Monday, 8 June 2009

Chapter one

The Chronicles of Erinoth
The Deep City
Volume one
Book one








For the Faithful.
Long Live the Light!

 

 

 

 

 

 





“Only In Balance Can We Find Peace”

-Arathar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter one.
Book One.

 

 

Thick amber mist boiled across the ground, a perfect mirror for the unnaturally colored clouds that rolled overhead. The ghostly silhouettes of malformed trees and fragmented architecture loomed menacingly from within the haze.

Dark things stirred upon the ground, unquantifiable and ominous they sped across the rough terrain like oil, flowing around rocks and rubble with ease. A towering figure twice the height and build of a man erupted forth from the darkness and screaming filled the air.

Jonas sat bolt upright in his bunk, his coarse woolen blankets tangled around his legs and his pillow drenched with sweat. He wiped his brow with the back of his hand, sweeping his long, light brown fringe to the side before running his fingers through the rest of his tangled mass of hair. The screaming of his nightmare still resonating in his ears.

History is full of great men, whose ambitions and actions lead them to even greater things. Men who are remembered in legend long after they passed from this earth, such were their lives. Jonas wasn’t one of these men. He wasn’t even close.

Jonas Howard was simply an archaeologist in his late twenties, an underpaid, unappreciated, over worked one at that. His area of expertise lay in the somewhat redundant field of ancient mythology where he eked out a meager existence, living off the salary of assistant lecturer at whichever universities would have him. But that was his chosen path. He had been obsessed with mythology ever since he was young, the endless tales of fauns and centaurs, of giants and dragons and all manner of heroic deeds had left their mark alongside an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

He lay on his bunk for a while, staring up at the roof of the tent that had served as his home for several months now. It was still dark, but the smallest spots of mellow light crept through the holes in the moth eaten ceiling, along with rain, and rather a lot of it. The persistent patter of raindrops upon the canvas roof were accompanied by the louder plinks and plonks of those drops that found their way inside, landing on the stacks of books, boxes, suitcases and all manner of archaeological detritus. Not to mention the head of Jonas’s colleague and oldest friend, Tomas Montgomery.

As he lay there, Jonas knew that sleep would not grant him the small mercy of allowing him to slip back into its blissful embrace. The dream was still fresh in his head and he couldn’t help but replay it, it was etched in his minds eye as clearly as if he were watching it play out before him.

This was always the case with his dreams, and he’d had enough of them now to be used to it. Not just any old nightmares, always the same ones… the same place. They’d haunted him since he was seven regularly disturbing his sleep, driving him to distraction in the early years.

He’d been shuffled discreetly between therapists, his prudish middle class parents terrified that some one might assume them to be a household of deranged misfits. Not without cause though, his grandfather – source of his endless fascination with what his parents referred to as “the fictitious” – had been committed to an asylum when Jonas was just eight years of age. Regardless of family history, no one had been able to find anything wrong with Jonas, stating he simply had an overactive imagination…

His parents assumed he grew out of them, the truth however was simply that he stopped telling them – and in fact stopped talking to them altogether, forced away by their disapproval and narrow-minded nature – the only people now who knew about the recurring nightmares were his fiancé and Tomas, though even to them he was careful about what he said.

He clambered out of bed, his feet landing on the damp tarpaulin. He pulled on his usual assortment of clothes. Mostly in varying shades of grey, it bore all the hallmarks of once having been fairly smart, now however the shirt had a mismatched assortment of buttons, his trousers were faded and the bottom of each leg was frayed beyond repair. The green corduroy jacket that he was never to be found without (also possibly the most colorful thing he owned) had been through more than any jacket should have. It was also too big; the life of near poverty that he led and the subsequent lack of food had taken its toll on his physique.

He breathed deeply and sighed, the smell of the damp tent filling his nose and his breath condensing in the surprisingly chilly air. He pushed on his glasses and slipped quietly out of the tent, intending to clear his head with a quick stroll in the fresh morning air.

Jonas unfurled an umbrella as characteristically battered as everything else he owned as he stepped into the world beyond his shelter. It wasn’t long before dawn, the hopeful glimmer of the sun’s rising light just breaking over the wooded horizon, casting its illuminating touch over the world around it with ever more potency as it pushed back the night.

The September of 1940 had thus far been fair, but now the sky was leaden and the air bore a bitter chill that sank to the very core of Jonas’ bones as he strode out of the camp. His gait and pace suggested a purpose that his surroundings denied. There was nowhere to walk to. Nowhere to go.

The camp was atop a hill, in the depths of rural Dorset. Veiled in darkness below them in the lower slopes of the undulating landscape lay the decidedly quaint village of Piddle Trent-Hyde, though it was only faintly visible at this hour. Outside of that, lay only farmland, mile upon mile of it. This is where for the past few months Jonas had known as his home, hardly exotic or exciting, but he and the two-dozen other archaeologists and laborers that lived within the ramshackle camp had their reasons.

That reason was the ruins. Ancient structures unearthed by chance as a farmer ploughed his field. What had at first been chalked up to yet another in an endless list of random finds had soon developed into a major dig.

The ruins lay southwest of the camp, and now as the sun steadily crept higher the exposed stones were picked out with a pale highlight. They looked so ghostly… so enticing… Jonas walked towards them, his umbrella lowered; some sort of reverie had taken hold as he approached the ancient stonework, no longer was he lucid or his own master, now the ruins lured him close like bait on a hook.

His vision swam and his thoughts slipped away like water down the drain. It was a momentary island of serenity. Suddenly a searing pain erupted behind his eyes and he fell to the muddy grass, the world turned momentarily to amber… trees… mist… shadows… and then. As suddenly as the pain had come it vanished.

His arms, that had previously broken his fall, buckled as the world coalesced into the state to which Jonas was accustomed. Soft wet grass met his face, its smell, and that of the muddy soil beneath flooded his nose as he gasped and snorted for breath, all energy drained from his body by the shocking ordeal that had inexplicably over come him.

He lay there, face down in the grass, breathing heavily the rain falling gently atop him. As his strength gradually returned he pushed himself shakily to his feet, he wiped the mud from his hands on his trousers the best he could then scanned the ground for his umbrella. It was nowhere to be found, he could only assume that the blustery wind which was progressively building had carried it forth into the gloom, not that it would do him much use now anyway, he was soaked to the skin by this point and beginning to shiver profusely.

As he turned to head back into the camp a voice rang out from the rainy haze.
“Jonas? Is that you? Oh come on, even you cant be this desperate to get going! Its twenty past five and raining,” called out the unmistakable voice of Tomas Montgomery.

The smartly dressed figure of Jonas’ oldest friend materialized through the gloom, an umbrella sheltering his neatly parted dark brown hair from the blustering rain. He came down the hill towards Jonas, battling against the increasing wind with his umbrella.

“What ever are you up to out here? Are you all right?” tom asked eyeing his friend warily.

 “Huh? Oh, oh I’m fine thank you, just couldn’t sleep.”

“Your covered in mud, come on, back inside,” said Tom, placing a hand on his friend’s shoulder and maneuvering him under the shelter of his umbrella.

Rather than head into their tent, they made their way through the camp to the largest of the constructions, a sizeable Marquee which served as the canteen. Numerous battered, mismatched tables and chairs and a set of dim oil lamps dangled from the ceiling. Plates, cups and similar detritus from the previous night’s meal littered these tables and in one corner lay the crumpled form of a camp laborer.

Tomas made his way across the space to a corner table and sat down followed momentarily by a shivering Jonas who pulled out the wooden foldout chair and slumped down into it. The chair creaked in protest at the sudden addition of weight and continued to do so as Jonas adjusted himself, getting as comfortable as the hard chair would allow.

He glanced across the table at his friend. Though a year older, Tomas – or as a rule just Tom – looked far less worn than Jonas. He was of heavier built, and slightly taller than his friend, and marginally stouter. His appearance to was a contrast to his companion’s. Far better kept in general, his suit he wore was neatly pressed and accompanied by its original set of buttons, not to mention actually being the right size, and his hair was invariably immaculate.

Tom had done far better in life so far, coming from a wealthy background to start with; he had gotten better grades at university and now held down a more stable position. Though equally gifted at their chosen fields, Tomas had taken the route of ancient languages, which time had proven to be a far more lucrative area than the study of Mythology.

Jonas averted his gaze, staring at the tabletop and absentmindedly straightening a fork. Tom reached into his jacked and pulled out a small silver flask, flipping the cap open and taking a swig before offering it to Jonas.

“Fancy a bit? Sure help wake you up,” he said.

Jonas took the flask and sniffed tentatively, recoiling slightly before handing it back.
“Hmm, ill pass I think, I dread to think what’s in that stuff…”

“What? Its good stuff!” said tom. He slipped the flask into his jacket and straightened up, his expression hardening as he looked back at Jonas.

“So, planning on explaining your little morning jaunt into the dig? Or was it just a flight of fancy?” he said, leaning in a bit.

Jonas leaned the opposite way, averting his gaze.

“Well your up aren’t you,” he said, still not looking at Tom.

“Yes, well, there is a hole in our tent, and cold water has that effect,” retorted Tom, “So, which tonight? the screaming in the fog? the black things or the creepy tree?”

“What?”

“Well, its clearly the dreams again, so which one?”

“Its not the dreams…” said Jonas evasively.

“Oh come on! How long have we known each other? You’ve been having those dreams since you were oh, I cant even remember.”

“Seven,” replied Jonas blankly.

“Seven, exactly. I can tell when it’s the dreams.”

“Its not the dreams!”

Tom slumped back into his chair and let out a protracted sign.

“Your impossible at times,” he said.

They sat there in relative silence, the sound of the rain and the snoring of the laborer the only sounds that could be heard. It was jonas who broke the silence.

“It was sort of a new one,” he said quietly, still avoiding looking at his companion.

Tom looked concerned, he took another draught from his flask and lent forwards.

“What was it about?”

Sort of… Screaming and shadows, but clearer, so much clearer.”

“Look… I know we’ve been over this before… but,” started tom but Jonas cut him off.

“I’m not talking to Morius, it wont help, and its nothing to worry about,” he said, “I think its got something to do with this place, you know, the ruins and such. they have gotten so much worse since we got here.”

“Coincidence, I think it’s fairly safe to say stones don’t make you dream. maybe,” offered tom, attempting to avoid confrontation on the matter, “its just the stress. You’re a bit fixated on your work after all. Who knows how the fatigue could affect you. That’s why I think you should-”

“I’m not bloody seeing Morius about it! For crying out loud Tom, for once, just once cant you actually step outside the status quo and consider that everything isn’t set in stone!” snapped Jonas, rising from his chair.

“I’m not saying that! I’m just-”

“Yes you are! It’s the same bloody thing as always isn’t it. God forbid you ever take a step outside your comfort zone!”

Jonas stormed out of the tent before another word could be uttered. Tom sank down in his chair.

“Actually I was going to say go home for a bit…” he muttered to himself.

 

By seven the camp was a hive of activity. The rain had subsided somewhat, giving way to a fine haze that swirled sluggishly in the blustery wind. Though it was still early, all across the dig and camp laborers and archaeologists scurried hurriedly about; digging, and sifting, sorting and cataloguing, in some places the trenches had to be bailed out where the rain had flooded them.

There was hardly time to rest, for, as much potential as the sites ruins’ had, funding was running low. The ruins that had then been discovered were unlike any seen before, the style of architecture, the artifacts found, and the bizarre runic scriptures upon the walls baffled every expert that came to view them… and yet. And yet the dig had three weeks of funding left.  No more benefactors could be found as, regardless of how potentially exciting the site could be… it had yet to yield one shred of evidence, or groundbreaking artifact in two months.

Jonas wandered through the camp, weaving between wheelbarrows and crates, lost in his thoughts as he often was. He came to a halt almost out of habit; every morning he’d stop at the very same spot and have a brief and one-sided staring contest with the central ruin.

‘Ruin’ was a bit of a misnomer; the structure at the heart of the dig was in fact bafflingly intact. Buried a meter or so bellow ground level, the chamber - as it had become known - was a sizeable square structure comprising of solid stone slabs, each one’s surface covered in a maze of runic text. On the north side, above which Jonas stood, was set into the face a solid and impenetrable door. Just like the rest of the Chamber it was covered in runes, but here opposed to the snaking maze like patterns on everything else, formed a giant pictorial representation of the sun.

Big, stone, and buried. That was about all they knew about the chamber. It had proved night impossible to gain access to; as far as they could ascertain the walls went down several more meters at the very least and were a good foot or so thick and the doorway was jammed tight. In an act of desperation a masonry drill had been brought to bare against the door but that to proved futile, the heavy drill scratching the runes and little else.

Reluctant to cause more damage to the important texts the archaeologists had reluctantly given up attempts to gain access and instead contented themselves with a ever growing trench around the building.

It was on the edge of this trench that Jonas now stood, staring with what he considered a brooding intensity at the door. He had done this every morning since he arrived, and today was no exception.

What was behind them? What could warrant such elaborate scriptures?

As he wandered through the endless avenues of his own mind a bucket of muddy water was tossed over the edge of the pit, sloshing down the hill to join with the water bailed and pumped from the other pits – or rather ponds as the torrential downpour had now rendered them- to form a viscous brown stream that snaked sluggishly down the hill towards the village.

The next bucket load flew through the air, landing firmly on Jonas’s feet, he jumped back, staring aghast at his soaking shoes and trousers, now splattered with mud. However, he quickly shifted his gaze from his shoes to the glint of gold that lay a meter or so from his feet. He walked over, and bent down, gingerly pulling it free from the sludge.

It was a golden pendant, its chain still intact. Set in the centre was a piece of irregularly shaped amber stone, which seemed to glow slightly despite the lack of sunlight. The body of the pendant was an intricate spiral, which resembled a curled branch, its ‘twigs’ holding the stone in place.

Usually Jonas would have rushed to show Tom, or one of the other senior archaeologists… but something made him close his hand back around the pendant and slip it into his pocket… as he did so a stab of pain shot through him, causing him to jerk and fall to his knees for the second time that day, this time collapsing onto the filthy grass, coating his already soaked clothes in mud.

“Damn!” he shouted loudly, shakily clambering to his feet, wiping mud of his face.

Managing to stay on his feet this time, he ran as fast as the slippery ground and his own sodden clothes would allow, collapsing just as he reached his tent.

His head was pounding and every muscle seemed to have become a rigid mass of pain riddled flesh, useless and agonizing, he retched and vomited onto the ground, his throat burning.

 

He was no longer at the dig site, he was disembodied, or was he in some one else? It was impossible to tell. The pain had gone, as had the sour taste of vomit in his mouth, but he still seemed to be on the ground, kneeling on the hard sepia floor.

What seemed to be tree roots curled around him and odd flagstones were littered here and there, dusty, cracked… and stained with blood.

Jonas’s breath, or rather the breath of the body he was within came in short sharp bursts, the person, who ever he or she was, was obviously in a great deal of discomfort.

Jonas longed to look away, he couldn’t bare the intensity of the figure, something about it seemed to rob the scene of life, of hope and goodness, he felt the palpable despair of the figure whose eyes and body he shared and wished he could run, or vanish, curl up in a ball, anything to break the gaze of the figure. But he could not; his eyes were locked on the face… the face that he knew spelt doom.

Words were spoken, both, he knew, from the figure he was within, and the one in front, they were unintelligible, a string of garbled sounds to him, but he got the meaning of the dark figure’s words at least, when he drew a long sword and pointed it at Jonas.

The figure on the ground said something in a tone, that regardless of words, conveyed grim resignation to his fate, and yet oddly a tone of contempt, as if warning the standing man about something.

The figure on the ground closed its eyes, or at least that’s what it seemed like to Jonas, he could no longer see, just hear, hear the heavy sigh of the man, and the derisive laughter of the figure in front of them

His eyes opened again, just in time to see the blade of the sword swing towards him. And all went dark, and silent, but the pain… the pain was beyond reckoning, and Jonas screamed.

He awoke somewhere that seemed to be the tent, his body stiff and cold, his eyes blurred and his mouth dry. The sound of rain on the tent and the steady ticking of a clock was all that could be heard. A dark figure loomed up and Jonas recoiled, forcing himself away, his muscles protesting at the sudden use.

“Jonas? Its me, Tom.”
The figure stretched out a hand that came into shaky focus as it neared, holding his glasses, which Jonas took and pushed on, casting the room before him into sudden clarity.

“Jonas? What the hell happened!” asked Tom, his features clear now.

“I… I, don’t know…” said Jonas slowly, he reached over to the stack of books by his bed that served as a night stand and took the small flask, raising it to his lips before he spoke again, “what time is it?”

“Its four in the afternoon, you’ve been out for hours, tossing and turning like a maniac. Morius came and checked you out-,”
“And?”
“Didn’t have a clue, he said you should go get some rest, that’s its most likely overwork,” said Tom, “said you should go back to London for a week or so. Which, my I remind you is what I’ve been saying for weeks!”

Jonas fixed his friend with an annoyed look, raising the bottle to his lips again, the cool water soothing his soar throat.

“What?” asked Tom, returning Jonas’s look, “suit yourself! Im just saying that it’s a good idea, and a perfectly reasonable request from your doctor, and a good friend. we’re both just worried about you is all.”

Jonas opened his mouth, but before he could retort the ever-passive voice of Armand Morius, the aged French doctor rang out through the tent.

The short, grey haired doctor folded his dripping umbrella and placing it by the door. He straightened his immaculate black suit –that however well made was still stretched a little too tightly over his belly- and pulled a kerchief from his pocket, cleaning his glasses before proceeding.

“Now, now, Monsieur Montgomery,” he said to Thomas, crossing over from the entrance to Jonas’s bed with a slightly limp, “I told you, he needs rest, now go, go to your digging and leave a doctor and his patient be.”

He flapped his hands at Thomas, shooing him away, and turned to Jonas, flipping his medical case open and unceremoniously shoving a thermometer in Jonas’s mouth.

“I trust you are feeling better non?” he said, rummaging through his case, “though am I to be taking it that you are none too keen on going home?”

“I’m fine,” mumbled Jonas, the thermometer making it hard to talk, he pulled it out, “is this really necessary?”

“Oui,” said Morius, once more sticking the instrument in Jonas’s mouth, and returning to rummaging around in his case.

Doctor Armand Morius, simply known as Morius to the members of the dig, was a French evacuee. Having fled the German Nazi party shortly before the war, he had found employment in the small village of Piddle Trenthide at the surgery and now tended to the numerous archaeologists that had made their home on the hill above the village. He was loved and respected by both the inhabitants of the dig and the village below, treating them all with the utmost care and diligence

“I think you should take this,” he said at length, holding up a small bottle full of thick brown liquid.

“Ok. Will it help?” asked Jonas, taking the bottle and peering at the contents, “what does it do?”

“It’ll help you sleep, Monsieur Montgomery has been telling me you’ve been sleeping badly, this will help you sleep the night through. And I insist you return to London, get some rest, away from work. Understood?”

Jonas looked down at the bottle, and up into the kindly, wrinkled face of the elderly doctor. Morius had been good to the two friends. He would invite them to dinner, and pay them regular visits – claiming he was worried about their health with the amount of work they were putting in. Though they all knew it was really as he looked on Tom and Jonas, young as they were, almost as sons, never having had any of his own. They greatly appreciated all he had done for them and now Jonas found it nearly impossible to say no.

“Fine,” he said, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth, “I’ll go back for a week or so. Might do me some good.”

“Good lad,” said Morius, clapping Jonas on the shoulder with a bony hand, “two drops in a glass of water before bed,” he said nodding towards the bottle as he packed up his case and left the tent.

Jonas slumped back into his bunk and examined the bottle, sniffing the contents tentatively. He wrinkled his nose and placed it on the stack of books by his bed, picking up his battered old pocket watch and flipping it open.

As the tarnished golden casing sprung open, catching the light of the oil lamps around him, Jonas’ mind darted to the pendant. He snapped the watch shut and jumped out of bed, tearing the sheets off as he did, patting down every inch in search of the missing trinket. He riffled through his pockets, and swept an exploratory hand under the bunk, but to no avail.

His stomach sank as he realized that it has been Tom who had brought him in… a quick search through is bunk and the copious detritus that littered his far messier companions side of the tent yielded no results. Of course it wouldn’t, Jonas thought to himself, Tom would have taken it to be catalogued.

Jonas rushed outside. The weather had deteriorated since the morning and the majority of the workers had abandoned their posts, only a short plump elderly woman, rummaging around in a heap of mud with a sieve. He ignored her and headed over to the trellis table laden with the most recent finds and started to search for the pendant, he finally found it, sat atop a pile of arrowheads.

Even in the dim light the stone in the center shone out brightly, seemingly radiating a faint amber glow…

Sepia skies, burning ruins, the stench of death heavy in the still air. He glanced down at his hands, previously scratched and dusty, now gnarled greenish brown claws. Yes, this would do, he’d have to hide for now… bide his time. Looking back up he turned his attention to the towering temple on the rise above him. A wave of anger took him, how could he, that murderous whelp, have done this? Betrayed him? And for what? For what! A woman! He spat on the floor and turned his vengeful eyes from the temple their gaze now falling upon a shimmering grove in the distance, almost invisible though the steadily thickening haze that seemed to be drifting down from the heaven. Yes… yes… he mused silently to himself… he would consolidate his power, hide for now… bide his time…

He stepped over a body that lay in the dust in front of him and started along a cobbled path, trapped in his own musings, a figure moved behind him, its shadow falling in his path. Without a seconds hesitation he spun around grabbing the man by the neck and pulling him close.

“Jonas! What the hell!” cried Thomas’s voice, choked and shocked.

The world swam back to normal, and Jonas recoiled, letting go of Tom and stumbling backwards.

Thomas rubbed his neck and started shouting at Jonas, but the words fell upon deaf ears. Jonas’s head was swimming once more, his body aching, he tossed the pendant to the ground and reached out blindly for something to grab hold of, to stop him falling.

Thomas picked the pendant up and started at Jonas again.

“And another thing, what the hells up with this, hmm? Why didn’t you flag it? Wandering around with it in your pocket. And coming back for it now, you better – Jonas? Jonas you ok?”

The world went black.

 

Jonas awoke in the back of a car, jolting down a dirt track. The timpani of raindrops upon the roof went somewhat to soothing to the splitting headache that had graced him the moment his eyes had peeled open. The torrential rain obscured the view through the windows so Jonas sunk back into the seat

“Your awake then, at last” said a familiar voice.

Jonas turned to find Thomas sitting in the seat next to him.

“Care to explain what happened yesterday?” he asked.

“Yesterday? Repeated Jonas, quizzically.

“Yes, you were out of it since yesterday afternoon, its about half nine in the morning.”

Jonas took a moment to digest the information

“Where are we going?” asked Jonas, peering back out the window, though he had a fairly good idea.

“The Train station,” said Tom, confirming Jonas’s theory.

They rattled on in silence for a while, Jonas’s head pounding still, the jerking and bouncing of the car making his whole body ache.

“So… yesterday?” offered Tom once more after nearly fifteen minuets.

“What about it?” said Jonas evasively.

“You know full well,” said Tom, “what the hell happened yesterday, first you throw up and pass out, then you attack me and collapse. Not to mention the Pendant…”

There was another pause as Jonas mulled it over. What had happened? He’d never experienced anything like it before… and hoped he never would again.

 “I, I don’t know,” said Jonas truthfully.

“Dreams again?”

Jonas nodded, running his fingers through his scruffy hair.

“Bad ones?”

“Very… not even really dreams… they were clear, lucid, like I was there, I was… I was… part of it. Sort of, visions.”

Jonas recounted the two visions, in detail, describing everything he could remember, which was a surprising amount considering having passed out after each.

When he finished there was yet another silence, this time however, tense, not awkward. Tom’s face a mixture of concern and thought.

“Why did you take the pendant? It’s not like you,” he said at length.

“I don’t know, I just, took it. It seemed natural… and I panicked when I found out it was gone…”

“I see…” said Tom, sceptically.

“The visions or what ever they are, seemed to happen when I had the pendant, like it was triggering them. Do you think I’m seeing something to do with the ruins?”

“From what you’ve described its pretty unlikely, sepia skies? Green skinned men? Ruined cities? It’s the stuff of nightmares not ancient civilizations Jonas,” said Tom dismissively, “you always have been a tad on the creative side, maybe it’s the stress getting to you, and your projecting your imagination onto your work, or something.”

“But, what if this is some great lost world we’re on the brink of discovering, we don’t know everything about the past Thomas, or we wouldn’t be here, wouldn’t be digging around in fields!” retorted Jonas, anger slipping into his voce, “no one can read the runes, no one has any idea from what culture the designs on the artifacts are from, its off the map Thomas, every bit of it is, and face it, since we got here the dreams have gotten worse.”

“That’s all well and good but-”

“Shut up Thomas! You’re a professor of cultures and what have you! You should be excited!”

“Ancient cultures and texts,” said Thomas, though so quietly Jonas probably didn’t hear, “and any how, I know the difference between fantasy and reality, I can work out what’s real and what-”

“Isn’t?” Jonas finished for him, “but I cant?”

“I didn’t say that… but, as I’ve said, you’ve always had an overactive imagination…”

“What about the pendant then, how do you explain that? That it triggered visions?” said Jonas, ignoring Thomas.

“Maybe it didn’t, coincidence maybe, and any way, I don’t profess to know everything, this is all very strange, I just refuse to jump to conclusions about the improbability that this is all real.”

“But what if it is Thomas! What if it is!” said Jonas eagerly Just think about it, a whole new civilization, never before seen, and we found it! You and I, Jonas and Thomas, discoverers of a lost world…” he trailed off into a sort of reverie and Thomas looked at him sceptically.

“That’s all well and good Jonas old friend, but what proof do we have? And to be frank what chance of finding any is there, we’re running out of time, and money, and that damn chamber is still nigh impregnable. Even if we do get inside, odds are it’ll yield nothing but a tomb. Best we can hope for in my opinion is a nice new Celtic tribe, and to maybe irk a paper from it, make some money from that,” he said, looking down trodden.

They drew up to the train station without another word being spoken. Jonas climbed out onto the rain lashed platform, opening an umbrella and nodding politely to the driver who had removed his small trunk from the boot of the car.

He turned to go, but paused, turning to Tom who was still in the car.

“Just think… what if it is real…” with that he walked briskly to the shelter of the station and waited for his train.


All names locations and events are the intellectual property of Josef Barnett

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