Indiana Jones and the Amazon's Gate
Chapter 1: The Prophecy
"Professor, wake up!" Morgan whispered, shaking the elderly professor's shoulder. "Wake up!"
Slowly, the aging professor rolled toward her, weather-beaten skin parting to reveal tired hazel eyes that seemed to have seen far too much. "I'm awake," the professor replied in a gravelly voice. A voice that did not seem to match his extremely advanced age - too full of life. But then, perhaps that was why he'd refused to retire.
Morgan Fletcher stepped back from the professor's bedside, reaching for a cup of steaming coffee she had at the ready. She'd been renting the guest room ever since she'd started as a grad student at Princeton; he'd said that he preferred to have someone around to keep track of him, at his age. An equally weathered hand emerged from beneath the quilt, and she pressed the coffee mug into it.
"Thank you." He smiled, sipping the coffee. "What time is it?"
"Six-thirty A.M." Morgan winced; she was, herself, not used to being up and about at this hour. "Professor Hamilton called."
"From the museum?" The elderly professor asked, over the top of his mug. "What did he have to say at this hour?"
"He said there's been a break-in. He said to tell you that the cross is gone. Coronado's cross."
"Damn." The professor gulped down the last of his coffee, then handed her the mug and tossed back the quilt. "Time to get to work, then," he managed, his voice suddenly more shaky.
Morgan offered a hand, to pull the elderly professor out of bed; it was a courtesy, she knew, and not one he needed. Usually, he took it anyhow, but not today. He swatted her hand away, and pulled the drawer of his nightstand open as he sat on the edge of the bed. Out came a trio of dusty diaries, wrapped together in a buckled leather strap, and from beneath them, a tarnished brass key she hadn't known was there. He replaced the diaries, sliding the drawer closed.
"Make yourself useful." He grumbled, flipping the key's cord around his neck. "Go warm up the car. I'll get dressed."
An hour later, the first rays of sunlight were filtering onto the ancient battlefield that was Princeton University; the British and the Continentals had fought here on a dreary January morning just like this one in 1777. Now, in 1999, the college was about to be thrust back into history.
A stray beam of sunlight through a window struck the empty case, as the Professor looked at it. Dr. Hamilton, the museum's curator, watched him with a look of concern - he hadn't actually laid eyes on the elderly professor in three years, and he was very old. Far older than most universities would tolerate without forcing the professor into retirement, but when it came to the Professor Emeritus of the Archaeology Department, the very thought of forced retirement seemed like sacrilege.
A wrinkled hand reached from inside the pocket of a dusty leather jacket, reaching inside the broken glass of the display case. "Nothing else is missing?"
"Nothing." Hamilton confirmed. "Which means someone knew what they were after. But why Coronado's cross?"
"Unlike many of our artifacts, it has quite significant intrinsic value. It is, after all, made of gold and jewels." The Professor stated, but Morgan knew him too well; that was not the whole truth. The shakiness in his voice told her that there was far more to the story; it had only appeared once she'd mentioned what had been stolen.
"Of course." Dr. Hamilton pulled a slip of paper from his pocket. "I almost forgot. We found this. Perhaps it means something to you?"
The Professor skimmed over the scrap of paper, then handed it to Morgan. "Hang onto this, will you please, Miss Fletcher?"
She nodded, looking down at the writing on the paper, a chill running up her spine. For there was typewritten these eleven lines:
Eye of the old god, symbol of new faith
Latent key to the Amazon's Gate
Used twice to make Esplandian's coast safe
Seen there thrice shall open the gate
In salt shall scent of brimstone hide
Very table of hope shall terror reside
Even the earth shall there tremble in fear
Emeritus keeper of the cup must go by day
Defender of the heart shall guard the way
English keeper of the book shall know the gate
No, the savior of the ark must not be late