Quest for the Blackstone of Lucifer

Quest for the Blackstone of Lucifer

[COMPLETED] An Indiana Jones Adventure: 1938. You are a member of a secret society sworn to retrieve the stone which was once a prized possession of Lucifer.

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Introduction

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All of mankind is familiar with the biblical tale of the fall of Lucifer from heaven, but few realize that this tale is not actually found within the Bible. Nor are most mortals aware that it was not pride which brought Lucifer low, but the lose of a most precious item. Not a crown, not a holy cup, but a black stone of bleeding adamite. For centuries this tale has been conflated with that of the so-called Holy Grail legend, but newly uncovered ancient papyrus documents have been discovered near the Austrian-German boarder which has shed light on the subject of the reality of this peculiar item.

A race is on to discover and claim this precious item, a quest which could drastically change the outcome of the war. Secret societies from all over the world have sent their best men to seek out and obtain the Blackstone of Lucifer. You are a member of one of these secret societies - Academic adventurer -Nazi soldier - Russian explorer - American counter intelligence agent - Occultist, and it is your job to retrieve the stone for the benefit of your country. Be warned, there are far more sinister agents then Nazi's seeking Lucifer's stone.



The Secret Societies:




Russian order of The Draconia
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Founded 1816


Thule-Gesellschaft of Berlin
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Founded 1933



International Psi-Ops League
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Founded 1930




Psychic research institute of London
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Founded 1903




Marshall College, (USA) Connecticut.
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Founded 1858



Available characters, or create your own, when creating your own you must invent a secret organization with which your character is affiliated. Non secret society characters also accepted.



1. Comrade Alexander Glebushka

Russian Explorer


2. Niclas Elberich

SS officer


3. General Charles A. Barrington

Co-founder of United States Psi-Ops league



4. Horatio Bartholomew Garwood

Physic investigator



5. Dr. Walter Miller Rivers (claimed by wadejackel)

Scholar/adventurer

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The Story

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Upstate New York, USA:

Dr. Walter Rivers had retired early on the night of October 15 1943, the long drive from the city to his little house on the hill was tiring to say the least. He had not been home that entire day and so he had missed the mid-days delivery of his mail, retrieving it from the mailbox Walter slapped it down on the kitchen coffee table without glancing at the address of its place of origin - Germany!

That morning as he stumbled his way into the kitchen for a well deserved cup of coffee, Walter with his eyes still partially shut grabbed the letter from off the table and haphazardly tore the envelope nearly in half; which also damaged its contents considerably. The outside of the envelope indicated the letters origins, after seeing the address Walter was shocked by the dubious delivery. The strange message having come from war torn Germany was surprising beyond belief, no doubt it had been sent by some official of the Third Reich, for this was the only way that such a note would be allowed to traverse the Atlantic. This was no doubt the work of several people, of definate high rank. The contents of the letter was even more astounding then its queer origins.

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October 15, 1943

Abegail walked quickly down the halls. Her arms were full of books and her briefcase was in her hand. The halls were empty. At this time of night Abegail was sure the campus was empty.

Abegail awkwardly opened the door to her office. She dropped the books on her desk and tossed the briefcase on her chair.

"I need a bevvie", she thought. She scowled a the cold up of coffee on her desk. When did she put that there? This morning, after her first lecture. Had it really been that long of day?

Abegail sighed and opened her lower drawer. She looked over and kicked her office door closed. Placing the briefcase on the floor, she reached into the drawer with the other hand. Scotch, her guilty pleasure. A good one too.

She poured a healthy two fingers into a semi clean glass and sat back in her chair. If she didn't have to deal with all these students it would be so much better.

Opening the book on the top of the pile she started to read. Abegail sipped her scotch as she poured over the text.

So many theories on the myth of the Holy Grail. So many versions, so many people searching for it. Whole organizations who make it their lifes mission to protect or look for the Grail.

"Bloody over romanticized it what it is", Abegail scowled at the book. The latest version of King Arthur and his quest for the grail. Nothing factual, all drivel.

She downed the rest of her glass and opened the next book. It was going to be a long night.

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Walter stumbled out of his house only a few minutes after reading the letter, having been stunned at first into complete catatonia. Hoping that someone would be at the university this early on a Saturday, not wanting to explain himself to anyone due to his rushed state of mind. To his disappointment no one was inside the building when he arrived, at least no one within ear shot of the sound of Walter pounding the front glass door. Not sure how to proceed he thought for a second and then cursed his stupidity, he had a key after all. Frantically he worked on the door with his key, but he was a little excited and nervous and so it was difficult, finally he turned the key properly and the lock clicked into its unlocked position within the door frame. Rushing through the halls of Marshall college Walter slowed his hastened pace as he approached Abegail's classroom, he knew all too well that she would often spend the entire night pouring over those books which fed her insatiable appetite for knowledge concerning the holy grail legend. Walter was discovered by Abegail as he attempted to quickly pass her classroom door, she had apparently left the door ajar, he had avoided Abegail successfully on numerous occasions and so it was quite a shock to discover that he had failed at this most crucial of moments. Quickly dashing his hand with letter in tow behind his back Walter addressed Abegail, "Gale, oh sorry Abby, nice to see you" Dropping the letter behind him Walter took off down the hallway to his own classroom. Abegail was a notorious Ms Busybody and Walter didn't wanted to share credit for the discovery of the item mentioned in the letter.

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Abegail wiped her face with her hand and looked at the clock.

"Damn stupid of me," she chastised herself. Another night spent in her office. She really should stop doing that. Standing she opened her door and checked the halls. She nodded as she saw no one.

She grabbed an extra set of clothes out of her desk drawer. "Getting low, should go home and do laundry." she said out loud. She wouldn't. She'd drop her clothes at a cleaners and buy a few new sets. She'd forget to pick up the clean clothes until they had left half a dozen messages for her. Then she'd haphazardly fold them and toss them in the drawer. It was just the way it went.

She stood, clothes in hand and was about to step out of her door.
Abegail jumped slightly. Footsteps. She stepped out and almost into Walter.

Walter was quickly trying to pass her door.
"Gale, oh sorry Abby, nice to see you." Abegail bristled at the name, happy he corrected himself. Her face turned slightly red. She smiled through clenched teeth.

"Nice to see you too. It's a little early for ye." She was obviously tired. Abegail shook her head. Didn't matter what she did to smooth it out, the accent always popped up.

Abegail raised an eyebrow. Walter was acting weird. Like he was hiding something. He walked off quickly. He was holding something. Now, her curiousity was peaked.

She walked the opposite direction to the bathroom. She quickly changed into fresh clothes, washed her face and used her stashed toothbrush to clean her teeth. Brushing her hair, she decided coffee was in order. Perhaps she'd bring some to Walter. Maybe get a chance to find out what brought him in so early.

She picked up a tray with two coffees, along with cream and sugar. Abegail walked past her room and headed to Walter's.

She knocked with her foot, opening the door as she did so.

"Walter, thought you could use some coffee. Seeing as you are in here so early and all." Abegail stepped inside the room.

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Walter quickly pushed the letter in his hand in between the desk and himself so that Abagail could not see it, after a brief moment of awkward silence he stumbled, "Hi...Um...you" quickly regaining verbal composure he continued, "Thank you, Id love some coffee right now." Walter stayed seated as Abagail leaned forward and placed the cup of coffee on the very edge of Walter's desk, just out of his reach. Walter sensed that this was a ploy to trick him into revealing that he had a letter in his hand, so he dropped the letter on the floor before leaning toward the steaming cup of java before him. He grabbed his coffee and then sat back down in his chair, he then immediately continued his search for the passport he had apparently misplaced. All during this frantic search he continued and rather mundane conversation with Abagail, about the weather and such. Walter was distracted enough that by the time he had gotten up from his desk to make his way toward the door, he had completely forgotten about the letter which was still on the floor. With slight rudeness he quickly left the room, "See you later, Um. Got things to do" he said as he passed Abagail and made his way toward the main school exit down the hall. He would not be leaving for a few days, and so when he excused himself (rather poorly) from Abagail's presence he was not not lying, there was much to do before he could make the trip to England, and ultimately to Germany.

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Abegail attempted to keep the conversation going.

Walter kept things very surface and trivial.
"He is acting odder than normal. What is he looking for?" Abegail smiled politely as she watched Walter falter through the conversation while attemptly to look for something while not looking for something.

She shook her head slightly as she watched him.

Suddenly, he got up and headed out of the room, "See you later, Um. Got things to do"

Mildly shocked Abby stood there. She watched him leave.

"Alright then...what are you hiding." She closed his door, leaving it opened enough that she would hear footsteps.

Abegail placed her cup of coffee down and starting looking around on his desk.
"What would have him so distracted?" she pondered as she rifled through his papers.

She was met with typical notes for class, piles of essays to be marked and phone messages.

Abegail huffed. She picked up her cup, knocking some notes on the floor. She reached to pick them up and that is when she spotted it. There on the floor.

Abegail picked up the paper and scanned it quickly. She gasped slightly, looked around and headed out the door.

She walked hurriedly to her office where she could take in the contents of the letter better.

Abegail closed her door. She locked it, hoping anyone looking for her would think she was not in. She put her cup down on her desk and sat in her chair.

Abegail began to read the paper in her hands.

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letter:

Dear Ms. Abegail McHugh

My name is Rudolf Von Scott, you may remember me from the my lecture series that you attended in Switzerland last year. This is an urgent plea for your assistance and your knowledge. It seems as though a team of archaeologists from Zurich have discovered a most interesting papyrus documnet somewhere along the German-Austrian boarder, near the village of Rhenstal. I cannot go into much detail as my letters are no doubt being monitored by the SS, but I can say that the document concerns a certain BLACK STONE......

Come quickly.

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Abegail read the letter for a third time. It just wasn't settling in.

"This has to be a joke. No, it can't be. No one would joke about something like that. What if...no war was going on why would she be asked to come over seas unless..." Abby's mind reeled.

The BlackStone. it was so rarely mentioned. Everyone thought the grail was a cup. But a few, obscure texts referenced a stone.

Abegail stood and then she sat. She stood again. Her mind was rushing with a list of what she needed to do. She had to go. Abegail couldn't get her head around the things she needed to do.

"Focus Abby, my girl..." She heard her Da's voice in her head. Abegail let out a breath.

Alright, she was going. She couldn't turn this down. Too much of a mystery, too much to research to ignore it.

"Okay, first things first. Off to ask for leave, then laundry, then get my ticket, arrange a place to stay and pack." Abby rattled off the list out loud.

They'd give her the time off, she never took a day off. She'd say it was for important research. It wasn't a lie. She didn't have to tell them why or where she was going. She could lie and say family emergency. That would bring fewer questions.

Abby unlocked her door, tucked the letter into her bra and she headed off to the main offices. That was what she'd tell them, family emergency.

No wonder Walter was so out of sorts. This letter, the implications. This was dangerous and important.

Abegail walked at a brisk pace to the offices, passing students who were arriving and heading to their classes. She'd have acted the same way if she hadn't locked herself in the office. She wouldn't have wanted anyone reading her letter.

"Wait...." Abegail stopped. Her letter, what was he doing with a letter addressed to her? Now she was focused on going and she wanted answers from Walter. Dean first, Walter second. He owed her some answers.

She headed off again, lost in her anger and thoughts she wasn't aware of her surroundings. That was until she walked right into Walter.

Looking up, "Oh excuse me, I wasn't...." She blinked. "Walter, bloody hell....why don't ye watch out!" Her anger flashed but she attempted to keep it under control. There were too many people around to get into this now.

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Walter sensed her anger, but before she could burst out against him he informed her, "Found my letter I see? Did you notice the envelope? Look closely and you'll see that your address has been blotted out and mine has been placed over its vestiges." Walter looked down at his shoes dreading that he would have to tell her what he himself had only recently reasoned out, looking up he continued, "This is not a letter from Professor Scott! It is from our colleague professor Henry Jones, at least the envelope is. I do believe Indy is in some sort of trouble. You remember a few months ago when he left for Germany to find his father? Well he actually did mange to save him from the Nazi's but then on their trip back home Indiana disappeared, his father returned but in a critical state and had to be hospitalized. I know that you and he had some sort of a relationship, at least that's what the rumors circulating around Marshall professed. I only meant to spare you some....Well that's the whole of it." After a sigh of relief Walter added, "Obviously Indy altered the envelope so that it would arrive in my mailbox rather then yours, guess he figured that if he couldn't stop the letter from coming he would at least make sure you never saw it. He had already told me to never rush off on some fool rescue mission if I should ever receive a letter such as this one, for he would never ask that of someone else. I'm guessing that perhaps who ever sent it was hoping to lure you to Germany, I hate to even ponder the reasoning behind it, certainly no good would come of it." Walter's shoulders dropped, finally the secret was out, no more stress.

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Abegail stood there, her anger building.

She heard but didn't quite hear what Walter was telling her. Indy? She hadn't thought of him. She bit her lip, that was a lie.

She shook her head. She clenched her hands, nails digging into them, enough to bring tears.

Abegail clenched her jaw, through her teeth, "Walter, this....ye bloody bastard. Do you not realize what this is? How dare ye hide it from me. Were ye planning to go? And not tell me? To what protect me from some danger? How bloody, stupidly noble of ye."

Abegail took a breath, the accent was going to make it hard for him to understand her if she didn't calm down some.

"I canna let you just go off without me, take the glory for the research. No. Bogs to the bloody rumours, what we did or didna have between us is not of your concern. Ye spare me nothin' by keepin' it from me." She sighed, attempting to calm.

Abegail raised her chin and cleared her throat, "Walter, I am going. What Indy wanted or didn't want..." She shook her head. "This is too important. You know that."

Abegail started to move past Walter, her goal again the main office.

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"Gutsy Broad" Walter murmured to himself in an affectionate tone as he walked on after her. Catching up to her brisk movements across the lawn on the north side of the college, putting on his old cowboy styled hat which he could always be found clutching in his left hand, he turned his head toward Abagail as they walked, he lit up yet another cigarette, "I might not be as charming as Indiana, but Ill have to do" he said with a slight smile. "We are about to embark on an extremely dangerous mission. Have no reservations concerning the odds of our success, as they are stacked up against us." Abagail pulled the letter out of its rather odd hiding place and handed it back to Walter. An exhale of smoke and a deep inhale of the crisp Autumn air, "Damn Nazi's" Walter said as he dropped the ominous letter to the ground, landing Swastika symbol face down in the muddy puddle, a fitting place for it no doubt.

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Abegail walked and Walter caught up and kept pace with her.

"Indy's charm has nothing to do with this. We? Am I to understand the you wish to go with me? Or are you thinking that you will accompany me to protect me? Or take credit for the research yourself?"

She started up the steps to the main office. Her anger bubbling to the surface again, "Understand me, I am not a wee babe in need of protecting. I go for the research, not for Indy." Again, partly a lie. Her heart had been racing ever since Walter said no one knew where he was. Not because she loved him, she didn't do that but he was a friend and colleague.

Abegail smiled as she stood on the stairs, "Aye Walter, it is dangerous and exciting. Who knows what awaits us."

With that she turned and headed inside. She made herself known at the Dean's office and got into his office. She went in and explained that there was a family emergency and that she was leaving for an indeterminate amount of time. Abegail told him that her assistant's could take care of her classes until she returned.

"If Abby...if you return," flashed in her mind.

The dean agreed, likely because the look on her face told him that she would not take no for an answer.

Turning on her heel, she felt the excitement ripple through her body. Excitement and fear. She knew she was going someplace very dangerous. Not only was she a single woman, not a nurse and with no way to justify her being there but they were heading into an area under Nazi control. And they were looking into something that is not supposed to exist. She'd have to stay on her toes.

"One problem at a time Abby, do ye self no good worrying about all that now." She was talking to herself in an effort to make herself believe that was in fact the case.

Abegail exited the building and went to find Walter. "Might as well make travel plans together." She thought.

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"Got permission to go? I already had a nice long conversation with good ol' dean Haley earlier this morning, woke him from a sound sleep, he was not pleased." Luckily I was already on my way away from this town when I received the letter." Walter who was already waiting for Abagail, propped up against the small concrete wall to the left of the door leading to the deans office. Walter continued, "You know I meant nothing about what I said, I know your no shrinking Violet, Indy would never be interested in such a woman, nor do did I mean to suggest anything torrid going on between you two. But Abagail I have to be honest with you, we are in very real danger, I don't mean Nazi's either." Abagail turned to Walter and saw the legitimate look of concern on his face, not just for her life but for them both. "I already knew about the document." Walter said in a quiet ominous manner, raising his voice a bit higher, "Have you ever heard of the Thule-Gesellschaft?" Abagail turned her head toward Walter with a look of semi-familiarity upon her face. "I don't now if you heard anything about my interests outside the world of academia, of course its not something I have tried hard to deny or keep secret. This is not to be taken lightly, we battle not the brutality of man, nor tanks, heavy artillery, or a German luger pointed in our face. What we seek, has never been sought, at least not by any sane man, for no sane man would have any use of this thing that we search for."

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Abegail turned to see Walter waiting for her. He was leaning against the building.

"I did get permission but I didn't give the man a choice. Told him it was a family emergency."

Abby's face soften, she was no longer angry at him.

"I know you did not mean anything by it. I just...I hate being treated with kid gloves. Indy and I...it was nothing. He is my friend. I have a great deal of respect for him. His interest in me, well that is his interest." Abegail shrugged slightly.

She looked at him as he talked of his worry and of the other aspects of his work. Abegail knew he worked with the occult. She didn't keep tabs, unsure how deep he delved into it but she knew he and Indy had things in common.

The fear began to creep up her spine again. She trembled slightly but did her best to hide it.

As he finished, she swallowed hard.
Abegail tried to laugh, "It's a good thing no one has ever considered me sane then."

Abegail did her best to keep the tremble out of her voice, "Walter, I need to do this. I need to know. I...I have no idea what I am up against or what will meet me when we do this but I need to do it. I am happy to have you as company."

She lifted her chin, then slumped her shoulders as her bravery was betraying her. Her voice soft and quiet, "I need a drink, will you join me? We can discuss more, someplace quieter. We have plans to make."

She walked slowly across the campus back towards her office. Her hands in front of her, she was doing the best to bolster herself. She could do this, she had to. This was important. Ghost stories would not scare her. She'd heard loads of them on her mother's knee.

Walter walked with her.

She opened her door and made a beeline to the desk. She opened the drawer and pulled out the bottle. She poured a glass for Walter and one for herself.

Abegail drank hers quickly, one gulp and poured herself another.

"Alright, I think you need to give me an idea of what I am in for. I will bring my research but there are obviously things I do not know." She sat on her desk, ignoring the papers. She gestured to the chair offering it to him.

She sat legs crossed, glass in her hand. She sipped as she waited for him to sit.

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Walter looked down at the glass, then in a smooth motion picked it up from the desk, with the drink in hand he took the seat that had been offered to him by Abagail. Walter sat with his legs spread wide, one elbow resting on his left leg and raising the glass to his mouth with the other. Not being much of a snifter it took a small swallow or two to completely empty the glass of its contents, placing the spent glass on the edge of the desk he took in some air in preparation for the odd tale he was about to weave. "You Abagail are one of the leading authorities on the legend of the so-called holy grail, but what I have to tell you has never been revealed before in any academic source, being handed down by word of mouth for generation after generation, and then only to those initiated into certain dark occult orders. The true grail is not a chalice, it is a rock, as you are aware, but it is an extremely unusual specimen. It Bleeds."

Walter took a quick glance at the empty glass upon the desk and wished it was full at that moment, he would need it now, he continued, "Now when I say it bleeds I don't mean to suggest that it pours forth plasma, animal or otherwise. The 'blood' is produced by the various oxides of which the stone is largely comprised, it in fact consists of several minerals of extraterrestrial origin, for this rock comes from the deepest reaches of space and many of the elements are totally unknown here on earth. It also has some very paculiar properties, heavy stable elements which could conceivably be used in the manufacturing of atomic weapons."

Walter stopped for a brief moment to allow Abagail to take it all in, though he had yet to touch upon the must disturbing part of his tale. "What we are dealing with here is a piece of a meteorite, there are also indications that it was not only a small sample of a much larger specimen but that this larger mass was actually hollow. We have never been able to confirm this obviously as the rest of the meteor has been lost for hundreds of years, assuming that a significant portion of it had survived entry into our atmosphere. I shutter to even contemplate what could have been encased within the meteor." Verbally spent Walter's head dipped down toward the floor of Abagail's office.

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Abegail watched him empty the glass. She was getting nervous now.

"Bleeds? Is he bloody loonie?" Abegail kept the thought to herself as he continued.
Walter glanced at his empty glass and then continued on.

He continued on with his tale and Abegail listened, taking it in and attempting to process what he was telling her.

Walter dropped his head. Abegail reached over and grabbed the bottle of scotch. She poured him another glass. The bottle was almost empty. Good thing she had another in her drawer, they were going to need it.

"Alright, I knew the grail was not going to be some fantastic golden chalice but you expect me to believe it is a piece of a meteorite? Of unknown elements, fine. One for the geologists then. Now I have two things to ask. One it's from a larger piece that was hollow? And you don't know what was in it? Two, how in the world do you know this is the grail. I mean I heard the obscure tales of a stone being the grail but nothing ever stated why they thought that."

Abegail downed her glass, placing it heavily on the desk.

"Wait now, I have another question. These documents turned up along the German border, they supposedly tell where the stone is or the larger piece it came from?"

She rubbed her face with both hands. Sighing slightly, she folded her hands in her lap. She should have been taking notes, she knew that, but her hands weren't steady enough to hold the pen.

They were talking on going on hunt for a stone, supposedly the grail, or at least documents that might lead them to it. Abegail was always up for a grail hunt. But with the war going on, with other orginizations after things like this, it made it more dangerous and more deadly. Some of the grail hunters she'd encounter were not quite sane. Dealing with Germany was going to add a whole new level.

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Walter lifted his cowboy styled hat off his head and scratch his scalp and then replace the hat, "Well as to your first inquiry, I can't really tell you why we believe it is a stone, that's just how the tale has come down to us. Myths are often based on some sort of fact, its just that its not always the facts that one is expecting. I can only tell you that I have had contact with someone from France who assures me that this is so, in fact it is rumored that one such stone is in the possession of some Dukes wife, or something to that effect. However there are some doubts as to the validity of this claim. And once again, about it being hollow, that's just how it has come to us, I have no inkling of why it has been told in this manner, nor am I certain myself that this is true" Walter grabbed the freshly poured glass of scotch and with one big gulp he consumed it, the liquid rushed down his throat, coughing slightly and quite comically, "Very smooth" he managed to get out before continuing. "What I am about to tell you now is merely legend, understand? ....The hollow meteor is said to have housed the living soul of Lucifer himself."

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Abegail nodded as he explained that most of what he knew was tales. She was used to that. The grail itself is a legend, nothing to factually back it up. She knew that and had heard stories of it since she was just little.

She bit her lip in an effort to stop from laughing as he coughed.

She poured the last of the scotch into both their glasses and tossed the bottle at the garbage can. She missed and it rattled noisily and hit the ground as if to emphasize his statement.

"The hollow meteor is said to have housed the living soul of Lucifer himself"

Abegail practically fell off her desk. Between the noise of the bottle and his statement she didn't know if she should faint or laugh.

She took a breath, downed her third glass and slid off her desk.

"Ye mean to tell me, Walter that the grail, the thing that promises so much....is connected to a fallen angel? I am goin' to look for a stone that belong to the thing that brought Lucifer himself?" The scotch was starting to hit her. Her accent popping up in her slightly inebriated state.

"Well, canna be any worse then any of the other stories of the things protecting the grail or searching for it. We have a lotta plannin' to do." She stood. Taking a deep breath.

"We will fly from here to Spain? Then train seems safest yes? I will need at least two hours to pack and get my ticket." She nodded.

"Walter, ye not tellin' me this in hopes of scaring me away are ye? I will na be scared off by tales of angels, fallen or otherwise." She narrowed her eyes at him. Abegail searched his face for something that would tell her if he was just trying to scare her off.

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"No, not at all." Walter replied forcefully. "Don't worry about our getting into Germany, everything has been arranged once we get there, of course we still have to get there. My contacts at the Psychic research institute of London have secured false identification papers for both of us, we will be chaperoned through a secret tunnel which will take us into Germany, all this has been set up by the Resistance movement. A chapter of The White Rose will be our contacts across the boarder as well. If I'm not mistaken, the Americans have agents there already, not a single secret society in existence is aware of the discovery of the documents, they are all sending their best man. We have an advantage as we at least have a place to start from, I just hope that we are the only ones who are aware of the village of Rhenstal." Walter, who was looking down at the glass in his hand whilst twirling it around with his fingers continued, "That's the most likley place for Indiana to be hiding, and we desperately need his help. I'm just not experienced enough with these things, as I guide I'm fine, but should be run into Nazi's......well, I'm not too confident in my fighting skills." Walter placed the the empty glass on the floor beside him, he then put both hands on his knees, taking a deep breath he rose from his chair, sighed and then added, "Here is to an uneventful journey, trouble wise."

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Abegail nodded at his assurance that he was not trying to scare her. She wanted to believe him and the force of his words calmed her enough that she felt she could trust what he said. The details seemed in place for their journey and she was slightly startled at how much he had planned out and made arrangements for already.

So many names, so many people involved, so many hands involved, and all it meant was more hands that could potentially kill them should they not like what Walter and Abby were doing.

Abegail shook her head, "I'll be no use to ye with there is fighting. I mean I can take care my own and I have a decent hook if need be but I have never shot a gun." She swallowed, "First time for everythin' aye? So we go to the village and follow the trail from there, to Indy, to the papers and to who knows what."

Abegail moved past Walter and opened the bottom drawers of her desk. From one she took the unopened bottle of scotch and placed it in her briefcase. From the other drawer she took a pile of worn clothes. Those too she shoved in the briefcase and attempted to close it.

Abegail, "Give me two hours to pack. You can pick me up at my place." Her composure better, she forced the accent down. Abegail scribbled her address on a piece of paper for Walter.

"Two hours." She grabbed a stack of books from her desk. She balanced them on one arm and started to scan the bookcase for others she thought would be relevant. Pulling a few she added them to the pile. She turned and grabbed the stuffed briefcase.

She nodded to Walter and left the room. She considered picking up the empty bottle from the floor but quickly decided against it. "Bullocks to that, at this point they can think what they want about me. I might never come back." It was the last thought that ran through her head as she headed across the campus and towards her home.

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Walter walked back to his house which stood across the street from Marshall College, once there he finished up with his packing, most of it had already been packed away in his suitcase, rather sloppily, everything was stuffed inside the case with no sense of organization. After packing he went into the kitchen to have a cup of coffee and while there, sitting at the kitchen table, he heard a strange sound coming from the other room. Quick to his feet Walter rushed into the living room in an attempt to discover the source of the strange noise. Shifting his eyes around the average sized living room Walter was startled by a shadow which had floated passed the window. Upon further investigation he determined that he was simply imagining this, perhaps a bit of paranoia brought on the growing sense of doom which had attached itself to Walter's thoughts. Walter would not tell Abagail of this strange shadowy encounter, though she could sense that something was wrong.

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Abegail opened the door to her small apartment. She shared the house with other people. A large house it was divided into small apartments. The Marshall rented the apartments out to the single female staff. Routinely patrolled by campus security to make the women feel safe. In all honesty, Abegail spent so little time here that she wouldn't be able to tell you what colour the walls were.

She entered the room, kicked the door closed and locked it. Moving to the couch she dropped her briefcase and set down the stack of books. The room was musty. A layer of dust settled on all of her books. She moved around the room and quickly threw open a window. Abby picked up a long dead plant and tossed it in the garbage. As she began to pull the dirty clothes out of her backpack she thought over what she was getting herself into. "Come one Abby, do not go scaring yourself." She spoke this outloud hoping the sound of her own voice would calm her some.

Abegail moved to the kitchen and quickly hand washed some of her clothes in the sink. Wringing them out she place the articles on the counters to dry. Opening her oven a bit she turned it on low. The extra heat would get them to dry quicker and she could get her packing done faster that way.

That was when she heard the noise. Abegail nearly jumped out of her skin. Rushing into the main room she saw the pile of books had fallen off of the couch. "Good grief Abegail, you are going to make yourself faint. Get a grip!" Abby scolded herself as she set about picking up the books. Stacking them again she looked at her briefcase. That was when she knew the books hadn't just fallen. The entire contents of her briefcase were dumped on the couch. The full unopened bottle of scotch sat there along with some of her notes but she knew immediately that something was missing. Rifling through the papers she found that one of her notebooks was missing. She knew it had the notes from the lecture in which she discussed the various other stories of the grail, it's other forms. Abegail's stomach turned. She knew that is contained stories of the various organizations that sought the grail. That is why the grail has so many forms and locations. There are so many looking.

Abegail's face paled. She looked at the door. It was still locked. The window! Abby jumped up quickly and looked out. Anyone who had been there was long gone and there was no sign of them. She slammed the window closed.

Abegail started to pack her bag, her hands shaking as she did so. Her briefcase was repacked and she included a few fresh notebooks and all the books she felt would be the most relevant to where they were going. She didn't have any on Lucifer or meteors but she had plenty on the grail. Her suitcase included the full bottle of scotch. She briefly considered opening but packed it feeling that on the journey she was more likely to need it.

Her clothes mostly dry, Abegail packed them in the suitcase. Abegail placed the suitcase and the briefcase by the door. She sat on the couch and waited for Walter to knock on the door. Abby tried desperately to stop her hands from shaking. She hoped Walter wouldn't notice how pale she was. How was she supposed to explain that someone had slipped in and taken her book and she never even caught a glimpse.

What had she gotten herself into?

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Walter briskly walked along the sidewalk leading to the house where Abagail lived, which stood several blocks away on the same side of the street as his own, all the while Walter was keeping an eye out for any strangers that might be following him, though he could not see anyone. Still feeling as though he was being watched He quickened his pace. A few minutes later he had arrived at the building in which Abagail had her apartment, the structure was of a decent size, and although Walter had never been invited into Abagail's apartment he was familiar with the interior of the building, a few years ago he had taken the job of assisting with the renovation of the building, as a way to make some extra money during the summer seasons. Traveling around to the back of the building Walter slowly made his way to Abagail's apartment, he stopped at her front door, looked around once again to check for strangers and then he proceeded to knock on the door. Walter stood there and patiently waited. She was no doubt taking her time answering it, being careful and making sure that the person at the front door was indeed Walter Miller.

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Abegail jumped at the knock on her door. She made her way to the door. "It's just Walter, it's just Walter."

She stood near the door and opened it very slowly. The relief at seeing him there almost bringing her to tears. Abegail opened the door all the way and almost hugged him.
"Walter, I...I am ready." She swallowed her tears. She was trying very hard to hide it from him.

Abegail turned and grabbed her coat, throwing it over her arm she picked up her briefcase and suitcase. She turned quickly to make sure he was still there. Again, relieved when he remained standing on her stoop.

"I have my passport and I am ready to go." She attempted to smile at him.

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"I called for a cab before leaving my place, they should be here within the next half hour, I told them to meet us in front of your building, are you sure your ready?" Walter was certain that she was, but he had to make sure, not that he was the virtue of bravery itself, in fact he shared some of her reservations about the trip. Stepping to one side Walter took Abagail by the elbow and helped her out the door, the bags she was carrying scrapped against the door frame as she stepped out into the night. They both walked back to the front of the building to wait for the cab to show up, twenty six minutes later the cab pulled up to the curb where they were standing. The driver immediately got out of the cab to assist with the luggage which he found sitting in the street close to the sidewalk, he jammed the suitcases into the small trunk of the taxi and then grabbed the handle to the backdoor of the vehicle, seeing this Walter stepped aside and let Abagail enter the taxi. Walter was about to get into the cab, when all of a sudden a car came screeching from around the corner, as five shots rang out. Abagail and Walter instinctively ducked down to avoid being struck by the spray of gunfire, the taxi driver was not so lucky, three of the shots and hit him, one penetrated his left arm, the second hit him in the neck, and the last bullet lightly grazing his forehead. Miraculously none of the shots hit Abagail and Walter, the backseat window was shattered but Abagail wasn't injured by the flying glass.

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Abegail climbed into the cab. She was doing the best to assure herself that she was in fact ready.

The shots rang out and Abby ducked. Pressing herself low into the floor of the cab, caring little for anything but getting as low to the ground as she could. The spray of glass around her was astonishing. Abegail could hardly believe it was glass. She felt it, and luckily none of it injured her as it rained down around her.

She shook, and she lay against the floor, "All the saint's in heaven..." She muttered into her arm.

The next thought that flashed in her head was Walter. "Oh, saint's alive...Walter..." Had he been hit? Was he okay? Abegail raised her head. She slowly rolled over to find Walter crouched low behind her. In other circumstances their postition in the car would be considered scandolous. Abegail reached out to touch Walter's shoulder.

She practically whispered through her tears, "Oh Walter, please tell me, ye're not...are ye hurt? Walter?" She slid and put both hands on his shoulders. Abegail thought she should check to see if he was bleeding but what good what it do? She wouldn't know how to stop it.

"Oh Walter, please donna be hurt, please...." She looked at the body of the cab driver and swallowed the bile that was pushing up into her throat. She moved slightly, and rubbed her leg in some glass. She winced as the shards brushed her skin. She didn't care, she was terrified that Walter was hurt, worse dead and that the people who shot at them would be back.

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Walter had hit the deck, so to speak, hitting the floor of the taxi, with his upper body resting upon the back seat, he was in a kneeling position between the front and back seat on the drivers side. Walter remained still for a few moments not quite believing what had just happened, and even though Walter could hear Abagail's calls of concern he was mentally unable to process it. Walter remained there on the floor for a few more seconds, eventually looking up to see that Abagail had gotten out of the cab to check on the driver. It was obvious that nothing could be done for the poor man laying on the ground near his taxi cab, as he was plainly dead. Walter's only concern at that point was to get to the airport as soon as they could, clearly there was someone who didn't want them to interfere with whatever was going on in Germany and France. Walter startled Abagail when he placed a hand on her should and spoke softly, "There is nothing we can do for him now. We need to get out of here, we don't need to be explaining things to the police. Not that they would believe us, I mean demons and Nazi's?" Walter helped Abagail to her feet and together they left the bloody scene and immediately walked toward Walter's house. There they would call for another cab and try to forget about what had just happened, all that mattered now was that they continue their prearrange journey to Germany. Luckily the surrounding area was usually devoid of any passers by at night, certainly no students would be spotted around the small college when school wasn't in session. Walter and Abagail were able to call up another taxi, although this second taxi driver had questioned them as to what had happened down the street he didn't hold up the couple, as he perceived the two to be.

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Abegail jumped when Walter placed his hand on her shoulder. She nodded mutely as he told her there was nothing they could do and they had to leave. In an almost mechanical way she grabbed her suitcase and briefcase and followed Walter to his house.

As they waited for the second cab, Abegail brushed the glass from her clothes. It would do no good if someone could tell she'd just been shot at.

Abegail stood with Walter as they waited and she willed herself to calm down. She swallowed occasionally trying to keep her scotch from earlier from freeing itself from her stomach. She agreed with Walter that there was no way for them to explain any of this. No one would believe a word they said. With the travel arrangements already made it would be worse to stop and attempt to talk about it then to move ahead. Abegail tried hard to be calm. Walter seemed unshaken and calm. She could not break now. Not now just as they were starting out. No, she would see this through. No matter what that meant.

As the cab pulled up the driver questioned them about what was going on down the street and Abegail let Walter answer the questions. She stood at his side smiling politely. The cab driver assumed they were a couple. It didn't bother Abegail that he did. Gave her an excuse to lean against Walter in the car. Frankly, she needed something to keep her steady.

Walter allowed her to climb in first. As she sat, he climbed in behind her. Once he was seated she leaned slightly up against his arm. Abegail prayed he couldn't feel her shaking. "You will get your head together by the time you get to the airport. You understand Abby girl. Donna go losing it. You already lost a notebook, no good losing your sanity too." Her notebook!

She cleared her throat, "Walter?" She leaned closer to his ear so she could whisper. "Someone broke into my place before you picked me up. They took one of my notebooks."

She leaned back into a sitting position. Abegail let Walter take in what she told him as the cab drove to the airport.

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Walter had remained silent for a moment, but not as a result of Abagail's revelation, but for the simple reason that he too had secret to tell, and as Abagail felt comfortable enough to unburden herself onto Walter, he felt the need to do the same. "Someone must know what we are about to do, our carefully planned trip obviously isn't as big of a secret as we had hoped it was. Just before I came to your apartment I had witnessed a strange shadow outside my living room window. I ran out to check on it but there was no one there, I also could feel that I was being watched as I walked toward your house." Looking at the taxi driver who seemed to bend his ear in an attempt to hear the conversation going on in the backseat Walter stopped talking. He then leaned closer to Abagail in order to continue his explanation of the events prior to their meeting at the housing complex. "I have to admit that I have no idea who it could be that might be following us. Its hard to believe that there could be some Nazi faction existing here in the United States. If there is someone from another country who has come here to Connecticut, they must know about the letter that was sent to you. So they must have literally followed its delivery to the States."

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Abegail turned white when Walter told her that he had seen someone outside his home. She noticed that the cab driver was getting a little to curious about their conversation and she found herself worried that the driver could be in on whatever plot was going on to stop them.

Abegail leaned into Walter, pretending that like a couple, they were intent on each other's company. She nestled in against his neck, close to his ear. She whispered in his ear, "How much of our travel plans can we still trust? Should we seek out a later plane? Change our plans for once we land? If someone is following us and following the letter who knows what parts of your careful plans are compromised. That letter, and us following it means a great deal to someone. And they took my bloody notes." The last statement was almost hissed in Walter's ear.

Abegail's fear was giving way to anger. She was mad. She was mad that she was afraid, that someone took her notebook, that they shot at her and Walter and that they thought this would be enough to stop her from pursuing this to the end. No, they'd have to kill her. And right now, should she manage to get her hands on one of them responsible Abegail was fairly certain her temper would lead her to do something very rash.

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Walter gazed toward the driver of the cab, confidant that he was no longer straining his ear to eavesdrop of their conversation, Walter continued, insuring Abagail, "Well as far as getting into Germany and occupied France is concerned the plans are beyond suspicion, I have dealt with these people before, they would lay their lives down for us. However, I am a bit concerned about our flight plans, though honestly there is little we can do at this point, we must carry on with our mission." After saying this Walter resumed a normal tone, rising the pitch and forcefulness of his voice as he carried on with light, mundane topics. There was no way for Abagail and Walter to know whether or not the driver was indeed listening in on their conversation, or ever what that might mean, its possible that the driver is just a nosy person. At any rate, the driver had leaned forward once again and assumed an uninterested demeanor as he continued to drive the taxi toward the airport, now only a few miles away.

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As Walter started talking about trivial topics, Abegail resumed sitting comfortably in her seat. He was concerned for their flights plans. Alright, what could they do though? So few flights with passengers were heading ver because of the war. They would have to settle for whatever flight got them there. Abegail prayed that they would be okay. She was glad the cab driver now seemed disinterested in their talking. Perhaps he was just nosy. Abegail joined in the mundane chatter with Walter but looked out the window. There were no car lights behind them and so few people on the street. It was a little disconcerting, as if the world around her was reminding her just how alone and small she and Walter were in all this.

The cab slowed at the curb. Abegail found herself looking at the doors of the airport. A quick check of her inside pocket found her passport where she had left it. Abegail waited for Walter to exit the cab and she followed him. Moving to the back, the driver was taking their suitcases out. Abegail found herself surveying the man's features, trying to commit them to memory. "Just in case," flashed through her mind.

Abegail was used to doing things on her own so when she reached in to take some money out of her wallet to pay for the cab, she found both Walter and the driver looking at her. "Stupid git, Abby. He thinks you are a couple. No woman would pay for anything," the panic of the thought causing her eyes to go wide. Abegail stood there for a moment. Replacing her money, she tucked her wallet away and attempted to smile. Walter made a comment to the driver which did not register with Abegail's ears. She could feel the embarassment in the heat of her cheeks. Abegail picked up her suitcase and briefcase.

With the driver taken care of Walter grabbed his suitcase and the two entered the airport. Abegail hoped the tickets were taken care of and that for now, even for a short time maybe things would be okay.

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Walter and Abagail exited the cab and quickly made their way into the airport, they would be flying Pan American Airways international air service, although they were very late to arrive at the airport they did managed to get their tickets and enter the Boeing 314 Clipper in time. Walter did not saying anything but as they were walking through the airport he noticed a rather odd character standing by the refreshment stand. The mysterious man wore a long black trench coat which covered the rest of his clothing, though Walter could tell that he was wearing a black suit beneath his coat, he also wore distinctive shoes, the same black shoes wore by German Officers. The flight was scheduled to leave within the next few minutes, leaving Walter ands Abagail just enough time t get themselves settled in their seats, sitting next to each other in the last set of seats of the huge flying boat. They had both settled for the long 18 hour flight that lay ahead of them, luckily the seats in this plain could be converted into bunks for overnight flights, the events of the day had tired them both to near exhaustion and so they turned in almost as soon as they got settled.

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Abegail settled back into her seat, reclining it. She didn't realize how tired she was. Abegail considered getting up and giving her face a splash just to clean it a bit. She was sure it was dirty from laying on the floor of the cab. Frankly, she was so tired she honestly didn't care. The scare in her apartment, the gunshots and the worry in the cab had taken the last of her energy.

As she lay there, Abby contemplated when the last time she had slept was. All last night she had been working, the night before that Abegail worked in the library all night and she couldn't remember any of the nights before that. Abby figured she must have nodded off at a desk at some point. As the planes engines started Abegail wondered if she'd be able to sleep with such noise. It didn't take long for her answer. Abegail's eyes closed and she drifted into an exhausted sleep. The last thought that played on the edge of mind was, "At least in the air no one will be able to sneak up out of nowhere."

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Both Abagail and Walter would sleep for the entire 13 hour flight to Spain, though not an entirely restful sleep, each had awoken several times for a few brief moments before falling back to sleep. The plane had touched down at the airport in Marbella Spain without either Walter or Abagail noticing that their flight had come to an end. The stewardess who had tried to wake them several times throughout the flight, for their dinner meal and so forth, but she was unsuccessfully in this endeavor, now however after their long rest Walter and Abagail were primed to be awakened. Upon awakening they were beset with a typical autumn in Spain, muggy and raining.

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Abegail stepped off the plane. The muggy air and rain making her wavy hair frizzy. She scowled as she attempted to smooth it down, wishing she had something to keep it back. In her haste to leave she realized that she had left her hat at home. Abegail did not normally wear it to school, even though it would have been more proper for her to have it on. Abegail was not good at doing things the proper way. Right now, in the humidity and rain she never wanted the hat more. Abegail retrieved her suitcase and carrying her briefcase followed Walter.

Abegail was refreshed from her sleep. She figured she had not slept that well or that deeply in days, maybe weeks. Presently, while awake, Abegail wanted to wash her face, comb her unruly hair and change out of her crumpled clothes. Feeling it would make Walter remember she was a woman and cause him to treat her as some fragile thing she kept the desire to freshen up to herself.

Abby's long sleep had allowed her to bypass the the fear she had on the previous day. She pushed it far away. Abegail wanted to solve this mystery. Where was Indy? What was on these found papers? And was this stone real and was it the grail? Her desire to find the answers was tinged with the bubbling anger. Yes, the fear was gone but Abegail was angry. They stole from her, followed them and shot at them. Who they were she didn't have a clue but she was mad regardless.

As they walked Abegail had the feeling that she was being watched. Selfconciously she attempted to smooth her hair again. Abegail looked around at the other patrons of the Mirabella Airport. No one was obviously watching her, everyone seemed to be going about their business. Abegail glanced at Walter, wondering if he too felt it or if it was just her. Unexpectedly the hair on the back of her neck stood up. "Bloody hell, getting spooked by shadows. No good Abby." she muttered under her breath. To be on the safe side she gripped her suitcase and briefcase that much harder. She was ready to swing should anyone attempt to take them or attack her.

Breathing in the autumn air, Abegail inquired in her calmest tone, "What is our next move?"

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As they walked down the runway Walter turned to Abagail and answered her, "Well from here we can catch a train to the Austrian border, it will entail another long trip, this time by train. Once we arrive there its just a short car ride to the village, it is situated in a very out of the way place, somewhere along the Unterberg mountain rage. I know exactly where the documents are being kept, there is a little house at the base of those mountain, in fact its the only structure standing for at least a mile, my contacts have left them there for us." The rain kept pouring down, luckily the stewardess had provided some umbrella's for each of them, unfortunately the nylon barrier above their heads could not prevent their cloths from becoming soaked. Once inside the airport and after making a call for a taxi Walter and Abagail went into the rest rooms to change their cloths.

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Abegail was glad for the rain. With both of them soaked it gave her an excuse to change. She stepped into the restroom. She was alone at the moment and glad for it. Abegail sighed heavily and set about cleaning up and changing. Stripping quickly she donned dry clothes. She wrong out her very wet ones and did her best to get them as dry as she could before she put them in suitcase. A quick wash of her face and she felt like a person again. Looking into the sink Abegail found a great deal of dust and grit from her face. "Oh, I must have looked frightful. Like a rabbit on the run." Abegail had to conceed that while she had a desination she was much like a ribbit on the run, heart beating and aware that someone was on your trail.

Abegail ran a brush forcefully through her tangled hair. She pinned it back into a bun at the base of her neck. It would have to do. No helping it in this weather. It would be no better on a long train ride.

Admittedly, a train was a nicer journey than a plane. Abegail had taken both before and prefered the train. It would give her time to pour over her books and make notes. Now she would focus on any mentions of a stone. It meant going over a great deal of literature but the train would allow that. Checking herself for a last time in the mirror Abegail figured it was the best she could do under the circumstances. At least she looked more put together.

Bolstered by the freshing up Abegail turned to the door, a smile playing on her face. She walked into a figure. Abegail assumed at first that it was Walter, looking for her. While she found it odd she thought he was just being cautious. "I was just.." The words caught in her throat as she realized the man in front of her was not Walter.

"You vill come with me now." The man's heavy german accent made it difficult to understand him but the tone made the meaning very clear. Abegail gripped her suitcase and briefcase harder. She was banking on the fact that he wouldn't know just how many books she had in there. Abegail took three steps back from the man, drawing him away from the door.

"Oh no, I donna believe I will. I have an escort already aye? What would I do with the likes of ye?" She backed up another step, the man took two slow steps towards her.
"Fraulien, you vill come." He reached to to grab her. Abegail put all her anger into the swing. Her briefcase flew out and at the man's head. He was clearly not expecting her to fight. His head turned and his body followed with the force of the hit from the heavy books she carried. Abegail took the oppritunity to run for the door.

At full speed she flung open the door and ran out. She ran right into another body and for a minute her heart leapt into her throat. "Oh god" She bounced slighty off of the man. Looking up she found herself staring at Walter.

"We need to leavin' now, ye hear me?" Abegail's tone made it clear she would not be argued with.

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"Come this way, hurry!' Walter grabbed Abagail by the forearm and lead her out of the airport lobby and into an awaiting cab, the stranger from the ladies restroom quickly following them. Heads turned in his direction due to the loud clicking of the hard soled black shoes which he wore as part of his SS uniform, Walter and Abagail were certainly getting some attention from the onlookers in the airport. The rain had stopped by the time they made it outside, the cab was still parked near the curb, just as Walter had asked upon ordering service from the cab company. The back door of the cab had already been opened for them by the driver, this door would serve as their only form of protection, fortunately for them it was a sturdy foreign made vehicle. An unusual sensation was beginning to overtake Walter and Abagail as they ran for their very lives toward the main exit. The trauma and danger of the present situation gave the impression that everything was going in slow motion.

The double doors which lead out of the lobby were violently flung wide with the assistance of Walter's outstretched hand. The long trench coat worn by the black clad Nazi officer fluttered wildly as he ran after the foreigners, pulling his pistol from the coat he fired four shots at Walter and Abagail, none of which had reached their intended targets. Walter and Abagail only had a few more steps before they reached the waiting cab by the curb, Abagail showed considerable agility by diving into the back seat of the car, as Walter trailed closely behind her. Walter repeated Abagail's rather impressive feat of diving head first into the back seat, in one swift motion he also grabbed the door handle and pulled it shut. One....two...three more shots rang out, this time nearly hitting Walter. The cab driver was completely frozen with fright as Walter yelled out to him, "Get us the hell out of here man!"

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Abegail let Walter pull her out of the airport. She was thankful that he had ordered the cab. Although it was at the curb it seemed so very far away.

"You can do it Abby..." she ran with Walter. His grip on her arm giving her the courage to keep moving. The noise around her was almost deafening. People murmuring, commenting, the sound of his shoes and her breath as she ran.

With a strong shove by Walter the doors opened in front of them. Then she heard the shots. Gunshots. Three, no four. He was going to hit someone and while she hoped it wasn't an innocent she also prayed it would be her or Walter.

As the ran Abegail brace for what she was sure was going to be pain as one of the bullets was sure to hit her. She had always heard it was easier to hit a moving target and moving they were. No pain. "Oh sweet angels above..." Abegail dove into the car. She put her head down on her knees and braced herself. Her suitcase and briefcase dropped haphazardly on the floor in front of her.

"Get us the hell of here man!"

Abegail heard Walter yell at the driver and she wanted to echo his sentiments but chose to keep her head down instead.

As the car drove off Abegail lifted her head. She dared a peak out of the back window. The man stood watching them drive away. The sneer on his face sent Abby's stomach churning. She was positive they would see him again.

"Are ye hurt? Did he hit ye? The bastard stopped me in the ladies. I hit him with me briefcase and made a run for it. I'm sorry I ran inta ye but I'm na sorry. Thanks to ye."

Abegail's accent was thick and heavy. She didn't care. Walter had just gotten her out of there and she'd thank him properly again once she knew he was okay and she had caught her breath again.

Abegail looked Walter over, looking for signs a bullet had hit him at all. Not finding any obvious marks and not wishing to seem overly friendly she let it be. Abegail sat attempting to catch her breath. When she felt it was sufficiently under control she turned to Walter. "He told me I was going with him. I ran. I doubt very much that going with him would have helped our task."

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The bullet ridden taxi pulled up to the corner of Bella and Reinald streets, there the car came to a violent and sudden stop. The driver was just as shocked as Walter and Abagail were by the insane events of the last few minutes, putting his head on the steering wheel he mumbled something in Spanish, though they could not understand his words they knew that it was something along the lines of "Get the hell out of my cab!" which however was spoken in a rather calm and yet forceful manner. Grabbing the few bags that they still had left, most of them were left back at the airport, and there was certainly no way they would be going back to pick them up. Making due with the bags that they had Walter and Abagail climbed out of the beat up taxi cab. There was a cafe a few storefronts down from where they currently stood and so they made a bee line to it. Settling in a corner booth they tried their best to "blend in" which was hard considering the state that they were in, a bit disheveled and overwrought. "The village is less then 10 miles away from our present location" Walter said to Abagail as he motioned for the waiter to service their table. After requesting two stiff drinks Walter fell back against the backrest, looking down at his left hand Walter was astonished to discover that he had been able to cling onto his hat throughout that entire ordeal. "This must be my lucky hat" he thought to himself. Moments later the waiter returned to the exhausted couples table with the stiff drinks that Walter had requested. It seemed a wonderful piece of choreography on their part as Walter and Abagail simultaneously picked up their glasses and downed their contents with one swift motion, both glasses clanking back down om the wooden table in perfect sync with one another. Sensing that these two people wanted nothing more then to be left alone the waiter walked off to attend to his other customers. Both Walter and Abagail were completely spent.

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The drink burned Abegail's throat and she was glad for it. If she hadn't been so shocked, she'd have likely cried. Abegail wasn't one for tears but this was more than anyone could have imagined.

After sitting for silence for a few minutes, Abegail looked at Walter. She was slightly concerned at how he looked. He wasn't hurt but he looked as if he had just run for his life and this startled her. "We just....we barely got away. If I hadna hit him he would have..." Abby let the rest of her thought hang in the air. She realized looking at Walter that she must look quite similar. Mere minutes ago she was happily freshened up and ready for a long train ride. Now she was likely as worn out looking as disheveled as Walter. It happened so quickly and yet it was like she had watched it all in slow motion.

"Walter, we need to make it to this village to get the train to the border? Is that the plan? We need another cab, but the train. We are going to have to be very, very careful." Abegail glanced around the cafe. She is between a rock and a hard place. She didn't know Walter that well that she would have said she trusted him completely but in the time span of just over a day he had saved her life on more than one occassion. No, Abby looked around she couldn't trust anyone but Walter. Then the doubt crept in. It was Walter that had made the travel plans, secured the plane ticket, and had her letter to begin with. What if...?

Abegail searched Walter's face. She saw an exhausted, and shocked man. There was no way he planned all this. No, he was stuck with these people on his tail just like she was. She had to trust him. Without realizing she was doing it, Abegail reached out and gave Walter's hand a squeeze. She tried to give a reassuring smile as well but she was sure he could tell she was scared and unsure of what was going to become of them.

Abegail released his hand, "For the train, do we have two compartments? We need to make sure that for such a long journey we can keep tabs on each other. Seperating again is not a very good idea. They could jump you as easily as they did me."

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"No more Taxi's for us." Walter blurted out in an attempt to introduce some light humor into the rather outrageous situation that they had found themselves in. "I want a nice calm horse drawn peasants wagon." he added. Walter placed his hat on his head and lit up a well deserved cigarette, he offered one to Abagail, which she uncharacteristically accepted. They both took a drag from their cigarettes and then looked out the window, the cafe was on the right side of the street, with the left side completely devoid of any and all structures, only a wondrous view of the famous Austrian mountain range could be seen from their location. Loking back at Abagail Walter proceeded to answer the questions that had been put to him, "The village is only 10 miles up the road, it is actually situated some 70 miles from the German boarder. A short train ride. Still I have reserved a private compartment, no bed I'm afraid just two seats on each side of the small chamber." Walter took another drag from his cigarette and then continued, "It won't be long now. I just hope that Indiana is there waiting for us and not some evil Nazi scum." Walter then leaned forward and grabbed Abagail's hand in a gentle and respectful manner, just as she had done moments before. "Don't worry, everything will be just fine." Walter assured Abagail, not that he doubted her ability to take care of herself.

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Abegail took the cigarette and surpressed a cough as she inhaled. Scotch was easier to handle. Abegail chuckled at Walter's joke. "No more taxi's. We should steal a cart." Abby smiled.

"I don't need a bed. Just someplace where we can lock the door." Abegail closed her eyes. She was used to sleeping at her desk. That didn't bother her. She just wanted some security and peace while she worked. Abegail nodded, her eyes still closed as Walter continued talking. She was slightly startled when he took her hand. She opened her eyes and looked at him. She nodded at his assurance. "I know it will, it has to be. Otherwise what is the point, aye?" Again she smiled.

Abegail waited for Walter to move. When he was ready they would find a way to the train.

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"40 winks perhaps? It might be a good idea as we make our way to the little house at the base of the mountain range." Rewarding himself with a last drag from his nearly spent cigarette Walter turned back to the beautiful view outside the cafe window. With a long exhale he turned to Abagail, "I think its about time to get moving again." Sitting a few seconds more he waited for a consenting look from Abagail, once he received it he got up from his chair, now standing beside the table he reached into his pocket and pulled out some Euro and preceeded to pay for the two drinks that he and Abagail had consumed so quickly. Walter and Abagail grabbed their bags and headed for the door, unfortunately when they got out of the cafe there were no horse drawn carts for them to steal. There were also no taxi's that drove where they needed to go, for all properly built roads ended just five miles ahead. After several minutes waiting outside the cafe they finally go a ride from a passing car, the person driving the vehicle, who happened to speak english fairly well, agreed to take them to the old house, even though she wouldn't normally venture that far into the countryside.

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Abegail followed Walter out of the cafe, thanking him for the needed drink. "I have the unopened bottle in my bag. We can have another when we arrive."

They walked and Abegail shivered despite the humid air. Abegail was thankful for the driver stopping. She sat silently in the car. When they arrived she stepped out after Walter. The house was small, relatively remote. That put Abby at ease as they would see most people coming. Then a sense of dread crept in. They were also far away in the countryside with no way of getting away again.

Abegail kept her fear to herself as she followed Walter into the small house. She kept her eyes on the shadows praying there was not another SS officer waiting for them somewhere near by.

"Just a bit of rest, that's all I'm asking." the thought went through her mind as Walter opened the door.

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Abagail would have her secret wish to spend a few hours in rest and relaxation answered upon entering the small building, stepping inside the structure they were greeted with an empty house. The sparsely furnished dwelling looked as though it had not been inhabited for months, thick cobwebs clung to each corner of the living room between the walls and ceiling. The inside was very rustic with only a couch an average sized table in the middle of the living room, upon this table there sat the newly discovered documents, just as Walter's contacts had described to him. "There they are!" Walter exclaimed in an excited, relieved manner. "Exactly where I told you they would be" he added, feeling the need to validate himself. Walter walked over to the table in the center of the room and picked up the documents to feel the unmistakable dry roughness of the papyrus on which the age old text was written. Minutes later, after Walter had discovered the generator outside the back door, he and Abagail settled themselves, Abagial collapsed on the couch near the front door, as Walter claimed the big comfortable looking chair by the fireplace. Sitting there is the small house with a fire now blazing within the fireplace Walter began to translate the document, although Abagail was perfectly capable of translating ancient Greek into English, she had no desire to do so, opting instead to close her eyes and just listen.

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Abegail breathed in the dry air of the small house. No one had obviously been here for a while. That suited Abegail just fine. Walter exclaimed excitedly. Abegail turned to see the source of his excitement. There they sat, a few rough dry pieces of papyrus on the table. Abegail was excited, exhausted and excited. Walter set off to find the generator and get the fire going.

Abegail dropped her suitcase and briefcase. She pulled the unopened and miraculously undamaged bottle of scotch out of her briefcase. As Walter got the generator going and lit the fire she poured them two healthy glasses. They deserved it after what they had gone through.

Walter grab the papers and sat in the chair. Abegail sat on the couch, not caring she kicked off her shoes and put her feet up. Before fully relaxing she took her bun out os her hair. Shaking her wavy red hair out she relaxed back against the arm of the couch. It was quiet and peaceful and almost like a vacation. Well, minus the gunshots, and attempted kidnapping. Abegail could almost laugh at what they had gone through today. Almost.

Holding her glass she sipped her drink as she listened to Walter translate the papers. She was happy for once to have someone else do the work and she contentedly listened.

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After looking over the document for a few minutes Walter turned to Abagail, with the excitement of a scholar giving his first lecture of considerable size and importance, but to overwhelmed to care about proper syntax, he spoke, "Oh Ab, what a find is this." Presenting Abagail with the biggest grin she had ever witnessed Walter continued, "Now I can't be sure, but it looks to be from the late 2ND century. At least that's my assessment, barring proper Carbon dating you understand." Walter turned back to his original face forward position and started to translate the document.

"The angels were not made perfect by God from the beginning, because their God could not make them perfect. The reason for this is that God could not and cannot make anyone like Himself or coequal with Himself in any way; and although God himself may be called almighty by many, yet this He cannot do at all. And thus, in so much as they were inferior to God—that is to say, as they were not like Him or coequal with Him—these angels could be found wanting to the extent that they could covet His beauty and greatness. So, one reads of Lucifer in Isaiah: "I will exalt my throne above the stars. I will be like the Most High." And thus, such a one would perhaps say that on this account we cannot reasonably blame God for not making His angels so perfect that they could not have coveted His beauty and greatness at all, because God could not do so. If God understood all things from the beginning and knew that His angels would in the future become demons, because of the character which He himself gave them from the beginning, it follows that the aforementioned angels could never in any way have avoided becoming demons.

God, who above was called good, holy, and just, would be the sole cause and principle of the punishment and ruin of all His angels. He inflicted eternal punishment on His angels without reason or justice, in that these angels could not in any way avoid that evil.

When it came time for Him to punish Lucifer the Son Jesus came forward on his behalf saying, 'Father do not punish my brother Lucifer, the one whom you made first as a brother to me. Are you not his Father also, your Son does not deserve your wrath. Let him on his own account go down to the newly created world, to rule over it. His spirit is restless and prideful, but if you give him dominion over the world below, he will be content and not trouble you more.' And thus Lucifer was commissioned to be the lord of the world below. Before the fall from the heavens Lucifer stole a certain secret knowledge from God and wore it as an encasing around himself. Upon the newly formed world Lucifer fashioned the great stone that he wore into a shining throne, a glorious platform from which he would rule over all creation."

Walter was just about to read the last few lines, when all the color drained away from his face, giving him a distinct ghostly appearance. He could only get a few words out as he tried to explain the reason for his shocked expression, "__ stone is __ throne __ __ no God. __ __ rule."

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Abegail watched Walter become very excited as he looked over the papers. She could not help but smile. She even let it pass that he called her Ab and was surprised that it really did not bother her. After everything they had just gone through it was nice to know that something was working in their favour. Obviously the information was more than Walter had hoped for. Abegail relaxed and let him have his moment, digest what was written there before he told her.

As he started to read it out to her, Abegail closed her eyes and listened intently. She was familiar with the thoughts on angels and the various church teachings. It can't be avoided when one grows up in Ireland and one chooses to study an item that was the target of so many holy wars and yet considered somewhat blasphemous. Abegail was fine and familiar with it all until Walter started to read about Lucifer's decent. Her eyes still closed Abby frowned. It was not the teaching she was familiar with. Stole knowledge and wore it encased around himself? Abegail knew this fit with Walter had told her about the black stone being a piece of a larger hollow piece. A throne? Abegail frowned deeper.

Walter paused in his readying causing Abegail to open her eyes and look at him. Walter was white as a ghost and he faltered in the reading of the document.
"__ stone is __ throne __ __ no God. __ __ rule."

Abegail sat up on the couch and put her glass down. "Walter? I don't understand...Stone, throne...no god?"

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"That Fräulein Mchugh, is privileged information." the loud voice came from the front door, now flung wide. Neither Abagail nor Walter had witnessed the door being pulled open, still there he was, Niclas Elberich, head investigator of the Thule-Gesellschaft, the scourge of Berlin. Walter and Abagail broke their conversation and looked up toward the front door. The mysterious man was shadowed against the cold dark night outside and the warm fire illuminated interior. Once they had adjusted to the unexpected presence they found themselves starring at a man of average height, but with a sinister stature. The Nazi officer was clad in the traditional black Nazi attire, with a long trench coat and black gloves. Walter looked down at the floor and noticed the mans hard soled black officer shoes, the very same ones which had gathered so much attention at the airport. Niclas wore a dark suit under his trench coat and so Walter could not see the rest of his body, but he did notice the heavy black colored tattoo on the mans neck, something which Walter assumed to be a very uncommon feature on an SS officer.

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At the sound of the man's voice Abegail looked at the door. Abegail instintually backed away from the man, toppling her glass in the process. The scotch began making a small puddle at Abegail's feet. Abby narrowed her eyes at the man. It was the same one who had stopped her in the bathroom. Abegail did not like him. The trenchcoat and gloves sent chills up her back. He was clearly not here to share a drink with them.

He knew her name. That bothered Abegail tremendously. She disliked this situation being so onesided. Abegailed glanced at Walter. He still had the papyrus in his hands. Looking around the room Abegail started looking for potential weapons, anything she could throw at the man to allow them to flee. She quickly remembered she had taken her shoes off. "Oh hell, Abby....of all the times to relax." Abegail inwardly yelled at herself as she tried to figure out the best way to get her shoes on, distract the man and get Walter and the papers out of there.

"Well now, Mr? It seems I am at a disadvantage. I donna know your name and yet ye seem to know me." Abegail hoped he would be concentrating on her words and deciphering her words amid the accent to allow her movements towards her shoes to go unnoticed. Abegail stepped over her tipped glass, inching closer to her shoes.

"Ye seem ta be fond of sneakin' up on unsuspectin' people. Somethin' they teach ye? Dinna they inform ye it's inproper to approach a young one in the ladies?" Abegail attempted to slip her foot into her shoe. She couldn't look at Walter for fear of giving her actions away.

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With a slight chuckle Niclas spoke, "Oh. By all means Fräulein Mchugh, put on your shoes, you have a long journey ahead of you. You also Herr Doctor." At this point Niclas made a slight motion with his hand, a signal which was answered by the two German soldiers now standing behind Walter and Abagail, holding their Walther P38 semi-automatic pistols, pointed at them both. Niclas' demeanor turned from a sinister calm to a violent outburst when he shouted "Ergreift sie jetzt" (seize them), his command caused both Walter and Abagail to flinch with fear and surprise. The two officers came up from behind Walter and Abagail, they had been standing by the back door the whole time, only becoming active when a command was given by their superior. The man behind Walter took the papyrus document before grabbing his hands and forcing them behind his back, while the other officer approached Abagail.

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Abegail was startled as the man told her to put her shoes on. "Damn it...damn it..." She slid them on quickly, her mind frantically trying to find a way out. Abegail was concerned that Walter was just standing there. Didn't he realize he needed to help? And then the man motioned. Abegail's heart jumped into her throat as she realized why Wlater hadn't moved. She never saw them, the two other officers but there they were. They had come in the very way she was hoping to escape. The man's harsh command caused Abegail to flinch as if he had hit her.

"You've got to get away...Abby run...." Her brain was screaming at her to move. They had guns but if she could just run. They'd shoot at her and she'd be leaving Walter behind. "Think Abby!"

There was no more time. The officer behind Walter took the papyrus and secured Walter's hands behind him. The other officer made his way towards Abegail. Abegail slowly moved away from him. She continued to back up, her eyes glancing everywhere for a way to escape. She was like a frightened animal. Abegail hated being afraid. "Just get to the table, grab the open briefcase, it still has books in it..." Abegail's mind raced as she backed up. Her hands were searching for the table. Abegail wanted nothing more than to feel the rough leather of her briefcase. The officer kept his gun on Abegail and he advanced towards her. Abegail reached but she did not find the leather, she grabbed onto material. With a sick feeling in her stomach she realized she had backed right up to the door and was currently holding the edge of the black trenchcoat.

Abegail glanced to her right and almost cried as she realized just how close the table and her briefcase were. She knew deep down it wouldn't have helped her but this was worse. She had just handed herself to the SS officer in the trenchcoat as the other kept the gun on her. Abegail was trapped.

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The soldier that Abagail had unintentionally backed up against wore a frightful and devious smirk upon his face as her body became tense from the unwanted discovery. He had whispered something inappropriate in her ear, luckily it was in German and she did not understand the lewd comment. Walter was standing close to them now that Abagail had backed up and although he sensed that the soldier said something to Abagail, he too could not speak the language, or else he would have defended her with an appropriate action, as ineffective as it might have been. Niclas scolded the junior officer for his undignified remark and then commanded the officers to escort Walter and Abagail out of the house, and to place them in the VW Kuebelwagen (small jeep) that was waiting for them outside.

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Abegail shivered as the man whispered to her. She had no idea what he said but the tone suggested something that her brothers would have beat him up for. Abegail was beginning to wonder where her courage was. At home she would have never let any man get away with that. Abegail was not home and these men outnumbered her and they had guns.

The man in the door said something and the younger officers started to escort them outside.

"Wait! My books. I need...". Abegail forced her way back to the table, conscious of the guns pointed at her. Abegail grabbed her briefcase and climbed into the jeep next to Walter.

"What are we going to do?". Abegail whispered to Walter.

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The small mud encrusted vehicle was cramped, the two junior officers sat in the front while Abagail and Walter sat in the back seats, with Niclas standing in front of them, as he held onto the top of the jeep with one hand. The other hand still held the P38 pistol, which he continued to point at the two prisoners. Niclas looked at Abagail and smiled, he then looked down at the case in her hand, which she seemed to guard most diligently. "I see you managed to save your decadent American books!" looking to the right side of the fast moving jeep he spoke further, "You will have no use for them where you are going." Turning back to Abagail with the same smirk he added, "We know what to do with your propaganda books, I'm afraid they are destined for the flame."

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Abegail narrowed her eyes at the man. Her anger, once just bubbling at the surface could not be contained. She was sick and tired of them pointing guns and threatening her.

"Ye right arse. Ye'll not be takin' my books. There be nothin' decadent about 'em. They are research and knowledge. Ye'll get them in a pyre over me dead body. Ye'll have to rip it out of me hands you right bastard." her voiced raised over the noise of the moving jeep. "Ye canna just kidnap whoever ye like. I donna know who ye think ye are!"

Abegail almost leapt out of her seat to shove the man. The only thing stopping her was the rocking motion of the vehicle. If it had been stopped or the ride a little smoother Abegail would have done whatever necessary to push the man out. Abegail's anger and outrage was clear on her face. It made her look a little like the depictions of the Celtic women warriors, fierce and proud.

Abegail clenched her briefcase harder and stared at the man for the rest of the trip.

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Noticing Abagail's mounting anger Niclas continued to provoke her, "Reach into that case and let me see one of your books of knowledge." At first Abagail was intimidated by the black clad Nazi and refused to comply, but Niclas insisted. Walter, who had not said a thing since he was forced into the VW jeep spoke up for the first time, "Give him a book Abagail, we don't need any more trouble then we are already in." The way in which Walter had pleaded with Abagail to comply to the officers request told her that he had something in mind, possible a plan to get them both out of the present situation.

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Abegail hated this man. She glared at him. When he laughed she wanted to hit the smile off his face. Her rising anger only serve to fuel him and that made it worse for Abegail.

When Walter told her to give him a book she looked at Walter and was about to ask him if he had gone right mad when she realized his tone and look said he was clearly planning something.

Abegail reached into her bag. She pulled out the first book she felt. With a scowl on her face, she handed the man the book. The book's title "The Grail. Fact and Myth". It was written by a former professor of Abegail's and her Phd research was a part of that book. Abegail's own research was in that man's hands and it bothered Abegail greatly.

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Niclas couldn't have cared less what book Abagail had handed him, his only concern was to egg her on, knowing that there was virtually nothing the two of them could do. They had no weapons, they were crammed into a tight space which was violently bouncing up and down, tossed in every direction by the rough terrain. "The Grail. The grail is ours!" After saying this Niclas dangled the book over the side of the jeep, threatening to drop it, which no doubt would have damaged the book beyond repair, and to become lost to Abagail forever.

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Abegail watched the man dangle the book over the side of the jeep. Her work, the work of so many others about to be cast aside as if it didn't matter at all. Her knuckles were white the grip on her briefcase was so hard. Abegail teeth clenched together and if it wasn't for the cramped space she would have already leapt at the man. As it was, Walter could feel how tense her body was and how she seemed on edge and ready to move.

"Ye right bastard...if ye drop that book ye'll regret it to the day ye die. No respect for anythin' ye think you own it all and know it all. Ye ain't know shite...." Abegail's voice was calm and quiet. The kind of calm and quiet that comes when someone is beyond just angry. Abegail never stopped staring at the man. "Go ahead, drop it and see what becomes of ye."

She watched him closely the first sign that she was dropping it Abegail was determined to take him over the side as well. Walter could feel her manuvring to the edge of her seat. If the book went Abby was taking him with it and if it went she went to, well, wouldn't be the first time she found herself in the mud.

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Niclas was amused by this females threats, turning to the men piloting the small military vehicle he joked with them, non of which Walter and Abagail could understand, though by the tone of their banter they obviously thought the comment was amusing, although Abagail and Walter certainly would not have thought so. It was then that Walter made his move. Quickly rising from the back seat he grabbed the book and smashed Niclas across the face with it, Niclas fell against the soldier sitting on the passengers side of the VW Jeep. Taking this opportunity to grab the driver by the neck in an attempt to break it. Walter was not overly muscular and so he obviosly could not completely break the mans neck, with the soldier being far more well built, he did however manage to choke him into unconsciousness. This was not a fool proof plan, as Walter and Abagail would soon realize, as there was now no one to drive the vehicle. The only thing which kept the jeep from swerving off the road was the fact that the soldiers body had fallen against the steering wheel, with his foot dead pressed onto the accelerator. Walter had his hands on the soldiers back as a way to steer the speeding jeep, it seemed as though his plan was working, at least until Niclas could straightened himself up. The plan would be thwarted if Abagail failed to react to the situation by somehow distracting Niclas.

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Abegail's anger gave way to astonishment. The man turned to mock her and Walter lunged and smacked the man with the book. As Walter reached for the driver's neck Abegail's mind raced.

Abegail looked for the gin. She knew he had one. He had it pointing at them earlier. Abegail frantically looked the man over. She saw the gun in his other hand. It was in a loose grip as he faltered from the hit.

Abegail lunged at the man her hands aimed for his face. If she could just get at him enough she could reach for the gun. Abegail found herself laying on the prone man. The officer under him struggled with the weight of now two people on him. Abegail clawed at Niclas' face. her right hand reaching for the gun. She could feel it, just at the edge of her fingers. Ignoring her skirt, Abegail jumped more. She was practically sitting on the man but she had managed to make contact with the gun. Abegail dug the nails of her left hand into whatever fleshy part of Niclas' face she could. Niclas made a noise under her and released the gun just enough for Abegail to grab it.

Her victory was somewhat shortlived. Niclas smacked Abegail hard across the face with his free hand. Abegail kept a grip on the gun but was sent backwards into the seats. She found herself very precariously perched on the seat, leaning a bit over the edge of the jeep. A good jolt and she might go over. "Just aim the gun...forget the pain" Niclas was clearly tired of the Irishwoman. With a growl he came at her. Abegail, using two hands aimed the gun at him. She prayed that he would stop his advance at her.

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Niclas was just about to retaliate and make a move to grab the pistol away from Abagail, when suddenly the jeep hit a small depression in the ground, although only inches deep it had caused the vehicle to buck wildly, the passengers were all thrown about violently, each momentarily loosing their bearing. The foot of the unconscious soldier slipped off the pedal slightly, causing the jeep to slow. Walter took this opportunity to force his body over to the passengers side of the jeep in an attempt to push Niclas over the side. Walter had succeeded, as Niclas was cast over the side of the jeep the soldier in the passengers seat sprang into action, he and Walter began to struggle in the back seat of the Jeep, which was still loosing momentum. Walter motioned to Abagail to take over the steering via the other soldiers unconscious body. "Speed up!' he shouted.

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Abegail lurched as the jeep hit the depression. She almost lost the gun. Regaining her bearings she watched Walter push Niclas off the side of the jeep. A wave of relief flooded Abegail and then was replaced by loss as she had no idea what became of her book in all the confusion. The jeep began to slow. The passenger, free from all extra bodies sprang at Walter.

Walter yelled. "Speed up!' Walter motioned to Abegail to take the wheel. Taking the gun and placing it in her skirt waistband Abegail attempted to place herself in the drivers seat with the unconcious driver. Ungracefully, Abegail swung a leg over the seat and attempted to kick the slumped driver out of the way. Completing her climb Abby found herself sharing the seat with the man. He was limp and half hanging off the seat.

Abegail pressed her foot onto the accelorater and took control of the wheel. Doing her best to keep the jeep straight and away from bumps Abegail steered. She looked to her side occassionally to see how Walter was making out in the struggle. The limp body beside her made it difficult at times to steer well. His arm kept getting caught. Abegail did her best. She swerved hard to the left to avoid a large pothole. This caused the two fighting bodies to fall to one side of the jeep, the SS officer taking advantage of Walter sliding backwards. To correct it Abegail turned hard to the right. The SS Officer was very off balanced and almost fell completely on his back on the seat with Walter regaining an upper hand.

"Walter the gun! Grab it! At my waist!" Abegailed yelled at Walter, praying the officer wouldn't understand her words. She kept both hands on the wheel, driving, unsure where she was taking them to and hoping Walter was able to fight the man off.

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Walter was no Indiana Jones when it came to roughhousing, although he did resemble the good doctor Jones in the fact that all throughout his fight with Niclas and the beafy officer he was currently involcved with, his hat had remained on his head. Walter removed it himself to use as a weapon, shoving the hat in the soldiers face he proceeded to punch him, seeing it done so often in the action type films of his day, Walter was surprised by how much it actually hurt oneself to punch another human being in the face. Nevertheless, Walter managed to gain the upper hand, sending this piece of Nazi scum off the opposite side of the jeep from which Niclas had been tossed. Walter climbed in to the now vacant front passengers seat and looked over at Abby who was doing a fine job steering the jeep and dealing with the unconscious soldier.

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"Oh thank heavens!" Abegail exclaimed as Walter sat in the passenger seat. "Can ye move this dead weight, man weighs a ton and makin' it hard to keep this bloody thing on the road. Abegail kept control as Walter pulled the limp man's body away from her and out the side of the jeep. "We need to get ta the train station. Ye have yer passport still or shall I turn round and head for the cabin to get our things? Oh! Did they keep the letters?" Abegail hit the brakes on the jeep hard, causing both of them to lurch forward and back against their seats.

Abegail took a few deep breathes. "Alright, we need to make a plan." Doing her best to compose herself, Abegail attempted to smooth her accent more. The effort gave her something other than her shaking hands to concentrate on.

"I have my briefcase."Abegail turned to make sure the worn leather case had survived her driving. It sat there as if it was on the calmest voyage. Abegail almost smiled. Her lost book flashed through her mind. She had no idea what had become of it after Walter hit Niclas with it. It could not be helped. Abegail had a decent stash of money in the lining of her briefcase. A trick her father had taught her. If she wished to travel as a single woman, her father made sure she was prepared.

Abegail turned to Walter. His face dirty and a bit sweaty from the fighting. "You did well. Thank you." She smiled at Walter, attempting to look brave. She desperately wanted to be someplace quiet, clean and safe. Did such a place exist anymore. Abegail noticed Walter's hat. "I hope it is not too badly ruined."

Watching Walter place the hat back on his head, Abegail found this gave her a bit of comfort. Somethings were still as they once were, from when they left the quiet college.

"House or train?" Abegail placed her foot above the accelorator awaiting Walter's decision.

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Walter placed his hat back on his sweat covered head, "Well we are only about 10 miles from the town of Vestig, if memory serves me right. There we can rest and clean up a bit." Casting his glance toward the floor of the VW jeep Walter spotted the papyrus laying where the junior officer in the passengers seat had dropped it after Niclas came crashing down upon him. "Here is the papyrus!" Walter exclaimed, then looking to the back of the jeep he spotted Abagail's book. "Well seems like things are looking up." Walter said cheerfully. The two unlikely heroes rode off into the setting sun. An hour later they would arrive in the small town of Vestig Austria, which was situated a mere mile from the German boarder, the town though seemingly unimpressive in stature did have one astounding feature, for it was one of the grandest depositories of scholarly research and education in all of central Europe. Walter and Abagail stroll nonchalantly down the quite streets of Vestig, pausing at the first Inn that they came across, the both entered. Walter's request of adjoining rooms was met with warm reactions from the old man at the front desk, the bell boy escorted Walter and Abagail up to their rooms for some need sleep. "Tomorrow we will head to the Vestig academy, there is much we need to study, and much I need to tell you. Maybe we should secure the papyrus in the hotel vault" speaking rhetorically before bidding Abagail good night, "Ill see you in the morning. We are safe here I think, at least for now. Here in the country we are far from the war."

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Abegail's heart jumped when Walter said he had found the papyrus and her book. Perhaps things were going to be okay for them after all. Abegail drove on. When they arrived an hour later Abegail parked the jeep in some trees. Her thinking was if it was harder to find no one would link it to them and maybe it would keep the nazi's off of their trail. Overall, Abegail wasn't sure. There wasn't too many places they could go but anything to buy them a bit of peace worked for Abby.

They walked and when Walter steered them into the first inn they passed Abegail happily followed him in. Abegail nodded to Walter's request to check the academy's library and his very sensible thought to lock the papyrus up. Walter bid her goodnight and Abby, sensing he was distracted did the same. She wanted to thank him, to compliment him again at how well he handled the officers and to say that she was glad they were both okay. Abegail knew that now was not the time for that as her hands were still a bit shaky from the adrenaline of all that had happened. If Abegail was to thank him now she might break down and Walter didn't need a crying woman on his hands now. Abegail was determined not to buckle in his presence. She hadn't with the officers and driving there was no way she would now that they were reasonably safe.

Abegail stepped into her room. Placing her briefcase down, she felt a momentary twinge that she had left the bottle behind along with her clothing but it couldn't be helped now. Abegail locked her door and then checked it to be sure. She did the same with her window. Undressing, Abegail realized she still had Niclas' gun tucked into her skirt. Thankful for her jacket that had covered it from the innkeeper, she placed the gun under her pillow. "Just in case." Abby reasoned. Abegail set about washing her clothing with the pitcher of water and basin that was in her room. She washed her face, her blouse and skirt. There was no help for her torn nylons. She knew it would be considered unseemly for her to be without them but she had no choice. They were torn and muddy. New ones would be scarce and likely impossible to find in this small town. Even being far from the war, things like nylons would be hard to find. Abegail did not really care. At this point Abegail was so tired and becoming quite sore that she did not care about anything. Her hair was brushed without any real thought and soon Abegail found herself laying on the bed.

Her eyes began to well with tears. "Oh now, don't go blubbering like some weak young one. Pull it together. Abby you are tougher than this." She was but it had been so much in so little time. Abegail was tired, so very tired. Her sleep on the plane seemed so very long ago, almost a dream. Abegail closed her eyes and hoped that sleep would come quickly. It did. Despite the visions of the SS officers chasing them in her head, the thoughts of the papyrus, the stone and Niclas coming at her Abegail fell into a deep sleep.
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Abegail woke with a start the next morning. She sat up quickly, looking around, her mind attempting to process where she was and why she was only in her slip. Abegail had knocked the pillow and looking down saw the gun. "Alright, get a grip. You know where you are and why, it is fine..." Abegail calmed herself. Standing, Abegail brushed the knots out of her hair and set about attempting to set it into some style that would not give anyone the impression of a child running in the wild. She smiled to herself as she could almost hear her Da's voice in her head. "Ah, Abby girl ye look like a child of the wee folk. All rosey cheeked and wild haired." Getting the wavy red mass on her head under some control Abegail began to dress. Her blouse was dry but her skirt was still damp. Abegail moved it to the window and opened the window to allow the air to dry it quicker. The morning air was cool as it blew into the room. Abegail sat on the bed, rearranging her books in her briefcase, hoping her skirt would be dry by the time Walter knocked on the adjoining door of their rooms.

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In typical bachelor fashion Walter made no arrangements for bed, he simply walked up to the plush bed and fell face first onto it. He still held onto the papyrus which he had contemplated placing in the hotel's vault for safe keeping. None of this would come to pass as he was dead asleep the second his over-worn body hit the bedding. Walter had woken up at an obscenely early hour in the morning, still face down on the bed he thought he could sleep for two centuries if he had the luxury, he was still quite tired. Opening his eyes did little to draw him out of the darkness, his first thought was that it was still night, seeing a speck of daylight out of the corner of his wide open eyes, he realized that he was still laying face down on the bed, that it wasn't still night time, but only seemed dark due to the fact that his eye sight was being obstructed by his pillow. With his face laying pressed against the pillow he wondered how he manage to keep from smothering himself during the night. The tiredness that he had felt upon awakening was soon obliterated by the excitement of new wondrous discoveries, turning onto his side he raised the papyrus to eye level.

The seriousness of his and Abagail's situation gripped his mind once again, though just briefly, the excitement of examining the document further having fought its way back. Walter leaped up into a sitting position and planted his feet on the floor. It was still barely morning and so Walter figured that Abagail was asleep, he certainly had no intentions of awakening her prematurely, in lieu of this action he went into the bathroom to take a shower. One of the things that he had learned when he was studying in his junior year of college was that showering releases negative ions into the air, at that they assisted in the generation of positive and beneficial thought. It had been a long time since he stood in the shower for a period longer then is need to cleanse oneself, not since those early years in college in fact, but once again he found himself doing just that, this time however he lost track of the minutes. By the time Walter had gotten out of the shower Abagail was already sitting on the edge of her bed waiting for him to knock on her hotel room door. Walter quickly toweled off, dressed himself, and was standing at Abagail's door in a matter of a few brief minutes. Walter then proceeded to knock.

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Abegail jumped at the sound of the knock. "Oh get a grip, you going to get spooked at every little noise now?" She scolded herself outloud. Abegail moved to the door and almost opened it. Then she remembered her skirt. "Um, uh....hang on a moment please." Abegail quickly headed to the open window. The sun was shining and the wind had picked up a bit. Her skirt was mostly dry now. Stepping into it, Abegail made her way to the adjoining door. She was still zipping the skirt up as she opened the door to find Walter on the other side.

"Did you sleep well?" Abegail finished with the zipper and smoothed out her skirt. "I thought I had slept well on the plane. I did not realize just how tired I was after all of that." Abegail smiled at Walter. He looked rested and ready to get on with the day. Abegail went to the bed. Sliding the gun into her briefcase she paused. "Should you carry the gun? I do not want to leave it but I am not sure if I am the best person to carry it."

Abegail glanced over her shoulder at Walter.

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Walter entered the room, as Abagail walked over to the bed and picked up the gun, "I don't relish the touch guy role, but if you rather I carry the weapon then I shall. But for now I think we should get to the academy, their library should be useful." With that Walter turned back toward the door, "Are you ready Abby?" Abagail nodded yes and then she and Walter walked out of the room and down to the hotel lobby. The Vestig academy was a few blocks down the street, Walter and Abagail were both nervous in the unfamiliar surroundings, they both kept an eye out for trouble, the events of the last few days however caused them to suspect everyone that they saw. The town was actually very lovely, though its beauty was lost on both Walter and Abagail, too much had transpired for them to think of anything but the danger which seemed to plague them where ever they traveled. The peaceful village provided same relief from the Chaos of the last few days, the apparent tranquility of this town enabled them to become more relaxed, by the time they had arrived at the academy both Walter and Abagail were calm and collected, both excited at the prospect of learning something new.

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Abegail quickly handed Walter the gun. "Feels safer in your hands than mine." Quickly slipping on her shoes and grabbing her briefcase she followed Walter onto the street. Abegail wished they had at least grabbed coffee beore they had headed out but the excitement at the possible information they might find quickly overcame the wish.

Like Walter, Abegail was watching every shadow, double checking every corner and eyeing everyone they passed. The feeling of wariness was not something Abegail liked but she disliked being surprised even more. As they walked, the peace and calm of the little town caused Abegail's stride to become more relaxed and she found herself smiling at the bright day and cheerful people.

Abegail longed to quiz Walter about the papyrus but she knew there would be time once they were in the library. As they entered the doors, the quiet of the building stifled the noise of the town behind them. The building was beautiful. Rows and rows of shelves full of books were laid out in front of them. Both Walter and Abegail held their breath as they knew that before them could be the very thing to help them figure out what the true nature of the stone and legend was.

Abegail began making a mental list of the types of books she wished to look at, "Stories about Lucifer, his coming to rule, legends surrounding his presence amoung men, sotries about his kingdom and his throne, grail legends that contain stones, stories and myths about people encountering a black stone, mentions of the stone in germanic/austrian history, geology books that might might help with recognition and identification should they come upon various black stones...." Abegail hoped the answer to what they were looking for, it's location, history and nature of it was somehow quietly sitting in one of these books.

Abegail approached the desk with Walter, praying the person in charge spoke a decent amount of english and that there would be volumes here in english or at least one of the languages she could read.

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Walter and Abigail Walker inside the ancient structure, approaching the front desk they were greeted by ancient looking man, the balding gentleman greeted the couple in his native language, but upon realizing that that they did not speak his language he switched to English. Once again he greeted the couple after a brief introduction Walter asked the old man where he might find books on Lucifer, geology, and Grail legends, he then asked him if there were any similar documents in the special archive section of the library. Getting up from the table the old man walked off in an attempt to find what the couple had requested, before leaving he asked Walter and Abigail to take a seat at one of the tables while he retrieved the books that they desired. Walter and Abigail walked to the nearest table and sat down, now looking around also noticed the beautiful brown stained oak table, with its pure brass frame. As he was examining the table Abigail was looking around, admiring the beautiful craftsmanship of the library itself, looking to the left she did not see the old man returning to the table with a stack of books and his hands. Stepping up to the table he asked them if they would assist him as the books were very heavy, especially to one as old as himself. In the old man's hands were several books along with four or 5 ancient documents, all of which were specific to the topics that they had requested at the main desk. Walter and Abigail reached out and grabbed some of the books from old librarian, relieving him of his burden the old man returned to his desk and sat down completly exhausted. Walter and Abigail divided the books and documents between them, sensing the Abigail desired to know more about Lucifer he allowed her to read the books and documents specific to that topic. Abigail looked up at Walter with an expression of gratitude, turning back to the documents before her she began to read and familiarize yourself with the history and legends associated with this mythical being. Walter sat forward in his chair with his elbows on the table as you read through the book before him, both Abigail and Walter would sit in in the same positions for the next few hours as they studied the various myths and legends which connected the biblical story of Lucifer to that of the Grail legend, as well as its association with astral bodies and the geology of the spheres beyond the planet Earth.

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Abegail read, and read and made notes. The hours passed and still she continued to read. Occassionally she would mumble to herself about what she was reading and then scribble frantically in her notebook. Abegail barely noticed Walter's presence. She was engrossed in the books. Abegail was not as familiar with religous texts as she was with Grail legends. She was soon able to put together how the two connected.

After a few a few hours, Abegail stretched her back a bit and sat back in her chair. "From what I can tell, Lucifer came to earth, bringing the stone with him. This stone is what we need to find. What I can't seem to find is what this has to do with the last lines on the papyrus. The stone, throne and no god..." Abegail whispered at Walter.

"I can see how it all is tied to the idea of the grail." Abegailed leaned on the table again. "What have you found?"

Abegail's stomach rumbled. In the silence of the building it sounded quite loud. At least to her ears. She was sure everyone could hear it. Abegail will it to be quiet. There was still so much to go through, no time for worries like her stomach.

Abegail looked at Walter, hoping he had more to help put some of the pieces together than what she had found. Abegail was happy to have a better understanding of what it was she was looking for and why the other organizations wanted to find it. If it was the grail then anyone in possession of it held great power. All grail quests, no matter a cup, crown, goblet or stone had more than one faction looking for and fighting for it.

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Walter was lost in the book before him, he had heard her question but he was intent on finishing what he was reading, after a few more moments he looked up from his book, which lay sprawled out on the table with the majority of its pages splayed out to the left, for he had nearly finished the entire tome. Looking around and clearing his throat Walter took his right hand and closed the remaining pages and its back cover, the tome now laying in one lump some by his left elbow. Walter then turned the book over from its back so that the front cover lay facing upwords, revealing its title to Abigail (The Crusades: volume 3, The Cathars of 12th century France), clearing his throat again he whispered to Abigail,

"The Cathars were a monastic order who believed that the world was imperfect creation and that Lucifer was its rightful Lord, and while Jesus had been chosen by God to act as a savior to all mankind, it was Lucifer who was given dominion over the earth. This belief was of course deemed heretical by the Catholic church and and so the Crusades were established deal with this threat, the holy Inquisition had seized the Cathars stronghold for six months and to no avail, the Cathars had been successful at holding back the hostile forces. During the siege five brave Cathars and managed to smuggle out several treasures, including a sliver of wood which according to legend had been a piece of the spear that pierced Christ's side. The other two treasurers, one of which was the very document that had been discovered on Austrian German border. Perhaps the oddest of all the items smuggled out of the castle that day was a black obsidian throne, which had been the last of the items to be taken to a secret cavern on a hillside near Montsegur in southern France. A small party of crusaders was sent to retrieve the items and to kill those responsible for its removal from the castle atop the hill. Knowing that the thieves were also warriors and the fact that they were inside the cave, which would give them the strategical advantage should anyone try to infiltrate it, they simply blew up the hillside around them, essentially sealing them inside. There the crusaders pitched camp and waited for them to die, after several weeks they removed the rocky debris and made their way inside the cave and found that both the treasure and those responsible for its thieft had vanished.

...According to ancient Cathar beliefs Lucifer was a brother of Jesus Christ, who had been created first among the Angels. Lucifer had been chosen for a special purpose, being selected by God to sit at his side as Jesus journeyed forth onto the earth to serve as its savior. Upon Jesus's return Lucifer would leave God's side and become regent and Lord of all the other Angels in heaven. Lucifer was prideful and felt that you shouldn't be obligated to wait for Jesus's return to take up the position and so he rebelled against God. As Jesus worked miracles upon the earth Lucifer conspired with a group of Angels to take over the rest, to make them subject only onto them. By the time of the ascension of Christ for was nearly imminent within the heavens as Lucifer and his cohorts mounted an offensive against God and his loyal servants. When Jesus returned he acted as counsel between his Father and his Brother, pleading with his father Jesus has managed to convince him that he should not destroy Lucifer nor shamefully cast him down, that deep down Lucifer only wanted to serve him. The outcome of which was that Lucifer was sent down to the earth to serve God as a representative of his divine grace, henceforth Lucifer was given rulership over the human race, serving as Lord of this world. God however had been deceived, Lucifer shut himself up inside a great stone and descended to the earth, the great rock was fashioned into a throne upon which Lucifer sat. Since that time it was believed that whoever obtained this throne would be given dominion over the earth."

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Abegailed paled, "The stone is proof that the throne exists and they want it...if they get it then they win. That's it. But if the stone is a piece of it could that mean it is already destroyed?"

Abegail sat trying hard to make sense of it all. She was brought up strict Irish Catholic and while she had given up a lot of her faith a long time ago, the stories were still ingrained in her. The idea that Lucifer wasn't what they protrayed him to be, or rather there was another view. "Oh Abby, you should know there is always another side to every story. Another view point." Abegail's mind waivered between scholar and her upbringing. Her mind and schooling completely contridicted the teachings of her childhood.

Abegail bit her lip, "So we need to find the stone and the throne before they do. If Hitler manages to get the throne or even a piece of it, can you imagine what that means to the rest of the world? To have domain over everything means you will be omnipotent and that cannot happen. We need to stop them." Abegail face made it clear how determined she was.

She scribbled in her note book. Abegail made notes about omnipotence and the link to eternal life, and the powers the grail was supposed to have. Notes were scribbled about the churches suppression of the this particular teaching and the link to the crusades. There were loads of stories of how the focus for smaller parties in the crusades were sent out to find and protect the grail. Made the talk of it being a chalice was a way to hide the true form, to cover up the deeds of these Cathar's and crusaders. Abegail knew the stories of the spear but the throne was a new aspect. She was not suprised they tried to hide it.

"What's our first step then? Southern France?" The idea of traveling was fine by Abegail. She was worried the longer they stayed here the easier they would be to find.

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Walter looked up at his book and took a deep breath and then looking back at Abigail he answered her, "Well, seeing as we had a difficult time at the airport the first time around I don't think that going there again is the wisest idea, but seeing as we had have no other choice I guess we will have to go back to the airport and charter ourselves a flight to Madrid to Paris, from there we will have to travel to the southern part of the country." After he finished Walter got up from his seat and then he and Abigail made their way to the front desk, returning the books of the old man and bidding him farewell, they left the hotel in order to gather up their things and leave for the airport. After they returned to the hotel and gathered up their things they made their way down to the lobby and out of the hotel, luckily this time finding a ride to the airport wasn't as hard as it had been before. Once at the airport Walter picked up the tickets that he had ordered while they were still in the hotel, a few minutes later they boarded the airplane and were off to Madrid. Even though they had slept that morning they felt it wise to get some sleep in order to rest up for the long journey from Paris to the Languedoc region of southern France. Before they went to sleep Walter explained to Abigail the specifics of their travel to the Pyrenees mountains, "Once we get there we will need to find a guide that can lead us to the caverns beneath Montségur, even though I have studied the Cathar faith and have written the book on the subject, studied the region, I am not the best guide. Besides that the cave is very hard to find if you are not familiar with the hillside surrounding the Castle." Abigail who was sitting in the seat next to the aisle placed the pillow the had been provided by the airport company behind her neck and head, but Walter finished speaking she leaned her head back on the pillow, closed her eyes and within a few minutes was fast asleep. Walter on the other hand stayed awake for the next few hours and thought about what may await them within the ancient mysterious cave on hillside of Montségur, this place had been used for centuries by various occult orders, governments and other individuals for dark purposes, the cavern in fact was a place of particular importance to practitioners of arcane practices and even ritualistic sacrifice. Some of the oldest cave paintings were found in this cavern, some dating back as much as 10,000 years or possibly even more, it is also fabled to be a portal to another dimension.

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Abegail listened to the travel plans and she shared Walter's unease at flying again. As they returned to the hotel, Abegail packed up her briefcase. Abby was going to make it a priority to get a new blouse and skirt upon arrival. While not high maintenance by any means, she was going to get a little tired of washing the same two pieces of clothes day in and day out.

The arrival at the airport and the flight out was uneventful and this helped ease Abegail's nerves. Walter talked about hiring a guide and Abegail began to dose. Soon she found herself asleep. Despite the deep sleep she had the night before Abegail was tired. The reading and scope of what they were looking for made her very tired. Abegail slept but her dreams were plagued with images of Lucifer, on a black throne, ruling over all of them. Abegail tossed and turned in the seat beside Walter. Abegail's dream shifted to her and Walter running, they were running from Niclas and a group of SS officers. As they ran from them, they were also runing towards a black stone that was always just out of reach. At one point in the dream, Niclas was grabbing Abegail's arm, pulling her away from the stone. She screamed for Walter to grab it. To Abegail's horror Walter slipped and fell, the stone at his fingertips. He fell away and down. Abegail couldn't see where he had fallen to. In her dream Walter was falling and gone and Abegail was caught.

Abegail woke with a start. Nearly sitting straight up in her seat on the plane. Her heart was pounding and she gripped the armrests . Very slowly Abegail's dream slipped away and she became more aware that they were on a plane that was slowly descending into France.

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Walter and Abigail got off the plane at Madrid and were able to make their connecting flight without any interference, arriving in Paris the next day. The two weary travelers had gotten in touch with the person that would serve as a guide while they were in southern France. By this time Walter and Abigail had quite enough of traveling though they knew they had to make this last trip by train as it would've taken far too long to drive to the region, and also knowing that much of the trip would be taken place in an area that is largely rough terrain, wilderness, and at great heights. The man that had met them in front of the preselected hotel refused to give his name and demanded a considerable sum of money. By this time Abigail and Walter nearly had enough of the situation, proclaiming to the man that they no longer need his help they turned and started to walk off, but before they had taken their fourth step the man called out to them and asked them to wait, at that point Abigail and Walter stopped and waited for the man to comply, as they knew he would. Luckily they had time to order their train tickets when they were still at the Madrid airport, of which they had ordered three. Careful not to miss the train the three of them walked off toward the station, haven had enough of taxis they chose to walk, luckily the train station was not that far from the hotel and so they were able to walk the distance in an acceptable amount of time to catch the 11:45am train to the Languedoc region of southern France. Upon arriving at the train station they found themselves standing in the middle of a fair sized crowd of passengers and their loved ones, the three visitors remained together keeping a close look out for any suspicious characters. As Abigail talked to the guide, asking him some questions about the region that they were traveling to, Walter was keeping an eye out, and that's when he saw two men with dark eyes and black trench coats approaching their location. The two men pushed their way through the crowd and in doing so started a considerable commotion as passengers and their family members were pushed aside in the stranger's attempt to get to Abigail and Walter, luckily the two men did not know about the guide that they had hired and so he was able to protect his new employers. The eldest of the two men was now only a few feet away from them, it was he that took the full brunt of the guide's retaliation when the black clad man tried to grab Abigail.

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Abegail was travel weary and in a foul mood when the guide tried to get such a large sum of money from them. Her walk to the train station was done in silence and her bad mood leant itself to her being incredibly quiet. Her dreams still bothered her a great deal and the thought of traveling more and sleeping did not give her a great deal of joy.

The crowded train station put Abegail on edge. "So glad we have our tickets, this is craziness." Abegail thought as she looked around at the families milling about. A time when she left home and her family gathered to send her off, wishing her well and her mother crying flashed into her mind. Abegail missed them. "If I get out of this I am going home to visit them for a bit." Abegail silently promised. Making idle chat with the guide about getting some suitable clothing for her upon their arrival, Abegail didn't notice the change in the crowd around them right away.

The guide lashed out at a man in black. Abegail's nightmare flashed in her mind. "Bloody hell! Walter!" Abegail took three steps backwards as the guide engaged the elder of the two men. Abegail looked around her. Too many people to run, no idea how many others lurked in the crowd waiting to grab them and too close to get a good swing at them with her bag. Abegail backed up more. She could not see Walter. The people around her were milling in the confusion and Abegail found herself lost amid them. A mild panic set in. "Walter where are you?" Abegail looked around frantically in the chaos.

Abegail saw an arm, clad in black and her stomach dropped. Thankfully it was just an man in the suit. He gave Abegail an annoyed looked as he was saying farewell to a family member. Abegail kept looking for Walter, for the guide...for anyone who could help her.

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In the chaos that now pursued Walter push his way past the crowd in an attempt to get to Abigail before one of strangers in the trenchcoats was able to break free of the guide to grab her. Pushing his way past the rather upset man in a black suit Walter grabbed Abigail by the hand as the two of them made their way to the train which had pulled up to the platform. Walter could feel Abigail's relief by the tension in her hand as the two climbed aboard the train, narrowly making their way onto the fifth train car. Neither Walter nor Abigail could see the guide through the smoke clouded window of the car, all they could do was hope that he was able to get aboard in time, and that he was able to fight off the two strangers with the black coats, although somehow they doubted that this was so. Luckily for them the train was only minutes away from leaving the station when the two men showed up to try and stop them from getting on it, seconds later the engines of the train started up, the wheels started to move taking the train down the tracks, leaving the two strangers behind with Abigail, Walter and their guide safely aboard the train. Finally gathering up enough steam the train was finally on its way and as the train speeded up taking them farther and farther away the three exhausted passengers began to relax. As they stood there by the door exhausted and gasping for breath Walter thought over the days events not believing what had transpired these last few days, he could hardly believe that such an insignificant thing as a rock could possibly be of so much value to anyone other than the most dedicated and insane geologist. Looking over at Abigail Walter inhaled deeply and upon releasing it spoke to Abigail, "Well, it won't be long now. I think perhaps we're nearing the end of it all. Just think Abigail only a few days ago we were sitting at our desks, our only care was how in the world am I going to get all of these blasted papers corrected before the day is out." To that both Abigail and Walter laughed.

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Abegail felt someone grab her by the hand. For a moment she tensed. Then she realized the person was grabbing her hand, not her arm. She looked up and was relieved to see that it was Walter. "Oh thank god..." quietly escaped her lips as he pulled her onto the train.

There were a few tense moments between their taking a seat and the train pulling away. "Please, please just go...pull away...." Abegail silently willed the train to move. She tood, stiff and ready to run should the men in the coats appear before the train left. The train began to move. Abegail felt the slow speed build up under her feet. In her utter relief Abegail rested her head against the first surface she could find. She did not realize until he had taken a breath that she had rested her head on Walter's chest.

Abegail lifted her head from his chest as Walter spoke to her. "Well, it won't be long now. I think perhaps we're nearing the end of it all. Just think Abigail only a few days ago we were sitting at our desks, our only care was how in the world am I going to get all of these blasted papers corrected before the day is out." Abegail had to laugh. It was almost absurd how far they had come in such a short period of time.

"Aye, and all this for a black blast rock. If you had told me I'd be hunting down a rock I would have called you mad." still laughing Abegail smiled at Walter. "And I have na had nearly enough to drink to make up for all this."

"We canna stand here for the rest of the trip. Shall we find a seat?" Abegail moved off down the aisle of the car. Taking a seat near a window Abegail looked out at the passing countryside.

"Walter...." Abegail turned to look at him. "Thank you for finding me...for pulling me onto the train. For not losing me in the crowd. I could na find ye. I was in a right panic." Abegail nodded at Walter. "Just thanks to ye."

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Walter took a seat beside Abigail and then with his right hand he reached out and touched hers, a touch of friendship and understanding, "Well, to tell you the truth I don't think I would've made it without your help, your strength and perseverance." Walter and Abigail gazed at each other with a look of mutual respect and admiration. Settling down in their seats they tried to forget about what had just transpired, looking out the window of the train car they tried to admire the scenery which was passing by the window as the steam train rolled down the tracks towards their ultimate destination, that of the southern region of France known as Languedoc. Although the ride in the train was soothing and the scenery outside their window beautiful Walter could not help but think of what may await them in the caves beneath Montségur Castle. By comparison the train ride was far more pleasant, perhaps it was the fact that the train took far less time and that it at least offered the passengers a chance to enjoy the natural world around them, even though it was passing by far too quickly to fully appreciate. After a few hours they were finally approaching the Pyrenees mountains, which indicated that their destination was not that far off. It seemed as though they had traveled a lifetime in the last few days, the endless chasing, taxi car shootouts, black clad fascists, and near death experiences all seemed so surrealistic and yet somewhere deep down they cherished every minute of the adventure. Walter looked at Abigail and was about to say something to her when he noticed that she was fast asleep, feeling as though his comment could wait you pasteboard again, laid his head back and closed his eyes. Finally the train had arrived at the station, Abigail had awoken several minutes before the train stopped, Walter himself was unable to sleep the entire ride. After grabbing their bags Walter and Abigail soon found themselves standing on the platform in the town of René France. At first all that Walter and Abigail saw was a small, quaint looking town, for the train obscured all that was on the left side of town, but after unloading its passengers the train finally took off down the tracks. Turning toward the now wide open space Abigail and Walter were beset with the glorious sight of the ruins of Montségur, which lay atop a small mountain at an astonishing 3000-foot altitude.

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Abegail was happy to have Walter with her. Once they would have just passed each other in the hallway at Marshall. Now, after all this, she would call him her friend. Abegail was used to doing things herself, pushing through and fighting for what she wanted. Of course what she wanted revolved in a world of scholars and books. This was different and for the first time Abegail was glad to have help and company.

The lull of the trains movement helped to calm Abegail. Briefly, she forgot that they were going into so much uncertainty. The train arrived at the station and in the blink of an eye Abegail found herself standing on the platform with Walter. The scenery was breathtaking. The ruins high on the mountain were both awe inspiring and foreboding.

Abegail turned to Walter, "Before we head up there, I need a change of clothes, and place to wash up. My current skirt and shoes will do me no good crawling around in a cave or making my way up there." Abegail and Walter walked on, attempting to find a small inn and a store for Abegail to buy some pants and shoes. A quick purchase in a store provided Abegail with a pair of pants, a light men's shirt and the smallest pair of men's boots that they had. Abegail purchased a few pairs of socks hoping that they would help pad out the boots.

With her bag and briefcase in tow, Abegail and Walter walked on to find the smallest inn they could. Adjoinging rooms not being available they setttled for rooms across the hall from each other. Abegail went to her room, bidding Walter a good evening. She washed her face and then headed down with her briefcase to find some food and a drink. Sitting at a small table she poured over the notes she made in the library and waited for her food. A small glass with some port arrived. Abegail sipped it. It wasn't scotch but it would have to do. Content with things at the moment, Abegail read her notes and waited.

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The guide that they had hired to take them up the hillside and around to the caverns that lay on the north side of the mountain was a local and lifetime resident of René. After stepping off of the train he immediately went back to his house which was about a mile from the hotel where Abigail and Walter were now staying, there he would prepare for the arduous and extremely dangerous climb up the mountain side, the climb would not be easy and would require special equipment. As the guide gathered up the equipment, tools, and provisions Walter was back at the hotel looking over his notes in order to refamiliarize himself with the legends and to perhaps discover some piece of forgotten lore which might give him some deeper insight into the possible dangers associated with the throne. Going over the legends again Walter began to question whether or not he still believed the stories of the Blackstone, it's dark powers, and fabled association with the non-conical tales of Lucifer and his supposed stewardship over the Earth and its people. At this point in the journey he could not decide whether or not the stories should be taken seriously or if they should be regarded purely as myth, within the back of his mind he felt as though he was about to find out.

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Abegail's meal came. A plate with bread, cheese and a bit of meat. A cup of coffee was set with it. Abegail nodded her thanks to the waiter and kept reading the notes as she picked at her food. Reading her notes Abegail wondered just how much was the truth and what was tales of the crusades. "So hard to tell, afterall history is written by the victors." Abegail mumbled to herself. Abeagil reasoned that like the grail myths there was probably once a throne or something like it of a black stone material. Whether it belonged to Lucifer or granted the person domination over all was debatable. Afterall, history was full of stories of this artifact or another that somehow gave their owner powers. Abegail's childhood was full of stories of fairy armour and weapons. Abegail made a living of such tales. The grail was one of the biggest stories of all. The trick Abegail knew was not that such things were told it was weeding the romance and scary stories away from the facts. Perhaps the stories of Lucifer's throne was just to keep people from stealing such a valuable piece of stonework. Stories or fact something was stored in the caves at some point and there were many people after it.

Abegail was doubtful. There was too much violence occuring around the search for the stone there had to be more to the story. Abegail sat back in her chair. Perhaps the excessive violence was more due to the war and the warped sense of entitlement Hitler's regime seemed to have. Maybe that is what made this quest so much more than what it was. Abegail didn't really believe in the occult stories of Lucifer did she? A sense of doubt in her owns beliefs crept in. "I am out of my element. This isn't mere fairy tales. I am about to climb to ruins for it." Abegail knew ultimately she was going to see it through. After all, Dr. Jones had gone through the trouble of looking for it, sent the letter to her...rather intercepted it to get it to Walter. A warning perhaps but she wouldn't back out now. No, too close to ending this part of the mystery. What they found up there might lead to more questions and more trips but at least this part would be done.

Abegail finished her meal, her drink and packed up her notes. Quietly heading upstairs she locked her door behind her. "Best get some sleep...they will wake you." The guide had informed them he would put together what they needed. Abegail stripped to her slip and lay on her bed. Abegail found she could not sleep. Her mind would not quiet down. The fear of the dreams she would have if she closed her eyes prevented her from relaxing. The closer they got the more she felt that someone was on their heels. "What if we get there, get to the ruins, the caves only to find them waiting. To what purpose? Why go after me? Why stop us? Just get to it first. Unless they needed us to lead them to it." Abegail's mind whirled as she spoke outloud to herself. This conversation continued with herself for almost an hour as she waited for the knock on her door that signalled the beginning of the next part of their journey.

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Philip the guide was making the last few preparations for the journey up the mountain side when he suddenly heard a noise coming from within the living room, he quickly made his way toward the kitchen door which also served as the entrance into the living room, hearing a second noise he paused by the door, with his fingers splayed out upon the swinging, handleless door he slowly and carefully pushed it open. Slowly he poked his head out of the kitchen, trying not to make his presence known to whomever it may be, after a few seconds he slowly made his way into the room. Philip searched in the dark to see if we could find the source of the strange sound. The living room was nearly pitch black, carefully he walked toward the light switch on the left side of the kitchen door, he flicked the switch upwards to the on position, the flicking of the switch failed to illuminate the room, it quickly became apparent that someone had either taken out the lightbulb or had somehow managed to cut the power to the living room. Hugging the wall Philip slowly made his way toward the back room with the hope that he could escape out of the back door. Ae was certain that whoever it was that had disconnected the lightbulb and entered his house was someone he did not want to deal with. The point of egress lay only a few feet away and although Philip had not made a sound as he inched his way toward the back room the invader had obviously already detected him. Philip then heard a third sound, but this time Philip realized that he now recognized the three sounds as the loading of the chamber, the pulling back of the firing bolt, and the cocking of the trigger of a high-powered rifle. His eyes finally became accustomed to the dark enabling him to make out the dark outline of a strange man standing in the far right corner of the living room. That would prove to be the last thing that Philip would ever see or hear.

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Meanwhile back at the hotel Walter had just finished gathering up his papers and was about to walk across the hall to Abigail's room and knock on her door to let her know that he was ready and to see if she was also.

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Abegail gave up the idea of napping. She undressed completely and tossed on her new pants and shirt. Everything was looser than she would have liked but there was little to help that. Pulling the belt in tightly Abegail assessed herself in the mirror. Her mother would have a heart attack if she saw her dressed like this. Abegail chuckled to herself as she brushed her hair and pinned it up and out of the way. Her mother was a big believer that women did not belong in pants, let alone those meant for a man. Of course, Abegail's mother had never left their little town and had no idea how much had changed in the world around her.

Abegail pulled on the two pairs of socks and the boots she had purchased. The socks helped the sizing and the boots were a bit more snug on her feet now. At least they would afford her better footing than her simple shoes. As she did up the laces Abegail heard the noise. Sound of footsteps in the hall just outside her door.

"Please be the guide...." Abegail stood and grabbed the biggest book she could. Holding at the ready to hit anyone who was not the guide or Walter she grabbed the door handle with the other hand. Abegail threw the door open quickly hoping to surprise anyone on the other side.

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Before Walter could even knock the door was flung wide with wild abandon "Whoa there!" Walter flinched, "I'm not a Nazi." All Walter and Abigail could do at that point was to laugh, a moment of levity which would prove to be their last. Walter took a deep breath and then asked Abigail if she was ready to go, "So are you ready? We really should start early." To which Abigail nodded yes, the first thing that they had to do was to go over to Philips house to see what was taking him so long and to perhaps lend their assistance in order that they may leave immediately for the caves. Stepping to the right side of the doorframe Walter held out his arm, lightly placing it on the swell of Abigail's back in an escorting gesture as she walked out of her hotel room. Walking down the single flight of stairs Abigail and Walter made their way out of the small hotel and out onto the glorious streets of René France. The hotel was perfectly situated, for one could stand right outside of the door and be able to admire the magnificence of the hillside upon which the ruins of Montségur sat. After a few brief moments of admiring the scenery Abigail and Walter walked down the street toward the house of Philip their guide, having no idea that something had gone wrong they felt no need to rush across town, they instead walked at a mid-pace. The town of René was quite lovely, with it's picturesque houses, fabulous sunsets, and it's friendly inhabitants, all of which had an effect of making everything seem peaceful and devoid of any and all hardships, violence, and suffering. This was perhaps working against Abigail and Walter for they were blinded by the tranquility and apparent safety which the town of René seemed to portray. Looking around the town and the beautiful region which surrounded it Walter found it hard to believe that in the 12th century this place was the site of one of the bloodiest Crusades ever commisioned by the Catholic Church, for this was the only crusade ever mounted against fellow Christians. It had been a particularly brutal one responsible for the death of nearly 1,000,000 Cathars.

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Abegail stopped her swing. Hearing Walter's voice she aborted it before she struck him. Laughter bubbled forth. "You never can be too careful you know." With a nod and a grab of her briefcase Abegail followed Walter out of the door. He placed his arm on her back and it was a nice gesture. It reminded Abegail that there was still some civility, even when one is being chased by nazi's.

Abegail took deep breathes of the cool air. It almost reminded her of home. "When this is done a visit home is next.." Abegail reminded herself of her promise. The town and surrounding area was lovely and Abegail took the time to enjoy it as they made they way leisurely to the guide's home. "Might be nice to come visit here, on vacation." The picturesque town would make a lovely retreat.

The stroll led them to Philip's home. Abegail looked at the house. Something about it was bothering her but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. "Walter, does something seem off to you?" Abegail tilted her head and tried looking at the house from a different angle. Standing there it took a few minutes but it finally hit Abegail.

"If he was putting together what we needed why aren't there any lights on and why is there no activity? Seems quiet."

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Standing there on the sidewalk in front of Philips house Walter turned to Abigail with the same look of confusion as the one upon hers, shrugging his shoulders he replied, "Yeah, that does seem a bit strange, even for Philip. I don't know perhaps he decide to get a little sleep before we left for Montségur, I mean we do have a long climb ahead of us. Perhaps that's it." Thinking it over for a moment Walter thought to himself that if he had learned anything in these last few days, it was that nothing is as it seems. Quickly he formulated a plan in his head, turning towards the house in order to take in the geography of the location, he quickly assessed the layout he decided that Abigail should be the one to sneak up to the front of the house and look through the window, to see what was going on inside, feeling that if there was an intruder in the house he would most likely make a run for the back door, and therefore he should be the one to go around the back. Philips house stood next to another home with a small row of trees dividing the two dwellings, to the left of Philips house was an old shack, which in conjunction with the head of trees would provide sufficient cover as he made his way around to the back of the house.

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Abegail was not convinced by Walter's attempt to pass off the lights and activity as Philip napping. However, she knew he was also planning something. He too was being cautious. Abegail let Walter plan as she looked around. Nothing about the area seemed out of the ordinary, not that she had ever been here but nothing looked obviously out of place. Walter asked Abegail to go to the front of the house and look in a window and told her he would head to the back. Abegail nodded. "Walter, the gun..don't forget you have the gun." Abegail whispered this to Walter before setting her jaw and creeping slowly to the front of the house.

Abegail was glad for the more durable boots. It gave her better footing as she made her way slowly to the front of Philip's house. Before getting to the window, Abegail glanced behind her for Walter. He had already moved off to the rear of the home. With a deep breath Abegail continued her movement to the window. Clutching her briefcase to her chest Abegail carefully peered into the window.

Abegail was holding her breath as she looked in. Part of her was hoping it was so dark she wouldn't be able to see anything. Abegail looked. She got her wish. It was very dark. She moved to the front door and she tried the handle. It was unlocked. This worried Abegail. Very slowly, Abegail opened the door, keeping her briefcase at her chest. The weight of it giving her some comfort.

Stepping in the door Abegail looked around.

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Maneuvering around to the back Walter slowly and carefully examined the area behind Philips home, with no way of knowing whether or not someone was back there Walter poked his head around the corner of the house, finding nothing out of the ordinary Walter then walked toward the back door, stopping just before he came to the first window, he looked inside. This window gave him a clear view of the kitchen but unfortunately the kitchen door was closed and so he was unable to see inside the rest of the house. Carefully sneaking past this window he made his way to the second, the next window provided a view directly into the living room via Philips bedroom door which had been left open, this enabled Walter to see an unobstructed view of the next room. Once again finding nothing out of the ordinary he continued to walk to the back door, Walter slowly inched his hand toward the handle of the door. Just as Walter was about to grab the door handle it was violently thrown open from within. Walter stepped back as yet another black clad Nazi raced out. The stranger made no attempt to engage Walter, he simply ran off toward the front of the house.

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Abegail stood in the doorway. Part of her wanted her eyes to adjust to the dark and the other part was perfectly happy not being able to see. "Hello?" Abegailed managed a somewhat loud whisper, hoping to get Philip's attention and potentially scare off anyone else.

Then she heard them, footsteps heading out the back of the house. Her eyes wide Abegail turned and ran out the door and headed to the side of the house intending to make for the back entrance. "What are you doing Abby!! Stay put!" Her brain screamed warning at her but she continued on. For her effort she found herself face to face iwth a black clad man who was in a full run. He growled at her, saying something in German. Abegail managed two steps before the man ran right into her.

The force of the impact tossed Abegail backwards and down at the ground. She found herself on her side, hands in the dirt and briefcase knocked out of her hands and back towards the front of the house. Abegail blinked. Shaking her head she wasn't completely aware of her surrounding. Propping herself onto her hands and knees she started to crawl towards her briefcase. It was in that moment the footsteps registered with her. They were behind her and she didn't know if they were the officers or Walter's. She stopped mid crawl and listened.

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Approaching Abigail with a slight stumble Walter whispered to her from behind, "My God! my God, Philip is dead." Walter could barely get the words out, he then called to Abigail. "Quickly Abby, we need to get the hell out of here..... Fast!" With that Walter got over to Abigail and helped her to her feet, and then together they ran. Although they were running toward the hillside, and ironically toward the very spot that they would have traveled with Philip, the only thing on their minds at that point was escape, and they were not particular as to where, all they knew is that they had to get out of there. Clearly this small quaint town had been infiltrated by Nazis, it quickly became apparent that they could trust no one within the town, and so they simply ran for any kind of cover, luckily it was the place that they needed to go. It was fortunate that Walter had been looking over his notes and reading his book that night, for he had managed to refamiliarized himself with the hillside, the ruines of the once glorious fortress, and of the caves that lay beneath it toward the North. Unfortunately they had none of the equipment that they needed for the climb, and also no provisions for which to sustain themselves during the long journey upwards. Fortune however had smiled upon them when it started to rain, at least they would not die of thirst, food on the other hand was scarce along the hillside, especially if one were not open to killing and eating something that was recently of the the wild.

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Abegail was relieved to hear Walter's voice. What he said however made her sick to her stomach. "My God! my God, Philip is dead." Abegail was vaguely aware of Walter's hands as he helped her stand and retrieve her bag. Abegail ran. No fixed destination Abegail just ran with Walter. They ran up the hillside. Staying close to Walter, Abegail focused on her footing. She actively pushed aside thoughts of the guide and what was going only. Her breathing sounded hollow in her ears as she ran.

The climbing was slow going for them. No equipment meant they had to be extra careful with their footing. The rain started and it made it harder. Slowling down Abegail wiped the rain and wet hair from her eyes. There was a small outcrop on the right. "Walter, here...just for a moment." Abegail made her way to the outcrop and crouched low. Using the rock for a bit of shelter Abegail attempted to steady her breathing.

"What are we gonna do?" Abegail rubbed her hands on her knees as she crouched. "Dead? Walter...oh..." Abegail felt the bile in her throat. She silently willed herself not to vomit. After taking a few moments to breath and to push her nausea away Abegail looked at Walter. Her clothing was soaked, as was his. Her hair had fallen out and was plastered to her face. His hat was dripping water. They looked utterly defeated. "We canna stay here. We'll die of cold. We canna let them get us." Abegail's resolve was clear in her eyes. She was not going to let them beat her. "So, do we head up and try the climb? Be slow going and no food...or do we sneak back down and see if we can get what we need from Philip's place then head back? We risk them findin' us if we head back."

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Walter comforted Abigail, though he himself could have used some comforting at this point, "Frankly Abigail, I'm not really sure what we should do, we could go back to Philips house and retrieve the equipment that he had laid out for us, though that would entail running the risk of being caught, or perhaps getting ourselves killed." Walter and Abigail spent the next few minutes trying to decide what they should do, in fact they had spent so much time discussing their options, that traveling further up the hillside became a moot point, for it had become far too dark for them to go anywhere. Luckily the rain didn't last long and the night was not too chilly. In the end there was nothing left for them to do but to rest and hope that no one would find them until morning, at which point they could continue traveling up the hillside toward the caverns. The hillside around them was rough and dangerous, offering little protection from the elements. It had been a long time since Walter spent any amount of time out in the wild, you found himself astonished by the tremendous chirping of the millions of crickets which surrounded them that night. The next morning Walter and Abigail were quick to their feet as they continued their journey, they had already decided those few brief hours ago that they would not go back to Philips house and retrieve the equipment as they did not want to risk the chance of being caught.

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Abegail spent the night cold and chilly. Agreeing with Walter that treking back down in the daytime made them a target Abegail mentally prepared herself for the climb. It was slow going. They did not have the proper equipment and the terrain did not lend itself to easy walking. At one point Abegail could see Walter up ahead of her. He was checking the way to make sure they could keep going with little difficulty or interruption. As she looked up to where he was going she missed her footing. With a small yelp she slid down abot a half a foot. Abegail's hands were scratched up and she was greatly annoyed at herself.

By the time she recovered from her slip and made it to where Walter was she was dusty and very angry. The sun was getting high overhead. She stopped beside Walter and wiped her hands on her pants. Abegail wiped her face with her hand leaving a dirt trail across her cheek. Abegail looked back the way they had come. Abegail dismissed the figures at first, thinking it was a trick of her eyes due to the sun and lack of sleep. A few blinks made her realize that she was not imagining them.

"We have trouble." Her mouth was set in a grim line. "We are still a good distance ahead of them but they will catch up if we slow. Best to keep moving as best we can and see if we can vary our course some. Make it harder for them to find us."

Abegail started climbing again.

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Walter looked back and saw what Abigail was talking about, two men were following them and they were gaining considerable ground. The terrain of the hillside was rough and slow going, jagged rocks on which someone might cut their hands abounded, loose rubble and slick grass added to the possibility of one slipping, all of which added to the tremendous danger now facing Walter and Abigail. After crawling a few more feet Walter discovered a clear patch of earth devoid of any rocks and loose sand, which had once been a part of a fairly well traveled pathway, though to get to it Walter had to climb over a small boulder. Walter tried to make it around the boulder at first but this proved to be far too dangerous, as there was little footing in front of the huge rock, and also for the fact that it would have taken him away from the path. Walter knew that climbing over the boulder was the only option and so very carefully he assailed the rock, strategically placing his feet he climbed, once on top of the boulder he paused, Walter had the feeling that if he moved but one more inch the rock would become dislodged from the hillside. Walter looked at Abigail with a worried and fearful face, but then Walter turned to look at the two men only a short distance behind them he suddenly came up with a plan.

What he had in mind was dangerous for he could fall along with the boulder if he was not careful. Walter realized the possible danger that he faced, but he also realized that if he did not act quickly the two men would soon catch up with them. For the past few hours Walter and Abigail had been climbing straight up the hillside, making the clear horizontal path before them all the more desirable. Quickly running this through his mind Walter turned to Abigail to warn her of what he was about to do, "Abigail! I think I know a way that I can slow them down. You need to back up a few steps. I'm sending this boulder their way." With that Walter braced himself against the hillside with his feet on the boulder, using the hill as leverage he began to pushed the boulder back and forth with his legs. The rocky debris beneath the boulder shifted and fell, this released the boulder from side of the hill and sent it careening toward the two men. The men were not that far behind Walter and Abigail and though it had only traveled a short distance the boulder had gathered enough speed that when it impacted with its target it knocked one of the men off of his feet.

The site of the man with his arms and legs splayed out upon the face of the boulder as it traveled downhill was almost comical, if it had not been such a brutal thing to witness. The second man who was climbing on all fours and managed to get to his feet by the time the boulder collided with his partner, straightening himself up he was able to avoid being struck by it as well. Still, the second man was not out of danger, for he had lost his balance, and his attempt to leaned his body forward and grab onto the hillside was unsuccessful. After a few seconds he had totally lost control of his balance, at which point the man fell backwards and tumbled down the hill to his death. Now that their adversaries had joined each other in eternal silence Walter and Abigail were free to make their way to the clear pathway that lay ahead of them.

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Abegail watched Walter climb the boulder. "Be careful, be careful..."Abegail kept the thought to herself. With a glance behind her Abegail saw the men coming closer. "Abigail! I think I know a way that I can slow them down. You need to back up a few steps. I'm sending this boulder their way." With a look back at Walter, Abegail nodded and backed herself away from the boulder. Crouching low she watched Walter brace himself and begin to rock the boulder back a forth.

Debris started to break away and soon the boulder was moving down the hill. Abegail heard it rolling and then the awful noise as it hit one of the men. Closing her eyes, Abegail turned her face away from the sight below her. A slight yell caused her to look back. Abegail watched the second man lose his footing as he had attempted to get out of the path. He fell and there was a sickening thud. Abegail swallowed the bile in her throat. So much death. Standing, Abegail made her way back to Walter. He was breathing hard from the effort of moving the boulder. She reached out her hand to help him stand. There was a silence between them that said they did not like that the men were dead but they had to do something.

Once Walter was ready Abegail followed him along the more worn path. The climb at this point was going to be a bit easier and they walked for a great deal of time in silence. The weight of the men's death sat between them. Finally, licking her lips to get rid of the dust Abegail spoke softly, "Ye know we had no choice. They wouldna let us live. I am na sayin' it doesna bother me, just we had ta." Abegail didn't have the energy to cover the accent better and frankly, she was getting to tired of trying. Lecturing it was better for the students not to have to ask her constantly what she had said. Now, after everything, they were a distant memory and whether or not anyone could understand her didn't matter.

They continued to climb. It was beginning to feel as if they would never reach their destination. The sun was getting very high overhead.

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Walter heard Abigail's rationalization concerning the horrible thing that had happened to the two men, though perhaps softened by the fact that they were Nazi's, and frankly who could mourn such a person. Walter rebuked himself for thinking such a thing, but these were strange days, so many innocents slaughtered, so much hate. Walter found himself conflicted by these feelings as he climbed the hill, the ease of the path before them only lending to such ponderings. A clear path allowed Walter and Abigail to straighten themselves up as they walked, both of them relieved at not having to be constantly bent over as they journeyed up the steep hill. The slanted pathway became increasingly horizontal as they rounded the ridge, something which they were thankful for. From this vantage point they had a clear view of the 12th century stronghold which lay only a few hundred feet above their current position. The site of the ancient structure was astonishing and even reaffirming in a strange sort of way. It's gray visage somehow validated all that had transpired in the last few days, Walter and Abigail looked at each other with a sense of relief in their eyes. There had been more death in the last few hours than either of them had seen in their entire lifetime, but the day was winding down, and they had no idea of what awaited them on the other side of the ridge.

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Abegail was thankful she had purchased the boots. The trek would have been considerably worse in her normal shoes. Silently cursing the two pairs of socks and they way they were rubbing Abegail focused on the leveling out of the path. As it became more horizontal Abegail stood straight. Pausing briefly to stretch her tired back Abegail took in the surroundings. The ruins lay ahead and there was a measure of shade here and there now. Walking again, Abegail marveled on how well placed the former stronghold's position was.

As they continued ahead the trouble of the last few days gave way to the beginnings of excitement. The unknown lay ahead of them. The beginning of what would hopefully be answers to this mystery they were attempting to solve. Abegail began to feel the bubbling of her excitement in her stomach. "Could be hunger Abby girl" she chided herself. Smiling to herself Abegail felt the best she had in a little while. Being tired, dirty, and hungry could not cover the extreme curiousity that was building steadily in Abegail. The other side of the ridge held so much promise. "And disappointment, there might not be anything there. Cool your heels girl..." Abegail reminded herself that indeed, there could be nothing for them once they made it into the actual ruins. Willing to accept that prospect Abegail pushed on and followed Walter down the path. She knew it was only a matter of time before they were at their destination. Abegail was cursing herself now for not bringing anything to light their way once they made it inside.

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Walter was torn on how they should proceed, he knew that seeing the interior of the crumbling Cathar stronghold was an important once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, for he and Abigail, and yet they still needed to get to the caves. This was a far too important question to decide by himself, and so turning to Abigail he asked, "Abby! What do you think?

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Abegail took in the ruins. "What do I think? I believe we need to start in and find a place to rest for the evenin'. Take a look around tomorrow for somethin' to help us light our way before we tackle the caves. I will na be able to see a thing in the caves and the lower the sun goes the more dangerous it is to us."

Abegail pondered the problem more. "We'll na be safe no matter what we do. They will na be far behind. We should see what we can find now in the ruins and then decide from there."

Abegail knew this sounded sensible in her head and she was trying hard to make sure they didn't jump ahead of themselves too much, despite her desire to head full tilt into the caves.

"I know the answers we need will be in the cave but somethin' in there might help us figure out where to start or at least let us find something to light on fire."

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After A few moments thinking it over Walter replied, "Yeah. You know Abby, I think your right." With that settled Walter continued on his way up the last 100 feet of hillside. Maneuvering up these last few feet was a little difficult for them, once again finding themselves on hands and knees they inched their way up the last few feet. It was quite dark by the time they made it to the summit and so all they could see before them was an immense dark wall with very little detail to indicate anything particularly special about the structure. Slowly and with much exertion Walter and Abigail were finally able to stand up straight, both of them swearing that they would never make such a climb again. Walter could just barely make out a break in the wall before them, one which had clearly been made by someone rather than it being a result of the deterioration of the structure. Slowly and carefully Abigail and Walter made their way toward the break in the wall, with Abigail hugging the right side of the doorway and Walter hugging the left they peaked beyond the thickness of the wall and into the interior of the stronghold. Once again due to the dark there was very little that they could see and so they made no attempt to explore further, they instead laid on the ground just beyond the door-like hole in the wall, falling asleep almost instantly.

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Abegail rested her head against the wall. She was tired and hungry but there was nothing to be done about it. For the first time in a long time Abegail found herself a little afraid of how dark it was. Abegail began singing very softly to herself, an old Irish lullaby her mother had sung to each of her children. With that on her lips, Abegail drifted into a fairly restless slumber.
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The light hit Abegail's face and she was sure it had to be very, very early in the morning. Looking over she realized Walter was still sleeping. Likely not deeply from his very uncomfortable position on the ground but sleeping none the less. Abegail stood and leaving her briefcase on the ground she stretched her sore limbs. Looking around Abegail decided to take a brief look just inside the door of the ruins. Placing her hands on either side of the opening, Abegail leaned in. The light streamed in through cracks and crevices. Abegail could ahead of her. With a nod she turned to wake Walter.

"Walter...Walter. It's time for ye to get up. We need to take advantage of the light." She shook Walter gently.

He mumbled something and sat up slowly. Removing his hat, Walter ran his hands into his hair and down his face. Placing his hat in it's place on his head he stood and the two entered the builiding.

Abegail looked around. They entered a room. It wasn't huge. "I would have thought this might be a servant's entrance room. Bringin' in supplies and the like." Abegail walked further in. There were doorways on the other walls that lead to other rooms in the ruins. Walter walked to Abegail's left and was checking the various entrances on that side. Circling to her right Abegail peered into one of the doorways. "I have a room and what appears to be a hallway on this side. Shall we take a walk?"

"Yes Fraulein, a walk is a vonderful idea." The voice made Abegail's hair stand on end. She turned slowly, her back against the doorframe. She saw him. He had managed to survive Walter pushing him off of the jeep. His face still have the red marks from her nails. Niclas stood there, three officeres standing behind him.

Abegail realized she and Walter were a fair distance away from each other. Her mind worked furiously. "If Walter could get away, he could get into the ruins farther and see if he can make it into the caves."

Abegail glared at the man, "I shoulda shot ye when I had the chance. If ye want to take a walk with me, ye have to come to get me." Abegail placed her hands on her hips. Niclas gestured for two of the officers to grab Abegail. She waited until they got close. "Walter run for it." With that Abegail took off in a full run between the two officers, running straight at Niclas. Her only hope was that Walter would run and they wouldn't shoot her. The two officers who were approaching her panicked as the woman ran past them. Abegail smacked Niclas across the face. He took the slap with a grin and grabbed her wrist. It hurt. Abegail attempted to free her hand, hoping Niclas would fall for the ruse and think her trapped. With an evil grin he lowered her arm, thinking to pull her in and restrain her. It was the opening Abby needed. She used her other hand and decked Niclas. Her brothers had taught her how to hit and hit well. He let go of her wrist, recoiling from the punch. Abegail turned and ran, hoping to find Walter doing the same.

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Walter was approaching the break in the great wall of Monsegur when he heard the commotion from within the courtyard of the tremendous structure, hearing the smack of Abigail's fist against someone's face Walter rushed toward the opening. Just as he was about to enter the portal Abigail came rushing out, grabbing her hand Walter led her away from the structure and toward the edge of the mountain. While Abigail was dealing with the Nazi's Walter had scoped out the possible location of the caves using the notes that he had made and which he had kept in his back pocket for safekeeping.

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Abegail didn't wonder long. She ran and Walter was just in front of her. The look on her face made it clear to him just how close things were to going very, very bad. Walter grabbed her hand and Abegail allowed him to lead him into the ruins. She got the distinct impression that he had an idea of where he was going.

"Thank god for that." Abegail thought as she grabbed Walter's hand harder in an effort to stay close. Her biggest worry right now, as they made they way deeper in was getting seperated from him when things became darker. Abegail kept her ears open for any sound of footsteps behind her.

Abegail's side began to cramp from lack of water, food and exhaustion. She hated the idea of being weak in front of him but if she didn't stop for a moment she was going to fall. "Slow down...just a moment. Need to catch my breath..." Abegail managed to get out through her laboured breathing. "I donna think they are right behind us. Just a moment is all I need." Abegail stopped and laid her back against the cold stone wall. "You know where we are going then?"

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Walter and Abigail frantically ran for the edge of the mountain diagonally across from the parapet, where beneath laid the entrance to the caverns. Fortunately for them the caverns lay on the side of the mountain which would prove to be an easier climb, something which stood in complete contrast to the right side of the mountain near the front entrance, which was almost vertical. The events of the last few moments would force Abigail and Walter to once again assume their least favorite position of being on their hands and knees climbing down a steep and dangerous hillside, there was no turning back now however and so they proceeded down the slope. Although just as difficult as the climb up the mountain the descent proved to be far less dangerous than it had been on the way to Monsegur. once again Walter and Abagial found themselves beset by loose dirt, sharp rocks, and slick moss-covered weeds. Unfortunetly these latest events left them very little choice but to climb back down the mountain and once again risk their lives.

As Walter and Abigail climbed down they hillside Walter tried to keep an eye out for the four man that had accosted Abigail in the courtyard of the ruins. They had only made it about 50 feet before he saw one of the men approach the edge of the hillside above them. The black clad Nazi pulled out his P-38 semi-automatic pistol and began firing at them, two of the shots totally missed the two aspiring spelunkers, the remaining three shots had also missed Walter and Abigail. Oail. One of the bullets struck a large stone 3 feet from Abigail's head, the second shot almost got Walter and the forearm, and the remaining shot struck the dirt somewhere to the left of them. For a few seconds both Walter and Abigail thanked the heavens that the man firing the weapon was not a very good shot, this however was short-lived as Niclas pushed the other officer aside, taking out his weapon he also took some shots at Walter and Abigail.

Niclas on the other hand was a sharp shooter and a well seasoned SS officer, who was no stranger to the brutality of war, surely Niclas would not miss them. Knowing that the two had nowhere to go Niclas slowly pulled out his pistol and put it before his face, aligning the gunsight with the very center of Abigail's forehead, slowly and methodically Niclas began to pull back on the trigger. Abigail was a sitting duck and if it had not been for the cave entrance that had quickly come upon them she would have surely been killed. For Just as Niclas was about to pull the trigger completely back Walter and Abigail unexpectedly fell six feet and landed directly in front of the entrance to the caverns, only a small outcropping had saved them from falling down the tremendous height of the mountain.

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Abegail's heart was beating hard in her chest. Once again she was thankful for the pants she was wearing. There were holes forming from the rocks and gravel but it was better than tearing up her knees. "Just keep crawling, keep going..." Abegail willed herself to continue. The shots began to ring out around her. A string of very unladylike expletives began to stream from Abegail's mouth as she continued to crawl. One hit the stone near her, the second near Walter and a third the dirt. Abegail let out a sigh of relief as the man shooting seemed to be a terrible shot and now seemed to stop.

It what was almost slow motion Niclas was about to shoot Abegail and she began to fall. As she fell Abegail looked up and could see Niclas aimed right at her. "Well, either the bullet or the fall will kill me." Abegail was surprisingly calm as this thought passed through her mind. Then she landed. The wind was knocked out of Abegail's lungs with the impact. She struggled to breathe, eyes wide and she was sure she had broken a rib, if not more. Abegail inhaled to no avail. The air just would not go in. Struggling to breathe Abegail turned her head. Walter lay there. He was not moving. "Breathe Abby!" Her brain was screaming. With a gasp the first rush of air went in and Abegail was met with extreme pain in her chest. Abegail rolled to her side, clutching her chest and breathing heavy. As she managed to get the air to come in and out at a more constant rate she crawled to where Walter lay.

Abegail ran a hand on his back, hoping to feel his breathing. "Walter, damn it. You canna be dead. Not after all that. Some fall is gonna get you? Get up." Her voice was angry as she struggled with the fear that he might not move again. "Walter, ye get up right now." Tears stung her eyes as she demanded he move. Then she felt it, the movement in his chest. He was breathing and it was steady. Abegail waited for Walter to roll over so she could yell at him for scaring the life out of her. As he rolled slowly over he was met with an angry face, tear filled eyes and a smile. "Ye scared the living daylights out of me. Donna ever do that again. Have me thinkin' I was gonna be left waitin' for them to come down and shoot me." Abegail sat back. "If you wasna laying there I'd beat ye senseless for scaring me." Abegail chuckled slightly.

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At that very moment several hundred feet above Niclas turns to his subordinates, "Come. We will take a secret entrance........Schnell!" With that Niclas and the other three officers walked back into Monsegur and made their way to the secret underground tunnel which led directly to the caverns beneath.

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Meanwhile, on the small outcropping Walter slowly opened his eyes, and then with a slight smirk on his face he turned to Abigail, "Scared ya, did I." which he spoke through his cough. "Why am I out my back?" He mumbled to himself. Then with many aches and pains surging through his body he slowly turned onto his side, and after a few moments spent catching his breath and gathering his strength he pushed himself up with his left arm and was soon on his feet. Turning to the right he saw the entrance to the caves and was legitimately surprised that for all of their searching, it was a mere stumble which had led them to the opening in the hillside beneath the ruined fortress. Turning to Abigail he said cheekily, "Well! That was easy." This was perhaps the strangest situation that they had found themselves in since this journey began all those many days ago, as their intense desire to discover the location of the caves was replaced by trepidation and fear. What would they find inside those caves, the throne of Lucifer? The Nazis? Or perhaps Lucifer himself? They knew that there was only one thing that they could do at this point, turning first to each other for support, they then cast their gaze back toward the entrance to the caverns and proceeded to enter the darkness and uncertainty that awaited them within.

The daytime sun that shone so brightly beyond the ever diminishing cave entrance would soon give way to almost complete darkness. Walter and Abigail could barely see as they made their way down the long passageway, a path whose only illumination were the faint, glimmering highlights of witness which clung to the cavern walls. The two of them had stumbled their way through 300 hundred feet of pitch black earth, it was then that Walter and Abigail started to notice something very odd, as they started to come upon a misplaced and unexpected light. Walter and Abigail were understandably confused by the glowing light, for they knew that they could not have possibly traversed the entire length of the mountain in such a short time. They knew that this couldn't possibly be daylight.

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Abegail watched Walter get himself to a standing position. With a good deal of effort she too was soon standing. Her back and ribs hurt something fierce. Abegail wrapped her arms around herself to help lessen the pain. They were going to need medical attention if and when they made it out of here. Abegail glared at Walter as his attempt at humour was not appreciated. She was in too much pain and had thought the fall had killed him for that to be funny. "Easy, yer right the next time we'll jump down the nearest cliff and see where that gets us." Abegail commented.

As they entered the caves and the light began to fade Abegail grabbed onto the back of Walter's shirt. It would do no good for them to be seperated in the dark. Who knows what might be done here. "After all this we better find somethin'" Abegail grumbled to herself. She didn't mean it to be so snippy but she was sore, tired and dirty. Abegail had enough of being chased and shot at. Right now all she wanted to do was curl up and sleep away the pain. Abegail continued to hold on to Walter's shirt as they moved further in.

Instead of more darkness the pair was met with an odd light. "That canna be the sun. We're too far in and I didna dee any openin's as we climbed." The light filled Abegail with fear and excitement. "What do ye think it is?" Abegail spoke in a loud whisper. With a frown, Abegail continued to follow Walter. Is it an opening? Did someone excavate here before they made it? Was it the Nazi's? Was all that for nothing, were they just stumbling into a secret base? The questions were flooding Abegail's mind as they walked clsoer to the source of the light.

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Walter and Abigail were just about to cross over into the shining archway of light which had burnt itself onto the floor of the passageway; replacing the darkness which had once stood there. Slowly creeping toward the brightly halo'd archway Walter and Abigail peaked out from the darkness and into brightness of the glowing inner sanctum beyond, gazing out from within the passageway they saw the wide open space of the cavern. Walter and Abigail watched the proceedings from far off in the distance. The cavern was completely empty except for about 30 German soldiers of various ranks, including both high-level SS officers and general rank and file troops. Walter looked toward the left side of the entrance and noticed the generator which was providing power for all of the lights which had been set up in a semicircle around the gray clad troops, who were themselves standing in a semicircle before a small concrete platform. The troops were standing in front of the light's with a second set of soldiers standing in front of them. On each side there was a soldier operating movie cameras; apparently recording everything that was going on upon the platform. Six high-ranking SS officers were sitting in chairs in front of this second set of soldiers, all of the men within the large cavern were attentively focused on the platform that lay against the back wall. Sitting in the center of the platform was a mysterious object covered with a black material of some sort. The mind-boggling spectacle of these proceedings had affected Walter and Abigail to such an extent that they did not even realize that the object on the platform was in fact the fabled Throne of Lucifer. In the exact moment of that realization Walter and Abigail noticed another tunnel on the right side of the cavern just behind the platform. Standing there in their own private dugout Walter and Abigail could see a light within the tunnel in the distance, growing brighter and brighter until finally another four SS officers emerged from the darkness. Niclas and his three junior officers quickly exited the secret passageway. Niclas tossed the torch to the side as he climbed upon the platform, the other three men took their positions with the other officers sitting in the chairs before the throne.

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Abegail took in the scene in front of her. The number of soldiers startled her so much that Abegail failed to comprehend what it was the soldiers were doing. As Niclas entered the chamber the object itself became very real for Abegail. Swearing under her breath, Abegail watched Niclas climb the platform.

"What the blast are we goin' ta do against that many?" Abegail whispered at Walter. "Do ye see what they have? They didna need us to find it they didna want us to find out what they were doin. They are crawlin' all over this place." Abegail frowned. She was upset that all of that and they were going to be this close to finding out about the thing and the Germans had beat them to it.

"Walter?" Abegail was a little fearful of what would happen if the SS managed to make the throne do what ever it was it was going to do. A silent prayer was on her lips that the black rock would be nothing more than just a rock. An odd prayer for a woman whose life was dedicated to grail mythos but she'd rather a hunk of rock then for the SS to get their hands on the grail.

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Walter had no reassurances for Abigail at this stage of their journey, he was far too concerned with the potential possibility of the throne being exactly what it was fabled to be, an actual throne which once belonged to Lucifer, one which promises complete domination over the world. There was one thing however which confused Walter, "Abigail, I don't understand something, if the legends are true about the throne, that by merely sitting upon it one would be given Dominion over all creation, why was it not delivered directly to Hitler? And if not delivered, why isn't the Fuehrer attending this gathering?" Abigail turned to Walter with a look of shocked realization upon her face. Quickly turning back to the scene before them Walter and Abigail listened as Niclas began to speak in English, something which seemed strange at the time, they of course did not know that Niclas had seen them out of the corner of his eye, and so he spoke in this manner for their sake. "Gentlemen, we have come here on this day to usher in a new era, and we are to be the architects of this new age. The Fuehrer is no longer of sound mind, and therefore the task of saving Germany has fallen onto us. We shall defeat the Americans and their allies, we will crush them utterly, and soon we will take our place as the masters of this world. There is no one to oppose us, no one to save the world from the Holocaust that we shall unleash. The inferior ones shall be crushed beneath our feet, the sick, the poor, and the unpure shall be wiped from the Earth. We shall establish one rule, one race, one ideology." Niclas walked over to the throne and grabbed a fist full of the black material, and then in one smooth dramatic flash he tore the covering from the mysterious object, revealing a throne of black obsidian.

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Abegail let out an audible gasp at Niclas' proclaimation and the reveal. Quickly covering her mouth she looked wide eyed at Walter. "Please tell me there is some secret to it...that he can't just sit on it and that is it..." Abegail began looking around for something to throw at him. "Why did I give Walter the gun? Because I wouldn't be able to hit him if I tried. Still.." Abegail continued her internal monologue as she looked for something to get the officers attention.

"That's it, I canna sit here and just let him think he can rule everything. No. This ends now. Ye still have the gun? If not I am gonna march up there. They can shoot me if they want." Abegail tempers was starting to show itself in her desire to do the completely irrational. "I hit him once I will na hesitate to do it again." Abegail grabbed a hefty rock and turned to look at Walter. "Ye with me?"

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Walter had completely forgotten about the gun which he had tucked under his belt. When Abigail grabbed the heavy rock and asked him for his assistance in stopping Niclas he raised the gun up to his face, briefly examining it as he felt the heaviness of the weapon in his hand. Lowering the gun Walter looked at Abigail and spoke, "Concerning your question about the throne. There is in fact one requirement other than simply possessing Lucifer's throne, that must be met in order to unleash the chairs full potential. A Human sacrifice." The way in which Walter had spoken these words and the look in his eyes as he spoke them scared Abigail, after saying this Walter took Abigail by the arm and pulled her from the enclave and out into the brightness of the caverns where all could see them.

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Abegail blinked at Walter. "Sacrifice?" As Walter grabbed her arm Abegail's mind reeled. "Okay, so as long as no one is killed, no one can possess the throne...why are we stepping out.." Abegail's words failed her. She was extremely confused at what Walter was doing by pulling her into the cavern. "What are ye doing? They'll..." Abegail looked to where the officers were all standing. "Walter, yer scaring me...please..." Abegail dropped the rock. Abegail attempted to pull her arm away from Walter's grip. She tried wrenching it out of his hand and when that failed she attempted to use her other hand to pry his fingers open "Let go please." Abegail's eyes were wide as she looked between Walter and the other people.

"No, no I am not going down without fighting." Abegail set her jaw. "Walter, ye let me go this instant or so help me I will hit ye." Abegail's voice was harsh as she spoke to him. Abegail had no idea what he was planning by pulling her with him into the caverns but she was not liking this plan so far.

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"Niclas!" Walter yelled out as he continued to pull Abigail along with him passed the first set of gray clad soldiers. Walter and Abigail could tell by the look on their faces that they did not know of their presence or that they had been watching the proceedings as they stood in the entryway. Abigail continued to struggle as Walter escorted her to the platform where her archenemy Niclas Elberich stood. Walter and Abigail were quickly approaching the area where the eight SS officers were seated, turning his head toward Abigail's left ear Walter whispered, "Just trying to buy some time Ab."

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Abegail struggled against Walter as he led her up to the platform. The colour drained from her face as he led her past the soldiers. She could hear their mumurs as the pair walked past them. Abegail tried to stop, tried to plant her feet in the ground to stop Walter from pulling her. It didn't help. He pulled her close and whispered in her ear. "Just trying to buy some time Ab." Abegail's face was still pale and she resisted the urge to snap at Walter for calling her Ab.

Abegail narrowed her eyes at Walter and looked at him closely. She was looking for any sign that he was serious, that the plan was to buy time. Abegail honestly couldn't tell, her anger and fear was clouding her judgement. "Buying time for what? Is he planning to just hand me over? I wish I hadn't dropped the rock..." Abegail turned to look at where she had dropped the rock as the questions ran through her mind. Abegail turned to look ahead of her, to watch the proceedings between Walter and Niclas. Abegail stared hard at Niclas. He laid a hand on her and she'd happily hit him again.

Abegail stood there fuming, staring at Niclas. Walter's hand was still on her arm and he was still holding her in a way that prevented her from getting away. The anger was apparent on her face as she looked at Niclas. Abegail resolved to give Walter the benefit of the doubt. After all they had been through she couldn't say she full believed he would just hand her over to the SS and allow Niclas to kill her. But stranger things have happened when people are on grail quests. Myths were full of honourable knights, brave men who turn against their friends and family for the sake of the grail. The power that the throne supposedly gave would entice even the best of men. Abegail watched and waited for a sign that would let her know whether the danger she was in was a ploy or the danger was very, very real.

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Walter felt the tenseness of Abigail's body and the anger which blazed in her eyes, and for this he was glad, as he felt it was necessary to get her worked up so that she would be alert when it came time to make their move, for Walter knew that when Abigail's ire was up she was formidable woman. As they approached the eight seated officers the two soldiers that had accompanied Niclas out of the secret tunnel suddenly leaped to their feet and pulled out their weapons. "Nicht!" Niclas shouted at the two SS officers. Speaking again in English, "So Mr. Rivers. To what do we owe this change of heart? I wouldn't think you as someone who was interested in power and domination." Trying to sound convincing Walter answered, "Only a fool would turn down the opportunity to become a supreme ruler of the entire planet Earth, to have one's every desire fulfilled." Niclas searched Walter's eyes for any hint of insincerity, finding none he happily welcome Walter to the brotherhood. Niclas reached into his trench coat and after a few moments of fumbling he pulled out a glimmering black rock, which was none other than The Blackstone of Lucifer. Two of the gray clad soldiers from the first row near the platform grabbed a small table which stood to their left, walking up onto the platform they placed the table next to Niclas, upon this table he placed the jagged stone. Niclas then began to remove his trench coat, his tie and then finally his shirt, dropping these to the floor he reached over and picked up the stone once more.

It was at that point when Walter and Abigail noticed that there was a break, or hole in the backrest of the accursed chair, and that the Blackstone was actually a part of the throne, that the broken piece was meant to be set back into the groove. Abigail's question to Walter all those many minutes ago would soon be answered, for there were two things that needed to be done before one could use the throne's power. The first of these was to replace the Blackstone, and the other a simple proclamation of loyalty. At that moment Niclas raised the Blackstone in the air with his left arm, using the other to performed the necessary act. Facing the black obsidian throne Niclas snapped into a German salute. With his right arm extended and palm facedown he shouted, "To you Lucifer, whom has been done wrong! We salute you!" To which the other soldiers replied in unicine. Walter was about to repeat the salute when he suddenly pulled out the gun and fired at Niclas, his target however was not Niclas but the object in his hand. The speeding bullet hit its target, causing the stone to fly out of Niclas' hand.

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Abegail tried not to jump as the officers reached for their guns. Niclas' shout brought her attention back to him and she glared again. Abegail shivered as Walter talked to Niclas. "Oh be an act...please be an act." Abegail was having a very hard time telling if Walter was sincere or not. Abegail watched Niclas reach into his coat. She tensed again, ready to run if he pulled a gun. Watching him fumble a bit she knew it couldn't be a weapon he was after. He was too good of a soldier to be that awkward with a weapon. Niclas placed the stone down and Abegail had to stop herself from running and grabbing it. Instead, she focused on watching Walter's reaction.

As Niclas began to undress, Abegail silently prayed that Walter was going to do something soon. "The throne has a hole...the stone, an oath and a sacrifice." Abegail hoped it had to be in that order at least there would still be a chance to cause a distraction, grab the stone and run before they killed her. "This is it...they will kill you...but to stop them.." Abegail resolved to act even if it meant her death.

Niclas raised the stone and loudly proclaimed his oath to Lucifer. The soldiers around her saluted as well and Abegail felt Walter release her arm. Abegail looked at Walter. Instead of saluting he pulled the gun and shot the stone from Niclas' hand. Abegail watched it fly out of the officer's hand and she immediately broke into a run. Abegail ran past the officer's and Niclas. She ran and slid off the platform in the direction the bullet had sent the stone. "Thank ye god for pants." Abegail was ont he cavern floor again and searching frantically for the stone. Thankful for the lighting in the cavern Abegail began to crawl in the direction she was certain the stone had gone.

Abegail crawled quickly and then with relief she found a trail. The stone had hit the ground and left a line from it's trajectory. Abegail crawled and felt for it. Her hands found it before her eyes registered the sight. The black stone was at her finger tips. Abegail wrapped her hand around it. Standing, Abegail turned to look for Walter and the scene on the platform. Abegail held the stone tightly. The only way she was going to let it go is if they pried it out of her dead hand. She knew they would do just that if the chance arose.

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Walter and Abigail apparently had the upper hand, the Blackstone was in Abigail's hands, and Walter still had his gun. Although there were many soldiers in the cavern only the three SS officers had weapons. Still, three guns was more enough for one man and his single firearm. As Abigail went after the Blackstone Walter ran and took cover behind some storage crates that had been left near the platform, from this position he started to fire at the three officers. The SS men crouched down behind the heavy wooden chairs which they had been sitting on a few moments ago, using these as shields they began to fire back at Walter. As two of them shot their weapons the third man laid flat on his stomach and began to crawl toward Walter's position. Walter was far too busy battling the other two men to have noticed the third crawling toward him, even if Walter had known about the third man it would not have made any difference, as he was using the platform to hide his approach.

Walter could shoot at the man if only he could stand up, unfortunately the other two men had him pinned down with their gunfire. As the gunfight was going on between Walter and the three SS officers Niclas crawled off the platform. Once he was on the floor he attempted to stand up, an action which was met by a shot from Walter's weapon. Niclas dodged the speeding bullet by falling to his hands and knees against the platform, luckily for him Walter was no crack shot, and so his life had been spared for the moment. A well placed shot from the weapon of the SS man crawling on his belly brought Walter back into the gunbattle between the three men and himself. Niclas took this opportunity to make his way toward Abigail in an attempt to wrench the Blackstone from her hands.

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The gunshots went off around Abegail. She watched Walter duck for cover and lost sight of him. She saw two SS officers take cover behind their hairs and a third dropped from her sight. The platform was too high for her to see exactly what was going on. Abegail clutched the stone and pressed herself against the wall of the cavern. She moved slowly along the wall, hoping she was staying out of the path of the flying bullets.

Abegail stopped as she realized bullets were firing in a different direction. Crouching down she tried to see what had changed. Niclas. He had moved and it appeared that Walter was firing at him. As quickly as it changed the battle shifted yet again. Abegail looked to where Niclas was and realized he was now heading towards her. He wanted the stone. She knew he did and there was no way she was giving it to him. Abegail looked around quickly. If he couldn't find her he couldn't grab her. Abegail ran at the platform and began to crawl under it. The beams used for support would make it hard for a larger person to get through quickly but luckily Abegail wasn't particularly large. Abegail slide herself in and under a few of the beams. There she paused to look behind her to see if Niclas was attempting to follow her. Holding the stone and crawling was becoming difficult and she feared it falling out of her pocket. "Well, one place he won't immediately look..." Abegail slid the stone into her bra, securing it snuggling against her body. That way she could feel it and one would have to give a thorough pat down to feel it on her. With it secure, Abegail crawled easily further under the platform the sound of gunshots ringing over her head.

"Walter, watch yer head...." Abegail said it quietly outloud to herself.

Abegail watched for signs that Niclas was coming in after her, she had numerous exit points if he did. She just hoped she was fast enough.

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Walter managed to get off two more shots before running out of bullets, his opponents on the other hand had three guns between them, and therefore nearly 3 times as many bullets to spare. Walter was certain that he would be killed, he was left with no bullets and no other way of defending himself, looking around for something that he could use for a weapon he suddenly noticed what was written on the crate a few feet from his current position "Zündstoff" [Dynamite]. Apparently the Nazis had planned to blow up the cavern and to seal the throne within the mountain under Monsegur, after Niclas was bestowed with Dominion over the Earth. It was common knowledge to those who knew the legend of Lucifer's throne that its owner had only to sit on it but a single time to receive its power, and that as long as no one else touched the throne and then spoke aloud the exaltation, the throne could be stored away to protect it.

The realization of the crates contents frightened Walter while simultaneously being a source of great relief, if only he could get to it in time, he could use this against his enemies. While Walter contemplated his options Niclas was on Abigail's trail, having spotted her underneath the platform and knowing very well where she would be heading he climbed onto the platform, with bullets flying all about him he calmly and maniacally strolled toward the small table by the throne. Niclas' gun awaited him in the left pocket of his trenchcoat which was still draped over the small table, eventually he caught up to where Abigail was crawling beneath the platform. As he searched through his coat for the gun he kept an ear out for the sounds of Abigail crawling beneath his feet, after retrieving his weapon from the coat Niclas called for his subordinates to cease their firing at Walter so that he might listen more closely to where Abigail was crawling. At that point Niclas knew that Abigail was crawling just a few feet ahead of where he was currently standing.

As a warning to Abigail Niclas fired one shot into the platform, the bullet violently pierced the wooden platform and buried itself into the floor of the cavern which lay beneath. Knowing of Niclas' sadistic nature and that he would not stop firing at Abigail Walter frantically made his way to the crate marked explosives. Suddenly another shot was fired into the platform, this one had passed through the wood and hit the floor near Abigail's shoulder. As Abigail continued to crawl toward Walter's previous position behind the crates by the platform Niclas aligned his final shot. Niclas took aim at a point in the floor where he knew Abigail's head would be after crawling several more feet, holding off the shot he called out to Abigail. "Fraulein McHugh, come out now or you are a dead woman."

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The gunshots continued overhead and Abegail continued to crawl. She wanted to keep the best advantage, the easiest escape route close by. She heard Niclas say something but not speaking German had no idea what he yelled. A bullet suddenly pierced the wood. Abegail jumped and almost hit her head on the platform. "Too close for comfort, keep moving...." Abegail kept crawling. A second bullet pieced the wood, dangerously close to her shoulder. So close in fact that Abegail felt the heat and the rumble in the ground where it hit. "What is going on?" That is when Abegail realized that all other noise had stopped. No more gunshots, no voices of German soldiers, nothing.

The realization dawned on her at the same time she heard Niclas' command. "Fraulein McHugh, come out now or you are a dead woman." He was shooting at her. Those two were meant for her, a warning. Abegail stopped crawling. She sat back on her legs, and listened to the sound of her own breathing. Abegail swallowed and realized that her mouth was very dry and full of dust from crawling under the platform. Her hands were raw from the rough ground. Abegail looked at them. The adrenaline and fear were making them tremble. She was trapped. Abegail looked around her. The crates where Walter was, hopefully still was and alive, were a few feet in front of her. No matter what she did he had a bullet for her. Her only bargaining chip was the stone and she wasn't giving it back to him. "If I buy Walter some time, maybe he can get to the town and get help?" Abegail knew that was not going to happen. It was too far and by the time he even made it out of the cavern Niclas would have found the stone, swore the oath and killed her for the sacrifice.

With a big breath in Abegail realized that she might not be able to stop them but at least she would make it hard for them. "I will come out. I am movin' now. Donna shoot. I'm comin' out slowly." Abegail dared to shift her weight onto her knees again. She slowly moved forward, crawling inch by inch hoping not to hear the sound of the gun going off. Abegail came to the end of the platform. "I am at the end. I will be standin' up now." Abegail intended to drag this out as long as she could.

Very slowly, Abegail made her way out from under the platform. She looked to Walter for some sign that he was okay. Then she stood slowly, hands up at her shoulders to show she had no weapon. Very slowly she turned to face Niclas. "I'm out now. What would ye be wantin' of me then?"

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Abigail climbed out from under the platform only to find herself face to face with Niclas and the weapon which he had pointed at her. Niclas was still standing on the platform when Abigail revealed herself, but now that she was out in the open Niclas approached her. The lower ranking soldiers that had exited the caverns en masse at the start of the gunfight, now began to filter back into the cavern to witness the standoff between Abigail and Niclas. Still pointing his gun at Abigail Niclas jumped down from the platform and approached her, yelling, "Entfernen Sie den schwarzen Stein aus Bluse .... Jetzt!" Momentarily forgetting that Abagial did not speak his language Niclas repeated his command in hers. "Remove the stone from your blous....Now! As Niclas said this he pointed his gun at Walter, confident that he was sending Abigail a clear message Niclas awaited her reply.

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Abegail watched Niclas jump down off the platform. He had the gun pointed at her. Abegail still had her hands up but she was staring at the German man. He yelled at her in German. Abegail raised her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders. "Draw it out...Keep him talking, give Walter time." Abegail watched as he moved in closer to her. Around her the other officers were beginning to file back into the cavern.

"Sorry, I donna understand. What is it you want now?" Abegail taunted him. Niclas repeated his order in English. "Remove the stone from your blouse....Now!" Abegail was about to make a very snarky comment when Niclas turned the gun on Walter. "No need to go pointin' that thin' at him. It's not goin' to make me move faster."

Abegail lowered her hands and placed them on her hips. "I'm sorry but I canna do what you want. I willna just hand it over. You want it, you come and get it yourself." It was a challenge. If he didn't come and get it she was hoping to piss him off enough to make him turn the gun back on her. "Well? Are you na man enough to take a little piece of rock from a woman? Hmm?" Abegail smirked slightly, hands still on her hips and her eyes challenging Niclas to try and take the stone from her.

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Niclas was amused by her challenge, a smile broke out on his face, an expression which had been seen by countless thousands of his victims, none of whom had lived to describe just how sinister of an expression it was. "No Fraulein Mchugh, that would not be gentlemanly." Suddenly, Niclas switched his aim and shot Walter in the shoulder as he was fumbling through the crate marked explosives, the impact of the bullet with Walter's flesh knocked him against the crate as the blood from his wound stained the wood red. "Now Fraulein, removed the stone!" Niclas kept he gun pointed at Walter, "I still have six more shots." he said with a demonic sneer on his lips.

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Abegail jumped at the gunshot but would be unmoved. Abegail took three steps towards him. Her legs were shaking but she kept her chin set hoping Niclas would not see how afraid she was. "Yer no gentleman. A gentleman wouldna shoot an unarmed man. Donna hide behind some pretense of honour when yer a coward with a gun." Abegail took two more steps towards Niclas. She was now an arm's length from him. Abegail's eyes burned with tears as she knew Walter was bleeding and in pain. "I can't justify just giving it to him, I can't..." Abegail desperately hoped Walter would understand that she had to fight him, she couldn't just buckle to Niclas' will. There was too much riding on this.

Abegail lowered her voice so only Niclas could hear. "Ye want to shoot someone to get what you want then fine. I have what ye want so shoot me and take it. I'll make it easy for you." Abegail undid the top two buttons. Her neck and a small bit of her camisole was exposed. Abegail dropped her hands. "I will na stop ye. Either take aim and shoot me or come and take it." Abegail stared into Niclas' eyes. She just wanted him to stop pointing the gun at Walter. "Either way, I have what you want, no one else. I am the one who hit ye, not him, I am the one who has cause the problems. Ye've been outsmarted by a woman. And not one of yer own to boot. That must sting." Abegail was pushing her luck and she knew it. This would either get him to focus on her and take the stone or both she and Walter would be dead very soon. "Well, go down fighting my Da always said." Abegail stood a little taller and raised her chin in defiance.

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Niclas stepped closer to Abigail until he was staring her directly in the face, gazing into her eyes with his cold, dark stare. The left corner of his mouth curled into an Elvis-like snicker, then without blinking an eye he called over two of his subordinates to restrain Abigail. The two black clad soldiers walked over to where Abigail was standing, and as they approached her Niclas took a few steps back, once she was secured he stepped back onto the platform. Thinking that Walter was unconscious and out of commission Niclas called for the third SS officer to relinquish his offenses stance of laying on the floor near the platform, obeying the command the officer got up from the floor and walked over to where Abigail was being held. Abigail now had three SS officers restraining her, as the first two men held her from behind the third officer had taken the position previously held by his commander. Niclas was now back on the platform next to the small table over which his trench coat was still draped, donning his coat once more he turned back to Abigail. "Fraulein, What is that phrase you Americans have? - Oh yes. Your wish is my command, my dear." Niclas said as he concentrated on bottoning up his trenchcoat. Then looking up at Abigail once more he continued, "As I said, it would be far too ungentlemanly of me to reach into your clothing in order to retrieve the Blackstone. But I assure you my dear, these men have no such scruples." After he had said this Abigail could hear the three SS men around her make some off-color remark among themselves, which was preceded by taunting and depraved laughter. Niclas raised his voice and shouted the command that Abigail knew all too well, "Entfernen Sie den schwarzen Stein aus Bluse .... NOW!

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Abegail did not look away as Niclas looked at her. "Don't let him see you are afraid." Abegail didn't even blink, only held her stance. He called for the officers and stepped away from her. "At least he isn't pointing the gun at Walter anymore..." It was the only thing that went through her head as the guards grabbed her. A third officer joined his companions.

The three around her began to make comments in response to Niclas' assurance that they had no issue with undressing her. Niclas shouted the command. Abegail felt the first hands on her shirt and closed her eyes tight. The sound of her blouse ripping filled Abegail's ears. Her eyes were closed and she let the hands roam to find the stone. "No sense fighting off three of them. You won't win. Suck it up Abby, the longer they take the better.." Abegail talked herself into compliance. The hands lifted her camisole to find her bra. Unfortunately she had tucked the stone securely in. It meant the hands needed to explore the entire area of her bra. Explore they did. Abegail could feel the tears forming. "Don't you dare give them the satisfaction of seeing you cry." Abegail opened her eyes as the hands continued their search of her chest. She looked to where Walter was. "At least he isn't getting shot again because of you."

The groping hands continued and Abegail knew the men were now just taking their time on purpose. After what felt like an eternity a hand found the stone. Taking his time to pull it out the officer eventually called to Niclas that he had it.

Niclas turned to look at Abegail. Abegail clenched her jaw and did her best to meet Niclas' gaze. The two officers were still restraining her arms as the third returned on to the platform with the stone in his hand. He had a satisfied grin on his face. The officer handed Niclas the stone and Abegail's heart sank. "That's it..." Abegail stood there, the officer's hands were the only thing stopping her from collapsing to her knees as she watched Niclas take the stone, his sadistic grin returning to his face.

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Niclas was once again in possession of the Blackstone of Lucifer, thanking his junior officer he once again turned toward the throne, knowing that the ritual and proclamation had to be done again Niclas called for his soldiers to take their original positions. The two SS officers restraining Abigail had released her and allowed her to run to Walter's aid, the two men then returned to their chairs in front of the platform. Escaping his commanders attention the third SS officer did not return to his chair, but instead stepped back and took his position behind Niclas. Once again Niclas spoke the proclamation, "Hail Lucifer, to whom has been done wrong. We salute you!" To which the other officers replied, as they had done before, all except the third officer behind Niclas, who instead shouted, "Hail Hitler, to whom has been gone wrong." Upon saying this the young officer quickly snatched the Blackstone away from Niclas, pointing his gun at his former commander the soldier began to admonish Niclas and his fellow soldiers for betraying their Fuehrer. All the time he was scolding them the young man was stepping backwards, eventually stopping only inches away from the throne. One final step backwards would seal the fate of this young officer and his comrades, for he had unintentionally fallen onto the sinister obsidian chair. Even though the proper proclamation had been proclaimed this officer's lack of a desire to have dominion over the world would have unforseen consequences. A sense of foreboding and dread began to fill the cavern, the ritual had clearly been disrupted and no one knew what this alteration might bring about. Needless to say, it would not be anything good.


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As the strange events played themselves out upon the platform Abigail was assisting Walter who had just regained consciousness. Abigail was aplying pressure to the bleeding wound in Walter's leftshoulder. As she tried her best to stop the bleeding she suddenly heard Walter speak, unfortunately due to his present state of weakness Walter was unable to get the words out. Mustering up all of the strength he could Walter pointed to the crate marked "Explosives" beside him. Abigail momentarily took her hands off of the wound as she looked inside of the crate, that is when she noticed a stick of dynamite that had been prepared by Walter during her crisis with Niclas upon the platform. Abigail also took note of all of the other sticks of dynamite that Walter had prepared befor he had lost consciousness, it didn't take her long to figure out what Walter had in mind.


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The scene that was being played out upon the stage-like platform was truly dreadful, the dozen or so Nazi soldiers standing before the playform would soon learn that the powers of darkness were not to be fooled with. Although Walter had been slipping in and out of consciousness he had witnessed much of what had been going on with Abigail, Niclas and his henchmen upon the accursed stage. One thing that Walter had learned from all of his years as a professor and world-renowned expert on the Occult was that any alteration in a ritual could bring about catastrophic repercussions. Walter was fortunate enough to have never witnessed such a thing happening before and therefore he really didn't know what to expect. Right now the only thing Walter was sure of was that he needed to get to his feet and that he and Abigail should leave the cavern immediately. The two SS officers who had been so smug and sure of themselves while restraining an unarmed woman now trembled in their seats as they watched the horrifying scene play out before them. The gray clad soldiers who were standing in a semicircle before the platform were similarly frightened by what was happening. Niclas was the only one that was still in his right mind, the mere implication of what was about to occur scared him to the core of his soul, but unlike his comrades a sense of self-preservation immediately took over Niclas' functions. Taking this opertunity he ran toward the same secret tunnel that had taken them into the caverns.

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Abegail watched at Niclas turned to the throne. The men holding her arms suddenly let her go and returned to the platform. Abegail watched for a second and then turned to rush to Walter's side. She could hear Niclas speaking behind her but she was more concerned now with Walter's wound. "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry...It's done. He has it I couldna stop him." Abegail spoke softly to Walter as she pressed on the wound. As she pressed she heard a commotion behind her. Walter opened his eyes briefly to look at her. He was trying to tell her something but between how weak he was and the noise behind her she couldn't make out what he was saying. Walter pointed to the crates. Behind her Abegail heard the SS officer accusing Niclas of betrayal. Abegail's mind worked quickly. She released Walter's shoulder with another apology on her lips. The young officer had fallen back into the chair.

Things moved around Abegail. The SS officers were scared and could not move from their spots on the platform. They watched with horror the fate of their comrade that was unfolding in front of them. Niclas was running off the platform. Abegail was reaching into the crates. She pulled out the prepared dynamite. Turning to Walter, "Okay I am going to help ye up, I am going to take yer lighter out of yer pocket and we are going to blow this scene up and get out of here." Abegail removed what was left of her torn blouse and balled it up. Abegail knelt beside Walter. She pulled back his shirt from his shoulder and pressed her blouse against the wound. "Best I can do for now."

With that statement Abegail helped Walter up. His arm over her shoulder and the dynamite in the other hand. "Alright, slow and steady." Abegail moved Walter to a spot where they could plant the dynamite. Abegail kept talking to Walter, getting him to help tell her where the dynamite should go. Once it was planted, Abegail helped Walter to stand again. "Ye have to run with me. I canna pull you if ye pass out." Abegail flicked the lighter and with that she lite the fuse.

Abegail turned and ran as best she could keeping Walter with her. He did his best to stay with her. They ran and Abegail could see the exit as the rumble behind them began. "Keep going...just keep going..."

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As Abigail reached into the crate for the stick of dynamite that Walter had prepared minutes before, a macabre and terrifying scene was playing itself out upon the platform. The young soldier that had fallen onto the throne was being overtaken by a sentiant ink-like black mist which had engulfed him within a matter of seconds. As the horrified observers helplessly looked on, a strange sound began to emanate from the throne. The quality of the voice was totally alien to the human senses and resembled no known language, though it somehow had qualities which suggested a conglomeration of every known human language. The deep dark voice spoke to everyone within the cavern individually, those of Aryan ancestry perceive the voice as being their own, to Walter Miller the sinister voice was speaking English, and to Abigail it suggested a Gaelic. Luckily Abigail and Walter were far too busy trying to save their own lives and so they did not see what was transpiring just a few hundred feet away. As Walter struggled to his feet, with the assistance of Abigail, they heard the voice begin to speak in a demonic and perverse tone, "I do not share Dominion, for I am the Lord of this world. The Earth realm is mine solely."


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Once Walter was on his feet his movements became steadier and his pace became quicker. Abigail and Walter were trying their best to stay ahead of the explosions that were now battering the interior of the cavern. The crudely excavated tunnel around them was beginning to break down as huge jagged rocks began to rain down upon them, the air became choked with debris and billowing clouds of dust. The walls of the passageway began to shake as did the ground beneath their feet, making it even harder for them to walk without stumbling. The scene within the cavern was far worse as each Nazi met a bloody and no doubt well deserved death. Most of them were killed in a most unnatural and unimaginable manner, those who had survived this hellish retribution were bestowed with a mercy of being crushed to death by the collapsing cavern around them.

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As for Walter and Abigail, they had successfully traversed the entire length of the tunnel and were now standing safely upon the small ledge which stuck out 3 feet before what was once the entrance to the caverns beneath Monsugur.

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Abegail blinked to get her eyes adjusted. A few hours ago the sun had been out and they were walking into the darkness of the caves. Now, the sun was setting. Abegail had no concept of time. The cavern felt like it all happened in the blink of an eye but it had taken a great deal of time to get to it, then watching as things progressed, then the chase and now the explosion. It had taken most of the day. Abegail shivered, remembering the voice on the platform. She was thankful she had not looked at the activity too long. "We need to get ye down and to a doctor."

Abegail propped Walter up again on her shoulder and the pair made the steady descent down. At times the slop made it difficult for Abegail to help Walter and watching Walter in pain as he struggled to manouvre his arm made Abegail wince. She felt terrible. Walter had been shot because she was stubborn. Abegail could only hope Walter understood.

They made it to the town in the darkness. The slow climb down had take hours. By the time Abegail managed to get Walter to the doctor it was pitch black around them. Abegail was thankful for the lights in the windows of the homes as it helped her find the doctor. She knocked loudly on the door. A man opened the door looking rather annoyed at being disturbed. "My friend is hurt, ye have to help him. Shot in the shoulder." With that Abegail forced her into the door. Abegail pulled Walter with her. The doctor looked shocked for a moment as he looked at the pair. Abegail in pants and her camisole and Walter with blood soaked into his shirt. He frowned but began giving Abegail directions in french and english. He helped lead Abegail to a room with a bed and together they placed Walter on the bed. The doctor then shooed Abegail out of the room and closed the door.

Abegail was left standing stunned outside the door. Listening she could hear the doctor moving around. She heard Walter grunt in pain. Abegail began to pace. Abegail alternated between pacing and leaning against the wall. It felt like the doctor was in there with Walter forever. Occassionally she would hear the doctor speaking. Finally the doctor opened the door. The evidence of the surgery on Walter was on the doctor's pants and shirt. "Your friend will be fine. It was a clean shot, lots of blood and I pulled this out of him" He held up the bullet for Abegail. "He needs to rest, he lost a lot of blood. You can go sit with him if you like." Abegail rushed forward and uncharacteristically, gave the doctor a hug. She whispered "Thank you." before promptly letting the man go and heading into the room.

Abegail stood for a moment in the doorway. Walter had his eyes closed and he looked pale. Abegail quietly pulled the small chair by the door to the bedside. She sat on it and very lightly grabbed Walter's hand. "I'm sorry he shot ye...but it's done and the doctor says ye'll be okay." Abegail's voice was quiet. "They are stopped, the cavern is sealed. You were brilliant with the dynamite." Abegail didn't know what else to say. She was tired, very tired. Abegail leaned forward and rested her head on the bed. Abegail remained sitting on the chair, leaned over onto the bed, holding Walter's hand and fell asleep.

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Upon awakening that morning Walter had no memory of that nights long and arduous journey down the mountain, having lost so much blood. Opening his eyes he found himself staring at the ceiling of an unfamiliar house, looking to his left he saw Abigail sitting beside the bed that he was on, with her head laying upon the bedding. Feeling the commotion of Walter's awakening Abigail lifted her head from the bed and looked at Walter, was now looking directly at her. Walter spoke in a week and groggy voice, "I guess no one gets the Blackstone of Lucifer." Walter and Abigail smiled at each other.

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Upon the mountain the throne of Lucifer lay buried beneath thousands of tons of stone and dirt, along with those who dared to seek Dominion over the Earth, a right now known to belong solely to the Lord of this world. Eventually it would be learned that The Quest for the Blackstone of Lucifer was never officially sanctioned by the SS, nor by Adolf Hitler, that it had solely been the obsession of a small group of soldiers and high-ranking SS officers, all of whom are now dead.. The coming dawn began to cast its brilliant light upon Monsegur, illuminating the entire structure from the front. Long, dark shadows were cast upon the ground by the once glorious stronghold, which now lay in ruins. A few hundred yards from the massive structure something was disturbing the earth around the edge of the mountain. When suddenly, a heavily tattooed hand was thrust upward as it grabbed a portion of the earth for support; the hand of Niclas Elberich.

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