TOMB HUNTER The Adventures of Larra Court Episode 1 Larra’s African Adventure Email: [email protected] Chapter 15 The Temple of Jiu Yue The safari wound its way back to the archeological site that Larra had stumbled upon some months before. Larra had lost her map in her encounter with the fierce Maasi warriors, but she had studied the map so thoroughly, that she had committed it almost entirely to memory. It was but a matter of course for her to follow the landmarks on her previous journey back to the place where her expedition had come to so sudden and disastrous an end. The Maasi ambush that had destroyed her safari had caught the inexperienced Larra off guard, but this time she hoped to turn the tables on the bloodthirsty Maasi, a people who routinely tortured their captives to death. It took four weeks to reach the site of the ambush. The weather had not been particularly cooperative, being much wetter than usual. That had slowed the safari down. But now they were reaching the clearing in the rainforest where Larra’s ordeal had begun. As the expedition approached the site James organized it in a defensive formation. But it was the type of defence that he hoped would lure the Maasi into a trap. As the safari moved closer to the forest glade, James had the porters surround the armed men, so that their presence was disguised. Larra and James rode ahead of the others. As they entered the clearing Larra saw that it was as she remembered it. In the center of the clearing was the massive stone, rudely fashioned into the shape of a giant phallus. She had not had time to examine the discovery before, because her party had been almost immediately attacked by the Maasi. This time Larra hoped, she would have more time. A disturbance at the end of the clearing caught Larra’s eye. James and the other white hunters saw it too. Within a few seconds a tall, powerfully built black warrior stepped into view. A dozen others immediately followed him. If the Maasi followed their previous form other warriors could be expected to converge on the safari from all sides. As expected a movement in the forest to both sides of the expedition revealed that this was indeed happening. The Maasi had sprung their trap! The Maasi were an impressive people. All the warriors were at least six feet tall. Some of them were over six foot six inches. Each warrior carried a seven foot spear, the tip of which was pointed with a razor sharp blade at least a foot long. For defence each warrior also carried a buffalo hide shield, shaped like an eye turned vertically. Two or three ostrich feathers adorned the head of each warrior, making them seem even taller than they really were. Altogether, Larra estimated that there were about 50 or 60 warriors. Their menacing faces indicated that they intended her party no good. “Greetings, noble Maasi!” Larra shouted in perfect Maasi. She had had plenty of time to use her language skills when she had been captured and held by the Maasi for five weeks. “We come in peace,” she continued. “We intend you no harm and bring you gifts.” The white hunters, including James had been in favor of firing on the Maasi without warning, but Larra had spoken against this, arguing that all the Maasi were doing was defending their homeland, and since she was financing the expedition, her arguments had won out. They would try talk first and then use force if necessary. By this time the safari’s porters, had formed a square around the heavily armed men who were now crouched in the center of the formation. From the outside, they would be invisible to the Maasi. In the event of a battle James hoped that this tactic would give the safari the element of surprise. The porters chosen for the expedition had been the bravest men that James could find. On Larra’s first expedition Larra had been left to fend for herself against vastly superior numbers when her guide and porters had fled in blind panic. The warriors seemed taken aback by Larra’s speech. They had not expected to meet anyone speaking their language. Larra could hear the warriors engaging in whispered conversation all around her. “White Witch, White Witch…” She recognized the name the Maasi had given her. She had a reputation among these people, having killed six of them, including the chief’s son, Chui. She did not know if this would help or hinder her dealings with them. One of the warriors stepped forward. He wore four ostrich feathers in his headband, and his bearing seemed to suggest that he was the leader. “White Witch!” he screamed. “You have taken my brother. I will not talk with you! You must die.” Without any other warning he raised his spear and hurled at Larra’s breast! Larra had not expected such uncompromising violence. She had expected the Maasi to be willing to parley and was almost caught completely off guard by the unprovoked assault. In truth had the Maasi warrior attacked any other woman, she would have been killed, but Larra was not an ordinary woman. She twisted slightly in the saddle, shifting her body to the left. At the same time her right hand flicked out and deflected the spear, her hand catching it just behind the sharp spear-point. As the spear flashed past her, her left hand caught the shaft of the spear and held it, preventing it from striking anyone behind her. A second later, she was vaulting from the saddle, drawing her Browning .45 semi-automatic from its holster while she was still in the air. She hit the ground firing. James also leapt from his saddle drawing his Webley-Fosbery revolver as he did so. The safari’s porters had dropped to the ground, using their burdens as shelter from the Maasi spears. Behind the porters, the heavily armed soldiers and white hunters rose and opened fire with their magazine rifles. The surprised Maasi were hit with a hail of bullets, several hundred rounds being fired within only a minute. Larra herself got off three rounds before she even hit the ground and another five in the next few seconds. Her aim was deadly, each bullet finding a target. The Maasi were mown down like ripe wheat. In less that a minute it was all over. Approximately three dozen Maasi had been killed or wounded, with the remainder fleeing into the forest. The members of the expedition continued to fire after them long after they had disappeared, until finally James sounded a cease-fire. After the slaughter, Larra counted up her casualties. Not a single member of her safari had been killed. The only serious injuries were a couple of the porters who had been nicked by spears, but their wounds were superficial. Larra was saddened by the death of so many brave Maasi, but she felt the fight had been forced on her. She ordered her porters to help those members of the Maasi that were not hopelessly injured. Those who were beyond help she tried to make as comfortable as possible. Once the Maasi wounded were attended to her porters set up camp. Within an hour everything was in its place. She and James had separate tents. It was thought appropriate that they not sleep together on the expedition, for the sake of propriety. By the time camp was set up it was early evening. There was not enough light to do any exploring. The members of the safari ate supper and then retired to bed, leaving a few of the soldiers on guard. About midnight, James awoke. There was someone in his tent! The scent of Larra’s perfume told him who it was. Silently, Larra crept into his cot. James raised the thin sheet to allow her to lie beside him. This was one of many visits James and Larra had made during the expedition. They had conveniently located their tents close to each other’s and a little apart from the rest of the camp so that they would have some privacy. Larra lay on top of James and kissed him softly. She was wearing only a filmy silk nighty that did very little to hide her charms. It took James only a few seconds to slide it over her hips and then pull it over her head. Similarly, Larra soon had James’ light pajamas off him and they lay together delighting in the feel of their naked bodies against each other. They kissed passionately, their tongues entering one another’s mouths and intertwining. Then they used their hands and mouths to explore one anther’s bodies. James noticed that Larra seemed to be in a bit of a hurry tonight. Already her hands had moved to his penis and were in the process of stroking it to a full erection, not that he needed very much of that sort of coaxing. Within a few seconds he was as rigid as a flagpole. Larra straddled his body and slowly lowered herself toward his manhood. James’ questing hands had determined that Larra’s vagina was thoroughly lubricated and ready for penetration. James was surprised. This was very much unlike Larra, who usually liked to draw out their nights of passion for as long as possible. The lips of Larra’s vagina were now pressing against the glans of his penis. Larra was ready for entry. James reached into the drawer of a small side table next to the cot. From the drawer he took two strips of white cloth. James and Larra had found it necessary to gag one another in order to keep from calling out during their lovemaking. It would not do to disturb the other campers. Larra’s screams of ecstasy would have wakened the dead if they had not been muffled. Ever so slowly, Larra lowered herself onto James’ massive sex organ. It took quite a bit of effort to get James inside her, even when she was fully lubricated. James was very large, and Larra was very tight. James tied the gag tightly across Larra’s mouth. Already she was beginning to moan softly. James then gagged himself, stifling a groan as he did so. Larra began to move her body up and down, slowly impaling herself on James swollen phallus. James reached up and squeezed her breasts. He had found that Larra liked them squeezed hard when she was fully aroused, and incredibly she seemed to be in that condition now. He had never seen her become excited so quickly before. “Mmppphh!” Larra moaned beneath the gag. Although her words were incoherent, James knew that it meant Larra needed him now. He squeezed hard on her breasts and Larra arched her back in rapture. She had now worked about three inches of James’ penis into her wet vagina and was pumping up and down vigorously. James moved his hands to the small of her arched back and pulled hard. Larra gained another two inches of penetration. Unlike most women, Larra’s entire vaginal canal was highly sensitive. The more a penis penetrated her, the more stimulated she became. “Mmmmpppphhhhh!!!! The sound would have carried for half a mile if she had not been tightly gagged. Holding Larra firmly, James pulled her to him and then rolled over so that he was now on top of her. Larra’s hands immediately moved to James’ buttocks where she attempted to pull him deeper into her. James partly withdrew, then in a series of powerful thrusts burred himself deep inside her. Larra convulsed and cried out so loudly that she almost overcame the restrictions of her gag. James had fully penetrated her. Larra’s back arched and her swollen breasts heaved as she climaxed in a complete sexual frenzy. James joined her a few seconds later, ejaculating powerfully into her womb. Exhausted the lovers simply clung to each other for the next hour, before Larra quietly disengaged herself and crept back to her tent. Morning found both James and Larra somewhat lethargic. It was difficult to shake off the effects of the previous night. But the smell of breakfast and the knowledge that important things were to be done that day encouraged them to get up. By eight o’clock Larra was crawling over the archeological discovery. She was not looking for anything in particular, she just wanted to map out the site and get an idea of how large it was. An hour into her investigation she suddenly changed her plans. Larra was holding on to the end of a measuring tape near the back of the huge block of stone when she came upon pictographs inscribed into the rock. Closer investigation revealed that the pictographs were actually Chinese script. Although Larra could speak Mandarin, she was far from being familiar with all of the thousands of characters that made up the Chinese written language. However, she was able to read enough of it to realize that she had made a major discovery. What she had was proof that the Chinese had made contact with central Africa long before any white explorer had come near the region. Much of the script was heavily overgrown with moss and various other forms of vegetation, but Larra carefully scraped most of it away. Eventually she was able to decipher much of what was cut into the stone, and what she learned filled her with an almost overwhelming excitement. “My God,” she thought, “this is almost better than sex.” She gave a loving glance at James. He caught her look. “What is it darling?” he inquired. “I’m not sure,” Larra said, almost giddy with excitement, “but I think that this writing is a set of directions to an even more important discovery. This large stone is simply a marker to make the main site easier to find.” “What does it say, exactly? “As far as I can determine, about 50 feet behind us should be a cliff face. And in that cliff face there should be an entrance to some sort of tunnel or cave. The inscription doesn’t tell me exactly what it is.” Both James and Larra turned. All that they could see behind them was the solid wall of the rainforest. “There is only one way to find out,” said Larra, and she strode toward the dense vegetation. “Don’t be too hasty, my dear,” said James and he picked up his rifle. “You never know what might be lurking in the jungle.” Larra pushed on into the bush. She soon found that it was pretty heavy going, until by accident she happened upon a path that led in the direction she wanted to go. Within a few seconds Larra found herself standing before a massive natural stone formation. And in the center of the huge rock wall was a low dark opening just large enough for a man to enter. Larra peered into the opening. “You’re not going in there?” James protested. “Not without a torch,” Larra replied. She smiled at him. “Come on lover, let’s get the proper equipment.” A few minutes later, Larra had all the gear she wanted. She had a couple of electric torches, a length of rope, a small hammer, and her notebook. “I’m ready, she said. “Let’s go.” “Don’t you think this might be dangerous? I think we should send one of the boys on ahead,” said James. “Don’t you think it might be dangerous for him too?” said Larra. James was a fine man. The finest man, she thought, that she had ever met, but he had real trouble understanding Larra’s attitudes towards Africans. To James they were just blacks or even worse, savages. He had trouble understanding that Larra considered them worth protecting. A few minutes later, Larra cautiously entered the rock opening. The light of her torch revealed that she was in a rough passage that had been cut with considerable labor through the solid rock. Whomever had made the passage had expended a lot of effort in its construction. The passage seemed to go almost straight back into the rock. By now Larra and James had progressed far enough that it was very dark. Only the light of their torches provided any illumination. Larra looked back. The entrance was a small square of light blocked by the members of her expedition. The other whites and several of the black soldiers had followed her into the tunnel. She moved quite slowly. She did not want to overlook anything, and she was not sure that the tunnel was safe. The rock looked solid enough, but there was always the possibility of a cave-in. The light of her torch revealed that the tunnel seemed to be coming to an end. Was it possible that someone had constructed it, but that it led nowhere? That did not make sense. The tunnel ended in a blank wall of stone. There did not appear to be any way through, but on careful inspection, Larra’s torch revealed a hairline crack directly in front of her. Her torch followed the crack around and she was able to make out that the line traced a path in the wall very much like that of a door. Was there a way through? Larra pushed on the “door.” It was absolutely solid. James came up and helped her, but the wall would not budge. “Looks like a dead end,” said James. “Perhaps,” replied Larra, but she continued to move her torch over the wall. He torchlight revealed four small holes to the right of the door. They were about the right size to insert a finger. Larra bent down and studied them intently. “What is it, old girl?" inquired James, bending down beside her. He reached out a finger toward one of the holes. Larra struck his hand away. Startled, James looked a little hurt. “Just a second, love,” said Larra. She took out her pencil and pushed it into the hole. There was a sharp CHUNK! And the end of her pencil was sheered off. “That could have been your finger, dear.” “Good grief! “ exclaimed James. “What is it?” “It is a finger lock. It opens if you insert your fingers into the holes in the correct sequence. If you make a mistake, it cuts them off.” “What a fiendish device! Do you think you can open it?” “Oh yes,” Larra chuckled, “provided I don’t run out of fingers.” Larra continued to shine her torch around the wall. Near the top of the doorway she was able to make out faint scratches in the rock. “I thought so,” she said. “I think the builder of this door may have left us a key.” Standing on tiptoes she was able to make out faint Chinese markings. “It seems to be numbers,” she said. Three, two, four, one. That must be the order we are supposed to insert our fingers. Most likely it will not unlock unless all four fingers are inserted at the same time.” Larra broke her pencil into four parts. “Let’s see,” she mused. “Do the holes number up or down?” She inserted the first piece of pencil in the second hole from the bottom. Nothing happened. She inserted the next piece into the second hole from the top. Still nothing happened. The next two pieces of pencil went into the bottom hole and then the top hole. There was a clunking sound like the noise a lock makes when a key turns in it. “I think we have it!” Larra exulted. Larra pushed on the face of the stone door. To her surprise, it began to move back at the top and out at the bottom. Eventually the door pivoted until it was horizontal, turning on hidden supports at its center. The space over the top of the door showed nothing but a blank wall. The space under the door, however, revealed an opening, through which could be seen light. Cautiously, Larra bent over and began to climb through the opening. James grabbed her arm. “You’re not going to go through there!?” It was both a question and a challenge. “Of course,” replied Larra. “How else am I going to see what is on the other side? “Then, at least let me go first. It could be very dangerous.” “As I said before, darling it would also be dangerous for you. This is my expedition, let me have the glory.” James released his grip. Larra was right. It was her expedition, and if there was a great discovery on the other side, she should be the one to make it. On her hands and knees Larra scrambled through the opening. She found herself in a short tunnel, about two feet high and three feet wide. The end of the tunnel was well lit. “There must be some connection with the surface,” thought Larra. By now she was almost at the end. Behind her she could hear James shouting. “What have you found? Does the tunnel go anywhere?” Larra poked her head out of the end of the tunnel. What she saw made her gasp in amazement. She turned her head and yelled back. “It’s just like what Howard Carter said when he peeked into Tutankhamun’s tomb. I see wondrous things.” Larra scrambled into a gigantic cathedral-like room. It measured about 300 feet across and arched up to a ceiling at least 150 feet high. Through a small opening at the top light streamed into the cave in a dazzling golden stream. Thousands of stalactites pointed down from the ceiling and equally large number of stalagmites stretched toward the ceiling. The rock material of these natural formations was multihued, with dozens of colors and shades of color giving the cave an even more spectacular aspect. All about her Larra could hear the measured sound of dripping water as nature continued its magnificent work. Larra had never seen anything like it. But it was something else that really caught her attention. Situated in the center of the cave, right under the opening in the roof was a huge altar. It was carved out of a massive block of stone, and was framed by huge pillars of stone at least forty feet high. The pillars appeared to have been fashioned from natural stalagmites. In the center of the altar was another stalagmite, about 20 feet high, which had been fashioned by crude tools into an enormous phallus. Scattered over the floor in front of this awe-inspiring monument were fragments of hundreds of human bones and thousands of pieces of pottery. And strewn amongst the pieces of pottery and bone were what appeared to be gold ornaments and sparkling gems. Larra simply stared dumbfounded at the spectacle, until a touch on her leg from behind let her know that James was right behind her. “Move over my dear,” he said. “Let’s see what is so amazing.” Larra crawled fully into the cave and stood up. “No wonder the Maasi tried to protect this place, it’s incredible!” James joined her. Behind him, Larra could hear the other members of the expedition crawling into the short tunnel. Suddenly there was a loud grinding sound from immediately above their heads. With an enormous thud a huge block of stone dropped in front of the opening. It crashed to the floor of the cave only inches from James and Larra. They were trapped!