The Blackstone Tomb came into focus, the whisp was hovering over the phone, working away with a tendril, it looked up at the group.
"Oh, I wasn't expecting you, I thought you'd messae first before coming?" The Warden asked.
Claire answered " We learned something this week and we need to discuss this with you. I spoke to Eldar Set , the guy who ran the Church that was trying to end the World, except he said he wasn't, he was trying save the world from your people's mistake." All motion in the tube stopped and briefly visible in the gas was pale white head with a pair of coal black eyes, before the gas swirled and the glimpse was gone." He even said that he talked with you, as well as another one of your people he called The Lady."
" He did visit once, yes. He asked me to help him in The Lady's plan, to allow the death of my charges, I refused that request as their sentence was already decided, it was not up to us to change the sentence now." The Warden explained
Angel spoke first," And what's this price that Humanity now has to pay for you? And what did you do?"
" The payment? I don't know, but what it's for is you, we created the first humans from the early Hominids, to do the things we couldn't, our kind didn't breed like you do, and we needed workers."
" Well that explains the no missing link... " Angel joked," no, " she squeezed her eyes and rubbed her temples," what did you do to them to make us? "
" I was not a part of that project, I was still a student when that happened, the various breeds where used for different purposes but I was too young to be aware of what was done and I didn't inquire as it was not encouraged, especially after the one whole branch rebelled and fled to the mountains. Parts of the military called for all humans to be wiped out, but wiser heads and the time already invested in you led to them being easily ignored." The Warden finished, Angel looked at Kat and Claire and shrugged
"Do you know who was involved? Are there records of the project?" Kat asked trying a different tack.
"Not here, the place of your creation was lost to a volcanic chain, long ago, the archive at" the word didn't translate at all, "might have something, if you can access the memory stacks."
"Well that place name is no longer in use, can you show us on the world map, please?" Kat asked, the map formed on the wall, the orginal, then several shifts as the map was brought up date, the imagine zoomed in on central Australia and Ullaroo, then back out, wheeling around up to the Himalayas, then North Africa, Egypt, the northern Nile, the pyramids briefly in focus then back out, west again,, Southern Morocco, the Atlas mountains, and back out, South America and the ruins of Pumapunko and lake Titicaca, back out again and down in on The Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans flashed past, focus on the swamp an unguessable distance from the city, then back out and a pause over The Great Lakes, the view rotated and paused, "these Lakes were not here, this area is confusing now, I will need time for this one," the map zoomed out again and spun south to Antarctica and it paused again, "there is much more of the dry cold sand than last time."
"pardon?" Kat asked
"the biting cold, the white sand that falls?" the Warden seemed confused.
"Snow?" Angel tried
"Snow..." the word was said in such a way that you could tell it was a new concept, "snow," several smaller lights flashed on, videos of snow ball fights, and snow angels and several dictionary pages visible, "yes snow, there is more here than I remember, the archive might be under the snow mountain that moves."
"Glacier" Claire supplied, again several images and screens.
"Glacier... It was in a mountain near to the snow and glaciers, it could still be viable and not damaged." The map went out and focused on the peninsula closest to Argentina and South America, slowly moving in until it found the a mountain, then swopped around," the land has changed I can't be sure if the archive still has a surface access point."
"door" Kat said, this was ignored.
"The site is still drawing earth energy so is still there,"
"Hang on, this place doesn't have a surface access." Angel stated
"door" kat whispered, drawing a smile from Claire.
"The Vermana came in through a cave, the entry way, "
"door" mutter Kat
"is concealed but remains open,"
"I thought we travelled via the earth energy, no that can wait, can you test with something? Send it and bring it back?" Angel asked
"I could try sending a small vermana... It will take me some time to get this ready, none of the smaller vermanas are able to make a visual record."
"how long?" Angel asked
"the vermanas have been left unattended for a long time, it could take several days to make one ready."
"Okay, anyone want to risk their phone?" Angel asked?
"no need," Kat replied pulling out her communicater and vanishing, Claire and Angel looked at each other.
"she'd better come back this time." Angel said.
"I don't think she'll run away this time, Kat wants to know more about this as well." Claire replied
"okay, hope your right."
5 minutes passed before Kat returned carrying a mid sized video camera, the type with the small video cassettes, Kat had taped a torch to top of it.
^What took you so long?" Angel asked
" I had to find the right tape, don't want to be recording over the kids first steps. " Kat replied
" What's this one? "Angel nodded at the camera.
" Sex tape, Lincoln assured me it'd be a turn on."
"Of course he did."
"I sort of liked it, but I really would not be upset if the tape was lost at the end of the world." Kat turned on the torch, and hit the record button, the battery showed 15%, "okay can you send this?" Kat asked The Warden.
"place it on the ground and step back, I will displace it to the archive and then move it around to several locations." Kat placed it on the floor and all 3 stepped back. The camera vanished, it was gone for about 3 minutes before being returned, Kat picked it up and rewound the tape, flipped the screen out and the others leaned in the whisp bobbed above them, she pressed play, and the image of this Tomb started playing, the camera went down to ground level and then everything went black for a moment then a constructed black stone wall, came into view in the torch light, blackness again and then several crystal filled racks where picked out in the torch light, the next room was lit, the architecture the same as that which surrounded them, blackness more crystals in racks, blackness, then 6 feet, and a pair of hands picking the camera up, snow on the screen as the recording stopped and then, a guy in what could at best be described as a posing pouch was wind milling his way towards the camera while a female voice laughed. "that's enough of that." Kat said, hitting stop and turning the camera off, she ejected the tape and put it in her pocket.
"So that's what you saw in him." Angel said, smuttely.
"So did one of the women he worked with, that's why we're divorced"
"You weren't to know, don't worry about it, I still have issues but I'm ambivalent about it now, especially as it turned out she was sleeping with the boss as well, and left him shortly after I found out."Are we doing this now?" Angel asked looking around at the 2 other women dressed as they were for California summer afternoon, not exploring an Antartic Tomb in what would be nearly darkest winter at the South Pole, "it might be a little cold down there at this time of year."
" Not sure when we can all get a day free again so we might as well chance it, and we can transition out if we need to, but I'd rather go suited up than in a vest top and sneakers, the armour undersuit will be another layer at least." Claire suggested
" At least I won't have to clean the glitter up this time. " Kat said," and I can drop the tape in a place it's unlikely to be ever found again. "
" okay, let's do it. " The three of them drew their items and spoke the words, a rainbow and glitter spread out and the 3 women where armoured and armed, Claire looked at the Warden,
" So how do we read the archive?"
"The information is encoded on the crystals on the magnetic tape machine image."
"video camera" Kat said, assuming the Warden didn't know the word.
"If you meditate on the crystal you should be able to access the information held within it."
"And what section are we looking for, I doubt it'll be labelled in English or 'how to make a human'"' Kat asked.
The Warden paused, the whisp appeared and traced out a symbol, "I believe this is what you should look for, but the archive is large, you might not find what you are looking for". Kat picked up the camera and had to change back to get the tape, she inserted it into the camera before changing again,
"Okay get the whisp to do the symbol again," she asked filming it, "okay got it, ready?" She asked
"Ready" Angel said
"Ready" Claire replied, "send us"
The Tomb disappeared and a colder black stone Tomb replaced it, the light was a touch harsher in this place as well, they looked around, the room they were in looked like the one they had left, except this one lacked the crystal tube.
"How long are we planning on exploring this place?" Angel asked
"It was quarter past 2 when I picked up the camera, so say 20 minutes have passed, makes it just after 2.30, give it until 4pm?" Kat suggested
"Sounds good, then we can finish that wine, " Claire added, "which way?"
"We could split up, explore 3 ways at once?" Kat suggested
"Nope, you never watched Scrooby Doo or any horror film? Don't split the party, also we only have 1 torch," Angel pointed to Kat's camera and the torch duct taped to it, "if the lights go out only one of us can see if we split up."
"Good point." Kat said, "okay pick a door way Angel"
"you're going first, as you have the shield," Kat explained
"we'll be right beside you" Claire said, Angel braced the spear in the shield, Claire looked at it, then took the camera and unwound the duct tape and torch, "pass me that, please" and she attached it to the spear, and handed it back to Angel, "more used to that being a shot gun." she said.
"let's hope we don't need it" Angel said, she nodded to a doorway " that way," Claire stood right next to Angel with her left hand on her shoulder, Kat stood on the other side, with her left arm on Angel's other shoulder, they went through the doorway into a tunnel, the lights were on, so they left the torch off for now, the tunnel was the same as the ones at the Warden's Tomb, they passed two doorways, each leading to a room full of different coloured crystals, but they didn't see the symbol they we're looking for in either room, they came into a 3rd doorway,, this one was dark, Angel turned the torch on, and pointed it into the new room, the torch beam was swallowed by the darkness, Angel aimed it downwards and a couple of tiers came into view, each tier larger than would be comfortable for a human to sit at, Angel jumped down first, then Kat and Claire followed, a 3rd tier was exposed by the torch light, Angel swang the torch to either side the side walls of the room came into view, at either side there looked like stairs going downwards to the front of the room, the party moved towards the stairs, then approached the front of the room.
"You both think this is looking like a theatre don't you?" Angel asked, Claire and Kat agreed, they passed the 4th then 5th tier before the floor leveled out, and then rose to a what could have been a stage, as they crossed the room in front of the stage a familiar red gold glow reflected in the light, Angel aimed her spear up onto the stage, and a throne came into the torch beam, above the throne was a large crystal. They climbed up onto the stage for a closer look, again the throne was too large for a human, in the arm rests were what looked like gel under where the hands would rest.
"Who wants to try it?" Angel asked
"Are you insane?" Kat replied, "We have no idea what this is." Claire reached out and touched it, then took off her gauntlet and ran her hand over the arm, she paused over the gel plate before dipping her finger tips in,
"shush" Claire closed her eyes, Angel and Kat watched in trepidation. "oh wow, I can feel the place, it has a name," Claire spoke, 2 words that hadn't been heard in over 6000 years. " I can turn the lights on," slowly the lights came up, the impression of a theatre was re-enforced, " I can't find what we are looking for here. " Claire took her hand out of the gel, she blinked a few times and looked around, "oh wow that's a strange feeling."
"What is?" Angel asked.
"Coming back into yourself from that place"
"I'm in no rush to try it." Angel replied with a small shudder. "Come on, let's get moving again" the 3 jumped down from the stage and moved over to the staircase they'd descended and climb up out of the theatre, the feeling of the Tomb had changed with the lights now being on and the 3 of them relaxed a bit. "Kat, did you ever find a throne like that in the Wardens Tomb?"
"No but then I didn't find the Nephilim either, that doesn't mean one isn't there, but with the Warden being in its tube it could be it doesn't need one?" Kat suggested. They carried on down this tunnel, finding 2 more rooms, one was filled in by a cave in,
" What are the odds the stuff we need is shattered into a thousand pieces under there?" Angel griped.
" probably high" Kat replied.
They moved on to the next room, this corridor ending in its doorway, again this was set up like a theatre but on the stage was a table, they approached the stage and climbed up, looking at the table, it was long side on to where the audience would have sat, Claire stepped forward and ran her fingers over the surface, tracing the indentations, and noticing an incline to it, what looked like a drain at the lowest end,
"I think this is an autopsy table" she stated looking at it,
"Who performes an autopsy to an audience?" Kat asked
"Historical, lots of people. Come let's get out of here" Claire lead the way.
They returned to the main room chose another door, this one had a couple of crystal archives but none with the symbol they were looking for. This corridor ended in a flight of stairs that lead downwards, the corridor going back under the one they'd just walked along, they went down, about 20 ft down, 2 doorways faced each other, they walked up and looked into one, it looked like it might have been living quarters, long ago but was now mostly piles of desiccated wood and dried leather, on the other side was a large, deep hole in the floor, at the bottom of the hole was several skeletons of large birds.
"Are those penguin skeletons?" Kat asked, "because I've never seen a penguin that large before"
"I think so, got to be at least 6ft tall, Angel, go down there and lie down as I we can see how big they are." Claire suggested.
"fuck off, I am not messing around with the bones of anything", they returned to the corridor, about 50 ft on they noticed another pair of doorways facing each other, they moved down towards the next doors, looking in on the left it looked like more living room, a long mirror was on one wall beside the arch, the mirror itself was taller than Angel could reach, several alcoves next to another mirror held several small pots, and a couple of rails held what might have been cloths once.
"is this a dressing room?" Kat asked.
"it certainly would be one with little effort," Angel replied
"back here" Claire said, standing by an archway, "if this isn't a bathroom I'd be surprised, and at a guess, through that arch we'll find a bedroom and that'll lead into the living room"
"So a living space for someone important?" Angel asked
"Safe bet," Kat replied, "let's check the other side"
Across the corridor was what looked like a massive warehouse, it was also colder than the other rooms had been, the far end was lost in darkness
"I think we've found the front door," Kat said looking around, in the distance was a large doorway, flanked by 4 statues, "what are those?" as they approached details became apparent, each statue had 4 faces, one an Eagle, one a Bull, one a Lion and one a human, each one had 4 wings, and hooved feet.
They walked through the doorway and a short corridor into what could be described as a large reception room. Another 4 of the statues flanked the next doorway.
A look through the archway showed another large room, a raised path ran above a lowered floor on both sides three quarters of the way across the room was another throne and beyond the throne was a stage and at the back wall was a large double ring, one of red gold and an inner ring of black stone, the group approached the throne, this one was far more ornate than the last one, bejeweled, silver and gold filigree, and where the palms would rest was 2 gel pools, as well as around where the head would be was a semi circle of red gold metal.
"Okay that's a throne." Claire said, Kat reached up and touched to the gel.
"I'd rather you wouldn't" said a disembodied voice.