Authors: Dan Abnett,Nik Vincent
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the authors’ imagination or are used fictitiously.
Tomb Raider™: The Ten Thousand Immortals
Tomb Raider © Square Enix Ltd. 2014. Square Enix and the Square Enix logo are registered trademarks of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics, the Crystal Dynamics logo, Eidos, and the Eidos logo are trademarks of Square Enix Ltd.
Published by DK
All rights reserved.
Published by Penguin Random House
800 East 96th Street, 3rd Floor
Indianapolis, IN 46240
First DK Trade Paperback Edition: October 2014
To the dort and her boyff:
The three musketeers and D’Artagnon...
Oh thank you very much.
Dan and Nik would like to thank Chris Hausermann,
Matt Buchanan, Leigh Davis, and the team at BradyGames
for their help, advice and forbearance during the writing of this book.
he sound came without any warning. The sharp, loud bang of a rifle firing a single shot at close quarters.
Lara knew the sound. The sudden shock of it shattered her peace of mind.
Her heart started to hammer hard in her chest. She could feel the sweat break out on her forehead and between her shoulder blades. Her throat felt constricted. Her hands began to flutter as she closed the Book. It dropped to the floor, forgotten.
“Please, no!” she said to the empty room. “Not again. I don’t need this again.” She got up and started to pace. She tried to swallow, but her mouth was dry. She shook out her tingling hands. Her chest felt impossibly tight.
“Damn it, Lara, breathe,” she gasped. “Don’t let yourself—”
She was back on the island. On Yamatai. A hellish storm raged all around her. Lightning flashed. Thunder roared. The rain fell in sheets, hard as hail. She wove her way through the jungle. Sam was missing. All she could think of was her friend. She had to find her friend.
As she approached the monastery, a great fork of lightning lit up the corpses of dozens… hundreds of men. A thunderclap rolled in across the ocean and reached a crescendo right over Lara’s head, crashing around her, deafening her, and leaving a tang of ozone in the air.
When the air shock had passed, she studied the bodies for a moment. Recent kills, still bloody, lay on top of older, skeletal remains. She tried not to think about how they had met their deaths. She threaded a path through them and entered the monastery.
She had one purpose: To save Sam.
Another flash of lightning burst behind her, briefly illuminating part of the ancient space. Old stone, worn by the years. Spots of blood gleaming like shards of red glass. She took a breath, and went deeper, from chamber to chamber.
She saw torches burning in sconces in the stone walls. They cast flickering light over the dead flesh of more bodies, piled high inside the monastery of the Sun Queen, Himiko...
She closed her eyes. When she opened them again, she was no longer on the island. The quiet of her flat surrounded her.
“Damn it, Lara, don’t keep going back there,” she told herself. “Yamatai is in the past. It’s just a memory.”
She was hyperventilating. Sweating and shaking, she felt cold and pale. Her throat had closed, and she was terrified.
“You know how this works.”
She tried to reason with herself.
“You know how this works. You have coping strategies. Water. Get a bottle of water.”
Lara walked the length of the large open-plan room of the London flat to the far end where the kitchen was laid out, and opened the fridge. She pulled out a bottle of water and thumbed the cap… twice. Her hands were shaking, and it didn’t release on the first attempt. When she finally managed to push the cap back on its hinge, she put the bottle to her lips and sipped. Sipping water was supposed to help her regulate her breathing.
“Breathe out,” she told herself. “Just breathe out, Lara.”
She paced the flat, sipping from the bottle.
“It wasn’t a rifle, Lara,” she said. “You know it wasn’t a gunshot.”
Her sentences came in short bursts between sips as she paced.
“It was a backfire.”
She paced some more.
“It was Bernard’s old car. Why does he drive that thing?”
She sipped at her water.
Five minutes passed.
Finally, she shrugged into a jacket, grabbed her keys and phone, and left the flat.
“Walk it off, Lara,” she said, descending the stairs. Her legs felt like jelly, and she couldn’t jog down the stairs as usual. She couldn’t take the lift. She never took the lift, preferring the exercise of the three flights. Up or down, it didn’t matter to her. Besides, in the middle of an anxiety attack, the claustrophobia induced by the lift would only make things worse.
Lara Croft counted herself lucky. She was young and strong, and she was fit, physically and mentally. She was getting help with her anxiety disorder, and she knew that she’d be OK. They suspected she had PTSD, but she refused to accept the diagnosis. There were people who suffered very seriously with the condition, people who would suffer their whole lives and be changed forever. She wasn’t going to be one of them.
The anxiety attacks were horrible, but she coped with them. She got over them. She had help. She was one of the lucky ones.
Walking was therapeutic, and London was full of good places to walk.
Lara’s best friend, Sam, rented a flat in the heart of the West End, in theatre land, which she shared with Lara. No matter the time of day or night, the streets were always bright and busy. The girls were always surrounded by the hustle and bustle of life. The cafés, bars, and restaurants never seemed to close, and the people never seemed to leave.
Lara walked as steadily as her rubber legs would allow, trying to breathe, trying to pump air into her lungs to steady her limbs. She sipped her water and tried to clear her mind. It was late afternoon, and the theatres that had matinee shows were beginning to empty. Shops were still open, and several of the streets were pedestrianised with stalls set up to sell everything from fruit and veg to souvenirs and T-shirts.
Lara kept walking through the milling crowds.
No one noticed her.
It was the breathlessness that subsided first, and then the clammy, sweaty feeling. Lara’s heart rate dropped to something approaching normal, and her legs began to feel firmer. Her steady breathing finally allowed her to inhale long and deeply. She stopped on a street corner, outside a pub, leaned against a lamppost, and sighed. She took a final swig from her bottle of water, and dropped it in a litter bin.
She put her hands in her pockets and crossed the street. She wasn’t ready to turn back yet.
One of the crucial things Lara had learned about her condition was that it helped if she tried to put everything into perspective.
Keep it simple. She had been plunged into an anxiety attack because of the sudden noise, because the backfire had caught her unawares. It had sounded like a gunshot. Her mind had responded by taking her back to Yamatai.
Lara’s experiences on the island of Yamatai had been intense and frightening. She had seen and done things that still haunted her. Now that the panic was subsiding, she had the chance to rationalise them again.
She was alive. She had survived. She had broken Himiko’s spell, whatever it was. Lara had destroyed the Sun Queen and rescued her friend. She had saved Sam’s life. That was all that mattered.
She had saved Sam’s life, and she had kept herself alive too.
Lara Croft was a survivor. On Yamatai Island she had paid a high price for that survival. She had shot a man. She had been forced to kill more than once. She’d had no choice.
She had fought, and so she had lived. If she had not fought, if she had not killed, Sam would be dead.
Walking the streets of the West End, the people around her utterly oblivious, Lara reconstructed some of the events of Yamatai in her head. She did it one step at a time, with a purpose. She did not allow any image unbidden into her mind, nor did she allow the thoughts to clamor for attention and overwhelm her. She was in charge.
She examined every situation. She imagined every possible outcome. She reassured herself that she had taken the only possible course of action, that her responses had been appropriate under the circumstances.
Survival was the strongest instinct of all.
Lara lived the last terrible moments of Sam’s rescue again. She counted off the shots as she defended herself against Mathias. He was going to kill her. He was going to kill her and sacrifice Sam. She kept shooting until he fell to his death.
Then, Lara stood between the Sun Queen and her friend. She took the blazing torch in her hand and aimed it at Himiko’s heart…
Lara felt the vibration in her hand and she gripped more tightly, her fingers clenching, her palm sweating. Then, a ringtone followed a split-second later.
Lara blinked and gulped. She took a deep breath and relaxed her grip.
She was no longer holding the torch. She was back on the London street, her hand in her pocket, holding her mobile phone. It was ringing.
Lara breathed out hard, took the phone out of her pocket, and checked the screen. It was Sam. She relaxed, and answered.
“Hi, Sam,” she said. “I was just thinking about you.”
A man’s voice answered.
“Am I speaking to a Lara Croft?”
“Who is this?” asked Lara. “Why are you calling from Sam’s phone?”
“I need to know if this is Lara Croft. I’m calling on behalf of a Miss Samantha Nishimura. She’s been admitted to hospital.”
ara Croft looked around to get her bearings, while listening to the doctor talking. She was in Brook Street, obviously heading towards Brown’s restaurant, where she liked to eat. It hadn’t been a conscious decision. She started walking briskly. Sam was in trouble, and she had to get to her, fast.
“Which hospital is it again?” asked Lara, just to be sure.
She checked her pockets, knowing that she was always prepared. There was a ten pound note in her jeans and a credit card in the inside pocket of her jacket. Good.
“Of course,” she said. “I’ll get there as soon as I can.” She knew she could catch a tube at the Bond Street station on Oxford Street. It wasn’t far. She listened to the doctor for another moment.
“Thank you, Doctor,” she said into the phone, and hung up.
Her heart was beating a little fast as she broke into a jog along Gilbert Street, but Lara felt calm. She always felt calm in a crisis. She always felt calm when she had a purpose, when she had a job to do. Right now that job was to get to the hospital, to get to Sam’s side.
“Oh, Sam, what happened to you?” she mumbled as she turned right onto Oxford Street. Moments later, Lara entered the station. It took several minutes for her to buy a ticket and find her way down onto the platform. She didn’t need to check her watch to know that the station was crowded with commuters. They were slowing her down.
A quick study of the underground map told Lara that the Jubilee line would take her as far as Westminster where she’d have to change to the District line to Whitechapel. The journey would take about half an hour. Sam was in hospital, the doctor wouldn’t tell her anything over the phone, and now Lara had to wait another half an hour before she could see her friend.
She stood on the platform listening to the change of air pressure as the train approached, and to the bustle of the people all around her. It was busy, hopelessly busy.
She’s in safe hands,
she told herself.
She’s right where she needs to be. They’re looking after
There were no seats on the train. Lara didn’t care. She kept one hand in her pocket, tightly wrapped around her phone in case she didn’t hear it ring among the crush of bodies. She hung on to the overhead bar with her other hand.
As she always did, Lara checked the passengers standing closest to her: a gaggle of shop assistants, a bored middle-aged man trying to read a newspaper, a man in his twenties sweating too much, a boy with his mother, a woman texting, her elbows tight to her sides.
Switching to the District line at Westminster, the second train was even busier than the first. Lara was the last onto her carriage and found herself pressed against the door. She didn’t mind. It only meant she didn’t have to watch her back. The train felt airless, and there was no room for phones, newspapers, or anything else. Everyone simply hung on, trying to keep to themselves.
Lara rode it out, trying not to think about what might have happened to Sam. Whatever it was, they’d deal with it. They had always dealt with things together, ever since they met at University. That’s what best friends were for.
Sam needed a friend now.
Last on the train meant that Lara was first off, and she took advantage of the situation. She threaded her way through the passengers waiting to board her carriage and walked quickly up the escalators, to ground level.
Once out of the station, Lara jogged half a mile to the hospital.
“I’m looking for Samantha Nishimura,” she told the woman at the reception desk. “She was admitted to Accident and Emergency. I got a call from Doctor Chandyo.”
“Are you a family member?” asked the receptionist.
“Doctor Chandyo called me,” Lara repeated. She was polite, but she was determined not to miss the chance to see Sam, and she didn’t want to lie, not unless she had to.
The receptionist checked her computer screen for several seconds.
Lara was growing impatient, but she tried not to show it.
When the receptionist looked up again, she glanced over Lara’s shoulder and smiled with relief.
“Oh, Doctor Chandyo, this is—”