It was a silent journey back to England, not a single shanty was sung, not a single word was spoken. The whole atmosphere of the Expedite was filled with grieving at the loss of a good, innocent man, all for some strange artefacts. Garth had locked himself inside his cabin, sitting on the bed, his body leaning forward as his mind worked the hardest it ever could in the attempts of solving the mystery of the spears. All in vain. Damien and John simply stood on the top deck, leaning against the rails as they shared cigars, staring into the deep blue horizon of the sea. The simple month at sea felt far longer than it should before the English coast was sighted on the horizon, finally calling for an end of this painful adventure.
However, it was a calling for a new beginning.
With the final disembark onto friendly soil, a promise of a slightly increased pay was given by Damien as he gained the address of the new Captain. Leaving the sailors in their negligible morale as the three travelled to the train station. Instead of hailing a horse and cart, they simply travelled on foot through the streets of Southampton, carrying their wrapped up artefacts in each hand, ignoring the calls of the street markets as stall owners attempted to earn their daily coin. Even those who personally knew John were quickly waved off as they learned of the depressive atmosphere which latched on to the three. Hours were wasted in slow walking, everyone’s minds filled with a myriad of thoughts, distracting their focus on walking itself. Finally reaching a crossroads, a lone sign pointing towards the train station to the left, while a housing street was labelled on the right.
“Thank you for joining us, Captain Phage, the rest of your pay will be delivered soon.” Damien spoke, his voice broken and monotone in the grief bestowed upon him. The words quickly raising John’s head, a face of disbelief as he stuttered on the spot.
“Is that it? After all of this, you’re going to leave me here and expect me to forget about it?” John argued, reluctant to leave the two,
“You were just a contracted escort, we don’t want to burden you with anything else, please pass me the spear.” Damien put his hand out, expecting the Captain to hand over the artefact in order to take it back to the university, only to see it pulled away even further as John subconsciously held it close to his body.
“You can’t do this, we need to tell someone. We need a bigger crew, we need soldiers. We can’t just ignore what had happened, it could even start a war!”
“Over a few artefacts? Not gonna happen.”
“You’ve seen how crazy that man was about the spears, we need-”
“Then join us.” Garth interrupted, his back to the two as he refused to face his companions, “But we’re not contacting anyone until we learn more of these things.”
John was left speechless, he didn’t know how to react to Garth’s invitation. Was he thankful? Or did he really want to forget what had happened? There was no way he could function normally while his mind was still fixated on the experience he had felt for the few days in Mexico. “Okay,” the single word was all that would leave his mouth. Falling silent once again as he turned to walk with the explorers, only to pause once again.
“My house is just over there, I’d rather freshen up and get into proper clothing before we go.”
There was a little reluctance in Garth’s actions as he slowly thought about John’s request before finally turning around. “Don’t take too long, we can’t miss the train.”
It was yet another long journey from Southampton to Cambridge, John had been advised to bring more than just a new set of clothing as the work would definitely take more than just a week. The past month of journey after journey had left the three in a state of total fatigue, finally arriving at Damien and Garth’s residence with their eyes struggling to stay open. The three deserved a long rest, especially in familiar beds with the hopes of the comfort resting their minds along with their bodies. Tomorrow was going to be a long day, they needed as much energy as possible.
With the morning sun piercing through the blinds of the residence, the three explorers were met with an unhappy reality. They struggled in their separate beds, and the sofa for John, before finally raising their sleepy bodies from the comforting warmth of the blankets. Autumn was coming around, temperatures were slowly but noticeably dropping as a sign to the people that now would be a good time to prepare for the winter, for the summer to be lost in the long journeys across the ocean, it was slightly saddening for Damien. Hoping that he could of at least enjoyed himself. Garth, on the other hand, was more happy with the autumn and winter seasons, it was much easier to control the temperature then instead of being left sweating in the summer sun, or sneezing in the pollen-filled spring.
Their morning habits had returned with ease, silently grabbing breakfast before fixing their hair and clothing while John continued snoring away on the sofa, pushed and prodded to wake up once the two intellectuals were ready. The atmosphere had lightened as a few jokes were exchanged, pressuring the groggy John to hurry up with his morning as he complained about how early in the morning it was. That was when the three were reminded of the spears, such accursed items that had brought grief to them so far. And now they had to take these spears to the university to look in to. Searching for Garth’s tutor, Fergus, for further guidance on the strange items.
And so the plan had begun, arriving at the busy university, walking through the open hallways as John eagerly looked around him. There was such an amazing architectural talent put into the building of this university, the people walking around seemed to carry the aura of wealth and intelligence as they continued through their busy morning. Reaching the architectural department, the three had luckily bumped in to Garth’s tutor.
“Ah, Garth, welcome back. I hope you all had a good journey, are those artefacts?” Fergus greeted the three, his gaze brought to the new face before him which carried an oddly shaped artefact, wrapped in cloth as the others, “And who might you be?”
“He’s just an extra pair of hands, Sir,” Garth answered, “John Phage.”
John gave a small nod towards the professor accompanied with an awkward smile as the professor reluctantly nodded back. “Room three is empty right now, if you three want to get started there.” Fergus turned back to the two original explorers, “I have some things I need to get to right now so-”
“No, we need you with us, Sir.” Garth interrupted again, his voice showing haste and importance as his eyes stared directly into the old man’s greyed eyes. Fergus raised his shrivelled hand to the back of his balding head as he gently rubbed the nape of his neck.
“Now it must be important for you to throw some eager eyes like that. This reminds me when you first started studying here,” Fergus laughed a little as he reached a nostalgic state of mind, thinking back a few years as Garth’s current expression was a complete match to what was seen during the entry interview. “You think you found something interesting?”
“We need your guidance, and advise. Preferably in the privacy of the room while we get to work. There is a lot to show and tell you about.” Garth continued, leaving Damien to silently nod in the background, there was very little he could say to back up Garth’s plead, he had covered the situation very well after all. Besides, the professor knew Garth better than Damien.
“If it’s as good as your final project, then I guess I’ll have to-”
“It’s even better.” Garth’s words were taken as the truth when it came to the university, he was always the kind of person to speak his mind while working as hard as he could to bring the best results. Fergus himself was well aware of Garth’s genius, still wondering why he decided to take on Archaeology instead of a science.
“Alright, lead the way.”
The whole explanation took over an hour to be fully detailed for the professor, backed up with Garth’s notes from the short visit to the temple. Including the translated inscriptions from the walls accompanied by a few Mayan symbols, perfectly copied from the wall into the notebook. The deeper into the story Fergus went, the more his care free face dropped into a frown, as if he knew something about the spears.
“Yes, it’s very odd…” Fergus added at the end of the explanation, falling silent for a few moments as he looked over the three spears propped up against the wall. “Did these wind chimes ever make a sound?” He questioned as he gestured to the most oddly shaped spear. Six wind chimes hanging from each six protrusion which was set into two layers and patterned into triangles while the massive spearhead glinted in the sunlight which carefully cut through the windows and into the room.
“We never heard anything like that,” Garth answered, confused at the professor’s question which seemed to have changed the whole topic, he looked back at his companions as they shook their head to agree with Garth’s statement.
Fergus simply hummed inquisitively as he grabbed a pencil from one of the desks, proceeding to poke at the wind chimes, this movement quickly threw Garth into a reaction where he attempted to pull his professor away from the spear, only to see that nothing happened. “Don’t worry, it’s if you physically touch the spear, right?” Fergus confirmed, lifting one of the chimes with the pencil, expecting them to be filled with dust. Only to see the perfect condition of the chimes, a small sigh was exhaled as he dropped the chime, still giving no sound. “This really is something.”
“So judging from the fact that wind chimes are present here, this is the sound spear.” Fergus begun as he stood straight, clicking his back with a large sigh of relief as he moved to the next spear. “And knowing that these spears were kept together under the same prophecy, this one of the fire spear.”
“Wait, how did you know that?” Damien questioned, doubting the professor’s judgement as he started to notice a lack of evidence. As a reply, Fergus turned with a small smile towards Damien,
“Because the last one is a scythe, so that’s obviously the one tied to fallen legions. Kind of like the grim reaper.”
John started to giggle as he noticed the common sense used in the deduction of the spears, he bumped his arm against Damien as a form of teasing him for his foolish question. “Alright alright, keep going.” Damien gave John a small shove, accepting his bad timing as he gestured for Fergus to continue.
“Okay, so knowing that you’ve already figured something out, Garth.” Fergus turned to his student who was already staring at the spears, his face blank as he thought and thought before snapping back to reality,
“You know more than us or those Spanish people combined.” Garth stated as he was met with a large smile of agreement, Fergus definitely knew more about these spears, but for some reason he had decided to keep silent.
“Some of my coworkers in mainland Europe had found similar spears. But I’ve never seen the real ones before.” The professor begun, “That’s why there wasn’t much of a reaction when I learned that your sailor friend had died. And Ikal…”
“What about him?”
“He was always a strange man, leading people with lies as if he wanted them to die to the spears. But whenever it came to the mentioning of the fire or sound spears, he always fell silent. He knew about these spears, but refused to tell us, so we’re all left with very little knowledge in these three.” Fergus explained as he slowly wondered to the front desk of the room, lowing his body into the chair with a large grunt of fatigue, “I’m getting too old for this, I might have to retire next year.”
“How can we learn more about these spears?” Damien questioned, with the professor’s explanation, he was drawn in to the story more and more, eager to learn more of the spears and the professor’s history with Ikal. “How did you know the translator?”
Fergus hummed to himself as he thought hard, struggling to find the right words to speak towards the young men who stood before him. The young men who hold the potential to control the fate of humanity itself, according to the prophecy that is.
“There is a man, Choi Xue. A buddhist, he knows a lot of these spears and how to utilise them. Here,” Fergus began to write down on a piece of paper, detailing the name and address of this man before writing a small message in Chinese, followed by a signature, “If you go to China, find this man, and hand him this letter. He will teach you three everything he knows.”
“Travel to China!? That’s crazy!” John refused, raising his voice in disbelief of such spiritual and magical things that had begun to be talked about.
“With Ikal dead, Choi is the only man with detailed knowledge.”
“No, John. We’re going.” Damien interrupted, turning to Garth as he expected an agreement, only to see the man stuck in thought,
“Why are you telling us all this so easily?” Garth questioned,
A determined expression flooded across Garth’s face, showing a small hint of worry as he was fully aware of another long journey he had to take. Still blaming the spears for such a curse of bad luck, as if he knew there was nothing but grief to be found from this journey. Yet it had to be done.
“We’ll have a week to prepare, then we will leave. For China.”