the night."
"Lara, both the Scion and the artifact that I brought you were glowing," Alex said. "We analyzed the energy coming from them. I've never seen any type of energy like this."
"Do you think that they…" Lara began. "Wait, you said this type of energy. What did you mean?"
"The energy coming from both artifacts are the same," Alex stated. "It's like whoever made the Scion used the same type of power to make the Dagger. My guess is that they had this energy inside them the whole time, and being brought together caused the energy to emerge."
Lara had to think about how Jacqueline Natla has used the power of the Scion to create. She never even thought about what type of power it used. Lara only knew that the power had almost killed her.
"I'm done here," Lara said. "I'll be back as soon as I can."
During the trip back Lara thought. The reappearance of the Atlantians as well as the energy coming from both the Scion and the Ora Dagger made her very nervous. For both artifacts to emit the same type of energy they would have to have come from the same place. Lara only knew that the Scion was built by the people of Atlantis. Natla was one of them.
Both Alex West and Zip stayed at the Croft mansion during the time Lara was flying back to England. They were looking at the glowing artifacts from the control room when Lara arrived.
"They were glowing like this when you found Winston?" Lara asked Zip.
"Yeah," Zip replied. "He must have been knocked out by the sound."
"What sound?" Lara asked.
The tone coming from the artifacts was as high and loud as it had been when Zip found the butler. All wearing ear muffs, Lara, Alex, and Zip walked into the trophy room. Lara walked up to the Ora Dagger, and reached out to pick it up. The moment she touched it she instantly jerked her hand back.
Lara shook her hand and blew on her fingers. "Well, that was smart. Zip, fetch me some oven mitts."
After Zip got the mitts Lara took the Ora Dagger out of the trophy room. The glowing and the high pitched sound ceased as soon as the artifact left the room. Lara took the Ora Dagger to the outside of the mansion to cool down.
The Ora Dagger and the Scion were now as they were, so Lara, Alex, and Zip went to the hospital to see how Winston was doing. It turned out that the butler was fine, but he did not remember anything after putting the Ora Dagger in its place in the trophy room.
"The doctors say that I can leave in the morning," Winston stated.
"I'm just glad you're all right," Lara said.
"Well," Alex West said glancing at the clock on the wall, "I've got to be going."
"Thanks for your help," Lara told him.
The next morning Lara drove to the hospital to pick Winston up. Lara asked him if he wanted to go home, but Winston said to go to the Croft mansion. His car was there anyway.
"Have you had any breakfast?" Winston asked after the two entered the structure.
"Not yet," Lara replied.
"Then I will fix you some," Winston stated.
The two entered the large kitchen. Lara watched as Winston turned on the stove.
"You can take the day off," Lara said," if you would like."
"I'm fine, Ms. Croft," Winston responded. "What will you be doing today?"
"Well, Zip is busy remodeling his house, so I'll be studying the Scion and the Ora Dagger myself. There has to be a reason that they were glowing."
After breakfast Lara and Winston went to the outside of the mansion to where the Ora Dagger was. The artifact was cool once again and there were no signs of the glowing veins.
"Winston, could you take the Scion to the study," Lara said.
Winston went to the trophy room and picked up the Scion. He was carrying the Scion out when it came apart in his hands. Winston stopped and looked at the Scion. The once damaged single piece was now three different circular artifacts. All of the pieces showed no sign of damage of any kind.
Winston took the now three scions to the study and placed them on a table. For some reason he got nervous looking at them. They all appeared as if they had just been made, because they shone brightly in the study lights. Winston hustled from the study.
Lara was coming up from the basement.
"I put the Ora Dagger back in the trophy room," Lara told Winston. "I'll have to do more research on it."
Lara looked at her butler. "What is it?"
"The Scion is no longer in one piece," Winston replied.
Lara and Winston went to the study and up to the table on which the three artifacts rested.
"They're three again," Lara said. "Natla used me to find these three pieces. Separately they had no power. They needed to be combined. Why would the glowing force them apart?"
"I wish I could tell you, Ms. Croft," Winston responded.