Tomb Raider: War and Peace

Chapter 6

Sam couldn’t hear you, not anymore. Mystical source, Himiko’s power has taken over her and you cursed under your breath. Your desperate screams didn’t even echo and despair has filled you. Is it… Are you too late to save her? Is it already over?

“SAM!” you screamed from the top of your lungs but the scream came out only as a silent whisper that you barely heard yourself. You need to get to her, you need to stop that crazy man and the brutal Sun Queen. Even though your gut says it won’t be easy, you have to try. Because you don’t care who’s going to get hurt, as long as it’s not Sam. There’s still time (you hope). But your arrows don’t even reach the barrier; the winds are in your way and you get scared. It’ll take too much time to get to her…

“Closer, closer” you mutter to yourself, trying to get through the snow. It’s freezing, you’re in pain and you feel as if you are going to pass out any minute. But no. No, no. You shake your head. You just can’t afford it. This is your moment, this is the fight you’ve been preparing yourself the second you heard that they’ve taken Sam again.

It’s somehow quiet, too quiet and you feel as if something bad is going to happen (obviously).

“Protect the Queen, protect her” men yell suddenly as they take their positions. “Kill the outsider”. There are so many of them, they look like ants to you because your vision is kind of blurry.

Well shit. These men, their eyes are filled with anger, with revenge, blood thirst. You have killed their comrades, friends, brothers. They want to kill you and won’t stop at anything until you’re dead. It’s weird because now you don’t feel the guilt, the sorrow that had washed over you earlier (numerous of times too). Like Mathias said, there are only survivors here, no heroes. Survival of the fittest, that’s what it is. This whole island is like an arena. This is the Coliseum of the Yamatai, people fighting the more experienced, better prepared, losers praying to the ancient gods for the Emperor to be merciful upon them. It’s brutal, but fascinating. Bullets fly past you and you return to the real world. Damn it, these bastards don’t know when to give up! Also, you get the feeling as if you are in a jungle. You remember how your father used to tell you stories from his trips and visits. Most of them were precisely about jungles.
“Lara, you have to remember this” he used to say seriously, putting his hands on your shoulders. “The golden rule of the jungle is – kill or be killed”. You didn’t believe him, even for a second. You used to think that your father exaggerated this, exaggerated his stories just to seem more important, more experienced, more knowledgeable. But no, he was right all along. You dismissed a lot of your father stories just because they all seemed surreal, strange, brutal, irrelevant. And even though you liked them (your father was a good story-teller), it was difficult to fully comprehend them. You were only a mere child, what did he expect? It is only now that you accept every story with bitterness. This is still hard to understand and you swear you’ll try. But not now, now you have to deal with other things. You need to stay alive to be able to go on.

These men have gathered all of their strength for the final battle. The Solarii. To be honest, it’s their fight, it’s their time to shine and they want to win this badly. They are men and they have their own strange sense of pride. They would never forgive themselves for losing to a girl like you. Then you shiver from the thought that the Oni and the Stormguards might be lurking somewhere nearby, waiting for the right moment. Like there’s not enough blood shed already.

“The ritual has begun! Defend Mathias!” they yell and start a rain of bullets. They’re crazy, they’ve gone all out for this. Just to protect that bastard who doesn’t really care about them, just to protect the Sun Queen they have grown to hate. These men run, they dodge, they try to get closer to you. Everything, just to take you out, just to remove you from this world.

“For the Queen!”, “Protect the ritual!” you hear them shout as they lunge towards you like kamikazes. But you don’t care, you take them out one by one with shaking hands. You can’t back away now, Sam’s life is at stake. But somehow the Solarii have grown inaccurate and slow and you think that it’s because they are tired too. Most of them don’t even understand what’s going on inside of the barrier, only the voice of Mathias guides them.

“Rise, great Queen. Fill this vessel with your spirit!” Fuck you, Mathias. You’ll kill him with your own bare hands if you’ll have to. It was his fault that Grimm and Alex have died, it was him who have killed Roth… And now he’ll be at fault again if you lose Sam. A wave of anger rises in you, you want revenge! He has to pay for everything he’d done, for everyone he’d killed. Yes, yes! Revenge. You kill these men mercilessly as you get closer to the barrier, step by step. Revenge. They have killed your people, people you have grown to love. Revenge. They want Sam. The beautiful, loving and caring, always smiling Sam. Revenge. You are never ever going to forgive them!

You look around and everything looks like hell – men dying, screaming, bleeding, the constructions burning, falling, fading. You’re dodging their attacks, hiding behind anything solid and reloading. Reloading, reloading. And then firing bullets into them, into their bodies, trying to be accurate and deadly. These weapons are your saviors, you’re glad you found them. But this dark passion that has taken over you, it doesn’t feel right, it’s not you, it’s not entirely who you are. Or is it? No, you need to stop thinking, stop thinking at all. These feelings, they won’t help you take down these men, they’ll just get in the way. Lara, you need to concentrate. But you suddenly feel very tired and sleepy. Yeah, wait, but concentrate on what? The killings? The massive amount of blood? The screams filled with pain? On your own lack of sleep? No.

Sam. You can barely see her through the winds and the snow but somehow you feel that she’s in a massive amount of pain. That selfish Sun Queen, she wants Sam’s body and it’s still as terrifying as ever. Though it’s even scarier now, when you can clearly see some sort of flow there (energy?). This is really happening, Himiko’s transferring her power, her soul to Sam and Mathias is cheering. He’s been waiting for this moment for who knows how long, this may be his only chance to do this. All he wants is to be able to get off of this island for good. You’re not going to let him live.

As you defeat the swarms of men and run forwards, the wind gets so strong, you fall to your feet. Himiko got angry, she can feel that you want to interfere. You are trying to ruin her plan, she’s been waiting for ages (literally) and you, a pest, are trying to stop her. The axe helps you not to get blown away by the vicious wind and you thank Roth for giving it to you. Barely, but you can hear Mathias chanting, telling the Sun Queen to rise, to take this opportunity.
“Oh please… Sam! Hold on!” you yell into the thick air. You doubt Sam can hear you, she’s fully engulfed in that mystical energy. But if she somehow can hear you, you hope these words will show her, show her that you’re alive and trying your best to save her. If she can hear you, you want her to know you’re here, you haven’t abandoned her. Though maybe these words are for you even, to ensure yourself and remind yourself what you’re doing and what needs to be done. Lightning strikes nearby. Yes, Himiko is pissed and you’re a major threat to her. Nothing new but she grows more impatient by seconds.

You have a bad feeling again. Then you look up and see the Oni in right front of you, charging with their drawn swords. What the hell, where did they come from? Now this is getting out of hand, you’re still holding onto the axe, you can’t evade this. You close your eyes from fear but open them just as the Oni get crushed by a falling tower. How convenient. Maybe luck is on your side after all.

The men just keep on coming, coming and dying, wasting bullets, wasting their energy, wasting their lives. But someone has to be the winner here and you need it to be you. You get up from the cold ground and your head turns to the barrier - you see it become even thicker, even stronger. God, this isn’t good, you need to get there faster. It now became difficult to see through, you only see the figures of the people inside of it. Nevertheless, you still know who’s inside of the barrier.
“No, Mathias! Stop!”. You have no idea why you’re even trying, it’s obvious that he won’t randomly give up just because you said so. But words flow out of your mouth automatically. It’s all part of trying to stop him (you guess). “Don’t hurt her!”. Despair and sadness.

The lightning absolutely got out of control. It’s striking the stones, the buildings, the towers, the men. You need to get to Sam faster or this lightning will be the end of you. It would be a disappointment – to have lived through the attacks of these nasty men but die from being struck by lightning. You run and jump on a lonely pillar that was a just struck, then jump forward and climb the rest of the gap with your axe. Again, it’s too quiet, you think they’re waiting for you. You take out your rifle and take slow steps. Then you hear it. Men are screaming and it’s not because of you, it’s because they’re fighting off the Oni that are attacking them. It’s weird, two groups of men work under one task and one Queen but kill each other so easily... And thank god they do, you’d be even in more trouble if they were cooperating. Still, there’s something missing… As soon as this thought leaves your mind, you see the Stormguard climbing the wall, panting. You gasp as he roars and attacks the last two Solarii men. But they’re no match for him, bullets can’t even touch him because of his strong armor and size. He easily shuns one of them and he dies in an instant. Then he strangles the last one of them (clearly taking pleasure in this).

You sigh again and straighten yourself. He’s now right in front of you, there’s nowhere to hide. It’s time to see what you’re truly worth.

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