The British Library likes to boast that it stores at least one copy of every book, paper and manuscript ever written, or published, with a few obvious exceptions such as the original American Declaration of Independence, or the Rosetta Stone, which lives in the British Museum. Whether this is actually true or not, it is certain that it holds a very impressive collection of documents.
If you were so inclined to, you could request to see the stack, wherein all the old, non used papers are stored. Many of these are so old and brittle that they are kept in specially constructed and climate controlled storage cases or rooms, and specific permission is required to even look at them.
For this reason, you‚re unlikely to have ever heard about, let alone seen, the old scroll covering an account of a falling star in the Himalayas, written in roughly 850 of the Current Era.
The aging, hand written and illustrated document, once translated, describes the night that a Fire of magnificent light and sound‚ descended from the sky, causing a great disturbance on the side of the mountain it struck. A massive river of ice and rock resulted, tearing part of the mountainside away, destroying and burying a town near the mountain base. After making the few rescue attempts that could be made, a group was sent to investigate the source.
When, a few weeks later, they returned, the group told tales of a strange metal Temple, with the face of a Daemon upon it, which could not be dented, marked or scratched. The Temple had driven itself well into the mountain. The group discovered what seemed to be a door, but before attempts could be made to open it a further snow slide forced them to retreat or face being buried their selves. When they eventually returned to the sight the Temple was completely buried.
Around this point, the document breaks into even more lavish fictions fanciful accounts of strange creatures in the night, which attacked any living creature they came into contact with. There are also stories of strange glowing orbs dancing in the night sky, panicking animals and causing them to stampede. These stories take place over roughly a year, at which time the events gradually trail off and end.
UNNAMMED MOUNTAIN PASS, HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS: 1858
Howling winds whipped along the narrow mountain pass, driving the snowfall into the centre. Snow flurries danced across the rocky terrain, making the going unsafe and treacherous.
A small party emerged from out of the blizzard, hunched over with heads down to try and shield their eyes from the stinging wind-driven snow. The storm had raged for over a week now, forcing the team to abandon the attempt at conquering the nearby peak, the recently named K2. After most of the storm spent huddled in a tent and with their food almost gone, the choice was made to return to the base camp in the small town near the base.
Marcus was at the rear of the group, afforded some protection by Luc and Viktor ahead of him when the wind blew from the front. Unfortunately, within the confines of the narrow pass, that was a rare occurrence.
Like now. A sudden gust blinded him, covering his goggles. Marcus turned his back into the worst of the wind as best he could and tried to claw them clear, partially succeeding.
As he stood upright and turned back, his foot caught on an unexpected patch of ice and he fell heavily onto an outcrop of rocks. Marcus hit his leg and arm badly, the breath knocked from his body as he rolled over, losing track of his fellow climbers.
Marcus took a few moments to recover, before levering he up to his hands and knees. Something grated in his side, painfully, and he saw his breath hiss out from between gritted teeth.
Staring into the storm, Marcus chose a direction that looked right. Holding his side, he trudged down the pass, sweat breaking out on his body as the pain in his side increased with each step. He needed help, and his partners were out of sight.
Marcus clutched his side tightly and straightened as best he could. Taking a breath, he shouted into the wind, only to hear his voice scattered around, almost mockingly.
This was bad. Descending the mountain was dangerous in clear weather, but in a violent blizzard, with a battered leg and probable multiple broken ribs, would be well neigh impossible. His best chance right now was to try to make it back to the last camp they had made a half hour journey at least or find some other shelter.
The wind dropped for one of those trick, brief spells that made you think the storm was passing, and miracle of miracles, there was shelter a deep overhang with snow drifts to either side, but clear rock inside. Sure, it‚ld be cold but with more luck, a small shrub or bush would be inside and he could hopefully get a fire going for warmth.
Oddly, there was a tingling sensation over his body as he entered the overhang almost like a very brief episode of pins and needles over his skin. A brief stamp and shake dropped most of the snow from him. Removing his hood, goggles and gloves, Marcus took his first look around the alcove.
It was deep. Now he could see more clearly, he noticed some kind of lichen growing and glowing on the walls. The glow was a faint purplish in colour, and seemed to brighten as he watched it.
Marcus took a shaky step towards the lichen, noticing as he did so that it seemed to react to his presence shining brighter the closer he came. He waved an arm over the wall, fascinated by the way it responded to his movements almost like it knew he was there, like there was some kind of intelligence behind it.
Shaking his head at the absorbedness of that idea, Marcus shuffled deeper into the overhang, noticing that it seemed to be more of a passageway. He followed the slightly winding route, until he discovered something completely unexpected.
A metal door. Slightly curved and very solid looking.
It was covered in more lichen, but it was clearly a door in the rock. Marcus just stood and looked at it for a good few minutes, trying to decide his next move.
It was the pain in his side that decided him. First, ran his hands over the door, attempting to find some kind of handle, keyhole, or other means of egress. Finding nothing, he simply tried to push it open.
It didn't move even a fraction of an inch.
Marcus panicked slightly. Raising his uninjured arm, he pounded on the doors‚ surface. The sound was solid and muffled, indicating a thick door. He kept on pounding and pounding until he was exhausted.
Dropping his forehead against the metal, too tired to cry even though he felt like it, Marcus noticed that the door was slightly warm and the best way he could come up with describe it was humming with vibration. His strength giving out, Marcus used almost the last of it to lever hi body around and slowly sink to the floor, back resting against this immovable obstacle, head on his forearms and arms folded across his hunched knees.
Behind him, the door thunked.
Raising his head, Marcus turned it to see the door start to open not forwards of backwards, but sideways, into the rock face itself. Warm air blew over out and thawed him slightly, and the numbed pain returned.
But behind the air was a light.
Behind the light was a voice.
Welcome‚ it said, seeming to speak directly into his head.
And Marcus crawled into the light.