The spell was broken when Lara's cell rang. She didn't let go of Sarah's hand or break eye contact as she answered the call.
"Yes?" It was her own voice again.
"Lara, its Brice. You wanted me to get information about the donation to the museum from the University of North Carolina?"
"Yes, What did you find out?"
"It's really weird Lara. It seems that this was set in motion over 30 years ago. A Dr. Janice Covington had it in her will that at this time the collection was to be sent for display in England. It also stated that the scroll you mention must have the central place in that display."
"Were there any other proviso's?"
"Weirder still. It states that if a noted scholar wished she could examine it closely and it does state she; or do any type of examination including, get this; take pictures."
"Interesting, Thank you Brice."
She disconnected the call and asked Sarah calmly, " Sarah, Do you have any relations named Dr. Janice Covington?"
Sarah's eyes widened in shock. "Yes...yes," she stuttered. "She was my Great Aunt. She and her best friend Melinda Pappas discovered the Xena scrolls in the forties. Auntie Mel was my godmother. They raised me after my parents were killed. Why?"
"It seems that your Aunt Janice set up our meeting today."
"She set it up that the scrolls would be in London at this time. She even said that a scholar would come and need to study them closely and was to be given Carte' blanche'. It seems she even knew I would be a woman."
"How? Auntie Janice was not a psychic. She was a very grounded person. She was an Archaeologist and an adventurer but she never had any flights of fancy. She used to scold me about mine and Auntie Mel's."
"Well maybe Gabrielle advised her..."
"Yes...yes, In my dream Auntie Janice said I was to help Gabrielle with this very important mission."
"She didn't say. I kept having this dream over and over for a whole month. It finally ended when I decided to come here. All she told me was that I had to go to Poteidaia and that it had to be now."
Lara smiled and gently caressed the pretty blonde's soft cheek.
"Because for the last month Xena has been haunting my dreams. I had no idea who she was. First it was to go to the British Museum to see the display. Then it was to follow the scroll Gabrielle had written about her home. I didn't know who she was either. It was haunting me for a month too about the same time as yours. And it ended the night I left the museum with decision made to come to Greece."
They stood staring at each other again. This time they were fully themselves and they were drawn together by the same invisible string.
"What are we going to do, Lara?"
Lara shrugged, "Same as before we will go and find their tomb just like they want us to."
"I haven't the faintest idea. Interesting isn't it?"
*** *** *** ***
They were on the verandah of the palatial estate Lara's late father Lord Croft left her. She invited Sarah to stay with her while in Athens. Sarah tried to say no but Lara said in a very kind and reasonable voice, "My dear girl, It will be hard to work together on this mission if we have trek back and forth across Athens just to chat."
"I wouldn't want to intrude on your privacy, Lara." Sarah replied smiling shyly.
"You couldn't. I mean it's a huge place and if it will make you feel better you can take a room in another wing. I'd much rather you stay in the pretty room next to mine though."
Green eyes searched blue and Sarah finally had consented.
Lara smiled at the face that was turned away from hers toward the city. The verandah over looked the acropolis and the girl was fascinated by the magical site that she had heard of all her life. As Lara examined her shy new friend she realized that this was really the first time she was away from home. She found that intriguing given who guardians were.
"Didn't you ever go off with Janice and Mel on a dig?"
Sarah turned toward her and shook her head no. "They didn't want to disrupt my routine. They also felt that there was too much danger for a small shy girl. They always seemed to be getting in trouble. I stayed with my Great Uncle Nat and his family."
"They must have loved you very much."
Sarah eyes suddenly filled with tears and she nodded her head, "Yes and I loved them. They were the only love I've ever known. They treated me as a daughter and for some reason they were proud of me. It's been ten years since they died and I still miss them terribly."
"I do understand, I lost my beloved Father when I was little girl. You were a teenager when they died right?"
Sarah nodded and replied in a voice that was now choked with emotion, "Yes I was. I was a very quiet child and non-wild teenager. Auntie Janice used to say that I was probably a lot like Gabrielle." This made a tiny smile suddenly form on her face.
Lara decided she liked that smile and she returned it. She reached out taking the little hand in her own and pulling it on her lap. She looked into the sweetest expression she had ever seen as she said quietly, "Yes from my readings of Gabrielle's scrolls I'd say you were very much like her."
Sarah eyes widened and then she shook her head no. "I don't think so, Lara. Gabrielle was very brave and strong. I'm not anything like that. I'm afraid I'm just a reader not a doer."
"You are here, Sarah."
"Only because my Auntie Janice made me." She argued.
"A dream can't make you do anything. It influenced you obviously but you have that bravery in your heart or you would never have come here."
"How can you sound so sure? You don't know me."
"Yes I do." Lara replied firmly.
"What do you mean?"
"The moment I looked into those beautiful green eyes I knew you."
"You saw Gabrielle's spirit not mine."
"It's the same thing, Sarah. Trust in Gabrielle and trust me. You are up to this."
"I really hope your right I don't want to disappoint you."
"Oh, you won't, I promise you," said Lara quietly squeezing the hand and bringing it up to her cheek. "You couldn't possibly disappoint me."
*** *** ***
They had both slept very badly with a series of dreams that upon waking neither of them could remember. They were sitting at the table in the large kitchen and had just finished breakfast. They now sat side by side carefully studying Lara's blow-ups of Gabrielle's scrolls. They were re-reading them trying to find clues to follow to complete their ancestor's mission.
"Sarah you said they got close what stopped them from finding the tomb?"
"War, politics and funding of course. All sorts of road blocks making Auntie Janice curse her head off and Auntie Mel trying to shush her reminding her of my presence." Lara laughed and Sarah nodded saying, "It was a constant argument between them and it was funny because when you grew up around Auntie Janice you grew up around cursing. I never picked it up but Mel was constantly worried about my upbringing," She had a far away expression for a minute and Lara could see she was fondly remembering her youth with them. Then she took a deep breath and turned back to Lara saying quietly, "Anyway they were constantly writing to officials for permission to dig. They were given it only to have it withdrawn by another higher official. They got very frustrated."
"Do they have any sort of diary or logs?"
"Yes they both kept logs, I brought both of them with me. They're in my purse here." Without a thought she pulled them out and gave Lara, Mel's diary keeping Janice's for herself. Then she looked up at Lara in shock; "Did you see what I did with out even looking at them?"
Lara smiled and winked. "Yep. You automatically gave me Mel's who was my relative though I didn't know it. Then you kept Janice's for yourself who was yours. Interesting isn't it? I do feel their presence you know."
"I do too. In fact I feel all four of them."
Lara felt a deep affection for her new friend, which was very strange, since she hardly knew her. She privately wondered if that was due to her ancestor's influence. "Sarah you knew them I didn't how do you feel we should proceed? Feel it Sarah, don't think."
Sarah closed her eyes and turned to the last page of Janice's log. Then she opened them and noticed that it had a drawing of two Sais meeting at the tips. Then across the hilts was a quill creating a triangle. The triangle pointed to words that Janice had written in Greek. Follow the path.
"Lara look at the last page of Auntie Mel's log. What is there?"
Lara turned to the last page where there was drawn a decorative circle with a zig zag line through the middle. "Some strange decorative circle." Replied Lara feeling she should know what it was but just couldn't manage the name.
"Let me see that," Lara handed the smaller woman the log and looked over her shoulder as she studied it. Excited green eyes met hers melting her heart and causing her to smile, "Lara this is Chakram. It was Xena's most powerful weapon."
Then Sarah took the pictures of the scrolls and rifled through them till she found the one she remembered of the bottom of Gabrielle's scroll. There was a Chakram with two Sais and quill. They formed a circle and triangle entwined. It pointed to the words at the very bottom of the scroll seemingly unconnected with the rest. It said, Finding your way. Around it the scrollwork appeared to be a forest and then Sarah gasped.
"Lara is there a forest here?"
"Hmm, Good question. Let's look at one of these maps and see. Yes there is it looks to be about two days travel from here...Um, Sarah it just can't be this easy or someone else would have found it a long time ago."
"I...I don't think it will be. I...feel that we are going to be lead by several clues...Lara I remember one of my dreams. It was of a marker in the middle of forest with those symbols on it."
Lara did what her heart told her to do. She couldn't help herself. She got up and pulled the smaller woman into a loving bear hug. Holding her tightly against her, she whispered into her ear, "Good work Sarah."
Sarah enjoyed the hug and the warmth of the feeling she got from this incredible mysterious woman. It confused her how much faith Lara seemed to have in her but she wasn't going to let her down. "It was?" She asked when Lara pulled back smiling at her with such affection it touched her heart.
Lara nodded, gently brushing hair out of Sarah's eyes replying very softly, "Yes."
They again stared deeply into each other's eyes. Lara had a deep bubbling urge she was surpressing because she sensed Sarah wasn't ready yet. She took a deep breath pulled all the way back and asked her friend with a lift of an eyebrow, "Did you bring any suitable clothes for camping? We are going to be leaving in an hour for adventure and I want you to be comfortable."
Sarah was surprised by the sudden change but she didn't question it. She just nodded her head and said, "Yes, I have comfortable clothes and sensible shoes."
"That's a good girl, now go on and change." Said Lara wondering what was going on inside her. She felt such things before but she was never so intrigued by another human being before in her life. Xena is this how it all began with Gabrielle? She thought as they went to their rooms to change.
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