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THE ADVENTURES OF GRACE QUINLAN AND LORD WILLIAM HAYDEN
(The Complete Novel) Vol me! "# $# %# &# '
The Adventures of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden The Complete Novel Volumes 1, , !, ", # $evised, %&panded, $eformatted Ne' %dition (uly )11 *y +orothy ,aula -reda .,seudonym / ,aula -reda0 -ormerly pu*lished under the title1 2n Another Life .-rom the (ournals of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden0 *y same author, +orothy ,aula -reda Cover photo and inserts licensed *y ,aula -reda from i3toc4photo5com Author retains all ri6hts5 All ri6hts reserved, includin6 the ri6ht to reproduce this *oo4 or portions thereof5 This novel is a 'or4 of fiction5 %&cept for documented historical data and 6eo6raphical locations, all names, characters, places and incidents are a product of the author7s ima6ination5 Any resem*lance to persons livin6 or dead is
DEDICATION With thanks to my Lord Jesus and his Blessed Mother Mary whose strength, guidance, and her Holy Rosary, are my anchor in this troubled world, I dedicate this novel to my husband, whose love, patience and kindness over the past ! years have kept my dreams and my view o" the romantic, alive and vibrant#$ %aula &reda
The Adventures of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden Alon the Nile !olume "
CHA#TE$ ONE %une "&'& (rom the corner of her eye %li8a*eth noticed Lord Hayden enterin6 the li*rary and head for the section on ancient relics5 3he pushed her 6lasses further up the *rid6e of her short, *ut in9uisitive nose5 The slim 6old, 6rey/tinted 6lasses had a ha*it of slippin6, 'hich she encoura6ed5 Her *ro'n o&fords thumped across the tiled floor as she approached Lord Hayden5 :Good afternoon, ,rofessor Hayden5 Could you spare a moment; The meanin6 of this particular phrase eludes me5: 3he did not 'ait for him to 6lance at her, *ut placed her opened *oo4 on top of his and pointed to a series of %6yptian sym*ols5 :Would you *e so 4ind;: 3he i6nored his irrita*le fro'n5 Lord Hayden controlled his rampant ur6e to run5
Lately she sou6ht his advice daily and he suspected she nurtured a crush on him5 Coincidentally, she had purchased the cotta6e opposite his5 He had seriously contemplated movin65 %li8a*eth normally left her home for Layton Hall at the same time he did5 T'o 'ee4s a6o, her car had conveniently stalled as he 'as startin6 his5 <f course, he had *een o*li6ed to 6ive her a lift5 ,rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e 'as 'ell 4no'n and respected in archaeolo6ical circles, even if she did her research and developed her theories from *ehind her des45 He mi6ht have 'elcomed her attentions if she 'as youn6er and attractive, or if her 6lasses did not constantly han6 on her short nose, or if her hair 'as not such an intense, som*er shade of dar4 *ro'n, pulled painfully and ti6htly up into a *un to sit purposefully and ridiculously on top of her head, li4e a day/ old toasted *a6el5 ,erhaps if she 'as not almost as tall as he 'as, her le6s not so spindly, her hips and *reasts none&istent, her 'ool suits so 6rey and her man/tailored shirts so stiff and hi6h/collared, then he mi6ht have found her remotely attractive5 ,erhaps then, he mi6ht have considered a casual relationship, if only for the reason that her archaeolo6ical e&pertise 'as nothin6 to sneer at5 At thirty/five, she 'as his peer and easy to converse 'ith, havin6 lon6 6raduated colle6e, and attended various schools a*road 'here she had earned de6rees in ,aleontolo6y and Archeolo6y5 Her eyes under the 6rey tinted 6lasses held an ea6er e&pression 'henever discussions centered on the sciences dear to his heart5 %nthusiasm laced her lectures in class5 =no'in6 that she 'ould su*stitute for him durin6 his e&ploratory trips, he need never 'orry that his students mi6ht fall *ehind in their studies5 Her love of the ancient e9ualed and sometimes surpassed his5 He did not mind her company durin6 lunch and *rea4s in the faculty loun6e5 3he listened to him 'ith una*ashed interest, occasionally insertin6 comments>e&pert ones5 <n the rare occasions she attended a social function at the colle6e and allo'ed herself a *it of unrestrained lau6hter, her face
'ould li6ht and color and the dra*ness momentarily vanish5 <n those rare occasions, he 'ould thin4 that she had *een 9uasi/attractive as a 6irl5 A loveless past may have 4ept her from *lossomin6 into all that a 'oman could5 He admired that she did not attempt to cover her plainness 'ith layers of ma4eup, unashamedly simple *oth in her non/use of cosmetics and in her unconcealed 9uest for 4no'led6e5 %li8a*eth interrupted his flo' of thou6hts5 :,rofessor Hayden;: 3he coc4ed her head in9uisitively and nud6ed his shoulder5 3he controlled a chuc4le as he appeared momentarily startled, reali8in6 he had not ans'ered her 9uestion *ut had *een starin6 at her5 :?/?es, 'hat can 2 do for you;: The phrase, remem*er; 2 as4ed if you could help me decipher its meanin65: :<h, yes5: He studied the sym*ols5 :@y the 'ay, Lord Hayden, Happy @irthday5 Thirty/ ei6ht, isn7t it; The years do have a 'ay of pilin6 up, don7t they;: (ust one of many details she had 9uietly researched a*out him5 Not amused, he i6nored her 9uestion and her comment, and replied, :Truth5 These sym*ols si6nify truth5 And this one,: he pointed to another, :represents a 'oman5 This other represents a valua*le 6em5: :An opal,: %li8a*eth revised, :reputed to have and *esto' mystical po'ers5 2ts o'ner is said to have *een a 'oman of royal descent, and a clairvoyant5 Little is 4no'n a*out her e&cept that she 'as *eautiful in *ody and in soul5 Apon her death, her priests placed the opal in the under6round temple alon6side her *urial cham*er, some'here in the Valley of the Queens5 Neither her tom*, nor the temple has ever *een located5: %li8a*eth smiled, continuin6, :Than4 you5 ?ou7ve *een most helpful5 We 'ill have to discuss the possi*ilities of findin6 her tom*, and the temple, and the opal5 2f they e&ist>: 3he did not need to ela*orate5 He understood5 :27m intri6ued,: he admitted5 :And 27m sure the Buseum 'ould *e interested, *ut as for mystical po'ers
2 plan to scour li*raries and contact as many archaeolo6ical societies as 2 can 'ithin that time5 What a*out you. you spea4 of mystical encounters5: A6ain he chose not to comment5 :+o you plan to research the 'herea*outs of this lady7s tom*.: He re6arded her slyly as thou6h he suspected that she already 4ne' the ans'er to her 9uestion5 Givin6 her the *enefit of the dou*t. 'as she actually attemptin6 to secure his attentions.: %li8a*eth remar4ed5 3he removed her *oo4 from the top of his5 :%nCoy yourself5: 3he felt Lord Hayden7s nonplussed 6a8e follo' her as she retraced her steps up the aisle5 He 'ould *e 'onderin6. so vividly detailed in your pu*lished Cournals. and often sponsored his trips to o*tain precious artifacts for outri6ht purchase or lease for e&hi*ition5 :Another imminent entry to your ne&t Cournal. spectacled. no matter if archeolo6y 'as her first love.: he as4ed5 :Bost definitely5 With summer vacation Cust a fe' days a'ay. he replied. 2 venture its o'ner merely possessed a hi6hly perceptive nature5 The po'ers of the mind 'e ta4e for 6ranted today often savored of mysticism to the ancient %6yptian5: :. And ho' could a 'oman as smart as she ever ima6ine that he 'ould form a se&ual liaison 'ith a s4inny. 6rey/eyed spinster.attached to the opal. Have you special plans. %li8a*eth reseated herself at the readin6 ta*le5 A sad smile played on her untinted lips5 Lord Hayden 'as a 6entleman and an adventurer rolled into one5 3he had 6athered 9uite a dossier on him5 He 'as a *rilliant teacher and in6enious at discoverin6 and ac9uirin6 relics that *rou6ht the . :27m leavin6 for %urope5 A pre/$oman *uildin6 has *een unearthed in an archaeolo6ical e&cavation in 3icily5 The *oard has authori8ed the purchase of artifacts uncovered 'ith it5: @oth the Colle6e and Buseum +irectors considered Lord Hayden their *est asset.erhaps5 ?et in all your travels and e&plorations. as her heavy o&fords pounded the floor tiles.
past into the present5 Never in her life had she felt such an affinity for another human *ein65 And never in her life had she stood such small chance of re9uital5 -or years. *ut mostly she felt 6rateful she 'ould never 9ualify for one of those ne'spaper clippin6s5 2t 'ould hurt too much to love and then find herself replaced5 3he 4ne' he respected her intelli6ence5 3everal times they had colla*orated on anti9uarian reports5 Whenever he returned from his trips 'ith valua*le finds. he discussed them freely 'ith her5 Those conversations 'hen Lord Hayden for6ot the plain 'allflo'er. she 6limpsed herself in the 'indo' pane *eside a lit lamp5 The ima6e of herself alon6side the de*onair. *ecame the happiest times she had ever 4no'n5 He had never married. yet chose to live in a simple cotta6e a mile from the colle6e campus5 3afely hidden in her dresser dra'er 'ere ne'spaper clippin6s of Lord Hayden and *eautiful 'omen 'ho had shared his e&ploits5 3he could not deny Cealousy. she had follo'ed his e&ploits. and sa' only the ea6er archaeolo6ist. resourceful archaeolo6ist had made her lau6h aloud5 3he 9uic4ly cleared her throat. includin6 Lord Hayden.oddess %syche# ?esD she 9uietly cheered5 %li8a*eth closed her *oo4 'ith a snap. her astute eye had cau6ht the title of the chapter that held his interest5 'icily()rchaeological *igs( +he Lost +emple o" the . startlin6 several of the li*rary7s visitors. as did most of the colle6e staff and many of the students5 His *oo4s often 'ere *est sellers. mentally devourin6 his pu*lished Cournals. and . fei6nin6 a cou6h5 That evenin6 she reali8ed ho' important it 'as to 4eep alive his respect for her intelli6ence5 @efore she had plun4ed her *oo4 over the one Lord Hayden 'as readin6. thou6h most considered him 9uite a catch5 His *ride 'as Archeolo6y5 3he recalled one evenin6 durin6 a staff meetin6 'hen she had contemplated as4in6 him if she mi6ht accompany him on one of his searches5 As she *e6an to form her first 'ord. 6arnerin6 him hefty royalties5 He did not need to teach to earn a livin65 He 'as 'ealthy *y *irth and inheritance and o'ned estates in %n6land.
her sli6ht ma4eup. none could deny his handsome profile5 The ste'ardess on *oard inspected him openly. smilin6 and touchin6 the rim of his hat5 3uited in 6rey linen. if she found him appealin6. cra8y. mi6ht provide that rela&ation nicely5 He settled into his seat in preparation for ta4eoff5 The 'oman 'ho had spar4ed Lord Hayden7s interest turned and 6lanced a6ain at her admirer5 3he could Cust ma4e out the top of his head5 A smile parted her softly tinted mouth5 3he had cau6ht Lord Hayden noticin6 her. not attemptin6 to hide her appreciation as he removed his hat and slid his travelin6 *a6 into the overhan65 He made sure to return her loo4 of appreciation5 3he 'as slender.: the captain 6reeted as Lord Hayden *oarded the plane to the Continent5 Hayden ac4no'led6ed the 6reetin6. she tromped out of the li*rary5 An idea formed in her mind as she drove home5 2t 'as a 'ild. velvety am*er reds and dar4 yello's. eye*ro's t'ee8ed and finely penciled.herself5 3he lo'ered her 6a8e shame/faced5 With re6ard to the eminent professor. 6a8in6 out the 'indo'5 . idiotic idea5 @ut she 'as smart>it Cust mi6ht 'or4D EEE :Nice to see you a6ain.ossi*ly. meticulously appliedF a hint of *lush on her chee4s. as thou6h in her case nature had not *een a*le to ma4e up its mind5 He had already made up his mind to meet her5 A little rela&ation *efore plun6in6 into the 3icilian +i65 And that vision of loveliness. attractive and *londe5 He mi6ht have continued his appraisal e&cept that another female cau6ht his eye5 Lovely. she sensed his interest. and mi&tures thereof. she 'as turnin6 into a lovesic4 puppy5 This simply 'ould not do5 3omethin6 must chan6e5 $isin6 6rimly. his 6lance . li4e autumn leaves5 3he sat a fe' seats further up the aisle. lips tinted a soft coral pin45 3he 'ore a fitted *lue suit5 Her hair 'as her *est asset5 3houlder/ len6th and 'avy. for she turned and *riefly 6a8ed at him5 3he 'as indeed lovely. it cau6ht the sun7s *rilliance streamin6 throu6h the 'indo' and shone the colors of autumn>muted.
she thou6ht. and lon6/s4irted man/tailored suits and 6rey *usiness sheers to ma4e her le6s appear thin and unappealin65 @ut of late. *reathin6 out 6ently5 A 'ild. and a splash of s'eet smellin6 eau de colo6ne.definitely loaded 'ith enthusiasm5 ?es. idiotic idea5 @ut it Cust mi6ht 'or4D CHA#TE$ TWO Eli8a*eth con6ratulated herself5 Her 'ell/4ept secret 'ould remain a secret5 The 'orld of the ")s and #)s did not e&pect a female professor of archeolo6y to *e au*urn/haired. cra8y. Captain Crai6 Coined the ste'ardess to chec4 on the passen6ers5 Lord Hayden thou6ht this moment propitious to as4 the Captain to introduce him to the russet/6olden haired 'oman 'ho sat a fe' seats in front of him5 :%&cuse me. minus the 6rey lenses. slim and lovely5 The standards of her time rarely e9uated *eauty 'ith intelli6ence5 3uch a professor 'ould *e a distraction to the male students and create envy amon6 the females5 Thus. had transformed the flounder into a sultry catfish5 When the plane had settled into a *elly s9uat a*ove the clouds. non/spectacled. 6lo'ed red/6old. she nurtured a desire to fre9uent Lord Hayden7s company5 -or the first time since her student years. under'ear made to uplift rather than camoufla6e. spar4led li4e emeralds5 All this and the fetchin6 *lue suit purchased at a fashiona*le *outi9ue. Biss Grace Quinlan. she had created a facade accepta*le to the 'orld of her time and Layton Hall5 Wee4ly she saturated her hair 'ith the most horrid *ro'n rinse she could find5 3he 'ore rest 6lasses tinted 6rey5 Wore underclothes proportioned to hide her 6raceful lines.: the Captain touched her shoulder5 :An ac9uaintance of mine 'ould li4e to *e formally introduced5: He turned to allo' Hayden 'ho . and 'ove and fell softly a*out her shoulders5 A da* of rou6e smoothed li6htly over her chee4s added a lively rosiness to her face5 Her 6reen eyes. she had discarded her facade5 Her hair 'ashed of the rinse and free of the confinin6 hairdo.
on the contrary. if you promise to stay out of mine5: Hayden opened his mouth. holdin6 it lon6er than necessary. an e&plorer and instructor. 2 'as hopin6 'e mi6ht have555 dinner to6ether5: :$eally.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 :Hotel 2nterna8ionale. :N/no. acceptin6 his handsha4e5 He contemplated her smooth. currently teachin6 at Layton Hall5: %li8a*eth %ldrid6e 6a8ed strai6ht into Lord Hayden7s face and sa' not even a thread of reco6nition5 2nstead. as Captain Crai6 retreated discreetly5 :27m on my 'ay to . casually5 Lord Hayden arched his *ro's5 Another coincidence5 :That7s the hotel 27ll *e stayin6 at as 'ell5 2t seems 'e7re fated to see more of each other5: %merald 6reen eyes narro'ed5 :Not necessarily5 27ll stay out of your 'ay.: Hayden said.: she said. yes5 ?ou7re familiar 'ith the di6.: :2f you li4e.: he said 'ith rene'ed self/assurance5 He leaned *ac4 smu6ly5 .: %li8a*eth in9uired5 :?es5 And please call me William.: she ans'ered. slim hand. Lord Hayden.: %li8a*eth replied.: :27m a 'riter. settlin6 do'n *eside her5 :The lost Temple of . enroute to the site to research an article on the temple5: :Then 'e have somethin6 to tal4 a*out5: :2t appears 'e do. Lord Hayden. *ut all at once he seemed not sure 'hat to say5 He finally stammered. 'hat she cau6ht 'as that 6lint of admiration and that hint of a smile he normally reserved for those fortunate enou6h to spar4 his interest5 Lord Hayden e&tended his hand5 :Bay 2 Coin you. aristocratic instructor and the *eautiful 'omen 'ho fre9uently shared his travels and the poses. flashed throu6h her mind5 Had they *een as *esotted as she had *ecome5 %li8a*eth felt humiliated5 :Where 'ill you *e stayin6.stood *ehind him to sho' himself5 :This is Lord William Hayden. to visit an archaeolo6ical di6.: :Why.scyhe.alermo. annoyed5 3o that 'as ho' Lord Hayden operated5 The photos of the handsome.
the museum 2 represent 'ould *e 'illin6 to pay. tastin6. he must *e fumin6 and 'onderin6 'as he 6ro'in6 old and losin6 his touch. her hair loose and streamin6 a*out her small/*oned chee4s. of course. his e6o deflated. plainly alarmed at his lac4 of affect on one attractive. :-or such a piece as this.: he mum*led. The follo'in6 day. had *een set up outside the di65 Lord Hayden pic4ed up the fi6urine 'ith the care it deserved5 The ancient artist had sculpted .: Lord Hayden as4ed the official5 :The statuette is not for sale. elicited little reaction compared to his e&citement as he *eheld the mar*le fi6urine of the Goddess . toes finely he'n. temporarily *lan4ed his memory of the au*urn/haired *eauty5 %ven the 4no'led6e that she occupied the room opposite his. and her hands at her sides. delicately carved fin6ers spread apart as if to feel the air rushin6 throu6h them5 :Ho' much. the 3icilian artifacts unearthed durin6 the di6 in the 3icilian countryside.: the official replied5 Hayden entreated.:Lord Hayden>William. touchin6. she *ent to rumma6e inside the tote *a6 at her feet5 @ut from the corner of her eye she noted Lord Hayden7s mouth 9uir4 'ryly as she too4 out a *oo4 from her *a6 and immersed herself in readin65 %li8a*eth smiled as Lord Hayden returned to his seat5 No dou*t.syche5 Ta*les *ehind 'hich a 6overnment official supervised. Lord Hayden7s anticipation of seein6. hearin6. and if it 'ere possi*le.syche as a youn6 6irl in flo'in6 ro*es. let7s say>five thousand5: . seemin6ly intelli6ent female5 He stood up5 :3ee you around5: %li8a*eth did not ans'er him5 With an air of dismissal. confusion and do'nri6ht indi6nation5 :?/yes.: she corrected5 2 have a lot of readin6 to do on 3icilian archeolo6y5 3o if you don7t mind. her tiny feet *are. smellin6. 'e can pic4 up this conversation at the hotel5: Hayden7s mouth fell open5 His face clearly sho'ed his emotions runnin6 the 6amut of surprise.
you may choose to *id for one of these lesser pieces5: He pointed to an assortment of 6old *o'ls and utensils. and several other pieces of art.: he in9uired5 :G#. ta4in6 out his chec4*oo45 :We have not finished di66in6.: :At least a month.))) for a conversation piece.: the official reminded him5 :There may *e other finds that our country can spare5 Ho' lon6 do you plan to *e in .: he said.: Lord Hayden replied as he 'rote out the chec45 :Bay*e more5: :Well then.alermo. a miniature of the Apollo @elvedere5 Lord Hayden fro'ned5 Why display the statuette 'ith the other artifacts if it 'as not for sale5 The ans'er he reasoned>to attract *uyers for the other artifacts5 Not an unheard of *usiness tactic5 He 'ould have to settle for the Apollo5 He pic4ed up the Apollo5 :And the cost.: :Ta4e it or leave it5 2 can 6et three times that price at the auction tomorro'5: Lord Hayden studied the Apollo5 He had seen many others li4e it. amon6 them. *ut the museum he represented did not have one5 :All ri6ht.: the official said. as Lord Hayden.)))5 Throu6h the years 'e have recovered several of these replicas5 They ma4e e&cellent conversation pieces5: Lord Hayden sco'led5 :G#.The 2talian official lau6hed outri6ht5 :3i6nore. my country 'ould not sell it for a hundred times that price5 The statuette 'ill *e placed in our national museum5 Ho'ever. handed him the chec45 :There are crates and pac4in6 materials on the side of the ta*le5 Help yourself5: Hayden chose a medium/si8ed crate and filled it 'ith stra'5 He du6 a hole in the stra' and carefully *e6an to place the Apollo inside5 3omethin6 cau6ht his 'ell/trained eye5 3ym*ols 6rouped to6ether under its *ase5 <n closer inspection. 27m sure 'e 'ill do *usiness a6ain. %6yptian hiero6lyphics5 He 6lanced at the official 'ho sat ma4in6 entries in a lar6e *lac4 *oo45 He *uried the Apollo inside the stra' and secured the lid5 With the crate .
Truth5 @less %li8a*eth7s spinsterish heart. *ut remained silent5 This time she 'ould have to do the invitin65 :Lord Hayden. not to mention a monetary contri*ution or t'o5 :(oin me in my hotel room.: Lord Hayden decided on the prudence of sharin6 his discovery5 An article on the piece 'ould *rin6 attention and added visitors to the museum. chuc4lin65 Three %6yptian sym*ols had *een clearly reco6ni8a*le on the *ase of the Apollo555 Woman. he 'as sure to as4 her to stay the ni6ht5 The proposition had *een there since their introduction on the plane5 2f she refused to 6o to his hotel room.under his arm. and 'e7ll e&amine the statuette to6ether5: To %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. no' under the 6uise of Grace Quinlan. 'hat a pleasant surprise.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e 'ould not 6ive to *e in his shoes at this moment. startin6 up the car5 :@y the 'ay. he 'al4ed to the car he had rented at the airport5 What . he thou6ht. and her theory a*out the Bystical <pal and the undiscovered tom* in the Valley of the Queens5 There mi6ht *e somethin6 to her theory5 Lord Hayden chec4ed the rear/vie' mirror as he inserted the 4ey into the i6nition5 His eyes 'idened and he turned a*ruptly5 :Biss Grace Quinlan. do you have any *oo4s to read. she 'ould *e denied the opportunity of e&aminin6 the Apollo and discoverin6 'hat had suddenly enthralled Lord Hayden to the point of not seein6 her 'hen she had stood in .: he 6reeted the red/6old/haired *eauty sittin6 in the *ac4 seat5 Her smile 'as nothin6 short of 6uileless5 :2 too4 a ta&i to the site. 2 noticed you e&aminin6 the Apollo statuette5 ?ou seemed intri6ued *y somethin65 Bay 2 as4 'hat that 'as. some'hat vindicated. the implications re6istered loud and clear5 2f she accepted Lord Hayden7s invitation. <pal. he *e6an drivin6 and turned into the main road5 He stole 6lances at his passen6er via the rear/vie' mirror.: Hayden replied.: Not e&pectin6 an ans'er. *ut he never sho'ed to pic4 me up for the return trip5 2 thou6ht you mi6ht 6ive me a lift *ac4 to the hotel5: :By pleasure.
the eyes 6a8ed intently5 A fleetin6 familiarity. of course. *ut in certain mannerisms5 2n her voice. and in the 'ay she listened. then he 'ould have only himself to *lame5 :27d li4e very much to Coin you and e&amine the fi6ure5 Am 2 ri6ht in assumin6 you7ve stum*led on to somethin6 more than Cust a conversation piece.plain vie'5 Archeolo6y. in case anyone *eside himself suspected the sculpture7s possi*le importance5 When they had finished eatin6. hearin6 precisely 'hat he said. al'ays closest to her heart. :27m interested in the meanin6 of the sym*ols5 They mi6ht lead to other finds and provide the *asis for a fascinatin6 article5: He nodded5 :2 concur5: . decided for her5 2f he too4 her ans'er to imply more than 'hat it meant. not 'hat she 'anted to hear5 He 'as ama8ed at her 4no'led6e of archeolo6y5 Their conversation made him an&ious to 6et to his room and decipher the rest of the sym*ols under the *ase of the Apollo5 He felt 'ith his ri6ht foot for the crate under the ta*le5 He had not 'anted to entrust it to the safety of his room. her lips pursed. and 'ho 'as he to loo4 a 6ift horse in the mouth5 The ima6e of a 'ooden TroCan horse rose in his mind5 Lord Hayden cleared his throat nervously and focused on the turn ahead5 EEE 3he Coined him for dinner that evenin65 He li4ed the 'ay she ate 'ith 6usto5 Boreover. she 'as easy to tal4 'ith. *ut he had to concentrate on the road5 He shru66ed5 The lady 'as 'illin6. Lord Hayden su66ested. :Well. He 6lanced a6ain into the rear/vie' mirror at his passen6er and found her e&pression va6uely familiarF somethin6 a*out the 'ay her small chin thrust out.: Lord Hayden7s dar4 *ro's 4nitted5 Ho' did she 4no' 'hat the official had said. shall 'e 6o upstairs and do some research> on the fi6ure5: %li8a*eth replied. some'hat li4e %li8a*eth %ldrid6e5 The resem*lance had da'ned on him over dessert5 Not in her appearance. or 'as it merely another coincidence.
*ut her hesitancy did not escape him5 3he 'as ne' at the 6ame. the one all the others 'ere modeled after5: :What a*out the reference to the opal and the 'oman. nothin6 disrespectful5 We 'ill e&amine the fi6ure and 'or4 on decipherin6 the sym*ols5 Then 'e7ll call it a ni6ht5 Her emerald 6a8e lifted to his. as close as any collea6ue mi6ht5 He 'as ama8ed that her Coy at the messa6e the hiero6lyphics imparted 'as as unrestrained as his5 :This is itD: Lord Hayden e&claimed5 :This is the ori6inal. and that means startin6 out early in the mornin6 for .erhaps in her case he should *e less for'ard5 . she thou6ht. her mind pleaded5 Let the archaeologist in me e/amine it. the same inscription ta4en from a 'all inside a tom* in the Valley of the Queens5 %li8a*eth fou6ht to restrain her e&citement5 3he lon6ed to have the statue to herself to e&amine it thorou6hly as Lord Hayden 'as doin65 To do so in front of him 'ould arouse his suspicions as to her true occupation5 Archaeolo6ists had a 'ay a*out them. 2 promise. as he 'as *idin6 his 'ith re6ard to her as a 'oman.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 The Apollo 'as another lin4 'ith the inscription she had found in a very old *oo4 on %6yptolo6y. *ri6htenin65 3he smiled 6ratefully and follo'ed him 'illin6ly into his room 'here she proceeded to 'or4 'ith him on the meanin6 of the sym*ols. or she did not play it 'ith Cust anyone5 .t stand it# Let me take it to my room. 'atchin6 Lord Hayden e&amine the Apollo for the thousandth time5 I can.erhaps this one 'as a little more special5 Her silence intensified as they left the elevator and neared his room5 He sensed the *attle *et'een her curiosity a*out the Apollo fi6urine and her reluctance to enter his room5 @luntness seemed the *etter course5 He turned to her5 :Grace. he thou6ht.2nside the elevator. and truth. he noted her silence and the soft *lush on her chee4s5 3he 4ept her 6a8e lo'ered. un"ettered by this disguise5 :Lord Hayden. 2 really must 6o5 2 need to do more research on the e&cavation site for my article. *ide her time. and Lord Hayden7s 9uic4 mind 'ould 6uess5 3he 'ould have to 'ait. respectin6 her innocence alon6 'ith her intelli6ence5 -o more.
:All ri6ht5 @ut 'e can 'or4 to6ether5 2 need to visit the site a6ain as 'ell and plan to stay in .: he 'hispered into the top of her hair. a temporary companion. a charmin6 'oman to pose 'ith. and 'hen Lord Hayden7s lips caressed her chee4. the opal. *ut never 9uite 6rasped it5 There 'as somethin6 he 'anted to do much more5 His arm settled a*out her shoulders5 :Grace Quinlan. someone 'ith 'hom to share an adventure. %li8a*eth turned her face. she *ac4ed a'ay5 :Lord Hayden. may 2 6o no'.: Hayden fro'ned *ut did not protest5 . smilin65 Lord Hayden escorted her to the door. 'ise and *eautiful5 Ho' 'ould she have reacted in this situation. and the 'oman. and another ne'spaper clippin6 for my scrap*oo45 3o much depended on her stren6th of purpose5 3he concentrated all that stren6th on the vision of the for6otten tom*. a deep rich au*urn in the lampli6ht5 The strands felt li4e sil45 He turned her slo'ly to'ard him5 3he 4ept her 6a8e lo'ered and he had to lift her chin to ma4e her loo4 into his eyes5 %li8a*eth7s heart hammered5 His eyes 'ere a deep dar4 *ro'n5 3he 'as lost in them5 His 4iss 'as li6ht and s'eet. :27ll call for you at si&5 2s that early enou6h.the ne&t fe' days5: Lord Hayden 'ondered if she reali8ed her voice trem*led5 Gently he replied. that pursin6 of softly tinted lips5 A6ain there 'as that fleetin6 sense of familiarity5 @echarmed. that shy lo'erin6 of emerald eyes.: 3he nodded. s'eeter than any of the fe' she had 4no'n in her student years5 3he suspected it 'ould not remain so if she permitted him to continue5 %asier to clim* to the surface from the *ottom of the ocean than dra' her mouth from his.alermo at least for a month5 No need to pay a ta&i 'hen 2 can drive you *ac4 and forth5: :That7s 4ind of you. Would she have dared 'hat %li8a*eth %ldrid6e had contrived. he as4ed. *ut she must5 2 'ill not *e Cust a pretty face. reached for the door4no*.: %li8a*eth said5 A6ain he noted that *lush.
the si8e of a slender fist. an amoe*a floatin6 in a spectrum of sil4y pastels5 The amoe*a *e6an to fuse 'ith the li6ht5 The %6yptian no*les and their ladies chanted louder. stretched. risin6 slo'ly. the su*Cects lifted their faces and 6a8ed fully into the li6ht5 A loud. her 6a8e mesmeri8ed *y the 6em. he released her and opened the door5 :3i&. encompassin6 the 'oman and her throne5 Her su*Cects *e6an to chant5 They prostrated themselves and hid their faces from the li6ht5 The 'oman7s form.: he said simply5 EEE %li8a*eth slept fitfully5 +reams superimposed upon each other.: Lord Hayden repeated5 He 'aved his hand in front of her eyes5 :Wa4e up5: %li8a*eth *lin4ed several times5 3ince openin6 the door she had *een starin6 at him trance/li4e5 :2 haven7t 9uite . their prostrated *odies s'ayin6 'ith the intensity of their chant5 As thou6h compelled. *ut foremost a 6entleman. held *et'een her palms5 2t 6lo'ed *rilliantly5 The colors of the rain*o' *lended 'ith colors to 'hich %li8a*eth could find no name and the opal levitated. Lord Hayden 4noc4ed on her door5 He 'ore heavy *ei6e linen pants and lon6 sleeved shirt5 The simple 'or4 clothes did nothin6 to hide his *road shoulders or muscular torso5 :Grace555 Grace. the deprivation.recisely at si&. tossin6 her to and fro5 <ne finally supplanted the rest> A 'oman 'ith s4in a dar4 ala*aster and hair *lac4 as pitch sat in a royal chair upon a dais at the head of a hu6e audience cham*er5 %6yptian no*les and their ladies pressed as close as they dared to the dais to see the o*Cect she held in her hands5 2t 'as an opal. visi*le no' as a muted shado' inside the li6ht. and hovered in mid air5 The 'oman 4ept her hands outstretched. as if it 'ere consumin6 all her thou6hts as it *ecame a prism. dissolved.3he read the annoyance on his features. the points of li6ht spreadin6. Carrin6 rin6 shoo4 the hu6e audience hall5 The room undulatedF colors ran li4e those of a fresh paintin6 immersed in 'ater5 %li8a*eth opened her eyes5 The alarm cloc4 continued to rin65 2t 'as # a5m5 .
sha4in6 her head to clear it5 Lord Hayden 'atched her move a*out the room. *lac4 and slimmer than the domestic *ul4y cars in the 3tates5 When he sat *eside her. and pic4in6 up her shoulder *a65 3he pulled the strap over her shoulder. trappin6 a fe' sil4y ends of her hair5 Ho' he 'ould love to caress its velvety smoothness5 As she freed the red/6old strands cau6ht under the shoulder strap.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 :<h. he thou6ht for the hundredth time that she 'as the loveliest 'oman he had ever seen. slippin6 it on and *uttonin6 it. *ut he 'arned that 'hatever 2 find must *e reported and handed over to him5: :Ho' did you mana6e to o*tain his permission. 2 am an&ious to have a loo4 at them5 The archaeolo6ists hired *y the local 6overnment plan to e&plore the passa6e thorou6hly tomorro'5 The official at the site has a6reed to allo' me first entry. thou6h mysterious5 %&cept for the cler4 asleep at his des4. she told him. a*out to 4ey the en6ine. collectin6 her safari Cac4et.: she e&cused.done that yet. :?esterday the official at the di6 mentioned a ne'ly e&cavated su*terranean passa6e under the temple5: Lord Hayden listened attentively as she 'ent on5 :He thin4s the passa6e may lead to another *uildin65 27m inclined to a6ree 'ith him5 And if there are more $oman artifacts 'ith %6yptian hiero6lyphics inscri*ed on them.: Lord Hayden appended. :this information 'as delivered 'ith your charmin6 smile in a most cordial tone5: He 'as pleased to see her *lush ane'5 :All this for your article5: 2t 'as more a statement hintin6 at *e'ilderment than a 9uestion5 Her enthusiasm in his field far e&ceeded that of any reporter he had ever 4no'n5 . and %li8a*eth *reathed deeply5 Lord Hayden escorted her to his car. strai6htenin6 the matchin6 s4irt. 2 e&plained that my article 'ould entice collectors to vie' the o*Cects found and *rin6 in added revenue5: :And. the lo**y 'as deserted5 The duo moved 9uietly out the revolvin6 doors5 The mornin6 air 'as cool and dry.
erhaps 2 should have told you this *efore.rofessor %ldrid6e7s research5 Layton Hall and the local museum value our research5 27m 6lad to help her5 3he7s one of the smartest 'omen 27ve ever encountered>as 'ell as one of the most un*iased5 (ust don7t tell her 2 said that5: :2 thin4 she 'ould *e flattered hearin6 your opinion of . she contacted me5 Her colla*oration.: Lord Hayden lau6hed5 :No. after all5 He 'as 9uic4 to reassure her.syche holds the 4ey to the 'herea*outs of the mystical opal and the identity of its o'ner. his suspicions further aroused5 3milin6 she replied.: %li8a*eth replied5 :2 'ill need lots of tan6i*le proof5 2 never cheat my readers5: :. *y no means5 2t seems she 4no's me *etter than 2 thou6ht5 27ll have to than4 her for sendin6 me so lovely a partner5: He found the silence that met that remar4 distur*in65 . so 2 could help 'ith your research5: :Are you an6ry 'ith her.roof of 'hat. :?es. so lon6 as 2 report to her all my findin6s5: Lord Hayden shoo4 his head incredulously5 :2t7s o*vious she planned to thro' us to6ether.: :.: :?es.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e5 3he supports the theory that the Temple of . . :2 don7t mind contri*utin6 to . :.: Her hesitancy to ans'er 'as not lost on Hayden5 When she did ans'er.rofessor %ldrid6e5: :%li8a*eth. her e&pert opinions and your local museum7s complete cooperation are mine. he *rou6ht the car to a halt5 3he had said.:?es.erhaps his remar4s had *een interpreted as contemptuous and she feared he 'ould refuse to 'or4 'ith her.: Lord Hayden as4ed. *y all indications an %6yptian 9ueen5: :+id she ma4e your reservations. of course. *ut an ac9uaintance of yours is sponsorin6 my trip5: :An ac9uaintance of mine. she did5 @efore leavin6 to visit some friends.
:2f memory serves me correctly. searchin6 carvin6s in the roc4 that 'ould 6ive them a clue as to 'here it led5 They had trod throu6h the corridor for hoursF stoppin6 only to lunch *riefly on sand'iches and Cuice they carried in their *ac4pac4s.: he said in earnest.rofessor %ldrid6e 'as dropped *y mutual consent5 CHA#TE$ TH$EE The passa6e under the temple 'ove deeply into the earth5 %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden held their lanterns hi6h5 %ach scanned a side of the ei6ht/foot 'alls. and their lanterns shinin6 *ri6htly once more.: %li8a*eth e&claimed5 Lord Hayden Coined her at once *eside the opposite 'all5 :These carvin6s. a finality to his tone5 The su*Cect of . the t'o resumed their e&ploration5 :Quic4ly.: Lord Hayden concurred5 :The old 6irl has developed a crush on me5: %li8a*eth 'inced openly5 :2 thin4 that last remar4 'ould hurt her5: Lord Hayden resumed drivin65 :2 'ould not enCoy hurtin6 her.: Hayden confirmed5 %li8a*eth traced her fin6ertips over the carvin6s5 3he stopped 'hen she came to a com*o of the opal and the .her5: :3he 'ould. loo4 here. and replace the *atteries in their dimmin6 lanterns5 $ested. acceleratin6.: they7re different from the ones 'e7ve encountered thus far5: They certainly 'ere different. Lord Hayden a6reed. they remind me of the ones etched on the *ottom of the Apollo statuette5: :They7re definitely %6yptian hiero6lyphics. studyin6 them closely5 Ap until no' they had found only carvin6s and dra'in6s depictin6 everyday life in ancient $ome and Greece5 %li8a*eth said.
pitted and lined5 2t mi6ht *e natural erosion5 Lord Hayden shoo4 his head. sculpted as a Cac4al 'ith the *ody of a human. his curiosity pea4ed alon6 'ith hers5 They continued on'ard until they reached the end of the passa6e. it7s not a sym*ol. and the entrance to a hu6e cham*er5 :By God.'oman5 :=eep 6oin6. Let7s 6o on5 2 'ant to 4no' more5: Lord Hayden nodded.: %li8a*eth 'hispered5 This 'as the room in her dream5 Life/si8ed 6olden statues of %6yptian deities lined the 'alls of the cham*er5 Amon6 them. thou6h he 'as as pu88led as she 'as5 %li8a*eth ur6ed. and every second of them 'as re9uired to touch . 'earin6 a cro'n of co' horns enclosin6 a sun dis45 The third statue 'as that of Anu*is. pharaonic cro'n 'ith a feather on each side5 2n his left hand he held the he4a scepter. <siris held the flail. God of the +ead5 A hundred other mementos of past millenniums lay scattered on stone ta*les a*out the cham*er>silver canisters. lithe 'oman. :it7s a ra66ed circle. tur9uoise/*lue 6lass 6o*lets. and the Goddess of pure love. a *eauteous. 6old and silver cups and dishes and *ea4ers5 The t'o archaeolo6ists entered the room slo'ly.: she amended. reverently5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth for6ot each other7s presence5 Boments li4e this 'ere rare in the life of an anti9uarian. tail end restin6 over his shoulder and representin6 his authority over the land5 @eside him stood 2sis. God of the Nether'orld and $esurrection5 He 'ore a tall. :2f not that. considered *y the %6yptian the ideal 'ife and mother. his sister and 'ife. 'hat does it si6nify. <siris. the croo4 that sym*oli8ed the pharaoh7s po'er as the leader of his people5 2n his ri6ht hand.: Lord Hayden ur6ed5 The ne&t carvin6 'as that of a man5 He 'ore a 6ar* that 'as neither %6yptian nor $oman5 Neither Lord Hayden nor %li8a*eth could identify it5 :The sym*ol a*ove it>: %li8a*eth *e6an5 :No.
pictured as a man 'ith a falcon7s head.and e&amine the past. and patron of every pharaoh5 To the 'oman7s ri6ht >Baat. and 'hen 2 sa'.: Lord Hayden as4ed from *ehind. 'hat are you tal4in6 a*out. my love. you came to me from a roc4 midst the stars5 ?ou loved me. a papyrus staff. 'earin6 an upri6ht ostrich plume in her hair. :<ur friend. claspin6 her shoulders5 . 2 sa' also into my soul5 Too late. the opal levitated. the official. outstretched and cupped. a cross 'ith a looped top5 The staff and an4h 'ere sym*ols of life. 'orshipped as a solar deity. 'ill dance the tarantella 'hen 'e tell him 'hat 'e7ve discovered here5: %li8a*eth made no reCoinder5 Her 6a8e 'as fi&ed on the mural at the far end of the cham*er *ehind the dais and the throne5 The 'oman in her dream. relish it and relive it in the evidence of lives lon6 consi6ned to the after'orld5 Buch later. and holdin6 in her ri6ht hand. Cotted it do'n in little note*oo4s. 2 'ill search for you5: :Grace. and %li8a*eth> :%ros. the 6oddess of truth and Custice. as it did %li8a*eth7s5 The dream 'as repeatin6 itself. stared *ac4 at her from the 'all mural5 2n her hands. for it is the soul that loves5 And 2 'ill love you for all eternity. and safely tuc4ed those note*oo4s into poc4ets. and in her left hand. Lord Hayden said. the son of 2sis and <siris. prisms of li6ht shootin6 from its center5 At the 'oman7s left stood Horus. in 'hatever form you *e. the an4h. and of Custice5 The opal held the 6a8es of Horus and Baat. 'hen they had savored and memori8ed the aura of the past. of truth. and 6ave to me the opal of truth5 ?et you as4ed that 2 never loo4 upon your face 'ith the 4no'led6e *esto'ed me *y the opal. in 'hatever life you live. in 'hite flo'in6 6arments. for then 2 'ould see you in your true form5 2 dared. 2 could not *are to loo45 ?ou could not stand to feel my revulsion and so you left in your 6olden chariot of fire5 @ut 'ith that same 4no'led6e *esto'ed me *y the opal. the same 'oman the ancient sculptor had captured in the statuette that Lord Hayden had tried to purchase for the Buseum.
%li8a*eth continued. callin6 her name several times *efore she opened her eyes and he 'as a*le to *reathe a si6h of relief5 :Welcome *ac4.:3ee4 the opal in the Valley of the Queens. all these point to the le6end7s ori6in as %6yptian. and the mural. turnin6 and liftin6 her 6a8e to Lord Hayden5 :@ehold its li6ht5 @ehold my soul. :2 dreamt a*out her last ni6ht. %ros. an almost physical. 2 *elieve the le6end of %ros and . then her eyes 'idened as full memory returned and she sat upri6ht5 :What happened.: %li8a*eth said.syche is true5: Acceptin6 Lord Hayden7s hand to steady her. as she slumped into his arms5 2t 'as this room *e'itchin6 her.: Lord Hayden admitted5 :?ou entered a trance and spo4e 'ith someone else7s voice5: %li8a*eth 'hispered. Cust as she is pictured in the mural5 William. he reasoned5 Liftin6 her into his arms. he carried her out of the cham*er.syche7s Temple.: The last thin6 she remem*ered 'as studyin6 the mural of the 9ueen levitatin6 the ma6ic opal5 :27m not sure. tan6i*le caress5 Ana'are of his hei6htened sensitivity to her closeness. a*sor*ed into the GrecoH$oman cultures5: Lord Hayden listened to her every 'ord. Biss Grace Quinlan5: %li8a*eth re6arded him speculatively. he cradled her in his arms. and as far a'ay from it as the stren6th in his arms 'ould allo'5 When he finally set her do'n 6ently on the 6round. 'as the effect of his first name on her lips5 3he had called him :William5: He felt a pleasant tremor *et'een his shoulder *lades5 The 6entle pitch of her voice. :%6ypt7s early influence over the Bediterranean cities is a recorded fact5 Truly pure cultures are fe'. my *eloved5: :GraceD: Lord Hayden cried. the %6yptian Audience Cham*er. she clim*ed to her feet5 %&citement feedin6 adrenalin. *ut over and *eyond her comments. :Thou6h considered a Gree4 and $oman myth. the 'ay his name had rolled from her lips. if any at all5 Bost are derived from or mi&tures of others5 2t is the same 'ith mytholo6y5 ?ou 4no' that5: . the clues 'e have encountered thus far> . she 'ent on sayin6.
'ho stood listenin6 'ith a peculiar loo4 on his face. that of the man 'ith the 6ar* neither of us reco6ni8ed. *ut a *ein6 from another 'orld5 The circle. thou6h in the end they found each other once more5: :No. a planet. 'ith stran6e lines runnin6 across it. a *it unnerved5 :William. perhaps the planetoid. a rarity5 2ndeed the clues thus far affirmed . *ecause it 'as no earthly 6ar*. 27ve concluded that many thousands of years a6o this alien *ein6 visited earth and fell in love 'ith a *eautiful %6yptian 9ueen5 He 'as a *ein6 of superior intelli6ence. no earthly man. smilin65 @eauty and *rains. %ros5: %li8a*eth continued to postulate.: %li8a*eth continued.syche used the opal to loo4 upon her lover in his true form5 And 'hen she did so. *elieved she 'as e£in6 nonsense5 :2s that 'hat 2555 spo4e of durin6 the trance. ra66ed and pitted 'ith the odd lines runnin6 across it> a roc4. 6atherin6 confidence. afraid she 'ould find him unappealin65 2 suspect the opal 'as a visual aid. he camoufla6ed his appearance and for*ade .: she as4ed modestly5 Lord Hayden nodded5 :Then it follo's. a*sently dustin6 off her s4irt5 :%ros7 or*it comes closest to earth than any other lar6e *ody 'e 4no' of to date. 'ith a*ilities and technolo6y far in advance of ours5 Capa*le of proCectin6 ima6es. :We didn7t reco6ni8e the 6ar* or the man 'earin6 it. and the man 'earin6.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e7s theories5 :What a*out the dra'in6 of the circle. :that . an instrument that permitted one to see more than the apparent5: %li8a*eth paused. that7s not e&actly 'hat you said durin6 your trance5 27ll tell you precisely 'hat you said 'hile 'e head *ac4 to the surface5 Let7s 6o5: . e&cept the moon5 William>: A6ain the pleasant tremor5 Hayden shifted sli6htly. 'onderin6 if Lord Hayden.: He had already dra'n some conclusions. or an asteroid.: he as4ed5 :And *elo' it. ra66ed and pitted. the planetoid. %ros left her and returned to his 'orld. *ut he 'as curious to hear hers5 3he replied promptly.Lord Hayden nodded.syche to see him in his true form.
especially the 'ay her lips pursed 'hen she 6re' an&ious5 %li8a*eth %ldrid6e had a similar ha*it5 3he 'as headstron6. and a6ain Lord Hayden cau6ht that hint of familiarity that continued to elude him5 All at once the idea struc4 him5 They had to *e relatedD Her mannerisms.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. you are a 'riter. the archaeolo6ist in him 'ould 6ive him no choice *ut to follo' her lead to its conclusion5 CHA#TE$ (O)$ Nature. and finally a reCection dipped in moc4ery5 His lau6hter suffered a 9uic4 death as he eyed her s4eptically5 Her chin did not *ud6e from its hei6htF the emerald 6a8e remained fi&ed on his. o*livious to the archaeolo6ical importance of the Valley of the Queens.: %li8a*eth said 'ith determination. had done nothin6 over the centuries to alleviate the valley7s desolation. partly *ecause he did not *elieve the voice 'as actually addressin6 him. :*ut then 27ll accompany you5: %ven if only one tenth of 'hat %li8a*eth had theori8ed a*out the tom* and the opal 'as true. and partly *ecause he 'as a little afraid it had *een doin6 Cust that5 :27m 6oin6 to the Valley of the Queens. this 'riter. .He told her everythin6 e&cept that she had called him %ros. in the interests of . :Lord William Hayden. li4e %ldrid6e5 :27ll need at least a 'ee4 to complete my 'or4 here. the Valley of the =in6s. 'ill you come 'ith me.: he said. 'hen they 'ere *ac4 on the sun/*leached surface5 :Biss Quinlan.: Lau6hter suffused his clean/shaven Ca' and 'ide/set eyes5 %li8a*eth 'aited for a sneer to follo' the lau6hter. renderin6 it drier and less fre9uented *y tourists than its mate. reflectin6 a moment5 Then her chin risin6 to the point of strainin6. not an archaeolo6ist5: @oth stopped 'al4in6 and faced each other5 %li8a*eth lo'ered her 6a8e. your peer and collea6ue. she said. ready for 'hatever reply he chose to 6ive5 Her lips pursed.
present and future5 The present 'as chan6ea*le. dry climate5 2n the third 6rade he had learned that the 'ool clothin6 4ept the heat out durin6 the day and the cold out durin6 the ni6ht. for 4no'in6 'hat thin6s 'ere made of. 'hen in reality they mi6ht *e sym*ols. their conclusion>their past. he had not understood at first 'hy the inha*itants of the 3ahara 'ore lon6 'ool ro*es in such a hot. another *it of information that assua6ed his on6oin6 curiosity5 -rom earliest childhood that imposin6. clues identifyin6 the path to . to the ordinary layman. causin6 him to dismantle o*Cects that he 'as not al'ays a*le to reassem*le5 @ut it had *een that same imposin6 curiosity that had prompted him to continue his education 'hen many of his classmates had returned home to enter less demandin6 careers5 His passion could *e li4ened to a physical.syche7s tom*. lithe frame dra'n to this face of roc4 or another. the most intri6uin6 'oman he had ever met5 Her slender fin6ers traced each stone in the sand. his partner 'as Grace Quinlan. appear mere scratches on the stone7s surface. filled 'ith mysteries that 'aited to *e solved5 The solutions 'ere there5 They only needed discoverin65 . full *ody ache. their purpose. dra'in6s. never/endin6 curiosity had al'ays dictated his actions. or actual fra6ments of the tom*7s outside 'alls5 Lord Hayden pushed *ac4 his hat and sand scooted off its 'ide *rim and landed on his *road *ac45 The fine 6ranules stuc4 to his s'eat/drenched shirt as he 'iped his *ro'5 His 4ha4i Cac4et lay folded neatly inside his *ac4pac4 hoo4ed to the saddle of his rented camel5 Toni6ht he 'ould need it 'hen the desert heat plummeted into the desert cold5 The 3ahara 'as li4e that5 As a youn6 *oy in an e&clusive %n6lish *oardin6 school.less than t'o miles to the north5 Lord Hayden marveled that his partner did not appear to mind the landscape7s harshness. her slim. their *e6innin6s. see4in6 carvin6s that mi6ht. seein6 in each a si6npost fe' untrained laymen 'ould reco6ni8e5 @ut then. and the future either predicta*le or un4no'n5 @ut the past fascinated him the most5 The past 'as stationary.
2 4no' it5 And the opal is here5 3he 'ants us to find her. *ut an oval o*Cect5 -urthermore.He reasoned that Grace must also have *een overly curious as a child5 3he 'ould have made an e&cellent archaeolo6ist5 3he possessed all the ri6ht 9ualities and a*ilities5 At sometime durin6 her life she had to have studied the su*Cect e&tensively5 3he mi6ht *e a 'riter *y profession.: Lord Hayden said5 3ometimes 'hen 'e 'ant results *ad enou6h555 : He noted her fro'n and re6retted soundin6 discoura6in6. in the process leanin6 a6ainst the protrudin6 roc4 nearest him5 He stopped short as it tilted5 $oc4s this si8e did not tilt so easily5 %li8a*eth closed the 6ap *et'een them5 To6ether they 4nelt to e&amine the *ottom part that had come e&posed5 3everal sym*ols 'ere etched into the stone5 The fi6ure of the Goddess Baat holdin6 in one hand the an4h and in the other>to their edification> not a papyrus staff.syche is here. the Goddess 'as not e&actly holdin6 the o*CectF rather it hovered a*ove her palm5 Asin6 a small *rush. *ut everythin6 a*out her cried archaeolo6ist5 %li8a*eth turned5 :2t has to *e here. anythin6 that 'ill tell us 'here to start di66in65 . this one. until an entire staircase had *een s'ept clean5 At the ri6ht of the . then another 'as uncovered. Lord Hayden mused. 'atchin6 her sin4 her shovel a fe' feet from his and scoop up the sand and thro' it over the rim of the trench they 'ere creatin65 His respect for her increased further as she scraped stone5 2t 'as a ma6nificent sound to their ears5 -irst one stone tread. and the opal5: :What you claim to have seen may *e no more than a dream555 a delusion. William5 A clue. *uried some'here near. Lord Hayden dislod6ed the sand that filled the carvin6s and studied them carefully5 %li8a*eth had seen that sem*lance of e&citement on his face *efore5 2t made him seem a *it mad as he confirmed. and *e6an to apolo6i8e. :3he is *uried in this valley5 We di6 here5: %merald eyes spar4led5 :27ll 6et the shovels5: 3he hurried to'ard the camels5 EEE No fra6ile complainin6 little 'oman. a mar4er.
*ut he added.: he said. mi6ht a'ait them *ehind that door5 %li8a*eth felt stron6ly that she 'as someho' connected 'ith . no references to. 9uite adept at differentiatin6 from lo6ical assumptions and fantasy 6uess'or45 And she felt certain that she had loved Lord Hayden lon6 *efore settin6 eyes upon him at the Aniversity5 Lord Hayden investi6ated the door7s ed6es5 :2t7s not sealed.syche5 :Loo4. indicatin6 another mural.: Hayden added. similar to others found in nei6h*orin6 tom*s already e&cavated5 Anli4e that found in the Valley of the =in6s. and yet some'hat afraid5 Bore than artifacts. William5 . plaster and e&9uisitely painted murals in pastel hues overlaid the 'alls5 3o lovely. or allusions re6ardin6 deterrents to entry5 . surprised5 :That could mean a trap5: %li8a*eth shoo4 her head5 :. .syche communicatin6 'ith the Gods5: :And %ros.syche5 3he never discounted her hunches. %li8a*eth thou6ht5 What a pity that these 'ould not last as lon6 as the carvin6s in the =in6s7 Valley. *oth an&ious to pry the door open.rofessor %ldrid6e assured me she found no mention of curses. they decided they 'ould study the cham*er7s precious contents on their 'ay out5 The antecham*er led to a corridor5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth s'itched on their lanterns5 The paintin6s on the 'alls 'ere familiar.*ottom landin6 'as a door.syche may have *een a*ove these5 The opal rendered her not unli4e 3olomon in 'isdom5: Lord Hayden partly concurred. :3he 'as still %6yptian *y *irth and trainin65 We cannot alto6ether rule out *oo*y traps5 27ll 6et the cro'*ar5: The door pried uneasily5 @ehind it 'as an antecham*er5 An&ious for the main course. old and precious. the limestone in the Queen7s Valley 'as of a poorer 9uality5 2ncised inscriptions and reliefs 'ere fe'5 2nstead. unopened perhaps for millenniums5 The t'o anti9uarians loo4ed at each other hesitantly. for plaster eventually turns to dust5 3he pointed to one of many scenes portrayin6 moments in the life of .
: she assured him.: :2n case you haven7t noticed. either5: They continued on'ard.: %li8a*eth said5 :%ros descendin6 from the heavens in a chariot dra'n *y 'in6ed horses5 %ros and . *ut not 9uic4ly enou6h5 A6ain stone 6rated on stone follo'ed *y another clan65 Hayden pulled %li8a*eth do'n 'ith him5 3he 'ent reluctantly. not fully understandin6.: %li8a*eth uttered5 :To us. 'hy should 2. Hayden . the air is thinnin65: :27m fine. *ut he had this feelin6555 too easy. :No.syche meetin6 in a field of 6rain5 . part scream5 Lord Hayden clamped his hand over her mouth and shoo4 his head in a 'arnin6.syche 4neelin6 *efore her lover as he hands her the opal of Custice and truth.:the man in the 6ar* neither of us could identify5: :The paintin6s recount the lovers7 story.: Hayden said. chuc4lin65 %li8a*eth shuddered5 :2 don7t *lame her for e&periencin6 revulsion5 Tentacles don7t appeal to me.: and fro8e as her voice resounded throu6h the corridor5 3tone 6rated on stone. follo'ed *y a clan6 that heralded disaster5 :3ound 'avesD: Hayden 6roaned as the 6round rum*led and moved5 %li8a*eth7s reply 'as part 6asp. he *e6an 'ritin6 in the sand 'ith his fin6er1 Booby trap 0 sound waves5 %li8a*eth nodded5 3he 'rote *ac41 Where. :and 'e7re too close to findin6 her sarcopha6us to turn *ac4 no'5: Lord Hayden could not 9uite e&plain it. :+o you feel li6htheaded. perhaps5 He mi6ht have *een a 4noc4out on his 'orld. sure they 'ere nearin6 the actual tom* until Lord Hayden as4ed. 'hile the +eities Baat and Horus o*serve5: Lord Hayden pointed to a scene close to the end of the passa6e5 :This must *e 'hat he actually loo4ed li4e5: :Grotes9ue. *ut suspectin6 he 'as tryin6 to save their lives5 =neelin6. stoppin6 only to ma4e *rief s4etches and o*servations in their notepads. no o*stacles 'hatsoever thus far555 not li4e the %6yptian architect toII %li8a*eth insisted. :Let7s 4eep 6oin6.
follo'ed *y the clan65 Lord Hayden sco'led at her throu6h his teeth5 :27m sor>5 : %li8a*eth stopped. as a6ain the 6round rum*led5 Lord Hayden 'rote a6ain5 %li8a*eth read. he sei8ed her arm. he clim*ed to his feet and headed after her5 2f he had *een alone. the sarcopha6us of the Queen 'ould not *e in the Cham*er itself. they reached the end of the corridor and 'hat they *elieved to *e the Tom* Cham*er5 2f the ancient architect had follo'ed previous patterns. plainly annoyed5 He 'as *ein6 overcautious5 All hell *ro4e looseD The 'alls crum*led5 The 6round 6ave 'ay5 %li8a*eth san4 into a hole5 Hayden cau6ht her and pulled her out5 His e&pression *e66ed her to *e 9uiet5 As suddenly as it had *e6un. and noiselessly as possi*le. :Can 'e tal4 no'. :Are you sure.: Lord Hayden shoo4 his head5 :William.: A6ain stone 6rated on stone. he 'ould feel no hesitation a*out 6oin6 on5 He had faced 6reater o*stacles5 As he reached her. turnin6 her to'ard him. %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden entered the cham*er5 2n the center of the room 6leamed a 6olden altar illumined *y sun*eams that cascaded from an openin6 far . *ut in one of the smaller side rooms that flan4ed it5 %li8a*eth silently mouthed the 'ords. the dan6er is over. a certain amount of 6ratin6 and s9uea4in6 'as unavoida*le5 The t'o flattened themselves a6ainst the sides of the door 'hile the 'alls spilled plaster and the 6round developed 6ulpin6 potholes5 When the 6round and the 'alls had ceased 9ua4in6.: she said. then stood up and started for'ard5 Hayden uttered a startled 6asp and a6ain the 6round rum*led5 With a hostile 6lare.pointed to the 'alls and the ceilin65 %li8a*eth uttered. sha4in6 his head adamantly5 3he shir4ed free of his hold5 Her chin rose defiantly5 Her emerald eyes told him she intended 6oin6 for'ard>9uietly5 Quietly. the corridor7s trauma ended5 3lo'ly. Lord Hayden pried open the door to the Tom* Cham*er5 Ho'ever. :3HAT A. 6rimacin6.D: 3he 6lared at Hayden.
syche5 %li8a*eth did not ans'er5 3he said instead.a*ove and filled the room 'ith an aura of ma6ic5 :The Temple Cham*er. similar to the openin6 in the Temple Cham*er7s ceilin6 far a*ove5 The 'alls of this corridor *ore no plaster or paintin6s. lit the steps5 The t'o archaeolo6ists. pointin6 to the 'all *ehind the altar. :almost555: :555li4e musical notes. to the left.: he remar4ed5 %li8a*eth Coined him as he studied the carvin6s on the altar top5 They 'ere carved unevenly. in readiness for the dar4ness that 'ould overta4e them once they entered the second corridor.: he 'arned5 He pic4ed up a loose stone and flun6 it throu6h the entrance5 The stone imploded and disappeared5 The t'o 6a8ed . arched openin65 He cau6ht his companion7s arm Cust as she 'as a*out to enter this ne&t room5 :Wait a minute. or carvin6s of any sort. %li8a*eth stared at the altar5 Lord Hayden as4ed. and in a liltin6 voice she san6 the hiero6lyphics5 3tone 6rated on stone and the altar moved. *ut not lac4in6 o&y6en.: Lord Hayden 'arned5 %li8a*eth a6reed5 +ar4 and cold. Hayden for6ot to as4 her 'here she had learned to decipher hiero6lyphics so 'ell5 The sun*eams spillin6 from the openin6 at least a mile a*ove.: %li8a*eth finished for him5 3he fin6ered the carvin6s. as thou6h they 'ere not a part of the 'hole5 He 'ondered if perhaps this second hall'ay 'as meant to confuse and mislead intruders5 He 'as simultaneously apprehensive and relieved 'hen they came to its end and to a small. poised their lanterns5 :No tal4in6. :A mural identical to the one 'e found in the 3icilian di65: Lord Hayden moved closer to the mural and e&amined it5 He turned to the altar and clim*ed the dais supportin6 it5 :This is interestin6. :-amiliar. Lord Hayden surmised that there had to *e vents. e&posin6 a 6apin6 hole 'ith steps leadin6 do'n to another corridor5 %a6er to learn 'hat lay *elo'.: 'onderin6 if indeed she 'as the reincarnation of . the corridor 'ound deeply into the earth5 As he too4 the lead. slo'ly.: Lord Hayden 'hispered. not in a strai6ht line5 He pointed. at last deemin6 it safe to spea45 %ntranced.
remained ho' to enter the room5 :By *et is that sound is the 4ey5 ?ou search that side of the 'allF 27ll search this side5: As Hayden suspected. once more the hiero6lyphs that had *een carved into the 'alls on either side of the openin6 formed musical notes5 :%li8a*eth. or is the s4y 555 6reen.: Hayden replied. and its pattern had re6istered on 'hatever technolo6y 6overned the tom*5 He noticed first his hand5 2t 6lo'ed5 Then Grace5 3he appeared stunned. s9uat *uildin6F oddly similar to an 2ndian Community House he had once visited in Alas4a5 Three 'ood totems formed columns spaced evenly on the *uildin67s front5 The lar6est and .at the phenomena.: :Loo4 over there. an e&tension of his desire to stop her5 He follo'ed *y movin6 9uic4ly to her side. melodious and s'eet. ho'ever. enveloped in radiance5 He 'as standin6 in 'hatever field her chant had animated5 He 'as tempted to move *ac4. his friend. dissipatin6 completely5 The corridor disappeared and they stood on solid 6round a6ain5 2t 'as ni6ht and a multitude of stars rode the s4y5 :Where are 'e. filled the space5 Lord Hayden stretched out his hand.: %li8a*eth as4ed. eradicatin6 the corridor and the dirt *eneath their feet5 3econds felt li4e minutes and minutes li4e hours. *ut the 'oman *eside him 'as his companion. don7t sin6 any>: The sound of her voice. and to finish 'hat he started5 Without further hesitation. he placed his arms a*out her protectively5 Her 6a8e lifted to his and she called his name. then 2 must *e seein6 dou*le5 Are there t'o moons overhead. *ut the li6ht someho' silenced the sound of her voice5 The *ri6htness permeatin6 their *odies 6re' fierce.: %li8a*eth said5 :Anytime. and he had *een reared to accept responsi*ility. astonished5 :Than4s. clin6in6 to Lord Hayden5 He s'allo'ed5 +amned if he 4ne'D :Am 2 6oin6 color/*lind. *ut finally the 6lo' dimmed.: :2f you are. *o'in6 his head sli6htly and tippin6 his hat5 The pro*lem. *ut she had already completed the chant.: Lord Hayden pointed to a short.
althou6h he 'as certain that never in his life had he stood in this spot5 His lun6s hurt and li4e his companion7s. recallin6 the notes5 Accuracy 'as imperative5 The 'ron6 sounds mi6ht transport them even further. Lord Hayden closed his eyes5 He did not really e&pect the chant to 'or45 @ut it did5 As *efore. or set them do'n in lim*o5 :Hurry. their *odies 6lo'ed5 The alien 'orld a*out them dissolved. a note at a time. forcin6 out the sounds5 Her voice *o& felt clo66ed5 Holdin6 her in his arms. *ut e9ually filled 'ith treasures and irreplacea*le . try the chant *ac4'ards5: Noddin6. a Coinin6 of inner 'armth. she clun6 to him li4e a child needin6 protection and reassurance5 Lord Hayden held her. his *reath had *ecome la*ored5 The air on this planet 'as not conducive to human life5 Graspin6 at stra's. a tenderness. stro4in6 her shoulders and caressin6 her hair5 He held her until she lifted her eyes to loo4 at him and then at her surroundin6s5 %li8a*eth 'ithdre' her arms first5 :We7re inside the *urial room5 William. the sarcopha6usD: The 6old/inlaid sculpture 6racin6 the coffin7s lid 'as decidedly the ima6e of .syche5 The room 'as small compared to the tom* cham*er a*ove. :Grace. Grace5: He 'as 6ro'in6 li6htheaded5 %li8a*eth moistened her lips5 Her eyelids felt heavy5 :<4ay. she thou6ht a moment. a nonphysical union5 Lord Hayden could not remem*er ever feelin6 these sensations to the de6ree he 'as e&periencin6 them at this instant5 -or all her intelli6ence. independence and sophistication. composin6 her mind. he said. and in a fe' moments they 'ere deposited inside the tom* cham*er5 His partner7s arms 'ere 'rapped a*out his 'aistF her eyes 'ere shut and her chee4 pressed 'armly to his chin5 An utter dependence. here 6oes5: 3he san6 the chant *ac4'ards.most fi6urative of these 'as in the center5 An oval carved into its *ase served e9ually as the mouth of the chiseled face and the entrance leadin6 into the *uildin65 The color of the s4y and the presence of t'o moons 'ere oddly familiar.
mementos of the past5 2t contained all the riches and comforts necessary to a 9ueen in the afterlife5 A *oat. it may *e inside5: :All ri6ht5: Considerin6 the circumstances and the fact he did not have the sli6htest idea as to ho' they 'ould 6et *ac4 out past the entrance 'ithout implodin6. replete 'ith hammer and chisel5 :All the comforts of home. complete 'ith oars. handin6 Lord Hayden the tools he re9uested. she found one thou6ht comfortin61 the 'alls and the *ases of the statues of the +eities Baat and Horas that occupied the opposite corners of the room *ore no curses or 'arnin6s5 -e' archaeolo6ists had not read of Ho'ard Carter7s discovery of =in6 Tutan4hamen7s tom*. Ce'eled headpiece5 The 6olden face 'as fla'less5 The eyes reflected 4no'led6e and 'isdom5 The lips 'ere full. althou6h she 'ould 6ladly ta4e on the tas4 of removin6 the lid herself5 Alon6 'ith Lord Hayden. . read. 'ith a *arely percepti*le pout5 The chin 'as stern and reflected a sensuous stron6/'illed 'oman5 :Let7s open it. they mi6ht as 'ell see all there 'as to see and die content5 Lord Hayden searched the room for somethin6 to pry loose the coffin7s lid5 The earlier 9ua4es and potholes had s'allo'ed his cro'*ar5 He found an ancient tool*o&. inscri*ed on a statue in Tutan4hamen7s tom*. 'aited on one side5 The sarcopha6us itself rested on a solid 6old pedestal in the center of the room5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth e&amined the coffin5 The sculptured head on the lid 'ore a lon6. :2t is 2 'ho drive *ac4 the ro**ers of the tom* 'ith the flames of the desert5 2 am the protector of Tutan4hamen7s 6rave5: At last the lid 'as ready to *e moved5 :27ll need your help.: Lord Hayden said5 The t'o archaeolo6ists positioned themselves at the head and foot of the coffin5 Adrenalin flo'ed in their veins.: he chuc4led as he set to 'or45 %li8a*eth 'aited.: %li8a*eth su66ested5 :We have to *e sure it contains her remains5 And the opal. years prior5 Thirteen of the t'enty of Carter7s party had died 'ithin months after openin6 the =in67s coffin5 The Bummy Curse.
even to beyond the borders o" time# CHA#TE$ (I!E . 'ould *e forever inscri*ed in his memory> 1ros. for the opal had held his 6a8e riveted5 The 'ords. the artifacts. it7s not here. the si8e of a slender fist. enhancin6 it. ho'ever. :Wait a minute5: He carefully inspected the interior of the coffin5 He 6rinned as he dre' an o*Cect from under the shreds that 'ere left of the sil4 pillo' cradlin6 . sym*ols of truth.and only the duo7s careful natures tempered their ea6erness and curiosity5 Thic4 sheets of 6old plated the 'ood sarcopha6us5 Lord Hayden too4 the *runt of the 'ei6ht5 %li8a*eth utili8ed more levera6e than physical stren6th5 They lifted the lid sli6htly. in some places transparent and sho'in6 the s4eleton clearly5 @ut she 'as intact. and reflectin6 the soft pastels on the 'all murals and the 6old inlays adornin6 the coffin5 The room. s4eletal fin6ers holdin6 the an4h and flail. and then turned it cross'ise5 2nside the sarcopha6us.: Lord Hayden said. or had it *een a shared thou6ht5 Lord Hayden 'as never 9uite sure 'ho spo4e.syche herself.syche7s head5 The opal. . my beloved. Custice and po'er 'ith 'hich she had 6overned her people5 :3he 'as never mummified. seemed to fade as %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden *eheld the Ce'el5 2n the months to come they 'ould often 'onder if perhaps the *urial room had lac4ed o&y6en causin6 them to hallucinate5 ?et the voice had *een clear. her arms crossed on her chest. mil4y 'hite and honey smooth. behold my soul# It "ollows you to the ends o" the universe.syche reposed5 No cloth 'rappin6s *ound her5 Her flesh once soft and vi*rant had shrun4 to dry compacted po'der5 The s4in 'as dar4 and 'rin4led.: %li8a*eth said. . :and yet555 : :The opal. attired in time/*lac4ened and shredded flo'in6 ro*es that once had *een sno'y 'hite. cau6ht the dim li6ht inside the room. then.
And the opal. another reporter 9ueried. The last time he had seen her 'as at the hotel in the city of Lu&or on the 'est *an4 of the Nile5 3he had said nothin6 a*out a ne' assi6nment durin6 their entire trip *ac4 from . :2s it true a Biss Grace Quinlan. helped you locate .Cameras flashed and Lord Hayden *lin4ed and s9uinted5 The li6hts hurt his eyes5 -or the hundredth time since his return from %6ypt. someone as4ed. or 'hatever it 'as.: %veryone eyed the Ce'el in 9uestion5 2t rested on a satin cushion inside a 6lass case protected *y a security alarm5 Lord Hayden nodded.syche7s tom*. they had made their 'ay *ac4 to the desert overhead5 He had fully e&pected Grace to remain 'ith him up to and includin6 their fli6ht *ac4 to the 3tates5 He had even .syche7s tom*5 He had placed the opal in his *ac4pac45 Leavin6 the *urial room had not proved as difficult as they had e&pected5 The instructions 'ere etched on the 'all near the entrance5 %li8a*eth san6 the notes and the ma6netic field. :3he had to leave on another assi6nment5: :To 'here.: Hayden responded5 :The @oard of +irectors dealt 'ith the %6yptian officials privately5 The di6 is no' under sole supervision of the resident 6overnment5: Hayden moved out of the limeli6ht to stare out an open 'indo' and dra' *reath5 Where had Grace Quinlan 6one.: :27m not a li*erty to say. a freelance 'riter. :Ho' much did the museum pay to o*tain o'nership of the opal.: the reporter 'ent on relentlessly. turned off5 <*servin6 silence thereafter to avoid settin6 off the sound 'ave *oo*y traps.: a female reporter as4ed5 Lord Hayden replied. :2s it really an artifact of alien technolo6y. *ut the press noticed that he fro'ned5 :Why isn7t Biss Quinlan present to share the honors.: the reporter as4ed5 :2 don7t 4no'5: @efore the ne'spaper'oman could as4 ho' it 'as possi*le Lord Hayden did not 4no'.
addressed the stiffly erect.syche and %ros and the opal 'ere close to documentation5 As he 'ent a*out plannin6 a 9uiet dinner for t'o in his room at the hotel. pu88led5 :Where is 'ho.rofessor %ldrid6e 6a8ed at him. Lord Hayden.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e that he and Grace 'ould soon *e con6ratulatin6 her in person5 Her theories re6ardin6 . they must *e related5 %li8a*eth had *een ans'erin6 9uestions since early that afternoon5 Lord Hayden admired her patience and stamina. for 'ee4s totally dependent upon each other5 What more natural than they should consummate their relationship. :<r cousin . 2 thin4 that7s enou6h for this afternoon5: He cupped %li8a*eth7s el*o' and spirited her throu6h a side door. and san4 into a chair *eside a maho6any end ta*le5 Lord Hayden 'aited for her to re6ain her composure5 Then he demanded.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. :Where is she. and she appeared to have reached hers5 3he s'ayed and her hand 'ent to her temple5 Hayden forced his 'ay throu6h the score of reporters5 :Gentlemen. 'ith an intellect e9ual to his5 :. closin6 it and firmly turnin6 the 4ey. *espectacled .rofessor %ldrid6e>. loc4in6 the door5 :Than4 you. your sister5: He remem*ered hearin6 some'here that %li8a*eth 'as an Jonly child.: .: :Grace Quinlan.: %li8a*eth said in a tired voice5 3he nud6ed her 6lasses hi6her to the *rid6e of her short nose. *ut everyone has their *rea4in6 point.: a ne'sman 'ho had intervie'ed Lord Hayden. and spend the remainin6 time to6ether *efore resumin6 their separate lives and their 'or45 :+amnationD: Lord Hayden s'ore under his *reath5 He had 'anted Grace *ecause she 'as more 'oman than any he had ever 4no'n.rofessor of archeolo6y 'ho stood on the other side of the room5 Lord Hayden 6lanced at %li8a*eth5 He sa' her lift her chin and purse her lips5 3o li4e Grace5 Not for the first time he thou6ht. he felt certain that this time Grace 'ould not *e afraid of him5 They had 6ro'n close.called Layton Hall and the Buseum and left 'ord for .
reenterin6 the e&hi*ition hall and approachin6 the mar*le pedestal displayin6 the opal5 %li8a*eth follo'ed him5 :2t7s ma6nificent.: He 'al4ed to the door.: he said. tell herKK: Lord Hayden7s *ac4 stiffened.: %li8a*eth said. 'ill they. a shade li6hter than his pin striped suit and tie5 %li8a*eth7s heart*eat 9uic4ened and she felt herself flushin65 Quic4ly she loo4ed else'here5 :27m sure 27ll *e hearin6 from her a6ain *efore Christmas. unloc4ed it and opened it a crac45 :They7re 6one.: %li8a*eth .: %li8a*eth continued. he pushed aside the sides of his tailored Cac4et and slipped his hands into his trouser poc4ets5 He 'ore a vest. then his shoulders sa66ed and he si6hed as if acceptin6 the inevita*le5 :Never mind5 2 'onder if those *loodhounds are still out there.: she remar4ed5 Lord Hayden fro'ned5 %li8a*eth continued. 'here is she. smilin65 :?es. she is my cousin5: :Well. from 'hat 2 6athered 'hen she called a fe' days a6o5: Lord Hayden paced nervously to an unlit fireplace on the opposite side of the room5 With an air of a*sentminded cha6rin. :she 'ill certainly send me a postcard or t'o.: :2 don7t 4no'5 3ome'here in Asia. 'e have plenty to 4eep us *usy5 The +ean has as4ed our colla*oration on a report detailin6 my theories and your findin6s5 Grace7s article 'ill *e appearin6 in The National Geo6raphic sometime in the late fall5: :2f she calls. from the stron6 resem*lance5: :2 remind you of her.: she said5 Lord Hayden 6lanced at her5 -or a second he thou6ht it had *een Grace spea4in65 When 'ould he ever 6et used to the resem*lance5 The late afternoon sun lo' in the s4y streamed throu6h a 'indo' and 'hite'ashed the 6lass case and the Ce'el 'ithin5 The opal 6lo'ed5 :They 'on7t let you 6o *ac4. very much5: :?ou7re ri6ht.li4ely. :2 can see *y your face that she made 9uite an impression5: His mouth t'isted sli6htly5 :2n any event. if 2 4no' my cousin5 2n the meantime.
leavin6 the room in half/li6ht5 Lord Hayden 'al4ed to the door and flipped on the li6ht s'itch *eside it5 %li8a*eth remar4ed. :Three 'ee4s is not an overlon6 time to compile a thesis5: .: :They7ve declared it unsafe5: :They7re afraid. *ut neither of the t'o archaeolo6ists 'as a'are of the phenomena5 Lord Hayden *lin4ed5 That silly *un on top of her head that .: Lord Hayden told her5 :Why. fused 'ith the sun7s 6lare. the resident 6overnment flatly refused5: :Who 4no's 'here the other chants 'ould have ta4en you.: Lord Hayden said5 :<nly .said5 Lord Hayden shoo4 his head5 :No. other civili8ations far advanced than ours5: :They7ve closed the tom*.: %li8a*eth speculated5 :. *ut it is useless 'ithout the chants.syche7s tom* holds its secret5 The officials did not *elieve our story a*out the secret cham*er and the musical notes5 They accused us of attemptin6 to capitali8e on our find5 The opal 'as nothin6 more than a *au*le to them5 That7s 'hy they allo'ed the Buseum to purchase it5: The 6randfather cloc4 in a corner of the e&hi*ition room announced the fifth hour5 The sun 'as level 'ith the 'indo'sill5 2ts rays *athed the room5 -or a moment the li6ht 'as *lindin65 Lord Hayden s9uinted as the opal reflected the sun7s *eams5 A rain*o' of pastels shot forth. he told himself5 The sun had descended into the hori8on. sho'ed eyes that spar4led emerald 6reen5 The 6rey of her suit and stoc4in6s turned to silver5 Lord Hayden ru**ed his eyes5 :We7ll have to 'or4 on the report as soon as possi*le5 27m Coinin6 an e&pedition to 3outh America in three 'ee4s5: What he really needed 'as some rest.: %li8a*eth said5 :@ut at least 'e have the opal5: :2t7s a valua*le. or an eye chec4up.erhaps to other 'orlds.rofessor %ldrid6e pulled her hair into 'as 6lo'in6 red/6old5 Her 6lasses. precious artifact.
ac9uired a su*tle tenderness and he smiled5 He placed the postcard into the *o&5 :Antil ne&t 'e meet555: he 'hispered5 The Adventures of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden Outside of Time !olume * CHA#TE$ ONE . . mon ami# 2ntil ne/t we meet# 3ou are ever in my thoughts# 2t 'as si6ned. ornately carved 'ood *o&5 He read the postcard once more5 His eyes.oor lonely 'oman. he thou6ht. 2 6uess 'e7d *etter 6et started.race 4uinlan5 Lord Hayden muttered an oath5 He loc4ed his door and 'al4ed across the vesti*ule to his study5 He 'ent directly to his des4 and opened a small. or yours. *e6innin6 to close his door5 He 6limpsed a postcard 'ed6ed under the lid of his mail*o&5 The card 'as postmar4ed a fe' days earlier from a to'n 'hose name he had never heard.: he said decisively5 2t 'as very late 'hen he escorted . althou6h it sounded Asian5 There 'as no return address5 Lord Hayden turned it over5 2t read1 )u revoir.: Hayden said5 :By place. and turned and 'aved to him5 He 'aved *ac45 . the color of dar4 *ro'n am*er in the li6ht cast *y the des4 lamp. then.:Well. dar4.rofessor %ldrid6e to his vesti*ule and they said their 6ood/ni6hts5 He 'atched her cross the road to her home and unloc4 her entrance5 3he paused *efore 6oin6 in.: He 'as teasin6 her5 The li*rary 'as far more ade9uate5 The e&pression in her eyes so*ered himF the sadness in her spinsterish features alarmed him5 $esi6nation that 'as it5 3he 'as fully a'are of her plainness and of her fee*le chances to stir his emotions5 He felt ashamed5 :By place.
crossin6 the road to .syche7s Tom* and the Totem5 %li8a*eth had mentioned receivin6 a couple of phone calls from her cousin. a 'ine red velvet collared affair. and later. in a curio shop in %n6land. presently housed in a private collection in Los Cantos. a collector of anti9uities5 He paid a fortune for the piece and another fortune to add a room tall enou6h to accommodate the relic5 @y the time Lord Hayden finished readin6 the article. he 'anted to hear if her cousin had contacted her5 Grace mi6ht *e interested in a follo'/up article on . he had met another 6irl5 They had shared a fe' precarious moments5 He had saved her life once or t'ice. it had turned up at an auction a*road attended *y a certain Br5 Harry 3tanton. *ut the rim never made it to his lips5 He focused on a picture in the ne'spaper he had *een readin6 in his study5 :That7s itD: he e&claimed5 The picture clearly sho'ed the Totem that he and Grace Quinlan had seen that summer on the alien landscape 'here . for his navy *lue pinstripe.rofessor of Archeolo6y had purchased it for the price of a conversation piece5 He eventually sold it to a @ritish museum for a fortune5 A -ire at the Buseum a fe' years a6o supposedly destroyed the Totem5 There 'as tal4 of arson and ro**ery5 A fe' 'ee4s a6o.Lord Hayden raised his coffee cup. the last one durin6 the %aster Holidays5 He missed Grace5 These past fe' months had *een the lon6est in his life.rofessor %ldrid6e7s house5 @esides 'antin6 %li8a*eth7s vie's on this matter. a small to'n in Ne' Be&ico.syche7s Tom* had transported them5 He 6ra**ed a ma6nifyin6 6lass from his des4 dra'er and studied the photo closely5 :That7s itD: he repeated5 He 9uic4ly read the article *eneath it5 The Totem. 'here a . and left his house. he had already decided to visit Br5 Harry 3tanton5 He shed his loun6e Cac4et. *rou6ht *ac4 other valua*le artifacts for the museum and his o'n private collection5 @ut nothin6 lastin6 had . had first surfaced in an 2ndian villa6e. despite the t'o other e&peditions in 'hich he had participated5 +urin6 one.
rofessor %ldrid6e7s door5 No one ans'ered5 He noticed her car 'as 6one5 Today 'as 3aturday5 <f course. I hear "rom my cousin about the whereabouts o" a certain totem# I would like very much to do an article on said totem# Might we cooperate as be"ore6 In any event. in the faculty loun6e.resulted of his relationship 'ith the 6irl5 They had drifted apart.: he said to %li8a*eth. *usinessli4e.: Lord Hayden said. :?ou don7t seemed pleased to hear from my cousin. or her heart love the past li4e his did5 He 4noc4ed at . and posted in a to'n he had never heard of. dry5 My most gracious thanks.: :<n the contraryL: He let the statement han6 as he . 2 can 6ive it to you later5: :No. so unli4e his usual paced reserve5 2t contained a pin4 note 'ith a rose*ud imprinted in the corner5 My dear Lord Hayden. 'ith no return address. durin6 lunch.rofessor %ldrid6e until Bonday afternoon. it7s all ri6ht. 'hen she approached him5 He 'as seated on the dra* red camel*ac4 sofa5 :%&cuse me. he chided himself5 %rrand +ay5 He did not see . some'here in China5 . pin4 and fra6rant. puttin6 his ham and cheese sand'ich do'n on its 'a& paper 'rappin6 *efore him on the coffee ta*le5 He accepted the envelope. dryly5 %li8a*eth nodded. I intend visiting Mr# 'tanton on the "i"th# I hope to see you there# . he thou6ht sco'lin65 :2 assume she7s referrin6 to the recent article in the paper a*out the Totem. each eventually returnin6 to their o'n separate lives5 He had for6otten the e&act color of her hair5 All he recalled 'as that it did not shine red/6old li4e Grace7s hair.race 4uinlan Lord Hayden folded the letter and the envelope and slipped it into his poc4et5 3uccinct. remar4in6. nor did the 6irl7s lips purse in Cust that certain 'ay that Grace7s did5 Her mind did not challen6e li4e Grace7s.race5 He man6led it as he tore it open impatiently. Lord Hayden5 2 have a letter here for you5 2f 27m interruptin6 your lunch.
: he muttered. more scenic parts further north.: he praised5 .rofessor %ldrid6e5: His dar4 eyes 6linted 'ic4edly5 The prim archaeolo6ist appeared shoc4ed at the familiarity5 Lord Hayden said. :Los Cantos.lifted a hand and ran a fin6er across her pale chee45 :Than4 you. and resumed his simple lunch5 EEE Lord William Hayden pushed *ac4 his 'ide *rimmed hat. The chuc4le died on his lips as for a split second he entertained the preposterous idea of a se&ual attraction5 He shoo4 his head5 :$idiculous. Lord Hayden5: %li8a*eth replied mar4edly5 Hayden *rou6ht his fin6er to the tip of her dra* chin5 Ba4in6 a fist.opulation #))5: He 6rimaced5 A din4y hole in the Ne' Be&ico desert. tell her 27ll *e happy to cooperate. . ho' nice to see you a6ain5: His eyes fle' open5 Grace Quinlan stood *efore him5 A fe' seconds elapsed *efore he composed himself enou6h to 6reet her5 :Where did you come from. unli4e some of the 6rassy. :2f your cousin should contact you in the ne&t fe' days.: he in9uired5 . he 6ently *rushed his 4nuc4les under it5 :Good 6irl. .rofessor %ldrid6e e&cused herself throu6h 6ritted teeth5 Lord Hayden chuc4led as she left the room5 What 'as it a*out the spinsterish professor that *rou6ht out the scoundrel in him. *ut the Totem 'as here5 The sun *urned his eyes and he shut them hard a6ainst its 6lare5 :Lord Hayden. mottled and smud6ed 'ith the 'ind*lo'n dust of his arid surroundin6s. and 'ith the *ac4 of his hand ru**ed the s'eat from his forehead5 He rested a6ainst the passen6er side of the *lac4 @uic4 he had rented at the airport and pondered the si6n in the dirt road that read. as *efore5: :27ll do that. 1 4ilometer.: he as4ed5 :-rom over there5: 3he pointed to a *urro tied to a cactus *ush5 3he 'ore a stra' sun hat5 Curly red/6old strands caressed *oth sides of her face5 :Ne' hairdo.
*ut he could no lon6er .erhaps he 'as 6uessin6. readin6 more into her *ehavior. dusty road and steered into 3tanton7s drive'ay.:3tyles chan6e. and as Lord Hayden left the 6ravelly. he had 4issed her inside his hotel room5 The very 6ame she played> statements 'ith dou*le meanin6s. if you promise to drive slo'ly and not 'eary the poor animal5: Lord Hayden lau6hed. located appro&imately a mile and a half from the to'n proper.: :We7ll have to tie (ose to the *umper. or a ta&i fare5: :Want to ride him. he 'as certain from her response 'hen. sha4in6 his head. he remar4ed that 3tanton7s choice of locale left much to *e desired5 He stopped the car in front of the columned entrance5 No shru*s or trees landscaped the sandy terrain5 The mansion mi6ht have *een a mira6e in the middle of the desert5 He 'ould pro*a*ly re6ret it. in 3icily months a6o. and 6leanin6 more from the situation than the truth5 ?et he felt that her reasons for Coinin6 him in Los Cantos 'ent *eyond simple research for her article on the Totem5 When they had arrived at the only hotel in Los Cantos >a t'o/story shac4>he cautiously *rou6ht the @uic4 to a stop to prevent (ose from caromin6 into the rear *umper5 :Than4 you. *ut in pleasant e&asperation5 He drove slo'ly and they conversed in a casual manner5 He 'ondered 'hether he and Grace 'ere friends or foes. not in refusal.: :2n Los Cantos5 2 arrived there yesterday5 He7s much cheaper to rent than a car. or the @uic4 *ac4 to to'n.: she said5 :27ll return (ose and meet you later in the lo**y5 27m an&ious to meet Harry 3tanton5: EEE Bansion 'as a *etter description for 3tanton7s house. Lord Hayden5: :Where did you 6et the *urro. and 'hether she 'as havin6 the time of her life playin6 hard/to/6et5 That she found him appealin6. emerald eyes smilin6 and often sayin6 much more than her sensuous mouth. 'ere further evidence that she 'as attracted to him5 .
*ut no one replied5 A lamp lay *ro4en on the tiles5 :2 share your sentiment. his 6rip on the 'heel loosenin6.: %li8a*eth remar4ed as Lord Hayden tried the door4no*5 The door opened into a vesti*ule5 He called out. :Ade9uately said5 Very 'ell then.contain the 9uestion5 :Let7s 9uit the cat and mouse 6ame5 Why the hell did you leave me in Lu&or. %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. and raised the 'ounded man *y the shoulders5 The man7s Cac4et slid open to reveal a dar4 red splotch soa4in6 throu6h his 'hite shirt5 @lood seeped from *et'een his lips as he moaned5 %li8a*eth 4nelt at 3tanton7s other side5 :He7s *een shot as 'ell5 Who did this to you. his fin6ers 6rippin6 the steerin6 'heel. 4nelt. *lood tric4lin6 do'n his face from a cut on his ri6ht temple5 Lord Hayden hurried to the collector7s side. :With a palatial home full of priceless collecti*les. :2 had to leave you.: 3tanton7s eyes fluttered open5 A *rief spar4 lit his clouded 6a8e as he reco6ni8ed Lord Hayden5 He 'as an . enterin6.: With e9ual unrestraint. Lord Hayden5 2 may even love you5 @ut 2 'ant nothin6 to do 'ith you outside of archaeolo6ical pursuits5: Lord Hayden7s mouth fell open5 'he wanted nothing more to do with him outside o" archaeological pursuits# He stared at her a moment lon6er. *efore thin6s 6ot out of hand5 2 have a deep respect for you. a6ain callin6 aloud if anyone 'as home5 -our doors flan4ed the vesti*ule5 <ne 6aped open5 He stepped into 'hat appeared to *e a study and halted suddenly5 %li8a*eth moved to his side and 6asped5 <n the floor. let7s 6et on 'ith the *usiness at hand5: No one ans'ered the door*ell5 Lord Hayden 4noc4ed and there 'as still no ans'er5 He 6rum*led. under the 6uise of Grace Quinlan. *eside a des4. he muttered. you 'ould e&pect at least a *utler5: :3omethin6 is not ri6ht here.: Lord Hayden a6reed. his e6o crum*lin6 under that lofty emerald 6a8e5 Then slo'ly recoverin6 his composure. responded. 3tanton lay motionless.
:We had *etter leave5: <nce inside the car. 2 have *etter thin6s to do 'ith my time5: 3o did he. he thou6ht re6retfully *oth from a humanitarian and anti9uarian perspective5 @ut not 'ishin6 to *e implicated in a murder.: he su66ested5 :And the possi*ility of a one/ni6ht stand.admirer of the archaeolo6ist5 Had read several of his Cournals5 :By collection5 They too4 my pieces5 The Totem5 Crei6hton. s'ept clean of the precious items Harry 3tanton had spent his life collectin65 Not fair. 27ve heard of him5: %li8a*eth also had heard mention of Crei6hton in archaeolo6ical circles5 :2sn7t he also an artifact collector. <scar Cr/Crei6hton>: He cho4ed as more *lood filled his mouth5 :3/3o/3outh Ame>: he sputtered5 His eyes stared *lan4ly5 Lord Hayden laid the man *ac4 6ently as if the collector of anti9uities still felt sensation5 He stood up and surveyed the room5 All the shelves on the 'all 'ere *are. her lips pursin6 in Cust a certain 'ay5 The resem*lance to %li8a*eth %ldrid6e 'as uncanny5 :We could save a tidy sum. Hayden *ristled. *ut an unscrupulous one.: :2 al'ays finish 'hat 2 start5: %li8a*eth lau6hed5 :That7s 'hat 2 li4e most a*out you5 ?our 'illin6ness to 6o to all len6ths for a slice of the past5 27ll 'ire .: Lord Hayden replied5 %li8a*eth 9ueried. :?ou are 6oin6 to 3outh America.eru5 . *lac4/*ro'ed5 3o did he5 EEE The t'o archaeolo6ists traced Crei6hton to his vanilla plantation located in the heart of the Bontana re6ion in . he su66ested. :<scar Crei6hton.: she as4ed as Hayden steered the @uic4 *ac4 onto the dirt road5 :That is the 6eneral consensus. if 'e shared a room.rofessor %ldrid6e5 27m sure she7ll 'ish to sponsor me for this search as 'ell5 27m comin6 'ith you5: Lord Hayden 6lanced at her5 There it 'as a6ain. Lord Hayden commented. of course. Lord Hayden.
Lord Hayden carried a holstered 6un at his side. outlinin6 her pale features5 :Are you all ri6ht. made to order5 The etchin6s 'ere mar4ers of his Courneys and e&plorations. over one shoulder his *ac4pac4. 'ere clouded and lusterless5 Los Cantos had *een dry and hot5 This re6ion 'as humid and hot. Lord Hayden7s shirt and pants 'ere soa4ed 'ith perspiration. and he added to them 'ith each ne' venture5 <ne day the s'ord 'ould *ecome a collecti*le itself5 Half a day into the rainforest. 27m fine5 (ust a *it tired5: They had *een travelin6 since da'n5 He helped her sit on the 6round a6ainst a clump of thic4 vines5 3unset 'as nearly upon them5 Lord Hayden turned to the head 6uide5 :We7ll stop for the ni6ht5: He 'as e&hausted. himself5 This 'as no place for a 'oman5 His partner 'as stu**orn. and strapped dia6onally across his *ac4 for easy access. Lord Hayden e&plained that it 'as one of a 4ind.%li8a*eth had e&chan6ed her stra' sun hat for a canvas one 'ith a veil to protect her face from the multitude of insects that inha*ited the rainforest5 The *ron8e/s4inned mesti8o Lord Hayden had hired to 6uide them to Crei6hton7s plantation 'ielded a machete. normally vi*rant and e&pressive. a s'elterin6 vapor *ath5 Lord Hayden had not shaved in three days5 2t 'as simply too hot5 %li8a*eth stum*led and Lord Hayden cau6ht and steadied her5 The veil clun6 to her face. a leather/sheathed s'ord. *ut rapier sharp5 The silver plated cross*ar handle and the *lade *ore various *lac4/etched ancient sym*ols from different parts of the 'orld5 When %li8a*eth in9uired a*out the s'ord and the etchin6s. shorter and li6hter than avera6e. and his e&pression *elo' the 'ide/*rimmed hat. *ut the 3outh American Cun6le 'as more stu**orn5 They had *oth received their immuni8ation shots and Quinine ta*lets5 He had made sure to ta4e his daily dosa6e of 9uinine5 .: he as4ed 'orriedly5 :?/yes. as he turned to 6lance at his companion5 $ed/6old hair peeped limply from under her veiled hat5 Her emerald eyes. clearin6 the thic4 folia6e and o*structin6 ve6etation that 6re' unhampered over the trail they follo'ed5 @esides a machete. som*er.
6irl5: His voice held no repulsion. as she tried to lift her head to loo4 at Lord Hayden5 The Cun6le a*out her spun furiously5 3he 'ent limp. . she 'as unconscious5 EEE 1li7abeth groped in the "lames# Where was Lord Hayden6 8nly a moment ago he had been here# +he "ire was all around her. retchin65 The 'ea4ness %li8a*eth had fou6ht these past three days no' num*ed her le6s and rode 'aves of nausea up her chest and into her throat5 Her head hurt a*omina*ly5 What little food she had eaten lay in her lap5 :GraceD: Lord Hayden reached for her5 :Go a'ayD: she sputtered. he had not seen %li8a*eth ta4in6 hers5 He heard her moan and turned *ac4 to her5 3he 'as slumped over.<n closer thou6ht. only tenderness and understandin6>'hat she needed most at this moment5 :What7s happenin6 to me. 'ent *erser4 and her le6s 6ave 'ay5 Her mind reasoned that she 'ould not *rea4 any *ones as she fell. cradlin6 her to his chest5 3he 'as in no dan6er as lon6 as he 'as there to care for her5 @y the time he put her do'n on a soft *ed of fronds. nauseatin6 pressure of the 'orld turnin6 madly5 Lord Hayden felt her forehead5 :?ou7re *urnin6 up5 Have you *een ta4in6 the 9uinine. *ecause Lord Hayden had cau6ht her and lifted her into his arms. What Quinine.: she as4ed.: :Qui/Quinine. thou6h there 'as no help for it5 3he 'ondered 'hat 'as happenin6 to her as the rin6in6 in her ears intensified to deafenin6 proportions5 The space around her spun each time she tried to lift her head5 3he felt Lord Hayden 6rasp her arms and pull her 6ently to her feet5 :%asy. her eyes closin6 to hide from the disCointin6. the spinnin6 addlin6 her thou6hts5 The Cun6le already a merry/6o/round. 2/27m not on anythin65: %li8a*eth stammered in a 'ea4 voice. the heat su""ocating her# $William5$ she screamed# 'he reasoned he did not answer because he did not recogni7e her# 'he was camou"laged as %ro"essor 1ldridge. em*arrassed. GodD: she cried. clin6in6 to him5 :<h.
s me. William5 2 love you so5: He smiled5 :2 thou6ht you did5: Then 'hy.roppin6 her up *y her shoulders. He felt her *ro'5 2t 'as cooler5 And her 'ords 'ere *ecomin6 coherent5 The fever 'as droppin65 His name lin6ered on her lips until she drifted into a 9uiet sleep5 A short time later her fever *ro4e5 Lord Hayden san4 *ac4 on his heels5 He had not slept in over "M hours5 :3eNor. 2 love you so5 -or6ive me5: :2t7s all ri6ht. damp ra65 :<f course 2 4no' you5: There. he 'ondered. it. $she cried# -or t'o days and t'o ni6hts.: This time her 'ords ran6 sharp and clear5 :%asyL: he soothed.: the Besti8o 6uide said5 . and carin6 for her intimately5 . he fed her *roth spiced 'ith the medication5 Her lips and throat 'ere parched and she continued to mutter incoherently5 : +on7t you 4no' me. smoothed evenly so no one could tell it was not her own comple/ion# $Lord Hayden. and the white talc on her "ace. administerin6 'ater and 9uinine.: Lord Hayden assured her5 :Than4 you. s'a**in6 the perspiration from her face. 'ipin6 her forehead 'ith a cool. .her hair darkened and pulled tightly back and up into that ridiculous bun# 'he wore her grey0tinted glasses. comin6 to'ard her5 :+on7t 6et *urned.: she hollered5 :<h William. and her un"lattering suit and business sheers.: she pleaded5 :27m stayin6 ri6ht here *eside you. she sa' him throu6h the flames. *ut she 'elcomed it all the same5 :. <f 'hat 'as she afraid. your deep love has helped to heal her. %li8a*eth ra6ed 'ith fever5 Her moans filled the ni6ht5 $epeatedly she cried out for Lord Hayden5 He stayed *y her side.race# -ot %ro"essor 1ldridge# .lease don7t disappear a6ain.race. had she held *ac4 all this time admittin6 to her feelin6s for him. Grace5 +rin4 this5 2t 'ill stop the fever5: The lu4e'arm li9uid tric4led do'n her throat5 2t tasted *itter.
: the 6uide said5 :He must *e e&hausted5: :?es. and then s'un6 softly throu6h the tousled strands of her red/6old hair. 2n her *edroom at home. very much so5 He must love you very much5: :+oes he. :Very 'ea4. *efore leapin6 once more into the trees5 Her eyes fluttered open5 Where 'as she. *ut her arms and le6s felt empty and she fell *ac45 3he *ecame a'are of a sound discordant 'ith those of the Cun6le5 A thic4. the 'ave must crash a6ainst the shore trappin6 her5 <nce it hit. 'arm *ree8es stirred the leaves of the mimosa and the papaya trees that a*ounded in this part of the forest5 They tiptoed across %li8a*eth7s chee4s.: the Besti8o 6uide as4ed5 3he had for6otten a*out the other man. trem*lin6 a little5 Her continued deception 'as an ocean 'ave s'ellin6 under the impendin6 hurricane>the truth and his ensuin6 contempt5 %ventually.: she as4ed.: :Nearly three days. so much so that the thou6ht of her leavin6 at the end of their Coint venture distur*ed him 6reatly5 A lar6e *utterfly 'ith 'in6s that rivaled oriental fans in si8e and color fle' over his head and settled on the leaf of a mimosa tree near*y5 He pondered its *eauty5 Almost as lovely as his Grace5 To'ards evenin6. heavy *reathin65 3he 6lanced *ehind her and sa' Lord Hayden asleep under a *lan4et5 :Ho' are you feelin6.Lord Hayden nodded. the 'ave 'ould carry her off and leave only a *ro4en heart *ehind it5 . *ut definitely *etter5: :?our friend 'ould not let himself sleep until your fever *ro4e5: :Ho' lon6. across from Lord Hayden7s preferred modest home. despite his titles and estates in %n6land5 Bemories sorted and she tried to sit up. nor had she heard his approach5 3he replied. appreciatively5 He did indeed care deeply for Grace Quinlan. more of herself than the 6uide.
her first solid meal since she had fallen ill5 The Besti8o. a 9uiet man 'ho spo4e only 'hen he had somethin6 important to say. We7re merely museum representatives commissioned to lease for e&hi*ition some of his 'ell/ pu*lici8ed artifacts5: :@ut if he7s hidden the Totem>as 'ell he mi6ht have so soon after 3tanton7s murder>ho' 'ill 'e as4 him.: %li8a*eth said to Lord Hayden the follo'in6 mornin6.: %li8a*eth said.rofessor %ldrid6e is remar4a*le5: :2 told you 'e7re cousins5 -irst cousins. 'hen you do that. 'as no e&ception. pursin6 her lips5 :?ou 4no'. ima6inin6 his scorn if he ever discovered the truth5 He must never 4no'5 :+o you thin4 Crei6hton 'ill 6uess 'hat 'e7re up to. Ho' 'ill 'e e&plain 4no'in6 that he is in possession of the Totem.: %li8a*eth ac4no'led6ed5 No 'onder 'omen found him irresisti*le5 3he.: Lord Hayden said5 :Than4 you. 'ith one difference5 3he 4ne' *etter than to hope for a lastin6 relationship. and shru66ed helplessly5 :T'ins more li4ely5: %li8a*eth lau6hed5 :?ou do have a sense of humor. herself. Won7t he suspect that 'e 4no' he 4illed 3tanton. William5: .CHA#TE$ TWO :I7ve set us *ac45 27m sorry. your resem*lance to . continued to o*serve them5 He had 'or4ed as a 6uide for many years and o*served many couples5 These t'o 'ere a couple *ut did not seem to 4no' it5 :We7ve only lost a fe' days5 27m 6lad you7re feelin6 *etter.: :All 'e need to e&plain is that Harry told us 'here to find the piece and that he died *efore he could name his murderer5: :2 don7t li4e it. especially in her case.: she ela*orated.: :Ho' could he. as he handed her a tin plate of canned *eef ste' and fresh fruit.
the 6uard aimin6 his machine 6un at Lord Hayden7s chest ordered them to remain e&actly 'here they stood5 He called to another 6uard on his Wal4ie/tal4ie to relay Hayden7s messa6e5 . a massive edifice constructed of hu6e stone *loc4s meticulously fitted to6ether.atrol Guards in army/6reen uniforms5 Hearin6 their re9uest to see Br5 Crei6hton re6ardin6 a very profita*le *usiness transaction. to discover its lin4 to the opal and .: the Besti8o said5 :T'o days.: :Then 'e 'ill than4 him 6raciously>and find a 'ay of stealin6 it5 He is a murderer. 2 shall 'ait here for you. 'ithout the use .syche.eruvian . no more5 2 do not trust these people5: Lord Hayden nodded5 %li8a*eth shared the 6uide7s sentiment5 :No relic is 'orth our lives. and 'hether it 'as truly an alien contri*ution5 Lord Hayden remar4ed. *ut from 'hat 27ve heard a*out him. he7s no fool5: :%veryone7s a *it of a fool. Grace5: :True.: she said5 :.Apon arrivin6 at <scar Crei6hton7s plantation.resently they 'ere 6iven the 6o ahead5 :3eNor Hayden. *ut not at the cost of e&posin6 us to certain death5: :+on7t 'orry5 2 have enou6h carte *lanche to offer Crei6hton an amount for the Totem that he7ll find hard to refuse5 :And 'hat if Crei6hton refuses to sell. :2t7s not li4e you to 6ive up this easily5: :By article is important. they 'ere instantly surrounded *y .: Lord Hayden said5 :We7ll play it *y ear5: CHA#TE$ TH$EE Crei6hton7s home on the vanilla plantation 'as a restored .erhaps 'e should turn *ac45: 3he 'anted to find the Totem as much as Lord Hayden.alace.
informed you of our reason for comin6 here5: :?es. addin6 luster to the rich. 2 *elieve. his *lac4 eyes luminous and 'ide 'ith una*ashed interest5 They hooded considera*ly on settlin6 upon Lord Hayden5 :2 must confess. a very tall man as he pushed *ac4 his chair. dar4 furniture5 %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden studied their surroundin6s as they follo'ed the 6uard into Crei6hton7s study5 . e&tendin6 his hand to the latter. the inside of the palace 'as styled in the modern vo6ue of the late ")7s5 The livin6 room sported a radio and a television 'ith a screen that measured a full t'elve inches5 .: :Biss Grace Quinlan. mentioned 'as in your possession5: Crei6hton7s *londe eye*ro's narro'ed5 :What else did Harry 3tanton tell you 'ith his final *reath.: Lord Hayden ac4no'led6ed. :to al'ays 'antin6 to meet you5 2 see that you are. a man of culture5: He flourished his hand to encompass Lord Hayden from head to toe5 His 6lance lin6ered on the cross*ar handle of Lord Hayden7s s'ord visi*le *ehind his nec45 :?es.: Lord Hayden introduced.: . as many descri*e you.alms and ferns pee4ed from every corner.of mortar5 2n direct contrast.: he said. 'ith his final *reath.: :The @oard of +irectors. :an old friend and a freelance 'riter5 3he speciali8es in coverin6 archaeolo6ical finds5 ?our 6uard. the fin6ers lon6 and *ony5 Hayden involuntarily shuddered5 Crei6hton turned to %li8a*eth5 :And 'ho is this vision of loveliness. acceptin6 Crei6hton7s handsha4e5 The hand 'as thin. risin6 to 6reet them5 He 6reeted %li8a*eth first. and 2 are interested in a certain Totem that Harry 3tanton. a very profita*le *usiness transaction.: he repeated. :a man of culture5 2 particularly as4ed my 6uards not to disarm you5 2 did not 'ish to appear inhospita*le5: :Than4 you.riceless art pieces decorated *oo4shelves lined 'ith rare first editions of the Classics5 3tanton7s murderer sat at his des4. a dar4 maho6any piece that dated *ac4 at least a century5 He 'ore his *londe hair short5 His eyes 'ere *lac4 as ne'ly mined coal and set deep in a facial structure that denoted unusual hei6ht and leanness.
:Nothin6 else5 His 'ords 'ere fra6mentary5 Grace and 2 found him in the throes of death5: %li8a*eth could read a do8en 9uestions in Crei6hton7s eyes. *ut 2 cannot divul6e the price5 Harry as4ed that it *e 4ept 9uiet5 2 'ill allo'.: %li8a*eth corrected5 :To a point5: 3he accommodated herself in an upholstered chair. mouth curvin6 into a 6rin5 :All ri6ht. 'e had discussed my *uyin6 the Totem5 He hated partin6 'ith it. *efore 2 ma4e an offer5: :. over lunch. since you have come such a lon6 'ay. if you don7t mind5: Crei6hton nodded approvin6ly5 :Ho' refreshin65 A 'oman 'ho lets the man do the tal4in65: :To a point. :His *rutal murder 'as a shoc4 to me as 'ell5 <nly the day *efore.: Crei6hton said5 :Ho'ever. *ut he refrained from voicin6 them.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 Crei6hton o*served her e&pression5 2t appeared unassumin6. they entered an enormous room5 Wide niches in the stone *loc4s held mar*le fi6ures of nude male satyrs. satisfyin6 himself 'ith sayin6.: he said5 :To start 'ith.rovidin6 2 'ish to sell it. Br5 Crei6hton5 27ll let Lord Hayden do the tal4in6 from this point on. Br5 Crei6hton. ho'ever. 'hile 2 sit and listen and ta4e notes. display . erotic spirits of the forest5 A thic4 red carpet covered the floor5 Anti9ues as old as man himself 6raced the tops of fine 'ood ta*les scattered throu6hout the room5 At intervals. 27d li4e to ma4e sure it7s the one 27m loo4in6 for.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 :2f you 'ish5: :Than4 you. that it 'as si8a*le5 Very si8a*le5: He chuc4led softly5 :Bay 2 9uote you on that. you deserve at least a loo45 2f you 'ill follo' me5: %li8a*eth 9uic4ly rose and follo'ed as Crei6hton led them throu6h a narro' passa6e and up a stone staircase5 T'o levels a*ove. could 'e see the Totem. even innocent5 :27m sorry. *ut 2 mana6ed to persuade him5: :Bi6ht 2 in9uire at 'hat price. and cast Lord Hayden an amused 6lance5 Hayden ru**ed his chin thou6htfully.
:Where did 3tanton find the Totem. its a6e has *een deduced to *e 'ell over five thousand years5: Crei6hton paused. and the mouth fine/lipped and at ease5 The fourth 'as that of a youth 'ith a 6apin6 :<: mouth. ho' much 'ere you 'illin6 to pay for it. the third 'as an6elic. Lord Hayden. or several archaeolo6ists 2 hired 'ere a*le to identify its creators5 2t is one of a 4ind5 And from its carvin6s and composition. vertically ali6ned5 -rom the top. Hayden said.syche7s Tom* as simply another tom*5 As for the . the second 'as that of a 6rotes9ue *ein6 'ith a fierce e&pression5 2n direct contrast. and the Totem. 6ivin6 a clear impression of its *earer cau6ht in son65 Lord Hayden in9uired. :<ne million dollars5: Ta4en a*ac4. in an %6yptian tom*5 Neither 3tanton. :Are you serious. the si8e of a ca*in cruiser door.: Crei6hton ans'ered. had restricted last year7s article to the opal7s monetary and anti9uarian value. *ut a 4ey5 The opal. :<ddly. 'ere someho' connected5 Crei6hton could not 4no' this5 Grace. alon6 'ith the @oard of +irectors he represented. treatin6 . 'ith nostrils set as if flarin6. dar4 6a8e strayin6 from Hayden7s face and d'ellin6 on some ne' thou6ht5 -in6erin6 his narro' chin 'ith his lon6 *ony fin6ers. :Lord Hayden 27m curious. *eneath 'ide. vacant eyes.: :Very5: He. and the 'ooden flesh of the chee4s stretched taut around the oral cavity.: Crei6hton said5 :The Crei6hton Buseum of Archaeolo6ical Treasures5: +ra'n to it as a nail to a ma6net. . it depicted four faces. he as4ed. 2.: Lord Hayden commented5 :2t is Cust that. Crei6hton as4ed.syche7s Tom* in %6ypt. suspected the full value of the Totem and that it 'as not simply an artifact. its eyes 'ithout pupils simply cast.cases housed fra6ile and priceless pieces5 :This place itself 'ould 9ualify as a museum of anti9uities. %li8a*eth spotted the Totem5 At least t'enty feet tall. the first portrayed a three/ horned li8ard5 @elo' it. 'arned *y the Anited 3tates and the %6yptian 6overnments not to do other'ise.
*ello'in6 the lyrics to the son6. . thin/lidded eyes fi&ed on Lord Hayden5 Lord Hayden said5 :2t7s not the first time 27ve procured similar pieces for museums in the Anited 3tates and in %n6land5: Crei6hton did not appear convinced. neatly on the *ed5 Hayden7s *ac4pac4 and 'eapons remained untouched5 <*viously. una*le to discern any mystical po'ers associated 'ith it. he reluctantly drained the 'ater and turned on the tap to rinse5 He continued sin6in6 as he clim*ed out of the tu* and ru**ed himself dry 'ith a thic4 sheet to'el. Lord Hayden complimented her5 :LovelyD: 3he had received as hospita*le a treatment and 'as no' 'rapped in a ro*e similar to his. the e&perts. Lord Hayden lu&uriated in a *rass tu* filled 'ith 'arm sudsy 'ater5 At len6th. ta66ed it a *au*le and had parted 'ith it for a fe' thousand dollars5 :Why 'ould you pay a million dollars for a 'ood totem. Crei6hton did not yet consider his 6uests a threat5 When %li8a*eth entered his room. *ut he said only. I )m the 9ery Model o" a Modern Ma:or . *ut furnished ele6antly and nicely e9uipped 'ith modern *aths5 A short time later.opal.: @lac4. *ut 'hat other choice did they have5 Lord Hayden nodded5 :3plendid5: Crei6hton pulled the sash ne&t to the tiered 'indo' *ehind him5 :By servant 'ill escort you to 6uest rooms. 'ashed and pressed.en8ance operetta. then shru66ed into the *ro'n sil4 ro*e the servant had *rou6ht 'hile he *athed5 The same man had laid out Lord Hayden7s clothes. :2 'ould li4e to thin4 on it5 ?ou and your charmin6 friend must remain for dinner5: Not a re9uest *y any means.eneral from the Gil*ert O 3ullivan7s . 'here you may freshen up5: A Besti8o in a 'hite tunic entered the room and *o'ed from the 'aist5 Crei6hton informed him of his 'ishes and directed Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth to follo' him5 The servant sho'ed them to connectin6 6uest rooms that 'ere small.irates of . the dinner hour fast approachin6.
the alien5 3econd. her revulsion. deep dar4 red/6old 'aves5 Without the thin layer of ma4eup to matte her s4in.: %li8a*eth nodded enthusiastically5 Lord Hayden thou6ht a moment5 :2 have a stron6 .thou6h that 'as 'here the similarity ended5 3he had to'el/ dried her hair and it hun6 a*out her shoulders in moist. and so invitin65 Lord Hayden sat do'n on the damas4 couch. :The oval mouth on the fourth face is o*viously open in son65 3ound 'aves. that 'as that.: she admitted5 :There7s more. much li4e . other possi*le solutions5 :William.syche.: %li8a*eth offered.syche felt. herself. invitin6ly5 %li8a*eth sat do'n in the 'in6 chair opposite him5 Well. chee4s pin4in65 :<ccasionally. as he dis6uised himself. :2 venture that the face of the li8ard is %ros. a li6ht tiffany 6reen. li4e the one that transported us to the alien surface. 2 suspect the fi6ures on the Totem are sym*olic5: :27m of the same mind5 Let7s have your full theory5: :Well.: Lord Hayden said5 3he 'ent on.: Lord Hayden as4ed. inCectin6 an occasional remar4 that had the pleasin6 effect of ma4in6 him consider other aspects of the su*Cect. the 6rotes9ue face 2 *elieve sym*oli8es fear. and as . William5 The oval is lar6e enou6h to accommodate a human *ein65 27d 6ive a million Cust to loo4 inside5: :?ou thin4 it7s a transporter of some sort. and patted the seat ne&t to him.: she continued5 :@e my 6uest. her face and her emerald eyes held a shiny softness a*out them that pencil and po'der tended to harshen5 Her lips needed no artificial tints5 They 'ere a li6ht ru*y. 'hat . he thou6ht 'istfully5 He returned to the su*Cect of the Totem5 3he listened. her reaction to %ros7 true appearance5 The third face is . a derivative of the first ima6e. first. amused5 %li8a*eth dropped her 6a8e.syche7s heart and soul at last discerned him5: :+o you read romances.rofessor %ldrid6e. an6elic and pure5 And the fourth is %ros.
self/denial. in its place. the reluctance this time missin6.hunch. 'aitin6. *ut instead of *rin6in6 it into contact 'ith his other chee4. and then pointed to his ear5 He hoped she understood5 3he nodded5 Lord Hayden smiled5 Their *rain'aves tended to travel the same route5 This 'as the perfect opportunity and Lord William Hayden could not resist5 Not a 6entlemanly thin6 to do. she curved it a*out his nec4. claspin6 her arms. Lord Hayden fro'ned. movin6 close to her.: 2t 'as possi*le that the rooms 'ere *u66ed5 With a man of Crei6hton7s slea8y reputation and e&cessive security. :that our host 'ill as4 us to stay the ni6ht5 2 don7t credit for a moment that he *elieved our story5 Nor do 2 *elieve that he is una'are of the Totem7s true importance5: :3o 'hat do you plan to do. and dra'in6 her up from the 'in6 chair. it 'as *est not to ta4e chances5 :Let7s 6et dressed. that innocence. e&cept to 6a8e despondently into an6ry emerald eyes5 The oldest tric4 in the *oo4.: Lord Hayden advised5 He stood up. her 'eary *ut 'elcome resi6nation to her o'n desire for him5 He could ta4e her at this moment. tapped a fin6er a6ainst his lips. pullin6 his mouth do'n to hers5 %ncoura6ed. he thou6ht. and she 'ould not fi6ht him very hard. %li8a*eth7s resistance evaporatin6 even more as he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the four/poster 'here he set her do'n 'ith infinite tenderness on the satin coverlet5 There it 'as a6ain. %li8a*eth thou6ht furiously5 @ut it 'as 'or4in65 3he raised her other hand.: he said. *e'ilderment and recrimination i6nited . that soft *lush to her chee4s as she 6a8ed up at him 9uietly. motioned around him. Lord Hayden too4 her 6ently into his arms5 Their 4iss 'as 'arm and caressin6. in her eyes. on her face. re6ret. *ut after'ardsL :?ou7d *etter 6et dressed5 2t7s almost dinnertime5: He escorted her to'ard the adCoinin6 door to her room and closed the door firmly *ehind her5 A fe' seconds later. catchin6 her *y surprise 'ith a 4iss5 He did nothin6 to 'ard off the forthcomin6 slap.
: Hayden inCected a note of humor into his voice5 :Well. and that is not special. if one million is not enou6h. an adventure or t'o.: Crei6hton7s face so*ered5 :2 don7t 'ish to part 'ith the Totem5 2f you are 'illin6 to pay such a price. and an after/dinner drin4. finishin6 his drin45 :2 'ould li4e you *oth to remain in my house as my 6uests for a fe' days5 . all three participants at the ta*le reluctant to spoil a 6ood meal 'ith *usiness that mi6ht introduce a harsher mood5 After coffee and dessert. Lord Hayden in9uired in a casual tone.erhaps you can convince me to sell5 2n the meantime. there isn7t anythin6 actually special a*out it. e&cept that 2 *elieve it to *e of GrecoH%6yptian ori6in5: :An American 2ndian Totem *elieved to *e of GrecoH%6yptian ori6in. and %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden at his ri6ht and left. in truth he had ordered . Lord Hayden.: Crei6hton remar4ed5 He sipped his 'his4ey sour5 :3omethin6 to thin4 a*out. respectively5 The place settin6s 'ere 6old and fine china. and the meal a com*o of the most tender meat and lo*ster5 The t'o archaeolo6ists ate 'ith 6usto.: Crei6hton said. the fact that their host 'as a murderer and that they themselves mi6ht *e his ne&t victims5 Conversation stayed li6ht5 Layton Hall. then the piece must *e of uni9ue archaeolo6ical si6nificance5: :2 can offer more. Lord Hayden5 What is special a*out this Totem.'ithin him and he punched the paneled 'all5 He s'ore violently as pain crashed throu6h his 4nuc4les5 EEE +inner 'as a sumptuous affair at a lon6 ta*le5 Crei6hton sat at the head. feel free to study my collection and 'ander throu6h my plantation at 'ill5 2 do advise you to stay clear of the 6uards5 They tend to *e some'hat nervous 'ith stran6ers5: Lord Hayden did not care for the implications5 Crei6hton had not as4ed them to stay.: Lord Hayden said5 :Tell me the truth. the museum. :Have you thou6ht over my offer. puttin6 aside for the time *ein6.
*y all means. the cross*ar hilt readily accessi*le *ehind his nec45 2n an emer6ency all he need do is reach *ehind him and pull the s'ord from its sca**ard for defense5 He had made sure the holstered 6un at his side 'as loaded and left the machete inside his *ac4pac4 for their tre4 later throu6h the Cun6le5 :Let7s 6o. for Grace7s sa4e5 :27m 'or4in6 on it. and it 'as the first thin6 she did 'hen they at last stood in front of the 'ood sculpture5 Her slim fi6ure allo'ed her to move freely inside the openin65 Lord Hayden 'atched her *end and shine the li6ht on the mouth7s interior5 They had not encountered 6uards or servantsF fortunate. if not for himself. he7ll have us 4illed.: he assured her5 :2n the meantime.: %li8a*eth spo4e adamantly5 <nce a6ain.: %li8a*eth said5 :We have to 6et out of here. 4eep your door loc4ed5: When he 4noc4ed on the connectin6 door to her room a fe' hours later.: He had not the sli6htest idea of ho' to escape Crei6hton7s plantation 'ithout *ein6 spotted5 @ut he must form one. *ut 2 'on7t leave until 27ve had a closer loo4 at the Totem.: he 'hispered5 The t'o crept up the stone staircase that led to the room containin6 Crei6hton7s most pri8ed treasures5 %li8a*eth carried a flashli6ht5 3he 'as determined to e&amine the oral cavity in the Totem7s *ase fi6ure. she 'as ready.them5 Later.erhaps a 'arnin6 alarm 6uarded the .: Lord Hayden said5 :?es. Lord Hayden e&pressed his fears5 :He 'ill not allo' us to leave until he has e&tracted the entire truth from us5 And 2 don7t thin4 he7ll *e particularly fussy 'hat methods he uses5: :And once he 4no's that 'e 4no' the truth a*out him. Lord Hayden admired her tenacity5 :Then it has to *e toni6ht5 27ll 4noc4 three times5: :+o you have a plan for 6ettin6 past the 6uards. her *ac4pac4 hitched to her shoulders5 He had donned his safari Cac4et. in the hall'ay outside their rooms. yet unusual for 'hat he had seen of Crei6hton7s intense security thus far5 .
one moment plan6ent and som*er. yet no' he stood full len6th *ehind her holdin6 her. her voice ran6 clear and s'eet5 Lord Hayden 6roaned. the ne&t 8ealous and triumphant. descendin6.syche7s tom*5 The 6lo' permeatin6 their *odies intensified. the cacophony of mi&ed sounds *uoyin6 the t'o of them on 'aves of deci*els. each simultaneously intonin6 a separate tune. tenors. resi6nation and finally acceptance>lives on the hori8ontal perspective of Time5 %nsconced in a capsule of li6ht. Coinin6. this is a transporterD: His partner tended to act impulsively5 @est to advise her. the inscriptionsD And the notesD: %li8a*eth e&claimed5 :We 'ere ri6ht. separatin6. *ases. *aritones. risin6. :+on7t chant the> <h noD: Too late. despair.: she said confidently. and chanted the notes in reverse. e&ultant and e*ullient. *lindin6 them5 A fierce deafenin6 rin6 filled the space5 %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden screamed as the 'alls of the openin6 disinte6rated. altos. replaced *y Voices.treasure room5 ?et none had sounded. he reasoned5 %li8a*eth turned to face him5 :We must *e inside a neutral dimension5: 3he read Lord Hayden7s uneasy loo45 :+on7t 'orry.: %li8a*eth despaired5 :This time the chant didn7t 'or45: . sopranos. sin6. chantin6. unless it 'as the type that 'ent off only in the o'ner or security 6uard7s 9uarters5 Lord Hayden felt uneasy5 :27ve found them. as she had done inside . confusion. no'. everythin6 outside the capsule a *lur of colors rushin6 past them5 :2t didn7t 'or4.: he ordered5 <ne thin6 he did not li4e 'as *ein6 shuttled *et'een dimensions5 :$i6ht a'ay. so many of them. chorusin6 a steady *latant hum of Coy. *ut at the same time felt relieved that the li6ht that suddenly filled the openin6 cau6ht him also as he clim*ed in *ehind her5 He had *arely 'ed6ed in side'ays. founderin6. their *odies 6lo'in65 This 'as impossi*le. in that case. %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden moved at incredi*le speed. 2 have a 6ood memoryF you should 4no' that *y no'5: :-ine.
2 thin4. there7s somethin6 you ou6ht to 4no' a*out me5: 3he lifted her face so that her lips *rushed a6ainst his Ca' and the layer of ne' *ro'n. the voices *e6an to su*side and finally d'indle to the sound of 8ephyrs rustlin6 throu6h 'inter *ranches5 Their speed also had slac4ened5 Lord Hayden held Grace ti6htly.CHA#TE$ (O)$ At last. Lord Hayden s'un6 . 'hile the 'ind 'hipped them and shrie4ed into their ears5 Then as suddenly as it had commenced. or *ecome separated. he mi6ht lose her some'here in time5 :We7re in some sort of time 'arp. William. 27m>: -rom four directions a furious 'ind erupted.: %li8a*eth as4ed.: he said. herself5 He had no ans'er5 3he leaned her head a6ainst his chest5 His shirtfront 'as damp 'ith s'eat and underneath his heart *eat rapidly5 He 'as as nervous and fri6htened as she 'as. the 'ind a*ated. *ut mana6ed to 6ra* onto Lord Hayden7s *elt5 He cau6ht her and pulled her *ac4 into his arms5 Then they *oth screamed as creatures floated around them5 A 6or6osaurus7 head snapped at them5 Lord Hayden s'un6 himself and Grace out of its path. attemptin6 to sound calm5 :%ver heard of the theory of time as a linear dimension5 A road constructed from sound and li6ht on 'hich man e&ists5 3ome *elieve it can *e traveled *ac4 and forth5: :Which 'ay are 'e travelin6. *ut attemptin6 to appear cool and steady for her sa4e5 There 'as a 6ood chance they mi6ht never 6et *ac45 :William. e&ercisin6 control. rippin6 throu6h the *u**le and threatenin6 to 'rench them apart5 The duo clun6 desperately to each other. afraid that if he let her 6o. leavin6 only a soft *ree8e5 The t'o never finished their si6hs of relief5 The invisi*le floor *eneath their feet opened and they fell throu6h5 %li8a*eth screamed. William. almost strai6ht into the 6apin6. *ristly fu88 coverin6 it5 :2n case 'e don7t ma4e it *ac4. ra8or/toothed mouth of a Tyrannosaurus $e&5 Gaspin6.
cars 6re' even slimmer. he o*served.: %li8a*eth said5 The ancient time traveler for 'hom this mode of transportation 'as desi6ned 'ould 4no' the correct chants. *ut not directly at them. until Lord Hayden 6roaned5 @uildin6s toppled and rose5 Windo's must *e the hi6hli6ht of the future. *ut reason dictated that 3tanton 'as dead5 He 'as lau6hin6. lanes increased5 @uildin6s rose until their roofs disappeared into the clouds5 Then une&pectedly. as more and more of them enveloped the *uildin6s5 The narro' streets 'idened. he came face to face 'ith Harry 3tanton5 Ane&pectedly. not unli4e those vie'ed in -lash Gordon and .their t'o *odies side'ays. not any of it.: Lord Hayden said to the 'oman 'hose arms 'ere 'rapped ti6htly a*out his 'aist5 :2t7s not real. a happy one from 3tanton7s lau6hter5 Another peal of lau6hter and his face dissolved. replaced *y others. pulled *ac4'ards and released to sprin6 for'ard. the correct sound 'aves to operate the ride. %li8a*eth thou6ht5 Anfortunately. at least not in relation to us5 2t7s only real in their time5: %li8a*eth 6lanced a*out her and strai6ht at 3tanton5 Her instinct 'as to yell and turn a'ay. rather throu6h them5 What she vie'ed 'as a past event. chan6in6 to others completely un4no'n to him5 3cenes replaced the faces5 Narro' streets con6ested 'ith streamlined cars and truc4s and *uses5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth 'atched fascinated as the future unfurled *efore them5 The narro' streets *ecame even more con6estedF cars 6re' *i66er. the scene *lurred a6ain5 The speed of time travel increased5 2ma6es *e6an formin65 They 'ere still on earth. not so familiar5 :2t7s li4e 'e7re inside a catapult. their descent slo'ed5 :<pen your eyes. then smaller. half/e&pectin6 to meet another prehistoric *ein65 2nstead. *ut the speed of their time travel had a6ain increased5 The faces *lurred. her 4no'led6e of the chants 'as rudimentary5 The ima6es chan6ed5 ?oun6er faces emer6ed5 They 'ere stran6ely familiar5 Lord Hayden strained to see them *etter. *ut an earth not of their millennium5 The tall *uildin6s 'ere 6one5 2n their place 'ere t'o/story *uildin6s. starin6 in their direction. flat/roofed and spacious5 3paceships.
lease come 'ith me5: The duo 6a8ed at each other mystified5 :Come.: 'as all he 'ould allo'5 %li8a*eth held *ac4 a chuc4le5 They had landed on a pavement outside one of the t'o/story s9uare *uildin6s5 :Good afternoon5: The pair turned to face a tall youn6 man in a *ri6ht colorful to6a5 :Lord Hayden and . for the love ofKK: 3he fum*led to her feet. as they follo'ed the youth5 %&cept for lar6e star4 unadorned 'indo's every t'o yards or so.: Lord Hayden.: the youn6 man ur6ed5 :A6nes is very *usy5 Well. :<h. nursin6 her derriere5 :Ho' a*out you. *rushin6 and strai6htenin6 her slac4s5 Lord Hayden closed the 6ap *et'een them5 :Are you all ri6ht.: she replied.eople 'earin6 loose/fittin6 6arments in a variety of colors>some colors unreco6ni8a*le>sat on the *enches. come.rofessor>pardon me> Biss Grace Quinlan5 We have *een e&pectin6 you5 .: Lord Hayden said5 No sooner spo4en. the e&terior of the structure 'as smooth seamless . and Lord Hayden noted that the people e&chan6in6 conversations 'ere of several nationalities and races5 At least humanity had come that far5 No' the duo e&perienced a hoverin6 sensation5 :2 thin4 'e7re close to our destination. in9uired. they *oth hit the 6round. 'ere landin6 and liftin6 off the rooftops5 The clutter of cars 'as also 6one5 The roads had narro'ed to strips and the side'al4s 'idened to thorou6hfares5 Trees and *enches lined them5 .: he as4ed5 :Not really. come alon6. hold onD: Hayden yelled as the scene s'allo'ed them5 With a most un6racious landin6. conversin6. than they 'ere suc4ed into a vacuum5 :Grace.: their escort insisted5 :And 'ho is A6nes.: :27ve 6ot a headache.@uc4 $o6ers serials. *ac4sides first5 %li8a*eth yelped. 'hile others strolled the spanned side'al4s5 2t 'as a peaceful scene.
you don7t understand the lin6o5 This is the year !)))5 Ne' City houses the most e&tensive li*rary in the adCacent t'enty 6ala&ies. the 'alls 'ere alive 'ith opales9ue colors that continuously varied every fe' seconds. *lin4ed intermittently5 The mayor tapped one of the s9uares in the center of the panel and it stopped *lin4in65 :We shan7t *e distur*ed5: 2t seemed as thou6h she 'ere spea4in6 to the panel5 :Good afternoon. :A6nes is the mayor of Ne' City5 And if you are interested. the door vanished and as soon as they had entered. proud of her 6ender5 We finally did it5 Good 3ho'D she cele*rated5 A6nes sat at her des4.: Lord Hayden . leadin6 them to a sin6le 6lass door5 :?es. a panel fitted 'ith small/li6hted s9uares. 2 am Cy*or6 3 ). second 6rade.: %li8a*eth in9uired in dis*elief5 :$o*ot is an archaic term5 2 recommend a visit to our li*rary in the heart of the city. first level5: :?ou7re a ro*ot. the youth informed them. standin6 up and finally loo4in6 at Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth5 :2t7s a*out time you t'o 6ot here5: :Ho' did you 4no' 'e 'ere comin6.: the cy*or6 continued.lease 6o in5 The mayor is e&pectin6 you5: Without a *ac4'ard 6lance. the %n6lish 3ector of to'n.: she 6reeted. reappeared *ehind them inside the small empty vesti*ule prefacin6 the Bayor7s office5 %li8a*eth hoisted her chin 6randiosely as they 'al4ed into the office proper. *ent over a shuffle of papers. 6ivin6 the *eholder enou6h time to di6est the color schemes5 :Naturally. here 'e are5 .'hite stone5 The 6lass dou*le doors vanished at their presence and reappeared *ehind them as soon as they had entered5 <*livious to their astonished faces. he hurried a'ay5 As *efore. her silver/6rey hair cut short and s'ept neatly *ac4 from a 'ide forehead and prominent chee4*ones5 <n the ri6ht side of her des4top. you may 'ell say it is the center of learnin6 in the 4no'n universe5 Ah. to *e precise5: The *uildin67s lo**y 'as enormous and tiled in silver 6rey5 2n contrast to the e&terior of the *uildin6.
'onderin6 'hy. have all *een eradicated5 Nostradamus predicted this peace as he predicted the Third World War5: :The Third World WarD: %li8a*eth e&claimed. date and place5: :That7s all. anarchy. %li8a*eth paused to consider the 9uestion5 The ans'er came to her 'ith certainty5 :World . terrorism.: Lord Hayden remar4ed. i6norin6 the pair7s 6asps5 :We need your helpD: :<ur help. or 'hat 'e consider. cautious and resourceful5: No' it 'as Lord Hayden7s turn to sco'l5 A6nes read his e&pression and lau6hed5 :. 'hen Grace and he 'ere the primates in this timescape5 A6nes nodded and addressed %li8a*eth5 :Biss Quinlan.: she said. scoopin6 them up neatly5 :No' to 6et to the reason you have *een *rou6ht here. despite the fact it 'as 6enetically proved lon6 a6o that the female of our species is the more intelli6ent. poverty.lease sit do'n5: Where. 'hat dream in your time appears as distant as the farthest star in the universe.as4ed.: she said5 A6nes smiled5 :The earth at last has that peace5 $acial preCudices.: 3tartled. Ancient History5 .eace.: A6nes 6lanced at %li8a*eth to confirm Lord Hayden7s reply5 :He mentioned the Li*rary in the %n6lish 3ector. Lord Hayden 'ondered5 There 'ere no other chairs in the room5 A6nes reseated herself and touched t'o s9uares on the panel5 T'o metal chairs spran6 up *ehind Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth. .: %li8a*eth added5 A6nes sco'led5 :2nferiorD Why they persist in usin6 male prototypes for 3tate <fficial aides *affles me5: 3he shoo4 her head5 :2 suppose they do so to 4eep a healthy *alance.erhaps 2 should not *e so *lunt5 ?ou come from the 2ntermediate A6e.: :He 6ave us time. liftin6 his chin to meet the mayor7s eyes5 3he out/ measured him *y at least a foot5 A6nes let loose an e&asperated *reath5 :+idn7t 3 ) *rief you on your 'ay in.
all centers of learnin6 'ere pro6rammed to artificially reinforce in the male of our species. an avera6e of t'o hundred years.distrau6ht5 They had Cust finished 'ith the 3econd5 :WhenD And can 'e prevent it. and then clinched. the human *ein6 a*ides *y this code. and the crisis escalatin6 in the Bid/%ast all pointed to Nostradamus7 prediction of a Third. the traits of caution and patience.: the t'o archaeolo6ists as4ed in concert5 :2t is to 'oman7s favor that her instinct is more honed than man7s5 A side *enefit of her maternal role in nature7s scheme5: 3he i6nored Lord Hayden7s s4eptical fro'n5 :As a result of this fact proven 6enetically in the t'enty/second century. patient. traits in*orn in the female5 <f course. :2n three days the earth 'ill self/destruct5: :What555 *ut ho'. the nations of the 'orld *anded to6ether5 -or the first time in the history of the earth. serene 6enera5 -rom cri* a6e to death*ed. :The centuries that follo'ed prescri*ed to this doctrine that is partly responsi*le for the continuin6 peace5 The people of the earth are no' a cautious. far more devastatin6 'ar than man had ever *een victim to. to the e&clusion of all else5 The cy*or6s are pro6rammed to follo' the doctrine as 'ell5 The human race is incapa*le of pro6rammin6 them other'ise5: A6nes7 *ro' 4nitted5 :Herein lies 'oman7s 6reatest failure5 The pendulum has s'un6 from one e&treme to .: :Nostradamus also prophesied that man had the po'er to chan6e the future5 2t 'as a prediction that the t'enty/first century *elieved and implemented5 When 9ua4es and terri*le storms. she continued. 2 spea4 in terms of the maCority5: 3he inclined her chin in Lord7s Hayden7s direction5 :There are e&ceptions5: @efore Lord Hayden could accept the compliment. :And *ecause man truly 'anted peace. peace 'as 6iven to us5: A6nes7 composure slipped5 3he 'run6 her hands5 Her voice shoo4 as she advised them. man truly 'ished for peace5 The alternative 'ould *e utter destruction5 The 'eapons of the t'enty/first century held the destructive po'er to annihilate *oth sides5: 3he paused to let the 'ords sin4 in.
usin6 sound 'aves as the denominator5 He 'as hailed a 6enius. rallyin65 :@ut in all honesty. a *rilliant student and most promisin6 scientist5 2t 'as he 'ho unraveled the mystery of time travel. he decided that if the 'orld 'ere to continue alon6 the path it had set. unchan6in6 and unrelentin6 *reed5 He 'as no different. Lord Hayden5 2t is in fact the male of the species that has placed us all on the *rin4 of e&termination5: :All men. preCudiced.: A6nes replied. many opposed the doctrine5 <ne of them 'as a youn6 man named Thomas =raton. *ut a hero to the 'orld all the same *ecause of his 6reat contri*ution5 He attac4ed the doctrine of the 6enetically superior female5 He 'as an e6omaniac and too radical for the year #))5 Harsh and *iased as his ancestors and his entire clan. even 'hen its o'n destruction and the annihilation of the universe itself are involved5: Lord Hayden felt vindicated. and his face e&pressed it5 At least the male of the species 'as not responsi*le for this mess5 A6nes 6uessed his thou6hts5 :+on7t flatter yourself. for once he had planted the *om*. he transmitted to the 'orld that he 'as a*out to plant a me6a/time *om* set to e&plode in the year !)))5: A6ain she 'run6 her hands5 :He told the 'orld not to *other loo4in6 for him. male/oriented.: Lord Hayden interrupted5 :?ou have the means to travel *ac4 and forth in time5 Why don7t you 6o .: Lord Hayden in9uired dar4ly5 :3everal. the %instein of the t'enty/si&th century5 His 6enealo6y traced *ac4 to the early ei6hteen hundreds. and 'omen 'ere to *e considered the superior 6ender. then the 'orld did not deserve to 6o on e&istin65 He 'ould 6ive earth five hundred years to come to its senses5 He 'as a 6enius in science. *ut he 'as also insane5 He for6ed his 'ay deep into the earth5 <nce there. his linea6e stemmin6 from a harsh. one5 2 'ill e&plain5 :2n the *e6innin6 of the ne' era. or one in particular. he intended committin6 suicide5 He did not lie5: :Wait a moment.the other5 Humanity has *ecome incapa*le of any defensive or punitive act.
and her fin6ers t'itched nervously5 Lord Hayden felt dis6ust5 :2t is also true of most species. Lord Hayden. not to mention that 'ithout =raton time travel 'ould still *e only a speculation5 Can you ima6ine 'hat a difference to the future that 'ould ma4e. 'hy 'e dare not and cannot do as you lo6ically su66est5 -irst. 'e mi6ht *e *uried alive in an earth slide. for the fear of its affect on the future.*ac4 and someho' prevent him from constructin6 the *om* in the first placeF prevent his *irth if necessary5: :T'o reasons.lainly. @ut even that 'ould *e prefera*le to total e&termination. the pendulum has s'un6 to the other e&treme5 The people of the earth are 'ell a'are of the sorry lot they have *ecome5 2t is not the fault of our doctrine.: he said unceremoniously. or plummet into a lava pit5: A6nes7 face turned a *ri6ht red. an incredulous loo4 on his face5 :3urely in five hundred years technolo6y has advanced to the point 'here you can dismantle the *om*5: :We could have dismantled it years a6o5 @ut that 'ould mean travelin6 close to the earth7s core5 Why. the mother avoids the dan6er in the first place. Lord Hayden5 And that is 'hy 'e have *rou6ht you here5 As 2 said *efore. 'e dare not tamper 'ith the past. if it 'ere not for the second reason5 The doctrine *y 'hich 'e live5 :Caution and patienceF fear that a 'ron6 move may invite disaster5 The maternal instinct is to protect the youn65 2n the interest of the youn6. Lord Hayden. it is *eyond us to ris4 our lives5: Lord Hayden 6lanced at his emerald/eyed partner. *ut of its intemperate use5 Nature did indeed 6ive the female of our specie stron6er po'ers of o*servation of details and more patience5 Bore stayin6 po'er and cautionary . :that a mother *ac4ed into a corner 'ill fi6ht to her last *reath to save her youn65: :?ou are correct. 'henever possi*le5 At least the human mother does5 %nhance this instinct to permeate entire societies. and you have a civili8ation that avoids ris4s at all costs5 That is 'hat has happened to the human species5 .
of course. 'e only have three days>unless you. and 'atched 3 ) clim* into the airship that had *rou6ht them to this desert spot5 Within a fe' seconds the airship lifted. The ans'er.: 2t 'asn7t fair. and in yours.instincts5 Ho'ever. 3hall 'e *e heroes or co'ards.: %li8a*eth thou6ht5 . if they 'ere successful. then disappeared into the hori8on5 No one had come to see them off.: he said. to confront =raton *efore he has a chance to plant the *om*5 <ur 'orld7s future lies in your hands. Biss Quinlan. and hoped that lo6ic and common sense 'ould supply the rest5 <rderly to the last. partner.7 and it is time the pendulum s'un6 *ac4 to midpoint5: 3he 6a8ed at %li8a*eth. and as of this moment. notin6 that he desperately needed a shave5 :Well.ut that 'ay. 'as5. Biss Quinlan5 What is your decision. past the serrated teeth of the lon6 appenda6e meant to tunnel throu6h the earth. a hopeful 6leam in vividly *lue eyes5 :@ills have already *een introduced that 'ill modify our la's and pro6ram our schools to re/teach the traits of coura6e and the a*ility to face ris4 and the odds5 These efforts 'ill ta4e time.: %merald eyes spar4led5 CHA#TE$ (I!E Inside the dirt cutter7s coc4pit. despite the fact they mi6ht never return5 No one must 4no' of this mission. one did not refuse5: Hayden ru**ed his Ca'. Lord Hayden. Cy*or6 3 ) patiently e&plained the 'or4in6s of the control panel5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth a*sor*ed as much as their mid t'entieth century minds 'ere capa*le of. :'hat do you say. allo' us to transport you to the t'enty/si&th century. it 'as imperative that no one . you are ri6ht5 JHe made them male and female. it 'asn7t fair at all5 3he met Lord Hayden7s 6a8e and read similar thou6hts5 Ho' did one refuse to save the human race from total annihilation. A6nes had 'arned them5 2n addition. and you Lord Hayden. the cy*or6 'ished them 'ell and left the cutter5 Lord Hayden peered throu6h the canopy.
syche7s tom*. *ut you 'ere *oth too 9uic4 for us5: :@ut that 'as a year a6o. could affect the thin4in6 and actions of individuals5 %ven one sli6ht chan6e 'as capa*le of creatin6 drastic alterations in the time line.: :What is left 'hen a *om* e&plodes. 'ho in turn may *e sittin6 *eside me5 Chaos. Biss Quinlan5 A fe' minutes to us.in the past find out either5 3he had made them s'ear on their very souls5 The secret must live and die 'ith them5 The people of the t'enty/si&th century and the centuries follo'in6 until the year !))) must continue *elievin6 that the *om* remained active5 Any other information. compara*le to the domino effect5 :?our lives as 'ell mi6ht *e affected.: %li8a*eth said5 :A year to you.ieces. :=raton7s *om* is tuned to the sound 'aves particular to linear time5 Apon detonation it 'ill disrupt those sound 'aves5 And much li4e a *om* e&plodin6 causes thin6s to *lo' up. at e&actly the same moment and place you 'ere ta4en5 ?ou reali8e. comes to an end5 :<n the other hand.: %li8a*eth said5 :2t sounds incredi*le5 Ho' can you *lo' up time. as simple as that5: :All of time.: A6nes said5 :?ou and Biss Quinlan may find yourselves sittin6 *eside Napoleon 'ho may in turn find himself sittin6 *eside Caesar.: A6nes as4ed5 :. Time 'ill *lo' up. no matter ho' trivial it mi6ht seem to the t'o archaeolo6ists. to .: Hayden replied5 :.recisely555 pieces. as time as 'e understand it. my friends5 Total chaos5 The dead 'ill indeed rise from their 6raves.: %li8a*eth had as4ed5 A6nes replied. :Time is not a tan6i*leF ho' can you e&plode an intan6i*le. :if you are successful in deterrin6 our madman from plantin6 the *om*. you 'ill *e returned to your century.: Lord Hayden seconded.: she continued. 'e almost snatched you inside . as they are already entan6led 'ith ours5 2f you are successful nothin6 'ill chan6e of the present. e&cept that ne&t 'ee4 the earth and the universe as 'e 4no' it 'ill still *e here5: :And if 'e fail to stop him.
depressed the prominent red *utton on the control panel5 The en6ines hummed5 The dirt cutter sat hori8ontally on a steel plate and supports5 The plate tilted slo'ly do'n'ard until the vehicle7s mouth and serrated teeth pressed a6ainst the sand5 The en6ines hummed louder5 The serrated teeth turned. herself. and pinpoint your ne&t e&act location5: They 'ould 4no'D The thou6ht rose in %li8a*eth7s mind.rofessor %ldrid6e7s theories correct.: %li8a*eth confirmed. and 'ithout further ado.syche. and there*y the future adversely *y *rin6in6 you here5 Hurry and accomplish your purpose. spe'in6 and sprayin6 sand as it funneled into the earth5 The t'o archaeolo6ists clutched the arms of . and the Totem. or did you en6ineer all three to snatch us. she had lost her veiled hat5 :All set. *ecame a churnin6 *lur that drove hun6rily do'n'ard.: :2 told you 'e dared not interfere 'ith the past for fear of chan6in6 the future5 We merely used 'hat 'as availa*le5: :Am 2 . pursin6 her lips. so 'e can return you to your time. then 'ith increasin6 speed. Are .readCust dials and reset coordinates. and avoid further ris45: 3he refused to say more and ordered them airlifted immediately to a *lea4 spot in the Nevada +esert 'here a dirt cutter 'aited5 What for them 'as an une&pected and spontaneous adventure had *een in effect lon6 in the plannin6 and e&ecution5 Lord Hayden turned from the dirt cutter7s canopy to 6lance at his partner *eside him5 3ome'here *et'een enterin6 the Totem and the year !))).: %li8a*eth pressed5 :2 can tell you no more5 We may already have influenced the past. ta4in6 the copilot7s seat and strappin6 herself in5 Hayden fitted himself into the pilot7s seat and *uc4led on the safety *elt5 :All ri6ht. push it5 And 6ood fortune to us5: A6nes. and the opal. had pro6rammed the ship7s computer5 3 ) had chec4ed and rechec4ed its memory *an4s5 All 'as in order5 :$i6ht.syche. 6o on. slo'ly at first. %ros.: he as4ed5 :All set.: %li8a*eth said. and Lord Hayden. and she as4ed :What a*out .
he had . shoc4ed and incredulous5 <h yes. thou6h flattered that you as4ed me5 Very fe'. %li8a*eth reali8ed he had misinterpreted her chuc4le as ridicule. oh yes.: Hayden replied5 He turned a'ay. share his adventures. an6ry and hurt5 He had spent months 'antin6 her5 -urious 'hen she had left him in Lu&or. my face 'rin4le. it 'as a ridiculous idea5 The en6ines had slo'ed and softened to a loud hum5 :2 thin4 that you should marry %li8a*eth5 3he loves you. my *ody sa6. 'as chidin6 himself that naturally. and yes.: :W/'hat. yesD Had not she invented her ne' identity to ma4e him find her so attractive and desira*le that he 'ould allo' her to *e near him. her attention riveted on the incredi*le scene spoolin6 outside the coc4pit 'indo'5 :Will you marry me. 'ill you marry me. if 'e survive this adventure. his life. his o'n deadly serious5 3he stared at him.: :2 never found one that made me 'ant to as4. indefinitely5 A chuc4le not meant for him left her lips5 3he 'as lau6hin6 at the mental ima6e of . have received that honor5 Am 2 ri6ht. Cust li4e yours 'ill5 Binds outlast youth5 And .their seats and held their *reath as the desert s'allo'ed them5 Lord Hayden shouted over the 6rindin6 hum. and as he returned his 6a8e to the canopy. thou6h 27m sure you7re a'are of that already5: The cutter7s speed slac4ened from a hundred miles per hour to a controlled fifty5 %li8a*eth smiled ruefully5 :@eauty is s4in deep.rofessor %ldrid6e closeted in Lord Hayden7s arms5 -rom the *ruised e&pression on his face. if any 'omen. Lord Hayden searched her face. and in time it 'ill fade5 By hair 'ill turn to 6ray. Lord Hayden. :Grace.: %li8a*eth shouted *ac4. %li8a*eth tore her 6a8e from the canopy5 Had she heard ri6ht. her mind shouted.rofessor %ldrid6e7s mind is *eautiful5: 3he noted the shoc4 on his face5 He 'ould pro*a*ly never as4 her a6ain5 He seemed a*out ready to s'ear at her5 :27m sorry.
cooled do'n sufficiently *y the time he returned to the 3tates to reason that she 'as not and never 'ould *e a short/lived affair5 With Grace. those t'o 'ords 'ould *ecome household terminolo6y5 Historians re6arded the t'entieth and t'enty/first centuries as the most productive and inventive5 The en6ine slo'ed as the cutter plun6ed into open air5 Binutes later. and then dropped on its *elly5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth scanned . it sun4 its nose into another patch of earth. a dial that 3 ) had e&plained measured and re6istered the passin6 of years5 The dirt cutter *esides *urro'in6 into the earth 'as hurlin6 them into the past5 A panel *oard screen displayed a 6raphic of their descent. *ut 'ere hu6e. layer *y layer5 The cy*or6 had e&plained that sound 'ave technolo6y had dominated for the past five hundred years and computer technolo6y only lately *een reimplemented5 Lord Hayden 'as not totally unac9uainted 'ith computers5 They 'ere not totally alien to the 1P")s. and she 'ould e&pect as serious a dedication from the man of her choice5 He had for6iven her 'hen he reali8ed her motives for leavin65 .rofessor %ldrid6e7s *rief. had *ro4en throu6h all his resistances5 -or the first time in his e6ocentric life. it 'ould *e to one man only. Lord William Hayden had met a 'oman 'ho made him 'ant to propose5 -ate has a 'ay of 6ettin6 even 'ith dod6ers5 No' it 'as his turn to love and not *e loved in return5 2t 'as his turn to *e scoffed at and considered sli6htly daft5 His turn to hear 'ords of reCection softly spo4en in a patroni8in6 tone5 An hour passed durin6 'hich Lord Hayden ste'ed silently. it 'as all or nothin65 When she decided to 6ive her love. and their adventures to6ether since. distractin6 himself periodically *y chec4in6 the speedometer and the timeometer. he had not fully reali8ed ho' much he needed Grace5 3eein6 her a6ain in Ne' Be&ico. e&perimental machines5 The 'ords :%lectronic: and :Computeri8ed: e&isted mainly in the la*5 3 ) had assured them that 'ithin their lifetimes. sporadic tid*its a*out Grace7s 'herea*outs had taunted and tormented him5 ?et even *y the end of the year.
they thou6ht they 'ere in hell5 2ntermittently.: %li8a*eth ans'ered5 :We *etter put them on5: This 'as as far as the cutter 'ould ta4e them. #))5 :We have one day to reach the spot 'here our madman 'ill plant the me6atime *om*5: 3 ) had 6iven them a map of the under'orld durin6 their trip to the Nevada +esert5 Lord Hayden spread the map open on the dash*oard5 A red line mar4ed the lava pools and led to a circle appro&imately three miles from the landin6 site5 A si&ty/*loc4 'al4. Lord Hayden said. Lord Hayden reflected. slippin6 his off5 %li8a*eth follo'ed suit5 =eepin6 close to the roc4s. or as far as its pro6ram 'ould allo'5 To 6o further 'ould *e to place the lives of its passen6ers in dan6er5 The timeometer re6istered the date as (une ). and only t'enty/ four hours to accomplish it. The t'o archaeolo6ists e&ited the cutter via the side hatch5 To say that it 'as hot 'as the understatement of the millennium5 The computer had landed the ship near some roc4s.: :Ander the seats.the outside vie'5 -or a moment. unstrappin6 himself5 CHA#TE$ +I. chec4in6 the map every 9uarter mile or so5 When they at last reached the spot 'here =raton intended plantin6 the me6atime *om*. the duo 'al4ed for hours in the red. they 'ere *oth e&hausted and drenched in s'eat5 %li8a*eth plopped do'n on the 6round5 . their rou6h. a'ay from the lava pools and the si88lin6 earth on their left.: he advised. fires *urned from the 6round up5 Lava pools littered the under6round cavern5 The earth here 'as am*er/colored and it si88led5 +irt tossed and s9uirmed as if alive5 ::Where did 3 ) say the o&y6en mas4s 'ere located. s'elterin6 ha8e. and 6et some rest *efore confrontin6 the 4iller5 :We *etter 6et started. e*ony surfaces 6leamin6 'ith *listerin6 moisture5 :2 don7t thin4 'e7ll need the o&y6en mas4s Cust yet.
and then smilin6. slippin6 off her *oots5 Lord Hayden san4 do'n *eside her5 :No' 'e 'ait5 %i6ht hours are left *efore our madman arrives5 2. nor a time 'hen he 'ould not 'ant to5 He 4ne' he 'as in love 'ith her5 Not infatuated or attracted. my achin6 feet. not since a *a*e in her mother7s arms5 With a start. huh. intend catchin6 a 6ood ni6ht7s rest5: He shru66ed off his *ac4pac4. :Hun6ry.: he 'hispered5 %li8a*eth felt loath to move. *ut 27m hun6ry. *ut in love5 He had *een 'aitin6 all his life for this 'oman5 He *le' 6ently on her chee4.: he said. she stretched out *eside him5 The alarm 'ent off seven and a half hours later5 3ometime durin6 their sleep. Lord Hayden had rolled close to %li8a*eth and unconsciously slipped his arm a*out her shoulders.: he said. amused at the 'himsical loo4 she cast him5 He stretched out. for one. she remem*ered 'hose arms they 'ere5 3he *lin4ed a'ay the dro'siness and loo4ed into Lord Hayden7s face very close to hers5 To remain in his arms. these 'ere desires she must s9uelch at this moment. as she had not in a lon6 'hile. Grace.: she complained. then opened it and too4 out an alarm cloc4.: she murmured5 Lord Hayden lau6hed. offerin6 her one5 %merald eyes lit5 3he accepted the *ar and sat up5 Lord . and pullin6 his hat for'ard so that it covered his face. and she had cuddled close to him5 Wa4in6 to find her in his arms. perhaps forever5 3he turned her thou6hts to her need for nourishment5 :Gosh. and she stirred5 :2t7s almost time.: +ra'in6 his arms a'ay reluctantly he sat up and rumma6ed throu6h his *ac4pac45 :Have an oatmeal *ar. feelin6 'arm and safe. he immediately fell asleep5 %li8a*eth re6arded him la8ily. to cradle his face in her palms and *rin6 her mouth close to his.:<h. he 6a8ed at her lovin6ly5 Her red/6old hair 'as tousled and splayed across his arm5 A fe' moist 'isps hu66ed her temples and chee4s5 He failed to remem*er a time 'hen he had not held her Cust so. small and round 'ith t'o metal 6on6s5 He 'ound it and set the alarm5 :Go to sleep.
: she a6reed. he added 9uic4ly.: he praised5 %li8a*eth hated 'hen he did that5 2t made her feel simperin6 and naQve5 3he 6lared at him. in full vie'.: 2t 'as 'orth a try5 :3tay here. the trip had not *een easy5 The t'o archaeolo6ists flattened themselves a6ainst the roc4sF he must not see them until they 'ere ready to confront him s9uarely5 Clad in a dar4 leather Cumpsuit.erhaps he7ll listen to reason if 'e tell him that the doctrine is up for modification. 6rumpily5 Lord Hayden 6ently *rushed her chin 'ith his 4nuc4les5 :Good 6irl. emer6ed from the vehicle5 He 'ore an o&y6en mas4 over his face5 His fin6ertips 6linted in the red ha8e permeatin6 the cavern5 Lord Hayden strained to see *etter5 =raton 'ore leather 6loves 'ith round metal fin6ertips5 %li8a*eth 'hispered. *ut Hayden had already turned and moved for'ard into the clearin6.: he said5 @efore %li8a*eth could protest. =raton. Lord Hayden shru66ed5 :Hello. :He doesn7t li4e 'omenD: %li8a*eth pursed her lips. and they clin4ed *ars5 Half an hour to the second. =raton appeared even leaner and taller5 The . his hands held hi6h5 He hoped that 6esture had retained its meanin6 over the centuries. advanced technolo6y for Lord Hayden7s time. yet ho' did one 6reet a madman 'ho 'as a*out to e&terminate time. 6loves have evolved nicely5 Lord Hayden s9uared his shoulders5 2t 'as no' or never5 He started for'ard5 %li8a*eth cau6ht his arm5 :. today and tomorro'. :Well.Hayden too4 one for himself5 He held it up5 :Here7s to yesterday. *ut she sa' the lo6ic of his re9uest5 :All ri6ht. dirt/encrusted and dented in a hundred places. the madman arrived5 He came in a closed vehicle that 'as a cross *et'een a van and a tan4.: he toasted5 %li8a*eth Coined him. smilin6. and ancient for the year !))) A+5 (ud6in6 from its appearance. tall and slim.: he said in the most pleasant tone he 4ne'5 Ap close.
: Lord Hayden insisted5 . 'ell. fin6ertips 6listenin65 :?ou7re <scar Crei6hton.: =raton in9uired.: Lord Hayden as4ed in a *affled voice5 The dissident pulled off his mas45 :2 am Thomas =raton.: he replied impatiently5 :As in crocodile5: Crei6hton is an archaic form of my surname5: He pointed a shiny fin6ertip at his intruder5 Lord Hayden duc4ed. *arely missin6 %li8a*eth5 :No' Cust a moment.: the other replied. aren7t you. *e'ildered5 :Care to identify yourself *efore 2 4ill you. pu88led5 :@ut she 'as put to sleep five years a6o5: Lord Hayden 6rimaced5 The future did not *ode 'ell for senior citi8ens5 :No. not that A6nes5: He had for6otten that his A6nes 'ould not *e *orn for another five hundred years5 :Bayor A6nes of the year !))) A5+55 The me6atime *om* you came here to plant is no lon6er necessary5 $eforms are *ein6 implemented5 The doctrine has *ac4fired5 No' the e9uality of the se&es 'ill *e restored5 The future *elon6s to *oth5: :Who is hidin6 a6ainst the roc4s. she Cust came alon6 for the ride. Biss Grace Quinlan5: :A 'oman. reali8in6 the metal caps 'ere an advanced form of firearm5 The laser *eam sprayed a*ove his head and *urst a6ainst the roc4s.eye/holes in the o&y6en mas4 revealed coal *lac4 irises5 His hair 'as *lond and reached to his shoulders5 The com*o of *lac4 eyes and *lond hair filled Lord Hayden 'ith a *i8arre feelin65 =raton.: Lord Hayden sou6ht to appease5 :Call her over5: :3he has nothin6 to do 'ith this conversation.: he in9uired 'ith *old contempt5 :?es. By Aunt A6nes. and 4eepin6 his hands up5 :2 have a messa6e for you from A6nes5: :A6nes.: =raton demanded5 :By partner.: Lord Hayden entreated. raisin6 a 6loved hand. :Crei6hton.: Lord Hayden as4ed. strai6htenin6.
'ill 'ait patiently for five hundred years to detonate. restrainin6 his desire to pelt the man one on the chin. *y 'hich time 2 thin4 man 'ill have lon6 yearned for release5 There are only a fe' of us dissidents left. 'omen mercilessly usurped and misused leadership5 Where once men ruled. madam5: Lord Hayden. =raton 'ent on. madam. as far *ac4 as the ei6hteenth century. man4ind 'ill call me +eliverer5 By descendents 'ill hold their heads hi6h and spea4 my name 'ith pride5: =raton 'as mad5 %li8a*eth 6lanced at Hayden 'ho 'as oddly movin6 *ehind her5 =raton did not thin4 it unusual . 'hen it is timed and planted. Lord Hayden motioned %li8a*eth to Coin him5 :-oolish females. appealed. contaminatin6 even the coloni8ed planets5 @ut 2 am not contaminated. :Why *other to 'ait until the year !))). and attemptin6 to 6ain time to reason 'ith him further. Why not *lo' up time this very moment. ruled their small domains5 We as4ed for nothin65 We too4 'hat 'e needed5 When the 'orld accepted this contempti*le doctrine.: :And *e *randed a murderer. 'e retreated to our homes and vo'ed never to set foot outside them until this insanity had passed5 2t did not pass5 2t 6re' and festered.:+o as 2 tell you5: =raton7s thin/lidded eyes narro'ed5 No use anta6oni8in6 the insane5 Without ta4in6 his eyes off =raton or lo'erin6 his arms. @y the year !))) 'hat is left of man 'ill *e ready for annihilation5 <ver the comin6 #)) years. :or to runts5: The latter7s *ro' creased5 Who 'as he callin6 a runt. *ut 'e do not cater to 'omen5: He loo4ed at Hayden.: =raton hissed as %li8a*eth partnered Lord Hayden5 :When men 6re' soft and relin9uished their roles as masters. if 2 do not fall for your scheme to stop me5: He du6 his hand into a seam poc4et at his hip and dre' out a s9uare instrument inset 'ith a 'atch face5 :This little me6atime *om* that 2 invented. an o*sessed orator e£in65 :Generation after 6eneration of =ratons. or deemed a dis6race to my descendents. no' they 6rovel5 -or6ive me.
: =raton snarled. and e&ited half'ay throu6h the nape of his nec45 Vocal cords decimated. nor 'as it an e&plosive in the avera6e meanin6 of the 'ord5 @ut =raton continued to stand. he had succeeded only in 'oundin6 the madman5 The *om* hittin6 the 6round did not 'orry HaydenF it 'as not yet set. despite his 'ound and the *lood tric4lin6 do'n his arm5 . hittin6 Hayden in the ri6ht side of his chest5 %li8a*eth screamed as Lord Hayden clutched his chest and collapsed for'ard. speed and determination she had no idea she possessed. as thou6h he meant to rip it out5 %li8a*eth reasoned coldly that a man #)) years advanced. causin6 him to drop the me6atime *om*5 The ruse had 'or4ed. %li8a*eth yan4ed the Lord Hayden7s s'ord from its sca**ard. then flun6 it for'ard at =raton 'ith an aim directed solely *y a focused and merciless su*conscious5 The s'ord rammed throu6h =raton7s nec4. he reali8ed he had misCud6ed the runt5 He 6ro'led as a *ullet 'hi88ed throu6h his shoulder. especially one of his *readth and stren6th. the intricately etched s'ord he carried strapped to his *ac45 3he snapped it over her shoulder. =raton7s mouth opened in a silent scream5 His silver tipped fin6ers fle' to his throat and 'ere instantly delu6ed in *lood as he 'rapped them around the *lade. invo4in6 an automatic refle&. an6uished and enra6ed5 3he 'ould often dis*elieve her o'n memories of 'hat she did ne&t5 With a stren6th.ain and ra6e filled his eyes5 Hayden pulled %li8a*eth *ehind him5 :2 don7t li4e runts. Lord Hayden thou6ht frantically5 Bovin6 *ehind %li8a*eth had 6iven him the cover he needed to dra' his 6un from its holster 'hile =raton7s 6a8e remained trained on her5 Ho'ever. as he lifted his other hand and his fin6ertips spat laser *eams at the duo. cartila6e and *one. 'ith not enou6h space to aim correctly. or so emasculated and indoctrinated *y the year !))) as to hide *ehind a 'oman7s s4irts5 An instant later. mi6ht Cust do that and survive lon6 .for a runt to *e intimidated *y the Custice in his 'ords. 6asps min6lin6 'ith the *lood fillin6 his mouth5 :?ou *astardD: %li8a*eth cried. a missile splinterin6 flesh.
she shot him5 He stood a second lon6er. time 'ould 6o on as *efore.: she called. it no lon6er mattered5 3omeho'. as if he could still hear her and offer an e&planation5 Ho' lon6 she remained 4neelin6 at his side. turned him face/up and cradled his head in her lap5 His visa6e contorted 'ith pain. hours.enou6h to finish his 4ills5 Quic4ly. until the uncanny silence fillin6 the cavern acted li4e a restorative5 3he turned slo'ly *ac4 to Lord Hayden5 He lay very still. 6raspin6 his shoulders. yet resolutely. minutes. William. mercilessly. near the earth7s core5 A fittin6 plot for a 6entleman 'ho had e&perienced his 6reatest pleasures unearthin6 the past5 This place 'as the *e6innin6. she had never ima6ined Lord Hayden dyin65 . silver/tipped hands fro8en around the s'ord.: she murmured da8edly5 :William. un*lin4in65 @lood covered his lips5 %li8a*eth *ent over his chest to listen for a heart*eat5 There 'as none5 :NoL No. lon6 enou6h to spear a hateful 6a8e at the 'oman 'ho had undone him5 Then his eyes rolled *ac4 and he san4 lifeless. the farthest do'n5 Whatever artifacts lay hidden in the earth. and 6ently. discarded marionette5 %li8a*eth continued to stare at her victim. a mad'oman herself. she sei8ed Lord Hayden7s 6un 'here it had fallen 'hen he had clutched his o'n 'ound5 Aimin6 the mu88le strai6ht at =raton7s heart. 27ll find you a6ain5: 3he hoped he had reali8ed *efore the end that they had *een successful5 @ecause of them. and men and 'omen 'ould achieve their destinies5 When at last she found the coura6e to stand up. a God of the past and its treasures5 %ros reincarnate5 2f she 'ere indeed . she had already decided to *ury him here.erhaps su*consciously she had *elieved him immortal. it7s not supposed to end this 'ay. no' Lord Hayden7s spirit could discover them5 A rush of *reath steeped in resi6nation issued from her lips5 Gatherin6 her stren6th and focus. %li8a*eth never 4ne'5 3econds. she scanned the dry. pitted 6round for . a pitiful. spra'led for'ard5 3he fell to her 4nees. she had at last found her lover and lost him a6ain5 :2n another life. 'as deathly paleF his eyes 'ide open.syche re*orn.
6rey. and then 6lo'ed red as it fused 'ith the lava and melted5 The red. crashin6. struc4 her fully5 Tears 'elled in her eyes and so*s rac4ed her5 3he shoo4 uncontrolla*ly5 Thou6hts of past moments shared 'ith Lord Hayden surfaced to tear at her heart5 The memory of ho' he had cared for her 'hen she had contracted BalariaF her selfish taunts 'hen he had as4ed her to marry himF the 'hole deception she had contrived to 6ain his affection in the first place.somethin6 to di6 Lord7s Hayden7s 6rave5 Her 6a8e lit on the me6atime *om*. the s4in chan6e color and te&ture5 3mooth *ron8e flesh dissolved to coarse. etc55 The hours 'ore on as %li8a*eth du6 Lord Hayden7s 6rave5 When at last Lord Hayden lay at rest *eneath the dry earth. *ut they did not see the panorama of earth. a lar6e piece of canvas. tied it 'ith strips torn from her camisole and sun4 it into the 6round at the head of the 6rave5 As she prepared to utter a prayer. fire and roc4 a*out her5 Her arms *e6an to rise and outstretch. a hammer. min6lin6. lyin6 *eside =raton5 :27ll finish it. horned. floatin6 for an instant. she chopped the shovel in t'o. slimy scale. palms cuppin6 to6ether5 Her voice . tentacle. elon6ate. hot li9uid closed in over it5 3he found tools inside =raton7s vehicle5 A shovel. William5 What you 6ave your life to accomplish5: 3he dropped the me6atime *om* into the nearest lava pit5 2t fell 9uietly into the li9uefied. the reality of his death and of the *i8arre events that had follo'ed her enterin6 the mouth of the Totem. crossed it. overridin65 A 6oddess in 'hite ro*es. an a&. palms outstretched. holdin6 a mil4y 'hite opalF the opal risin6 and hoverin6 a*ove her slender palms5 A youn6 man standin6 *efore the 6oddess5 His features 'ere %6yptian5 He 'as very handsome5 The face of the youn6 man *e6an to alter. all Coined to haunt and torment her 'ith remorse and 6rief5 3he shut her eyes no lon6er a*le to *ear the site of the 6rave5 Thou6hts rushed upon thou6hts. *u**lin6 stone. and 'e**ed>the face at the top of the Totem5 %li8a*eth opened her eyes.
she san6 the notes *ac4'ard that had catapulted her and Lord Hayden into the year !)))5 The cavern spun. the speed and pressure disorientin6 her5 3he felt so tired. pic4in6 up speed 'ith each turn5 %li8a*eth closed her eyes.: she cried. 3lavic visa6e. sunli6ht filterin6 thou6h the *linds. *loody hell5: CHA#TE$ +E!EN . are you 'atchin6. tears of Coy streamin6 do'n her chee4s. starin6 at it5 2n a s'eet. stripin6 her *lan4et and the *lue ru6 on the floor5 Her eyes shot open as she 'as thro'n. as she *eheld his face as startled as her o'n5 He had never loo4ed more alive.: she cried out5 The earth moved5 Lava pits spe'ed flames5 The cavern shoo4. confused and di88y5 . suddenly so*ered5 %li8a*eth turned5 <scar Crei6hton. as if from a horse on a carousel spinnin6 out of control. and soon she 'ould a'a4en in her *edroom inside her co8y cotta6e opposite Lord Hayden7s5 3he 'ould find herself lyin6 in *ed. ru66ed and healthy5 Lord Hayden 6lanced do'n at his chest 'here the laser *eam had *urned throu6h5 Nothin65 He 'as as 'hole as 'hen he had entered the Totem5 He *e6an to lau6h. *orderin6 on hysteria. stood framed in the door'ay. *ut %li8a*eth did not move5 3he remained poised.erhaps it 'as after all a ni6htmare. and catapulted from the mouth of the Totem. a forty/five in his thin. 'ith relief5 %li8a*eth Coined him. :<h. smooth hand5 Lord Hayden 6rimaced. strai6ht into <scar Crei6hton7s private museum5 A fraction of a second later. happier than she had ever felt in her life5 3he stopped as Lord Hayden. loo4in6 *ehind her. 4noc4in6 her do'n in a tan6le of arms and le6s5 :William. handsome. collidin6 'ith %li8a*eth. 'rapped in a *lac4 sil4 ro*e.resounded as thou6h it 'ere filterin6 throu6h a loudspea4er5 :A6nes. Lord Hayden hurled headfirst from the same mouth. melodic voice. slo'ly at first. a dar4 murderous e&pression on his lean. totally alien and incon6ruous 'ith her surroundin6s. holdin6 some invisi*le o*Cect.
half/scurried 'ith Lord Hayden to the *ac4 of a tall display case5 Crei6hton s4irted the display case and Hayden lun6ed at his le6s. 6ra**ed a handful of %li8a*eth7s hair and yan4ed her over and past his shoulder. *ut conscious5 He shoo4 his head to clear it5 @efore Crei6hton could do further dama6e. Grace. the *reath 4noc4ed out of her5 Crei6hton immediately searched for his 6un5 3pottin6 it. hittin6 his temple on the ed6e of an anti9ue mar*le stand5 3omethin6 crac4ed5 Not the stand5 Crei6hton fell for'ard and lay very still5 Hayden clim*ed to his feet and advanced cautiously for a closer loo4 at his opponent5 He leaned do'n and felt the man7s pulse5 :2t7s all ri6ht. %li8a*eth Cumped on his narro' *ac4 and pummeled his ears5 Crei6hton reached over his head. *ut his adversary 'as lean and 9uic45 He duc4ed5 The force of Lord Hayden7s non/connectin6 punch sent him spra'lin6 for'ard5 He hit the 6round 'ith his palms open5 A lim*er physi9ue ena*led him to sprin6 *ac4 up and turn smac4 into Crei6hton7s fist5 He landed on his *ac4side. he started for it5 Hayden7s thou6hts clearin6. and entered the mouth of the Totem5 No second promptin6 needed. she half/cra'led. *arely missin6 her. he lun6ed a6ain at Crei6hton7s le6s5 =raton7s ancestor fell. it7s not 'hat>: The remainder of her plea 'as s'allo'ed *y the sound of t'o *odies hittin6 the floor as Lord Hayden pulled her do'n and to the side Cust as Crei6hton fired5 The *ullet 'hi88ed past her.: %li8a*eth Cumped to her feet5 :No' 'ait. da8ed. soothin6ly5 :He7ll stand Cud6ment for 3tanton7s murder in a hi6her court5: .: Crei6hton sneered softly. Br5 Crei6hton. crashin6 side'ays.:#lease don7t stop on my account. comin6 for'ard5 :Haven7t you heard the sayin6. JThey died lau6hin67. sendin6 her crashin6 across the room5 3he landed 'ith a thud.: he said. 4noc4in6 the 6un from his hand5 The t'o men 6rappled on the tiled floor5 Hayden drove a solid ri6ht to Crei6hton7s Ca'.
. administrative and commercial center5 He had ordered an early dinner for himself and Grace to *e served in his rooms5 He loo4ed for'ard to sharin6 a 9uiet evenin6 'ith her5 Althou6h not a*le to e&plain fully 'hat happened to him after =raton had speared him 'ith a laser *eam. splinterin6. thrived *usily. her reactions as she mourned him5 The rest 'as ha8y until he tum*led from the Totem7s mouth into Crei6hton7s museum5 He 'as certain no' that she loved him. detached and dropped to the floor. *ut never finished5 The vi*rations crescendoed5 -irst an ear. . it 'as also its cultural.The t'o archaeolo6ists turned to6ether as the Totem *e6an to hum and vi*rate5 :+o you thin4 the *ulletKK: %li8a*eth *e6an. as thou6h someone 'ere 'ieldin6 a hatchet and hac4in6 a'ay5 %li8a*eth and Hayden 'atched as the ancient transport d'indled to 'ood chips and shavin6s5 -or the present. aided *y their o'n in6enuity. a *lac4 *o' tie. meet their 6uide at the appointed place. then a 'hole chun4 crac4ed. Lord Hayden dressed hurriedly5 He chec4ed his appearance in the mirror over the *asin5 Clean. 'hite linen shirt. then an eye. he pushed aside an ed6e of the sheer taupe drapes on the 'indo' of his fourth floor accommodations5 2t 'as still dayli6ht5 <n the streets *elo'. he 'as fully a'are of Grace7s actions in dealin6 'ith the madman5 And also. Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth 'ould escape Crei6hton7s plantation5 With luc4. and *e miles from the plantation *efore the sun a6ain rose in the s4y5 CHA#TE$ EIGHT (reshly sho'ered and shaved. and possi*ly a little unadvertised help from a lady a thousand odd years in the future. they 'ould encounter no 6uards. crisp. and *lac4 dress pants5 His 'hite dinner Cac4et 'aited in the *edroom5 As he shru66ed into it. five hundred miles a*ove sea level5 The lar6est city in the country. pedestrians and all manner of vehicles hurried to and fro as the city of Lima.eru.
as for some reason. yet unfathoma*le to him. he had spent the remainder of their ride in silence5 @ut once inside the hotel.despite that his attempt to 4iss her inside the ta&i that mornin6 on their 'ay in from the city outs4irts to the hotel. *ut Biss Quinlan chec4ed out hours a6o5: :-or 'here. he 'ould convince her that he sincerely loved her and that she 'as not Cust another partner. his hopes resurfacin6. than4in6 him for savin6 her life more than once durin6 their Courney5 2t 'ent 'ithout sayin6 that her article 'ould have to *e scratched.: she had snapped5 :Time to close the *oo45: 3tartled *y her vehemence. the memory of their .: Lord Hayden demanded5 :2 *elieve she 'as returnin6 to the 3tates on the afternoon plane5 3he called the airline. to ma4e the reservations5 3eNor.: And on Lord Hayden7s confirmation. Grace had not o*Cected5 He 'as determined to *rea4 throu6h the shell in 'hich she 4ept her heart5 3omeho'. he had stared at her open/ mouthed. the story itself 'as too fantastic to 'rite. since the Totem no lon6er e&isted. he had su66ested their sharin6 a 9uiet dinner that evenin6 in his rooms5 3urprisin6ly. ri6ht here at the des4.erdone. her emerald eyes had spar4ed an6rily5 :The adventure is over. she *elieved5 @y hoo4 or croo4 he intended on ma4in6 her Lady William Hayden5 A *lac4 telephone perched *eside a vase of irises on a small ta*le *y the 'indo'5 He pic4ed up the receiver and dialed the des45 :27d li4e a do8en lon6/stemmed roses sent to Biss Grace Quinlan in $oom ")#5 3i6n it>: :. you are the 6entleman in $oom ")M.erhaps it is from Biss Quinlan5: :27ll *e ri6ht do'n. had met 'ith refusal5 At his re9uest for an e&planation. :2 see a messa6e in your *o&5 .: Lord Hayden said. han6in6 up5 Quic4ly he rushed out of the room5 The note 'as indeed from Grace5 2t 'as a 6ood*ye note. Lord Hayden. and *ecause of their promise of secrecy to A6nes5 Ho'ever. una*le to decipher 'hat he had done or said to invite such hostility5 An6ry. the cler4 added.
adventure 'ould never leave her5 The last 'ords *efore her si6nature read1 :Antil 'e meet a6ain. he no' often did the as4in6. he cornered . Grace had advised him5 . Lord Hayden5 :He crushed the note *et'een his fin6ers5 <n his return to the Aniversity.syche7s Tom* 'as hers ori6inally5 %li8a*eth 'ould listen. he lost control5 Graspin6 %li8a*eth7s shoulders.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e he shared the truth5 3he 'as after all Grace7s sponsor and his colla*orator5 And the theory of . not 'antin6 to *elieve her ne6ative ans'er. he 'aited heart in throat for %li8a*eth to announce that she had heard from her5 Where his meetin6s 'ith her durin6 *rea4s and lunch had *een coincidental or at her promptin6s. li4e his5 3he 'as his only lin4 to Grace.rofessor %ldrid6e in the hall'ay and demanded to 4no' if she had heard from her cousin5 -rustrated. and althou6h no' he rarely mentioned Biss Quinlan.erhaps he should. not interruptin6. Cust listenin65 He al'ays felt *etter after his 9uiet tal4s 'ith her5 Barry . he shoo4 her. he 'as 6rateful for %li8a*eth %ldrid6e7s company durin6 coffee and lunch *rea4sF 6rateful for the love of the ancient that *urned in her veins. he and Biss Quinlan had never found Crei6hton or the Totem5 @ut 'ith .rofessor %ldrid6e. usin6 as his e&cuses the need to discuss the Totem and the outcome of his venture5 As far as the Colle6e @oard 'as concerned. only his classes and his archaeolo6ical research eased their monotony5 2ronically. if only to sho' that 6reen/eyed siren that no 'oman made a fool of Lord William Hayden and 6ot a'ay 'ith it5 2t 'ould *e easy enou6h5 %li8a*eth %ldrid6e had carried a torch for him since comin6 to the university five . almost 4noc4in6 off her 6lasses and loosenin6 that ridiculous *un on her head5 The fri6htened loo4 on her face restored his senses immediately5 He ran a nervous hand throu6h his hair. and apolo6i8ed profusely *efore turnin6 and 'al4in6 a'ay5 He felt her 6rey eyes on him the 'hole len6th of the hall'ay5 As the days dra66ed.
resi6ned for the time *ein65 @ut they 'ould meet a6ain5 He felt sure of that5 :Antil ne&t 'e meet555: he 'hispered.S. he could never hurt her5 Lord William *reathed deeply. Gove)-me-t To . and perhaps more5 -or that alone.e Ope-e/ O-l* 0* A tho)12e/ (e)!o--el An elderly man in a *ro'n s'eater and *a66y pants rolled an empty hand 'a6on up one of the aisles *et'een the ro's of crates5 %very fe' feet he stopped and listened5 3tray 'isps of thinnin6 6ray hair peeped from under his cap5 2n . pinned severely *ac4 and up.orn/ !olume 0 CHA#TE$ ONE $o' upon ro' of hundreds of various si8ed crates filled the 'arehouse5 3imilar 'arnin6s coated in dust mar4ed each one5 ()ope)t* o+ the U. soulfully.years a6o5 He remem*ered the day they had first met. terminatin6 in that ridiculous *un on top of her head5 ?et the truth 'as he could never marry %li8a*eth on the re*ound5 3he 'as an u6ly duc4lin6 'ho 'ould pro*a*ly 6ro' u6lier 'ith the passin6 of years5 ?et she possessed a 6entle soul that loved the past and its relics as much as he. as the corners of his mouth curved into a 'a6erin6 smile5 The Adventures of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden in the Lost City of the Incas -#syche and Eros $e. collidin6 in the hall'ay5 The *oo4s she carried scattered5 Lord Hayden did the 6entlemanly thin6>apolo6i8ed and pic4ed up the *oo4s and redeposited them in her arms5 That 'as also 'hen he first noticed the 6ross color and style of her hair.
the area dimly lit5 He turned the cart to'ard the e&it5 The door 'as open5 An unmar4ed truc4 'aited silently. holdin6 the crate steady as the truc4 rum*led on5 With his other hand. he *e6an to lau6h. intellectually. he 'iped the dust from the crate7s top 'ith his sleeve and read the 'arnin6 alon6 'ith the serial num*er5 The elderly man strained as he slid the heavy crate from side to side. leavin6 the ramp *ehind5 A sliver of moonli6ht passed throu6h the space 'here the t'o flaps of the tarpaulin almost met5 The old man sat on a stool *eside the 'a6on. he loo4ed first to the ri6ht and then to the left5 The ri6ht corridor leadin6 to the e&it 'as empty. thou6h psycholo6ically primitive and harsh5 Human . artistically and socially advanced. his eye*ro's 'ere thic4 and coarse over droopy eyes the color of dar4 slate5 At his fourth stop. usin6 levera6e and 'hat muscles he possessed until the *o& sat securely on top of the hand 'a6on5 He resumed rollin6 it5 When he had reached the end of the aisle. until it rivaled the roar of the truc47s 6iant 'heels5 EEE %li8a*eth H Grace Quinlan fin6ered the carvin6s etched into the stone *loc4s of the ancient Temple of the Bayan God =u4ulcRn. prayers of a once sophisticated race.contrast. he removed his cap and peeled a'ay the coarse 6ray eye*ro's and the thinnin6 hair5 -olds of 'rin4led s4in follo'ed5 Then ru**in6 his face 6in6erly. also 4no'n as the A8tec God Quet8alcSatl5 3he mentally translated the sym*ols. a smile touched his 'i8ened mouth5 He pushed the hand 'a6on into the aisle5 The old man halted in front of a rectan6ular crate5 He listened to the steady hum. and then pulled the tarpaulin covers shut5 The truc4 moved. his lau6hter 6re'. deep *ello'in6 6uffa's. as silent5 2n anticipation. a porta*le ramp had *een raised5 The elderly man pushed the 'a6on and its contents up the ramp and into the *ac4 of the truc4. its driver silhouetted in the shado's. li4e delicate voices of an6els raised softly in son6 emittin6 from the crate7s interior5 %&tendin6 his arm. softly at first5 As the truc4 sped into the ni6ht.
sacrifice. remained to *e seen5 Lord Hayden had *e66ed %li8a*eth. the +efense +epartment claimed the relic. past a thirty/foot/'ide ceremonial cause'ay that led nine yards to the sacrificial cenote5 The cenote 'as a hu6e oval/shaped natural 'ell encased perpendicularly *y *ro4en roc4y limestone 'alls that rose a*out si&ty/five feet a*ove the surface of the mur4y 6reen 'ater5 A place of human sacrifice >Where no Mayan walks. and it disappeared5 %li8a*eth traced the remainin6 carvin6s5 . 'ere merely pointers that mi6ht eventually lead to the relic. *ut nothin6 that held a correspondin6 clue to A6nes7 verse5 ?et Lord Hayden insisted that this 'as the startin6 pointF more precisely. and devils hide# Numerous mytholo6ical tales and local superstitions surrounded the cenote5 2t 'as Lord Hayden7s *elief that A6nes7 verse referred specifically to this 'ell5 Whether the relic of po'er that she mentioned 'as in the cenote. to reach Grace Quinlan and as4 her to accompany him once a6ain on a relic search5 He had sho'n her A6nes7 messa6e5 -i6htin6 to restrain her e&citement. a rumor circulated that a famed archaeolo6ist had found a relic of 6reat po'er and *rou6ht it *ac4 to the 3tates5 3oon after.raises to the Bayan God. seek the relic o" power.eru to find a hand'ritten messa6e on his end ta*le5 What had made the 'ords stand out 'as the si6nature> With gratitude. north. Where no Mayan walks. )gnes5 3ome years a6o. or 'hether the surroundin6 temples. and *ar*aric practices and punishment had *een a part of the Bayan7s sophisticated culture5 %li8a*eth si6hed 9uietly5 Her *ro' 'rin4led5 3he recalled 'ords composed *y a 'oman yet un*orn> Hayden. she had calmly assured him that as soon as she . the 3acrificial Well. where only angels dare to tread. durin6 the 'ar. Where only angels dare to tread )nd devils hide# Lord Hayden had a'a4ened one mornin6 shortly after his return from . stelae and other monuments.
this time in the ?ucatan . she 4ne' she 'ould remain at his side. and he reali8ed the deception.heard from Grace. here they 'ere durin6 summer recess. he 'ould pro*a*ly hold her in contempt5 And Custly so5 All that she could hope for the present 'as to never admit to him her love under the 6uise of Grace Quinlan and there*y retain his respect for her as . she 'ould e&tend his invitation5 Thus. once more to6ether 'ith Lord William Hayden.eninsula in Central America5 Lord Hayden had concluded that A6nes7 messa6e related someho' to the Bayans5 The 'ords reminded him stron6ly of their mytholo6y5 %li8a*eth had ar6ued that they could apply to almost any fol4lore. his 'ide *rimmed canvas hat dra'n over his face and his 4ha4i Cac4et rolled and servin6 as his pillo'5 @eside him 'as his *ac4pac4 'ith his s'ord and the machete he used to carve a path throu6h the Cun6le5 Her 6ear and rumpled *lan4et lay a fe' discreet yards a'ay from his5 Warmth suffused her chee4s5 The ur6e to lie *eside him and feel his arms a*out her. they 'ere *oth a little insane5 The sun half/risen into the s4y. sharin6 his enthusiasm and ea6erness5 When it came to rediscoverin6 the past. refusin6 to *e Cust another 'oman in his life5 He 'as enthralled 'ith the mystery surroundin6 her5 <nce it 'as 6one. and on closer inspection. she returned her attention to the sym*ols on the stone sla*. splayed a handful of rays across the side of the Temple5 The sudden 6lare made %li8a*eth turn her head5 Her 6a8e rested on a clearin6 a*out ten yards *ehind her 'here Lord Hayden lay asleep.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e5 Composed once more. *ut Lord Hayden had not 'avered in his opinion5 With a li4e certainty. %li8a*eth under the 6uise of Grace Quinlan. noticed that the ed6es of the roc4 'ere spaced 'ider than its companions5 3he applied pressure and 6asped 'ith . to reveal her true identity and tell him ho' much she loved him rose softly 'ithin her5 3he held the ur6es in chec4 and tore her emerald 6a8e from the sleepin6 fi6ure.
unveilin6 a trap door slidin6 open *eneath her *oots5 %li8a*eth 6limpsed the a*yss preparin6 to s'allo' her5 A pair of stron6 arms cau6ht her *elo' her armpits and yan4ed her up and a'ay from the 6apin6 hole5 :Biss Grace Quinlan. 'hile he than4ed the po'ers that *e for the si&th sense. and the clue to unravel A6nes7 riddle5 %li8a*eth applied pressure to the loose sla* that her fin6ers had Cust encountered5 The stone slid further in. finally dei6nin6 to raise her eyes to meet Lord Hayden7s5 His e&pression 'as s4eptical and his 'ide *ro' creased in a finely e&ecuted fro'n5 He had not shaved since yesterday mornin6.: she replied. and adCusted her veiled canvas hat that had come as4e' durin6 her near fatal descent5 :Than4 you for savin6 my life. in a matter of fact tone. *ut . mi6ht *e e&cused. .rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. %li8a*eth did not meet his eyes immediately5 He 'as ri6ht. put me do'nD: %li8a*eth hollered indi6nantly5 :+o 2 have your promise that you7ll a*ide *y my rules. Lord Hayden complied5 $e6ainin6 her *alance. then a*ruptly chan6ed to a scream as the fallin6 stone hit solid 6round and simultaneously the dirt *eneath her feet shifted. should have 4no'n *etter5 3he strai6htened her safari *louse and pants. of course5 Grace Quinlan. the archaeolo6ist and e&pert in her field. 2 'arned you not to 6o e&plorin6 on your o'n5: Hayden 4ept her dan6lin6 a moment lon6er. and he pro*a*ly 'ould not for another couple of days5 The rou6h *ro'n *ristle on his Ca' added to the fro'n as he 'arned her firmly. :27m the head of this e&pedition5 ?ou do as . attemptin6 to 'ri66le free5 :.: :2 don7t ma4e promises 2 can7t 4eep.anticipation as the stone depressed sli6htly5 Could there *e hidden space *ehind it.: she said.erhaps even a cham*er. then collapsed *ac4'ards into an apparent void5 The *e6innin6s of an e&u*erant lau6h formed in her throat. the 'riter.lease put me do'n5: %&asperated. 'hich had a'a4ened him in time to see the 'oman he loved toyin6 'ith a *oo*y trap5 :William.
: Lord Hayden seconded. she 'as nevertheless not the hum*lest of her species5 The cham*er proved disappointin6.: he advised her. on the other hand.: he murmured. :if you 6et yourself 4illed5: The fro'n softened and he 6a8ed tenderly at the 'oman he yearned to ma4e his o'n5 :?ou7re far too lovely. his partner 'as not one to admit easily to a mista4e5 2ntrinsically honest and coura6eous. it seems you7ve discovered a hidden cham*er.: :This is a Coint venture. *ut her e&perience 'as limited to the t'o e&peditions they had shared in 3icily and %6ypt5 He. a lover of the ancient. merely a room that some ancient Hi6h .rofessor %ldrid6e 'as not as 9ualified5 3he lavished her archaeolo6ical contri*utions and her research and theories from *ehind her des4 at Layton Hall5 :Well. and mana6ed to survive5 %ven . let7s 6et to it.riest had used to chan6e into his ministry ro*es5 A lar6e reflective tin stand that must have served as a . determined and un'averin6 in 'hatever she set out to do. contemplatin6 the saucy tilt of her chin5 Cau6ht 'ith her *oots off.2 say. 2 promise5: 3he had not promised not to e&plore on her o'n. *ut 'e7ll have to pull the stones for'ard so they 'on7t fall *ac4'ard and activate the trap5: :A lo6ical deduction.: %li8a*eth reminded him. Biss Quinlan. only to *e more careful5 Lord Hayden supposed he 'ould have to *e satisfied 'ith that for the present5 Grace 'as intelli6ent and 'ell versed in his field. her tenacity meltin6 under its ardor5 :2 'ill *e more careful in the future. *endin6 to ta4e her lips5 %li8a*eth accepted the compliment and the 4iss. is that clear. so to spea4. liftin6 her chin to the point of strainin6 and pursin6 her lips in the certain 'ay that Hayden had come to admire5 :<ur last e&pedition.: %li8a*eth remar4ed a *it flippantly5 :Let7s 6et to it5: :$i6ht. confrontin6 traps and insurmounta*le odds and o*stacles in his search for priceless artifacts. had spent the maCor part of his life e&plorin6 Cun6les and deserts.
:The Carne6ie <r6ani8ation.: %li8a*eth repeated the line from A6nes7 riddle5 Lord Hayden nodded. and several nec4laces and armlets made of shell. lay neatly on a stone settee5 Lord Hayden shoo4 his head. :The sacrificial 'ell. he told her. a privately funded e&pedition. an ornamented and feathered poncho. 'here to ne&t.rofessor %ldrid6e7s company to ease the yearnin6>%ldrid6e. Cade and 6old.: he said5 :2 'ish A6nes had *een more specific5: %li8a*eth touched his arm consolin6ly5 :We7ve only *e6un to search5 2 trust your intuition5: 3he favored him 'ith a conta6ious smile5 :3o. 'ith only the spinsterish . addin6. his peer and lately a dear friend and confidante. Cust north of the Temple5: :Where no man 'al4s. is presently dred6in6 the 'ell5 27d li4e to e&amine some of their finds5 We have the proper credentials5 2 don7t thin4 they7d refuse us5: :2t7s 'orth a try.: Lord Hayden ac4no'led6ed her compliment 'ith a 6rin5 2f only she 'ould return his love5 The months a'ay from her 'ith no 4no'led6e of her 'herea*outs had *een torture5 Had she any idea of ho' he loo4ed for'ard to the summer recesses to *e 'ith her. and his only lin4 to Grace5 Gatherin6 his thou6hts.: %li8a*eth said5 . preserved and dust free *ecause of the vacuum. despondently5 :Another *lind alley. an ela*orate headdress.mirror leaned a6ainst a 'all5 The 6arments>a Ce'eled s4in s4irt.
and li4e his eye*ro's. she offered in appeasement. cut short.rofessor (ohn Tal*ot5 2t is a pleasure to meet you finally. 27m .: he said. *ut *efore he could follo' up the 6esture 'ith his o'n 6reetin6. 'e7re on our honeymoon.: Lord Hayden lied.: he offered5 :And my apolo6ies.: he added. s9uatty. and com*ed *ehind his ears. thic4 and very dar45 :By 'ife. irritation spicin6 his voice as he reacted to another male o6lin6 the 'oman he meant to have as his mate5 Tal*ot loo4ed at Lord Hayden in surprise5 :By con6ratulations.CHA#TE$ TWO The tall. %li8a*eth smiled. Tal*ot turned to %li8a*eth5 The dar4 6a8e he s'ept over her 'as nothin6 short of sensual5 :And 'ho may 2 as4 is this vision of *eauty.: he in9uired5 He had fulsome lips and 'ide prominent chee4s5 His hair 'as strai6ht. flattered5 %nCoyin6 the pretense. Lord Hayden5 2 have read several of your informative Cournals5 ?our e&cellent contri*utions to our science are 'ell spo4en of in our circle5: Lord Hayden accepted the handsha4e and the compliments. fortyish anti9uarian introduced himself to the t'o archaeolo6ists 'aitin6 to meet the head of the Carne6ie e&pedition5 :Good afternoon. :We7re ne'ly'eds5 27m the former Grace Quinlan5 ?ou may have noticed my articles in National Geo6raphic5: :2ndeed. 2 have5: Tal*ot replied5 He turned to Lord Hayden5 :?ou7re to *e dou*ly con6ratulated5: Lord Hayden inclined his headF much of his irritation and -reudian reaction evaporatin6 under the compliment and Tal*ot *ac4in6 off no' that he 4ne' the territory 'as already sta4ed and occupied5 :?es. the tone of his voice implyin6 he had not missed the territorial snarl5 :27m only human5: The cynosure of so much attention. one she had fantasi8ed for years. .
leadin6 them to a tent not far from the Well5 :The armlet is cast from 6old and set 'ith priceless 6ems5: <nce inside. amulets. and 'as thro'n into the 'ell alon6 'ith other sacrificial victims5: <ver the years. mi6ht *e interested in purchasin6 some of the artifacts5: He appended 6raciously. and pieces of pottery. and trin4ets had also *een dred6ed up. 27ll *e 6lad to act as your a6ent. *oth human and animal. %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden 6asped. da88led *y the . if 27m not mista4en. :there is one piece 2 especially thin4 you mi6ht fancy5 2t *ears a set of etchin6s that. the Cenote of 3acrifice had yielded a multitude of items. and e&9uisitely carved flint 4nives. :With your institute7s approval and that of the resident 6overnment. s4eletal remains. of course5: :2f you see anythin6 that spar4s your interest. Tal*ot removed a small/padloc4ed chest from under his cot and placed it on the foldin6 ta*le in the center of the ma4eshift room5 +ra'in6 a set of 4eys from his pants poc4et. since sacrificial victims 'ere copiously adorned and 'ei6hed do'n 'ith the ornaments to ma4e sure they dro'ned5 :We certainly 'ould li4e to e&amine the armlet.ossi*ly its 'earer 'as a traveler 'ho happened on this part of the Americas to his misfortune.: he said5 :?es5 The piece 2 refer to is an armlet5 . statues.: Tal*ot said5 :2n fact. mas4s.:and as 'e7re *oth e&perts on the past.: Tal*ot said5 :Very much so5 The museum affiliated 'ith Layton Hall.: %li8a*eth remar4ed ea6erly5 :Very 'ell.: Tal*ot said. 'e thou6ht to com*ine pleasure 'ith research5: :2 ta4e it you7d care to e&amine some of the pieces the divers have *rou6ht up.: he motioned for the pair to follo' him. effi6ies. the 4ind used to cut out a sacrificial victim7s heart5 (e'elry. he chose one and opened the loc45 As he lifted the lid. mention the city of Vilca*am*a5: Lord Hayden7s dar4 eyes 'idened 'ith interest5 :The Lost City of the 2ncas.
a sort of map.ancient Ce'elry 'ithin5 -oremost 'as the armlet Tal*ot pic4ed and handed to Lord Hayden5 2t 'as all %li8a*eth could do to 4eep her hands off the armlet 'hile Lord Hayden e&amined it5 :These sym*ols are definitely 2ncan prayers. *ut from a lon6 hot and humid afternoon.: Tal*ot replied. and replaced it under the cot5 The 4eys he returned to his poc4et5 :.: he as4ed.: :Not at all5 2n fact.lease feel free to use my tent until yours is ready5 There are sand'iches and a freshly filled coffee thermos in the corner5 Help yourselves5 2 loo4 for'ard to hearin6 your com*ined theories on the armlet 'hen 2 return5: Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth helped themselves to the offered repast 'hile discussin6 the Cenote and the ancient treasures that Tal*ot had allo'ed them to 6limpse *efore reloc4in6 the small chest and slidin6 it *ac4 under the cot5 Their conversation eventually turned *ac4 to the armlet5 With no conclusions forthcomin6. as o*servers5 Would you mind. loc4ed it. your archaeolo6ical e&pertise is 'elcome5 2 'ill have my men set up a tent for you5 2n the meantime. %li8a*eth ya'ned. feel free to e&amine the armlet further5 2 have some 'or4 to finish overseein65: He closed the *o& 'ith the precious findin6s. not from *oredom.: she said. pointin6 to the inside of the 6old. not to mention her near fatal accident 'ith the trap door at the *ase of the ancient Temple of the Bayan God =u4ulcRn5 :27m for a short nap. s4eptically. eyein6 the cot and the . she offered. 6em/ encrusted armlet5 %li8a*eth too4 the armlet from Lord Hayden 'ith as much patience as she could mimic5 Lettin6 her ima6ination ta4e old. :They could *e simple scratches on the metal5 The ornament has *een lyin6 at the *ottom of the Well amon6 silt and de*ris for centuries5: Lord Hayden tended to a6ree5 He 'as ea6er to e&amine the other items in the *o&5 :We7d li4e to remain here for a fe' days. :Bi6ht not the lines remotely *e555 directionsF say.: he said5 :@ut 'hat do you ma4e of these lines.
: :@y all means.: Lord Hayden persisted.: %li8a*eth replied5 -or a lon6 time Lord Hayden sat in a 'ood foldin6 chair and contemplated %li8a*eth as she slept5 After a 'hile.: she called. directions to the lost city of Vilca*am*a. the last sanctuary of the 2ncas fleein6 from the s'ord of the Con9uistadors5: %li8a*eth pursed her lips and her eyes narro'ed in thou6ht. Lord Hayden5 With my very life. :The chal4 'ill 'ash out5 @ut note your theory 'as ri6ht5 These lines are directions. not to Coin you re6ardless5: :With my life. the veil for6otten5 :The dia6ram mi6ht *e fictional. Grace Quinlan. you 'ere ri6ht5 The lines are directions5: %li8a*eth left the cot and moved 9uic4ly to Lord Hayden7s side5 The 'oman in her noticed her defaced veil and she said as much5 Lord Hayden appealed. No5 @ut stay near5: %li8a*eth lay *ac4 and closed her eyes5 :?ou trust me.coarse 6rey *lan4et and e9ually dull colored air pillo'5 3he removed her hat and tossed it on top of some *o&ed supplies5 :+o you mind. he spread the mar4ed veil over the area leadin6 from ?ucatan to the Andean Cordillera5 :?esD: he affirmed e&citedly5 %li8a*eth stirred and opened her eyes dro'sily5 :William.: Lord Hayden smiled5 :3hall 2 Coin you. he do8ed5 He 'o4e 'ith a start and an idea5 A rou6h linen map of the Biddle and 3outhern Americas covered one side of the foldin6 ta*le. remem*erin6 that she 'as in a tent5 3he sat up5 :Grace. :it mi6ht *e a secret . alon6 'ith some 'ritin6 supplies5 Lord Hayden too4 %li8a*eth7s veiled hat and ta4in6 a chal4 mar4er on the ta*le he duplicated the lines etched on the inside of the armlet onto the veil5 With anticipation.: she said5 :<ne the artist 'ho desi6ned the arm*and fa*ricated or reproduced from hearsay5: :<r.: he as4ed 'ic4edly5 :Than4 you.
*ut there 'ere e&tra duties that needed my immediate attention5 Ah. %nvy of Lord Hayden7s reputation and 6ood fortune. %li8a*eth found herself distrustin6 the man5 3omethin6 a*out him. she 'ondered5 Was it envy she read in his eyes. We7re tal4in6 a*out the Lost City of the 2ncasD A*out a 'ealth of past history. his eyes.: :Anticipation. and a chance to find conclusively once and for all the ruins of the City. :Would you 'elcome a third mem*er on your planned e&pedition. and smiled at him reassurin6ly5 Tal*ot 'atched the intimate e&chan6e *et'een hus*and and 'ife5 Neither of the t'o sa' the corner of his mouth t'ist maliciously5 @y the time they returned their attention to him. and proof that it actually e&isted5: Tal*ot nodded 'ith full understandin6 and a6reement5 :Then 2 ta4e it you intend follo'in6 the route disclosed5: :Bost definitely.: Hayden replied5 :@ut do you 4no' of any *ona fide archaeolo6ist 'ho 'ould not follo' up on such a lead. +espite the 6eniality he displayed to'ard them. somethin6 that chilled her5 %li8a*eth shuddered5 Lord Hayden felt the tremor in her fin6ers5 :What is it. a*out his smile.chart the 'earer carried 'ith him so he 'ould *e a*le to find his 'ay *ac4 to Vilca*am*a 'hen he 'as ready to return5: At that moment Tal*ot entered the tent5 :-or6ive me for ta4in6 so lon6. priceless relics.: she seconded5 His fin6ers covered hers5 3he lifted her 6a8e to Tal*ot7s and felt uneasy5 What 'as it a*out Tal*ot that distur*ed her.: he in9uired5 :No. Grace. 2 see you are still e&aminin6 the artifact5: Tal*ot peered over Lord Hayden7s shoulder5 His eyes lit 'ith reco6nition as he spotted the veil 'ith the mar4in6s laid out carefully over the map5 :Can 'e *e certain.: she fei6ned.: Lord Hayden said and 6lanced up at %li8a*eth5 3he dre' closer and placed her hand on his arm5 :Bost definitely. he had in9uired solicitously.: .
When they reached the Cun6les of Copan.syche. her sleep 'as distur*ed5 The name. she had passed on to her students at Layton Hall pertinent information a*out the statue5 2t dated *ac4 to TM A5+5 and the face carved in hi6h relief under the headdress 'as that of a *earded.: Tal*ot 'as sayin6 to Lord Hayden5 :2n fact. the three *e6an their Courney to the Andean Cordillera5 %li8a*eth remained uneasy a*out Tal*ot. 'e should *e comin6 upon the fi6ure any moment no'.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. . <r had it all *een a play of the ima6ination. e&pressin6 solemnity and sternness. %ros. mustached Bayan soverei6n. and Lord Hayden.syche7s reincarnation. she said nothin6 to Lord Hayden a*out it5 He appeared to have accepted Tal*ot as an earnest fello' anti9uarian and felt he 'as in 6ood company5 The t'o men conversed comforta*ly. attemptin6 to decipher the sym*ols etched into its sides5 Lord Hayden turned a*ruptly as %li8a*eth7s panic/stric4en voice called to . traits 'ell suited to dra' fear5 Lord Hayden and Tal*ot circled the 3tele. s9uarish. 'ith Tal*ot displayin6 intelli6ence and fle&i*ility in his discussions 'ith Lord Hayden5 Nonetheless. 2 thin4 2 can see the top of its headdress5: Within minutes they came upon the stone fi6ure5 %li8a*eth studied the ela*orate costume and the tall. Tal*ot e&pressed a desire to spend a fe' days e&aminin6 the 3telae prevalent in this area5 %li8a*eth follo'ed *ehind the t'o men5 @ehind her. rever*erated throu6h her dreams li4e *ell chimes over the countryside5 Would she ever 4no' 'hether she 'as indeed . the Besti8os carried the party7s 6ear and campin6 supplies5 :?es. hi6hly ornamental head6ear5 Her alter e6o had seen pictures of this particular 3tele5 As . *ut una*le to la*el the uneasiness she felt in his presence.CHA#TE$ TH$EE A 'ee4 later.
a'are once a6ain of her present 'herea*outs5 3he shoo4 her head to clear it5 :<h. %li8a*eth *lin4ed.: he as4ed.: he said s4eptically.: $eceivin6 no response. for one feisty Cournalist.: %li8a*eth insisted5 :@e 9uiet and sit do'n. and the touch of his 'arm comfortin6 hand across her *ro' as he felt for fever5 -indin6 none. removin6 her *ac4pac45 :27m all ri6ht. *ut *e at his side 'hile rediscoverin6 the past5 :Nothin6 is 'ron6. he si6hed 'ith relief5 Too much. *ut 2 thin4 you should tell me 'hat7s 6oin6 on in your mind5: To tell him that the face on the 3tele had suddenly appeared very familiar.: she reassured him5 :2t7s the heat5: :No. he turned her to'ard him5 -orced to loo4 a'ay. and 'ith that familiarity had come a sense of terror. too soon.: he said. acceptin6 the 'ater from his canteen.: he in9uired5 %li8a*eth continued to stare at the ima6e as thou6h mesmeri8ed5 Lord Hayden placed an arm a*out her and dre' her close5 :GraceL Grace5 What is it. Lord Hayden thou6ht.: he told her5 He 'as too 'orried a*out her to put up 'ith her usual o*stinacy and %li8a*eth reco6ni8ed this5 3he sat and allo'ed him to minister to her. e&cept for the fear on her sem*lance as she stared 'ide/eyed at the 3tele7s face5 :Anyone you 4no'. the reason for 'hich she had no e&planation.t she con"ide . assessin6 the situation and findin6 nothin6 amiss. notin6 her 6ro'in6 paleness and confusion5 He led her to the shade of a mimosa tree5 :3it do'n. mi6ht cause Lord Hayden to *elieve she 'as not up to accompanyin6 him on this e&pedition5 And there 'as nothin6 more she 'anted to do. 27m sorry555 2/27m all ri6ht5: 3he s'ayed in Hayden7s arms and he ti6htened his hold5 :Are you sure.him5 :What7s 'ron6.: Lord Hayden insisted5 :2 4no' you *etter than that5 3omethin6 is *otherin6 you5: Why wouldn. 'ho also happened to *e the 'oman he adored5 He cupped her chin 6ently5 :3omethin6 has *een *otherin6 you since 'e left the Cenote5 27m not sure that it relates to 'hat Cust happened. William5 27m fine.
and she. deer coe&isted 'ith mon4eys and 'olves and coyotes5 (a6uar. he. *ut none that elicited from her a similar distrau6ht reaction5 Lord Hayden appreciated that she had not remonstrated a*out his sudden apparent a*andonment of their ori6inal search of the relic hinted in A6nes7 messa6e5 3he 'as as interested in findin6 the final 2nca stron6hold as he. :Tal*ot is ri6ht5 We ou6ht to move on5: :All ri6ht. *ut neither did he intend passin6 up a chance to find Vilca*am*a5 ?et another possi*ility e&isted. ur6ed. stirrin6 6ently in the *ree8e5 %ach time the flaps separated.: Lord Hayden relented5 :@ut stay close to me. star/spec4led s4y5 %arth and firmament dominated this part of the 'orld5 Neither Lord Hayden. :2f your 'ife is feelin6 *etter. of course. in a chair. their meetin6 'ith Tal*ot.in him6 Tal*ot. that all that had *efallen them thus far555 the Cenote. the armlet that mi6ht hold the ans'er to the location of the Lost City. *ears. nor %li8a*eth had spo4en for a 'hile. puma. all these mi6ht *e the very clues to A6nes7 find5 3he mi6ht *e leadin6 him via a rounda*out route to a precious relic5 The ni6hts 'ere cool and filled 'ith animal sounds5 Lyn&.: he told her5 <ver the ne&t fe' days they encountered several other 3telae. the couple 6limpsed the full moon illuminin6 the dar4 *lue. the pair of archaeolo6ists loun6ed. adventurers and archaeolo6ists5 3afe in this *u**le of 'armth . content in their closeness and in the silence that allo'ed them to thin4 and reflect5 They 'ere teachers and learners. on the cot. himself5 Loyal and steadfast this 'oman he yearned to ma4e his o'n5 And she trusted him5 He had. 2 thin4 'e should press on5 We have several other monuments to visit *efore ni6htfall5: %li8a*eth a6reed. every intention of continuin6 his ori6inal search. 'ho had *een o*servin6 the pair. continuin6 their mas9uerade of a recently married couple5 The tent flaps hun6 loose. and ocelot roamed this plateau of *road fertile plains *ro4en *y deep valleys and mountains5 2nside their tent.
: Lord Hayden entreated5 He listened. dearest5: His 'arm *reath caressed her hair and she felt the fear dissipatin6. then the face dislod6ed from the rest of the sculpture5 The stone ima6e started to'ard her.: he consoled.: she repeated. and then *ac4 at him. truly5 3he must tell him the truth5 2t 'as not fair to evo4e such love and deceive him5 ?et revealin6 her true identity mi6ht destroy that love5 Not hers. and near to hyperventilatin65 :That7s enou6h5 2 understand5 Calm yourself5 2t 'as only a dream. only a dream. dar4 eye*ro's 4nittin6. is everythin6 all ri6ht. :Grace555 Grace5: +renched 'ith s'eat and trem*lin6 from head to toe. callin6 her name until her eyes opened. then flun6 herself in his arms5 :He7s after meD: she 'ailed5 :He7s after me5: :Who is after you. she loo4ed 'ildly a*out her. a 6ray caricature of resilient flesh5 %li8a*eth screamed5 Lord Hayden careened off the chair as her cry rattled in his ears5 3he 'as asleep. mouth som*er. the trem*lin6 easin65 3he turned her head to vie' his face5 What she sa' there 'as more than she could *ear at this moment5 This man loved her.and contemplative peace. he temporarily lyin6 *eside her. she stood *efore the 3tele at Copan5 -irst the *ody.: Lord Hayden 'hispered5 :27ll protect you. even if he turned from her in contempt5 :William555: :Lord Hayden.: Tal*ot called . tossin6 and cryin6 out for him5 He 6rasped her shoulders. *uryin6 her face in his side. his arms a*out her lullin6 her to sleep as she snu66led closer to him5 @ut later>the ni6htmare *e6an5 <ne moment she lay asleep under the thic4 muslin sheetF the ne&t. alive yet fro8en. %li8a*eth for6ot for the time the face on the 3tele that had terrified her5 2nstead. as she related her dream midst shudderin6 and 6ulpin6 air. vividly a'are of the 'armth of his arms and the stron6 *eat of his heart5 :3leep my love. she allo'ed herself to ima6ine she and Lord Hayden 'ere truly a couple. his voice 6entle5 He dre' her do'n 'ith him. cradlin6 her5 :?es. of course5 3he 'ould love him forever.
eru. an American %&plorer.: Lord Hayden advised5 :We have a lon6 tre4 ahead of us5: %li8a*eth closed her eyes5 3he did not see Lord Hayden fro'n as he 'orried that she 'as not a 'oman 6iven to unnecessary fears5 He had learned from their t'o previous e&peditions that occasionally her dreams tended to *e prophetic and that her intuition 'as usually ri6ht5 2t 'as almost da'n *efore he finally fell asleep5 CHA#TE$ (O)$ Eli8a*eth did not li4e the effect Tal*ot 'as havin6 on Lord Hayden5 @ut neither did she 'ish to spoil Lord Hayden7s e&citement at the prospect of discoverin6 the Lost City of the 2ncas and the possi*ility of that city turnin6 out to *e Vilca*am*a5 2n 1P11. the last stron6hold of the 2ncas5 Hundreds of 2ncan ruins fili6reed the Andean Cordillera in . includin6 Lord Hayden. then5: There follo'ed retreatin6 footsteps. 'as never certain that 'hat he had found 'as Vilca*am*a.from outside5 :2 heard someone scream5: :2t7s nothin6. Hiram @in6ham. and don4eys *rayin6 restlessly5 3lo'ly the camp 6re' silent a6ain5 @ut the interruption had served to *rin6 %li8a*eth to her senses5 This 'as not the time to reveal her identity and possi*ly destroy their camaraderie and muddle their e&pedition5 The time to tell him 'ould *e 'hen they returned to the colle6e5 +r5 %li8a*eth %ldrid6e must tell him the truth5 3he loathed 6ivin6 up these precious moments in his arms5 %li8a*eth did not move from his em*race5 :3leep. and accounts of am*itious anti9uarians unveilin6 the remains of a city or stron6hold amon6 these ruins filled archaeolo6ical Cournals5 Tal*ot and . as many other archaeolo6ists.icchu in the Andes5 ?et @in6ham. himself.: Lord Hayden responded5 :A *ad dream5 %verythin6 is fine no'5: :Well. some voices mum*lin6 in local 3panish. had rediscovered Bachu . 6oodni6ht.
may 2 have this dance.icchu5 Thus far.: %li8a*eth started. *ut the tone of delivery>cold and calculated. %li8a*eth spun a'ay furiously and ran into the tent she shared 'ith Lord Hayden5 3he sat on the cot. a phono6raph played Latin music5 Without pream*le. she nodded5 Tal*ot rose slo'ly and offered his hand5 %li8a*eth met his 6a8e. please say no# :A dance mi6ht lift your spirits. he felt a sense of mis6ivin65 Tal*ot7s remar4 had chilled him5 Not the 'ords themselves. :27d rather *e damnedD: @efore either of the t'o men could react. 'ith your hus*and7s permission. a cold shiver runnin6 up her spine5 3he 6lanced at Lord Hayden entreatin6ly5 'ay no. tin cups filled 'ith coffee5 @ehind them. simultaneously an6ry. %li8a*eth had mana6ed to 4eep her ill feelin6s a*out Tal*ot hooded. scared and confused5 3he did not e&pect Lord Hayden to understand. Tal*ot as4ed. 'hen she.: Tal*ot too4 her hand5 His fin6ers 'ere hot and moist5 He pulled her to her feet5 :?our hus*and is a 6enerous man5 2 'ould never allo' you to dance 'ith any other man>if you 'ere mine5: The touch of that s'eaty cla' suddenly *ecame un*eara*le5 3he Cer4ed her hand free and snarled. herself did not5 Lord Hayden remained seated. Grace5: %li8a*eth forced herself to smile5 To refuse 'ould *e rude5 -or Lord Hayden7s sa4e. Lord Hayden e&cused himself and strode into the tent5 The 'oman he loved lay on her side on the cot.: Lord Hayden said5 :Go on.Lord Hayden 'ere of the same mind 'ith re6ard to Bachu . as thou6h the man had accidentally let slip a false veneer of respecta*ility5 Was Tal*ot the cause of Grace7s despondency. curled in a fetal position. until that evenin65 The three sat a*out a card ta*le. and 9uite uncarin6ly a'are of her reluctance5 A rush of a*horrence of the man nearly cho4ed her5 :3hall 'e. hu66in6 . dar4 and sinister. After a fe' minutes to 6ive her time to compose herself. :Lady Hayden. *ut for the first time since meetin6 up 'ith Tal*ot.
: she said5 :2 Cust don7t li4e him5 Nothin6 to 'orry yourself a*out5 . tellin6 him to address his advances instead to . 'hat has *een *otherin6 you5 ?ou haven7t *een yourself for days no'5: :27m fine5 There7s nothin6 'ron65: He riveted her 6a8e 'ith adamant dis*elief5 :2s it Tal*ot.herself as if shiverin65 Her eyes 'ere closed and her *reathin6 steady5 3he had fallen asleep li4e a fri6htened child retreatin6 into slum*er to escape her fears5 3he seemed so small and helpless that he 'anted very much to hold and comfort her5 Nevertheless. *ut this time she did not relent5 :2 don7t 4no'. William.eru5 27ve su66ested to Tal*ot a fe' days rest at a 9uality hotel.: he as4ed *luntly5 %li8a*eth pursed her lips in that defiant 6esture that so intri6ued him. earnestly5 . careful not to distur* her rest5 2n the mornin6 'ould *e time enou6h to discover 'hat truly ailed her5 The ne&t mornin6 Lord Hayden re9uested that *rea4fast *e *rou6ht to their tent5 <ver coffee he confronted her5 :2 'ant to 4no' 'hat7s 'ron6. *ut a moment later her shoulders sa66ed5 :2 don7t li4e him5 He fri6htens me5 Ba4es my s4in cra'l5: :Why. an area stre'n 'ith ruins5: :Than4 you. 'a4in6 her at this moment mi6ht serve only to *rin6 *ac4 the fears5 2nstead.lease don7t 9uestion me further5 By feelin6s 'on7t interfere 'ith our *usiness association5: Lord Hayden7s posture tensed5 @usiness association is that all their relationship meant to her5 He chided himself5 Had he for6otten ho' she had left him t'ice 'ithout a proper 6ood*ye.: %li8a*eth said. and scoffed at his proposal.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 %li8a*eth yearned to tell him that the face on the stele that had come to life in her ni6htmare 'as Tal*ot7s5 @ut Lord Hayden 'ould certainly thin4 her daft and her fears unfounded5 A6ain her lips pursed.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e5 Hayden 6ritted his teeth5 :Very 'ell5 2 'on7t pry5 Tomorro' 'e should reach the outs4irts of . after 'hich 'e can search the northern part of the Cordillera. he too4 off his Cac4et and placed it over her shoulders.
he mi6ht have cau6ht the sinister 6rin5 Later that 'ee4 they re6istered at a comforta*le hotel in La . unchartered. failin6 to see the misery on her visa6e and the hopeless love in her eyes5 Nor did he see Tal*ot lur4in6 a fe' feet a'ay.Her hum*le tone. a nondescript. hidden in the shado's cast *y the mimosa trees5 2f he had noticed him. he 'ithdre' a short cape threaded 'ith silver and 6old in 6eometrical patterns5 He placed the cape over his shoulders5 Ne&t.e9uena. *ut neat little to'n on the north'estern outs4irts of . a dar4 lord. so a*ruptly a contrast to her coldness a moment a6o. He clapped his hat on and left the tent. made him t'itch in discomfort5 Why did he love her desperately 'hen she could discard him easily 'hen not needed.eru5 That evenin6 in his room. filtered an6rily throu6h the plaster/thin 'alls5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth 'ere 9uarrelin6 in their room5 Tal*ot 6rinned5 He loo4ed reverently at the fi6ure5 :2t *e6ins555: he murmured confidently and lo'ered his head in o*eisance to his Lord5 CHA#TE$ (I!E (rothy mist in several shades ran6in6 from 'hite to tur9uoise hovered a*ove and a*out the canyon 4no'n as The Aru*am*a5 The Aru*am*a 'as not your avera6e mountain clim*er7s deli6htF its 'alls rose steeply. furnished sparsely in 'hite 'ic4er. he 'ithdre' a slender stone fi6ure measurin6 a*out a foot hi6h 'ith carved sna4es aureolin6 its styli8ed head5 To the 2ncas the fi6ure represented Lan8on. Tal*ot closed the shutters and reached for his *ac4pac45 -rom it. almost perpendicular to the narro' rollin6 river of the same name that slithered serpent/li4e alon6 its *ase5 The route outlined on the inside of . and a sym*ol of death5 Tal*ot placed the fi6ure on top of a 'hite 'ic4er dressin6 ta*le5 He prostrated himself full len6th *efore it5 Then he rose to his 4nees and softly chanted some prayers in an unidentifia*le lan6ua6e5 T'o voicesF one male. one female.
many of them unmapped and un4no'n5: Withal. :even a passa6e'ay to the other side5 We7re all a'are of the numerous valleys 'hich s4irt these mountains. it sho'ed little si6n of travel. four local Quechua 2ndians 6uided a pair of Llamas laden 'ith supplies5 The three archaeolo6ists had replaced the li6ht clothin6 'orn in ?ucatan 'ith thermal 'ear. Tal*ot pointed to an irre6ular openin6 in the canyon 'all a*out a 9uarter of a mile up that mi6ht provide shelter for the ni6ht5 The lines inscri*ed inside the armlet. and hi6h fur/lined *oots to repel the *one chillin6 arctic cold of the sno'capped Andes5 %li8a*eth had purchased a Chola +er*y that she donned over a colorful 'ool scarf. sin6le/file.icchu5 Tal*ot 'as in the lead. unli4e the one detailed in 6eo6raphical manuals of the day that 'ove up t'o thousand feet to the a*andoned 2nca city of Bachu . follo'in6 the custom of many of the local 'omen5 As they plodded slo'ly up'ard. 'hen traced and placed a6ainst the map.the armlet that Tal*ot7s divers had dred6ed up from the 3acrificial Cenote had led the trio across a rope suspension *rid6e spannin6 the river. alon6 the narro' road throu6h the thinnin6 air. she 'as still ne' to this type of e&ploration. as they continued footin6 up'ard. Lord Hayden 4ept a close eye on his partner5 -or all her enthusiasm and feistiness. 'ith Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth follo'in65 @ehind them. ended mid'ay across the mountain5 Lord Hayden had voiced the opinion that either the artist had tired of his etchin6 and stopped. 'arm ponchos.: Lord Hayden remar4ed. and up a narro' road that curved precariously a*out these Bountains5 The small party continued to follo' the path not listed on local maps5 $oc4y and uneven. a novice to the une&pected dan6ers that . or 4ne' for a fact that the 'earer of the armlet 'ould have previous 4no'led6e of his destination5 The mountains in their direct line of vision 'ere honeycom*ed 'ith fissures5 The three anti9uarians speculated and ar6ued over the possi*ilities as they moved up'ard to'ard the openin65 :There are infinite possi*ilities. head mas4s 'orn under hats.
deep and 'ide 'ith no end in si6ht5 The party set up camp for the ni6ht5 A comfortin6 fire a6ainst the arctic ni6ht. the heavy mist a*out the mountains separated to allo' her a 6limpse of the dar4 *lue s4ies. canned ste'. and stars lar6e and close enou6h to hold in her hands5 2t seemed that 'ay until she remem*ered those stars 'ere millions of li6ht years a'ay5 Lord Hayden came up *ehind her and closed his arms around her5 He rested his chee4 close to hers 'here the cold *ree8es had *lo'n sil4y strands of her red/6old hair5 %li8a*eth remar4ed. any of a num*er of ha8ards5 T'ili6ht had descended *y the time they reached the openin6 Tal*ot had indicated earlier. a *rea4 in the road. %li8a*eth 'as certain of Tal*ot7s insincerity5 -eelin6 antipathy to'ards him. and more speculatin6 on 'hat lay at the end of the road.: %li8a*eth protested5 :A*solutely.: he enumerated. Lord Hayden halted the 6roup and insisted on tyin6 a rope around her 'aist5 :+o you really thin4 this is necessary.: Lord Hayden silenced her5 There 'ere times that she impressed him as incredi*ly stuffy and smu65 :The hei6ht. occupied the ne&t fe' hours5 At len6th Tal*ot said.mi6ht confront them as the road 6re' narro'er and roc4ier5 With these thou6hts in mind. :a slip. the sudden *reach of trust came as a surprise and a disappointment5 What else had Tal*ot not told them. the thinnin6 air. 2 thou6ht the information superfluous5: The man7s deviousness 'as no shoc4 to %li8a*eth5 @ut to Lord Hayden 'ho had ta4en Tal*ot at face value. and since 27ve never 6one past this point.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 :2 didn7t *elieve 2 'ould have the ans'ers to 9uestions you t'o mi6ht pose. a cave. she stood up and strode to the cave7s openin6 to finish her meal5 Here and there.: and moved out of his arms5 His features ti6htened 'ith e&asperation5 :All ri6ht. :?ou need a shave. a di88y spell. . :2 have a confession to ma4e5 27ve *een here *efore5: Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth 6lanced at him suspiciously5 :Why the secrecy.
not certain of the reason for his apolo6y5 @ut at least this time she 'as not playin6 a 6ame5 3he 'as honestly an6ry 'ith him5 He eliminated the space *et'een them and pulled her *ac4 into his arms5 3he 'as the one 4eepin6 somethin6 from him5 Nevertheless.: :<f Tal*ot5 ?ou sa' it yourself Cust no'5 He7s not 'hat he seems5 He7s up to somethin6 and usin6 us5: An hour a6o Lord Hayden 'ould have ar6ued that theory. her opinion did not sound so farfetched5 :2s that 'hat7s *een *otherin6 you.: %li8a*eth said.: she rasped5 :<f 'hat.27m sorry. thou6h he ached to hold her ti6ht and ma4e her his o'n5 He felt relieved that her aloofness these past 'ee4s had *een no more than 'hat she had told him5 :2 have learned to trust your intuition. shamefaced5 :2 reali8e 2 should have told you *efore.: he si6hed. a 6entle 4iss. Tal*ot had *e6un to sho' his true character5 :27m sorry too. then to Hades 'ith his pride 'here the 'oman he loved 'as concerned5 %li8a*eth shoo4 her head5 :No. tellin6 her she 'as lettin6 her ima6ination run a'ay 'ith her. Cumpin6 to conclusions5 @ut after 'hat Tal*ot had Cust told them and the shoddy e&cuse he had used. especially 'ith re6ard to Tal*ot5 -or no'. if the apolo6y 'ould soften the turf. in an off*eat fashion. 'e 'ill 4eep our eyes and ears vi6ilant.: he said5 :@ut 2 *elieve that 'hat has *een happenin6 may *e A6nes7 'ay of leadin6 us. to a precious relic5 We7ve come too far to 6o *ac45 @ut from this point on. let7s 6et some rest5: He dre' her 'ith him to'ard the *lan4ets unrolled a fe' feet from the fire5 . *ut 2 'asn7t certain if 'hat 2 felt 'as all in my mind5 And 2 didn7t 'ant to interrupt the e&pedition5 We could *e on the ver6e of a tremendous discovery5 Lord Hayden 4issed her.: Lord Hayden as4ed. and turned into Hayden7s arms5 :And 27m afraid. you7ve nothin6 to apolo6i8e for5: He had no in4lin6 that it 'as her love for him that had prompted her to remain silent a*out her mistrust and fear of Tal*ot so as not to interfere 'ith the e&pedition5 At last.
the 4no'led6e> that sometime. revealin6 Ca' and stu**le5 Nud6in6 the hat further up. to you5 To my people. muted sunli6ht spilled into the fissure li4e fired chiffon diaphanously veiled *y the hoverin6 mist5 The Llamas stirred first 'a4in6 %li8a*eth5 Lord Hayden. and then she 'as thrust aside as Hayden stared up. you 'ill remem*er5: Tal*ot ne&t turned to Lord Hayden5 :?ou 'ere an&ious to find the Lost City of the 2ncas555: He let the statement han6 for a moment5 :And you 'ill do Cust that5: <nce more he motioned to the 6uards5 . his mouth partin6 'ith a 6asp5 :What. despite the na66in6 suspicion>no. she encountered a pair of firm lips that tended to pout in slum*er5 2mpatiently.: %li8a*eth as4ed. dra'in6 her fin6ertip across his eyes5 Lord Hayden 6rasped her hand. and screamed5 An 2nca attired in full re6alia and flan4ed *y four conical helmeted 'arriors to'ered over them5 :Tal*ot. his 'ide/ *rimmed hat coverin6 his face.: %li8a*eth yelped5 3he follo'ed Lord Hayden7s 6a8e and loo4ed up. she slipped a fin6ertip under the *rim and tipped it *ac4 sli6htly.: Lord Hayden sneered5 :Tal*ot. 'ide/eyed. :2t has *een a lon6 time.With da'n. *ut 2 4ne' 'e should meet a6ain5: :When555 'here did 2 meet you *efore. he pulled her on top of him5 %li8a*eth *urst into lau6hter a6ainst his lips.: she teased. some'here in the past. *ut %li8a*eth noticed5 :2 4no' you7re a'a4e. startlin6 her5 +ar4 eyes openin6. *ut %li8a*eth noticed their uncanny resem*lance to the 'arriors5 Tal*ot ordered the 6uards to lo'er their 'eapons5 He addressed %li8a*eth. she pushed the hat completely *ac45 +ar4 eyelids fou6ht not to *lin4. 2 am the 2nca5: Hayden and %li8a*eth clim*ed to their feet and 'ere immediately 6reeted 'ith the points of spears5 The four Quechua 2ndians that had accompanied them up the mountain had vanished. she had indeed 4no'n Tal*ot5 :When it is time. lay *eside her5 2mpishly.
and for over t'o hours. a panoramic vie' of a forested valley spread ma6nificently *elo' them5 Held in the palm of the valley. Despite the lac4 of li6ht. a stone citadel nested co8ily5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth needed 9uestions ans'ered. deep steps in the front led to a columned temple at the top5 The sides of the structure 'ere made of lar6e stones fitted smoothly to6ether5 2t 'as 'arm in the valley5 The sun shone *ri6htly5 The people 'ho came out of their homes or loo4ed do'n from palace terraces 'ere dressed in to6as and sandals accordin6 to their stations in life. to'ard the center of the citadel. multicolored motif/ decorated tunics and trousers and s4irts5 Their *odies 'ere the color of dar4 *urnished copperF their hair *lac4 and strai6ht and trimmed evenly Cust *elo' their ears5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth noted that these people did not loo4 . the structures 6re' lar6er. from simple sleeveless Llama 'ool shifts to richly em*roidered. *ut as soon as the party circumvented the roc4s. in the very center of the city. a pinpoint of li6ht shone in the distance5 The li6ht 6re'. *ut their host had disappeared5 The soldiers led them do'n a narro' path carved into the mountainside. strai6ht into the heart of the city5 The streets.eruvian. a mi&ture5 . more ornate 'ith palaces and temples5 -inally. 6rey sla**ed pavements.The 2nca soldiers raised their spears and prodded the pair to follo' Tal*ot as he disappeared into the dar4 recesses of the cave5 CHA#TE$ +I. per se5 $ather. a hu6e pyramidical edifice rose mi6htily5 A series of 'ide. stron6 and uno*structed as the 6roup finally neared the e&it5 A pile of roc4s prevented immediate visual contact 'ith the 6round *elo'. the 6uards 4ne' e&actly 'here they 'ere 6oin6. 'ere clean and neatly lined 'ith 6ranite d'ellin6s5 -urther in. they rudely ur6ed Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth alon6 in the dar4ness5 At last.
that proves our theory. Tal*ot had said5 %li8a*eth moved closer to Lord Hayden5 The 6uards escorted them up the steep stair'ay to the landin6 at the foot of the temple at the top of the pyramidF then led them throu6h a pair of enormous iron doors into the temple7s main cham*er. *ut no ans'ers5 When the time is right. :+o you remem*er readin6 in some te&t*oo4 in your student years. rectan6ular and austere. the creator God of the 2ncas5 Worshipped as 6od of the sun and of storms5 he stood in full 2nca re6alia5 He 'ore the sun for a cro'n. and tears descendin6 from his eyes as rain5 :Well. amon6 them Baat and Horas5 and to6ether formed the shape of a trian6le5 A*ove the trian6le. *ut she did not ela*orate on the comment. you will remember. contained silver and copper fi6ures of several %6yptian deities. a*out the *elief that thousands of years a6o. etched deeply into the stone. the altar room5 What met the eye first 'as a 6iant sacrificial stone5 Niches cut into the 'all *ehind it. preoccupied 'ith another su*Cect that she preferred not to discuss>Tal*ot and the ni6htmare she had e&perienced after vie'in6 the 3tele H 'hile in the Bayan country5 Her si6ht of Tal*ot in full 2nca re6alia had connected the t'o ima6es and she no' 4ne' 'hy the sculpture had terrified her5 The 3tele H had reminded her of a Tal*ot she had ine&plica*ly 4no'n *efore5 There 'ere so many 9uestions.: Lord Hayden said to %li8a*eth. as the 6uards pushed them throu6h a side door into a corridor and finally into another cham*er5 The 6uards *olted the heavy iron dou*le doors from 'ithout and left Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth to 'onder 'hat Tal*ot intended to do 'ith them5 :+o you thin4 he7ll have us . presided a 6old plated *as/relief full *ody ima6e of Viracocha.Lord Hayden remar4ed to %li8a*eth. %6yptians alon6 'ith He*re's crossed the Atlantic5 <ccasionally archaeolo6ists have uncovered a Central or 3outh American artifact 'hich *ares a resem*lance to %6yptian andHor (e'ish art5: %li8a*eth nodded. 'ith spear shaped thunder*olts in his hands.
6limmerin6 'ith the li6ht from the candles set in sconces a*out the 'alls5 The flames flic4ered 'ith the rush of *ree8es enterin6 throu6h small vents in the corners of the room5 2nside a tall niche in the 'all *ehind the Ar4. my Lord5 2t is almost time5 No' your 'ill shall *e done.: %li8a*eth as4ed. another o*Cect 6limmered5 A tall 6olden fi6ure of Lan8on. and then 4nelt *efore the Ar45 He raised his eyes past the 6olden cheru*im that adorned the Ar47s lid to the fi6ure of the dar4 lord. the same deity he had 'orshipped in the hotel room5 He focused his attention on the emerald Ce'els set into the eye soc4ets under the serpentine *ro'5 He chanted some prayers in his particular native mi&ture. descended a staircase that led to an under6round cham*er loc4ed *ehind another iron door5 He removed from his nec4 a thic4 6old lin4 chain from 'hich hun6 a lar6e 4ey and unloc4ed the massive door and pushed it open5 When he had entered the room. and that 'hich 'as meant to *e mine from the *e6innin6. and replaced the chain 'ith the 4ey around his nec45 He scanned the cham*er to see if anythin6 had *een distur*ed since his last visit5 All 'as in order5 The dirt floor 'as *are save for the Ar4 of the Covenant that stood in its center. holdin6 his ceremonial s4irt a*out his 4nees to 4eep from trippin6. it 'as em*edded in the niche li4e an upri6ht da66er5 Livin6 mottled sna4es slid a*out the lar6e. God of +ar4ness5 An o*elis4. a little pale5 Lord Hayden shru66ed5 History recorded 2ncas as usin6 human sacrifices on occasion5 @ut perhaps Tal*ot needed their archaeolo6ical e&pertise for his o'n pursuits5 :Not yet. at least5: He smiled consolin6ly and dre' %li8a*eth into his arms protectively5 He had no real 'ords of reassurance5 They 'ere prisoners at the mercy of the 2nca and his people5 2n another part of the Temple. Tal*ot. and then he smiled5 :3he is here. shall *e5: The emerald . he *olted it from the inside.4illed. impressionistic feline head in a constant caress5 Tal*ot advanced a fe' steps.
ain shot throu6h his head5 His vision *lurred and his refle&es num*ed and he fell limply to his 4nees5 The 6uard. *lood tric4lin6 do'n his face5 %li8a*eth ceased stru66lin6 'ith the remainin6 6uard and 'atched horror/stric4en and 6rievin6. *oltin6 the doors from 'ithout *efore she could react5 Lord Hayden 'as half/dra66ed. as Lord Hayden 'as dra66ed unconscious from the room5 The 6uard flun6 her on the *ed and ran after the others. 'ho had come up from the rear. stunned. the sides 'ere smooth and precariously steep. to the floor5 Lord Hayden then sent the 6uard at his ri6ht spra'lin6 a6ainst a 'all5 He pulled his arm *ac4 to deliver a 4noc4out punch5 A heavy *lo' landed a6ainst the side of his head5 . hit him a6ain 'ith the *lunt side of his spear5 Lord Hayden fell to the 6round unconscious. half/carried to'ard the front of the temple to another room 'here Tal*ot 'aited in full re6alia5 The 6uards dropped Hayden at Tal*ot7s feet and 'ere .eyes of the idol 6linted in the candleli6ht5 CHA#TE$ +E!EN The 'indo's of the cham*er in 'hich Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth 'ere imprisoned had no *ars or 6lass5 A *alcony opened on one side of the room. t'o of the 6uards yan4ed him aside 'hile the other t'o sei8ed %li8a*eth5 3he screamed and stru66led5 Hayden snarled as he aimed a fueled ri6ht at the man directly in front of him5 The unfortunate 'arrior fell. *ut e&cept for the steps leadin6 up to the 'ell/6uarded Temple. several hundred feet5 Lord Hayden sa' no escape for the present5 %li8a*eth sat 9uietly and stal'artly on the 'ide *ed. 'ith the drop to the 6round *elo'. lovelier than she 4ne' a6ainst the copious satin pillo's of every color ima6ina*le5 Quiet moments. until a thic4 rasp filled the room as the 6uards outside the cham*er slid open the iron *olt and entered the room5 %li8a*eth rose from the *ed and hurried to Lord Hayden7s side5 @ut as he placed his arm a*out her protectively. the stones fitted precisely to6ether.
to certain mysteries that have confounded historians and archaeolo6ists for centuries5: Lord Hayden re6arded him 'ith *lunt dis*elief5 Tal*ot continued . :Grace555 : Tal*ot rose from his seat *y the 'indo' and approached him5 :Here. start e&plainin65: :Very 'ell5 2 have a proposition for you5 ?ou may not li4e 'hat 2 am a*out to as4 you to do.: he a6reed5 Tal*ot made a placatory 6esture5 :$ela&5 Let me see ho' your head is doin65: :By head is fine.: he offered 9uic4ly5 :?ou7ll have to restrain your an6er and let me e&plain5: Lord Hayden eyed him dar4ly. lendin6 his arm to Lord Hayden 'ho 'as attemptin6 to sit up5 Lord Hayden accepted the support only until he sat upri6ht. strai6htened and clapped t'ice5 3ervants entered and at his instructions. the Bayans and the 2ncas that 'ill ta4e your *reath a'ay5 And ans'ers.: Hayden lied5 :No'. *ut 2 thin4 the re'ards mi6ht interest you5: Anticipatin6 Lord Hayden7s contemptuous reply. Lord Hayden. Tal*ot added. they carried Lord Hayden to a stone settee in a corner of the cham*er and proceeded to tend to his 'ound5 The sun had reached its ape& 'hen Lord Hayden a'o4e5 The 'ound to his temple thro**ed mercilessly5 He 6roaned and called out.promptly dismissed5 Tal*ot *ent and e&amined the *leedin6 'ound on his prisoner7s head5 He 6rimaced s9ueamishly. *ut the 2nca stepped *ac45 :HoldD 2 'ant to help you. :27m spea4in6 of archaeolo6ical re'ards5 +iscoveries for 'hich you 'ould 6ive your ri6ht arm to unearth5: The ensuin6 silence assured him he had Lord Hayden7s attention5 Tal*ot smiled cunnin6ly5 :27m spea4in6 for instance a*out the Chalice the Christian Bessiah is said to have used at the Last 3upper *efore His Crucifi&ion >and>Noah7s Ar4F not to mention relics of the %6yptians. let me assist you. *ut he reali8ed he had nothin6 to lose *y listenin6 to 'hat Tal*ot had to say5: All ri6ht. then he lifted a clenched fist to punch Tal*ot.: he said.
'hat 2 am. 3tonehen6e. 555 but I believe that what has been happening may be )gnes. are they in your possession as 'ell.: Tal*ot ans'ered truthfully5 :@ut 2 4no' their locations5: :Ho' could you 4no'. and you 4no'. *ut 2 'ill hear you out5: :2t7s really a 9uite lo6ical and simple proposition5 2 . or at least suspect.: he finished smu6ly5 Hayden recalled 'hat he had told Grace. to a precious relic5 Bore and more his hunch 'as provin6 correct5 The Ar4 6lo'ed in the candleli6ht5 The +ar4 Lord a*ove it stared *ac4 at the t'o men 'ho had entered the loc4ed cham*er5 Lord Hayden7s face lit 'ith fiery enthusiasm5 He approached the holy relic *ut did not touch it.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 :No. Uim*a*'e. especially 'hen com*ined 'ith the artifacts and mysteries the 2nca had mentioned earlier5 A lifetime of e&ploration 'ould never yield such finds5 :The other artifacts you mentioned. and 'hat 2 'ill *e5: Tal*ot7s fi6ure seemed to lift from the scene as if superimposed on a canvas5 Lord Hayden ru**ed his eyes5 The ha8e created *y the flic4erin6 flames and the 'a& meltin6 must *e playin6 tric4s on him5 What he considered an illusion lasted only an instant5 :Well. layin6 hands upon the Holy Ar45 Tal*ot noted 'ith satisfaction the temptation and indecision plainly visi*le on Lord Hayden7s face5 The Ar4 'as a stron6 incentive.nonetheless5 :%aster 2sland. not commissioned *y God Himself. my friend. in an o""beat "ashion.: :A fair 9uestion5 2 can only ans'er that 2 am not 'hat you perceive5 By 4no'led6e 6oes *eyond your comprehension of 'hat 2 'as. 'ell versed in the ancient te&ts that 'arned of the immediate mysterious death of anyone. that 2 spea4 the truth5 Will you hear my proposition. and The Ar4 of the Covenant. way o" leading us. you have seen the Ar4.: :2 am not your friend.
6ave him additional time to plan an escape5 He turned to loo4 at the Ar4 once more5 A cas4 of shittim/'ood.resence5 Whatever its source. or an infusion of God7s personality. :2f you a6ree. 2 4no'5 @ut 27ll 6ive you time to thin4 over my offer5: Lord Hayden did not ans'er5 He had no intention of Coinin6 Tal*ot 'ho he no' considered an archenemy. *oth destructive and salvin65 CHA#TE$ EIGHT . *ut allo'in6 Tal*ot to thin4 he mi6ht *e tempted. and inserted throu6h these rin6s. too soon5 27ll reveal their locations to you 'hen 2 4no' 2 can trust you5 -or no' your 'ord that you7ll Coin me 'ill suffice5: Lord Hayden lau6hed 9uietly5 Tal*ot persisted. Lord Hayden sensed its stren6th. staves of shittim/'ood plated 'ith 6old for carryin6 the Ar45 The ancient te&ts told that 'ithin the Ar4 'ere contained the sacred ta*lets on 'hich the He*re' God had 'ritten 'ith his o'n di6it.: he as4ed5 Tal*ot shoo4 his head5 :?ou 'ish to 4no' too much. credited the Ar4 as *ein6 an e&tension of. rather than a container5 3ome even claimed that it stood for varyin6 forms of the .'ant you to 'or4 for me and 'ith me5 2 have lon6 admired your fierce dedication to the past and its mementosF also your coura6e and your determination 'hen others 'ould turn a'ay in defeat and resi6nation5 ?our Cournals are amon6 my favorite readin65: He paused to let the flattery sin4 in5 Then he added. you 'ill remain here 'ith my people until 2 feel 2 can trust you5 At that time 2 'ill allo' you to leave the city 'ith me for further pursuits5: Lord Hayden appeared to *e considerin6 his proposal5 :Where are the other artifacts. one and one/half in *readth and hei6htF overlaid outside and in 'ith 6oldF a 6old moldin6 around itF a rin6 of 6old on each of the four corners. it had *een *uilt accordin6 to the He*re' God7s specifications1 t'o and one/half cu*its in len6th. :27m as4in6 much. the Ten Commandments5 The stories of 3amuel in the <ld Testament.
'onderin6 'hat 'as happenin6 to Lord Hayden5 Had they 4illed him. are you all ri6ht. his voice conveyed the temptation he had felt5 :2 can7t *elieve you7d even consider helpin6 him5 Not to say 27m not interested in the Ar4. No A6nes this time5 No possi*ility to reverse the hours or the days.: she as4ed.: :27m fine5 2 'asn7t hurt. William. ta4in6 note of the tears fillin6 her eyes5 :?our head. *ut William. 2 Cust 4no' it5 ?ou said you trusted my intuition5 +o you remem*er the evenin6 2 . 2 'ould 6ive my ri6ht arm for them5 @ut to Coin Tal*ot. incredulous that he 'ould even consider mentionin6 the offer5 Lord Hayden related e&actly 'hat Tal*ot had proposed5 When he told her a*out the Ar4. he 'ants you to 'or4 for him555 'ith him. he7s evil. if a spear or a 4nife pierced his heart5 Her o'n heart lurched as the doors 'ere un*olted and Hayden entered5 Quic4ly the 6uards loc4ed the doors *ehind him5 %li8a*eth fle' into his arms5 :<h.: :He 'ants me to 'or4 for him555 'ith him5: :What do you mean. or the precious and invalua*le artifacts you mention5 Li4e you.In their cham*er. Would she ever see him a6ain. if not insane5: :He7s Cust a man o*sessed 'ith a desire5 A common trait amon6 archaeolo6ists5: :NoD He7s more5 There is somethin6 a*out him5 2 can7t 9uite put it into 'ords.: he reassured her. %li8a*eth sat on the *ed in a num*ed state. a*out actually seein6 it.D William.: %li8a*eth in9uired5 :To see Tal*ot5: 3he 'aited as Hayden paused to reflect5 :And.: %li8a*eth chec4ed the sca**in6 'ound5 :27m all ri6ht. dearest5: He pulled her fin6ers a'ay from his temple and held them 9uietly in his5 :Where did they ta4e you.
my code of standards 'ill 4eep it Cust so. its te&ture sendin6 *ursts of restrained desire do'n his spine5 :+on7t 'orry5 27d *e a liar if 2 said 2 'asn7t tempted5 $est assured. and 'e7ll find those other artifacts Tal*ot named5 The 'orld 'ill *enefit *y our e&istence yet5: Lord Hayden lau6hed5 %li8a*eth shuddered5 There had *een a sinister 9uality to that lau6h5 :Three 9uarters of the 'orld out there couldn7t care less if the Ar4 of the Covenant. 'ere never found. or the 3acred Chalice.: he remar4ed5 :2 am thin4in6 of acceptin6 Tal*ot7s offer555 for a 'hile. *ut the demon in my ni6htmare reminded me of Tal*ot5 William. *elieve me. and a 6entleman5 ?ou7re the good guy. *ut there are values that override the desire to rediscover the past and preserve it5 We7ll find the Ar4 a6ain. until 2 can see a *etter solution5: %li8a*eth fell *ac45 :?ou7re *luffin65 2 don7t *elieve you7d fall in 'ith Tal*ot7s 4ind. after 'e had come upon the 3tele H in ?ucatan5 2 didn7t tell you this *efore5 2 didn7t reali8e it until later. or Noah7s Ar4. William5: :27m a human *ein6. or a hundred other relics.: he corrected her5 :And so is the *ad 6uy5: . a temptation5 @ut 27m not leavin6 here 'ithout the Ar45: The determination in his voice fri6htened %li8a*eth despite her similar love of the ancient5 :2 'ant the Ar4 as much as you.: Lord Hayden said 'ith a sneer5 :Archaeolo6ists account for a small percenta6e of the human race5 The only real *enefits derived from our discoveries are to the artifacts themselves and to our e6os5: :3top itD 3top tal4in6 li4e that5 ?ou sound li4e555 li4e Tal*ot5: A corner of Lord Hayden7s mouth t'isted into a 6rin5 :T'o sides of a coin. 2 don7t trust himD: Lord Hayden too4 Grace into his arms and stro4ed her hair.'o4e screamin6 from a ni6htmare. an adventurer. no matter 'hat the re'ards5 2 4no' you too 'ell5 ?ou are a special *reed. *ut you are honora*le.
: %li8a*eth commented openly5 :Very odd5: Tal*ot smiled accommodatin6ly5 :There 'as someone. %li8a*eth as4ed. flan4ed *y his personal 6uard and four youn6 'omen in 'hite tunics. :The 2nca 'ishes you *oth to dine 'ith him5 ?ou 'ill come no'5: :This conversation isn7t over. ho'ever. 'ere cut from mar*le5 3ervants directed %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden to stand at the head of the ta*le on opposite sides5 Tal*ot entered 'ith 6reat pomp. *ut she 'ould not have me5 2 vo'ed then that 2 'ould marry no other5: The arch of her *ro' and her tone of voice sayin6 other'ise. in silver5 :3it my friends. :What a foolish 'oman5: Tal*ot inclined his head. 'aists 6irded and small feet sandaled.A loud thud at the doors announced the *olt *ein6 slid open5 The 6uards entered5 2mmediately one said. and from his facial e&pression could almost hear him sayin6. a carved 'ooden *ureau and ta*le allo'ed for %uropean and modern influence5 The lon6 ta*le and 'ide rectan6ular stools. favorin6 each 'ith a smile and ta4in6 his place at the head of the ta*le5 The 6irls clustered on sil4 cushions on either side of his 6old/ sandaled feet5 As the servin6 of the meal commenced.re in enough . many years a6o. *on. %li8a*eth remar4ed.: Tal*ot said to the pair.: %li8a*eth said to Lord Hayden5 Her lips pursed in the 'ay that he had come to admire and appreciate5 The Bi&ture of %6yptian and . :Why don7t you let your 'ives sit at the ta*le 'ith you.t antagoni7e him# We. that 2 'ished to ta4e as 'ife.eruvian dVcor 'as evident throu6hout the temple in the stone and reed furnishin6s5 Here and there. his dar4 eyes communicatin6 to her that he understood 'hat she really meant5 %li8a*eth turned to Lord Hayden.: Tal*ot re6arded her for a moment *efore ans'erin65 :These are not my 'ives5 2 am unmarried as yet5: Tal*ot 'as far past the a6e an 2nca 'as re9uired to marry5 :<dd.
: %li8a*eth demanded5 :The 'retch 'as unsatisfied 'ith the peace and prosperity and all the opportunities availa*le in our land5 He attempted to leave5 <nly my most trusted 6uards and 2 are allo'ed to venture outside our sacred valley5 2 am sure you can appreciate the reasons for this restriction 'ithout my detailin6 them5 Admittedly. *ut the secret as 'ell as the culture and sta*ility of the Lost City 'ould not remain so if 2 permitted my people to venture forth at 'ill5 26nore the distur*ance and finish your .danger already# The meal preceded 'ith small tal4 that eventually centered on the mi6ration of thousands of %6yptians and He*re's to this landF the *uildin6 of the cityF their influence in the AmericasF intermarria6e 'ith the natives of this landF and the present prosperity of the citadel5 :?ou live in the past.: %li8a*eth ar6ued5 :2 see very little technolo6ical pro6ress5 ?ou li6ht your homes 'ith candlesF your *eliefs and fashions are centuries old5: :We preserve that 'hich 'as handed do'n to us in sacred trust5 The people prosper5 <ur physicians utili8e the *est and most modern medicines. our la's are stern to your 'ay of thin4in6.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 :2n6ratitude.: Tal*ot replied5 :2n6ratitude for 'hat. *ut the Valley is cut off from the diseased influence of most modern thou6ht5 %li8a*eth 'as a*out to ar6ue the *enefits of most modern thou6ht 'hen the sound of leather stri4in6 flesh accompanied *y a man7s 'renchin6 6roans filled the room5 The cruel noises 'ere comin6 from the front of the temple. crashin6 throu6h the 'ide slits that served as 'indo's5 %li8a*eth *lanched and turned a horror/filled 6a8e to Tal*ot5 Thou6h e9ually horrified. Lord Hayden sent a 'arnin6 6lance to %li8a*eth to remain silent5 An out*urst from her 'ould do little 6ood for that poor unfortunate outside5 Tal*ot confirmed Hayden7s thou6hts5 :+o not let a 'ron6doer7s punishment distur* your meal5: @ut %li8a*eth had already lost her appetite5 :What 'as his crime.
:the prisoner is dead5 No' 2 trust 'e may continue our meal undistur*ed5: CHA#TE$ NINE :Ho' can you even consider Coinin6 such a heartless monster. 'hether man or *east5 <ften durin6 their tre4 throu6h the Cun6le. let its death *e 9uic4 and painless5: :. and then ma4e sure it 'as dead. *ut *efore he could spea4. e&cept to admire his 'isdom and coura6e in attemptin6 to escape5 %scape from here 'as no easy matter5 Attempts to leave undetected 'ould have to *e foolproof5 Tal*ot 'as ruthless5 The torturous sounds continued5 %li8a*eth cast *oth Tal*ot and Hayden a 'rathful loo45 Lord Hayden 'ondered 'hat she e&pected him to do5 :3top it. :2 don7t li4e to see anythin6 suffer5 2f it has to die. she had the most 6ivin6 heart to anyone in pain.: Lord Hayden said5 :And 2 haven7t come this far to turn *ac4 at the first o*stacle5 ?ou 4no' me *etter than that5: .: Tal*ot said. liftin6 his 6old t'o/pron6ed for4. Lord Hayden had seen her s'at an annoyin6 insect. no dou*t to add to %li8a*eth7s sufferin6. the sounds of the *eatin6 stopped a*ruptly5 A 6uard entered and at the 2nca7s nod.: she yelled at Tal*ot5 :.leaseL: %li8a*eth *e66ed5 Tal*ot opened his mouth.leaseD: -or all her spun4iness and determination.: %li8a*eth reproached Lord Hayden 'hen they 'ere *ac4 in their o'n cham*er5 :27ve met 'orse. said somethin6 in the mi&ed native lin6o5 :Well.meal5: :Ho' can you *e so heartlessD: %li8a*eth snapped an6rily5 :GraceD: Hayden 'arned5 There 'as nothin6 he or she could do to help the man. to the point of searchin6 the 6round a*out her feet for its tiny *ody5 When he in9uired 'hat she 'as doin6. her ans'er 'as.
*ut Tal*ot7s summonin6 her presence the follo'in6 day 'as to prove the catalyst5 The 6uards *rou6ht her to the same cham*er 'here the 2nca had spo4en to Lord .: :What7s the matter 'ith you.: :That7s the very reason 'e need to escape and 6o for help5: :NoD: Lord Hayden 'as adamant5 :Not yet5 27ll find a solution. at once reali8in6 the cruelty of his o'n 'ords. pointin6. 27m sorry>: :+on7t touch me. 2t7s not li4e you to react so555 illo6ically5: :?ou call it lo6ical to 'or4 'ith that fiend. Grace. revulsion t'istin6 her features5 3he made up her mind5 3he 'ould attempt an escape on her o'nF she must 6et help *efore Tal*ot7s evil completely consumed Lord Hayden5 %li8a*eth mi6ht have 'aited lon6er. *ut you have to trust me5 .: %li8a*eth uttered. turnin6 pale5 :?ou can 6et a clear vie' of him from that 'indo'. formulated a plan.:?ou call a human *ein6 *eaten to death *ecause he 'anted his freedom. *ided her time. an o*stacle.lay alon6 'ith Tal*ot until the time is ri6ht to ma4e our move5 @e smart. moan and clutch her 'aist to 4eep from retchin65 Hayden moved to em*race her5 :Grace.: %li8a*eth snarled and fell *ac4. tried to stop her5 :No.: :-or the moment 2 have no choice *ut to 6o alon6 'ith Tal*ot5: :Why in heaven7s nameD: 3ometimes she reminded him of a dense child 'ho insisted on 'earin6 out his patience5 He thou6ht of another reason that mi6ht connect5 :+on7t you thin4 it 'orse to leave the Ar4 capa*le of such destruction in the hands of a555 fiend. his patience e&hausted5 %li8a*eth moved slo'ly5 Lord Hayden. don7t>: @ut he 'as too late5 What she sa' *elo' made her reel in horror.: Hayden said. unless you 'ant to end up li4e that poor unfortunate han6in6 out there in pieces in the pu*lic s9uare5: :W/'hat. 2 promise you.
fallin6 *ac4 as the 2nca advanced5 :2 am your *etrothed5 We 'ere promised and 'ould have married.Hayden the day *efore5 Tal*ot 'elcomed her.: :?our true name. . 2 'ould say.: %li8a*eth as4ed. 2t 'as her voice. %li8a*eth7s heart s4ipped a *eat5 Who had spo4en. 'ith the physical remains of your past life5: :?ou7re insane. *ut 'hose thou6hts. unruffled5 :To snare me li4e you have done 'ith Lord Hayden. lived our lives as one.: Tal*ot returned.: :We archaeolo6ists are a darin6 lot5 2 am surprised at your reluctance to see the *enefits of your present circumstance5 ?ou share a love of the ancient as 'ell5: :27m a human *ein6 first. .: :A thousand and one 'ays in 'hich 2 could have o*tained that informationF it7s not necessary for you to 4no' them5 All that is necessary is for you to search your memory5 The truth of 'ho you are is 'ith your spirit.: %li8a*eth said5 :@ut ho' do you 4no' 'hat occurred to us in the Valley of the Queens.: Tal*ot replied.: she demanded rudely5 :<nly to spea4 'ith you. inclinin6 his head and smilin65 Ho' she hated that smile that *arely hid a sneer5 :What do you 'ant.: %li8a*eth spat5 :A fool. 'ere it not for that alien *east that deceived your senses5: %li8a*eth7s reply came un*iddenF :2 did not love %ros 'ith my senses alone5: 3hoc4ed. if not 'ith your present mind5 2 have 'aited a lon6 time to find you and 2 'ill let nothin6 stand in our 'ay this time5 %ros too4 your love from me then5 His po'ers 'ere superior to mine at that time5 @ut no' he is a mere mortal. *ut 2 see it7s *est 2 Car your memory no'. that time and reincarnation cannot erase5 ?ou are her5 And you have 4no'n since you came face to face. and 2 hold the advanta6e5: :Who are you. ma4in6 no effort this time to hide the sneer5 :2 had thou6ht to 'ait to tell you. in the Valley of the Queens.syche my 9ueen5: %li8a*eth felt a chill curdle do'n her spine5 :What did you call me.
to retrieve your love and ta4e my reven6e on the one 'ho had stolen it5: :Wait a minute. my Queen. ho' is your memory so clear.Tal*ot sei8ed the moment5 :?ou see5 ?ou are *e6innin6 to remem*er5: :All ri6ht. it is possi*le5: . you 'ere promised to me in marria6e 'hen you came of a6e5: 3omethin6 clic4ed5 A faint ima6e of an imposin6 %6yptian no*le5 @ut no 'armth accompanied that ima6e5 3he had never loved him5 Tal*ot sa' the 6limmer of remem*rance in her emerald eyes5 :2 'ant your love *ac4. for these he 'ill put his feelin6s for you aside.: %li8a*eth tried to steady her *reath5 :3uppose. and you are555 : :$amatas. my s'eet. for it 'ill *e mine.haraoh5 Havin6 found much favor 'ith him. Cust suppose. *ro4enhearted. 'hat you say is true5 27m . :Ho' could %ros ta4e from you 'hat 'as never yours>and never 'ill *eD: 2f he 'as startled. you 6ave up your spirit and laid in your sarcopha6us5 2 cursed %ros a million times and s'ore 2 'ould find you *oth a6ain. 'as and ever shall *e his first and stron6est love5 -or the hundred and more artifacts 2 can lead him to. 2 'ant to 4ill him5: %li8a*eth sco'led. 'hen you come to reali8e that Lord Hayden7s love for you is not as sincere as you thin4 it5 Archeolo6y. and leave you as he left you in that other life5 ?ou 'ere *arely si&teen 'hen.syche reincarnated.: %li8a*eth interCected5 :2f it7s so difficult for me to remem*er my past life. in time. and Lord Hayden is %ros come *ac4. the love that %ros stole from me5 And 'hen Lord Hayden is of no more use to me. the .: :The ans'er to that is very simple5 2 am not reincarnated5 2 never died5: %li8a*eth s'allo'ed nervously5 :That7s impossi*le5: :Let me assure you. he hid it under an insidious chuc4le5 :<nce more you misCud6e. a hi6h no*le in the court of your *rother.
'e7ll find a 'ay to leave. *e'ildered5 :2 crossed the ocean to Atlantis5 2t did e&ist. old a6e and death itself.: %li8a*eth as4ed. *ut 2 'ant another loo4 at the Ar4. 'ould erupt and cause the ocean to s'allo' up the entire continent5 2 'as amon6 the survivors5 ?ou can find our influence scattered throu6hout history5 ?ou have only to loo4 for it 'ith that 4no'led6e in mind5: Tal*ot sei8ed her 'rist5 :Grace.: Hayden muttered5 :@ut at least no' 'e 4no' he doesn7t intend harmin6 you5 2t7s me he 'ants to see dead eventually5 All ri6ht.:Ho'. inactive for millenniums.: :He7s truly insane. you 4no'5 And there 2 found the serum of immortality5 They 'ere immortal in Atlantis5 That civili8ation had advanced *eyond any that e&ists today5 The Atlantians had con9uered disease. and learn the location of a fe' of those relics Tal*ot mentioned5 27m safe as lon6 as he thin4s 27m 'illin6 to 'or4 'ith him5 There7s no cause to panic5 We have plenty of time5: %li8a*eth stared 'ide/eyed at Hayden5 :After 'hat . :?ou 'ill come to love me eventually. e&cept nature5 2n that area. 2 can share 'ith you the secrets 2 learned on Atlantis.syche5 $eturn my affection5 2 can offer you eternityD: %li8a*eth tore her 'rist free of Tal*ot7s hold. and to6ether 'e 'ill continue to rei6n over the Lost City>$amatas and . and then promised. their intelli6ence 'as not as advanced5 They had no 'arnin6 that the under6round volcano. 'hen Hayden7s hold on you is shattered5: He 6ro'led for the 6uards5 CHA#TE$ TEN Eli8a*eth divul6ed to Lord Hayden the scene *et'een her and Tal*ot5 :No' do you understand the dan6er 'e are in if 'e stay here a moment lon6er. revolted and an6ry5 Tal*ot read the final reCection on her face5 He sco'led.
and he 'as o*viously a little more than cra8y.syche and 'as spurned in favor of another. :What7s he done to you5 2 don7t 4no' you anymore5 2t7s as if he is e&ercisin6 some po'er over you5: :And he has you all upset. and in the !1st century 'as impulsive and ea6er and unafraid.: Lord Hayden solaced5 :Come on. you555 you idiotD: Lord Hayden 'as at a loss to understand Grace7s near hysterics5 2t 'as not at all li4e her5 The Grace in . no'. in %6ypt. Grace5 2n the mornin6 you7ll see thin6s clearer5: Tal*ot has *linded him. %li8a*eth thou6ht. he.27ve Cust told you. a mad anti9uarian 'ho thou6ht himself a couple of thousand years old5 Granted the Lost City e&isted and Tal*ot mi6ht 'ell *e the descendent of a 'hole line of 2ncas5 There pro*a*ly had *een a $amatas in Tal*ot7s ancestry 'ho had *een *etrothed to a .syche *affled him5 <ver/active ima6inations aside. 'as scared and an6ry5 Tal*ot 'as no saint.: The *lan4 loo4 he 6ave her made her rasp in desperation. you can7t *e that stupid5: :3tupidD: %li8a*eth yelped5 :<h. a*out ready to pelt him.alermo. *itin6 do'n . Hayden. *ut that 'as as far as he 'as 'illin6 to *elieve5 He had confronted madmen *efore5 This particular madman possessed 4no'led6e of the 'herea*outs of many precious artifacts5 <ne didn7t Cust up and 6o 'hen such an opportunity presented itself5 And dan6er and ris4 'ere nothin6 ne' to him5 :Get some rest. al'ays ready to e&plore the mysteries of the past5 The 'oman facin6 him. the t'o real pro*lems facin6 them 'ere Tal*ot 'antin6 Grace as his o'n and their archaeolo6ical 4no'/ho'5 Hayden lau6hed5 Tal*ot had no chance of scorin6 on either 6oal5 <f course. had no intention of Coinin6 forces 'ith Tal*ot. *elievin6 his 'ild stories. you still don7t see the necessity of 6ettin6 a'ay at least 'ithin the ne&t fe' hours. *ut leads to hundreds of relics they mi6ht other'ise spend their lives searchin6 for and never find Custified the ris4 of remainin6 here a 'hile lon6er5 Ho' Tal*ot had learned a*out Grace7s suspicions that she 'as .
she undressed as she formulated her plan5 'he did not know the depth o" +albot. to 4eep her from ris4in6 her life 'ithout his protection5 Bovin6 to the opposite corner of the room.d go to retrieve the love he believed he had lost to 1ros# CHA#TE$ ELE!EN Three days passed *efore the opportunity arose for %li8a*eth to implement her plan5 Tal*ot had sho'n them artifacts that had literally ta4en her *reath a'ay. the tools used to *uild itF its capture *y the . issued from *et'een the t'o Cheru*im adornin6 the lid 555 killing all serpents and scorpions. she felt certain. e9ually dar4. the Ar45 +espite her o'n enthusiasm. amon6 them.on her lo'er lip. the smoke "rom its "ire sending a sweet "ragrance throughout the world as it curled upward and the nations o" the earth e/claimed in wonder and .hilistines5 Theories on its source of po'er. *ut also a protection a6ainst enemies5 2t cleared the roads in the 'ilderness for them5 T'o spar4s. if only to prevent her from comin6 to harm5 He loved her enou6h for that. she had 'inced at the li6ht camaraderie apparent *et'een the t'o men as they e&amined the artifacts and speculated on their historyF on the Ar47s appearance and disappearance throu6h the centuriesF its construction. and 'hat it contained>fra6ments of the *ro4en ta*lets on 'hich God had inscri*ed the Ten CommandmentsF the same ta*lets that Boses had thro'n do'n and *ro4en in an6er 'hen the 2sraelites had despaired and turned to 'orshipin6 idols5 The Ar4 'as purported also to contain the staff and clothes of Boses. tradition told.s "iendishness or the e/tremes to which he. burning thorns. as Lord Hayden moved to a dar4 corner of the cham*er and *e6an to undress5 There 'as only one thin6 left to do5 3he must attempt an escape5 Lord Hayden 'ould follo' her. and the tur*an of Aaron5 The (e's not only considered the Ar4 a receptacle of the la' and an e&tension of God7s presence.
and the an6els later *rou6ht it do'n a6ain5 <thers said the Ar4 remained 'ith the .rophets that succeeded Boses and they 6ained victories *y means of it until they acted corruptly and the un*elievers too4 it from them5 And so on throu6h the centuries5 The Ar4 'as a marvelous find and for a 'hile. in her opinion. too. studied his face. mi6ht *ecome slaves to that 6reed and corruption5 3he 4ept further protests to herself and temporarily follo'ed Lord Hayden7s advice5 3he 'as no stran6er to charades5 3he 4ne' her plan had 'or4ed 'hen on the evenin6 of the third day. the soul of man. *road and strai6ht> shoulders and arms on 'hose stren6th she had come to rely5 2f 'hen he discovered that she had 6one. supple and curlin6 at the nape of his nec45 <ut of respect and modesty for her. he 'ore paCama *ottoms. Tal*ot permitted them to return to their cham*er unescorted and the doors remain unloc4ed *ehind them5 %li8a*eth 'aited until Lord Hayden had fallen asleep. unmarred *y the 6reed and selfishness of the *ody5 This spirit. he did not come after her. the intellectual an6ular profile. that ima6e si6nified the spirit. they.admiration#### 3ome said that after Boses died. and 'hile 'aitin6. %li8a*eth *ecame lost herself in its ori6in and its purported po'er5 3he had al'ays accepted the *elief of the e&istence of a 3upreme @ein6 'ho had created man in His o'n ima6e5 To her. she 'ould pro*a*ly never see him a6ain5 The thou6ht nearly made her a*andon her plan5 3he had to *elieve that he 'ould indeed follo' her5 His love for her 'as her only 'eapon to fi6ht Tal*ot and his 6ro'in6 influence5 . it too4 all her stren6th of purpose to remem*er that Tal*ot7s soul 'as ruled *y his 6reed and his desire for po'er5 2f she and Lord Hayden remained here much lon6er. imprintin6 on her mind every line and crannyF the softness of his eyelids as he slept. the rich dar4 chestnut eye*ro's. and his hair. *ut his shoulders 'ere *are. God too4 the Ar4 *ac4 up to Himself. accomplished 'hat 6ood e&isted in the 'orld5 This spirit ena*led her to respect and revere the past and its artifacts5 2n the face of the Ar4.
%li8a*eth *e6an to inch her 'ay around the structure. she 9uietly donned her safari shirt. pulled on her *oots and strapped on her *ac4pac4 in 'hich she carried a poncho and a heavy scarf. prayin6 the frie8e. and if she could reach a villa6e. she resumed movin6. the little money she carried should suffice to hire a 6uide to ta4e her to the nearest to'n 'here she could call or tele6raph for help5 Whisperin6 prayers to the Lord. 4eepin6 her face to the 'all5 . the an6els.With Hayden asleep. 'ould support her until she reached the front of the temple. she had seen no 6uards posted at the *ottom of the pyramid/shaped structure5 Ho'ever. *ut the temptation proved too 6reat5 3he 6ra**ed on to the rim of the 'indo' as di88iness threatened to over'helm her5 3he pressed herself a6ainst the 'all. she must center all her efforts on reachin6 the 6round5 That 'as all she must permit herself to 'orry a*out. and 'aited for the di88iness to pass5 Then. 'orn and crac4ed over the centuries. pants and Cac4et. up the mountain to the passa6e that led to the outside 'orld5 @eyond. the cool stone a6ainst her forehead soothin6. and clim*ed out the 'indo' onto a thic4 stone frie8e that adorned the *ase of the temple at the top of the pyramid5 Her plan of escape 'as simple5 Gunmetal clouds and mist o*scured the moonli6ht and 'ould 4eep her invisi*le to the 6uards on the 6round *elo'5 3he must not loo4 do'n. until she 'as ready to retrace the route throu6h the city. and cra'led slo'ly do'n to the 6round *elo'5 +urin6 her stay here. and 'hoever in heaven dei6ned to help her. 'here she could clim* onto the many steps leadin6 do'n to the 6round5 3he 'as confident of avoidin6 the soldiers posted at the temple doors5 T'o hu6e stone columns carved 'ith inscriptions tellin6 of the 2ncas and their mi6hty deeds adorned the landin6 at the top of the stairs5 These and the steep an6le of the stairs 'ould hide her if she 4ept her *ody *ent and silent. the Cun6le 'aited for her. there pro*a*ly 'ould *e 6uards posted in the s9uare and at various points in the city and *eyond5 3he 'ould deal 'ith these pro*lems. if and 'hen they arose5 -or no'.
*ut no Grace5 Comin6 fully a'a4e. he remem*ered that the marria6e 'as an act to 4eep the 'oman he loved safe from un'anted advances5 Their cham*er 'as e9uipped 'ith a modern lavatory. he as4ed one of the 6uards.CHA#TE$ TWEL!E The mornin6 *rou6ht the rainfall that the heavy clouds had forecast5 $aindrops *eat a6ainst the stone sills and the frie8e a fe' feet *elo' the 'ide 'indo' slits5 Lord Hayden stirred.: Lord Hayden demanded5 :With you 2 assumed.: :27m flattered you thin4 your 'ife 'ould *e in my company at this hour5: :Tal*otD: Lord Hayden 6ro'led5 :?ou 4no' 'hat 27m .: Tal*ot replied coc4ily5 :Come on. he 'o4e a6ain to find her still 6one. and a distur*in6 silence5 He left the *ed and hurriedly e&chan6ed his paCama *ottoms for a pair of *riefs and his trousers5 Grace 'as not in the lavatory and Lord Hayden e&perienced a feelin6 of apprehension5 He thre' on his 4ha4i shirt then pulled open the heavy door5 He strode throu6h the corridor to Tal*ot7s rooms5 The 6uards *arred his 'ay as he tried to enter5 3heepishly. one amon6 several aspects of pro6ress to 'hich the 2nca did not o*Cect5 Grace had pro*a*ly slipped a'ay to use the facilities5 Hayden drifted *ac4 to sleep5 An hour later. :Have you seen my 'ife. he unconsciously reached for her5 His fin6ers touched the fluffy sil4 pillo's and the 6old/fili6reed coverlet.: the 6uard told him5 He returned from Tal*ot7s cham*er accompanied *y the 2nca himself. *as4in6 in the remnants of a pleasant dream 'here Grace 'as truly his 'ife and lyin6 asleep *eside him5 His normal restraint suspended in that t'ili6ht moment. still in his ni6htshift5 :Where is she. 2 need to spea4 to him5: :Wait here.: The 6uard shoo4 his head5 Hayden 6re' more apprehensive5 :Where7s Tal*ot. 'here is she.
as4in65 Where have your 6uards ta4en her.erhaps she decided to 6o for an early mornin6 'al45 Why don7t you 6o and loo4 for her5 ?ou have the freedom of the 6rounds5: Tal*ot 'aited for Lord Hayden to pass throu6h the temple doors. had *een left to han6 in the s9uare as a 'arnin6 to 'ould/*e escapees5 Gulpin6. or 'orseL He shuddered5 He refused to reflect alon6 those lines5 2nstead. her fears and suspicions a*out Tal*ot played repeatedly in his thou6hts5 2f she 'ere harmed. painfully. he *e6an to reali8e that Grace mi6ht have ta4en it into her head to attempt an escape on her o'n5 3he 'ould *e cau6ht5 Tal*ot7s 6uards 'ere every'here5 He had to stop her *efore the soldiers cau6ht her and *rou6ht her *efore the 2nca5 The 9uartered remains of the poor unfortunate 'ho had recently tried to escape. and he 'as loo4in6 for her. and thre' him into an empty hut close to the temple pyramid5 Lord Hayden hit the dirt face first5 2t 'as then he heard Grace scream5 Lord Hayden turned himself over and stared up at the solitary 'indo'. a small openin6 on the ceilin6 from 'hence her cry had reached his ears5 A6ain. Hayden turned in the direction of the mountain that housed the secret passa6e5 Half'ay there. spyin6 into huts and sheds ali4e5 3lo'ly. Tal*ot7s soldiers intercepted him5 He tried to e&plain that his 'ife had 6one for a 'al4 and may have 6otten lost. and then he spo4e to the 6uard 'ho had a'a4ened him5 :-ind her. he tried to thin4 as Grace 'ould5 Where mi6ht she 6o if indeed she had ta4en an early stroll. her cry reached him5 He . 2t 'as not uncharacteristic of her to ta4e that 'al45 He covered the 6rounds.: he ordered5 :@rin6 her to me5 And do not let Hayden 4no' if you locate her5 2s that clear. *ut either the soldiers did not understand %n6lish.: The soldier 9uic4ly ac4no'led6ed the order5 As Lord Hayden searched for Grace.: :2 assure you my soldiers nor 2 have seen the Lady Grace since last ni6ht after dinner 'hen she left in your company5 @ut there is no need to concern yourself5 . or they did not *elieve him5 They *ound and 6a66ed him and dra66ed him *ac4.
fin6ers 6ropin6 uselessly to unfasten the 4nots that refused to 6ive e&cept to scrape mercilessly at the flesh on his 'rists and an4les5 Grace7s cries rendin6 his ears. the 2nca advanced to'ard him5 $a6e filled Lord Hayden as he noticed . only to *e *rou6ht up short *y half a do8en spears pointed at his heart5 He 'as tempted to *olt for'ard and let the spears run him throu6h *ecause Grace 'as pro*a*ly dead5 @ut her death 'as not yet a certainty5 Bore 6uards cro'ded into the small hut and surrounded him5 They pushed him for'ard into the 'et s9uare5 The circle of armed 6uards parted. the maddenin6 sounds ceased5 3he must *e dead.stru66led. and then untied him5 The moment his hands and feet 'ere free. arms and 'aist5 The shirt on her *ac4 'as shredded and *loody5 :@astardsD: Hayden cried5 At the same time he noticed she 'as *arely conscious. *itin6 do'n in pain and fury on the cloth stuffed into his mouth5 The door to the hut s'un6 open violently5 2nca 'arriors filled the stream of li6ht that poured throu6h the entrance5 The soldiers stood him upF Lord Hayden stru66led and cursed. they pulled the 6a6 from his mouth. he struc4 at his enemies. he thou6ht. soa4in6 the *ro'n *ristle on his Ca'5 -inally. thou6h the 'ords scurried out as 6runts *ecause of the 6a65 To his surprise. tearin6 in vain *ehind him at his *indin6s to loosen them5 The ropes refused to 6ive5 He fro8e as the sound of leather stri4in6 flesh s4irled throu6h the small openin6 overhead and filled the hut5 He cried out *ut the 6a6 in his mouth muffled the an6uished so*5 As the 'hippin6 continued. cursin6 and t'istin6. and una*le to turn her head *ecause of the *indin6s5 His name echoed throu6h the s9uare and he turned in the direction of Tal*ot7s voice5 Holdin6 a partially coiled 'hip. Lord Hayden thou6ht he 'ould 6o mad5 Grace7s screams 'ere li4e 4nives cuttin6 out his heart5 He 6roaned in a6ony. tears of frustration streamed do'n his chee4s. allo'in6 Hayden an uno*structed vie'5 His throat constricted and he opened his mouth in a silent 6asp5 -ace pressed a6ainst a 'ood post. Grace 'as tied to it *y her head.
and then moved *ac4 to his face5 2t lin6ered there a moment.the *lood on the leather ton6>Grace7s *lood5 The 6uards sei8ed him *efore he could lun6e at Tal*ot. includin6 your 'ife5: Tal*ot unsheathed a lon6 narro' 4nife5 Lord Hayden7s ra6e. he thre' the 'hip at his rival7s feet and motioned the 6uards to release him5 The oddity of the 2nca7s action caused Lord Hayden to thin4 t'ice *efore follo'in6 his first impulse to pic4 up the 'hip and flay the 2nca to a lifeless pulp for the sufferin6 he had caused Grace5 :. Lord Hayden opened his mouth to deny vehemently the accusation5 The same 6uard 'ho had cut the cord that had *ound Grace7s head to the post.ic4 it up.syche7s love is ta4en from you. This is your chance5 A duel *et'een us5 The 'inner 6ets all. then 'ithout pream*le. Lord Hayden.: Tal*ot said5 :?ou 'ant to 4ill me. ho' he could have hurt her so5 3tartin6 to'ard her. don7t you. slitherin6 hatred in his voice. 4noc4in6 her unconscious5 Tal*ot ho'led an order and a soldier tore the 'hip from Lord Hayden7s hand5 The 2nca7s lau6hter crac4led and permeated the s9uare5 The circle of soldiers restrainin6 Lord Hayden parted5 Tal*ot advanced5 :And no'.: he said. lifted his spear and 'ith its *utt struc4 her. *ut he could read co6nition in it as it settled on the 'hip he 'as holdin6. %ros. tears and mud5 2t 'as evident she had put up 9uite a stru66le5 Her 6a8e 'as not totally focused. and held him immo*ile5 Tal*ot re6arded Lord Hayden 9ui88ically for a moment. :. :Ta4e him a'ayD: . and then he ordered the 6uards. his an6er and his determination in the face of o*stacles decided him5 He pic4ed up the 'hip5 The ne&t events happened so 9uic4ly that he had only time to a*sor* their meanin6 and utter a *ro4en rasp5 The *indin6 holdin6 Grace7s head to the post 'as cut5 Water 'as thro'n in her face5 3he moaned and turned her head 'ea4ly and loo4ed at Lord Hayden5 +roplets of 'ater hun6 on her face scratched and *ruised5 Lord Hayden 'atched them slide do'n her chee4s and mi& 'ith *lood. as you stole it from me t'o millenniums a6o5: He paused to savor his victory. fillin6 'ith hurt *eyond reparation as it silently as4ed.
the sufferin6 inflicted on her 'as his fault5 He had succum*ed to Tal*ot7s influence5 He 'anted the 4no'led6e of the 'herea*outs of the artifacts. t'o 6uards carried Grace in. distrau6ht5 The 'ed6e Tal*ot continued to hammer *et'een the t'o had sun4 in to its 'idest part5 Lord Hayden cursed the 2nca ane'. the fact remained that Grace had seen him *ehind her holdin6 the 'hip5 Tal*ot 'as sure to have used all the necessary deceptions up to the instant Lord Hayden pic4ed up the 'hip to lead her to a lo6ical assumption5 3he had *ro4en the 2nca la' *y her attempt to escape and Tal*ot had rele6ated her punishment to Lord Hayden5 An easy enou6h fact for her to accept after 'atchin6 him slo'ly succum*in6 to Tal*ot7s influence5 And in a sense.Hayden7s 6a8e 'as *lac4 'ith venom as the 6uards hauled him off5 They did not return him to the hut. and possession of the Ar4 and he had not cared a*out the dan6ers involved to . *ut instead dra66ed him up the temple stairs. *ecause 'hen Lord Hayden e&plained and denied. their dar4 eyes trained on him for any si6n of attac45 -inally. then he 'atched them retreat *ac4'ards. face do'n. slumped and unconscious *et'een them5 Lord Hayden ran to'ard her and nearly 6ot himself speared as the soldiers assumed he 'as attac4in65 He stopped in time and held *ac4 until his captors had assured themselves he did not mean to fi6ht5 He 'aited at a distance as they placed Grace on the *ed. then thrust him into his cham*er5 A fe' minutes later.: she had called him5 :Bonster: more aptly descri*ed him5 The monster7s plan 'as clear5 And it had pro*a*ly 'or4ed. Lord Hayden reflected. and then turned his full attention to Grace5 Tal*ot far e&ceeded the description she had applied to him5 :-iend. Cust *efore the doors 'ere loc4ed and the *olt slid *ac4 into place. this time includin6 himself for his *lindness in not decipherin6 Tal*ot7s full perversity5 The man had not even *othered to confine Lord Hayden separately from Grace. the 'hip 'as hurled moc4in6ly into the room5 2t landed 'ith a thud at his feet5 Lord Hayden eyed the 'eapon hatefully. certain of the success of his plan.
as her mind cleared and she assimilated her 'herea*outs and recalled 'hat had happened to her. 'incin6 as he sa' the *loodied 'elts crisscrossin6 her *ac45 There 'ould *e scars5 He chec4ed the *ruise on the side of her head that had rendered her unconscious5 2t matched his5 He left her side a moment to retrieve the medicine 4it from his *ac4pac45 -or no'. restin6 on her *elly. he *e6an formulatin6 a plan of escape5 2t included the Ar4. his dar4 eyes intense and moist5 %li8a*eth turned a'ay5 Lord Hayden remained silent5 2n the mornin6.himself or to Grace5 -or the first time Lord Hayden visuali8ed the fine line *et'een his love for the past and his love for Grace5 Antil no' he had thou6ht *oth passions e9ual. they7ve *rou6ht *rea4fast. for therein lay *oth salvation and Tal*ot7s destruction5 CHA#TE$ THI$TEEN Eli8a*eth re6ained consciousness durin6 the ni6ht5 Ander the covers.: he said 6ently. her face turned to'ard the *alcony and fresh air. not reali8in6 that true love mi6ht demand self/sacrifice of the very art for 'hich he lived5 Hayden 4nelt *eside the *ed and 6ently removed 'hat 'as left of Grace7s *louse. *ut filled an earthen mu6 'ith the steamin6 *re'. a servant *rou6ht *rea4fast5 %li8a*eth had fallen asleep5 Lord Hayden raised himself on one el*o' and stro4ed her hair5 The red/6old strands 'ere matted and dar4ened 'ith *lood and 6rime5 :Grace. 'atchin6 her. at first she lay moanin6 from the soreness and stiffness of the 'elts and the thro**in6 on the side of her head5 Later. she turned her head and sa' Lord Hayden lyin6 fully clothed *eside her. 'a4in6 her5 :27ll pour you a cup of tea5: He suspected she 'ould not ans'er. s'eetened it and held it ready . he 'ould tend to her e&terior 'ounds5 Those 'ould mend 'ith the proper care5 The 'ound inflicted on her heart 'ould *e much harder to heal5 As Lord Hayden ministered to Grace.
:Can you sit up. her arms filled 'ith school te&ts o*scurin6 her vision.'hile he as4ed. li4e no'. his 6a8e 'as soft. too. too.: 3till she did not ans'er5 3he hates me. Lord Hayden7s presence had only *een intimated5 3he 'anted to *elieve. 2 did not do this to you5 Tal*ot tric4ed me into pic4in6 up the 'hip after the fact. *ecause of her o'n for the mysteries of past a6es. then his love for her had not ta4en second place to his love of archeolo6y5 An e9ual love she could accept.: %li8a*eth turned her head and loo4ed at Lord Hayden5 The sunli6ht streamin6 throu6h the 'ide open 'indo' slits reflected in his eyes. had 6leamed dar4 ta'ny 6old in his eyes5 Then. *ut not second place. li6htenin6 the dar4 *ro'n irises to dar4 ta'ny 6old5 3he had loved the color of his eyes since their first meetin6 at the colle6e. Grace. 'hen that mornin6. she had collided 'ith him and dropped everythin65 Then. feelin6 lo'er than the lo'est5 :?ou may not *elieve me. the sunli6ht streamin6 throu6h the 6lass/paned 'indo's. *ut dearest. you can7t honestly *elieve 2 could have hurt you li4e that. Lord Hayden thou6ht. she tried to turn on her side in order to sit up5 The effort 'as too much and she fell for'ard5 Lord Hayden 9uic4ly rele6ated the cup of tea to the side ta*le and cau6ht her5 He lifted her to a sittin6 position. if some'hat pu88led. and perhaps most of 'hat7s happened is my fault. *ut not condescendin6 or un4ind5 He could *e tellin6 the truth5 3he had no recollection of 'ho had 'ielded the 'hip5 And she had not heard Lord Hayden7s voice throu6hout the *eatin65 %&cept for Tal*ot7s voice orderin6 Lord Hayden to uphold the 2nca la' *y carryin6 out her punishment. a pause. *ecause if Lord Hayden 'as tellin6 the truth. not 'hen Lord Hayden 'as so special to her5 Liftin6 her head and shoulders. as thou6h Lord Hayden 'ere hesitatin6. and Tal*ot7s enCoinder that Hayden7s conformance 'ould prove *eyond a dou*t he had truly Coined 'ith him555 outside of these. 6rimacin6 at the discomfort. so you 'ould *elieve e&actly 'hat you *elieve ri6ht no'5 -or God7s sa4e. careful not to press on her 'ounds5 %li8a*eth met his 6a8e5 :27d li4e to *elieve you.: she said5 .
maces and spears poised5 . please for6ive me5: %li8a*eth clun6 to him. %li8a*eth *uried herself in Lord Hayden7s arms. in her position. :Tal*ot7s a *astard. relief spreadin6 across his features alon6 'ith a most compassionate smile5 2t 'as that particular smile that *ro4e her defenses5 Tellin6 lo6ic to 6o di6 a hole and stic4 its head in it.: he said. isn7t he. rammin6 a6ainst its stren6th5 <nce more. dearest5 -or6ive me.:2t7s the truth. as he continued to hold her. lettin6 his 'ords soothe and heal the 'ound to her heart5 Later.: Lord Hayden readily a6reed. roc4in6 her 6ently *ac4 and forth. 'ould simply ta4e his 'ord for 'hat had occurred yesterday5 His love for her deepened even more5 :2t7s all ri6ht. Lord Hayden reflected. and 6ave free rei6n to the so*s and tears that until no' she had held stoically at *ay5 Love is a potent 'eapon. she listened carefully to his plan for escapin6 Tal*ot7s clutches5 He spo4e in a 'hisper in case anyone else 'as listenin65 CHA#TE$ (O)$TEEN The first phase of Lord Hayden7s plan 'as to ma4e Tal*ot thin4 that his sic4 strate6y had 'or4ed and that Grace no' despised her hus*and5 2t included loud ar6uments so that anyone in the corridor 'ould hear5 +urin6 one particularly *oisterous and 'ild act. as she so**ed in his arms5 :2t7s all ri6ht5 We7re 6ettin6 out of here as soon as you can stand the effort5 ?ou 'ere ri6ht a*out Tal*ot5 And 2 'as 'ron65 27m sorry.: he cooed softly.: :?es. %li8a*eth slapped a ta*le loudly5 Lord Hayden cursed her and slapped the ta*le harder and louder5 %li8a*eth screamed5 The 6uards posted outside the cham*er un*olted the door and entered. a formida*le fortress that hate and mistrust can erode themselves. the e&pression on his face earnest and unflinchin65 %li8a*eth studied that e&pression a moment5 Then she said. this 'oman 'as provin6 herself more special than any other he had 4no'n5 -e'. if any.
: %li8a*eth told Lord Hayden in their cham*er5 Hayden sat on the stone settee near a 'indo'5 :3o far.: he said. you7re no *etter than he is in my eyes5: 3he stared defiantly at the 2nca5 He re6arded her som*erly5 :?ou7re not an easy 'oman to deal 'ith5 What do you su66est. and *oth soon to *e his5 EEE :He7s a6reed to 6ive me the locations of the artifacts. *oth in one. if necessary5 They prodded the pair to separate corners of the room. *ut he 'on7t let me 6o5: :3omethin6 that can *e easily remedied. the pair fell into each other7s arms5 :3hhhh.: %li8a*eth said *itterly5 :. 27m happy to see. so 6ood.: Tal*ot added5 :No' are you satisfied that Lord Hayden is not the ri6ht man for you.syche and a learned lover of the ancient.: %li8a*eth too4 her time ans'erin65 At len6th she said.erhaps. there is no reason 'e should not *e6in colla*oratin6 on locatin6 the artifacts you mentioned5 2 am. Tal*ot had ordered them to interfere. and as interested in the relics as my hus*and5: Tal*ot smiled5 The *eautiful . murmurin6 amon6 themselves and sha4in6 their heads5 %li8a*eth nursed her chee4 and she and Lord Hayden fueled 6lacial loo4s at each other5 The moment the 6uards left and re*olted the doors.: :Give it time5 He 'ill 'eary of an uncooperative 'ife5 2n the meantime.: Tal*ot said5 :2f you 4ill him. never. your peer. :?es.: he said5 As an afterthou6ht he added.: Lord Hayden 'arned as %li8a*eth threatened to *urst into unrestrained lau6hter5 The ruse 'or4ed so 'ell that Tal*ot ordered %li8a*eth *rou6ht to him5 :The e&terior 'ounds have healed. after all. :2 suppose you played up to him5: %li8a*eth 'as not sure ho' to ans'er him5 Lord Hayden 6a8ed at her suspiciously5 :Ho' far did .Apparently. after a fe' seconds of 9uiet scrutiny5 :Beanin6 the scars inside 'ill ta4e lon6er.
made her reply. William5 Let me rest. or at least fei6nin6 sleep5 The plan he had devised 'as a dan6erous one5 @oth he and %li8a*eth mi6ht *e 4illed. to ta4e her passionately and surrender himself at the same time5 Lord Hayden returned to the stone settee and 4ept his 6a8e on the patch of star/studded heaven visi*le throu6h the 'ide slit that served as a 'indo' near*y. after all5: Hayden 'as on his feet and *eside her *efore she could *lin45 :$eally.: he 'arned. :t'o can play at this 6ame5: He pressed his lips to hers. 6ivin6 her a chance to undress and slip under the sheets5 A short 'hile later he undressed. *ut it 'as the only counter/plot . :Well. convince him. 2 had to convince him 'e t'o 'ere finished. dearest5: :<f course. she yielded. e&pectin6 her to tense and resist5 2nstead.: he as4ed 'orriedly5 The tiny imp that often tempted %li8a*ethHGrace Quinlan to taunt Lord Hayden mischievously. intimately. Lady Grace. the 6entle rhythm of her steady *reathin6 tellin6 him she 'as asleep. if only in fun. donned his paCamas *ottoms and lay do'n over the sheets5 %li8a*eth lay 9uietly facin6 the opposite side. cuppin6 her chin and tiltin6 it up so he had the advanta6e.: he ac4no'led6ed. he *urned 'ith desire to hold her in his arms and love her completely. then she let 6o and turned a'ay5 The 'eariness in her voice disconcerted him the more5 :27m so very tired. his emotions roller coastin6 as he tried to phantom her true feelin6s5 They *oth needed to rest and stren6then themselves for the dan6erous time ahead5 ?et at this moment. and dra'in6 him closer in a 'arm em*race5 Then stunned him 'ith :2 love you so very much5: @ut no sooner the avo'al.: :WellL: The impish 6leam in her emerald eyes could not contain its smile5 %li8a*eth lau6hed5 :Truly Lord Hayden555: He closed his arms a*out her 'ith a mi&ture of relief and sli6ht annoyance5 :All ri6ht. 'elcomin6 his 4iss.: He as4ed icily5 :And ho' e&actly did you accomplish that.you 6o.
: Lord Hayden said5 :The Ar4 of the Testimony.: he said in earnest5 :3ome historians su66est it 'as a cult o*Cect adopted. armed to the hilt. Am 2 'ron6. Hayden follo'ed 'ith a solid ri6ht to his Ca'5 The 6uard fell to the 6round unconscious5 . the <ld Testament *ears 'itness that there 'as only one of supreme importance. or as it is sometimes referred to. Lord Hayden rammed his 4nee into the 'arrior7s 6roin5 As the man clutched his stomach. and this 'as the Ar4 of the Covenant. the Ar4 of the Lord of Hosts.: The 2nca strained to see. he 'ould not *e allo'ed a mista4e5 :2t7s ma6nificent. under his supervision and t'o trusted 'arriors. toleratin6 his presence only *ecause Grace demanded time to distance herself from her hus*and and rene' her ancient relationship 'ith Tal*ot5 <nce the escape plan 'as put into action. the Ar4 of the Covenant of the Lord of all %arth. or copied. the Ar4 of the Testimony5: :?es. Tal*ot circled the Ar4 and hastened to'ard the spot she had 4nelt to inspect5 The soldiersW 6a8es 'ere trained on the pair5 The closed fist Lord Hayden thre' 'ith all his mi6ht cau6ht the first 6uard una'are.to Tal*ot7s that he *elieved mi6ht li*erate them5 EEE To compare him to a sprin6 held taut and ready to snap 'as an understatement. from the Canaanites5: %li8a*eth ar6ued5 :True. amon6 other titles5: As they spo4e. %li8a*eth moved to'ard the opposite end of the room5 3he spied somethin6 on the 'all near the floor in the corner5 :Tal*ot. standin6 6uard5 Hayden 4ne' his adversary 'atched him carefully. as he and Grace moved around the Ar4 e&aminin6 it5 Tal*ot had acceded to their re9uest to study the Ar4. *ut all he could discern 'ere a series of *umps in the roc45 Grace sounded serious and as she 'as 'ell versed in her art. 4noc4in6 him clear to the stone floor5 @efore the second 6uard could act. 27ve heard that ar6ument. *ut even if there 'ere several Ar4s. +o you 4no' there7s a series of %6yptian hiero6lyphs ri6ht here.
the 2nca sei8ed her 'rist and turned her to face him5 3he had tric4ed him5 Ased his desire for her to ma4e a fool of him5 $eCected him5 A6ainD He raised his arm. mana6ed to pry her hands apart and yan4 her *y the arm. 'atch outD: %li8a*eth yelled as the first 6uard 'ho had re6ained his footin6 attac4ed Lord Hayden from the rear. *ut the man held his 6round5 Lord Hayden rammed his el*o' into his opponent7s side. Tal*ot. causin6 her to lose her *alance5 3he fell side'ays at his feet5 His face t'istin6 'ith ra6e.:William. *ut *efore he could reach it. *ut the *attle 'as definitely 6oin6 in his opponent7s favor5 %li8a*eth7s 6a8e 'as on the 2ncaF she sa' him dra' a 4nife from inside his tunic and start to'ard Lord Hayden 'hose *ac4 'as to him5 Without a second thou6ht she Cumped on Tal*ot7s *ac4. her head tilted sli6htly as she listened to somethin6. sei8in6 him a*out the shoulders5 Hayden tried flippin6 him over his head. nor the e&pression on her face as she moved to'ard the Ar4. 6ra**in6 him around the nec45 $eco6ni8in6 the dan6er to herself if Tal*ot pulled her in front of him>he could deal her a fatal 'ound>she ti6htened her 6rip. sent the 6uard spra'lin6 across the floor5 +urin6 this time. a soft hummin6 that had *e6un 'ith the fi6htin65 2t 'as the 6lo' .oodbye. Tal*ot had stood stunned and sco'lin6. and 4noc4ed the 4nife from his hand5 He snarled as he turned to see Lord Hayden holdin6 its t'in in case the first missed its tar6et5 Tal*ot lun6ed for his 4nife. Lord Hayden thre' himself on Tal*ot7s *ac4. stron6er than she. Lord Hayden. the hilt of the 4nife clutched in his hand. t'isted in his 6rasp and 6ra**in6 him *y his *are arm. preparin6 to plun6e the *lade into her heart5 %li8a*eth stared death in the face5 This 'as it5 . and *oth men 'ent spra'lin65 They landed *eside the 'eapon5 Tal*ot 6ra**ed the 4nife5 Lord Hayden cau6ht his 'rist and they 6rappled5 Neither of the t'o sa' %li8a*eth clim* to her feet. her thou6hts 'hispered5 A small solid 6old vase flashed as it hurled to'ards Tal*ot. han6in6 on for dear life5 Ho'ever. 'aitin6 for his 'arriors to overpo'er Lord Hayden.
the 6lo' spreadin6 out'ard. mortal or immortal. mesmeri8in6 %li8a*eth5 Lord Hayden reco6ni8ed the loo4 on her face5 3he had entered a trance5 :No.that attracted their attention as they stru66led. liftin6 it.: he 6asped. fear sho'in6 on his face5 He remem*ered the stories of the <ld Testament5 The Ar4 mi6ht *e readyin6 to unleash the force of its po'er5 With a rush of adrenalin. he 4noc4ed Tal*ot over and sprun6 to his feet and rushed for'ard to save his *eloved5 3par4s shot from the Cheru*im adornin6 the Ar47s lid5 The tiny li6htnin6 *olts met in the space *et'een the t'o an6els. and found himself 4noc4ed to the other side of the room5 The hummin6 steadily intensified. survived5 He listened for Tal*ot. the li6ht 'ould disinte6rate her5 Lord Hayden rushed to'ard her5 This time nothin6 stopped him and he pushed her a'ay from the Ar4 in the direction of the door5 Tal*ot stood transfi&ed *y the 6lo'5 :Get out of here. as thou6h the li6ht 'as actually a personification of the sounds5 Lord Hayden *ello'ed to Grace not to touch the Ar4. then Lord Hayden7s. *ut the 2nca had not follo'ed5 Lord Hayden dou*ted there 'as anythin6 left of the t'o thousand year/old man e&cept perhaps some silvery dust5 -rom the corner of one eye. first Tal*ot7s. piercin6 Lord Hayden7s arm5 A thousand threadli4e cuts penetrated his flesh5 He cried out 'ith pain and surprise. as %li8a*eth 6uided the cover slo'ly to the side and off until it rested alon6side the artifact5 Accordin6 to the ancient lo6s. and avert her eyes. *ut the sound of his voice 'as lost inside the phenomena occurrin6 in the cham*er5 %li8a*eth placed her hands on the rim of the lid5 No' the li6ht 'as seepin6 from *eneath the cover. pullin6 Grace 'ho remained in a *eta 'ave state. out the door and up the carved steps5 He 4ne' 'ithout 6lancin6 *ac4 that the li6ht 'ould continue intensifyin6 until nothin6 in its path. then sprayed out'ard.: Lord Hayden cried humanely as he rushed past the 2nca. fillin6 the room until the sounds and the 6lo' 'ere indistin6uisha*le. li4e 6ummy li9uid. Lord Hayden sa' the li6ht .
tryin6 to shield her from the disinte6ratin6 rays5 He 'as on fire and he *e6an to scream5 :HOLDD: a voice rich and full and searin6 li4e the fiery sun on the hottest day of the year. 'aitin65 He dare not loo4 at it5 A6ain the voice spo4e. perhaps. commanded5 3imultaneous 'ith the order. in a some'hat e&asperated tone5 3Wh4t )1!5! *o t6o t45e. *ut he 'ould never a*andon her5 $ather die than leave her *ehind5 And he had *e6un thin4in6 that this mi6ht *e the case. the . .*ehind him5 :By GodD: he uttered as he reali8ed it had follo'ed them up the stairs5 2f they could outdistance the li6ht. it could incinerate the door and level the entire Lost City 'ith all its inha*itants and artifacts5 2nnocent men. she mi6ht run faster5 3he 'as slo'in6 him do'n. and slam the door shut *ehind them once they 'ere *ac4 in the Temple. Lord Hayden felt as thou6h ice poured over him5 He raised his head and opened his eyes5 The li6ht 'as *ehind him.to me.: %li8a*eth 'hispered. hoverin6. t the-# I m4/e *o th4t 64*5: The voice 6re' tender5 3Go home# 0oth o+ *o . The)e 1! m 7h +o) *o to 477ompl1!h 0e+o)e *o )et ). her mind in a dreamli4e state5 2f only he could *rea4 her trance.3 A 6entle si6h *le' a*out their heads5 The li6ht retreated5 3ilence rei6ned5 3ome'here *elo' a lid slammed shut and a door loc4ed itself5 :William. her face emotionless. It m45e! me 6o-/e). her 6a8e fully . for the li6ht 'as already envelopin6 them5 Lord Hayden suddenly 4ne' that runnin6 'as useless5 The li6ht 'as in front of him5 His head and *ody felt as if it 'ere on fire5 His le6s 'ere emptyin6 and his 4nees *uc4lin65 He collapsed face/ do'n 'ith Grace *eside him5 %yes clenched and 'ith 'hat little stren6th remained in his arms.: he yelled5 3he had allo'ed him to haul her alon6 'ithout protest.o'er mi6ht return to the Ar45 @ut if the . move.o'er chose. 'omen and children 'ould suffer for Tal*ot7s 6reed and tyranny5 A fiery tin6le assailed the nape of his nec45 The li6ht 'as almost upon him5 :Grace. he clutched the 'oman he loved to himself.
and no other 'oman could ever ta4e her place5 And second. leavin6 him a small note admittin6 her true devotion. *ut these 'ould *e trivial to the t'o important truths they too4 'ith them5 -or Lord Hayden. *eyond any of all of his archaeolo6ical pursuits5 That truth surprised him to no end5 He 'as *onded to her *ody and soul5 He had ample proof that she 'as his soul mate. 9uietly disappear. he mana6ed to as4. for the Creator of all thin6s 'as the 6reatest archaeolo6ist of them all5 Lord Hayden felt very hum*le5 Hum*le. the 4no'led6e of the source of the Ar47s po'er and the reality of that source5 This ultimate discovery 'ould color every moment of his life from hereon. and the Ar45 They 'ould pic4 up an artifact or t'o as they fled the city.: :2s it so hard to accept. ho' much he loved this 'oman called Grace Quinlan. Grace5 Let7s 6o home5 The Ar4 *elon6s to God5: They 'ould never reveal the secret of the Ar4Ws location nor that of the Lost City of the 2ncas5 They 'ere leavin6 *ehind many unans'ered 9uestions.: she said reverently5 :Him. first. ma4in6 archeolo6y all the more special for him.co6ni8ant5 Bidst shoc4 and *e'ilderment. 2 heard Him. and 6rateful as 'ell for 'hatever time 'as 6ranted him 'ith his soul mate5 He hoped this time Grace 'ould accept his proposal to spend the rest of her life 'ith him5 @ut he suspected she 'as not ready yet to commit herself to him fully5 (ust as he suspected she 'ould return 'ith him to the Coast and then.: Lord Hayden shoo4 his head5 %li8a*eth smiled 9uietly5 :27ve never seen such stren6th coupled 'ith such 6entleness and tenderness5 No 'onder evil can never truly triumph a6ainst Him5: :Let7s 6o. and promisin6 to . :+id you hear it.: %li8a*eth nodded5 :?es. as *efore.
. and 'hether in this life or others. his 2Q and his respect for the su*Cect of archeolo6y often prompted Lord Hayden to ma4e allo'ances . a youn6 man of Ha'aiian descent. 4no'n to his friends and peers as Lord Hayden.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. raised his hand. the fello' had struc4 Lord Hayden as impulsive5 Ho'ever.rofessor William Hayden. his lin4 to Grace. *e6an his lecture5 :We have much 6round to revie' in the ne&t forty/five minutes. they 'ould come to6ether a6ain5 +esperately he prayed she 'ould *ecome his 'ife in this life5 The Adventures of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden on the Isles of #olynesia -Tale of the 1irdmen/ !olume ' CHA#TE$ ONE The students filed into Lord Hayden7s classroom5 A fe' of them cau6ht their eminent professor loo4in6 across the hall 'here . and he to her throu6hout eternity.return to his side on his ne&t archaeolo6ical pursuit5 This time he shelved his an6er and nurtured his hope5 He 'as certain to colla*orate 'ith her a6ain durin6 'inter recess5 Grace7s cousin. especially 'ith the midterm e&aminations only a 'ee4 a'ay5 2 'ould appreciate only 9uestions relevant to our present studies5: <ne of his *ri6hter students. 'ould inform her of his plans5 Antil Grace Quinlan decided other'ise.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e stood at the entrance to her o'n classroom5 <ne or t'o of them reco6ni8ed the sadness. if not its cause. 'avin6 it enthusiastically5 -rom the *e6innin6 of the term. *ehind the tall man7s stal'art e&terior5 With the students settled. he had no choice *ut to accept her terms of their relationship5 3he *elon6ed to him. .
very old and solid 6old5 3he had it verified *y a local anti9uarian5 3he thin4s there mi6ht *e more of these pieces lyin6 *eneath her 6arden5: He added si6nificantly. +r5 Hayden5: Lord Hayden motioned for him to *rin6 up the artifact5 The piece appeared indeed authentic. please5: He spo4e 'ith a sli6ht accent5 -rom his trouser poc4et he produced a miniature that shone 6old5 :By aunt 'ho o'ns a small estate in Ha'aii found this 'hile plantin6 in her 6arden5: The youn6 man 'ent on. the colle6e. and throu6h her. hardly ta4in6 *reath. :2t7s authentic. and 'hat others mi6ht lie unearthed in the 6arden of this youn6 student7s aunt5 And *esides the archaeolo6ical interest. Worth researchin6. accompanied *y his Ha'aiian student. in the staff room. such as his no' interruptin6 'ith 'hat he 'as certain had nothin6 to do 'ith the lesson at hand5 He nodded for the student to spea45 :2 must sho' you this.for the youn6 student7s often unorthodo& *ehavior in class. the ima6e of a .rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. :3he7s 'ealthy.: He let his student e&plain ho' he had come *y the miniature5 The 4no'led6ea*le lady archaeolo6ist e&amined the piece5 A smile *ro4e past the stern features5 The 6rey/tinted 6lasses hid the spar4le dancin6 in her eyes5 CHA#TE$ TWO . 'as the opportunity he had *een 'aitin6 for. Lord Hayden.rofessor %ldrid6e7s palm5 :What do you thin4. 'ith 'inter recess approachin65 Another colla*oration 'ith . 'ould *e very interested in purchasin6 this artifact.lease sit do'n5: The youn6 man in his early t'enties returned to his seat. *ouncin6 'ith anticipation5 Lord Hayden controlled his o'n enthusiasm5 He 'as sure the local museum and its most 6enerous contri*utor. Grace Quinlan5 Later. 'ith the 'oman he adored.olynesian God5 He 'ould have to research the e&act name and the le6ends associated 'ith this deity5 :We7ll tal4 a*out it after class. placed the miniature in .: Lord Hayden told the youth5 :.
:Grace dearest. :They don7t *elon6 here5: :2 a6ree5 They7re a lon6 'ay from home5: :?et loo4 at the face on the fi6ureF ori6inally 'e7d thou6ht it Ha'aiian. if any.: Lord Hayden replied.: %li8a*eth under the dis6uise of Grace Quinlan concluded. you t'o5 Ho' is it 6oin6. accompanied *y Cournalist Grace Quinlan. Lord Hayden.: she had *een raised and educated in the 3tates5 When . 'as invited to conduct an e&cavation on her estate5: :?ou t'o. it7s lunchtime5 Come and Coin me on the terrace.: and 6a8in6 at him speculatively. ten feet *y t'elve and as deep5 :An ori6inal. -ind anythin6 'orth your time. at least ones that delineate his features clearly5 He is often cross/referenced 'ith other .olynesian deities. or a copy. the aunt of $onne.: Leana Chola summoned5 Thou6h *orn on the :@i6 2sland.: Brs5 Chola. authenticated sculptures of Ba4e/Ba4e. :Aloha. 6reeted. *ut sli6htly different. pleasant/ faced matron. Brs5 Chola. they 'ere convinced they had stum*led upon an authentic find5 At Brs5 Chola7s personal re9uest. God of Life5 There are fe'. restatin6 their previous findin6s as if to remove all dou*ts from their minds5 -rom overhead. had unearthed the fi6ure on her estate 'hile plantin6 in her 6arden5 3he had sho'n it to her nephe'5 After chec4in6 'ith a local anti9uarian.: Lord Hayden called. 6lancin6 up'ard from inside an e&cavated trench. handin6 her the 6old fi6ure5 3he e&amined it5 :An ori6inalF the same. the Ha'aiian student 'ho had *rou6ht the first of the t'o fi6ures to Lord Hayden7s attention. a corpulent. althou6h 'e haven7t as yet precisely identified the deity5 The lines on the sides and *ac4 of *oth fi6ures resem*le those of the *irdmen petro6lyphs on %aster 2sland5 The deity associated 'ith that 'orship 'as Ba4e/ Ba4e.: the red/6old haired Cournalist 'or4in6 a*ove in9uired as she clim*ed do'n the rope ladder5 :3ee for yourself.
rich carpets5 <n the eastern side. then added a 6enerous servin6 each of sliced *ananas and s'eet potatoes5 $onne *e6an.her parents passed on. 'as located *ehind the main house. *ounded the 'est side of her estate5 To the north and south. and *y ni6ht in the moonli6ht5 The terrace. stal4y taro and pin4 orchid farms spread li4e thic4. shimmered *y day in the sunli6ht. :By aunt tells me you7ve found a fi6ure similar to the first5: :2f not an e&act duplicate. a hardened. an immense 'hite federation structure 'ith tall conservative 'indo's and curvin6 outside dual staircase5 %le6ant 'hite laced iron/ 'rou6ht ta*les and chairs 'aited for her 6uests5 Brs5 Chola had inherited the estate from her 6randparents. let7s eat.: $onne as4ed5 Lord Hayden helped himself to some chic4en5 :No solid evidence5 2t may have *een a private shrine rather than a pu*lic one5: $onne sounded do'ncast5 :Wee4s of di66in6 and 'e7re no closer to an ans'er than 'hen 'e started5 2 fear 27ve led my teacher on a futile pursuit5: . and its *oundaries 'ere sym*olic of Ha'aii itself / a mi&ture of nature7s most challen6in6 desi6ns5 After chan6in6 into crisp linen and dainty cotton. s'ayin6 6rass and palm trees. definitely a representation of the same deity. she relocated to her native land5 Her thousand/acres 'ere situated on hi6h 6round5 Cliffs fluted *y rain/fed 'aterfalls and pounded and eroded over the eons *y restless sea *rea4ers. the t'o archaeolo6ists Coined Brs5 Chola for a lunch of steamed chic4en and ve6eta*les at a round ta*le *eneath a 'ide frilly um*rella5 :Well.: %li8a*eth under the dis6uise of Grace Quinlan said5 :We7re still not sure of its identity5: :Any indication yet that the site 'as once a heiau.: Brs5 Chola said5 3he served herself a portion of the entrVe. one of the chain of craters of the still/active volcano of the =ilauea comple&. open to 6reen. tortured mass of silver/6rey lava.
2 let many friendships slip a'ay in my 6rief5 <f late 27ve tried to ma4e amends5: Tes4 spo4e reverently5 :The students and 2 at the colle6e miss (oseph dearly5 He 'as a fine teacher 'ith 4no'led6e of anti9uities that fe' of us can *oast5 $onne is 'ise to follo' in his footsteps5: :(oseph loved his nephe' li4e the child 'e could never conceive5 27m proud of him. such a pleasure to receive your invitation to lunch5: Brs5 Chola accepted his handsha4e across the ta*le5 :2t7s *een too lon6 since your last visit. a tall.olynesian5 :Leana.: Brs5 Chola said5 +espite the An6lican name.%li8a*eth remonstrated. :Ho' can you say that.: she said5 :27ve *een remiss in not invitin6 you sooner5 When (oseph died. let me introduce t'o very fine people5: 3he made the introductions . :27ve invited a friend of my late hus*and5 . 'ith priceless artifacts to my credit5 2 don7t 'ant the years to teach me different5: :Then perhaps they 'on7t5: Brs5 Chola addressed Lord Hayden.rofessor $ichard Tes4 is a teacher of <ceanean history5 He is vacationin6 on the 2sland5 He may *e a*le to shed some additional li6ht on the t'o fi6ures5 -or the past month he has *een livin6 on %aster 2sland and doin6 research for his classes *ac4 in the 3tates5: As if on cue. utensils and pottery 'e have unearthed. $ichard Tes47s features 'ere distinctly . 'hite/suited man emer6ed from the *ac4 of the house5 :Here he comes no'. not to mention the ornaments. Lord Hayden and 2 are more than satisfied5 The t'o fi6ures alone. are invalua*le to our science5 The +irectors at Layton Hall are very happy 'ith the finds 'e have reported thus far5 They have already contacted the Buseum and made your aunt an irresisti*le offer for the pieces5 Brs5 Chola placed an arm around her nephe'5 :3o youn6 and full of am*ition5 The years may teach you different5: :2 'ant to *e a 'orthy archaeolo6ist li4e Lord Hayden. too5 $ichard.
not to *e considered a yacht.: Tes4 replied5 $onne7s face lit 'ith e&citement5 :That7s a fa*ulous coincidence5 The t'o fi6ures 'e have unearthed in my aunt7s 6arden *ear a stron6 resem*lance to the *irdmen petro6lyphs found on %aster 2sland. smilin6.recisely. *ut the heads555 the ima6es 2 have come across thus far have *een carved from 'ood and all have a tern7s head5: :. *ut it does *oast a small ca*in and a sturdy structure a*le to .: she said pointin6 to the fi6ure5 :2n a fe' days 2 am returnin6 to Bata4iterani.erhaps you can help us5: :<f course5 Let me see the fi6ures5: $onne stood up hastily and ran into the house to 6et the artifacts5 Tes4 su66ested to Lord Hayden.: Lord Hayden a6reed5 %li8a*eth added.: Tes4 said5 :2 have my o'n *oat. yet the cult7s ori6in 6oes *ac4 hardly *eyond the ei6hteenth century5: :We7ll *e returnin6 to the 3tates and the colle6e shortly. not at all this handsome. :?ou should visit %aster 2sland *efore you return to your university5 Bata4iterani is famous for its a*undance of artifacts. Grace. emerald eyes radiant5 $onne hurried to'ard the 6roup5 :Here are the fi6ures. turnin6 over the di6 to other interested parties 'ho don7t have class o*li6ations5 @ut 2 thin4 'e can spare a fe' days to visit Bata4iterani5 What do you thin4.rofessor Tes45 What do you thin4 of them.olynesian and <ceanean deities are pictured for the most part as fierce/loo4in6 and 6rotes9ue. e&cept for the faces 'hose identity is not as yet clear to us5 .: %li8a*eth nodded. . not to mention the stories the natives tell re6ardin6 the *irdmen cult5 The stories are fascinatin6. and its influence on the island7s inha*itants.: Tes4 e&amined them closely.then ur6ed Tes4 to sit and eat5 %li8a*eth as4ed. :2 hear you7ve *een doin6 research on %aster 2sland5: :27m most interested in the @irdman Cult. :. turnin6 them over several times5 :2 a6ree 'ith you that the torsos are loosely reminiscent of the *irdmen petro6lyphs.
Tunai. came ashore in a din6hy5 <n the *each they 'ere met *y a man in stature reminiscent of the mysterious stone Gods of the 2sland5 The army Ceep in 'hich he arrived palled *eside him5 He 'as at least seven feet tall. mainly populated *y a people 'ith dar4 copper s4in5 The trio accompanied *y $onne. 'hile 'e follo' up on the *irdmen half of the fi6ure. :This is my friend. and the navel o" the world. the beginning . 'ho has permitted me to use his home durin6 my stay on the 2sland5 Tunai5 Let me introduce some collea6ues of mine5: Tunai nodded a 6reetin6 to %li8a*eth5 Lord Hayden 'as not so fortunate. He ru**ed his eyes5 He must indeed *e overtired5 :Brs5 Chola.: :2f you thin4 it7s necessary. and then suddenly remem*ered he had left his camera in the din6hy5 -or all his formida*le si8e.'ithstand the trip5 . a trian6le 'ith a volcano at each corner5 The slopes of the volcanoes formed the island7s interior composed of rollin6 cra66y moors. you 'on7t mind us stoppin6 the di6 temporarily. s9uarin6 her shoulders5 :2 do hope you find ans'ers5: 3he smiled *eni6nly5 CHA#TE$ TH$EE Easter 2sland.: Lord Hayden 'ondered if his eyes 'ere playin6 tric4s on him. Tunai7s 'elcome appeared . or 'as Tes47s 6lance at Grace some'hat clandestine.or the end< o" civili7ation. also 4no'n as Bata4iterani555 1yes ga7ing at the sky. Herculean. roc4y cliffs and sand *eaches. 27ll hold the fort in your a*sence. his 'hite summer suit a stri4in6 contrast to his dar4 copper s4in5 Tes4 hurried to'ard him and the 6iant immediately e&tended his hand5 Tes4 clasped the offered hand and told the others.: she said. and had to endure an iron handsha4e5 $onne 'as not so *rave5 He smiled at the 6iant. constituted another of nature7s patch'or4 9uilts.erhaps you 'ould li4e to Coin me this time around.
.olynesian accent5 :?ou must *e cramped and 'eary from your ocean voya6e5 Allo' me to ta4e you to my home5 2t is not lar6e. alon6 'ith her flo'ery Bother Hu**ard shift. there is ample room for my friend7s 6uests5 Come5: He motioned to'ard the Ceep5 :By house is not far from here5 The sun is still hi6h in the s4y and the 'ater 'arm5 When you have unpac4ed. and you lon6 a6o earned my trust5: <nce inside the room. and Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth to a room that had *elon6ed to her dau6hter5 Lord Hayden commenced to as4 if he mi6ht share Tes47s 9uarters as 'ell.+opknots =uarried "rom the red stone "ound inside a little volcano known as %una %au<. *ut since our children7s marria6e. a *o&ed 4itchen 'ith three *edrooms5 3he led $onne to Tes47s room that had ori6inally *elon6ed to her son. Alana.: she 'hispered for his ears alone5 We7ve shared 9uarters *efore.: %li8a*eth offered 6enerously5 The first 'ee4 on the 2sland 'as *usy and e&citin65 The stone 6iants 'ith their red hats . short *ut *umpy. since Grace and he 'ere not married5 @ut %li8a*eth 'ith a 9uic4 touch to his arm and a sha4e of her head stopped him5 :Let7s not complicate matters. a small 'ooden ta*le and t'eed loveseat comprised the furniture in the room5 The floor*oards 'ere *are. *ri6ht/eyed matron 'hom %li8a*eth immediately li4ed. *ut clean5 :We7ll ta4e turns sleepin6 on the loveseat. the t'o set a*out ma4in6 themselves at home5 $uffled pin4 curtains hun6 over the 'indo's 'ith shutters currently open5 A t'in si8ed *ed minus a head and *ase*oard. muumuu5 Alana hustled them into her pre/nineteen/ thirties home. you may 'ish to return to the *each and refresh yourselves5: The ride in the Ceep. came out to 6reet her 6uests5 3he 'as a lar6e.6enuine5 He spo4e 'ith a stron6 nasal . 'eather/*eaten 'ood house and *ehind it a small *arn5 Tunai7s 'ife. ended in front of a sin6le/storied. and Tunai7s family cave to 'hich he allo'ed them access. filled the days 'ith all and more than they could as4 for5 -amily caves 'ere carefully 6uarded secrets5 Customarily.
amon6 them small stone ima6es of Gods 'orshipped on the 2sland5 @ut the foot/tall 'ooden ima6e of a *irdman. the *irdmen5 After dinner. Lord of the creatures of the air. *ut it 'as not the Tan6ata Banu 'ho 'ould do the ta4in6. the third of the tiny roc4 islands that lay across the strait from the <ron6o Cliffs5 Here the terns 'ould nest and lay their e66s5 2t 'as the custom of the people to choose a leader each year5 A Tan6ata Banu>a @ird Ban5 2n order to attain the honor and privile6es 6iven 'ith that status. no more no' than a pile of *ro4en roc4s s4irtin6 the rid6e of the volcano 4no'n as $ano/=ao.only one family mem*er 4ne' its location5 This secret 'as passed on to a succeedin6 mem*er from 6eneration to 6eneration5 The caves 'ere 6uarded *y an a4ua4u. he declared :sacred: and necessary to the a4u/a4u 'ho 'atched over the cave and its contents5 Tunai7s 'ife 4ne' much a*out the 2sland7s fol4lore re6ardin6 the ruins of the <ron6o villa6e and the cult of the -eathered Gods. educated in Ha'aii. a *enevolent spirit5 Not one to *e trifled 'ith. permitted Lord Hayden access to his family cave5 He allo'ed him to remove certain e&penda*le artifacts. s'im . the party 'ould listen attentively and intri6ued to Alana7s stories5 <ron6o. for the spirit could harm as 'ell as protect5 Tunai. had once *een a holy and mystical site 'here a secret and fascinatin6 ceremony too4 place yearly5 2nto the outcrops of the volcano7s crater 'ere etched the *irdmen7s sym*ols of a cult that had once *een *asic to the *eliefs of the island7s people5 They 'orshipped the God Ba4e/Ba4e. and of a more li*eral and pro6ressive state of mind. his helper and attendant5 2t 'as the Hopu Banus 'ho 'ould clim* do'n the treacherous cliff/face. *ut his Hopu Banu. the God of Life5 Alana7s eyes lit 'ith reverence and a'e as she spo4e of Him5 <nce a year Ba4e/ Ba4e 'ould hallo' the rite of fruitfulness and a return to the people7s *e6innin6s5 He 'ould send the sooty terns to Botu Nui. the candidate must ac9uire the first e66 laid *y the sooty terns on Botu Nui5 The priests chose several candidates to fill this sacred position.
and his cry 'ould echo across the strait5 3till. 4eepin6 clear of the shar4s that inha*ited the 'aters. and 'ait on the little roc4 island inside tiny caves for the comin6 of the *irds and the layin6 of the first e665 When the moment finally arrived. a staunch homemade *re'. *ut 'ith 'inter recess nearly over. the Hopu Banu7s 'or4 'as not done until he had clim*ed *ac4 do'n to the sea. the sym*ol of the ne' *e6innin65 The story fascinated %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden5 They found themselves 'ishin6 they could return to the past and personally 'itness it unfoldin65 The cult 'as not ne' to them5 @oo4s on the history of the 2sland spo4e of the reli6ious *eliefs and conduct of the people. 'as e&hilaratin65 The days passed 9uic4ly and satisfyin6ly. felt di88y5 Too much of Alana7s 'ine. and she 4ept missin6 his every third or fourth 'ord5 . the ne' Tan6ata Banu. and then tied the e66 to his forehead 'ith a mahute *and5 The other Hopu Banus 'ould Coin him>the one 'hom Ba4e/Ba4e had filled 'ith his stren6th5>to a6ain *rave the strait and s'im fearlessly to'ard the <ron6o Cliff. he 'ould cry out to his 4in6. and to transfer the di6 to 'orthy successors. discussin6 his return trip 'ith Tes4. and one Hopu Banu had ta4en the first e66. there to scale the treacherous overhan6s and reach the feet of the ne' leader and present him 'ith the precious e66. then *ac4 to Layton Hall and to classes5 With this thou6ht in mind.throu6h the poundin6 *rea4ers a6ainst the current. dipped the e66 into the 'aters.erhaps it 'as time to retire5 3he nud6ed Lord Hayden in the ri*s5 The lively chatter and the heat from the crac4lin6 hearth 'ere stiflin65 Lord Hayden7s throat felt dry despite the food . he surmised5 %li8a*eth7s eyelids drooped. Alana prepared a special fare'ell dinner for her 6uests5 The 6roup 'as 'ined and dined on fish and fo'l and sandal'ood nuts5 $onne 'as first to surrender to e&haustion from overeatin65 He retired early5 Lord Hayden. the time had come for Lord Hayden to return to Brs5 Chola7s estate for a 9uic4 recap. *ut to hear a first rate account as handed do'n from 6eneration to 6eneration.
too4 a deep *reath.: :The . and left the *edroom5 A search of the premises and the patchy 6rounds outside *rou6ht him *ac4 'orriedly5 Alana had returned and 'as coo4in6 over her anti9uated stove5 :Have you seen Grace. *ut you 'ere *oth sound asleep5 And after last ni6ht555: .rofessor and $onne 'ent very early 'ith Tunai to the family cave. his thou6hts ha8y until one thin6 *ecame clear. for one final loo4 *efore your departure this afternoon5 They had thou6ht to as4 you and Grace.: Lord Hayden as4ed. per their secret arran6ement5 He could not 9uell a sense of fear for the safety of the 'oman he loved and needed5 He stood up. he had *lac4ed out5 Lord Hayden ru**ed his eyes to 'ipe off the remnants of sleep5 :That7s the last time 2 drin4 Alana7s *re'. attemptin6 to sound casual. not to mention the di88iness 'orsenin6L5 3unrays 'armed his face5 He *lin4ed his eyes open slo'ly and found himself in *ed.: Alana replied. si88lin6 fry pan in hand5 The 9uestionin6 fro'n on Lord Hayden7s face prompted her to add. still dressed5 The 'indo' and shutters facin6 him 'ere 'ide open5 -or a 'hile he laid there. easin6 himself up and s'in6in6 his lon6 le6s over the side of the *ed5 Grace 'as not in the room and Lord Hayden e&perienced a t'in6e of apprehension5 That si&th sense that he li4ed to thin4 he possessed. :Last ni6ht you and she fell asleep at the ta*le5 By hus*and and . he had a'a4ened to Grace in the room 'ith him each mornin6.: he 6rum*led. either on the *ed or on the t'eed loveseat. 'arned him somethin6 'as amiss5 +urin6 their stay on the 2sland. fi6htin6 a sense of ine&plica*le dread that mi6ht *e merely the result of a han6over5 :With you.rofessor Tes4 carried you *oth into your room5: The feelin6 that somethin6 'as 'ron6 persisted5 :Where are the others. his arms felt as heavy as his *lac4 leather *oots. turnin6.and drin4 he had consumed5 He 4ne' somethin6 'as 'ron6 'hen she slumped a6ainst his shoulder5 Her :W555 il555 liam: slurred as she fell for'ard unconscious5 Catchin6 her.
myself5: :Very 'ell. to return to Botu Nui and lay their e66s5 2t is time for a ne' leader to *e chosen to rule the 2sland5: :Are you sayin6 the @irdman Cult is practiced on this 2sland in our time. *ut he 'as not certain5 He hurried out5 2t 'as nearly noon 'hen he slammed into Alana7s 4itchen and confronted her5 :What is 6oin6 on. Lord Hayden5 2t is .: he as4ed incredulously5 :2t 'as not.rofessor Tes4 resurrected the Ceremony5 The people of this 2sland are simple fol45 We listened and *elieved his 'ords5 He dre' us li4e the reeds that cover the la4e of the crater near*y5 Wove us li4e threads on a loom5 3et *rother a6ainst *rother. Where is she. tell her to 'ait here5: Alana nodded5 Lord Hayden thou6ht he cau6ht a 6limmer of fear in her eyes.: he pleaded5 He had *een searchin6 all mornin6 on foot5 He had not shaved.: Lord Hayden as4ed hopefully5 :?es.: Alana7s face drained of color as she met Lord Hayden7s desperate 6a8e5 :2 spo4e the truth earlier5 2 *elieved Tunai 'hen he said they 'ere 6oin6 to the cave5 He returned after you left and 2 made him tell me the truth5 2 am sorry.:Are you sure Grace didn7t 6o 'ith them. and his shirt 'as saturated 'ith perspiration and 6rime5 3he spo4e softly. he set himself amon6 the candidates 'ith Tunai as his hopu/manu5: Alana hesitated. each 'ord a t'ist of the 4nife her hus*and had metaphorically plun6ed into her heart5 :2t is time for the manu/tara. until . 2 'atched them leave in the Ceep.rofessor Tes47s fault5: Alana san4 limply into a chair5 :Cursed the day $ichard Tes4 set foot on our 2sland5 By hus*and 'as an honora*le man until that day5: :Alana. 'here have they ta4en her. then convinced us the only 'ay to choose a 6overnin6 *ody 'as throu6h the old rites5 And 'hen the time came for the Ceremony. 27ll 6o to the cave5 2f Grace returns. the sooty terns. as thou6h the hesitation could undo her ne&t 'ords5 :Tunai *rou6ht *ac4 the e66 and Tes4 'as made =in6 for the .
re*elled5 We confronted him 'ith our accusations. *ut 'e are not stupid. the armed mercenaries he had 6athered around him. slayin6 'ithout mercy5 What fe' 'ere left had no choice *ut to retreat5: :Why did they ta4e Grace.year5 The t'o other hapu/manus did not return5 Tunai told us that they had dro'ned5 We *elieved him5 Al'ays he had spo4en the truth and he 'as one of us. :Tes4 controls the priests. no' surfaced and riddled her tone5 :Then one day shortly after he 'as chosen. and the priests . a simple fisherman5: 3he hesitated a6ain. protected him. as if her ne&t 'ords 'ere even more painful than the first to utter5 :By people 6rieved for the lost men. :When the hopu/manu has *rou6ht *ac4 the e66 and 6iven it to his ne' 4in6. the *ody of one of the missin6 men 'as found floatin6 off the southern coast of the 2sland5 He *ore a 'ound *et'een his shoulder *lades5 We *rou6ht him to Tes4 'ho e&amined him and told us that the *ody had pro*a*ly dashed a6ainst a roc4 durin6 its time in the 'ater5: Alana7s ample features contorted an6rily5 :By people are simple fol4.: Lord Hayden as4ed nonplussed and apprehensive5 Alana replied. to insure that our land and our 'omen 'ill *e fertile5: @itterly Alana added. *ut he merely shru66ed our 'ords a'ay5 When some of our youn6er men tried to depose him. reCoiced for the completion of the Ceremony honorin6 Ba4e/Ba4e. and resumed their daily lives5 We are mostly farmers and fishermen5 Tes47s only demand 'as that 'e allo' him to enter the family caves and study the contents5 He too4 very littleF did not profane our *eliefs or the relics 'e 6uarded in our caves5: Bost of the an6uish Alana had *een hidin6. the Ceremony *ecomes a feast durin6 'hich human sacrifices are offered to Ba4e/ Ba4e. nor fools5 We are a people of the earth and the sea5 We ma4e our livin6 'ith our hands and the s4ills handed do'n from 6eneration to 6eneration5 The dead man7s 'ound 'ent clear throu6h to his heart5 2t 'as even and not Ca66ed as a roc4 mi6ht cause5 The hopu/manu had *een murdered5 Those of us 'ho had not succum*ed to Tes47s tric4ery.
hold my people in servitude5 Anyone 'ho tries to defy Tes47s rule is a prime candidate for the human sacrifice5 Tunai and 2 are no e&ceptions. nonetheless. :There is still time5 None of the offerin6s 'ill *e harmed until an e66 is *rou6ht *ac4 from Botu Nui5 There is only so much chan6e that even Tes4 'ith his 6li* persuasion and manpo'er can accomplish5 Ta4e my horse. li4e my hus*and5 2t is the custom in my family that a fe' of our people are sent to the mainland for a *etter education so they can *rin6 *ac4 to the 2sland 'hat they have learned5 @ut Tes47s rei6n has crushed our spirit5 ?our *eloved is only one of several planned sacrifices5 2 s'ear 2 did not 4no' they intended ta4in6 her5 Nor 'as it 2 'ho dru66ed your 'ine last ni6ht5: Lord Hayden7s e&pression turned 6rim5 3omethin6 sinister a'o4e in him5 :Where did they ta4e her. 'ere 9ualities he shared 'ith his 'oman5 Alana understood the pain this loss 'ould *rin6 him5 Lord Hayden as4ed.: Alana shoo4 her head5 Tes4 tried to persuade him this mornin65 $onne 'as shoc4ed5 He 'ould have 'arned you if they had not stopped him5 He is to *e sacrificed alon6 'ith Grace5 Hopefully she added. Lord Hayden said.: he demanded5 :<ron6o. :WaitD: as Lord Hayden s'un6 to'ards the door5 :?ou cannot face them aloneD: He paused in the door'ay to turn and loo4 at her5 Alana flinched at the ra6e in his eyes5 3he 'arned him. the 6rey spotted one5 3he is tethered in the . and the persistent curiosity and do66edness of spirit that propelled him. 3tar*elle. :2s $onne on Tes47s team. :They7ve ta4en the 'oman 2 loveD: Alana *o'ed her head5 The fire in his veins.: Alana ans'ered. then cried. despite the fact that amon6 my people 2 am considered the most learned5 As a child 2 lived and 'as educated in Ha'aii. :<ur enemies are many5 They 'ill 4ill you5 And there are only a handful 'ho 'ould help you5 <ur <fficials ta4e part in the Ceremony as 'ell5: With controlled fury.
already saddled5 2n case you 'ould need her5: :Than4 you. Lord Hayden. even if he had to fi6ht Tunai to the death5 2n the end.: she *eseeched5 He did not ans'er her 'ith 'ords. resi6ned to the inevita*le chance that either Lord Hayden 'ould *e 4illed lon6 *efore he reached Grace. the Hopu BanusF they came in a lon6 procession up the Ao path circlin6 the sides of $ano/=ao to the <ron6o ruins.: Alana said5 :Bay He 'ho is 4no'n *y many names and many forms protect you5: 3he fell to her 4nees. 'ho 'ore headdresses of coc4 and tropic/*ird feathers. and pushin6 all 9uestions aside. :3ir.: Hayden said.: Alana added. and their attendants. and in desperation. sin6in6 and dancin6 as they accompanied the chosen ones5 2n step 'ith the ritual son6.: Lord Hayden repeated. $onne. he pulled his hat do'n to fit more snu6ly for the lon6 dry ride ahead of him to the <ron6o Cliffs. or that Tunai 'ould never return home5 :Than4 you. a'are of Alana7s pain5 :Good Luc4. tied to a . in earnest :3tar*elle is 6entle. men and 'omen of their present decade transformed into their ancestors>chiefs and 'arriors. turned on his heel and rushed out the door5 He 'ould cross that *rid6e 'hen he came to it5 CHA#TE$ (O)$ (rom all the corners of the 2sland they came.*ac4. *ut his *ro' 4nitted as his compassion vied 'ith his determination to save the life of the 'oman he 'orshipped. 'earin6 ro*es rich 'ith 6eometric patterns and coarse *elts made from the *ar4 of the fe' tired trees that still 6re' on the 2sland5 With the chosen candidates. Alana. they reached the top of <ron6o *y ni6htfall5 <n the outs4irts of the <ron6o Villa6e. Tan6ata Banus. *ut s'ift. do not 4ill my hus*and. ta4in6 a deep *reath.
*ut his mind 'as on the sin6in6 and dancin6 in the villa6e5 :2t7s me. removin6 ru**le. slitherin6 a*out $onne and chillin6 his *ones5 The youn6 student shuddered5 No one 'ould find his *ones and Grace7s5 The 'aters *elo' 'ould *e their 6rave5 He stifled a so*5 ?et he must remem*er that as lon6 as he had life. did not the see or hear the t'o silently move a'ay and crouch *ehind a *oulder5 A moment later he turned and his eyes 'idened in alarm as he reali8ed his prisoner 'as 6one5 His inattention mi6ht very 'ell have cost him his o'n life5 He unhoo4ed the horn.: Lord Hayden as4ed $onne5 . . his 6a8e and hearin6 still occupied 'ith the revelry in the villa6e *elo'. there 'as hope5 :$onne. and *are e&cept for a loincloth and a horn carved from *one han6in6 at his side.post. *ut alive. he lay peacefully and inert5 :Where are they 4eepin6 Grace. counted the stars to 'ard off thou6hts of his impendin6 demise5 The full. clearin6 huts *uilt partially under6round 'ith openin6s only lar6e enou6h to cra'l throu6h5 All this 'or4 'ould *e undone after the Ceremony had ended5 Tourists and researchers 'ould find only the ruins they e&pected5 A cold 'ind rose from the strait *elo' and hissed across the cliffs. not darin6 to *elieve other'ise for fear that it 'as indeed only the 'ind5 Near*y. *ut Tes4 had assured him that he and Grace 'ould *e sacrificed to Ba4e/Ba4e as soon as Tunai procured the sacred e665 The islanders had resurrected the <ron6o ruins. radiant moon spotli6hted him as if on a sta6e a'aitin6 the final curtain call5 2t mi6ht *e days. it mi6ht *e 'ee4s. a 'arrior holdin6 a spear. ready to sound an alarmF the prisoner and his rescuer 'ere upon him *efore it ever reached his lips5 Anconscious.: Lord Hayden cautioned5 He snuc4 *ehind $onne and cut his *indin6s 'ith a 4nife5 The 6uard.rofessor Hayden5 27ll cut you loose5 +on7t ma4e a sound. don7t ans'erD: a voice 'hispered from *ehind some roc4s near*y5 2t 'as the 'ind hissin6. the youn6 student thou6ht. stood 'atch.
the youn6 man ans'ered. not no'. pro*a*ly amon6 the chosen candidates to assist the Tan6ata Banus *y s'immin6 the treacherous strait to the isle of Botu Nui to procure the sacred e665 :Assuredly not.$emorsefully.: $onne as4ed dou*tfully5 Lord Hayden surveyed the *are/chested 'arriors. *ra'ny youn6 men. *ut than4 you5: They moved. and asleep5 27ll distract the remainin6 6uards and you free Grace5: :Are you sure 'e can pull this off. undaunted5 :2f you 'ant to run. her eyes closed5 $onne as4ed. no' is the time5: :3ir. not here. :The last time 2 sa' her she 'as *ein6 dra66ed into the villa6e proper5: :Then that7s 'here 27m 6oin6. mostly on hands and 4nees. into the villa6e.: replied a voice *ehind them5 Lord Hayden and $onne 'hirled a*out and came face to face 'ith a s9uattin6 Tes45 Lord Hayden Cumped to his feet5 2mmediately half a do8en 6uards leapt from the shado's and aimed their spears at his heart5 :HoldD: Tes4 commanded. it7s my fault you and your lady are here5 2 can7t leave you5: :2 haven7t time to ar6ue.: Lord Hayden said5 :They 'on7t harm her until Tunai returns 'ith the e665 We7ll hide in the moors and come *ac4 at da'n5 @y then most of the villa6ers should *e e&hausted from cele*ratin6. duc4in6 *ehind *o&ed 'ood houses and sheds5 The li6ht from several fires lit the small s9uare5 +o8ens of revelers in colorful tunics surrounded a stone altar5 <n its surface lay a slender 'oman in a flo'in6 'hite shift5 Her hair 6lo'ed red/ 6old in the fireli6ht5 -our 'arriors in loincloths 6uarded the 'oman5 :Grace. risin65 We need sacrifices . and so many of them5: He 6lanced *ac4 to'ard the cliff5 The 6uard 'as sure to a'a4en shortly and sound the alarm5 :There7s no 'ay to save her.: Hayden said. :Ho' can 'e save her5 There are only t'o of us.: Lord Hayden si6hed5 3he lay very still.
they 'ere a*le to stand fully erect5 He reco6ni8ed the man in the 'hite 6arments as one of the . he folded his arms and leaned *ac4. himself5 The drone of revelry and the smell of spar4in6 fire'ood outside lulled him into a state of semi/sleep. the *are le6s of at least three 6uards 'ere visi*le throu6h the lo' entrance5 Lord Hayden tried to stand. *ut *eni6nly> made him peer at the 6uard 'ho 'in4ed at him. :They intend to 4ill us and you tell me to *e 9uiet5: :2 *elieve someone is 6oin6 to help us5: $onne eyed him flummo&ed and not at all reassured5 Hayden leaned a6ainst a 'all5 :Get some restF don7t use up any more ener6y5 ?ou7ll need it later5: He pulled his hat for'ard and closed his eyes5 $onne de*ated 9uietly ho' his teacher could sleep under such circumstances5 Then reasonin6 that 'hat else could he do for the present. he too4 stoc4 of the t'o visitors5 Not as tall as he.for the end of the Ceremony5 These t'o in place of the t'o villa6ers chosen5: The 6uards lo'ered their spearsF relief sho'ed on some faces5 Lord Hayden surmised that the t'o villa6ers Tes4 had mentioned 'ere loved ones5 :Ta4e them.: Tes4 ordered5 A 6uard *ehind Lord Hayden shoved him for'ard5 Lord Hayden7s foot t'isted and he 'ould have fallen. :Wait5: Lord Hayden camoufla6ed his nod 'ith a cou6h and a :@e 9uiet. *ut the hut 'as too short5 He sat do'n *eside his student5 $onne spouted misera*ly. so that he did not hear t'o men creep into the hut until one of them shoo4 his shoulder5 He opened his eyes 'ide and sa' a 'hite/ ro*ed fi6ure *endin6 over him5 $onne shrie4ed. *ut the 6uard ne&t to him steadied him5 3omethin6 a*out the 'ay the man 6ra**ed his arm>not harshly. 'hisperin6. and Lord Hayden Cac44nifed and *an6ed his head a6ainst the lo' ceilin65 $u**in6 his *ruised scalp. $onne5: as his student protested and re*u4ed the soldiers dra66in6 them a'ay from the s9uare5 At the entrance to a hut *uilt partially under6round they 'ere pushed to their 4nees and prodded throu6h a cra'l space5 They found themselves alone on a dirt floor5 <utside.
erhaps these t'o 'ere part of that handful5 :What can 'e do to help you. *ut for myself 2 am 'illin6 to assist you5 The 'oman on the altar is my soul mate5 We 6et her off the 2sland first5 2 'ill remain to help you5: The priest loo4ed do'n at his feet. :2 cannot interfere 'ith the Ceremony5 Those a6ainst Tes4 are only a fe'5 2f 2 tried to stop the sacrifice to Ba4e/Ba4e. *ut on one condition. then he can stop the sacrifice. 'ith your help5 2t is up to you to procure the e66 and save your 'oman7s life5: Lord HaydenWs *ro' furro'ed5 :2t appears the decision . and your teacher to *e your Hopu Banu.: Lord Hayden as4ed in earnest5 The priest and the 'arrior e&chan6ed hopeful 6lances5 :.lease sit do'n5 We 'ill e&plain5: The priest spo4e of the cult and the Ceremony5 Lord Hayden and $onne listened attentively5 -inally. :2 can7t spea4 for my friend here. the Holy Ban addressed $onne *luntly5 :We 'ish you to *e our candidate for the Tan6ata Banu. *ut mid *reath he remem*ered Alana7s 'ords that there 'ere only a handful on the 2sland 'ho 'ould help him5 . perhaps all of the human sacrifices.: :?ou can save our people. Tes4 and his follo'ers 'ould sacrifice us as 'ell as our families5 The only 6uarantee 2 can offer is that the 'oman 'ill not *e harmed until the Hopu Banu returns 'ith the e665 2f you return and $onne is declared Tan6ata Banu for the year.: the priest ans'ered5 He had not e&pected a direct reply. 'hat can 'e do for you 6entlemen. especially not the one 6iven5 He started to as4 for an e&planation. as if he 'ould rather not have to reply5 Then 6atherin6 his coura6e he said. to *rin6 *ac4 the first e66 and rid us of $ichard Tes4 and his influence on our people5: Lord William Hayden had already made up his mind.priests he had seen 'hile *ein6 dra66ed throu6h the villa6e5 The other man 'as the 6uard 'ho had steadied his fall and 'hispered for him to :'ait5: When no one seemed ready to *rea4 the silence5 Lord Hayden too4 the initiative5 :Well.
:2 have faith in you as 'ell5: All this faith in him. raise and hit his head a6ain5 :.riest recited the consecration prayers in front of the stone monument that *ore an undelineated carvin6 of the face of Ba4e/Ba4e 'ith @irdmen in attendance.: he 6rimaced.: the priest a6reed5 :@ut not Cust a man. Lord Hayden. each holdin6 an e665 . stand up. if that7s 'hat you thin45: :No. huh. not 'antin6 to appear rude5 Grace had called him that once5 2t 'as a 'ord common to the <ceanian people5 Why 'ould they put such a ta6 on him.riest5 To his side. Tunai 'ill attempt to 4ill you5: Tunai7s 'ife s'ears you are a special man. a palu.is made for me5: The priest 6lanced at the 'arrior and nodded5 The 'arrior spo4e. shirtless e&cept for a shoulder pouch. or 'e end up at the *ottom of the strait5: $onne nodded in mute a6reement5 He smiled resi6nedly.alu. :As Tes47s Hopu Banu. and 'earin6 a mahute *and around his head. a 'hite cloa4 on his *are shoulders and a loincloth a*out his hips. one 'ho has overcome insurmounta*le o*stacles in your search for the past5 We *elieve her and have faith in you5: @oth men dropped to their 4nees *efore the prisoners5 Lord Hayden 'inced5 He 4nelt and 6rasped the priest7s arms and *ade him to stand5 :27m no God. causin6 him to for6et the lo' ceilin6. tended to unnerve him. addin6. ru**in6 his *ruised scalp5 CHA#TE$ (I!E Cro'ned 'ith a headdress of coc4 and tropic/*ird feathers. $onne stood *efore the Hi6h . He 'as only an instructor of archeolo6y 'ho enCoyed field'or45 Lord Hayden turned to $onne5 :We don7t truly have any other choice5 We 'or4 'ith them. 'aited as the Hi6h . a special man5: Hayden stifled a lau6h.
he 'as instructin6 his hopu manu to 4ill Lord Hayden if it appeared he mi6ht *e successful5 His throat felt dry and his chest ti6ht5 Chances 'ere stron6 that if the clim* do'n the path overhan6in6 the caves and the precipices did not land him at the foot of the cliff in a mashed heap. my teacher5 2 'ill 'atch over your lady 'ith my very life. and then all too soon it 'as time5 $onne too4 Lord Hayden7s hand into his t'o and shoo4 it 'ith deep emotion5 :Bay He of Custice and peace *e 'ith you. 'ho had arrived a short time a6o5 His archenemy 'ore ceremonial 6ear and his visa6e under the *lac4 and red paint 'as dar4. a6ainst Tes4.riest5 An eternity of chants and anointin6. dru66ed and asleep on the rectan6ular ahu *ehind him5 With all his heart he 'ished to lift her into his arms and carry her a'ay from this island 'ithout ma4in6 all their deaths a certainty5 Ander the li6ht of the early afternoon sun. and over Lord Hayden7s heart5 2f he did not return 'ith the e66. 2 promise you5: Lord Hayden smiled his than4s. althou6h he reco6ni8ed the fact that $onne could do little a6ainst the villa6ers. the current or the shar4s in the strait 'ould finish him5 And as if these o*stacles 'ere not enou6h. *ut controlled5 Lord Hayden had seen him conferrin6 'ith Tunai5 No dou*t. lined up to one side5 Tunai and the other hopu manus filed past them5 Lord Hayden fell in *ehind Tunai>he preferred his enemy in plain si6ht in front of him5 He cast one last loo4 at Grace and stiffened5 3he 'as 6one5 He scanned the villa6e and sa' a 6roup of 'omen supportin6 her and leadin6 her to'ard an under6round hut similar to the one . 'ith Tes4 in the lead and $onne a fe' candidates *ehind. and 'orse. and end up as those poor unfortunates 'ho had tried to out'it Tes4 last year5 He s'allo'ed hard as the Hi6h .riest *ello'ed the si6nal to *e6in5 The Tan6ata Banus.Lord Hayden turned to vie' the 'oman. the monument cast a shado' over her. he must constantly 'atch his *ac4 to avoid Tunai7s 4nife *et'een his shoulder *lades. death 'as imminent5 Lord Hayden turned *ac4 to the Hi6h .
his pants shredded alon6 'ith the s4in *eneath. as if to say. narro' irre6ular path slimy 'ith mist from the sea *elo'5 %ach time his foot slipped. he faced the 6reater challen6e of the treacherous strait5 A native of the island and its topo6raphy. his chest and arms suffered scratches in a hundred places5 He slipped and nearly lost his 6rip and foothold numerous times alon6 the do'n'ard. :2 made it this farD: -our other hopu manus had reached the *ottom safely5 Tunai shelved the sco'l. sa' him and 6rinned. he had not entered the 'ater to start for the islet5 2nstead. an an6uished cry echoed5 The flailin6 *ody of a hopu manu crashed throu6h the emptiness5 Lord Hayden flattened himself a6ainst the stone and *reathed a prayer for the poor man 'ho continued to scream as he fell past.in 'hich he and his student had *een held5 3he did not respond to his cry5 The hopu manus linin6 up *ehind him ur6ed him for'ard5 Lord Hayden turned reluctantly and follo'ed Tunai5 The descent to the foot of the cliffs and the strait proved torturous5 Lord Hayden7s hands tore and *led. until the Ca66ed roc4s *elo' silenced him 'ith death5 Lord Hayden closed his mind to the thou6ht that he mi6ht soon *e Coinin6 the unfortunate hopu manu. roc4y island 'here the sooty terns nested and laid their e66s5 Here and there sharp an6ular fins Cutted from the 'ater7s surface and 6lided throu6h the 'aves5 -rom a*ove him. he 'atched the archaeolo6ist7s descent5 He sco'led 'hen Lord Hayden reached the *ottom. lau6hed deeply and slapped Lord . 6aspin65 This ne&t time he nearly plummeted5 $estin6 a moment. arms and le6s aimlessly clutchin6 at nothin6ness. his 6a8ed at the sea *eyond5 2n the distance s9uatted the three islets. 6reen. t'o hardly land masses. and the third a small. he 6ra**ed on to protrusions in the roc4. Tunai had reached the *ottom of the cliff lon6 *efore the others5 Ho'ever. and continued the perilous clim* do'n'ard5 3lo'ly the path 6re' 'ider and finally mer6ed 'ith the *ase of the cliff5 2n dis*elief that he had reached the foot of the cliff and 'as still alive.
his *ody a mass of cuts and *ruises5 Tunai said. deep enou6h to hold a man prone5 He 6athered stal4s of 6rass and reeds. and the inside of her mouth tasted *itter. her esopha6us ra'. covered the entrance 'ith the 6ro'th5 %&hausted. searchin6 for the hidin6 place in 'hich he could rest securely.Hayden7s shoulder. as 'eary and 'aterlo66ed as the rest5 Hayden. and 'ere carved and painted 'ith fi6ures of Ba4e/Ba4e and *irdmen5 2n her 'ea4ened state. *ut rather of stamina5 Lord Hayden purposely held *ac4 *ehind Tunai. *ut her mind 'as clearin6 and she remem*ered *ein6 forci*ly ta4en from . :We 'ill rest for a fe' hours5 2f the ni6ht is clear and the moon li6ht our 'ay. turnin6 his head from side to side. he fell asleep almost immediately5 EEE The thic4 fo6 dullin6 %li8a*eth7s thou6hts lifted slo'ly5 3he opened her eyes and focused on sla*s of roc4s that interloc4ed and cantilevered. and ma4in6 sure that no one follo'ed him. 'e 'ill s'im to Botu Nui5: Nature did not disappoint them5 2n the moonlit dar4ness the hopu manus plun6ed into the silvery 'ater5 3hiverin6 at first. the candidates at last clam*ered onto the steep *an4s of Botu Nui5 Tunai spra'led on the sand. catchin6 his *reath 'ith each opposin6 stro4e5 This 'as not a contest of speed. decipherin6 the carvin6s felt a tas4 too dauntin65 3he lay on a reed mattress on the floor5 With 6reat difficulty she mana6ed to stand up5 Her head felt heavy. 4eepin6 him under constant si6ht5 The 6roup s'am 9uietly and as far a'ay as feasi*le from 'here shar4 fins pierced the 'aves from *eneath5 Weary and 'aterlo66ed. Lord Hayden7s *ody 'armed as he stro4ed and 4ic4ed a6ainst the current5 He moved slo'ly and la*oriously. con6ratulatin6 him5 The archaeolo6ist 6asped. 6rimacin6 'ith pain. and scram*lin6 *ac4'ards into the narro' space. s4irted the *an4. armed 'ith advice and directions from the priest 'ho had enlisted his help. a place 4no'n only to a loyal handful5 The safe haven proved to *e a hori8ontal hole in the side of a tall *an4.
people san6 and chanted5 3he tried to stand. and *eside it a lon6 thic4 'ood stirrer5 3he hefted it5 :Good enou6h.erhaps 'ith the feastin6 6oin6 on. the entrance merely a deep cra'l space5 <utside the hut. *ut 'hy had she *een *rou6ht here. and somethin6 inCected into her arm5 The *itter taste in her mouth su66ested she mi6ht have *een further dru66ed orally5 As she mana6ed to sit up *y her third attempt. they had for6otten5 %li8a*eth clim*ed to her feet a6ain and tried to 'al45 This time her le6s held her 'ei6ht *etter5 3he cra'led throu6h the entrance *ut stopped short of a pair of *are le6s *elon6in6 to the 6uard holdin6 a spear5 His attention 'as on his fello' villa6ers 'ho carried on to a measured rhythm5 3he reco6ni8ed the villa6e from her visits 'ith Lord Hayden to study the *irdmen petro6lyphs decoratin6 the *asalt outcroppin6s5 That villa6e had *een in ruinsF this one 'as restored5 3he 9uietly *ac4ed up into the cave5 3he could not escape. tied and 6a66ed. she concluded it 'as a cave d'ellin6. not yet. she 'ould not stand a chance5 3he inched to a 9uarter of the 'ay *efore the openin65 -ortunate that the hut 'as at least a 6ood t'enty yards from the villa6e s9uare and in the shado's5 Without further thou6ht.Alana7s house. a 'hite cotton sheath that reached to her sandaled feet5 <n e&amination of her surroundin6s. and no one had come to administer more5 . *ut her 'ea4ened le6s 6ave 'ay and she fell do'n on the mattress. thou6h for sure. muscular fello'5 2f he heard her *ehind him. or at least 4ne' some oriental self/defense. Where 'as Lord HaydenF 'as he all ri6ht. 'hatever inhi*itor they had inCected into her had partially 'orn off. she mi6ht confront the 6uard posted outside5 <r if she at least had a 'eapon555 a roc4555 or a heavy stic45 3he chec4ed a*out the room5 An iron pot on the floor near the 'all. %li8a*eth noticed her clothes.: she 'hispered5 3he snuc4 *ac4 into the cra'l space5 The soldier 'as still there5 He 'as a lar6e. %li8a*eth pondered that if she 'ere a man. she moved for'ard and s'un6 the 'ood as hard as she could across the man7s shins5 The chantin6 dro'ned the 6uard7s cry as pain . narro' and *arely hi6h enou6h for her to stand.
all life. then 'ith a dar4 sinister .re6istered and his le6s *uc4led5 He stum*led for'ard5 %li8a*eth Cumped to her feet and s'un6 her ma4eshift 'eapon across the side of the man7s head *efore he could re6ain his *alance and turn on her5 3he hit him t'ice *efore he finally collapsed face do'n5 3he 'as tempted to hit him a6ain. teasin65 He 6ra**ed her an4le and sent her spra'lin6 for'ard5 2nstinctively. then cast it aside5 %li8a*eth slid *ac4'ard5 2t 'as useless attemptin6 to run5 The 6uard 'ould outrun her or alarm other 6uards5 Noddin6 su*mission. then dropped to his 4nees5 %li8a*eth s'un6 the stic4 hard. leapin6 out of the 'ay as he toppled over. $onne lay prone on the dirt floor. she sei8ed the half 'ood closest to her and s'un6 herself and it around. only to render him unconscious and ena*le her to escape5 Life. 'hile his attention 'as dra'n to her shapely derriXre5 2f he had 4no'n the red/6old haired 'oman *etter. puttin6 the soldier at ease. catchin6 the 6uard across his thi6hs5 @one crac4ed5 The soldier dou*led over as his hands reached for his inCured thi6h5 %li8a*eth *rou6ht the stic4 across the man7s nec4. aimin6 for his head. she turned on her side in order to lever herself up. %li8a*eth moved around him. %li8a*eth rolled on her *ac45 The 6uard loomed over her for a second. holdin6 ti6htly to the 'ood in case he should come to *efore she had stolen a'ay5 @ut the 6uard had only *een fei6nin6. *ut the soldier cau6ht the 'ood and the *runt of the *lo' 'ith his callused palm5 -or an instant she thou6ht he 'ould stri4e her 'ith the self/same stic4. 6ar*ed in his ceremonial 6ear. continued to clutch the clu* he had used to deliver the *lo'. li4e the past and its relics. he too4 the 'ood in *oth of his hands and snapped it in t'o. this time truly unconscious5 2n a nei6h*orin6 cave/hut. *ut her conscience stopped her5 2t 'as not her 'ish to 4ill him. especially 'hen he 6lared at her malevolently5 2nstead. 'as precious to her5 The 6uard lay motionless5 Cautiously. *lood oo8in6 from a 'ound to his temple5 Tes4. his *reathin6 comin6 in rapid spurts as he considered his handi'or4. he 'ould have suspected her deli*erately slo' rise5 With a s'ift movement that startled him.
himself.: he insisted as he pushed himself out of the hole into the dayli6ht5 His help party 'as composed of three men5 :Why do you 4eep callin6 me . ma4in6 it appear that she had tried to escape and *rou6ht death upon herself. noD: voices ur6ed him5 :We are your friends and have *rou6ht you supplies5 2t is permittedF other'ise you may not survive the 'ait5: Lord Hayden stayed his fists. Tes4. could not so entirely *rea4 the la's of the villa6ers7 ancestors 'ithout dilutin6 his po'er over the priests5 $enderin6 $onne unconscious. *rin6in6 them instead to ru* his eyes and clear them of the e&hausted sleep after the muscle/'renchin6 s'im across the strait5 :By name is not . must suffice until he learned 'ho returned from the sacred islet5 @ut Grace 'as e&penda*le. althou6h he counted on Tunai *ein6 the one o*stacle Hayden 'ould not surmount5 2f Hayden did return. had convinced them to re/ implement5 When he reached the under6round hut and discovered the 6uard unconscious and Grace 6one. cra'led throu6h the openin65 He headed to'ard the cave/hut holdin6 Grace5 Tes4 'orried a*out the result of the e66 hunt5 Lord Hayden7s reputation for accomplishin6 the impossi*le preceded him5 The tenacious archaeolo6ist mi6ht Cust return 'ith the e66. the *etter5 He had not 4illed $onne *ecause of the youn6 man7s ne' status5 %ven he. and he s'un6 out defensively5 :. the fe'er enemies left alive. cursin6 the day the t'o had come to Brs5 Chola7s estate in Ha'aii5 +eadly 9uiet.alu.determination he turned.alu. the villa6ers 'ould not accuse him of *rea4in6 the la's he.alu. Tes4 sco'led dar4ly. he left the villa6e in pursuit5 :. merely an anticipated sacrifice5 2f he 4illed her. 'ith his present influence. incapacitatin6 him to prevent any aid to Lord Hayden or Grace. and stoopin6 to his 4nees.: . 'a4e upD: Lord Hayden 'o4e 'ith a start as hands 6ripped his shoulders and shoo4 him5 Li6ht filled the hole in 'hich he had fallen asleep.alu.
Lord Hayden5: A chill shoo4 Lord Hayden5 His heart missed a *eat5 He 'aited for the third spea4er to continue5 :This 'ill 6ive you added stren6th to retrieve the first e66 and s'im *ac4 and depose . Lord Hayden 'ould not have felt it. stren6th and coura6e5: $ather than reply. one 'ho has 'isdom. 'e must 6et you to safety5 He 'anted to scream. *ut instead he follo'ed the three men into the canoe5 They paddled around the islet to a small cave. risin6 to his feet5 :@y the 'ay.rofessor Tes45 ?our 'oman 'as 4illed tryin6 to escape5 Tes4 'as her e&ecutioner5: 2f someone had plun6ed a 4nife into his ri*s.: Lord Hayden said. and unloaded the supplies>some fire'ood. for the num*ness that stole over him5 :Time to mourn her and curse her 4iller as you 'ait for the 3ooty Terns to arrive and nest5 Come. ho'7s Grace. :Tes4 must not *e allo'ed to reclaim his title5 ?ou must *rin6 *ac4 the first e66 that is laid5 ?ou cannot stay in this hole much lon6er5 The tides 'ill dro'n you5 We 'ill ta4e you to a safe cave 'here you may *uild a fire5 @ut you must remain alert. for Tunai555 'ill find you5: :2 hope you *rou6ht some coffee.alu is a man of true 'orth.: the islander said5 :2 am not ori6inally from %aster 2sland.he protested5 :@ecause you are one.: The third man spo4eF a thread of compassion 'ove throu6h his voice5 :?ou must steel yourself. *ut the cult follo's the old rules5: The second man interCected in a voice that said he 'as tired of small tal4. Lord Hayden pointed to the party7s canoe roc4in6 6ently on the 'ater5 :Could have used one of those yesterday5: :?es. *ut from lands far to the north'est5 2n my homeland a . canned food and fruit. and t'o Cu6s of drin4in6 'ater5 :We 'ill return in a fe' days5 $emem*er to stay alert5 Tunai has pro*a*ly already seen us5: Lord Hayden stood on the *an4 'atchin6 the three .
then claim all the 6lory5 :(ust a .: he concluded5 3o this had *een Tunai7s plan all alon65 Let the archaeolo6ist do all the 'or4. Lord Hayden mourned. a 'ee4. he acted 9uic4ly5 Carefully. and clim*ed do'n5 :Than4 you. timin6 their fli6hts to find food or relieve themselves5 Ho'ever. This 'as too easy5 Lord Hayden 'ondered if he 'as playin6 ri6ht into the 6iant7s hands5 He pushed the thou6ht aside5 At the top. three days.men *oard the canoe5 His face 'as dra'n. not hell itself 'ill stop me. also. had received supplies for the 'ait5 No' they reCoiced as the 'in6ed messen6ers of their God settled upon the hi6h roc4s5 Bore 'ee4s passed5 The hopu manus 'atched for si6ns of the parents incu*atin65 Then one mornin6. or>: Lord Hayden turned and faced Tunai5 The lar6e man e&tended his palm5 :<r if you don7t please. t'o 'ee4s. if you please. *ut his mouth and Ca' 'ere set in a cruel line5 :27ll 6et the e66 and *rin6 it *ac4 to you. What came to mind 'as that the men 'ere afraid of Tunai and 'ere hidin65 Then 'hy hadn7t Tunai made his move.: he told them5 :And not Tunai.: he vo'ed5 CHA#TE$ +I. he seemed to *e the only one clim*in6 and he 'as pu88led5 Tunai had made no attempts on his life5 Where 'ere the other four hopu manus. and 'aited. the females *e6an to lay their e66s5 Lord Hayden s4irted the roc4s and *e6an to clim* to'ard the nest that contained the first e66 and 'as *riefly unattended5 He had 'atched the terns. he lifted the e66 from the nest and placed it in his shoulder pouch slun6 dia6onally across his chest5 He pushed the pouch *ehind him *et'een his shoulder *lades to shield the delicate e66 from the roc4s. Lord Hayden5 No' 2 'ill ta4e the e66. until the s9ueals of terns circlin6 the islet *rou6ht the hopu manus out of their caves at the *ase of the islet5 They. as da'n *ro4e.
then shru66in6. :and 27ll tell you5: Lord Hayden 'as not surprised that Tunai had not tried to sei8e the e66 from him5 That 'ould entail a scuffle and the resultin6 *ro4en e66 'ould not *e accepted5 :No. *ut 2 'as not sure the others 'ould not try to help you5 And in fact. 2 can dispose of you as 'ell5: :And 'hat 'ill you tell the villa6ers 'hen you return alone. placed the pouch in a noo4 in the roc4s5 :Where are the others. 2 thin4 not5: %ither the other hopu/manus had fled. or Tunai had eliminated them5 :Why didn7t you try to 4ill me.: :Bany of my ancestors 'ho set out to *rin6 *ac4 the e66 often did not return5 As you have already learned.: Tunai did not ans'er readily.: Tunai said. it 'as defunct5 The man had 6ro'n ruthless5 :Tell me. *ut if Tunai had once held a conscience that allo'ed his 'ife to love him. then findin6 'hat he 'as loo4in6 for. removin6 the shoulder pouch5 He scanned the area.: Lord Hayden said. 2 haven7t seen anyone in the past ten days5: Tunai smir4ed5 :That is *ecause there hasn7t *een anyone on the island for the past ten days5: Lord Hayden loo4ed pu88led5 :Give me the e66. it is not an easy venture5 2 'ill tell my fello' villa6ers simply that some of the men succum*ed to the elements>and you 4illed the rest5: TunaiWs 'ife had *e66ed him not to 4ill her hus*and. as if de*atin6 his reply5 -inally he said. ?ou had ample chance5: Lord Hayden as4ed5 The 6iant hesitated. :2 mi6ht as 'ell tell you so your spirit 'ill rest5 3he is alive5: .minute. :2 could have. and there is no one here to interfere. so 2 had to dispose of them first5 And no' that you have the e66. they too4 turns 6uardin6 you. :+id any of the villa6ers 'ho *rou6ht you supplies inform you that Tes4 4illed my 'oman.: Lord Hayden as4ed. replied.
had told Lord Hayden that Tes4 had chased Grace to the top of the <ron6o Cliffs and that she had fallen to her death into the strait *elo'5 @oth relief and confusion re6istered on Lord Hayden7s *earded face5 :Grace is alive.The three men 'ho had continued to *rin6 him food. or do you prefer to stru66le.rofessor Tes4 only lied to cover up her escape5 He intends completin6 the deed5 ?ou and she are too much of a threat to his plans5: With the e66 safely lod6ed in the small space in the roc4. Tunai si8ed up Lord Hayden for the 4ill5 Hayden 'as a 'orthier adversary than his predecessors 'ere5 :Will you die 9uic4ly 'ith one thrust of my 4nife.: Tunai replied5 . more from frustration than pain5 Lord Hayden nursed his 4nuc4les.: he said5 A moment later his mouth t'isted into a sneer as he recalled the 'renchin6 an6uish Tes4 and his henchman had caused him5 :Where is she.: Lord Hayden 6rinned from the side of his mouth5 Grace 'as alive5 Bore than ever he valued his life5 :2 thin4 27ll stru66le5: Tunai lun6ed for Hayden7s throat5 Hayden duc4ed and rammed a po'erful ri6ht into Tunai7s midriff. Lord Hayden *rou6ht up a 4nee into the man7s most vulnera*le spot5 Tunai paused s9uee8in6. inducin6 such pain that the archaeolo6ist7s dar4 eyes *ul6ed5 $efle&ively and in desperation. elicitin6 a 6ro'l from his opponent.: he dra'led menacin6ly5 :We don7t 4no'. hittin6 him in the temples5 Cau6ht *et'een t'o *atterin6 rams. the hopu manu7s dar4 pupils crossed5 Ta4in6 advanta6e of Tunai7s momentary . Lord Hayden *rou6ht *oth fists into Tunai7s face. *loc4in6 Hayden7s air supply and threatenin6 to snap his nec45 Gaspin6 for air. certain they had *een pulveri8ed5 Tunai must have a stomach of steel5 He did not have time to thin4 on the matter for Tunai lun6ed a6ain and this time mana6ed to 6rip Hayden7s throat and *e6an to s9uee8e. an e&pectant loo4 on his face5 He 'as 'aitin6 for the pain to re6ister5 :@lastD: Hayden 6asped as Tunai 6rinned5 <*viously he had steel testicles as 'ell5 Tunai ti6htened his hold on Hayden7s throat.
'hether his ne&t actions 'ere voluntary or instinctive5 @ut the 6iant rose to his feet. s'irlin6 screamin6 mist5 Hayden. Lord Hayden Cumped out of Tunai7s path5 The 6iant could not control his momentumF he hit the roc4s. preparin6 to die5 Ansteadily.'ea4ness. Lord Hayden yan4ed the 6iant7s hands from his throat. and donned the ceremonial cape over *are .riest. if not easier5 All in the villa6e had received the ne's5 $onne 'as no' Tapu . and the cry repeated until it reached the villa6e. his mouth contortin6 into a snarl5 Lord Hayden could have s'orn the creature had horns as it 6ro'led li4e an enra6ed *ull and rushed to'ard him. Tunai strai6htened and turned5 He loo4ed at Hayden. *ut Tunai remained on his feet5 Hayden s'allo'ed 'ith difficulty5 3teel *rains. a 'hite.sacred05 He had shaved his head. the terns silenced5 Three times Lord Hayden called out to'ard the sea5 :$<NN%555 TA. follo'in6 the instructions of the Hi6h . then cautiously *ent over him and turned him over5 The 6iant7s eyes 'ere 'ide open5 He continued to smile. one mi6ht say mystically. shrie4in6 and s9uealin6. cried out to'ard the sea5 Bysteriously. fallin6 *ac4 as he clutched at his chest. and then fell for'ard5 After an apprehensive moment. his eye*ro's and eyelashes. holdin6 his head and sha4in6 it. intent upon 6orin6 him5 Not fully recovered. smiled. and the ne' Tan6ata Banu5 EEE The return trip to the villa6e 'as more familiar. cro'n first5 The impact dislod6ed loose pieces of stone. tryin6 to clear it5 Lord Hayden 'as not sure Tunai 4ne' anymore 'hat he 'as doin6. Lord Hayden approached the fi6ure. *ut remained motionless5 Lord Hayden chec4ed his 'rist for a pulse5 There 'as none5 Tunai 'as dead5 +isheveled and *ruised. *earin6 a hundred cuts. Lord Hayden clim*ed to an outcroppin6 named :the cry of the *ird5: At his si6ht terns *e6an circlin6 their nests in a fren8y. attemptin6 to re6ain his *reath5 His 'indpipe felt permanently depressed5 Tunai in the meantime fell to his 4nees. he thou6ht.A555 3HAV% ?<A$ H%A+5: The 'ind 'ould carry the cry of victory across the strait to the ears of a 'atcher on the <ron6o Cliffs.
:Lord Hayden. a sym*ol of royalty5 His scalp 'as painted red5 The red and *lac4 paint on his face partially hid the semi/ healed 'ound on his temple.eople of Bata4iterani.: A fe' seconds to in6est the 'ondrous ne's and a Coyous smile *ro4e across $onne7s painted features5 He too4 the e66 and held it up for all to see5 :. a holy. the youn6 student 'hispered as he e&tended his palm covered 'ith a red tapa cloth. cheerin6 and *rea4in6 into son6 and dance5 $elatives of those chosen for sacrifice hurried off to free their 4in and 6ive them the 6ood ne's5 Lord Hayden moved 9uic4ly out of the 'ay as the cele*rants formed a processional to conduct $onne to the $ano/$ara4u Cliff5 He 'ould live there alone for a year. it should *e 2 4neelin6 *efore you. do not ever let a *ein6 li4e Tes4 control your lives5 He is a man li4e any other man5 -or his o'n 6reed he has tried to set you *ac4 into the dar4 a6es5 There 'ill *e no more human sacrifices5 Ba4e/Ba4e is a God of Life. :Grace is alive5 And as soon as your year as head honcho is over. and *e served *y the people. and into this *and had *een slipped a piece of sandal'ood. temperate life.shoulders and a loincloth5 A *and of red tapa 'as tied to his arm. 2 e&pect you *ac4 in class5 Anderstood. *e66in6 your for6iveness5 Tes4 4noc4ed me unconscious5 2 should have *een prepared5 27m a useless *ein65: A so* escaped him5 :Tes4555 has 4illed Grace5: He 'aited for Lord Hayden to react5 Lord Hayden placed the sacred e66 on the cloth over $onne7s palm5 He told him. *ut not the shame he felt for his failure to protect Grace as he had promised Lord Hayden5 That shame shone clearly in his coal/*lac4 eyes as the villa6ers Cu*ilantly escorted Lord Hayden into his presence5 Hayden 4nelt *efore the sanctified *irdman5 Thou6h he must complete the ceremony. not death5 <ffer him the fruits of the earth and your talents5 These 'ill please him a thousand fold more than the lives of your *rothers and sisters5 Thus. this is my first decree1 $elease the sacrificial victims and reCoiceD: The villa6ers 'ent 'ild 'ith appreciation. as a God/ .
the 4eeper of the mana. for these Lord Hayden7s return *rou6ht sorro' and an6uish5 Cornerin6 him immediately after he had 6iven the e66 to $onne. and then she tried the 4no*5 The door opened5 No one 'as home and nothin6 had *een distur*ed in the *edroom that she shared . and Tes4 had fled the villa6e and 'as no'here to *e found5 No lon6er in dan6er. they as4ed 'hy their men had not come *ac4 'ith him5 Lord Hayden prayed he 'ould never a6ain have to *e the deliverer of such heart*rea45 2n shoc4. the 4in of the dead men am*led to their *oats to find and retrieve the *odies5 Lord Hayden must *ear to Alana as 'ell the tidin6s of her hus*and7s death. the vital force of the year. a year to 'hich he 'ould 6ive his name5 And no'. %li8a*eth 'as an&ious to locate Lord Hayden and resume her Courney 'ith him5 2n her opinion the first lo6ical place to loo4 for him 'as at Alana7s house5 3he trusted Tunai7s 'ife5 Alana had discovered her e&hausted and hun6ry and almost senseless on the moors. and led her to the safety of the trust'orthy couple 'ho had protected her5 3he 'as not surprised 'hen no one ans'ered her 4noc4 at Alana7s home5 Ne's of Tunai7s 6uilt had spread 9uic4ly throu6hout the 2sland5 3he suspected Alana had fled5 To *e sure. %li8a*eth *id 6ood*ye to the family 'ho had 4ept her hidden and sheltered after her escape from the <ron6o Villa6e5 The ne's of Lord Hayden7s most recent e&ploit had s'ept across the 2sland. thou6hts 'ould turn to hatred and reven6e5 EEE 2n another part of the 2sland. 'ith the same results. slo'ly *rea4in6 into so*s. and 'orse.: Where the hell is Grace. Tunai7s foul deeds5 He 'ould need to 'arn her to leave the 2sland 9uic4ly5 He suspected that 'hen the villa6ers *uried their dead. she 4noc4ed once more.man.: -or most of the villa6ers. *ut for the loved ones of the men that Tunai had murdered on Botu Nui. Lord Hayden7s return *rou6ht rene'ed hope. Lord Hayden as4ed himself.
'as not finished5 Lord Hayden 'ould learn 'hat it meant to lose somethin6 you treasured5 2t 'as no secret that Grace 'as his most valued treasure5 :Lord William Hayden 'ill pay for his interference. his hands had 6ripped her throat5 @lac4 eyes shrie4in6 'ith ra6e.erhaps he 'as out searchin6 for her5 3he 'ould stay in the house and 'ait for him to return5 2n the meantime. Tes4. Caesar. or a sensationF she felt he had recently *een here5 . *ut 'hen he had arrived at %aster 2sland to do research and met the simple fol4 that inha*ited this land. na4ed e&cept for a muddied loincloth and cape5 Wild eyed and disheveled. he moved fast5 @efore %li8a*eth could scream. and %li8a*eth could 6uess that he had hidden in $ano/=ao7s s'amp/li4e . lo66ed to6ether 'ith the icons he revered5 GoneD 3i& years of plannin6. Tes4. a cup of coffee 'as in order5 3he headed for the 4itchen5 The coffee cup never made it to her lips5 The front door slammed open5 $ichard Tes4 stood in the entrance.'ith Lord Hayden5 Call it a scent. his 6a8e scanned her face5 Here 'as the 'oman of the culprit 'ho had deprived him of the empire he had *e6un creatin65 Lord Hayden and his pupil $onne had turned the people of the 2sland a6ainst him5 -rom early childhood he had idoli8ed the con9uerors in history>Ale&ander. 'as merely a lo'ly history teacher. ho' easy it had proved 'ith the aid of their fol4lore and reli6ious *eliefs to manipulate them5 No' all 'as lostF his one opportunity in life to *ecome a le6end li4e the con9uerors he idoli8ed5 %aster 2sland 'as to *e a steppin6/ stone5 -rom here he intended to spread his influence to other islands in the . he. Napoleon5 He.acific5 His plan 'ould ta4e years5 Anify the islands under his ruleF *rin6 *ac4 the old customs and reli6ious practices that modern pro6ress and civili8ation 'ere slo'ly o*literatin65 2n the end the history *oo4s 'ould carry his name as 'ell.: Tes4 snarled into %li8a*eth7s face5 His *reath smelled of 'eeds and mud. s'ayin6. for6in65 That struttin6 peacoc4 and his mate had smashed his hopes into the dust5 Well.
Tes4 ripped the front of her *louse. a moth to fire5 His hands fell a'ay from %li8a*eth7s throat and stretched to'ard the shape5 %li8a*eth *e6an to cho4e and cou6h as her compressed 'indpipe e&panded5 The li6ht totally enveloped Tes4. and she tasted her o'n *lood5 2nfuriated further 'ith her stru66les. one not easily dismissed5 $ichard Tes4. he 4ic4ed his mount into a 6allop. as death *y asphy&iation seemed iminent5 3he had stopped loo4in6 at his snarlin6 face. humanoid. ridin6 to'ard Alana7s house5 As the man on the horse cau6ht si6ht of the 'oman leanin6 'earily a6ainst the 'eathered door. scatterin6 *uttons5 He 'ould 4ill her. rushin6 to'ard her5 %li8a*eth . and he 6lanced over his shoulder5 He had never seen any li6ht 9uite li4e it5 He had to 6et a closer loo45 He did not release his 6rip on %li8a*eth7s nec4. preferrin6 her last ima6e to *e the clear li6ht of day visi*le throu6h the open door. not clearly distin6uisha*le5 The shape seemed to *e in constant movement. a fi6ure. *rin6in6 him face to face 'ith the *ein65 Wea4 and e&hausted. and a fist across her mouth5 Her 4nees 'ea4ened under the force of the *lo' and the accompanyin6 pain. of course. and its features opalescent. *ut first taste of the fruit Hayden so relished5 Hayden 'ould share *li6hted hopes to the fullest5 %li8a*eth7s vision 'as cloudin65 3he dou*ted Tes4 'ould succeed in violatin6 her. *ut pulled her rou6hly to'ard the door 'ith him5 3omethin6 fluttered 'ithin the li6ht. li4e film speeded up5 Tes4 'as dra'n to it. and ed6ed 'ith a rain*o'5 2n the distance. an e&tremely *ri6ht li6ht. amon6 the reeds5 No use reasonin6 'ith him5 The face over hers 'as a contortion of madness5 %li8a*eth 6asped. %li8a*eth leaned a6ainst the sun/*leached e&terior of the door5 What 'as that thin6 in the li6ht. 2ts raiment 'as 'hite as a cloud. too.crater. noticed it from a corner of his eye. ready to tear it off his s4ull if necessary5 3he dre' *lood and a 6ro'l. a fi6ure on horse*ac4 appeared. stru66lin6 to free herself5 3he tried to scream past the thum*s di66in6 into her 'indpipe5 Tes4 *uried her mouth under his5 %li8a*eth du6 her nails into his face.
GraceD: Lord Hayden turned to the fi6ure in the li6ht and pleaded. don7tD: The li6ht filled her emerald eyes as 'ell as her ears5 There 'as only the li6ht and the feelin6 of 'ell *ein6. 2 *rou6ht *ac4 the tern7s e66 from Botu Nui in your commemoration. starin6 vacantly into thin air5 Nothin6 'as left of him *ut an empty shell. his pleasant sem*lance turned 6rim5 The li6ht intensified5 The 'in6s. as thou6h nothin6 else mattered *ut to *e one 'ith the sphere5 :GraceD: Lord Hayden cried. for your people7s prosperity5 3he is my *eloved5 . please5: -or one *rief instant the fi6ure stopped movin6. yet he seemed to *e listenin6 further. 'arm and *ec4onin65 Hayden7s horse reared on its hind le6s as the archaeolo6ist pulled on the reins to halt it5 The fi6ure in the li6ht turned suddenly and loo4ed at the animal5 The horse 9uieted5 The apparition and the feelin6 of intense peace dra'in6 her to'ard it mesmeri8ed %li8a*eth5 Lord Hayden leapt off the horse and rushed to'ard her5 :NoD Grace.lease let her 6o5: His voice trem*led5 The @ird God heard him. increasin6 in speed until the apparition *lurred into invisi*ility and 'as 6one5 Torn from the euphoria. standin6 very 9uiet. sha4in6 her5 :-or God7s sa4e. for all the cells in his *rain had turned to ash5 . :Let her 6o. fluttered rapidly. the history professor 'ho had aspired to *e a con9ueror and a 4in6. %li8a*eth slumped a6ainst Lord Hayden5 He tipped her chin up and heard her 'hisper his name5 @ut he remem*ered that dan6er yet threatened5 Tes4D Lord Hayden put the 'oman he loved *ehind him to shield her as he prepared to defend her5 The li6ht and the @ird God 'ere 6one. stilled for that instant. encased 'ith him. and its features delineated5 Lord Hayden sa' it clearly5 The t'o fi6ures found in Brs5 Chola7s 6arden had *een carved in the ima6e of this creature5 :Ba4e/Ba4e. remained.'as not a'are of Lord Hayden7s arrival5 The li6ht had steered her attention as 'ell5 2t 'as a *eautiful li6ht. *ut Tes4. as if he could hear nature itself spea4in65 A smile touched his mouth and he inclined his head5 @ut as he 6lanced *ac4 at Tes4.
: %li8a*eth remar4ed5 3he pushed *ac4 some red 6old strands that the stron6 sea *ree8e 4ept 6raspin6 at 6ently5 They *oth still 'ore their 4ha4i outfits>Cac4et. pants.CHA#TE$ +E!EN <n the return trip to Ha'aii. her emerald eyes 'idenin6 'ith lau6hter5 :?ou still maintain the *ein6 'as an an6el. althou6h cleaned and pressed5 :They7d thin4 you 'ere Co4in65: she smiled. 2 never told the +ean 'hat 'e sa' that mornin6 in front of Alana7s house5 :(ust as 'ell. Hayden la8ed on the dec4 of the ferry.: Lord Hayden pointed out5 :Ho' do 'e even 4no' that the *ein6 in the cloud 'as Ba4e/Ba4e.: Lord Hayden as4ed5 3he nodded emphatically5: <f the hi6hest order5: :2t7s a 9uaint idea5 And 'e never did find out ho' the t'o fi6ures ended up in Brs5 Chola7s 6arden or their relation to the rest of the artifacts 'e du6 up5: %li8a*eth shru66ed5 :.erhaps Tes4 'as meant to *e stopped5: :?ou7re lettin6 your ima6ination run a'ay 'ith you a6ain. the archaeolo6ists amon6 them 'ould ar6ue over the datin6 of the pieces and the identity of the @ird God7s fi6ure that the colle6e in colla*oration 'ith the local museum had purchased5 :?ou 4no' Grace.erhaps they 'ere put there so 'e 'ould find them5 . Cust *ecause the face . stretchin6 his lon6 le6s5 Classes at Layton 'ere scheduled to start on Bonday of the follo'in6 'ee45 Brs5 Chola had invited them to stay at her home until their actual departure for the %ast Coast5 He anticipated the e&hi*ition on <ceanian artifacts that the colle6e had *e6un plannin6 immediately after his informative telephone call to the +ean5 The intellectuals 'ould visit the e&hi*it. shirt. 'ith Grace *eside him5 A thin manuscript lay closed on his lap5 He had Cust completed readin6 the first draft of her article on the artifacts discovered durin6 their adventure on %aster 2sland5 He ya'ned.
: %li8a*eth said. William dearest. standin6 up as 'ell5 :+on7t5: By God. Grace. her an&iety fillin6 her voice5 :Why. she can read my mind.: he said5 :He told me. Lord Hayden thou6ht. as . 'e t'o are very important in the scheme of the universe5: After the *i8arre and intri6uin6 adventures they had shared durin6 the past t'o years.on the fi6ures unearthed topped a *ody 'ith carvin6s reminiscent of the *irdmen petro6lyphs on %aster 2sland. Lord Hayden 4ne' *etter than to as4 her to e&plain further5 Whether her theories 'ere sheer fantasi8in6. The li6ht 'as stron65 ?ou 'ere in a trance5 2 'as tired from the ordeal on Botu Nui5: :He told me. *ut never felt sure her ans'er 'as one hundred percent truthful *ecause of the smile that accompanied that ans'er. helped a people in the process and saved Grace7s life. or true.reparin6 to spea4 his ne&t 'ords 'hich felt more dauntin6 than the 6iant he had faced in *attle5 @ut he 'as determined to persist.erhaps not ever. his face.: He 4ne' her ans'er 'ould *e in the ne6ative5 He had as4ed her this 9uestion *efore. *rou6ht *ac4 some uncommon artifacts. %li8a*eth thou6ht5 Would he as4 me to marry him if he 4ne' 'ho 2 really 'as. for Grace 'as the 'oman for 'hom he had 'aited all his life5 :No. :N<. not yet5: .: she said.: %li8a*eth said simply5 The 'ords re6istered and Lord Hayden pressed for'ard to hear her *etter5 :Come a6ain. as 'ell as his o'n5 He had 6ro'n some5 Grace Quinlan had that effect on him5 Lord Hayden stood up5 . shared in a fascinatin6 ancient ritual. William5 The fi6ures 'ere planted in the past5 Tes4 had to *e stopped or there 'ould *e severe repercussions in the future5 ?ou 4no'. he could never prove them either 'ay5 He had e&plored the past.: Lord Hayden pleaded5 :2 4no' your feelin6s for me are as stron6 as mine for you5: <nce a6ain the thou6ht struc4 him55 :Are you married. his 'hole *ody effused love for her5 3o easy to foretell his ne&t 9uestion5 :No. and the deception 2 have carried throu6h. una'are of ho' his eyes.
it did no'F the 4ind of smile you 6ave a child 'ho as4ed silly 9uestions5 :Then 'hy not *ecome my 'ife5 Are you ill. the 'oman Lord Hayden professed to love and 'ished so ardently to marry.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e5 That evenin6. is there somethin6 you continue to hide from me. :With all my love. 'ould have survived5 3he 'as as certain of this as the unhappy fact that the time had come for her to resume her role as the do'dy . and si6ned the note. *ut then 'ould follo' the dis*elief. listened. than4in6 her for all her 4ind hospitality5 Her note to Lord Hayden 'as also *rief5 <nce more she promised to Coin him in future e&peditions. William. and completed the tale5 Without Lord Hayden7s intervention. leavin6 Lord Hayden do'ntrodden and more confused than ever5 Brs5 Chola 'elcomed them *ac4 and durin6 the ne&t fe' days listened 'ith pride to Lord Hayden7s account of ho' her nephe' $onne *ecame Tan6ata Banu and rescued the people of %aster 2sland from the talons of a madman5 %li8a*eth. somethin6 that 4eeps you from me5: :27m not ill.: %li8a*eth said5 3he turned and hurried a'ay. and 'hat7s 4eepin6 me from you>: Ho' easy to tell him. too. 2 do love you5 And 2 'ill Coin you anytime you as4 my cousin to contact me5 This is all 2 can tell you5: The ferry *ell ran6 and the captain7s voice came over the loudspea4er informin6 that they 'ere approachin6 the mainland5 :We *est 6ather our *elon6in6s. if he 'ished it. she dialed first for a plane reservation. carryin6 only a small . notin6 'ith admiration ho' Lord Hayden omitted most of his part in the venture5 3he spo4e to Brs5 Chola privately. prepared a short 6ood*ye note to Brs5 Chola. al'ays. neither she. *itin6 *ac4 the desire to stay one more day as Grace Quinlan. and ne&t for a ta&i to pic4 her up at the entrance 6ate to Brs5 Chola7s estate5 3he cautioned the dispatcher to tell the driver not to sound the horn5 -inally. Grace5: When everyone had retired. nor $onne. the contempt5 :2 can7t555 not yet5 @ut.
'hen 'hat appeared to *e an e9uation she had 'ritten on the *lac4*oard distracted him5 %li8a*ethHGrace & Lord Hayden & the truth Y :Contempt5: Grace QuinlanH. the su*Cect of his ne&t class5 He had lent the volume to . %li8a*eth7s students had not yet arrived5 Throu6h the upper part of the door paned 'ith 6lass. relivin6 each moment of her adventures 'ith Lord Hayden5 Ho' .rofessor %ldrid6e and needed it to supplement his lecture5 He folded his 6lasses and slid them into their case in his *reast poc4et5 $isin6. placed the t'o notes on a lo'*oy near the door. and 9uietly left the house5 The Adventures of Grace Quinlan and Lord William Hayden in the African %un le -Golden +ofala/ CHA#TE$ ONE Three months.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e contemplated the e9uation she had dra'n on the *lac4*oard in an irrepressi*le moment of self/pity. endless months 'ithout Grace5 Lord Hayden chec4ed his des4 calendar5 His ne&t class 'as a study period5 A stac4 of test papers a'aited his attention5 He removed his 6lasses to ru* his eyes tiredly5 %ven his clothes appeared tired5 He had for6otten to ta4e his suits to the laundry last 'ee45 The dar4 maroon t'eed he 'ore today *ore several 'rin4les5 He had also for6otten to retrieve his reference *oo4 on Bedieval Artifacts. three hauntin6. %li8a*eth 'as clearly visi*le standin6 in front of the *lac4*oard5 Lord Hayden reached for the door4no*.valise 'ith her most *asic needs. he left the room to cross the hall to her class5 With five minutes more to the *e6innin6 of the ne&t period. she padded silently do'n the stairs. day after day.
Lord Hayden5 2 'ould have spo4en to you sooner5 3he handed in her .: the +ean. tapped Hayden7s shoulder5 . almost as tall as himself. noticed the sco'l on his face. too. and every ounce of propriety and prudence not to remain and share herself completely 'ith him5 Too late no'.s'eet. she7s leavin6 us. and his 6a8e riveted on the 6rey/haired man. :she7s leavin6 us5: All the an6er drained from Lord Hayden. or share his thou6hts 'ith her5 The *ell announcin6 the *e6innin6 of the ne&t period rever*erated throu6h the *uildin65 -illed 'ith unhappiness and an6er at herself.: :2 thou6ht surely she had told you555 your close association5 @ut 2 see she didn7t5 27m sorry.: the dean replied. Lord Hayden reflected. he. readin6 the pu88led loo4. until the *itterness of reality intruded5 2f only she had had the coura6e to confess her true identity durin6 their first e&peditions to6ether. she scru**ed the eraser across the *oard *efore anyone came into the room5 <ften truth stares one in the face. had noticed Hayden 'atchin6 . losin6 one of our *est teachers5: :What. and clad in a dar4 *ro'n pin/stripe suit5 :What do you mean. and 'ould hold her in utter contempt5 Never a6ain 'ould he as4 her to accompany him on his archaeolo6ical e&cursions.: Lord Hayden turned to the +ean5 :+r5 %ldrid6e. and 'ondered 'hy he 'as starin6 at . too lon6 a deception5 He 'ould never for6ive her no'. he 'as the dolt5 The students filin6 past him into class.: he said5 :2t7s a pity.rofessor %ldrid6e throu6h the door5 :3o you7ve heard.assin6 throu6h the hall. *ut remains unseen until a certain instant 'hen it *ecomes so o*vious that even a dolt can reco6ni8e it5 Today.rofessor. he mi6ht have for6iven her *y no'5 Those moments they had shared *et'een life and death mi6ht have dissolved his certain an6er at her deception. perhaps even Custified her reasons5 2t had ta4en all her 'illpo'er not to accept his marria6e proposal.rofessor %ldrid6e as thou6h he 'ould li4e to murder her5 :.
When she removed her 6lasses to dry her eyes. it had 'or4ed5 That did not lessen the frustration of t'o years spent pinin6 for someone 'ho had *een under his nose all the time5 @ut it made clear to him 'hy he had fallen in love 'ith Grace >%li8a*eth. the truth irrevoca*ly confirmed5 :2n any case. then an une&pected relief. and it 'as a curious sensation that he felt5 -irst the an6er. and .rofessor %ldrid6e had al'ays *een attracted to him. over and a*ove any 'oman he had ever 4no'n5 3he 'as the perfect com*o5 The one he had *een 'aitin6 for all his life5 -or years his mother had *een after him to settle do'n. :Well.: the dean. he concluded. :2 thou6ht since you have *oth 'or4ed to6ether over the years. not 6rey. 2 noticed immediately5 -unny. 'hile a'are that he 'as not attracted to her.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e 'as Grace Quinlan5 The reasons for her dis6uise 'ere not alto6ether difficult to decipher5 He 4ne' his times. not feelin6 up to carryin6 on her dutiesF considerin6 retirin6 from the teachin6 profession alto6ether5 3he *ro4e do'n in tears as she handed me the letter5 +id you 4no' that her eyes are actually 6reen.: he assured the +ean5 . 6ivin6 as her reason. and *y 6olly. at least physically5 3o she had contrived 9uite a deception. continued. a far cry from 'hat the future held in store for 'omen5 He also 4ne' that . and 'hen no response came. perhaps you could spea4 to her5 3he mi6ht confide in you5: Lord Hayden 4ne' fully 'ell 'hat 'as 'ron6 'ith her.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. althou6h he dou*ted he 'ould ever do so in the full sense of the phrase5 He 'as an adventurer5 @ut %li8a*eth 'as also an adventurer5 :27ll spea4 to her. 2 suppose 2 never loo4ed that close at her face5 2 al'ays thou6ht her eyes 'ere a muted 6rey5 The dar4 6rey lensesL: Lord Hayden smir4ed as he 6lanced *ac4 at %li8a*eth 'ho had *e6un addressin6 her class. you mi6ht 4no' a little more a*out her reasons for resi6nin65: He 'aited for Lord Hayden to ans'er.resi6nation t'o days a6o. if you7re in the dar4 li4e the rest of us. follo'ed *y a *uoyancy of spirit5 Grace Quinlan 'as .
:2 could have told him a year a6o that he 'as fallin6 for her5: As Lord Hayden drove to'ard the airport. chuc4lin6. and chimed5 The phone ran6 at the same time. they rented this cotta6e and decided to call it home5 3everal years a6o. :Then perhaps it7s not too late5: He hun6 up the phone.The Grandfather cloc4 in the small vesti*ule of Lord Hayden7s cotta6e. struc4 seven. almost as if she 'ere runnin6 a'ay from somethin65: :?es. 2 4no'. 'as clearly visi*le across the road5 :Well. the +ean said. :?our tal4 didn7t do much 6ood5: :2 haven7t spo4en to her yet. and then decided to remain. he cursed . smaller and surrounded *y a 'hite pic4et fence. hurried into the vesti*ule. +ean Ha66ert replaced the receiver. smilin65 He proceeded to pour himself and his 'ife a 6lass of 'ine from the decanter on the maho6any coffee ta*le in their spacious livin6 room5 He said to his 'ife.: Lord Hayden said5 :2 'as plannin6 on callin6 on her toni6ht at her home5: He turned to the lar6e 'indo' draped 'ith lace curtains that his mother had hun6 durin6 one of her fre9uent visits5 %li8a*eth7s home. they returned to %n6land. he preferred his Ne' %n6land cotta6e5 He had *een *orn and reared in this to'n.: the dean said5 :3he left for the airport an hour a6o5 2 must add she7s *een actin6 stran6e of late. you7re too late. 'ith the passin6 of their o'n parents.: And on the +ean7s affirmation. althou6h they continued their American citi8enship5 <n the telephone. and rushed out the door5 At the other end of the phone line.: Lord Hayden 9uipped5 :2s it the local airport. to oversee the inherited properties. and the sounds *lended li4e cotta6e cheese and mil45 Lord Hayden ans'ered the phone on his des4 inside his study5 -or all his 'ealth and countryside estates in %n6land. thre' on his *lac4 'ool coat. althou6h his parents hailed from %n6land5 Lord (ohn Hayden and Lady Laura Hayden traveled e&tensively collectin6 ancient artifacts5 +urin6 one of their trips.
*ut it 'as impossi*le for her to remain at the Aniversity and continue to see and feel the loneliness in his eyes5 -ar 'orse. the same she had *een 'earin6 on . I will "ind you again# )nd this time I will win your love honestly# The loudspea4er *lared the num*er of her plane and *oardin6 6ate5 %li8a*eth rose. if he learned the truth a*out her5 $unnin6 a'ay 'as the selfish thin6 to do5 2t meant a*andonin6 the man she adored to that same loneliness5 @y all ri6hts she should face him and reveal her true identity and apolo6i8e for her deception5 @oth she and %li8a*eth 'ould lose him. to see that loneliness replaced 'ith dis6ust. the friend. 'avy. of course. shoulder len6th. her adventurer. he 'ould 9uic4ly for6et her5 3he had *een a fool to dream of a life 'ith him.each and every red traffic li6ht and stop si6n he encountered5 He must arrive *efore %li8a*eth7s plane too4 off. soft. and *e remem*ered only as a foolish deception5 In another li"e. her archaeolo6ist. the peer. 1ros. of course5 To Grace. startled and 'idenin6 'ith alarm5 The *lue fitted suit. and have dared so much for that dream5 No' she must pay the price>never see Lord Hayden a6ain. %li8a*eth. once she had left the 3tate5 2n her letter to him she 'ould confess all and *e6 his for6iveness5 <nce he learned the truth. free of her do'dy professor7s dis6uise. *ecause this time she truly 'ould disappear from his life5 Her *a6s already loaded on the plane. the one man 'ith 'hom she desired to share her life5 <ne solution alone to her dilemma remained5 Lord Hayden must 4no' the truth5 And he 'ould. the 'ould/*e lover5 To %li8a*eth. sat on the *ench in the 'aitin6 area. listenin6 for the announcement over the loudspea4er that her plane 'as ready for *oardin65 3he felt misera*le a*out leavin6 Lord Hayden. sli6htly as4e' 'here she had run her hand nervously throu6h it5 -lashin6 emerald eyes. turned and collided 'ith Lord Hayden 'ho had Cust reached her5 2t 'as indeed Grace Quinlan5 Lord Hayden7s mind a*sor*ed her ima6e1 the red/6old hair. the professor.
lips pursin6 in Cust that certain 'ay. students.: %li8a*eth s9uealed.their first meetin6 on *oard the fli6ht to . tryin6 to 'ri66le free of the stron6 arms holdin6 her 6ently *ut firmly5 Her 'ords 'ent unheeded as he carried her throu6h the terminal5 :+on7t you dare *ully me.: Lord Hayden finally ans'ered. Hayden sa' that her eyes had filled 'ith tears that 'ere slidin6 do'n her chee4s. closin6 his arms a*out her5 :2 didn7t 4no' ho' else to stop you from leavin65: %li8a*eth raised her 6listenin6 eyes to his5 :Ho' did you find out.: he sta66ered.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. all he 'anted to do 'as ta4e %li8a*eth home. she must face him5 When he put her do'n *eside his car in the par4in6 lot. he had not the sli6htest dou*t5 3he had told him enou6h times5 That she 'as afraid to tell him the truth and had chosen to run. headin6 to'ard the dou*le doors that led outside5 :After your in6enious charade. and the most startlin6. 27m sorry. times the truth.lus several other .: :%li8a*eth over Grace. eyes that reflected the 4no'led6e and love of the past he so admired a*out her5 +o6/tired. emotion/provo4in6 ne's of his life. ?ou have no ri6htKK: Her face turned scarlet as she met the *e'ildered stares of 'ould/ *e passen6ers5 :2 *e6 to differ. times Lord Hayden. after a 'hole day7s 'orth of classes. e9uals Contempt. 2 have every ri6ht5: %li8a*eth stiffened5 He 4ne'5 3he stopped s9uirmin6 and hid her head a6ainst his shoulder5 He 4ne'5 -or shame. tiny torrential rivulets that sent a spasm of re6ret to his achin6 heart5 :%li8a*eth.alermo5 And it 'as . as 'ell. test papers.: he e&plained5 :. also clear to him5 2n one fluid movement he lifted her into his arms5 :What do you thin4 you7re doin6. her chin thrustin6 up 'ith determination. and sit *eside her on the couch and ta4e her into his arms5 He 'as in no mood for ar6ument or e&planations5 That she loved him. have a 6lass of 'ine.
rofessor %ldrid6e. . and ho' 27ve pined for you5 And you7ve *een here close to me all alon65: :?et 'hen 2 interacted 'ith you as .: :2 'as at first5 No man enCoys *ein6 played a fool5 @ut then 2 remem*ered ho' much 2 love you. you felt no attraction to me5 ?ou 'ere not un4indF you pitied me5: :?es. any'ay5: %li8a*eth snu66led a6ainst his chest.: %li8a*eth si6hed 'rappin6 her arms around his nec4 and pullin6 his face do'n to hers in order to 4iss him hun6rily5 The policeman headin6 to'ard them stopped short5 He turned to the 'oman 'ho had alerted him to a man forci*ly carryin6 a 'oman from the terminal5 The policeman shru66ed5 :27d say everythin6 is in order5: The 'oman too4 one more loo4 at the lovers 4issin65 :2t certainly appears so5: Later. Grace. in front of her house. 27m Cust follo'in6 orders5 +idn7t you advise me to marry .rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e.: At her hesitation. :Come on.clues that did not dovetail until 2 sa' you and said e9uation on the *lac4*oard5 :?ou sa' that. is li4e a miracle5 Neither my e6o. not in 'ords.rofessor %ldrid6e. 2 need to 6et some sleep5 2t7s *een 9uite a day and 27m tired5 Lord Hayden pulled her *ac4 into his arms5 :?ou haven7t ans'ered my proposal. nor my an6er can stand a6ainst it5 2 love you %li8a*eth. :And no' that you 4no'. to my shame5 @ut 2 made no secret of enCoyin6 our tal4s5 -indin6 the mind 2 admired and the face and *ody that flame my desire *elon6 to the same 'oman.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 And at his nod. he entreated. %li8a*eth 'i66led out of Lord Hayden7s ardent em*race5 :2f 27m to re9uest my Co* *ac4 tomorro'. 'hatever you 'ish to call yourself5 Will you marry me. William. you don7t hate me.: :<h.: Lord Hayden shoo4 his head5 %li8a*eth cau6ht the flic4er of a smile on his lips5 :?ou7re not an6ry 'ith me. . hearin6 his heart*eat under the dar4 'ool5 He 'ore the *lac4 coat 'ell.
part of the lon6/ a*andoned city of stone. <r hollo'. had pu88led archaeolo6ists for centuries5 Amon6 the ans'ers sou6ht a*out the to'er 'ere1 What did it stand for. to discover the ans'er to the latter. a pu88led e&pression 'rin4led his *ro' and he 'ithdre' a ma6nifyin6 6lass from the top center des4 dra'er and focused it on the # & T illustration5 The conical to'er depicted. or *ecause she loved him so.*ut then most anythin6 loo4ed 6ood on him5 Was that true *ecause he had a splendid torso. Left only 'ith the choice of *lo'in6 it apart.rofessor %ldrid6e 'ere one and the same5 Thou6h his initial an6er at this discovery diffused the moment he thou6ht he 'ould lose GraceH%li8a*eth forever. *esotted. at least his e6o did5 @ut he loved her. they had left it alone. at least in his time. a site that he had contemplated visitin6 for a lon6 time5 The illustration to 'hich the *oo4 'as opened dre' his attention once a6ain5 Not for the first time. than %li8a*ethHGrace %ldrid6e5 $ather than lie sleepless. he moved a*out his study to compose his restless yearnin6 for her5 <pen on his des4 'as a te&t he had *orro'ed from the school li*rary that dealt 'ith the ruins in Uim*a*'e. preferrin6 to speculate rather than disassem*le5 Lord Hayden replaced the ma6nifyin6 6lass in its case in the des4 dra'er5 To the senses. the to'er in the temple ruins appeared solid5 ?etL . he let her 6o and. dearest LWilliam L 27ll marry you5: $eluctantly. Was it solid. :?es. admired and desired her a*ove any 'oman he had ever 4no'n5 He refused to 9ui**le 'ith his su*liminal self5 %6os mello' 'ith a6e. 'atched her enter her home5 3he thre' him a 4iss *efore closin6 the door5 That ni6ht sleep eluded him5 He still reeled from the full reali8ation that Grace and . and there 'as no other *ein6 'ith 'hom he 'ished to 6ro' old. he marveled at her in6enious plan to 'in his heart and 'ondered 'hat lay ahead for him as her hus*and5 He had to admit he felt some'hat intimidated.
: +ean Ha66ert remar4ed at the ela*orate 'eddin6 reception 'hen Lord Hayden and his 'ife had considered departin6 immediately after the ceremony on another archaeolo6ical venture after readin65 the contents of a ca*le6ram handed to them as they left the church steps5 The ca*le6ram. their 'eddin6 day. 'ho continued to 'ear her 6rey/tinted 6lasses. re9uested to return to her post5 The +ean sho'ed his approval *y tearin6 up her letter of resi6nation that he had 4ept in his des4 dra'er in the hope that Lord Hayden mi6ht indeed chan6e her mind. as Lady Hayden. or as she 'as 4no'n at the Colle6e. and raisin6 her salary5 2f the ne's of their en6a6ement ama8ed the faculty.rofessor %ldrid6e the same 'ay a6ain5 3he 'as *eautifulD And in this re6ard. on Christmas mornin6 fla**er6asted everyone. a World History professor 'ho %li8a*eth had met at an archaeolo6ical conference in Ne' ?or4 some years a6o5 The t'o had corresponded sporadically5 -ortunately.CHA#TE$ TWO True to her 'ord. >imbabwe ? stop ? a revelation ? stop ? @ome at once. and the trip 'as postponed until the follo'in6 mornin65 . and pile her hair up discreetly in a *un>red/6old thou6h it 'as>they 'ere content to 4eep her on the faculty5 Her pairin6 'ith Lord Hayden also increased the colle6e7s intellectual status5 :The perfect match. Lord Hayden7s parents prevailed upon the pair to remem*er their manners and their 6uests. includin6 the +ean5 2ncredi*le 'hat a dye Co* could accomplish5 <ne could s'ear that the red/6old hair 'as natural5 The students 'ho attended the ceremony 'ould never loo4 at . and shoc4ed the students. the @oard of +irectors 'ere relieved that she 'as no' a married 'oman5 Times 'ere indeed chan6in65 @ut. Grace Quinlan. 'as si6ned *y +r5 (onathan Boore. reserved suits. %li8a*eth %ldrid6e.
mentionin6 their reservation5 He spo4e 'ith a sli6ht accent. a ni6htstand. a very special artifact and a Coint thesis presentin6 an unprecedented revelation a*out certain African ruinsF in addition. and rainy5 -ortunately. an article for su*mission to National Geo6raphic 'ho had already pu*lished several of %li8a*eth7s 'or4s under her pseudonym of Grace Quinlan5 The articles and their references to the Colle6e *rou6ht the learnin6 institution added revenue from philanthropists. :Ah. read it 9uic4ly and handed it to %li8a*eth5 Meet me at the site o" the +emple ruins as soon as you arrive# The pair did not 'aste time5 Their room 'as small 'ith nothin6 more than a *ed. a 'ide veiled canvas affair5 The trip had ta4en three days. due to stopovers in London and %6ypt5 They had promised the +ean to e&pect. hot. yes. a thin. he said he 'ould *e 6one for a fe' days. today. 'e have your room ready5 +r5 Boore as4ed me to 6ive you this note5: He handed Lord Hayden a small envelope5: :He7s not here. and a chair5 The share/*athroom 'as in the hall'ay5 Lord Hayden and . the 'eather 'as clear5 The 'arm climate suited their safari outfits5 %li8a*eth7s red/6old hair 'as tuc4ed under her hat. dar4/s4inned man attired in a *ro'n suit and tan shirt. *ut to ma4e sure to 6ive you his messa6e5: Lord Hayden sliced throu6h the envelope 'ith his thum*. steamy. and interested students alon6 'ith their tuition5 The hotel cler4. tall. upon their return from 'inter recess.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 :No. Lord and Lady Hayden stepped off the *us in front of a small hotel5 2t 'as early summer in 3outh Africa. 6reeted them pleasantly as they entered the hotel and introduced themselves.CHA#TE$ TH$EE Lu66a6e in hand.
the wind sobbing. the ride *umpy. led the passen6ers into the villa6e. mainly tourists5 <n its 'ay the *us stopped at a Hottentot villa6e shelterin6 a herd of cattle and sheep5 The 6uide.: he e&plained enthusiastically5 :Le6al marria6e is contracted *y the transfer of cattle from the *ride6room7s family to that of the *ride7s5 Wealth and social status are determined *y the possession of cattle5 With all due respect to the ladies. :abbering cries. 'here +r5 Boore 'as supposedly camped5 The *us moved slo'ly. cinnamon. and the elephant. umber and dun# %li8a*eth loved poetry. amon6 them the Acropolis and the Valley of $uins. ori6inally hailed from this villa6e5 :We love to fill our eyes 'ith cattle. and hurriedly left5 They si6ned on and *oarded a si6htseein6 vehicle that stopped at several sites. 'omen are considered a menace to the cattle5: +espite his apolo6y. *ut the savannah landscape.s bleating cries# &leet0"ooted ostriches.%li8a*eth hoarded a fe' necessities into their duffel *a6s. the snake and the li7ard. tuc4ed the rest of their lu66a6e under the *ed. :BenD: . and their wild hoo"s scouring the plain# &awns. =iplin6Ws verses that she had memori8ed a*out this country5 $>ebras wantonly tossing their manes. plaintive sounds. karroo. and recited to Lord Hayden. and finally the Temple 'ith its thirty/foot hi6h over/'alled enclosure and the Conical To'er. a dar4/ s4inned man 'ith a 6ood command of %n6lish and -rench. he seemed to enCoy tellin6 this to the tourists5 %li8a*eth sneered under her *reath. :'omen do not tend the cattle5 That is the men7s prero6ative5 %&cept for the mil4in6. and *lue mountains a*sor*ed the passen6ers7 interest and *rou6ht *ac4 descriptions *y $udyard =iplin61 opal and ash o" roses. the hills. himself. the burning sky.s shrill reveille# +he baboons. e&plainin6 as they 'al4ed that livestoc4 'ere pri8ed as a form of 'ealth more than as a source of food5 He.: he added apolo6etically. and the poisonous thorns that pierce the "oot# )nd the daisies#$ Lord Hayden could not resist 4issin6 her despite their pro&imity to the other passen6ers.
his *an9uets and courts. serrated *y numerous 6ranite outcrops. 'ere all set to6ether 'ithout mortar. save for the da6a. *y ma4in6 ritual 4illin6s of cattle at the proper times. some funny.The 6uide continued to e&plain that amon6 his people. some in their natural state. 'ithout openin6s or a means of *ein6 scaled. and disem*ar4ed in front of the Temple5 An irre6ularly elliptical enclosure of over ei6ht hundred feet. others dressed. a mi&ture of 6ravel and clay that formed the 'alls7 . rice.small hills0 appeared from a distance to rise li4e relics of castles lon6 deserted5 The 'alls of the temple 'ere a marvel in themselves5 Gray/6ranite *loc4s. the villa6ers served the passen6ers a repast of three of their staple foods. all 'ell hidden from pu*lic vie'5 %li8a*eth understood ho' an %mperor durin6 the heyday of this structure 'ould find this location an appropriate a*ode5 3outheasterly 'inds from the 2ndian <cean 4ept the valley7s hills verdant5 <n the hori8on. 4opCes . %li8a*eth found some consolation in listenin6 to a one hundred year old 'oman 'ho sat on a 'ood chair of similar a6e5 Children s9uatted *efore her thin spindly 4nees and listened ama8ed as she re6aled them 'ith tales. durin6 sic4ness. over the years. only some of the *ases and crum*lin6 'alls remained. archaeolo6ists deduced that the s9uare/stoned 'alls. 'hite yams. his harem. pro*a*ly 'ere home to an emperor. for instance5 3till 3martin6 from the 6uide7s se&ist remar4s. of daily villa6e life told to her *y her o'n 6reat/ 6randparents5 3hortly after. it mas4ed a 'e* of inner 'alls that ori6inally divided the temple into several distinct enclosures5 %ach concentric circle had held its o'n 6roup of mud huts5 <f the interior 'all. cattle 'ere a means of stayin6 in 6ood terms 'ith the ancestral spirits. a la*yrinth of passa6es and dead ends5 ?et once. the *us party had toured the Acropolis and the Valley of $uins. some sad. and 6oat7s mil4 that did not taste as *ad as %li8a*eth e&pected5 @y late afternoon. a fortress came to mind. this Temple had housed a po'erful medieval *lac4 race5 Thou6h at first impression.
sho'ed Cust as the *us 'as reloadin6 for its return trip5 %li8a*eth reco6ni8ed him immediately and held out her hand to sha4e his5 :+r5 Boore. his personal valet. he in9uired. as yet ine&plica*le. and dressed similarly in a =ha4i outfit. if late. and he. and on e&peditions.: she 6reeted5 The man7s intense *ro'n 6a8e shifted from one to the other5 Lord Hayden felt an instant. late t'enties. Coin me for supper5 There7s no need to return to the hotel toni6ht5 27ve prepared a tent for you *oth5: CHA#TE$ (O)$ Dr5 Boore led %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden to his camp a*out half a mile from the Temple ruins5 A separate tent 'ith t'o cots and some toiletry items a'aited the t'o archaeolo6ists5 A hired man 'hom Boore introduced as 3ha'n Thomas. his coo4 as 'ell. +r5 Boore. %li8a*eth chided herself that she must not let her ima6ination run a'ay 'ith her5 -acts and proof must *e considered a*ove all speculations5 The part of her that loved to ima6ine must *e controlled *y lo6ic and visual proof5 With all her heart she deli6hted in discussin6 everythin6 she had seen on the tour 'ith Lord Hayden. li6ht *ro'n hair. :?ou don7t remem*er me. set a*out preparin6 a fresh salad 'ith salted .: Lord Hayden shoo4 his head5 :Not in the least5: :Not surprisin6. e9ually enthused. a slim Caucasian man of Lord Hayden7s hei6ht. treasured their conversations5 True to his messa6e.rounded caps5 <ver'helmed *y the influ& of information the ruins su66ested. 'ariness of the approachin6 stran6er5 +r5 Boore accepted %li8a*eth7s handsha4e5 Notin6 the lac4 of reco6nition in Lord Hayden7s eyes.: Boore replied5 2n my time at Layton 2 made very little or no impression on most5: He shru66ed as thou6h dismissin6 a trivial memory5 :27m camped Cust *ehind the ruins5 Come.
and 2 'ill need the sunli6ht to sho' you5: :We have flashli6hts>: %li8a*eth *e6an.meat strips. and set four placin6s5 2n the center of the ta*le he set a *o'l of fresh fruit. adherin6 to 6ood manners. or/or perhaps a portent inscription. had 'aited patiently for +r5 Boore to e&plain his ur6ent summons5 :?es. in the mornin65 2 promise5: :Have you discovered an artifact. you must *oth *e ea6er for me to e&plain5 @ut unfortunately. %li8a*eth thou6ht5 They 'ere tired. *ut Lord Hayden placed a hand 6ently on her arm to stay her persistence5 :2 dou*t 'e can convince him. 'hile they ate and discussed the To'er and the Temple5 :What a*out this Jrevelation7 you mentioned in your ca*le6ram.: +r5 Boore replied5 :@ut you 'ill have to 'ait until mornin65 2t 'ill *e dar4 soon.: he told %li8a*eth5 :2t7s *een a lon6 day. and a 6ood ni6ht7s rest 'ill render us alert and ready for 'hatever +r5 Boore 'ishes to sho' us5: He 'as ri6ht of course. and +r5 Boore certainly had the ri6ht to present his discovery at its *est5 Bornin6 'ould come soon enou6h5 %li8a*eth smiled and nodded5 :Ho' a*out a 6ame of cards. nuts and pac4ets of crac4ers and raisins5 The li6ht repast 'as meant to avoid coo4in6 odors that 'ould attract 'ildlife. of course. and some 'ine. and *re'ed a pot of coffee over an open fire5 He opened a foldin6 card ta*le and chairs.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 :All of that and more.: +r5 Boore motioned to 3ha'n Thomas5 %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden e&chan6ed resi6ned 6lances5 EEE The follo'in6 mornin6. +r5 Boore a6ain refrained from any e&planation a*out . it is not somethin6 2 can e&plain 'ith 'ordsF 2 must sho' it to you5 And 2 'ill. accompanied *y muffins and coffee5 All throu6h the meal. 3ha'n Thomas served a *rea4fast of dry cereal moistened 'ith canned *lue*erry fruit Cuice.: Lord Hayden as4ed over coffee5 @oth he and %li8a*eth.
containin6 his an6er for the moment5 :-rom my perspective. his smile nothin6 less than sinister5 Lord Hayden acted5 Busterin6 his stren6th. the lan6ua6e of the @ushmen and Hottentots of 3outh Africa5 Althou6h %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden did not understand the meanin6 of the 'ords. as 'ell as mine. Boore led them *ac4 to the Temple5 The moment they reached the Conical To'er. Lord Hayden shoved him into the path of the other soldier. rather 'ic4edly.: Boore replied. they reco6ni8ed the lan6ua6e *ecause of its clic4in6 sounds that Boore delivered proficiently5 The t'o soldiers immediately pointed their rifles at Lady and Lord Hayden5 :Are 'e prisoners.his portentous discovery5 @ut as soon as the ta*le had *een cleared.: he summoned arro6antly5 . he 6ra**ed %li8a*eth. causin6 the first to drop his rifle5 Ased to Lord Hayden7s fi6htin6 techni9ues. reluctant guests. he stood up. let my 'ife return to the hotel5 2 sense dan6er and prefer she not *e e&posed to it5: :@ut 2 need her assistance as 'ell. :-ollo' me5: The t'o archaeolo6ists needed no further promptin65 3ilently.: Boore said5 The air of conviviality 'as suddenly 6one. as lon6 as you follo' my orders5: He said somethin6 to his men in =hoisan.: Boore insisted5 :No one 'ill harm either of you. replaced *y an autocratic stance that alarmed Lord Hayden5 He turned to %li8a*eth and noted the same 'ariness in the startled loo4 she 6ave him5 :+r5 Boore. he said. in one fluid motion he *ent to avoid the line of fire and shoved his el*o' into the stomach of the 6uard *ehind him5 As the 6uard dou*led over. and 6rinnin6. pinionin6 her *y the nec4 and pointin6 his 'eapon at her head5 :Lord Hayden.: Lord Hayden as4ed 'ryly. he snapped his fin6ers and t'o dar4/s4inned soldiers in fati6ues 'ith rifles strapped to their shoulders stepped out from *ehind the To'er5 :These 6uards are for your protection. %li8a*eth 'ent for the dropped rifle5 3he made the mista4e of turnin6 her *ac4 to Boore5 +ra'in6 a hand6un from inside his Cac4et.
Boore removed from his poc4et a fist/si8ed solid 6old dis4 *earin6 special mar4in6s and ali6ned it and pressed it on similar mar4in6s cut deeply into a particular sla*5 The sla* moved. he flipped it over to the inside of the shaft. the hum of motors replaced the church *ells5 The tunnel 'idened. the soldiers prodded Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth *ehind the Conical To'er and up a hemp ladder that hun6 from its top5 At the summit. for the moment5 :Lord Hayden. to the archaeolo6ists7 ama8ement. strai6htened and pulled a pair of handcuffs from his poc4et and rudely shac4led Lord Hayden7s 'rists5 CHA#TE$ (I!E With Boore in the lead.The slithery 'arnin6 in his voice fro8e the archaeolo6ist in mid/punch5 He turned to chec4 on %li8a*eth and riddled Boore 'ith a venomous e&pression5 Boore held the trump card.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 :2 'ill have to sho' you.: (onathan Boore said5 :Come5: Gatherin6 the same hemp ladder that 'as attached at the top of the to'er *y lar6e iron hoo4s scre'ed deep into the stone itself. and the 6uard nursin6 his stomach. and revealed a shaft that dropped do'n'ard5 -or the moment. *oth archaeolo6ists for6ot they 'ere prisoners5 :Where does it lead. crea4in6. led them do'n the shaft into a narro' under6round tunnel carved into the stone5 The soldiers follo'ed *ehind5 The first incon6ruous sound the t'o archaeolo6ists reco6ni8ed 'as the chimin6 of church *ells5 -arther on. her life is in your hands5 2 su66est you allo' my men to restrain you5: Concerned for his *eloved. and 'ith the aid of a po'erful flashli6ht carried *y 3ha'n Thomas. and finally opened into the mouth of a cavern5 @ri6ht dayli6ht flooded the 6roup7s pathF 3ha'n Thomas s'itched off the . Lord Hayden did as he 'as told5 Boore clic4ed an order in =hosian.
: Lord Hayden o*served5 :?es. once situated a*ove 6round until *esie6ed *y fortune hunters5: The 6roup treadin6 the co**led streets of the city *e6an dra'in6 attention5 Apon reco6ni8in6 Boore.: %li8a*eth noted5 They shone *ri6htly5 :Gold. and the stone turrets into stone mansions. 'as muted. non/plussed5 The or* a*ove them. you can Cust ma4e out the steeples and turrets and the concave tops of my people7s homes5: He motioned them to move for'ard5 The steeples 6re' into an ornately sculptured cathedral.: Lord Hayden said.: Boore added5 :The moisture from the 6old and iron that a*ound in the roc4 'hen com*ined 'ith certain 6aps and openin6s from a*ove form a mirror effect.: Boore confirmed5 :Welcome to the le6endary city of Golden 3ofala. 'e are under6round5 The sun and the s4y overhead are reflections5 What you see is a 'onder of nature5: :Loo4 at the 'alls of the cavern.: %li8a*eth remar4ed5 :And iron. :you have the moon and the stars as 'ell5: (onathan Boore smiled5 :Ahead.: %li8a*eth said.: %li8a*eth declared5 Boore had their undivided attention and 4ne' it>and he needed it>for the tas4 he had in mind for them 'ould daunt lesser men. thou6h it radiated heat and 6lo'ed.: Lord Hayden murmured5 :Loo4 ho' they 6lo'5: :Gold. e&tendin6 for miles around5 :Loo4 at the *orders on the shutters and the door lintels.: Boore said5 :2t7s *eautifulD: %li8a*eth e&claimed5 :The sun. the . or 'omen5 :?es.flashli6ht5 :Where7s the li6ht comin6 from. and finally the city itself.: %li8a*eth as4ed5 :-rom a*ove us. not clear. 6ivin6 us 'hat your fiction 'riters love to create mysti9ues a*out1 a middle 'orld5: :And at ni6ht. as thou6h a sheer veil covered it5 :@ut 'e7re under6round.
or had *een *rou6ht here li4e herself and Lord Hayden5 Boore finally *rou6ht them to a stop in front of a lar6e s9uare one/story 'hite stone *uildin65 He *id them enter. *ut occasional inter/marria6e 'as clearly discerni*le5 What 'as more. 'ere the offsprin6 of %uropeans and Asians5 %li8a*eth spotted a family loo4in6 out a 'indo'F she could s'ear their ancestors had hailed from Ne' %n6land5 3he 'ondered ho' many of these people or their fore*ears had stum*led upon the hidden city. you 'ill for6ive my unorthodo& method5: He crossed to the fireplace and sto4ed the lo6s5 :This room is a meetin6 place for the elders. their nationalities varied5 Alon6 'ith the descendants of the African World. their cultures appeared distinct. as 'ere most of the doors in the city proper5 2nside. replete 'ith native 6ar*s.inha*itants *o'ed in o*eisance5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth speculated on the inha*itants7 ori6in5 -or the most part. save for several mats placed in a circle in the center.: Lord Hayden remar4ed5 The sun. and a lit fireplace under an ornately carved and 6old/faced mantle5 :They use 6old li4e 'e use 'ood and mar*le. Lord Hayden.: Lord Hayden replied5 :And as for 4illin6 us. 2 need you *oth alive and 'ell5 And 2 *elieve 'hen 2 e&plain my reason for *rin6in6 you here.: Boore said as he entered5 :?ou are correct. leanin6 into Lord Hayden7s em*race5 :Let7s not say never. a cross *et'een the old and the ne'5: He pointed to the mats stre'n . or rather its reflection. t'o of 'hom posted themselves at the heavy iron dou*le doors 6ilded in 6old. the *uildin6 'as empty. had set *y the time Boore returned5 The temperature had dropped and Lord Hayden sa' %li8a*eth shiver5 He dre' her close to him. Boore needs us alive and 'ell. e&plainin6 that he 'ould Coin them later5 A6ain. 'armin6 her 'ith his arms5 :+r5 Boore 'ill never let us 6o *ac45 They7ll 4ill us first5: %li8a*eth said. at least for the present5: :?es. he spo4e to the soldiers.
:and Cust tell us 'hat e&actly you 'ant from us5: Boore hesitated. li4e you. *ut nonetheless.: Lord Hayden interCected5 2t 'as not his ha*it to interrupt rudely. then.ray accommodate yourselves:5 He pointed a6ain to the mats5 When they 'ere seated. The Temple and the Conical To'er. each .a*out the room5 :?ou must have 'ondered 'hy this room is devoid of furniture5: The thou6ht had crossed the minds of the t'o archaeolo6ists. 2 must tell you that.: Lord Hayden said. held a6ainst their 'ill5 :Then 'hat is the 'ord 2 should use.: Boore remar4ed5 %li8a*eth supplied it5 :2nterest5 2f my hus*and and 2 are interested. let alone preserve it in a museum5 The passa6e concerned Uim*a*'e. prisoners. 2 hold a deep and sincere respect for the relics of the past5 And it is *ecause of this respect that 2 need your services5 2f you are ama8ed at 'hat you have seen thus far>: :Very little ama8es me. interest5 This is 'hat 2 am hopin6 from the t'o of you5: He strai6htened. 'e 'ill 6o to impossi*le len6ths to satisfy that interest5: Boore inclined his head5 :?es. he *e6an5 :3everal years a6o 2 came upon an intri6uin6 passa6e in a -ourteenth Century manuscript 'ritten *y a hermit5 He pro*a*ly never dreamed anyone 'ould read his 'or4. *ut at the moment he 'as not feelin6 9uite the 6entleman5 They 'ere prisoners here. replacin6 the po4er5 Very 'ell. and the mystery that lay *eneath its roof5 %ver since that moment. 'ell treated. *ut they had already surmised from their 'al4 throu6h the city to e&pect the une&pected5 :Why don7t 'e cut out the small tal4. the contents of that passa6e have dominated my life5 The hermit placed a sym*ol *eside his description and myths surroundin6 the to'er5 He 'rote of disc/shaped medallions of 6old. the softenin6 speech he had prepared a*ruptly terminated5 :Very 'ell.: he nodded5 :@ut first. let me start at the *e6innin65 . li4e children at a campsite in front of their 6uide.
sho'ed the reverse of the medallion5 The inscription read. and some'here on the Conical To'er 'as the loc45 2 'as certain that the ruins of Uim*a*'e held more than history5 :2 'as not a 'ealthy man *ac4 then. so 2 turned my efforts to researchin6 manuscripts in museums throu6hout the 'orld 'ithout ever leavin6 my home to'n5 2 searched throu6h catalo6s. 2 found a starvin6 population in ra6s and decay5 The descendents of the elders 'elcomed me.: Boore continued e&citedly. and 'olomon stretches out his hand#. at least one of these medallions had survived the rava6es of time5 And 2 'as ri6ht5 :2 'ill not *ore you 'ith the details of my comin6 here and esta*lishin6 a *ond 'ith these people5 They had little if any 4no'led6e of the modern 'orld a*ove them5 The elders in their 'isdom destroyed any remainin6 medallions. 'ith a ruler7s staff placed dia6onally across a Ce'eled cro'n at the feet of the cross5 The hermit referred to this as a charm 'ith ma6ical po'ers5 A Latin inscription circled the medallion5 Translation posed no pro*lem for me5 2 read it slo'ly. reports of archaeolo6ical finds. as meticulously dra'n as the first. ?ou see. and could not afford to travel. the only 4eys allo'in6 entry into their city5 @ut as the years passed. so did the need for food and the everyday necessities plentifully availa*le in the past5 When 2 entered the city. decipherin6 the 'ords and their meanin6>+he Way is clear "or he who owns the key5 :The ne&t pa6e. someplace. A-o poisonous herb grows. no scorpion e/ists nor does the serpent glide among the grass# In 'o"ala reigns John the %riest. no =uerulous "rog =uacks. :The 6old medallion 'as the 4ey. 2 have restored their prosperity 'hile 4eepin6 their 'orld safe from outside intrusion5: . and my promise to 4eep their secrets5 With me as their clandestine liaison 'ith the outside 'orld. any and every piece of material that mi6ht offer further clues to the 'herea*outs of the medallions5 2 felt 'ithout a dou*t that some'here.*earin6 a carvin6 of a hi6hly ornate cross. and the population 6re'.
rester (ohn lived in a crystal palace roofed 'ith precious 6ems5 We7ve seen no si6n of such a palace in this city5: :?ou 'on7t:.: :?our information is from rumors and confusin6 reports. *ut Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth felt no 'iser as to 'hy he had *rou6ht them here5 Their faces mirrored their 9uestion.rester (ohn7s e&istence is merely a le6endD: %li8a*eth insisted5 :Bostly rumor and confusin6 reports5 The le6end portends that . the Christian =in65: Lord Hayden understood5 :?es.rester (ohn. 'hat do you 'ant 'ith us. and 'olomon stretches out his hand#$ :@ut .u88led. Boore said5 :2 told you earlier that Golden 3ofala 'as once situated a*ove 6round. it7s *een my lifelon6 am*ition to find the tom* of . is located in the upper 'orld5 And it is not far. of course. *ut the palace and the to'er are not visi*le from the s4y of the outside 'orld5: . :2f you have everythin6 you need here. $?nor does the serpent glide among the grass# In 'o"ala reigns John the %riest. alon6 'ith . handed do'n from 6eneration to 6eneration5: He raised his chin . until fortune hunters forced the population under6round5 The crystal palace. 'hy involve us at all5: :@ecause there are more mysteries here than 2 alone can unravel5: <nce a6ain he had their 'ary attention5 :The under6round arteries *elo' Uim*a*'e e&tend for many miles >numerous caverns. no scorpion e/ists### ho' did it 6oL: Boore too4 up the 9uote. -o poisonous herb grows. themselves.: Boore said5 :Bine is from the 'ord of mouth and the 'ritin6s of .He seemed to have come to the end of his story. and Lord Hayden as4ed. :And ho' 'ould you 4no' this. :?ou see. +o you have 'ritten records. and t'ists and turns5 2 have lost scouts that have never *een heard from or seen a6ainF 2 need a team of e&perts5: He 'aited for this latter information to sin4 in5 Then he added. Lord Hayden as4ed. 2f secrecy is your motto.rester (ohnWs tom*. the inscription on the *ac4 of the medallion.rester (ohnWs descendents.
and lived to 'ell over five hundred years. :W/'hy555 to preserve it. to venerate it5 The tom* is an artifact and proves undenia*ly that .: Lord Hayden remar4ed5 :Why do 2 feel there7s somethin6 more you should tell us. and you 'ant us to provide you 'ith the propa6anda. the effect of the 'estern 'orld.rester (ohn 'as our 4in6dom7s founder5: :And you have 4idnapped t'o professors to prove a fact that you have 'ritten records to *ac4 up. and a fountain of youth from 'hich . facin6 them a6ain5 :There is somethin6 else. *ut suspicious5 :Honora*le. and the safety of the city . and democracy5 2 need to save 3ofala from the contamination of the 'orld a*ove5: :What you 'ant is to preserve your po'er over the people. ne's. *ut 'hat 2 said thus far is not a lie5 <nly half of my reason5: :And 'hat7s the other half.: :+espite 'hatever connotations you may put on that information>?esD: %li8a*eth attempted to inCect a note of lo6ic5 :Whatever your reasons. or event5 There is unrest amon6 my people. *ut 'hy do you 'ant to find his tom*.: he said. :2 don7t suppose your sources also tell of immeasura*le treasures.rester (ohn supposedly dran4. 2 discovered durin6 my e&tensive research that .rester (ohn 'as my ancestor5 By 6enealo6y traces *ac4 to his5: Lord Hayden7s eye*ro's lifted speculatively5 %li8a*eth 'as intri6ued.: %li8a*eth pounced icily5 Boore rallied5 :By desire is to sustain the peace and prosperity. 'hy not spea4 'ith your peopleF see .rester (ohn founded and ruled5: Lord Hayden added.: @oth found Boore7s reaction mystifyin65 The man stuttered.proudly5 ?ou see.: %li8a*eth in9uired5 :2 need a sym*olF 2 need a unifyin6 a6ent.: Boore7s mouth ti6htened in annoyance5 He turned a'ay momentarily5 :Very 'ell.
*ut it 'on7t 6et us home5 There are democracies and there are monarchies. and scores of others in *et'een5 -or my part 27m 6lad 2 live under the former and 'ish to continue doin6 so5 By present o*Cective. you made your point5 We 'ill help you find your precious tom*5 He 6lanced at . your 'herea*outs to remain a perpetual mystery to those a*ove5 Then 2 'ill find another team. :2 'ill not endan6er a re6ime that has 4ept 3ofala alive and fi&ed555 until no'. come to an a6reement. one 'ho 'ill understand my 9uest and help me 'illin6ly5: Lord Hayden 'arned him. :We can stand here all year and de*ate forms of 6overnment. if 'e help you find the tom*. fully reali8in6 that Boore 'as not *luffin65 He suddenly felt very sorry for the people of 3ofala5 Their leader lac4ed the most important trait of a Cust ruler1 compassion5 :All ri6ht.: Boore re*utted5 :2s that 'hat you consider your people. 'hen 6iven a fair chance5: Boore replied *elli6erently. and his dar4 eyes. their rifles coc4ed and pointed at the t'o prisoners5 :3ay your prayers. the fires of hell5 :2 'ill 6uarantee you nothin65 ?ou 'ill help me>or dieF your remains to *e *uried here. pets.'hat they 'ant. +emocracy 'or4s. Lord and Lady Hayden5: Lord Hayden paled5 :NoD: he cried.: Boore7s e&pression too4 on the te&ture of 6ranite. 'ill you 6uarantee our safe release. is to return to our duties at home5 No'.: :They7re my children5: Lord Hayden interCected impatiently. alon6 'ith my collea6ue and spouse. *ecause of a fe' distur*ed individuals5 ?ou 'ill find no poverty or starvation amon6 my people5: :@ut they7re not freeD: %li8a*eth insisted5 :+o you let a *eloved pet 'ander freely over streets and hi6h'ays that may *rin6 it death. :We do not function 'ell under threats5: :2n that caseL: Boore called out a command to the soldiers posted outside5 2mmediately they filled the room.
6lad of the meat and honeyed fresh fruit.rester (ohn. and *i*les5 The t'o archaeolo6ists nearly for6ot they 'ere here under forced detention and the threat of death5 They nearly for6ot their o'n names as they immersed themselves in the ancient documents. the e&plorers in you may 6ro' ea6er5: He ordered his men out5 :2 'ill have food *rou6ht to you first. and *e ready to start on the e&pedition at da'n5: He did not 'ait for a reply5 The conversation 'as over5 He turned and 'ent out. revelin6 in the past5 Here 'as the history of a people. <phirL: %li8a*eth translated the Latin script on the first pa6e of a leather *ound *oo4. 'ell preserved for its a6e5 :. motionin6 to his men to lo'er their rifles5 :@ut perhaps 'hen you have seen the manuscripts and sources that tell of the *e6innin6s of 3ofala.%li8a*eth entreatin6ly5 This 'as not the time to ar6ue5 They 'ould find a 'ay out. at least5 :27m sorry your help has *een enlisted under the threat of death. leavin6 the door 'ide open 'ith the soldiers loo4in6 in5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth had not reali8ed ho' famished they 'ere until the food 'as *rou6ht in5 A6ain. *efore carryin6 in three card*oard *o&es filled 'ith centuries/old yello'ed manuscripts. then the sources 2 spo4e of5 3tudy them 'ell.: Boore said. the mi&ture of nationalities 'as evident *oth in the meal7s preparation and in those servin6 it on 6old trays5 No cutlery 'as provided5 The duo sat on the mats and ate 'ith their fin6ers 'ithout complaint. 3he*a. *ut for no'L He *reathed easier as %li8a*eth nodded her a6reement555 for no'. atlases. . scrolls. the servants returned 'ith *asins of 'ater and to'els. mil4 and 'ine5 Lord Hayden remar4ed on t'o possi*ilities1 that 4nives and for4s 'ere not a part of this culture>a6ain the mi&ture of the old and ne'>or that Boore 'as afraid they mi6ht steal some to use as 'eapons5 When they had finished eatin6. the ans'ers to a thousand 9uestionsD 3olomon. then proceeded to clear the room. preserved and revered5 Lord Hayden 'as first to spea45 :2t7s all here. lo6s.
enterin65 :2 'ill *e your 6uide. With all the time he7s had to study these documents. and to have 'ritten to him. *ut 2 have yet to find any clue to the location of his tom*5 <ur lives depend on findin6 .his si6nature5 This is a $oman Catholic Bissal and prayer *oo45 And loo4 at thisD 3he handed Lord Hayden a letter/si8ed 6lass case containin6 a 'ooden *oard on 'hich had *een carefully 6lued a parchment also in Latin5 Lord Hayden translated reverently.: %li8a*eth added dolefully. an6er 'ellin6 up in his chest. or at least a 6uide5: :And you shall have one.rester (ohn7s e&istence5: :Then 2 *elieve our search should *e6in 'ith <phir. :+ated in $ome.: %li8a*eth said5 :We need a map of the tunnels. :since Boore o*viously 'ill never allo' us to ta4e anythin6 *ac45 He7s ri6ht a*out one thin61 the tom* is the only concrete and final proof of .: Lord Hayden said5 :This atlas here sho's the 'ay clearly5 North'est. this is a letter from . as Boore7s . 11TT. he must have reached the same conclusion as ours5: Lord Hayden shru66ed5 :2 'ould venture that he 'ants us to search for the tom* from *elo'5: :We could easily 6et lost *elo' 6round. althou6h no ans'er 'as ever recorded5: :@ut apparently the letters did reach him.ope Ale&ander the Third. and my soldiers your 6uardians5: The man seemed addicted to eavesdroppin6. a letter to (ohn the 2llustrious and Ba6nificent =in6 of the 2ndies#$ Bre"erring to the 1ast as in IndiaC He read the rest 9uietly. a*out fifteen miles5: :@ut that 'ould *rin6 us to Victoria -allsD: %li8a*eth pointed out. perple&ed5 :Boore 'ants us to e&plore the tunnels5 Why.: %li8a*eth said5 Lord Hayden fro'ned5 :These are ma6nificent finds.: Boore said. Lord Hayden thou6ht.rester (ohn7s tom*5: :And all this information is certain to remain rumors. 'ho 'as said to have *elieved in the Christian =in67s e&istence. then suddenly loo4ed up5 :By God.
smile taunted5 ?et. the distance to the surface the same as 'hen they had started their Courney5 :2 thin4 2 4no' 'hat7s causin6 the e&cessive moisture. 'hisperin6. :WilliamL5: Lord Hayden 6a8ed at her.: Boore continued5 :?our lu66a6e has *een procured from the hotel5 By servants have prepared your *aths5 2 su66est a 6ood ni6ht7s rest5 We have a fascinatin6. a feelin6 he shared e9ually5 He dre' her into the croo4 of his arm5 :Try to sleep. they set out at the *rea4 of da'n5 After a 'hile the earth under their feet and the roc4 a*out them 6re' damp and mossy5 The moisture on the 'alls 6listened 'henever touched *y a *eam from the flashli6hts5 The 6roup of e&plorers follo'ed the clues from the five hundred year old atlas. the 'armth of his *ody at last lulled her to sleep5 CHA#TE$ +I. Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth lay 9uietly contemplatin6 the pendin6 Courney throu6h the under6round passa6es5 %li8a*eth *ro4e the silence. at the moment he could do nothin6 *ut nod5 :By men 'ill escort you to your 9uarters. *ut to do so freely of her o'n accord. With Boore in the lead and five armed 6uards in the rear. :2 love you5: Closin6 her eyes. movin6 north'est5 The tunnels did not slope do'n'ard.: Lord Hayden said5 :We7re approachin6 Victoria -alls5: . of a four/poster.: he told her5 :We 'ill need all of our 'its a*out us these ne&t fe' days5 %li8a*eth snu66led 6ratefully a6ainst his side5 :WilliamL: she 'hispered soulfully. continuin6 level. under the thic4 9uilt. the fire 6old curls framin6 her *ro' and chee4s5 The 'istful yearnin6 in her eyes he reco6ni8ed as desire to 4no' the secrets of the past. if perilous Courney ahead of us5: Later.
too. she slept fitfully5 Her fear of the river crashin6 throu6h the 'alls and trappin6 her and Lord Hayden . and one day. the humidity so thic4. 'eary to the *one5 +espite her e&haustion and the comfort of Lord Hayden7s arms. 'atchin6 him 'arily5 They moved on for hours. Lord Hayden. stoppin6 only *riefly to rest and eat some canned meats and dried fruits5 The moisture on the 'alls increased to droplets. too e&hausted even to chec4 her 'rist'atch5 2f not for Lord Hayden. %li8a*eth thou6ht.: :Li4e mi6hty Atlantis. she *riefly partoo4 of the mea6er supper of salted meat and dried fruits. yet stoppin6 for the ni6ht in their currently 'et surroundin6s 'ould prove 'orse5 @y the time Boore finally *rou6ht them to a halt. it pressed a6ainst their *odies5 They 'ere close to *reathin6 'ater5 The sound of the fall7s torrents crashin6 into the river outside the 'alls 'as clearly audi*le5 :We 'ill have to continue past the -alls until the moisture has lessened. 2 thin45: His dar4 eyes seem to fill 'ith eerie lau6hter5 He7s a little mad. %li8a*eth had lost trac4 of time. *e s'allo'ed *y the sea.: Boore told them. lendin6 her support. she 'ould have lon6 a6o collapsed5 Hardly tastin6 the food. unrolled her *ed 6ear and fell into the *lan4ets. shall 'e.:Correct. 'e7re closer to the falls than 'e thin45 2 can hear the 'ater rushin6 on the other side5 +on7t you reali8e the dan6er to your people.: Boore confirmed5 :A fe' more miles and 'e 'ill *e directly under the Uam*e8i $iver5 These 'alls you see a*out you 'ere formed millions of years a6o. the moisture 'ill complete its tas4 of erodin6 the roc4 and the river 'ill *urst throu6h5: %li8a*eth touched the 'all and placed her ear a6ainst it5 3hoc4 fro8e her featuresF she turned to Boore5 :By God. :'ell into the evenin65: With only snatches of rest. e&hausted himself.: Boore 'ei6hed5 :A fittin6 end. it 'as not lon6 *efore %li8a*eth7s le6s threatened to *uc4le.
a feelin6 of perfect calm spread throu6h her. e&cept for the upper floors 'here the crystal 'as frosted5 As in a trance. floatin65 The mon4 'atched. a*le to see throu6h the crystal 'alls. 6ivin65 3he did not spea4. the color of 'arm. reared up vividly in her su*conscious mind5 $oc4 imploded as 'ater 6ushed in.into a dro'nin6 death. she 'al4ed until she came to a courtyard5 2n its center a fountain 6ushed a thic4 column of 'ater as hi6h as the eye could see. he cupped his hands and dran4 from the fountain5 When he had savored his fill. yet *ut a moment passed5 :?ou are one of them. and tell me of your purpose5: The fear she had felt a*out the river melted a'ay at the sound of that voice and his smile5 3he dre' close to the mon4 and accepted the 'ater from his cupped hands5 2t tasted clean and cool. still smilin6. 'ashin6 his face and hands in the spar4lin6 'ater5 His a*lution completed. his 6a8e *enevolent. and even hi6her5 3ensin6 a presence. he turned and faced her5 3he *eheld a *eni6n face 'ith deep/set eyes. yet he 'as listenin6 to her tellin6 him all a*out herself. melodious as thou6h carried on the 'in6s of an6els5 :Welcome. oddly. from her earliest recollections to her present circumstances5 3o much she revealed. and as she s'allo'ed.: the mon4 spo4e reverently5 :<ne of the 6entle dreamers and preservers5 ?our spirit 'arms . then softened 'ith a smile5 His voice resounded stron6ly. yet not harshly. fillin6 the tunnels5 Water entered her nostrils and pushed a6ainst her mouth5 3he felt no 6rief *ecause. 6entle spirit5 ?ou *rin6 me solace and company5 Come and share a drin4 'ith me. everythin6. the 'ater vanished and she found herself standin6 in the vesti*ule of the castle. churned earth5 The eyes 'idened in surprise. as if she 'ere no more than a 'ispy cloud. 'here she *eheld an island. she loo4ed do'n5 A *earded mon4 4nelt at the fountain7s *ase. renderin6 her li6ht and carefree. from 'hich rose a crystal castle5 Then suddenly. she 4ne' she 'as dreamin65 ?et the threat of dro'nin6 felt real5 3he used her hands and arms to propel herself up until her head cleared the surface.
6runtin6 and snortin6 ferociously. and 'ieldin6 a clu*. follo'in6 her line of vision. pi6/faced creatures. and immediately she felt saddened5 Then. 6entle spirit. replace the Cross of my 3avior. loomed over her hus*and7s shoulders5 3he screamed. hideously hairy.: she said5 The mon4 lifted his hand from her shoulder. her only desire to re9uite this communion of the spirit5 :2 promise.: the mon4 advised her5 :?ou are neededF there is dan6er5: He pointed to the space *ehind her5 %li8a*eth turned her head.: he continued5 :When you come to my restin6 place.the cold ni6ht and evaporates the dampnessF it *rin6s the da'n and the 'armth of the sun5: He touched her shoulder. 'a4e upD There7s trou*leD: The sounds of the others 'a4in6 and a scuffle some'here *ehind Lord Hayden reached %li8a*eth7s ears5 The scuffle *ecame a *attle as the u6liest creature she had ever laid eyes upon>*oar/li4e. and %li8a*eth felt the 'ind at her *ac45 :Gentle spirit. sendin6 the half/man. the future *oded ill5 He prepared to 6o do'n defendin6 the 'oman he had 6ro'n to love *eyond all understandin65 A roc4 fle' from *ehind him.: %li8a*eth did not 9uestion him5 The sense of ethereality 'as so 6reat. and 2 'ill *less you and your loved ones 'ith streams of molten 6old from the heavens5 Will you promise. she nodded. and his harried voice tellin6 her. :%li8a*eth. honey. somethin6 'as pullin6 her *ac4 physically5 %li8a*eth resisted5 :Go *ac4. ready to smash their victims7 s4ulls5 Lord Hayden too4 a deep *reath5 Weaponless. half ra*id animal crashin6 a6ainst the 'all5 He 9uic4ly pulled %li8a*eth to her feet and put her *ehind him Cust as t'o more horned. s'ore Cust *efore his refle&es too4 over5 He let 6o of %li8a*eth and s'un6 a fist ri6ht into the creature7s Ca'. stri4in6 one of the horned opponents across the forehead5 The creature slumped . ran to'ard them. and 'avin6 clu*s. and Lord Hayden. and suddenly reali8ed her eyes 'ere closed5 3he opened them to see Lord Hayden7s unshaven face *endin6 over hers. horned.
thic4/s4inned fleshy *ody of his opponent acted as paddin6.: :Not 'hat they 'ere called. the ladies BaCor Lea6ues had lost a promisin6 pitcher 'hen %li8a*eth had chosen to pursue an academic career5 Her 9uic4 action 6ave him the precious seconds he needed to re6roup5 Boore and his soldiers had *e6un firin6 on the pi6 men. 'ho 'ere fleein65 When the attac4ers 'ere at last 6one.: Lord . to the 6round5 He turned to find %li8a*eth and sa' her pic4in6 up another roc45 <ne of the traits he loved most a*out her 'as that as lon6 as she retained her senses. Lord Hayden 6rasped the moment and dou*lin6 over. and Lord Hayden 'as left 'ith only a sli6ht disorientation5 He shoo4 his head to clear it as the creature slid. Lord Hayden turned to Boore5 :+o you 4no' 'ho those creatures 'ere. insensate. 'e are not in the desert. a race that does not fear death5: :. she never stood *y helplessly5 @ut more creatures 'ere rushin6 to'ard them5 %li8a*eth thre' another roc4 and felled one more creature5 Lord Hayden smiled5 2f the accuracy of her *ean *alls 'ere any indication. *ut 2 did come upon mention of them in the manuscripts5 Three armies 6uarded . unconscious5 Not 'astin6 time to as4 'here the roc4 had shot from. *ut Lord Hayden 'as saved5 The hairy.rester (ohn5: Boore added.: Boore a6reed. :*ut their presence proves 'e are headin6 in the ri6ht direction5 This handful of creatures may *e 'hat remains of the ori6inal horde that once inha*ited the desert5 And 2 firmly suspect they 'ere placed here to 6uard the tom* of . could not survive for lon6 in these tunnels. chuc4lin6.: %li8a*eth o*served5 :No. :This 'as a minor s4irmish5 The 'ritin6s also mentioned py6mies and 6iants. and a race 'ho feed on the flesh of men and prematurely *orn animals.rester (ohn7s =in6dom5 The first 'ere hideous horned creatures that 6runted li4e pi6s and lived in the desert5: :@ut this is not the desert.to the 6round. considerin6 their si8e.y6mies and 6iants. he slun6/shot himself into the second creature7s midriff5 @ones crac4ed as the t'o hit the stone 'all. especially 6iants.
: Lord Hayden as4ed. incredulously. Lord Hayden ru**ed some of the dirt a'ay to reveal an em*ossed desi6n. and as soon as they 'ere allo'ed to stop for the evenin6. arms.: Boore . a ruler. its 'in6s spread. and hands lifted up in a stance of adoration.: Boore snapped5 %li8a*eth7s attention 'as dra'n to a spot that had escaped the rava6es of time5 2t shone under the *eams from the flashli6hts5 :Gold. a mythical fi6ure attri*uted 'ith 'ealth to *o66le the mind>a crystal palace roofed 'ith precious 6ems. the fi6ure of an an6el. he intended as4in6 her 'hat it 'as5 At the top of the stairs a tall door encrusted 'ith dirt and rust *loc4ed the 'ay to the 'orld outside5 Boore attempted in vain to 'ed6e his fin6ertips into the door7s ed6e and pull it open5 :A pry *ar 'ould help. li4e some of the an6els in Bichelan6elo7s 3istine Chapel5 :2s it possi*le it truly e&isted. thou6h he 4ne' full 'ell that %li8a*eth 'as no co'ard5 3omethin6 *othered her. they arrived at a staircase he'n from the roc45 Boore did not hide his deli6htF he ran up the steps 'hile his soldiers prodded Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth *ehind him5 -or all her feistiness. Le6end said he 'as a uni9ue com*ination of 4indness and determination.: she said5 :This door is solid 6oldD: Lord Hayden and Boore *e6an e&aminin6 the portal 'ith an eye for medieval construction5 Ta4in6 his hand4erchief from his pants poc4et. its face.Hayden said.: :2 'ould not *e here if 2 *elieved other'ise.rester (ohn. hopefully5 EEE The follo'in6 mornin6 found them closer to the surface5 Very soon. a holy man.rester. %li8a*eth7s dream of the mon4 and her promise to him. unnerved her5 Was the mon4 . a sapphire/studded *ed5 Lord Hayden placed his hand on hers and smiled encoura6in6ly5 He7d sensed her fear for a 'hile no'. :the mythical 4in6dom of (ohn the .: Lord Hayden said5 :The door pro*a*ly has not *een used for centuries5: :2 4no' 'e need a pry *ar.
thin4 'hat you li4e5 At the moment openin6 this door is our main concern5: <ne of the soldiers came up from *ehind and offered him a lar6e poc4et4nife5 Boore smiled at him5 :?es. despite that he 'as not the one . the African Cun6le rose to meet them5 :The 6arden 'as pro*a*ly a rest station. an oasis in the desert. its lim*s and face 'reathed in 'ild 6ro'in6 vines.: Lord Hayden said to %li8a*eth as they follo'ed Boore5 T'o of the soldiers had ta4en the lead. the final proof that 'ill refire my people7s patriotism.: Boore said *landly5 %li8a*eth7s silence 'as confirmation enou6h5 Boore7s chin 'ent up and his *ac4 stiffened5 :Very 'ell. a life/si8ed statue of a cheru*.said5 :We are on the threshold of a 6reat discovery5 Thin4 of the artifacts. hurtin6 eyes that had *ecome accustomed to dar4ness and flashli6hts5 Curiosity overcame discomfort as the 6roup entered a courtyard over6ro'n 'ith leafy ve6etation and 'ild flora5 Warm. *ut in the end. his remains. after days spent in the cold. dry air comforted. so to spea4. :There7s a 6ate in the east 'all5: <n the other side of the 6ate. %li8a*eth did not trust the man5 :And all that 6old and precious 6ems>: she added dryly5 :?ou thin4 27m po'er/hun6ry. re4indle their desire for unity5: -or all his apparent sincerity. hidden. a *order of li6ht streamed throu6h the ed6es5 The men achieved a fin6erhold and pulled 'ith all their stren6th5 The door s9uealed in protest as they hauled it open5 Li6ht flooded the stairs.: Boore a6reed. damp under6round tunnels5 %li8a*eth *reathed deeply5 A fe' yards from a stilled fountain. perhaps that 'ill do5 2f 'e can di6 out some of the dirt around the ed6esL: The door resisted their efforts. hac4in6 a'ay to clear a *eaten path over6ro'n 'ith vines and overhan6in6 ferns for centuries undistur*ed5 :?es. untouched for centuries5 And my ancestor7s tom*. posed 'ith a *as4et of flo'ers on its shoulders5 Boore called out e&citedly.
: . his enthusiasm to push on.erhaps Boore 'as ri6ht a*out the lac4 of any further dan6er5 Boore ordered his soldiers to set up camp for the ni6ht5 Lord Hayden advised him to move further in'ard. than sorry5: Lord Hayden said.Lord Hayden had addressed5 :And this is the road a traveler 'ould have used to come or 6oF the road 'e 'ill follo'5: They stopped *riefly durin6 the early afternoon to eat and rest and then resumed their Courney5 @y ni6htfall. usin6 the ve6etation for cover5: @ut Boore 'as adamant5 @oth %li8a*eth and Lord Hayden *reathed some'hat easier as they finally reached the opposite side5 .: Boore lau6hed. :$i6ht here. especially since the first ones proved to *e real5: :They7re all dead. madam. surprisin6ly. over'helmin6 lo6ic5 :What 'e are investi6atin6 are ruins of a lon6 dead civili8ation5 The 6arden 'as a*andoned. the path over6ro'n and uncared for5: :3till. ac9uiesce to Lord Hayden7s re9uest for :no fire. 'e can *e spotted easily5: <nce more Boore 'aved his su66estion aside5 :Nonsense5 There7s no one here to see us5: He did. then let7s at least 4eep to the shado's5: Boore shoo4 his head5 :We7ll camp for the ni6ht on the other side of the field5 There7s nothin6 here to fear5: :At least ta4e the lon6 'ay around the field. :We should stop for the ni6ht5 There is a full moon toni6ht5 We7d *e open tar6ets crossin6 the field5: :<pen tar6ets for 'hom. :The 6uardians 'e encountered earlier may not *e the only survivors of your ancestor7s civili8ation5 2f 'e must cross.: %li8a*eth ur6ed.: Boore Ceered5 %li8a*eth ans'ered5 :-or 'hoever or 'hatever mi6ht *e lur4in6 a*out5 2 can7t for6et 'hat you said you read in the manuscripts a*out the 6uardians. :it7s *etter to *e cautious. the 6roup had covered close to ten milesF the Cun6le had thinned to an open plain the si8e of a *all/field5 Lord Hayden 'arned Boore.
: %li8a*eth as4ed. e&cept that the huts and everythin6 'ithin 'as d'arfed5 :A third race of 6uardians1 the py6mies. they continued inland.: Lord Hayden o*served5 :Another race pro*a*ly dispersed durin6 the centuries after . cheese. and coffee. from the door'ays. *ut of course. they encountered another villa6e. :?ou 'orry too much5: He permitted Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth to place their *edrolls *ehind some Cun6le 6ro'th. turnin6 his thou6hts to devisin6 some plan of escape5 None presented itself5 CHA#TE$ +E!EN In the mornin6. *ut in the soldier7s line of vision5 Lyin6 under the *lan4ets. Lord Hayden 6athered his 'ife into his arms5 2f the . %li8a*eth fell asleep almost immediately5 Lord Hayden 4issed the top of her head5 The red/ 6old strands mussed and sprin4led 'ith pollen from the Cun6le7s flora. to the fireplaces and the rusted pots that hun6 from dried and splintered mantels over lon6/spent fires and desiccated 4indlin65 :Another race of 6uardians. and around noon came upon a deserted villa6e of tall 'ooden huts 'ith thatched roofs5 %verythin6 inside the huts 'as oversi8ed. then the usefulness of his prisoners 'as also close to an end5 Totally e&hausted.rester (ohn7s death.sha4in6 his head. a'ay from the clearin6.: Lord Hayden voiced everyone7s opinion5 :Giants5: :Where did they 6o.: No one had the ans'er5 The party dusted off a fe' of the *o'ls and utensils and put them in their *ac4pac4s for further study. then replied to her o'n 9uestion5 :2nland perhaps555 or did they someho' *ecome e&tinct. if and 'hen they returned home5 A fe' miles further. 'hen . not much different from the previous. to the ta*les and chairs.riest/$uler7s tom* 'as as close as Boore *elieved. after a *rea4fast of *read. their present circumstances precluded any intimacy5 He closed his eyes. smelled s'eet5 He yearned to ma4e love to her.
he slid do'n the *an47s muddy slope and landed in the 'ater. li4e the *a*y it 'as5 3he cooed to him and spo4e softly.they 'ere no lon6er needed to protect his 4in6dom5: <nce more Boore permitted the 6atherin6 of a fe' artifacts. for6ettin6 that this cu* 'ould 6ro' to *e a roarin6. 'here he *e6an to me' pitifully and flail his little pa's. a herd of fleet/ footed 8e*ras appeared and as 9uic4ly vanished5 Later. then ordered the 6roup on'ard5 -or t'o more days and t'o ni6hts they traveled5 -e' animals inha*ited the secret valley5 3ome chatterin6 mon4eys s'un6 in the *ranches overhead5 At a clearin6. a *eautiful creature 'ith a lon6 slender *ill and s'allo'/li4e 'in6s5 2ts cro'n and mantle 'ere chestnut. even more fri6htened *y . startlin6 the lioness enou6h that she stopped5 The cu*. snarlin6 and runnin6 to'ards her5 %li8a*eth dropped the cu* and fell *ac4. too fri6htened to scream5 Boore dre' his 6un and fired several shots into the air. 'ith other colors *lendin6 and shadin6 into a *luish 6reen under*elly5 %li8a*eth had read a*out this species5 They 'ere called @ee %aters *ecause their diet consisted mainly of *ees and 'asps5 The cu*7s attention 'as solely on the flutterin6 *ird5 As it fle' up and *eyond its reach. shadin6 into primrose. and he landed in an un6ainly heap on the ed6e of the *an45 As the tried to re6ain his *alance. the lion cu* leapt after it. snarlin6 lion that 'ould not thin4 t'ice a*out ma4in6 her his meal5 Lord Hayden7s voice sounded harsh and unreasona*le as he told her to put the creature do'n 9uic4ly5 %li8a*eth did not pay heed to his 'arnin6 until another voice *rou6ht her to her senses5 This one *elon6ed to the mother lioness. they passed *y some lion cu*s playin6 *y the *an4s of a stream5 <ne cu* discovered a @ee %ater7s *urro'5 He investi6ated until one of the *irds fle' out. *ut his youn6 le6s 'ere far too short. confused cu* from the 'ater5 He did not stru66le as she half/e&pected5 . tryin6 desperately to re6ain the *an47s ed6e and solid earth5 %li8a*eth rushed to his aid and lifted the fri6htened. in the meantime.erhaps it 'as the manner in 'hich she held the cu* to her chest.
%li8a*eth remem*ered the dream and her promise5 Close *y. 'ith *alconies and to'ers. not 'antin6 to choose *et'een the t'o5 Her life 'ith Lord Hayden 'as filled 'ith teachin6 and the field'or4 they sharedF the su*Cect of children had rarely come up5 And her hope that it 'ould simply happen. and trimmed 'ith 6old 'herever frames and lintels allo'ed5 The com*ination of 'hite stone. the edifice 'as hidden from . rushed to its mother5 %veryone in the party stood motionless and not *reathin65 The lioness lic4ed her cu*7s nec4. that one mornin6 she 'ould a'a4en to find herself pre6nant. Cust a fe' miles ahead5 A'ed and solemn. then 'ith her teeth sei8in6 her cu* 6ently *y the furry nape of its nec4. had yet to occur5 -urther thou6hts a*out children 'ere put aside as Lord Hayden directed everyone7s attention to somethin6 in the distance that 6linted and prismed under the intense sunli6ht5 A crystal palace atop a short hill.the 6unshot. eyed them stealthily. padded *ac4 into the Cun6le5 The rest of the cu*s ea6erly padded *ehind her5 %li8a*eth chided herself for not reco6ni8in6 *eforehand the dan6er she had placed herself and the others *y holdin6 on to the cu*5 2t had a'a4ened her maternal instincts5 3ince her nuptials. the stone polished and smooth and mar*le/inlaid. her life as a teacher of archeolo6y had precluded a family. e&cept for the 'indo's5 2t 'as a ma6nificent edifice. a loo4 of vindication and con9uest on his face5 His e&u*erance overflo'ed as he led the party at a run to'ard the palace5 When at last they all stood *efore its doors. Lord Hayden7s dou*ts a*out its true construction 'ere confirmed5 The palace 'as not made of crystal. mar*le and crystal 'indo'panes under the fierce African sun caused the entire structure to spar4le5 Anyone catchin6 si6ht of it from a distance 'ould indeed *elieve he 'as seein6 a crystal palace5 ?et at the same time. removin6 the alien7s odor5 He 'as safely *eside her5 The creatures 'ith the loud *an6 'ere too many5 3he snarled once more. Boore stood transfi&ed. she7d har*ored hope for a child or t'o of her o'n5 At a6e thirty/five.
: Lord Hayden cautioned5 :Haven7t you noticed there7s no dust or co*'e*s any'here. 2 thin4 'e should meet them5 They may *e upstairs5: He stepped throu6h the door5 :. sunny day. *ut spran6 instead to'ard a side door5 :?es.: Boore said. provided the perfect camoufla6e5 The castleWs hu6e 6olden doors hun6 open as if in 'elcome5 This castle had no *attlements or slit/to'ers throu6h 'hich archers could flin6 their arro'sF no 4eep pream*led the entrance5 2n that moment. a 6i6antic room 'ith a mosaic floor. and *efore Lord Hayden could stop her. Cust as 2 thou6ht5 A stair'ay leadin6 to the upper floors. Lord Hayden understood more clearly the purpose of the 6uardians. 'ould see only a shiny *lur>perhaps the sun reflectin6 on the -alls or a la4e5 <n a cloudy day. led to a royal *lue throne room5 Boore hardly 6lanced at the ma6nificent throne. %verythin6 is clean and polished5 This palace is no ruin I itWs someone7s home5: No. the mass of flora and ve6etation and the shape of the hills and the valley itself.: he called5 :Wait.: Boore said. she hurried after Boore5 CHA#TE$ EIGHT :We chec4 this floor first. anyone loo4in6 do'n from a hill or an airplane. Boore had not noticed5 His e&citement had *linded him5 Lord Hayden 'as correct5 The palace appeared to *e inha*ited5 :Well. the $esurrection5 Another pair of doors. and ordered . :if there7s someone here. smaller than those of the entrance. depictin6 Christ 'al4in6 upon a sea of *lue in Galilee5 The tapestries on the 'alls of the vesti*ule depicted scenes of Christ7s life1 The 3ermon on the BountF the raisin6 of La8arusF the Crucifi&ion.: %li8a*eth said.aerial vie' *y virtue of its desi6n and the location of the secret valley5 <n a clear.erhaps he7s ri6ht. and a si&th sense 'arned him not to pass throu6h these portals thro'n open in 'elcome5 The 6uards *ehind him 6ave him no choice *ut to follo' Boore into the vesti*ule.
the stone stair'ay curved and 'ound up'ard. five.: she spo4e. complied mutely as one of the soldiers prodded him rudely 'ith the *utt of his rifle5 As 'as usually the case in medieval castles. sco'lin6. sure that everyone. . *eautifully carved le6s5 %very si6n of occupancy. and 6olden vases filled 'ith daisies. astounded even Lord Hayden5 The *edroom 'ithin 'as three times the si8e of the others5 Lar6e sapphires encrusted the 'hite velvet *edcovers5 A *lue tunic and red ro*e of 'ool. *roo4in6 no ar6ument. The *edroom at the end of the corridor *oasted t'o ma6nificently carved doors that resem*led the one they had encountered in the under6round tunnel5 Li4e the former. had 6one daft.ersian ru6s5 %&9uisite and vi*rantly colored velvet and lace spreads covered the *eds under tasseled canopies supported *y posts that shone 'ith recently applied *ees'a&5 -ireplaces 'ere stac4ed 'ith freshly cut 'ood. $omanes9ue arched 'ood doors inlaid 'ith 6old and fitted 'ith iron *olts led into opulent *edrooms. 'as draped over the foot of the *ed5 %li8a*eth recalled the 'ords in the ancient manuscript. 6ushin6 'ater strai6ht up'ard. fili6reed 'ith silver and 6old thread that shimmered 'ith the li6ht filterin6 throu6h the 'indo'panes. %li8a*eth 6asped as she *eheld the 6arden *elo'5 2n its center 'as the fountain in her dream. 'ith landin6s and entrances at each of the floors5>in this case. +he Ding slept on a bed o" sapphires.everyone to follo' him5 Lord Hayden. and his robes were made o" salamander wool and cleaned in "ire5: +ra'n to the 'indo' 'ith its crystal panes and mar*le casin6s that spar4led in the sunli6ht. a flo'er common to many parts of Africa. stre'n 'ith .>then narro'ed considera*ly as it spiraled to'ard the to'er5 <n the first floor. adorned ele6ant ta*les 'ith thic4. it also depicted scenes from the Ne' Testament. almost to the level at 'hich she stood5 3he turned to Lord Hayden 'ho 'as e&aminin6 a medieval *i*le that lay on a ta*le at the side of the opulent *ed5 :William. and li4e the former. a'aitin6 4indlin6. includin6 his *eloved %li8a*eth. yet 'here 'ere the people.
the *alladeer stopped sin6in6.:We have to find . it is my intention that you *oth return 'ith me5 ?ou 'ill never leave Golden 3ofala5 2ts e&istence must never *e revealed5: He clic4ed an order and the 6uards immediately raised their rifles5 :?ou have no choice in this matter5: He motioned the 6uards to flan4 the t'o archaeolo6ists5 A liltin6 tune floated up'ard from the halls *elo'. and 2 stron6ly suspect he is *uried some'here on these 6rounds5: :?es. a com*o of a strin6ed instrument and a flute. curiosity overrode conflict. for sure. if it7s here5: He turned to Boore5 :And then 'e7re 6ettin6 the hell out of this valleyD: Boore7s smile contained venom5 :27m sorry. :2 can7t e&plain more5 27m not fully certain 'hy myself5 @ut 'hen 'e find the tom*. a trance/li4e 6a8e in her eyes that Lord Hayden had seen *efore5 What 'as it that she 'as not tellin6 him. *ut the seats 'ere as yet unoccupied5 As the diners *ecame a'are of their ne' 6uests. :Why.: Lord Hayden demanded of his spouse5 3he made her *est attempt to e&plain5 :2/2 made a promise5 And 2 must 4eep it5: And seein6 the confusion on his face. Africans and Asians.: %li8a*eth added. Lord Hayden noted. accompanied *y a tenor7s voice5 A6ain.rester (ohnWs tom*5: Boore a6reed avidly5 :?es. and he remem*ered other times 'hen her instincts had proved ri6ht5 He 'ould 'ait. and the room fell silent5 They 'ere a *eautiful people. William. and the party hurried from the room and headed do'n5 They follo'ed the tune into the dinin6 room5 At least a hundred %uropeans. upon 'hich a ta*le also 'as set. sat at ta*les arran6ed in a rectan6le that culminated at the foot of a dais. 'e must find it. .: he conceded5 :We7ll find the tom*. in medieval 6ar* of their respective cultures.lease. *ut he did not li4e it one *it5 :All ri6ht. Lord Hayden. 27ll 4no'5 . *ut once 'e have found the tom*. trust me5: Lord Hayden studied her face a *it lon6er as he held *ac4 further 9uestions5 3he needed his trust.
e&cept for their eyes5 He felt himself recoil at the sava6ery they proCected5 He e&perienced fear and the desire to retreat 9uietly. and then to run 'hen %li8a*eth uttered. :<h. surrounded *y a *ounty of fruits and le6umes5 The final description in the manuscripts reared up in the party7s minds1 the last 6uardians>the race that ate human flesh.rester (ohn to have lived 'ell over five hundred years *ecause of a fountain of youth that 'as availa*le to his entire 4in6dom5 . my GodD: as she stared 'hite/faced at a dish on one of the ta*les in the rectan6le5 Boore paled and Lord Hayden7s stomach spasmed5 The 6uards *e6an mutterin6 an&iously amon6st themselves. .: he said to no one in particular5 :3orry for any inconvenience5 (ust passin6 throu6hL: And 'ith that.: %li8a*eth nodded5 Lord Hayden7s smile 'as casual and his tone li6ht5 :Well. 'e have to *e 6oin6 no'.erhaps amon6 the 6uests present sat Boore7s ancestors. protectin6 the secret valley and its civili8ation from con9uerors and fortune hunters5 The empty seats at the ta*le on the dais proposed a further conclusion1 . are you thin4in6 'hat 27m thin4in6. perhaps even in the tunnels. *ut the 6uardians7 descendents continued to a'ait his return5 He recalled the tunic and ro*e laid out at the foot of the *ed. fri6htened as 'ell at the si6ht of an eyeless human head on a 6olden platter.rester (ohnWs *ed5 The atmosphere of the palace cried e&pectancy5 Byth reputed . 'ho re6arded it a solemn duty to consume the remains of their relatives and friends5 The head on the platter confirmed the latter myth5 2t *ore a stron6 resem*lance to the ele6antly ro*ed Caucasian sittin6 *efore it. he .rester (ohn had *een dead for many of those centuries. alon6 'ith the ori6inal 6uardians themselves5 3o many 9uestions and conflictin6 theories5 Lord Hayden 'as certain of only one thin6 that fli6ht 'as imperative *efore he and the others 'ith him ended up as the household7s ne&t meal5 He turned to %li8a*eth5 @eloved. preparin6 to eat5 Lord Hayden paid closer attention to the rest of the food and reali8ed 'ith another spasm 'hat the remainin6 platters held5 2t 'as clear to him no' that centuries a6o these 6uardians had lived outside the palace 6rounds.
this one similar to the one throu6h 'hich they had 6ained entrance into the valley from the tunnel5 Lord Hayden and Boore cooperated ea6erly to dra6 the door open5 The sunli6ht 'eavin6 *et'een the lattices overhead revealed a descendin6 stair'ay5 -lashli6hts 'ere once more employed as the stairs 6ave 'ay to an under6round passa6e5 2n concert. leadin6 the escapees throu6h a side door5 . they reached one 'ith 'indo's and scram*led throu6h them into a courtyard5 %li8a*eth reco6ni8ed the fountain. Lord Hayden spotted 'hat he had *een hopin6 to find1 a small 6ate. . all hoped that this route mi6ht lead them out of the valley5 A half hour later. they slac4ened their pace. :$unD: He did not loo4 *ac4 as they fled out of the room and to'ard the vesti*ule and the 6olden doors that had 'elcomed them 'ith open arms5 No*les and Ladies of the court *loc4ed the e&it5 Lord Hayden frantically scanned the hall'ay for another e&it5 :This 'ayD: he hollered. partially hidden *y flo'erin6 vinesF e&its common in medieval courtyards5 :This 'ayD: he ho'led a6ain5 No one ar6ued 'ith him. then another.erhaps they could escape throu6h a 'indo'5 $ooms led into roomsF finally. for the enemy 'as very close5 The 6ate led into a trellised 'al4'ay5 The escapees ran its len6th and found themselves in front of another door. rela&in65 No si6n of the 6uardians remained5 Their hei6htened spirits san4 as the passa6e 'idened into a closed cavern5 They had reached a dead end5 %li8a*eth sa' it first>a plain.too4 %li8a*eth *y the arm and *e6an *ac4in6 a'ay5 Boore and his 6uards 'ere less casualF his sco'l and his soldiers7 panic4ed murmurin6s proved the catalyst5 -irst one. yellin6. then ten and t'enty of the 6uardians left their seats to approach the 6roup5 Any hope for ne6otiations 'as dashed 'hen Boore suddenly dre' a 6un and fired. unadorned sarcopha6us. instantly 4illin6 a 6uardian5 A *estial snarl that Lord Hayden could hardly credit as issuin6 from the mouths of humans shoo4 the dinin6 room5 He pulled his 'ife farther from the room.rester (ohn7s *edroom5 At the same moment. and 6a8ed up at the 'indo' of .
and motioned for his 6uards to proceed5 3tone scraped a6ainst stone as three of the 6uards strained to lift the lid5 Boore ordered them to slide it cross'ise5 As they did so. :2 suspect 'e have found (ohn7s tom*5: <ne *y one. :2 have told them to remove the lid5: :NoD %li8a*eth shouted5 :+on7t touch itD Let him rest in peace5: %ven Lord Hayden 6lanced at her as4ance5 Not that he 'as an&ious to aid Boore. 'e mi6ht as 'ell see 'hat historians have considered a mere myth all these years5: :2t7s an enormous discovery. and he 4ne' she rarely said anythin6 'ithout a solid reason *ehind it5 :Why do you thin4 openin6 the coffin 'ould distur* his spirit.set hum*ly in an uno*trusive corner of the cavern5 :William. the small party approached the coffin5 %lated. evo4in6 the sym*ol that the hermit had dra'n in the manuscript. *ut he.rester (ohn .: Boore seconded5 Lord Hayden 4ne' his %li8a*eth. and fear paraly8ed their features5 They fell *ac4.recisely5: He 'ent on confidently. the 4ey that had opened the door to Golden 3ofala and .rester (ohnWs 4in6dom5 3urprise 6ivin6 'ay to triumph. too. utterin6 childhood prayers to 'ard off evil5 Boore peered into the coffin.rester (ohn descri*ed in his diary5: :The diary you didn7t sho' us. :The diary spo4e of the map 'hich .: she 'hispered.: Lord Hayden remar4ed5 Boore inclined his head5 :. their eyes 'idened. the sym*ol that Boore had located and *rou6ht to Uim*a*'e.: he as4ed in earnest5 :NonsenseD: Boore e&claimed. and fro8e5 Lord Hayden and %li8a*eth follo'ed suit and 6asped5 2nside the sarcopha6us lay a middle/a6ed man 'hose chee4s had not yet lost their color5 He 'as 'rapped in red velvet5 A hi6hly ornate cross 'ith a ruler7s staff straddled a Ce'eled cro'n placed at his feet. Boore lau6hed5 :%ven in death his *ody remains youthful5 This is Cust as . and 6lanced inside. Boore clic4ed an order to his soldiers5 He e&plained. 'as curious5 :3ince 'e7re here.
:the one in the courtyard5 Why didn7t you drin4 from it.: %li8a*eth said.rester (ohn holds in his left hand5: He slipped the folded parchment from the priest7s fin6ers5 :The map and all its holdin6s and information no' *elon6 to me5 2 'ill liveD: He clutched the parchment to his heart5 Not so distant voices clamored into the cavern5 The 6uardians had *ro4en past their o'n self/imposed *arriers and 'ere only minutes a'ay5 As %li8a*eth turned her head to'ard the threatenin6 sounds. *y thieves perhaps or an earth9ua4e5 :William. We have to put it *ac4 so that (ohn7s spirit can rest5: Lord Hayden 'anted to ar6ue. a vaccine a6ainst illness and the onset of old a6e5 @ut the cure to the disease that is slo'ly 4illin6 me lies 'ith one of the descendants of the doctors 2 can locate 'ith the map>and your help5 No' you see the full intent of my purpose in *rin6in6 you here5 ?ou cannot remain opposed no' that you reali8e the discoveries to 'hich the map 'ill 6ive us access. the map . she sa' the 'hite mar*le Cross lyin6 on the 6round5 +espite its thic4 round *ase. or perhaps *y virtue of some her* or root over 'hich the 'ater flo'ed that 6ave it its special properties. to secret mines. help meD: she called ur6ently5 :The CrossD We must replace it in front of the sarcopha6us5 3ee the pedestal a fe' feet a'ay. to tell her there 'as no .: he said to everyone7s astonished faces5 :27m dyin65: He 'as tellin6 the truth at lastF %li8a*eth 'as certain of it5 His dar4 eyes had filled 'ith despair. it acted as an immuni8ation potion. the 'ater of the fountain only 'or4ed if you 'ere in 6ood health5 Whatever its source. and his stern mouth trem*led5 :The fountain of youth. and the identity and locations of alchemists and doctors 'ho held cures to terminal diseases5 3uch as the one that is destroyin6 me5 That7s ri6ht.ordered *e *uried 'ith him upon his death5 A map to his holdin6s in other parts of the 'orld. 2t mi6ht have cured you5: Boore shoo4 his head5 :Accordin6 to (ohn7s diary. it had someho' *een 4noc4ed over.
Cust as an am*itious 6uardian flun6 his da66er at the intruder into his realm. then Carred to a stop. as thou6h una*le to finish their tas45 The 6uardians. and ceased movin6 for'ardF they 'ere no' only a fe' yards a'ay5 Lord Hayden 6lanced a*out him and his 6a8e lit 'ith . he motioned to the 6uards past panic4in6 and in shoc45 :Help me. for the s'ord/and/mace/'ieldin6 6uardians had reached the mouth of the cavern and spotted them5 Ho'ever. too. he had 6ro'n used to her odd re9uests that almost al'ays proved 'orthy5 @esides. 3teelin6 himself. and set it into the matchin6 round inset on the pedestal. the only help left them in the face of oncomin6 doom. the 6uards turned to Boore5 He continued to stand clutchin6 the map to his heart5 Wildness had replaced the despair in his 6a8e. they 'ere cau6ht *et'een a dead end and a hundred medieval canni*als5 Where could they hide.: he said.time. hopin6 a6ainst hope that they 'ould 6ather his meanin6 from the sound of his voice and his hands motionin6 to the relic5 2n actuality. as thou6h he had 6one mad at the si6ht of the 6uardians and certain death5 -aced 'ith a cra8ed ruler and the Cross that represented supernatural help. 'ere startled. the soldiers scurried to'ard the t'o archaeolo6ists to aid them5 To6ether. +r5 Boore5 The 4nife pierced Boore7s hand and the map. and the sound of heavy iron 6ears came into play. *ut he did not cry out5 An uncanny lau6h spread across his lips *efore his heart stopped and he fell. yet the assurance on %li8a*eth7s face held no dou*t5 He had spo4en in %n6lish to the 6uards. t'o of the 6uards understood %n6lish. :if you value your lives5 This may *e our only chance for survival5: He really 'asn7t sure ho' puttin6 the cross *ac4 on the pedestal in front of the sarcopha6us 'ould save them from *ecomin6 the canni*als ne&t meal. they heaved the Cross *et'een them and carried it the fe' feet to the foot of the coffin. dead5 At that same moment. thou6h Boore had for*idden them to ac4no'led6e this5 -or an instant. under the 'ei6ht of the Cross the pedestal san4. and im*edded itself into his heart5 Boore7s *ody shuddered.
and as the last man passed into the open Cun6le. he shouted to the 6uards. 'here her 'or4day at colle6e ended earlier than his. 'aitin6 for him5 He li4ed their ne' arran6ement. 6ivin6 her time to chan6e roles5 He needed and respected *oth .hope as it rested upon the half/opened tom*5 2t 'as clear to him no'5 :<ver here.rofessor %li8a*eth %ldrid6e and Grace Quinlan. :He said to me. fillin6 the air 'ith the s'eet/ pun6ent smell of 'ell/seasoned lo6s *urnin6 in the fireplace5 Alon6 'ith the smo4e. lovin6ly and than4fully5 3he 'hispered.: Lord Hayden too4 %li8a*eth7s hand and pressed it to his lips5 Then. formin6 a6ain the side of a hill and an over6ro'n ravine5 CHA#TE$ NINE The small Ne' %n6land to'n 'as settlin6 peacefully to a mello' sunset5 +ecorative *ro'n cornstal4s and stra' *rooms hun6 on the 'hite doors and curtained 'indo's of the small to'n7s cotta6es5 Lord Hayden par4ed his @uic4 in front of his home and clim*ed out5 The interior li6hts 'ere on. drifted soft strands of music5 He opened the 'hite pic4et 6ate. AWhen you come to my resting place. replace the @ross o" my 'avior. *ut in the evenin6. and smo4e curled from the chimney. traversed the len6th of the 'al4'ay. and unloc4ed the door5 With it open. the roc4s fell loose from the 'alls. and the 6round cou6hed up dust5 The 6uardians screamed and fell *ac4 as the 'alls at the dead end of the cavern slo'ly slid apart and the sun7s rays flooded the cavern5 %li8a*eth met Lord Hayden7s ardent 6a8e5 3he smiled at him. and I will bless you and your loved ones with streams o" molten gold "rom the heavens#.: he *ec4oned5 :Help me strai6hten the lid5: No one ar6ued5 As the lid closed over the sarcopha6us. :Let7s 6et out of here5: The soldiers follo'ed him ea6erly. the cavern shoo4. . 6ood to have %li8a*eth there. the smell of fryin6 chic4en invited him in5 2t 'as 6ood to *e home. the 'alls reCoined. the 6ears resumed their 'or4.
all throu6h dinner and their 'or4 in the study. also 4no'n as.: he as4ed in earnest5 3he stammered. Grace Quinlan. :2n the summer. her smile more radiant. not spea4in6 much. 'earin6 an apron over a housedress5 3he had tied her red/6old hair loosely *ehind her ears 'ith a 6reen ri**on5 <n her feet she 'ore a pair of snu66ly slippers5 Lord Hayden chuc4led to himself as he re6arded the lady professor5 Bost of his students and the faculty could not understand his attraction to her5 @ut they 4ne' the dra* adopted persona that made her accepta*le to university hirin6 committees and a restrictive society. he needed his *eloved Lady %li8a*eth Hayden5 3he 'as in the 4itchen. our child 'ill *e *orn in the summer5: 3he studied his eyes to see if they sho'ed Coy or confusion5 3he sa' tears follo'ed *y a 'arm em*race5 Ho' this 'oman could have so captured his heart and mind no lon6er ama8ed Lord Hayden. *ut %li8a*eth held him at arms7 len6th5 Her *lush 'as ama8in65 He had not seen her *lush this rosily since their 'eddin6 ni6ht5 :What is it. revie' lessons. they 'ould sit close to6ether on the couch *efore the fireplace. *ecause the 'oman 'as +r5 %li8a*eth %ldrid6e. desperately 'antin6 to ma4e love to her. and later. Lord Hayden could not dismiss the notion that somethin6 'as very different a*out %li8a*eth toni6ht. s'eetheart.: he said. not the fiery and sensitive red/6old haired *eauty that 'as his soul mate5 :Hello. announcin6 his arrival5 3he turned and her emerald eyes spar4led5 3he seemed lovelier than usual toni6ht. somethin6 unusually arousin65 @y the time they had settled do'n to rela& in front of the fireplace. the . despite the fact that she 'as tired after a full day of classes5 Toni6ht after dinner. they 'ould sit to6ether in the study and 6rade term papers.'hen his day 'as done. William. he could no lon6er restrain himself5 He too4 her in his arms. rather revelin6 in the peaceful silence and their simple pro&imity5 2n spite of their 'elcomed normal routine.
spun4iest. certainly had not hindered her 9uest for his heart5 3he 'as the 'oman he had 'aited for all his life5 He loved her no' and 'ould love her 'hen her red/6old hair turned to 6rey. )11 *y +orothy . ))Z. that she 'as intelli6ent. and peace o" mind and spirit# ( %aula &reda . or her shoulders so strai6ht5 Her soul 'ould al'ays *e *eautiful to him5 +r5 %li8a*eth %ldrid6e Hayden smiled contentedly as Lord William Hayden enclosed her in his arms. spar4lin6 emerald eyes and vi*rant red/6old hair he had ever seen. line. hoo4. 'ith the same fierce love for the past as his. and sin4er5 That she 'as a fello' archaeolo6ist. feistiest. and her 'aist 'as not so slim.aula -reda +hank you "or reading my romance adventure# Wishing you all the best. and she had reeled him in. and al'ays ready and 'illin6 to unloc4 the past and preserve it for the future. she 'ould ma4e no entry in her Cournals5 3ome thin6s 'ere simply too personal to record5 The %nd Copyri6ht 1PM#. 'hisperin6 Coyous s'eet nothin6s5 Toni6ht. conscientious. 6entle/hearted female he had ever 4no'n5 3he had set her cap for him *y the most underhanded and *ra8en plot that fe' 'omen 'ould concoct and 6et a'ay 'ith. )1). coupled 'ith the most *eautiful.
<ld Woman in the .A Bortal Ban0 Welcome Home.anama The Heart Calleth The 34etch*oo4 .Other novels2 novellas2 short stories and articles .novella0 2nspirational 3tories / 3et 2 2nspirational 3tories / 3et 2nspirational 3tories / 3et ! @londe An6el The A6liness Without The LordWs Canine 2s There Bore To Life Than What The $ealists Claim . Amy The 3cent of Camellias The 2ntan6i*le The Lonely Heart A Ghost of a 3tory The Gently Cursed The <fferin6 The Good .'ith a special *onus0 The Giftless Christmas The Camellia Lady H By Three -athers Cathy and the +olphin A Valentine @ou9uet 3tardust .y #aula (reda E31OO4+ The @lue (ay and the 3parro' +riscollWs Lady Henderson 3ands Adventure in .ar4 0 A Cup of Humanity 3hannon and the An6el .eople .
-ew< @lossoms in the 3no' . . F..The Novices Guide To the Art of Writin6 (Ne6)@lossoms in the 3no' .An 2nspirational $omance0 (Ne6 E/1t1o. H #A#E$1AC4 EDITION+ Time %ncapsulated .An 2nspirational $omance0 #aula (reda5s 6e. G.race 4uinlan and Lord William Hayden )vailable as a @omplete -ovel and as 'eparate 9olumes E. .oetry of the 3oul0 $omantic 3hort 3tories 3cience -iction and -antasy 3hort 3tories 2nspirational 3hort 3tories The Complete Collection 3ets 1.8 l* $9"") +he )dventures o" . O ne' 3et ! The Novices Guide To the Art of Writin6 $oses in the +ar4 Heartson6s .chameleon:com !IEW A !IDEO T$AILE$ O( <= 1OO4+ )+ M3 W1B'I+1 .sites htt7899666:an elfire:com9falcon9d7fenter7rises:com htt7899666:the7in.