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Gentlemen Adventurers : Chapter Four : The Middle East, 1840

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Session 021: Tomb Raiders, July 1840

Ref: GentlemenAdventurers

The Party

ArnoldTodgersHamelton - DaveF
GladstoneArchiboldThynne - TimE
LadyElsbethMacBeth - CathyE
WallaceTiffinSmythe - PeteN

Events

While Wallace, Hamilton, HowardVyse and JohnShaePerring look on the diggers clear the last of the sand from a short 8' corridor beyond the steps which ends in a polished black marble wall. With great care they examine the area, and find a pipe in the roof with evidence of a smashed pottery block - through which a steady trickle of sand is flowing. Wallace arranges for this to be blocked up to prevent any further sand ingress.

Further examination shows the entire 8' floor leading to the marble slab has lifted slightly as the sand was removed, so the party examine it very closely - assuming it is some further trap, and work out a detailed method of pulling down the marble block (which appears to be about 3" thick). Sending John and MustafaAbu back to Cairo for pit props and equipment the diggers are instructed to cut slots in the walls where the props can be placed - forming a flat structure upon which the block can be caught so it does not hit the moving floor.

Meanwhile Gladstone drills his new charges and arranges clear lines of fire/view to be made at the top and bottom of the ravine. Lady Macbeth rests in the cave mouth recovering from her brushing from being shot the previous day.

As evening comes, the pit props arrive from Cairo they are put into position with a number of more upright struts to stop the block falling too far & too fast. Clearing everyone out of the tomb, John and Wallace attach a grapple to the top of the black marble block and start to haul. After a bit more clearing of mortar & blockages, plus a lot of hard pulling on the end of the (long) rope there is a sound of stone on stone and the block moves. It drops a few feet onto the upright supports and stops as desired. Wallace and John rush down and are hit by a wave of stale noxious air, holding their breaths they push on and look through the small gap at the top of the marble block.

On the other side a 8'x8' passageway, completely lined with black marble leads off to the right. In the curious light of their unusual torches they see fantastic inlays of gold and jems decorate every surface, with two twisting snakes leading along the floor into the gloom.

Coming to the surface to get some air Wallace starts to feel light headed. When they get to the top of the cave they are faced by the eager questioning of the others, John is rather quiet and gets a gun from his knapsack in a rather 'distant' sort of way. Hamilton just stops him as he raises the pistol to his head, and when challenged he is rather confused saying he 'was just cleaning it'. In the confusion Wallace feels a rising feeling that 'the right thing' would be to cut his own throat with his hunting knife. He draws it, but overcomes the urge and throws his knife away. The feeling soon passes and everyone stops for Tiffin. Wallace, eager to explore, returns to the tomb, followed by Hamilton and the archeologists. Finding the noxious air largely gone Wallace looks over the block into the 'black passage', he swings himself up and drops down the other side into the black passage.

With a sudden crash the marble floor gives way and he falls into the darkness. http://www.geocities.com/mikerdna/newliericons/dt7pit.jpg+right Hamilton hears a short cry followed by a sickening sound of landing. Grabbing the grapple and rope, and with the archeologists holding it at the top he climbs down into the funnel shaped pit to find Wallace unconscious and impaled on one of half a dozen wicked serrated steel spikes. He quickly fetches a pickaxe and breaks off the spike, then patches up Wallace and holds him while the archeologists and diggers all pull them free. Wallace is lucky that his lungs are not punctured, but is bleeding internally and it's not looking good. Hamilton has him moved to the top of the cave and has a 'medicine' tent erected in the ravine where Elsbeth tends to Wallace's wounds and sits by his bedside. Knowing that Wallace is in a very bad way, and would not survive a move to Cairo, Hamilton sees the similarity with his position in when he was wounded in Nepal ( see MakingAPass ). Searching through their collection of arcane books Hamilton finds and studies a 'spell' that seems to be similar to the one Wallace used to heal him - involving the sacrifice of an animal. He arranges for Gladstone to provide some sort of distraction for Lady Macbeth at about 23:00 and prepares himself.

Before the allotted hour matters take a turn when one of the guards on the top of the ravine is shot at and starts to return fire.. Gladstone, taking three guards, rushes up to see what's happening, while Lady Macbeth, always eager for a fight grabs her shotguns. Seeing the way up blocked she rushes up the other side of the ravine calling for her loaders... All is quiet for a moment as the guard finished his ammunition into the dark and Gladstone sends him more when suddenly Lady Macbeths' side comes under sustained fire from about 15-20 guns all around her. She and one of Hamiltons' Shikh guards who was on duty up there blast away in return, with Florence and the two loaders frantically reloading for them on the steep path up the side of the ravine below them.

Leaving two mercenaries to guard that side of the ravine, Gladstone rushes down into the floor of the ravine again to get to Elsbeth's aid but sees 5 well armed natives rushing up the path towards him. He shoots one and set's to with his cavalry sabre, aided by two more of Hamiltons bodyguard and one of his mercenary guards.

Meanwhile Hamilton seizes the opportunity for his plan, Mustafa Abu helps him guide a camel into the tent and hobble it. Hamilton then starts the incantation using a Lydford penny as a 'focus'. He is disappointed by the amount of 'effect' he has as he inexpertly completes the ceremony, grabs his knife and cut's the beasts throat, having to wrestle it to the ground as it struggles. Just as he believes the ritual has failed the penny goes cold and an icy presence says 'is that it? I need more in exchange for this one'. After a small moment of doubt Hamilton rushes from the tent into the melee outside and rugby tackles a native who is gradually beating the mercenary. The thug duly puts the boot in while Hamilton hold the poor man down. While Hamilton drags the poor soul into the tent the mercenary helps Gladstone and the others.. who now outnumber the assailants.

Gladstone is alarmed to hear cries of distress from Lady Macbeth at the top of the ravine and redoubles his efforts to put his man down..pushing him back before rushing up to help.

In an incident and negotiation about which Hamilton will say nothing Wallace is restored to better than full health, and after only a short moment in which Hamilton ensures that Wallace get's his own 'horses phallus' moment, Wallace too hears the cries.

In a single action Wallace is out of the tent and scrambling up the side of the ravine - ignoring the usual path to climb straight up the side and overtaking Gladstone in the process. He finds the Sikh guard lying crippled and bleeding on the floor, with the two loaders clubbed unconscious below him on the path. In the clear moonlight he sees figures retreating in the distance and grabbing a rifle and knife he gives chase. As Gladstone arrives at the top he can just hear Wallace running off into the gloom yelling for his fiance, the night is too dark for him to see where this is happening and he sees to the wounded.

Wallace rushes after the abductors and see's them loading two large bundles onto camels, his cries alert the abductors and four of them rush back to attack him. Wallace sets upon them like a furious tiger and kills three in an instant, the fourth puts up a spirited resistance for a number of seconds before Wallace leaves him wounded before running after the fast disappearing camels.

Grabbing a camel he gives chase, but the beast is fractious and difficult so he takes the waterskin and sets off on foot after the galloping abductors. Running as hard as he can he follows the riders as they lash their camels unmercifully across the dunes, he runs tracking them for a short while before the early light of dawn shows them only one mile ahead entering the outskirts of Cairo. He rushes after them but soon looses them in the maze of streets.

Meanwhile Hamilton has his bodyguard tended to and they survey the wreakage of the night. Gladstone is calm and indicates that he fully expects a ransom demand by 'about 4' in the afternoon.

With nothing else to be done Hamilton and the archeologists explore the 'black passage', Gladstone still refuses to 'go below' saying this is 'ancient stuff' and he's more interested in the land of the living. The passage is even more fantastic than their initial view indicated, lined with 8x3 marble slabs each engraved and inlaid with precious metals and gemstones. Pictures of Pharaohs are 'dressed' in inlaid gold cloth and wear two dimensional 'real' jewelry. A high sided side passage comes off to the right, less well decorated but the 'gold chandeliers' that hang from the roof are soon round to be a series of spiked gibbets. At the end of the passageway the egyptologists are most intrigued to find the mechanism for the spear trap that was set off in the first dummy burial passage.

Exploring the main black passage, they find the snakes in the floor are 'scaled' in alternate gold and silver scales, and the whole passage carries on for 80' with the images on the walls and ceiling becoming more disturbing as they go on. At the end of the black passage a pair of burnished brass doors fill the corridor, and as the party approach they see the walls of the last twenty feet or so are decorated by the swirling writhing tenacles of an octopus, while the doors are etched with the teeth of its beaky maw. Roped together with Hamilton at the front the archeologists follow their intrepid sponsor to the door and it opens easily to his hand. He steps in to see a circular 15' room with a black sarcophagus, and feels a disturbing 'click' under his foot.

Behind Hamilton JohnShaePerring cries out as more serrated blades erupt from the floor, walls and ceiling for the 20' before the doors and he is impaled through the foot and in the side. Hamilton is alarmed to hear the sound of flowing sand and to see the brass doors start to close. Choosing the blades over being trapped he squeezes awkwardly between them as the doors push shut behind him removing any space to stand safely. Supporting himself among the razor sharp blads as if in an horrific game of twister Hamilton calls for help. HowardVyse quickly helps John and summons Hamiltons bodyguard, and together they start to break and bend the spikes away with pick-axes and brute strength. Hamiltons' strength is almost failing and he has taken some nasty cuts from resting on the blades as they take an hour to extricate him. The explorers make a sorry sight as they reach the surface with Hamilton slumped exhausted and bleeding between his bodyguards and John being helped by Howard while limping badly.

Sure enough, as Gladstone predicted a messenger arrives in the late afternoon with a message for 'Lord Hamilton'. Unwrapping a cigar box sized package Hamilton finds a silver hubble bubble mouthpiece he recognizes (see DeathOfAPrincess )and an unsigned note in a neutral hand;

   take all but the lowest treasures and leave the temple.
   you have my word the ladies will be returned unharmed.

There is some discussion regarding the meaning of the 'lowest treasures' but the archeologists understand they the may have to increase the rate of 'extraction' and instruct the diggers to start bringing anything they can to the surface, while the injured JohnShaePerring and MustafaAbu set off once again into Cairo with 100 of Hamilton's money to arrange for a caravan to transport the treasures.

Back in Cairo Wallace has been busy, he has reported the incident at the Embassy causing many raised eyebrows at the timing & description of his run from Giza to Cairo, and offered a 500 reward (who's money yet to be determined) for information leading to the finding of CountVladimirIvanoff and the recovery of Lady Macbeth. Stopping at the Hotel for a change of clothes and enjoying the facilities of the Embassy for a much needed bath. Mustafa Abu finds him at the embassy and passes on news of the ransom demand.

For the rest of the day the party at Giza are exceptionally busy, with Hamilton and the archeologists creating an ever increasing pile of treasure outside the cave while Gladstone and the guards fend off an increasing number of people searching for Lady Macbeth, many of whom start to loiter near the pile of treasure.

In a brief moment of rest Hamilton and Gladstone discuss the find at the bottom of the black passage and the dreadful trap there and Gladstone points out that the previous trap was a 'dummy' and it is likely that this one is too. Hamilton heads back down and he and the eyptologists take pick-axes to the gloriously decorated marble slabs along the walls - which has the side effect of rendering them into shards small enough to be man-handled out of the tomb by the diggers. Hamilton carefully removes the best of the jewelry & gems before hand, agreeing with Howard that these will help cover 'expedition expenses'.

Work continues through the night until everyone is exhausted, with Hamilton suffering terrible nightmares of being eaten by a giant octopus. Things are just picking up again the following day when Wallace, John and Abu arrive with a train of 50 camels. Wallace leaves the others with the camels at the mouth of the ravine and rides up, just as news breaks that below Hamilton and the others have broken through into a second passageway, 20' further on than the last on the right hand side of the black passage.

Hamilton is staring into the smaller passage, similarly lined with black marble, but this time decorated with a spiralling pattern of 'tentacles' that makes the passage seem to twist & spiral off into the gloom... his knees start to shake involuntarily.

References

[Tomb Map - extended]

[Tomb Raider] I couldn't resist putting this in HowardT


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Last edited January 24, 2007 6:38 pm by HowardT (diff)
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