Today’s track is ‘By Moonlight’ by Peter Connelly and Martin Iveson, taken from ‘Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness’, the soundtrack. You can listen to the song HERE and visit the online shop HERE.
His eyes found mine. They were far too inquisitive to simply belong to an unsuspecting patron, especially somewhere like Café Metro. If you were expecting Dorchester-esque afternoon tea, this was not the place to come for it. However dingy Café Metro was both outside and in, it was somewhat out of sight – the best place for me really.
The stranger’s crystal blue eyes continued to burn into my flesh, almost far too striking to avoid in stark contrast to his darkened, furrowed brow. My skin prickled; something about his presence unsettled me, and my intuition made me want to err on the side of caution. However, I didn’t come in here for decadent pastries and to soak in the café’s idea of culture, I came in for information.
I walked around the somewhat empty establishment, if you could call it that, as I waited for the owner to get off the phone. As I admired some quintessentially French wall art, I could feel his eyes on me once more.
Who was this stranger? I’d seen many things in my lifetime and I knew somehow that his gaze was not one of admiration. Perhaps it was due to my line of work; I felt as though he was sizing me up, trying to suss me out – not very subtly, I might add.
So many questions fizzed through my mind; where had he come from on that magnificent bike that had been so confidently left outside? I could only assume it was his; the weedy owner that surprisingly boomed into the receiver didn’t look like he could handle a push bike, let alone that beast outside. I stifled a smile as the thought of stealing it just to hear it purr, ripped a thrill through me.
We’re not here for that… I thought. Stopping myself further from entertaining even more theft that I’d let slide so many times previously.
As he returned his steely gaze back to his paper, I took in more details of his person. The gun that rested in a leather holster which was wrapped around his frame certainly caught my attention. I couldn’t imagine any other customers coming in here for an underwhelming coffee and feeling the need to be armed. The question was, what was he preparing to defend himself for? The Monstrum?
I didn’t think I could have become any more inquisitive, however as the mere hours sped by each day, I faced more questions than answers. Here, in Paris, appeared to be the blood spattered cherry on the cake and with Werner’s killer on the loose; I didn’t have time to waste either.
Not being able to trust anyone other than Winston was exhausting at times, but letting your guard down could get you killed. Trust me – I had the scars to prove it.
For today’s challenge, I tried to get back into the mind of my nine year old self! When I was younger, I (poorly) wrote a Tomb Raider script; almost twenty years later, I read it out to my partner on our gaming podcast, The Vault, and hilarity ensued.
To listen to the episode and catch up on the so-called saga, click HERE. Funnily enough, it may actually help the stupidity below. To those who have been so kindly asking for more, I really hope this is on the same level as the previous instalment. I hope you all enjoy today’s post!
As I’ve been writing these, I’ve also been listening to both Nathan McCree and Peter Connelly’s incredible soundtracks. Each day, I’ll be posting the accompanying tracks that really helped me to get in the mindset of Ms. Croft and the environments.
Today’s track is ‘I Make My Own Luck’ from ‘The Dark Angel Symphony’ by Peter Connelly & Martin Iveson. To listen to the track, click HERE. To visit the shop, click HERE.
I could tell by the familiar fragrance of a Crème Egg that he was here.
‘Well, well, well – if it isn’t Blake Baker.’ I said with a raised eyebrow, cocking my gun and raising it to his gormless face. ‘Keep eating those and you’ll start to resemble one. I’m surprised you managed to find one of those here.’ I snarled, almost jealous of his snack. I felt positive I would have seen a glowing vending machine inside of a musty cave.
‘You know me – can’t go anywhere without a Crème Egg, bab.’ Blake shrugged.
‘Unfortunately, I do know you. Which begs the question as to why you’re here?’
‘I’ve left her. Natla’s been horrible to me one too many times, so I told her to stuff it.’
‘What does this have to do with me, exactly?’ I frowned.
‘I’ve come to help you, Lara.’ He shrugged, looking even thicker than he usually did. Especially as he’d gotten some of the filling of his chocolate treat on his once white shirt.
‘How so? I seem to be several steps ahead of you as it is.’ I lowered my weapon. It was pointless even threatening him in the first place.
‘This is where you’re mistaken, Ms. Croft.’ He smirked as he quickly unwrapped the foil from another egg and threw it into his wide open trap. How many did he have in his cargo pockets? ‘I know a lot more than you and Natla think I do…’
‘Go on,’ I rolled my eyes and took a seat on a nearby boulder. I couldn’t tell if it was the dull lighting in this cave or whether it was Blake’s droning tone that was causing my eyes to droop.
‘I’m a shapeshifter.’
‘What?’ I quizzed, knowing confusion was painted all over my face. I certainly felt the same.
‘A shapeshifter. Natla knew about the Sun God’s chain and when she’d made that call to Tikana, I knew something was up. I had to leave to warn you.’
‘But how did you know where to find me?’
Blake unzipped his trouser pocket and pulled out a third foil covered egg, holding it up as if it were an ancient artefact that the greatest archaeologists had been trying to unearth for centuries.
‘Something in the ingredients in these unlocks some sort of a psychic ability within me. They help me see clearer, they unravel paths that I cannot see myself. I knew you would be in this cave, looking for the inscriptions on the walls.’
‘A Crème Egg?’
‘Me Mom was the same.’ He nodded, tucking away the egg back into its designated pocket.
‘No offence, but the Baker family history isn’t something I think we really need to delve into right now. How the bloody hell is a Crème Egg going to get us to that chain?’ I said angrily, my voice ricocheting around the walls of the cave.
‘I quickly ate three and it led me to your visit to the Hawaiian Museum of Sea Wreaks. Whilst you were on your dive with Swordfana, I shape shifted into one of the security guards. Staff’s short there so I convinced Linda to take a break whilst you two were out and hacked the system.’ He looked at me solemnly. ‘He’s using you Lara – he’s using you to get back at me.’
‘I don’t understand, why would he?’
‘Dan is my long lost brother who’s been after the chain ever since we were young. He fled Selly Oak when we was nineteen, changed his name and came to Hawaii in search of it. His real name’s Dave.’
Blake paused, gathering his emotions as he appeared visibly upset.
‘That’s why I carry so many of these Crème Eggs; they help me but they’re Kryptonite to Dave. If we can get to him and give him one of these, he’ll confess. I know he’s close to finding that chain and god help us when he does-’
‘Why? What happens if he does?’ I was stunned. Not only was Blake’s family in rack and ruin, I had a feeling other things were about to be.
‘If he gets hold of that chain and it glows around the holy one’s neck, the world is theirs. They control the elements, life and death…’ he choked back the tears. ‘-And knowing our Dave he only wants it for one thing.’
I raised my eyebrows with a shrug, hoping a desperate Blake would continue.
‘Only we can stop him.’ Blake shrugged. ‘Look, I understand that you might not be able to trust me after everything we’ve gone through over the years, but it’s all leading us here. Please?’
Blake extended his hand and I shook it.
He smiled and turned around; I followed with a frown and wiped my hand on my leg, freeing my glove of egg residue. Egg hunts on Easter Sundays at Croft Manor with Winston were due to become a thing of the past.
Winston waved me off at the gates and I took off for another expedition. As time went on, his goodbyes became shorter. His once ‘good luck’s’ were now ‘take care’s’ – and no matter how many times I’d reminded him that he was indeed permitted to call me by my first name, he had forever stuck with Ms. Croft after wishing me well.
I’d never believed in four leaf clovers, rabbit feet or lucky horseshoes – I made my own luck. I’d always given myself credit for where it was due; if I didn’t believe I could do it, who would? I couldn’t rely on luck to get me out of the situations I’d found myself in.
My wits had to be razor sharp, my senses were heavily relied on – listening would overtake looking. There were times where I had escaped many near-death experiences by the skin of my teeth, but I had to keep going. The goals were always far too great to stop and hope someone else would save the day. My only saviour was myself.
I gave Winston a gloved wave back through the window as I sped off down the driveway, leaving gravel and dust dancing in my wake. I didn’t have to be a psychic to know that he would be going back into the Manor shaking his head with a smile. Although he’d rarely vocalise his concerns, I’d spent many a year both in Winston’s care and company to know that he did worry about me incessantly.
I shook my head to focus; I’d try and send him a postcard at least. However, in the picturesque chambers I’d found myself in in the past, they weren’t always that welcoming to tourists. Good luck trying to find a gift shop towards the exit of an unopened tomb.
The thrill of yet another adventure bubbled within me; the swirl of excitement ignited a fire in the pit of my stomach just like it always had. There was no such thing as a linear path in this profession – I simply had to remain focused and trust my instincts. Ultimately easier said than done, but luck wasn’t required. Just me.