It has been written over the centuries that a group of islands, known simply as the Dark Lands, situated somewhere in the midst of the Pacific Ocean have fascinated explorers, scientists and eminent scholars ever since they were found in the early 1700’s. It has also been written that it had been inhabited by a race simply known as the Igons. A race that, judging by the ruins and carvings found lived a long life and then for some unknown reason vanished out of existence. The ruins that had been explored boasted the remains of a huge citadel that lay atop the highest point of the main island. Scientists and explorers named the islands the Dark Lands as its vast areas were mainly covered in dark dense foliage and the sands that edged the islands were black in colour. Many doorways in the vast ruins were found and some were entered by explorers alike over the years. All these doorways were made of carved rock and held carvings of symbols above the high mantles. These symbols were not too dissimilar to the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt, and a number of scholars deciphered parts of them, finding that two symbols seemed to appear constantly of which they figured out was the name of the race that inhabited the islands, the Igons.
That is, according to old records kept in the ancient library of the town of Musgrove. These ancient tattered leather bound volumes have sat on dusty shelves since time immemorial. Tales of the islands having supernatural powers were heard around the university of Musgrove as well as old inns and places of work.
It is also written in these volumes that some of the strangest tales of all are those of previous explorers who had set off the find entry to a secret doorway to the upper ruins of the Igons vast buildings had returned to Musgrove University looking older than their years. Some of them had returned via the ships that had taken them on their expeditions like quivering wrecks. Their minds simply gone, they eventually ended their days in the county asylum. Minds broken by what they had witnessed, all had glazed eyes and jibber jabbered inanely about a secret door. But of course, none of the doctors could get any sense out of any of their patients. The last of these being, six men and three women, who in their infinite wisdom decided, unfortunately, at their cost, to venture to the Dark Lands almost twenty years ago. Sadly a fair number of these previous explorers had simply vanished or ended up dead.
David and Elaine Cotter were eminent scientists and also a very wealthy couple, totally devoted to each other and their only child, a son also named David. David junior was only ten years of age when his parents shipped him off to his grandparents to be cared for while they went off on their expedition exploring the Dark Lands.
Little did he know that one day, he would be following in his parent’s footsteps. Now at the age of thirty five, Cotter junior was himself a noted scientist and explorer, and now years after his parents painful demise, Cotter was preparing to set up an expedition to the Dark Lands to find out just what it was that had drove his parents mad that had led to their painful drawn out death.
Cotter had gathered together a team of six scientists, of which, he had worked alongside on previous expeditions. All six were very apprehensive about travelling to such a place knowing of the history of the islands and the tragic consequences that befell previous expeditions. Cotter was a married man, but his wife, Emily Jane, had no interest in his work and thought him crazy to go on such a foolhardy venture. Emily Jane Cotter was a fully-fledged suffragette who had been incarcerated on numerous occasions along with some of her fellow suffragettes for larceny, breaking into public places and trying to burn them down, and for an attack on the town’s mayor.
Cotter who had inherited his parent’s fortune and vast estate had on many occasions bailed his wife out and if believed, paid the mayor of the city a nice backhander, but this was never proved. Mrs Emily Jane Cotter was certainly her own woman, and even though she was displeased with her life as Cotter’s wife, she knew she had to stand by him and give full support to his expeditions. Even his latest hair brained idea to go looking for what was it, ah yes, a secret door on some remote islands that no one had ever been able to say what lay behind it. She knew that if she didn’t support him she would lose everything if he were to make it back home alive, or worse still, end up in the asylum just like his parents did.
Emily Jane cared very little for her husband and his far flung trips to various countries. She cared more for her secret lover, Miranda Fellowes, another suffragette. The two had become firm friends while incarcerated on many occasions, eventually becoming lovers. But only behind closed doors as the people of the city who knew them would have branded them both as disgusting sinners in the eyes of the Lord.
So it was with fake tears of heartache that Mrs Emily Jane Cotter bid her husband farewell, hoping that he would not return. He had informed her previously of his will and told her that as they had no children she would be named as the sole beneficiary to his wealth. Cotter was blind to his wife’s cunning ways as he was deeply in love with her. The same could not be said for his wife by any means. She would become a very wealthy woman indeed as long as he never returned.