Chapter 14 of Forum Novel

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Posted by walker from on June 23, 1998 at 10:31:39:

My first contribution to the Forum novel consists of two conversations happening concurrently. The first occurs between Clarence and the heretofore unseen leader of the Dark Destroyers. The second, between Indy and Drake on a plane to London. It's a looong chapter so bear with me, please.

Chapter 14

Clarence blinked his eyes quickly, attempting to adjust to the darkness of the room. A soft chuckle resonated off to his right. He craned his head over and squinted, desperate to get a good look at something - anything. The oppressiveness of the darkness and his immobile condition were forcing him into a nervous claustraphobic panic. He thought he was going to scream--

And then - light. Bright light from behind him. Clarence's scream dissolved in his throat. He was strapped to a slate grey table slanted at 45 degrees. The table was carved from a solid block of cold stone, positioned against the wall of a monstrous cavern perhaps the size of a football field. The grade of the table, the tightness of the straps and the positioning of several fixed, pointed stones underneath Clarence's back were all calculated to maximize his pain and discomfort. Even given this, Clarence couldn't help but stare at the center of the chamber

Poised on a dias perhaps 30 feet in diameter, stood a monstrous golden serpent, reared back on its hind legs, arms draped outward and to its sides as if preparing to tear out the gullet of some pathetic, helpless creature - like Clarence. The dragon's head towered 40 feet above the cavern floor, its terrible maw gaping open. Its golden tail ran down off the edge of the dias and curled completely around the base like some infernal barrier one dare not cross. Between the serpent's two muscular legs, directly below the mouth was what appeared to be a large stone cradle filled with liquid, the exact nature of which, Clarence could not determine - nor did he want to try.

"Magnificent, isn't it?"

Clarence started. From gehind the large stone table walked a brutish thug of a man - by any description, wicked-looking and cruel. His face was heavily weathered and tiny, razor-thin scars criss-crossed his eyelids like a pair of insane tatoos. The eyes themselves were black - cold and dead. And yet, oddly, the gait and movements of the Brazilian were refined and graceful and he wore an expensive black suit. Clarence began to hyperventilate as the man smiled.

"Perhaps I should introduce myself. My name is Carlos Vargario."

Clarence shook his head, confused and gulping for breath.

"This means nothing to you, no?" Clarence slowly nodded. "Yes, well...I would expect not. I am not one to announce my presence to the world. Not yet."

"Wha - what do you mean?"

"You are one of many, my friend, who will assist me in bringing about a great new age of enlightenment, and I thank you."

"I don't . . .I don't understand."

"Ah, of course not. Shall I tell you?" Vargario paused for effect. "What you see before you is el Dragon del Sol, the Dragon of the Sun. This mighty beast has a history unlike any you could ever imagine, and a future defined only by his power and glory, everlasting."

"Please, I haven't done anything to you . . ." Clarence's voice was shaking now as the eyes of the statue begin to glow ominously. "I don't want to know what that is!" He squeezed his eyes tightly shut.

Immediately, Vargario grasped Clarence's face with both hands and pushed up his eyelids with thumbs the texture of sandpaper. Clarence's eyes bulged as Vargario leaned forward, breathing hotly on his face. "That, my friend, is your god - for now and evermore."

And Clarence wept.


Indy hacks the vines and branches away with his machete, sweat pouring down his face. Before him, rising above the treetops, stands an ancient stone pyramid. He looks back and sees the Brazillian sky shrouded in thick, black smoke. He stops, unsure of where to run. His feet begin to pull him towards the mountain pyramid but his heart and mind fire off warnings of danger. A sharp pain spears through his chest and Indy doubles over. He looks down and sees the bare skin covering his heart withering as if touched by fire. With a bellow of rage, Indy forces his body to walk backwards, towards the smoke.

Suddenly, the top of the pyramid explodes outward as a great golden serpent bursts forth from the bowls of the earth. Indy staggers as a wave of fear washes over him, but he continues to push backwards faster and faster. The serpent streaks down the mountain and over the tree tops, mouth open wide in an unholy scream. Indy turns now, running, the compulsion to approach the pyramid completely broken. The concealing smoke is only yards away. The dragon closes, increasing its speed, its tongue snaking out in hungry anticipation and then - the world explodes.

With a jolt, Indy snapped awake, bathed in a cold sweat. "Oh my god!" He looked about him, panic stricken.

"Indy, take it easy. It's just turbulence." Drake placed a calming hand on Indy's shoulder. "Are you okay?"

Indy gulped in a deep breath and slowly let it out. He glanced around sheepishly at the other passengers who were staring at him.
"Sorry. This whole things starting to get to me, I guess."

"Tell me about it."

Indy leaned back in his seat and reviewed the events of the previous day to calm himself. After they discovered that Clarence had gone missing, they questioned the owner of the inn and several other villagers living nearby. As far as they could piece together from the various eyewitness reports, Clarence had jumped out of the closed second story window like a madman, landed on the roof of a parked military jeep and ran off towards the mountains like a cat with its tail on fire. Indy and Drake tried to follow his trail but soon lost it in the thick overgrown jungle.

"It seems my fire trick was a temporary wake-up call at best," Indy had said at the time. Whatever the Dark Destroyers had drugged Clarence with, it was still potent. Where he had gone and why was still a mystery.

Soon after, Indy and Drake determined that their next step was to find out who Drake's father was corresponding with. The post mark on the mysterious letter said London, England, but there was no return address. With no other recourse, Indy and Drake bought two tickets to England, hoping to beat the Destroyers to the mysterious researcher.

"So, what's our next step?" Drake asked.

"Well, let's look at our one and only clue again. I've got something interesting to show you."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you see this fancy script which borders the stationary?"

"Yeah, so?"

"I noticed this while I was shaving in the bathroom this morning. Couldn't make much sense of it but it seems to me your father was being told very specifically where to send his research. Turn the paper over and hold it up to the light."

Drake did as requested. From the reverse some of the script appeared to be standard English lettering. "Why didn't you tell me about this?"

"No time. You'll learn that often important discussions have to take place on the go. Now that we have a good chunk of flight time ahead of us, we can analyze this calmly and, I hope, without waiting for the Destroyers to suprise us again."

"Yeah, I see your point. What's it say?"

"Well, that's not quite clear. It's in Latin, which is no problem in and of itself, but it doesn't appear to make much sense."

"How so?"

"Tell me what you think. Dominus Quincunx Duo Duo Sex."

Drake closed his eyes and thought. He smiled. "Easy. It means monarch, cross, two, two and six."

"Right. Any ideas?"

"Not a one. Except...if this message told my father where to send his research, it must be an address and 226 must be a house."

"Or an apartment number."

"Maybe the cross bit means it's a church."

"Possibly. The church of the king? Which king? England's had a pretty peculiar religious history." Indy leaned back and pushed his hat back high on his head. Drake did the same.

A beat later, the two men looked at each other, smiling.

"King's Cross Station" they said together.

"The railway station on London's north side!" Drake said.

"Yes. It opened on what...December something, 1906?"

"1906, right. I've been there with my dad. And there's - "

" - a post office at the depot," Indy finished. "It's the number to a post office box."

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