Raiders of the Forbidden Valley
Chapter 3: The Curse of the Wolf
Indy rolled violently to the side. The snake struck the carpet beneath him angrily - it darted around and struck at him again. Indy had been galvanized by the sudden rush of adrenaline. He was terribly afraid of snakes, too afraid to allow himself to be killed by one! The snake missed him by a fraction and Indy toppled a small, but heavy marble table over onto its back. The serpent writhed frantically, striking at the table and then at Indy. The adventurer got to his feet at the struggling creature with fear and loathing. It was unlike any snake he had ever seen before. Indy certainly wasn't a zoologist, but he instinctively knew that this . . . thing was the stuff of nightmares. Indy went off in search of something with which he could bash the monsters head in. He found a large, heavy brass poker next to the fire! A grim smile played across his face.
"That'll do." he muttered to himself. A thought suddenly struck him. If the snake was indeed a new-found species then surely it belonged in a zoo? The Hell it did!
He was at times pious - he knew that - he probably took after his dad more than he'd ever care to admit. But damn it he wasn't that pious! He rushed over to the snake - the table had been moved!
The snake was gone!
"Swell!" Indy looked around; he saw the creature slithering under an ornate red leather couch. Indy moved over to it and turned it on its back. Again, from the corner of his eye he saw the snake slithering under a large writing bureau.
"Slippery little critter . . . aren't you?" Indy darted across the room and using his entire strength heaved the bureau over into it's front. Drawers flew open scattering notepaper, ink pots, pens and other writing materials over the floor. The snake raised itself up and swayed hypnotically from side to side
A hollow hiss echoed around the room.
Indy grimaced in revulsion. He started battering the creature with the brass poker, again and again. The snake writhed and jerked spastically under this onslaught - revulsion and horror had taken over. Indy was determined to kill this evil creature!
"Indy, what are you din' man?" Jock's voice brought him out of his frenzy. He turned to face the four men who had entered the room. The hotel manager and two policemen accompanied Jock. They were looking at him as if he were mad. Indy was breathing hard - he looked at the room and the mess he'd made of it.
"Jock! The snake . . ." Indy started, but as he regarded the puzzled expressions of the men, he turned and looked at the floor. There was no snake! "There was a snake. It came from the bag!"
"Mr Jones, this is Sergeant Iain McGregor and Constable Andy Brown. They've come to investigate the incident." The hotel manager looked around the room, dazed.
"Indy, what are you talking about?" Jock was obviously getting riled at these constant disturbances to his wedding night.
"There was a snake in the bag. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before!" Indy looked at the brass poker in his hand.
"And where is this snake now sir?" McGregor asked him politely. "I . . . uh, I don't . . . I . . ." Indy began to falter. He'd smashed the snake into the carpet, but now it wasn't there!
"Sir, I wonder; have you been drinking tonight?" McGregor smiled at Indy in a patronising manner.
"Not a lot!" Indy protested. "Like a fish, Sergeant McGregor!" Jock intoned. Indy glared at his friend. McGregor nodded sagely. "Sir, may I suggest that you go and put some trousers on before Constable Brown becomes agitated and does you for indecent exposure!" McGregor brought out a small black notebook and pencil "And then you can tell me just exactly what's been going on here tonight."
He smiled at Indy and licked the point of his pencil.
It was a dull and wet day. It had been four days perfect funeral weather. The drizzle had been falling from a slate grey sky all morning. Indy stood at the rear of a small huddled crowd, he felt uncomfortable being here but the family lawyer Sir Hugh Melbury Macdonald had almost insisted that he come. There weren't many people attending - it was apparent that the deceased Dougal Kirkmuir had little family, and if he had many friends, few of them had chosen to turn up. Indy scanned the crowd. There were two shady looking Chinese men dressed in long black coats and rather innocuous looking bowler hats standing some distance away. However, one person caught his attention. An elegant young woman stood at the graveside. She wasn't particularly tall but she held herself with poise. Her hair was a honey blonde colour and her eyes were blue. She had a healthy complexion and quite strong features - as Indy studied this woman her eyes briefly met his. He looked at the ground, embarrassed at being caught. When he dared raise his eyes again the woman had stopped looking at him and was gazing sadly into the grave. A large avuncular man stood to her left. He had a ruddy, weathered face, which were framed with iron-grey mutton chops. His eyes were sad, but the lines around them suggested that he was usually a good-humoured man. He stood slightly to the rear of the woman and Indy noticed that he had a paternal hand placed gently onto the woman's shoulder.
Indy had helped the police the best that he could. Still shaken by the phantom serpent attack and feeling a little bit ill after the combined effects of the whisky, plunge into the cold water and seeing the man he'd just save from drowning kill himself with an ornamental knife. He had answered the many questions directed at him by the two policemen. He had learned that the deceased, Dougal Kirkmuir, was until six months ago a bright and rising young star in the archaeology circuit. However, he had been on a dramatic and inexplicable downward spiral since he, along with a number of colleagues, had made what the press had hinted to a significant archaeological find on the coast of New England. The nature of this find had never been revealed to the public and many of the research team had died in accidents or committed suicide. Indy would have liked to seen what was in his bag, but had never got a chance due to the snake. Or due to his hallucination, he had grudgingly been forced to admit. MacGregor had removed the bag as evidence, but once the verdict of suicide had been recorded Kirkmuirs personal effects had been passed on to his next of kin, his sister. The blonde woman at the graveside - Susan Kirkmuir.
"You must be Dr Henry Jones?" a deep and mellow voice brought Indy out of his thoughts. He looked at the man who had addressed him. It was the large man who had been comforting the deceased's sister. He smiled warmly "Thank you for coming sir. My name's Hugh Melbury Macdonald, I telephoned you yesterday. I was wondering whether or not you'd care to join myself and Miss Kirkmuir for lunch?"
"I don't know Sir Hugh. I don't want to intrude . . ." Indy began. "Please call me Hugh. Believe me, you wouldn't be intruding. In fact you may be performing Miss Kirkmuir a great service."
Indy glanced across at the young woman - this time he met her gaze with confidence. The small crowd was dissipating. Indy noted, with interest, that the two Chinese men had backed away from the grave, but were still watching from a distance.
"Yeah sure Hugh, I'd be delighted to join both of you for lunch." "Excellent!" the lawyer beamed, he turned to the young woman and nodded his head. She smiled with something that Indy thought looked like relief. "We'll go to my offices. I already have a buffet prepared."
Indy put down his coffee cup and looked across the table at Susan. Throughout the meal the conversation had mainly been between Macdonald and Indy - the young woman had occasionally contributed but had spent her time studying Indy.
"So, what's the real reason behind this meeting?" Indy leaned back on his chair and directed his question towards Susan.
"We just wanted to thank you personally for trying to save poor Dougals life . . ." Hugh began.
"Did you see what was in my brothers bag Dr Jones?" Susan interrupted. "To be honest Miss Kirkmuir, I didn't get the opportunity." "I see. Hugh will you get the artifacts for Dr Jones to examine?" Susan smiled at Hugh. "I believe that you have some expertise in archaeology and history Dr. Jones. Perhaps you could look at the objects that my brother had. Give us your professional opinion?" she continued as Hugh went through into an adjoining room.
"I'll have a look. I'm not promising anything though." Indy said mildly. Hugh returned into the boardroom and sat down. He passed over a black velvet cloth to Indy.
"Please Dr. Jones. Take a look and tell us what you think." Hugh said as he lit his pipe. Indy slowly and gently unwrapped the cloth. Inside were a handful of grey stones. Indy counted them - there were seven in all. They were smooth on both sides and on one side each of them had a marking carved deeply into its surface. This carving had been accentuated with red paint, or something resembling paint, but natural aging had started to wear this coloring away. Indy brought out his glasses and put them on. As he examined these stones he was aware of Susan and Hugh watching him.
"These are Norse runes." He announced and looked at his hosts "I'm not an expert on Norse history or mythology but I recognize three of these symbols. This one is the ancient symbol for dog or possibly wolf. I think, and I hasten to add I'm not sure, that this is the symbol for the god Loki. And this one . . . well, I think this one's the symbol for death." he looked up at Susan. "I'm sorry but I don't know what the other four are. I could find out though. My colleague Marcus Brody, back at Marshall College, knows more about Norse legends than I'll ever know."
"Dr. Jones, these were found in a cave on the coast of New England." Hugh smiled. "They have been estimated as dating to around seven hundred and fifty years ago. Now there are some inherent implications in this statement. Namely that the North American continent was not discovered by Christopher Columbus, but by the Vikings about six hundred years prior!" Hugh looked at Indy expecting some form of academic outburst.
"It's more than feasible Hugh. After all the Vikings colonized much of Russia and were proficient sailors and explorers." Indy leaned back in his chair "It was probably only a matter of time before something was found to reinforce this theory."
"My brother was badly affected by these things Dr Jones! He thought they were an ancient warning . . . or something else!" Susan's eyes darted to Hugo's before she looked at Indy.
"What do you mean something else?" Indy asked. "There is an ancient Norse legend Dr. Jones. Dougal was particularly fond of retelling this one. Have you heard of Fenris?" Hugo asked him.
"Yeah, the mighty wolf who will herald Ragnarok. The twilight of the gods and end of the world."
"Exactly Dr. Jones. Now the legend says that Loki who fathered three monstrous children attempted to hide them from his fellow gods. However these children were voracious and grew too enormous to be kept hidden. Now Odin cast one of these children, an enormous serpent, into the sea and here it became so big that it encircled the entire world. He cast Lokis daughter, Hel, into the lower nine worlds of the dead. However, he decided to treat Fenris the wolf with kindness and brought it to Asgard. The wolf continued to grow in strength, size and ferocity. Odin became worried that it would become so powerful that it would destroy Asgard. He gave the dwarfs from the lower kingdoms the task of weaving a magical rope with which they would bind Fenris. The gods tricked the wolf into allowing himself to be tethered to a magical boulder with this rope and they plunged a sword into his jaws to cease his howls of anger and protestation. The legend states that Fenris will one day break free of his bonds and gallop forth bring the apocalypse with him!" Hugh tapped the spent tobacco from his pipe and looked at Indy portentously "Dougal thinks that these runes were a physical manifestation of the mythical rope. He thinks that the runes were a magical spell with which the Vikings had kept an evil force imprisoned."
"My brother was of the opinion that he and his colleagues had unleashed Ragnarok!" Susan interjected.
"That sounds doubtful Miss Kirkmuir." Indy looked at her, surprised at the withering look that she drew him.
"I know how doubtful it sounds. I also know how unlikely it is to be true, however I would like to validate my brother's contribution to this discovery. Out of the sixteen people who were part of the expedition eight of them are dead. Killed in horrific accidents or by their own hands. Out of the others there are three people who are in good health or who haven't simply vanished!"
Indy looked at her as she took a sip of water. "All I want your help with is to prove or disprove the actual authenticity of the find. Now, will you help me Dr. Jones? I am aware of your reputation as an adventurer, I'm more interested in your reputation as an archaeologist."
Indy and Susan looked at each other, holding each others gaze. After a few moments Indy broke into a lopsided grin.
"Sure I'll help you. I'm kind of interested in checking out the site of the find anyway."
"Thank you, Dr. Jones." Susan smiled and Indy realized just how beautiful this woman actually was.
"Splendid, I'll go and break open a bottle of brandy!" Hugh grinned, "and then you can tell us all about your various exploits Dr. Jones. I've heard rumours, including some scuttlebut about the Ark of the Covenant."
"Yeah, I've heard those rumours too Hugh." Indy glanced at Hugh. For something that even now was supposedly top secret, his involvement with the U.S. government's mission to stop Axis powers gaining control of the lost ark of the covenant was seeming to become common knowledge. His reply seemed to tickle Hugh's funny bone and the big man laughed as he went to retrieve the bottle of brandy.
"Forgive Hugh's exuberance, Dr. Jones. He's a big teddy bear of a man, but he can get carried away."
"It's fine and please call me Indy." From the next room Indy heard Hugh cursing under his breath as the door bell rang.
"I'll be with you two in a minute! I'll just get rid of whoever's at the door." he called through.
"I am terribly sorry about your brother Miss Kirkmuir. He caught me off guard." Indy looked at her, she merely shook her head and smiled.
"I don't blame you Indy. Dougal was always highly strung. We never really got on too well. And please, I'd like you to call me Susan."
"Fine . . .Susan." Indy looked at the runes again. Hugh walked into the room a bemused expression on his face. "The strangest thing just happened . . . a Chinese fellow just threw whisky all over me and then ran off!" Hugh looked at his guests.
Suddenly the window smashed - a ball of fire headed straight towards Hugh. He looked at Indy with wide eyes.
And then he exploded into a ball of fire!
Site Author: Micah Johnson
Page Author: Hannibal King
Created: May 17, 1999
Last modified: October 4, 1999