A small one-shot idea formed after re-playing tomb raider II while drinking too much whiskey
This is Dedicated to my dear and wonderful friend Symfora, my eternal Tomb Raider companion.
Warning: Spoilers for Tomb Raider Underworld, Buffy Series 7 and mentions of the comic book series 8.
Disclaimer: I do not own BtVS or any sort of Tomb Raider they belong to their respective creators sadly enough.
I didn’t often excavate in the United Kingdom. Perhaps it was a desire based on not wanting to dig up my own backyard. Or maybe it was because my competitors had a irritating knack of coming after me, and so my home had been attacked one too many times, that starting everything off so close to home was tempting fate. This, however was too good of an opportunity to miss, and how close were the highlands to Surrey anyway.
There was also something mythical about being in the Scottish highlands, as if their legends permeated the air. Even the current legends of a giant girl did not seem like they could be impossible here. It was entirely feasible that my past adventures made me more susceptible to the belief of such things, after all I had fought and killed many things the scientific world deemed mere fantasy. But the fog coated mountains and the quiet sounds of gentle wildlife was something out of a Celtic fairytale.
The air, quite obviously, was cold, so I wore combat pants choosing to leave my weathered shorts back at the manor. I was glad to get out of that place, half way through refurbishing there were more builders in that place than there were MPs in the House of Commons. Zip wondered why I had ran to go on a job, thought I was being disrespectful, and maybe I was. But the manor, even swarming with builders still reeked. I could smell the explosion in the air, feel the flames against me as if it were only two minutes ago. Then there was Alister.
The only thing left for me to do was find an artifact, regardless of how cold hearted it made me look to my colleagues. It did mean however that I was doing this on my own, just like in the old days. No one on a ear piece telling me wear dangers lurked. I had grown complacent. I strapped on my gun holder belt with my over used semi-automatic pistols. I positioned my winchester shotgun between my shoulders and behind my backpack: secured it. I also had a blade strapped to each ankle now hidden by my dusty walking boots. It never hurt to be prepared so I added a generous number of grenades to my backpack, nestled to my medipack.
I sipped my morning tea as I set about finishing the preparations. The item I was looking for was the Axe of Dekeron. I had seen in it on the walls in a tomb in Egypt I had explored with Von Croy. It had appeared to me in a dream recently and had awakened my desire to find it. Some initially thought to have been in California, but the area had been sunken into a crater with no signs of the axe anywhere. But my most recent research indicated a surge in supernatural activity near Carn Eige in the North West Highlands. People claiming to see ghosts, witches, zombies and as previously mentioned a giant girl. I was certainly not convinced on the issues involving zombies but as far as my information told me, this item attracted supernatural forces like mystic moths to a flame. It was said to be only wielded by a slayer, which was not to be confused with the metal band. The slayer was apparently a woman empowered with the spirit of a demon in order to then fight vampires and other creatures of the supernatural that caused harm to the human race. When she died another one would be called and so forth till the end of days as it were.
I had no idea whether the existence of this Slayer was true, and I’m not sure I cared either, I had fought skeletons, dragons, sea serpents and a kraken and there had never been even the vague hint of a woman coming to help. In fact most of the women I met on adventures, like most of the men, attempted to kill me. Not what I would call a Sunday picnic but needs must as they say.
The axe was all I cared about; it would make a beautiful addition to my trophy room. I drained the last of my tea and sighed, it was always depressing to finish your first cup of the morning. Grabbing my PDA and grapple I headed out of the lodge. My bike was resting outside, exactly where I had left it, you’d be surprised how often it wasn’t so that was a bonus. The early morning air was enthusiastic in it’s temperature but still managed to freeze my breath so I zipped up my jacket and jumped on.
I was heading as far up Carn Eige on my bike as I could manage before climbing the rest of the way. According to my sonar reading of the mountain there was a cavern, only accessible from the top that went deep into its belly. That was where I needed to go. My bike was utter heaven to ride, even if was my hundredth or so, I had a habit of breaking them. The last one I had I left in Valhalla after I ran over one too many viking zombies.
I reved the engine and took off. I weaved my way around the trees careful to avoid ones that had fallen down. The hair whipped past my face and I knew my plait must have been completely horizontal. I could see a ditch coming up so I pulled up on the handlebars and jumped the gap. I trick I’d learnt decades ago and always manged to incorporate into my adventures somehow. Learning to jump gaps with your motorbike, skill for life. The new ditch coming up was longer. I started to slow to a stop but noticed a rising mound in the soil. That would do nicely. I reversed back a little to get a good run up and headed straight for it. As I hit the mound I took off and cleared the gap, not before I noticed the spikes inside. Someone had booby trapped the area. Somethings never changed.
The incline got steadily steeper as I got further up the mountain. Reaching the spot I ended to start climbing I got off my bike, choosing to ignore the new scratches I had given it. I’d have to go up before I could go down which was always the way with these things I’d discovered. Since I was going this one solo I was going to have to free climb. I used my binoculars to glance up the mountain, looking for the easiest way to the top. I noticed enough ledges protruding to make it up with a few jumps and the occasional swing.
Pulling up onto the first ledge, I positioned myself to the edge and jumped back. It gave me a nice run up. As I leaped in the air I had my hands out read to grip onto the lip of my new platform. I hefted myself up and had a look for my next task. It was risky but I could go straight up using some of the rocks as leverage for my feet. Rubbing my hands together to get rid of any sweat I grabbed high above my head and got my feet onto the wall.
I got up onto the next platform easily enough. There was a groove that ran alone the side of the rock and it would take me across to the other side which has a higher ledge to grab. Excellent, that was all very sporting of the mountain. I shimmied across and up I went. Clicking into my PDA I checked the maps, this coveted cavern entrance wasn’t too far from where I was.
The problem, and it was always the problem, was figuring out how to get inside the cavern. There would undoubtedly by some sort of overtly complicated and ultimately time wasting door mechanism to crack. This is what people did before the invention of the Internet, they made really difficult doors.
So when my sonar informed me I was in front of the entrance to the cavern and I was met with an obnoxious rock I merely sighed. The ancient Egyptians came up with this axe so I scouted about looking for a mechanism similar to the ones I had found while I was there. No such luck, which meant it was not moved by Egyptians but by someone else. I considered just throwing a grenade at the problem and hoping for the best, but the doors were always reinforced something or other. Heres to Ancient Civilisations and there ability to lock things away better than we can.
I noticed a fissure running along the side of the wall. I examined it more closely and managed to get my fingers inside. I pulled and it shifted slightly. Well that was certainly interesting, there was no complex doorway to speak of. Some had just filled the whole in with a rock. Something was not right at all here. As I entered the dark I turned on my light and removed my pistols. The air was remained crisp, though I had expected it to turn damp. I walked deeper inside.
I started to hear a groaning noise, I pointed my guns in the direction the sound came from. A figure moved around the corner. He had scars over his eyes, formed into obscure symbols. He had a sword pointed toward me and that sealed the deal. I fired. I had discovered long ago it was always better to shoot first and ask questions later, because if you gave them the chance your opponent would tragically kill you first.
Initially it didn’t seem to bother him but I repeatedly fired. He fell down eventually but not after I had gone through two sets of clips. I was just about to examine the body when I heard another noise behind me. I turned quickly and aimed.
‘Wow there,’ a woman entered from the rock I’d left open, her hands up in the air. ‘Bullet nearly killed me once, wasn’t very fun, better then the times I did die though. Who are you?’
‘I am the one with gun, I shall ask the questions, and you are?’ I retorted. The woman was blonde, which worked against her considering the number of blonde woman who had almost succeeded in killing me. She was petite to put it mildly but she walked like a warrior.
‘Buffy Summers, my turn. Who are you and what are you doing in my cave?’
‘Your cave? It belongs to the Queen. I am exploring.’
‘Are you now? Well I made this cave, so I say its mine. Hang on, is that a bringer?’ she asked. She hurried past me, suddenly oblivious to the gun I had pointed at her and checked the body at my feet.
‘Did he come from inside?’ she asked.
‘Yes, as soon as entered.’ She paused for a moment.
‘Well I guess I’m exploring now too,’ Buffy announced. ‘Your lucky, if what I think is now down here is down here then most of what will try to kill you won’t answer to bullets.’
‘You’d be surprised what does,’ I replied tightly. I didn’t want a partner, it always ended horrifically when I did, a classic fight for the prize. Also she was in no way dressed for caving, she had on light denhim jeans and a soft pink turtleneck. ‘Did you come to question me weaponless?’
‘I am a weapon,’ she replied. ‘But there’s also a stake strapped to my leg.’
‘So the slayer does exist then,’ I commented.
‘Yup, the one and - oh I’m not anymore. Need to think of a new catchphrase. I am one of many.’
‘We broke it,’ she winked and started off deeper into the cave. ‘Hurry up, I don’t have any sort of light, so you need to come with me.’ She was really starting to become very tiresome, who went exploring without a light source, honestly.
‘The floor is weak here,’ I commented as I notices the fissures. ‘It might collapse with both our weights.’
‘Really, they just don’t make them like they used to,’ she sighed.
‘I thought you made this cave.’
‘Well I told people to make it. Ok I’ll go -’
‘I have the light, perhaps I should go first.’
‘I do this for a living,’ I insisted. She had inserted herself into my exploration there was no I was going to let her treat me like I was the amateur. I tested the area with my foot, and then ran. Hoping to run faster than the rocks took to react always worked well for me. And what do you know, another spike pit. However I was across and my unwanted guest was stuck back on the other side. Gosh that was a shame. I turned to her to shrug when I noticed her taking a run up, she wasn’t…She did. She cleared the gap easily, and while I would have been able to do it in my sleep, I didn’t picture miss pink turtle neck being able to, even if she was a slayer.
I nodded appreciatively in her direction but she didn’t seem to notice, so we just carried on.
‘You commissioned a spike pit?’ I asked.
‘I had a few traps put in this place in case anyone decided to go exploring,’ she grinned at me. ‘But Spike pit, hmm, I may have to commission an actual one of those.’ The more she talked the less she made any sense.
Buffy moved on ahead, without her weapon drawn, which was either brave, or stupid, or both. She was, as I was slowly finding out, very confident in herself. We came up to a larger pit, again filled with spikes, there were poles sticking out along the walls. Smiling to me she swung across effortlessly. When she was finally across she turned back to me.
‘I’ll find a -’ but before she could finish that condescending statement I had already latched onto the pole and swung on it like I had learnt long ago in gymnastics. I moved to the final one, and just because I could, I did a few tricks and then flung myself to join her.
‘I told you, I do this for a living,’ I reminded her.
‘And what is this exactly?’ she asked. Her blonde eyebrows frowned suspiciously I guess that usually scared people where she was from.
‘I’m an archaeologist, though I tend to work less with a crowd of people digging things up with tiny little tools, and more with throwing myself into tombs and hunting for artifacts.’
‘So you’re a fancy grave robber?’
‘Tomb raider, preferably, grave robber implies something modern and has necrophiliac implications.’
‘Ew, did not want that image,’ she complained. ‘You never did tell me your name.’
‘Lara Croft,’ I supplied, leaving off the lady for now.
‘I’ve heard of that name,’ she said and paused. ‘Your manor exploded about a month a go, I had a couple of people look into it, in case it was supernatural. Wait if you have a manor, how come your off in this cave and not having tea with ladies, and finger sandwiches, and talking about London fashions and going to dances.’
‘You’re American so I’m going to forgive what you just said.’
We were once again heading forward. There was a movement ahead of us and this time Buffy headed for her stake. Before she has a chance to get it out I was already firing in the direction of the sound. Didn’t I say before about shooting first and asking questions later.
Buffy turned to me with a frown. ‘Are you always so happy to shoot things?’ she yelled. I didn’t answer as the figure kept moving. Deciding my bullets weren’t working nearly as efficiently as last time I reached into my pack and grabbed a grenade. I threw it in the general direction I wanted it to go and pulled Buffy down onto the floor with me. As the grenade went off my head throbbed from the noise and the cave shook.
‘I am a fan of explosions, but really, we’re in a cave, being a tomb raider I thought you’d have realised the teeny tiny flaw in that plan of yours.’
‘I see your point, but that thing needed killing and normally I’m in temples that have survived thousands of years of humanity, they can handle grenades,’ I answered. Shaking her head she hurried to the remains.
‘Great. Now I don’t even know what it was that attacked us, unless it was an angry pile of goo,’ she complained.
‘Why does it matter, it’s dead which means we’re alive, this is irrefutably a good thing,’ I argued.
‘You like to use big words don’t you,’ she commented. ‘I have a friend like that, he’s English too.’
‘A decent vocabulary has nothing to do with being English,’ I replied, though I decided it was best not to to add on what I thought it had to do with.
The journey to the bottom of the cave preceded in much of a similar fashion. I’d blown up two more figures, which I assumed where more of the one at the entrance. One guy wanting to kill me tended to have friends that were all relatively similar. Buffy kept getting annoyed though and that made a small petty part of me very happy.
‘There it is,’ I exclaimed as I saw the axe, pristine on it’s stand. The red gleaming even in the cavern.
‘What, my axe?’ she asked. ‘That’s what you came down here for? It’s only being buried a year, what kinda fail archaeologist are you?’
‘If it’s your axe why is it buried in the cave?’
‘Because I buried it here, to keep it safe. Plus too many slayers were fighting over who got to wield it,’ she justified. ‘Wait how did you know to come looking for it here?’
‘I remembered looking at some descriptions of an axe back in a pyramid in Egypt. Then recently I had a dream which reminded me about it. It suggested to me which books to look in, what signs to look for.’
‘Let me guess, the guy in your dream, dead guy?’
‘Yes my friend Alister, how did you know?’ I asked.
‘You were tricked. Well kinda, the axe is here so you weren’t mislead there, but that was the first of all evil in your dream bringing you here.’
I was just about to ask why when another one of those eyeless guys appeared. Following the rhythm I had developed I threw my grenade at him. This time as the grenade hit the ground started to rumble, as if my grenade has set off an earthquake.
‘Oh this is so not good,’ Buffy commented. The ground started to split apart, revealing a circular disk about a metre in diametre with the blood of the exploded man swirling around the ridges. ‘You opened the hellmouth!’
‘Excuse me I did what?’
‘The doorway to hell. I spent years warring on one, defending it, and you pop down here and open it with a grenade,’ Buffy yelled. The centre of the disk opened up like a flower. Hands appeared on either side of it and pulled itself out. It was an atrocious looking thing: green and angry. ‘And I thought I was done with these uber vamps.’
I immediately got my pistols out and started shooting.
‘Enough with the guns already. Bullets won’t kill this thing, and neither will a grenade before you bother,’ Buffy snapped. She grabbed the axe, the axe I had worked so hard to find, and went about fighting the vamp as she called it. Well I wasn’t entirely useless as she seemed to think. Pulling out my shotgun I aimed carefully and fired. ‘I told you…’
She stopped when she realised I’d hit him spot on in the eye. Terrific shot, even if I do say so myself. Buffy continued her kicking and punching and I re-aimed and got the other eye. Sshe beheaded him easily.
‘Wow, I could done with you around last year,’ she remarked. ‘Right you need to cry now.’
‘Cry, on the seal. It closes it, but no fake tears. Think of something really sad. I can’t trick you into this as I don’t know you. I suggest thinking about the dead friend the first decided to do funky impressions of. I’ll give you a moment, holler if one of those beasties comes back out.’
I watched as she turned to head out of the cavern room we had entered. Cry? The last time I had cried was, I didn’t actually remember. Alaster, maybe he was the answer to this. I hadn’t cried when she killed him because I’d been so angry all I could taste was Natla’s death on my tongue. I didn’t cry at the funeral because I wasn’t there, I was stopping the end of the world. Zip hadn’t waited for me and I didn’t expect him to, he knew I wouldn’t want to be there. I had a thing against funerals. I had spent so much time in crypts and tombs I couldn’t see someone I loved being put in there also.
I had loved Alister even if the others thought I didn’t. I tried to concentrate on him, picture him in my head. He had always been relatively cute for an intellectual who stayed mostly indoors with books. I missed his voice most of all. Even now, deep in the mountain of Carn Eige, I would have given anything to hear his voice over a headset telling me some inane fact about the rock formation. He would’ve known the cave had been recently made long before I’d have arrived.
He was more dedicated to history than I was and I know he would have been distraught over the things I’d broken to get to the real treasure. The things he could have studied with them. I’d never thought about him in any way other than my assistant, perhaps I should have. My eyes had been wet for a while now but I couldn’t bring myself to move over to the seal. I finally felt Alister around me and though it made me feel like I’d swallowed razor blades I didn’t want to move and loose him again.
It was the sound of the next attacker coming that reminded me of where I was. So in my true style I threw a grenade into the seal. I moved to lean over the edge and let the tears fall off my face into the seal. The ground shuddered again and the seal brought it’s petals in and closed.
‘You know if it wasn’t for that battle last year about a thousand of those things would’ve come out you know,’ Buffy commented.
‘So why did you bury your axe right next to the hellmouth?’ I asked wiping my eyes completely before facing her.
‘I didn’t mean to,’ she defended. ‘Apparently, the first can make seals wherever he wants.’
‘Perhaps you should have considered that option before burying it under ground?’
‘Point taken,’ she grumbled.
We made our way out of the cavern mostly in silence. All the jumps, the tricks, my usual thrills felt as much fun as listening to someone recite the dictionary. I had no one to be angry at anymore except maybe myself, and even that wasn’t really there. This was what I was supposed to feel I realised, but that didn’t mean it didn’t suck.
As we reached the top Buffy turned to me, ‘Right, this is where we split.’
‘Indeed. It was a pleasure to meet you Buffy, and enjoy your axe,’ I’m sure I had started that sentence meaning well.
‘You’re good at finding things aren’t you?’ Buffy asked.
‘It is what I do,’ I replied.
‘Well, Lady Croft
, have you heard of Hope’s Dagger?’ The End
This may become a series, I'm not sure yet. Possibly after I've finished editing my original work.