Saturday, October 2, 2010

Yunnan Discovery

General Cho's Headquarters, Yunnan Province, China

Major Von Kraken stepped past two Chinese guards into the small lantern lit ante room. A wizened old man, wearing a black skull cap and a silk robe sat bent over the paper copies of the giant stone hieroglyphics. The old man looked up and smiled at Kraken, "I have found what you seek." as he gestured at the drawings. "Were is it at?" Kraken demanded "You understand what happens to you, if you send me and the General's troops on a wild goose chase." The old man lost his smile. He unrolled a map and slowly looked over it until he found the place and pointed. "This is were the stones say the tablet is buried" Kraken looked at the map but couldn't read the Chinese place name. "What does the name mean?" asked Kraken. The old man smiled again "Valley of Roaring Death. It has been known as this for generations." Watching Kraken's face he continued, "The First Emperor sent an army into the valley to claim its treasures for his kingdom. Only one survivor returned to civilized lands. He was mad of course, and had horrible wounds, but before he died he told of the daemons in the valley and warned the Emperor's officials never to return." The old man slid back into his chair, "The officials didn't believe the mad man and sent another army. When none of the soldiers returned from the second expedition the Officials decided maybe what was in the valley was better left there."
"That is a good story old man, do you tell many others?" asked Kraken "You may think I tell a fairy tale but over the centuries many have went to the valley to test the myths and none have ever returned. I am old but if you want to see another year you would be wise to send a subordinate to command the search."
Kraken turned and left the old man's cell. The guards saluted and he headed down to the General's quarters to start planning for the expedition and dispatch a message to his employers of the progress. As he walked he contemplated the story and the valley name. In his pursuits of the Golden tablets he had witnessed many things that he could not explain but he believed in the powers of the tablets. Years ago in the sands of North Africa he had seen a tablet used to raise an army of the undead but Prospector Bob and his followers had defeated them. Kraken passed a window and saw the General's troops resting, waiting for their orders to break camp and begin the march. This scene brought back the memory of the Dawn attack on Fort Petain with his Arab allies. They captured the Tablet and he lost many loyal soldiers as The Prospector pursued him. He still felt their loss and planned the get his revenge on Prospector Bob, but first he had a Tablet to acquire.
Back at the cell the old man quickly wrote a message and then carefully folded the paper. He looked over his shoulder and saw the two guards at his door but facing out, not watching him. He carefully slid out of his chair and softly padded to the window. He peered from the window and saw one of his former students setting in the courtyard and watching. The old man eased open the window and dropped the paper. Instantly his student ran over and grabbed the paper, then turned walking away from the General's Headquarters. The old man crossed the room and eased back into his chair. He looked back at the guards and they looked none the wiser. Hopefully the message would get to the General's enemies in time to be useful, but if not the Valley would claim another army.

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