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Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« on: September 21, 2017, 11:22:40 AM »
Finding the Lost and Forgotten


Meet Melanie Bell, the daughter of the late Count Johnathon Bell and budding young archaeologist. To all intents she's effectively the Countess of Elsion, just one problem Melanie would rather be out in the wilds of Mundus than in ballrooms making small talk. Having proven the truth of her father's controversial theories Melanie's set up on her own under the business name écho and now with a little help from some friends she goes in search of the answers to the greatest mysteries on Mundus.

Table of Contents

The Trident

The Old Master's Legacy
Ghost Ship
Salvage Rights
Puzzle As Old As Time

The Ark of the Covenant Adventure

Another Mystery
The Tomb
The Text
Saint Peter's Way
The Secret of Shatt al-Arab
Needle in a Haystack
The Village With No Name
Mind That Step
Mine Eyes Have Seen...
A Mystery Solved
Where It Belongs

The Samurai's Journey

A New Challenge
The Battlefield
The Mystery Samurai
The Skull
Who Are You?
The Outlander's Name
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 09:06:46 PM by Achkaerin »

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2017, 11:29:03 AM »
The Old Master's Legacy



Melanie Bell

Meridian Island was always a nice peaceful place, historically it was probably also the most peaceful place in Achkaerin history, it was funny really wasn't it? When academic's talked of Achkaerin's six state period they talked of the city states as they had been then of Valtheim, Artaxia, Solaria, Valkyria, Dovah and Freshwater which was understandable with those being the major six players they never mentioned the city of Mossflower that historically ruled over Meridian Island and still held the seat of power for the island on behalf of the Crystal Throne to the present day. It was probably one of Melanie's favorite places and it wasn't that far distance wise from the city of Elsion where she lived to Meridian Island, she loved being on the island. Normally she'd find any excuse for a trip out there but today it was a little bit of business, she'd come across something in one of her late father's many journals that had intrigued her- an old map of Meridian Island with a small red circle drawn on it and some GPS coordinates scrawled next to the circle, there had also been a word Estelaar scrawled next to the coordinates, that wasn't really a word though it was a name, a legend from Achkaerinese mythology- the young knight and his chosen warriors, the so called Rowanoak Order, who'd fought for peace and justice in Achkaerin at the time. Legend's were that they'd each gone their own way and traveled across Mundus. There were stories of their gallantry, honor, chivalry and deeds in far off lands. To be honest Melanie had always thought them nothing more than fables, but she'd bet against her father before and lost so she wasn't foolish enough not to go and have a look.

The coordinates in question were a little off the beaten track so Melanie found herself in her cargo shorts and white sleeveless top trudging through the forest, the humidity didn't help much, it was uncharacteristic for the time of year, though maybe it was the last throws of the good weather before the storm season kicked in hard. Melanie brushed her hair from her eyes as she continued to follow the GPS, the steady beep guiding her through the brush and trees until finally the forest gave up its secret, what looked like a stone redoubt, overgrown with plants.
"That'll be it then." Melanie said

With her flashlight on Melanie stepped into the redoubt, carefully keeping half an eye on the stone ceiling, after all she had no idea how long this structure had been there or how stable it was, but at least it didn't seem like it was going to give way at this point. She continued to walk inside the stone corridors that had presumably once been lit by flaming torches were now illuminated by her flashlight. After a few more minutes of walking she entered a larger chamber and it took her breath away, there in the centre of the room there was a stone block with an engraving on the top, and around the foot of the block there was what appeared to be some sort of small gutter and drain carved into the stone floor. Don't tell me all the stories are true Melanie thought. She continued to shine her light around the room until it settled on a circular shield on the far wall that bore a crest, this was what Melanie knew was hypothesized to be the Rowanoak Crest, the emblem of these apparently not legendary knights. Melanie turned her light on another wall and found herself gasping again this wall bore seventeen names- thirteen men and four women.

Melanie had to stop for a moment and think, this was the unthinkable really there was no way that this should even be possible. But then again wasn't all history a myth until it was proved real? These knights had for years been figures used to teach morality, justice, peace and the like to children, to be frank most had put them in the same classification as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, but for them to now be real? Melanie composed herself and walked into the next room, this was clearly a blacksmith's workshop, the tools still looked in good order as did the forge there were even what looked like some ingots lying around the place, it was like a moment in history frozen in time.

Melanie walked back outside the redoubt, took her phone out and dialed her friend, and technically the closest thing she now had to a parent, Donna Steele she was Achkaerin's CETO representative.
"Melanie I'm giving a lecture in about five minutes." Donna said "This had better be good."
"I found Rowanoak Hall." Melanie said
"What?" Donna asked "Where?"
"About ten miles east of Mossflower in the middle of Meridian forest." Melanie said "Not quite in the same league as the lost city of Alaris..."
"Oh please this is pretty big." Donna said "Have you got a GPS?"
"Yep." Melanie said
"Text me the coordinates I'll be there with a load of student volunteers in a few hours." Donna said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2017, 11:30:38 AM »
Ghost Ship



Natasha Raines

Natasha had been the skipper of the Bell's research ship Star Chaser for three years- which in short was ever since it had been launched, she'd captained the vessel under first Lord Bell and now following his death she captained the vessel for Melanie, it was interesting to go from being an employee of her best friends father to an employee of her best friend, it was getting on towards eleven at night and Natasha was on her third or was it forth? It could even have been her fifth cup of coffee give it a couple of hours and she'd be going to bed, Melanie had come aboard earlier in the day she was taking a break from hunting the Knights of Rowanoak Hall to spend some time with Natasha they hadn't spent that much time together since Melanie's father had died so this was their best chance. Picking up a novel she'd been reading Natasha was about to settle down for another couple of hours when the sonar started beeping.

"Leon what the heck is that?" Natasha asked turning to one of the other four crew on the ship the others beside Leon being Lori (Leon's sister), Nicolas and Hugo. They were all estate kids having grown up on the grounds of the Bell estate in Elsion.
"Sonar's picking something up." Leon said
"I gathered that but what the heck is it?" Natasha asked
"I can't tell for certain but it's big." Leon said, Natasha went over and looked at the screen.
"My money's on shipwreck." Natasha said, this was the Gulf of Safraen after all and there were plenty of naval battles in that area to think about, she grabbed the radio off the table where she'd been a few seconds earlier "Hey Lori are any of the underwater robots ready?"
"I've got one ready why?" Lori asked
"I need you to launch it." Natasha said
"On my way." Lori said

A few minutes later Lori was up on the bridge with Leon and Natasha Lori was now driving a remote controlled underwater device that had a camera built into it, on one of the screens they saw the wreck of a ship come into view.
"She's 20th century." Natasha said, naval stuff was her area of expertise "Can you got a shot of the bow?"
"No problem." Lori said she shone the light on the bow "Hang on that plate there looks like a name plaque."
"Get tight on it." Natasha said, Lori nodded and shone the light on the name
"Can you make that out?" Lori asked
"RVS Trident" Natasha said her eyes widening "Oh no way."
"What is it?" Leon asked, Natasha grabbed the radio "Melanie if you're awake you might want to get up here."

Two minutes later Melanie was stepping onto the bridge
"What are we burning the midnight oil for?" Melanie asked
"We've just stumbled across the wreck of the RVS Trident" Natasha said
"You stumbled across the Demon of the seas?" Melanie asked
"Translation please." Leon said
"In World War Two the RVS Trident was a Valertinettian battleship that spent four years laying waste to Achkaerin's navy, it was credited with more kills than any other ship in the war. In 1944 though it was destroyed by the Achkaerinese destroyer INS Liberty under Captain Kayleigh Ayanami it got her the nickname 'Demon slayer'" Natasha said "What do you want to do Melanie?"

"Salvage rights Nat." Melanie said
"Make the call then." Natasha said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2017, 11:32:24 AM »
Salvage Rights



Melanie Bell

It was the big day, it had taken a lot of care and planning but they were finally going to do it, the RVS Trident the so called Demon of the Seas was going to be salvaged. The Star Chaser sat slightly off to the side of the operation there were professionals for this sort of thing and they were doing their jobs quite well, it was safe to say that Melanie was still surprised that they'd stumbled across the wreck of the ship, but it was something that helped her put her little venture out into the world. She was stood out on the Star Chaser's deck watching as the professionals went about their work.

"Excited?" Natasha asked coming out to join Melanie
"You have no idea." Melanie said
"You're tapping your right foot, that means you're struggling to contain yourself." Natasha said
"You know me too well." Melanie said
"Ms Bell" a radio clipped to Melanie's belt crackled into life "We're about ready if you'd like to give the word." Malenie picked up the radio
"Captain the word is given. Bring her up." Melanie said, over the next few minutes Melanie and Natasha watched as the Trident was brought up to the surface.

"She looks in remarkably good nick." Natasha said
"Fatal wound's to the stern." Melanie said pointing to what looked like a pretty major hole in the hull "But considering the battering she looks to have taken I'm amazed she's still mostly in one piece."
"You said it." Natasha said
"And I can't wait to get inside her." Melanie said
"What's your plan?" Natasha asked
"How long to the Festival of Sail?" Melanie asked, Natasha glanced at Melanie and noticed this wasn't a joke
"Ok so that's repairs and restoration" Natasha said "Do you know anyone?"
"I know someone in the restoration field, Verspasian Atreides, whether he'd do a ship I don't know." Melanie said "Guess I'll put in a call. But let's get a look at her on dry land while we can."

It was hours later that the Trident sat in dock, Melanie and her friends were having a quick look at the outside of her now she was out of the water.
"I'm seeing what I assume is machine gun fire, evidence of cannon fire, fire damage itself." Hugo said
"What's next Melanie?" Lori asked
"Go home, have a good night's sleep and come back tomorrow." Melanie said "Get inside her and take a look round, this is a ship full of stories let's see what we can find out."
"Fact finding before we do any work on her." Leon said "Sounds good to me."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2017, 11:34:59 AM »
Puzzle As Old As Time



Melanie Bell & Brian Raines

Tap...tap...tap., the chalk hit the blackboard the sound echoing through the half empty lecture theatre, it was the last lecture of the week which probably explained the absenteeism somewhat. It was also the run up to the Edelweiss Music Festival and there was plenty of excitement on campus about that. For Brian though this was just another last thing on Friday lecture that he was a little irritated about because the students hadn't turned up. He turned back to the blackboard, he did know how to use the modern technology but he was an old stuck in his ways kind of guy about teaching methods, so the university could have his blackboard but they'd have to pry it from his cold dead hands to get it.

"So as we can see from history, the great Empires of the past were built on slavery, they were also built on trade. Let's take the Ardian Empire, once it reached it's greatest extent it dominated the southern hemisphere trading scene, the East Ardian Trading Company ensured the Empire's continued prosperity which is why in the War of the Five Queen's Seonaid Ayanami fought mainly at sea, rather than pitched battles on land she for the most part elected for raids on Ardian port cities in a form of what could be called early guerrilla warfare. In making the company bleed she took the power away from the company and undermined the Empire. Ultimately it was only with the rise of the Rokkenjiman Navy that the Five Queen's were able to ultimately destroy the company. Some historians even claim this was the first step towards the Empire's end, others say the Rokkenjiman uprising the previous century and the Samurai uprising in the early seventeen hundreds bear most of the responsibility. You'll see on page two hundred of your textbooks a tactical overview of the Strait of Shaw battle that ended the Company as a significant trading force." Brian explained before glancing at his watch "Ok that's it for today off you go."

As the class departed, Brian collected together his notes as Melanie made her way over from her sixth row seat
"How's the redecorating of the Trident coming along?" Brian asked, he was Natasha's father, he was also probably the most father like figure in Melanie's life too.
"Pretty good." Melanie said
"Natasha tells me you're hoping to send it to the Festival of Sail?" Brian said
"The most read about ship from the second world war, you bet I want to send it there." Melanie said, she took out a dark green journal
"One of your father's?" Brian asked
"Yeah." Melanie said she opened the book "Recognize it?"

The Cradle lies where the eyes of mortals cannot see
where night and day, united with the earth, observe begins the path to enlightenment
the path that infinity and eternity carved in their struggle eons ago,
follow their gaze and take your first steps.

Do not stray to the Sun lest the earth swallow you whole and soul.
Instead let the faithful guide you through the valley of the virtuous chosen at rest,
and if the Goddess finds you worthy the way will be revealed to you.

Answer the challenges of Fire and Ice but remember life's rhythm if you wish to proceed and learn the truth that attaining the Cradles wealth permits.
But leave your burdens behind or you will succumb to the weight of the world and one must be as free as the birds to attain that which you seek.
Prove your worth, prove your virtue and you will see with clarity.


Brian read the words
"The Cradle riddle?" Brian asked "Etched on the Dragonstone and something that's bamboozled archaeologists for centuries."
"Until now." Melanie said she turned the journal's page and it displayed a map of Mundus with a nation circled - Tokulel
"He found it?" Brian asked
"I don't know." Melanie said with a sigh "It's not complete, all I know is that he had a decent theory to believe it was Tokulel."
"Well I guess I don't need to ask what you're doing with your summer holiday." Brian said "Once next weeks exams are out of the way."

Melanie hugged him, it wasn't like she needed his permission to go or anything but having it meant a lot to her, now she had to do her exams and then prepare for probably her greatest adventure to date.

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2019, 11:05:26 PM »
Another Mystery

Melanie Bell stepped out of her bedroom pulling on a pale blue t-shirt, it was getting on for late morning and the noise of Elsion's comings and goings was in the usual groove of being the daily backing track. Melanie despite being the Countess of Elsion didn't live on the family estate, she didn't feel up to knocking around in the mansion all on her own, it was too full of memories for that - and they were happy ones of happier times. Instead Melanie lived in a flat in the city centre, it was pretty spacious, a good location, had an underground car park and was only a ten minute walk from Elsion University and about a twenty minute walk from the office, so it was pretty much everything she needed it to be. She walked into the open planned living area, made herself a cup of tea and sat down on the sofa. It felt good to not have anything that pressing to deal with, it meant for once she could read up on stuff - as a Cultist the developments in Phukbridge had intrigued her, especially as she'd written her dissertation on Paul the Explorer's second wife Anezaki Ayanami.

Her little bit of a daydream was interrupted by the doorbell, otherwise known as the buzzer indicating someone wanted to see her, which Melanie took as weird given that she wasn't expecting anybody. She went to her flat's door and picked up the phone that was tied to the doorbell, she watched as the small screen that showed who was waiting came to life displaying a man she didn't recognize.
"Hello?" Melanie asked
"My name is Sebek-em-of, Professor Men-nu Sebek-em-of from Ashmaremu University." the man said "I knew your father."
"What can I do for you Professor?" Melanie asked
"I need your help with something Ms Bell." Men-nu said
"Ok come up." Melanie said, she pushed the button that opened the main door and a few moments later she was letting Men-nu into the actual flat.

"Thank you for seeing me." Men-nu said
"Can I get you a drrink?" Melanie asked
"No thank you." Men-nu said he saw the necklace that Melanie wore, a simple Cultist one, a silver chain with a sword pendant "Interesting that you are a Cult of Helus follower while your father was a Christian."
"My mother was a Cultist." Melanie said "My Dad's side of the family call my joining the Cult my teenage rebellion. So what can I help you with?"
"This." Men-nu said he'd been carrying a long roll of paper which he now placed on Melanie's dining table and unrolled it, placing paperweights at each corner "Do you recognize it?"

"Just about." Melanie said looking at what was essentially a blown up map "This is the tomb of Amentuankh. Pharaoh of Abydos in the sixth century BC. My father was one of the leaders of the team that excavated the tomb about fifteen years ago."
"He was the leader." Men-nu said "I assisted him as did Brian Raines among others. Do you know why Amentuankh was of interest to us back then?"
"I know my father's theory." Melanie said "Around 550 BC Abydos and the Rus Empire were embroiled in a pretty bloody war, Amentuankh then a Prince supposedly either saw or got hold of some Christian relics in the midst of the conflict. Which is why you spent a good few years tracking this tomb down and then what you thought was there wasn't, cue the beginning of my father's fall from grace."
"Correct. But last week this wall here." Men-nu said tapping the piece of paper "Fell down revealing a hidden chamber." he now placed a piece of see through plastic on top of the map which showed the location and shape of the new chamber.
"And what was in there?" Melanie asked
"That's the strange thing there's nothing in the way of what we'd expect to see, no treasures, no gold, no jewels, no weapons or anything like that." Men-nu said "It's like one big cartouche."
"So no physical treasures but treasures of the mind." Melanie said "Interesting. Ok I'll bite what does the cartouche say?"
"We don't know." Men-nu said "Your father had the expertise in this area. It's a particulary obscure language."

"Do you have a source text?" Melanie asked "A copy of the glyphs?"
"On here." Men-nu said putting an external hard drive on the table "Can you figure out what it says?"
"If I do this I'll want to see the chamber, glyphs are tricky at the best of times." Melanie said "Leave it with me and I'll call you later tonight."
"Ok." Men-nu said placing a business card on the table "I'm at the Premier Inn over on Market Street, I'll be waiting for your call."

A few hours later Melanie was in one of the lecture theatres of Elsion University more specifically it was the lecture theatre that was where Brian Raines taught students history and archaeology, while Melanie perched on the desks at the front row of seats Brian stood next to where she was perched while Brian's wife Alexandra paced around, all three of them looking at the projector screen where some of the glyph text was displayed.

"To think that Amentuankh's tomb had a hidden chamber like this." Brian said "It's remarkable."
"If this proves that your Dad was right." Alexandra said "You might manage to get his reputation back."
"It's a pretty big if though." Brian said "Without knowing what this cartouche says."
"Well there's only one way to be certain what it says." Melanie said "I've got my Dad's language notes I can translate some of this but I don't know if it's accurate because some of the glyphs are very similar in appearance but have vastly different meanings."
"So you're planning a trip to Abydos by the sounds of it." Brian said
"Yes." Melanie said
"Well you'll be fine with Men-nu." Brian said "He may be a little bit ecentric at times but he's a good guy."
"I'll bear that in mind." Melanie said
"Just be careful." Alexandra said
"Always am." Melanie said "But I can't turn this down."

"So like your father." Brian said "Same adventurer's spirit."
"Perhaps." Melanie said she was taking her phone out and dialling a number "Men-nu it's Melanie Bell I'm in."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2019, 11:30:09 PM »
The Tomb

Melanie had spent the flight down to Abydos staring into space, she couldn't quite believe that after all these years, something new had been discovered in Amentuankh's tomb. It didn't mean that her father's theory was right, there was still no proof of that but proof or no proof she was in a hopeful mood. The drive in the jeep from the airport out to the dig site had equally as hopeful though Natasha's driving was at risk of turning that hope into something else.

"Natasha we're not going to be able to do anything if we don't get there in one piece." Melanie said as the jeep bounced a little off the sand
"Hey you know I'm better on sea than on the land." Natasha said "What's the urgency anyway?"
"Your Dad never told you?" Melanie asked
"No." Natasha said
"Amentuankh was a Pharoah of Abydos centuries ago back when the country was a significant player in the north." Melanie said "He led a notable campaign against the Rus Empire including some skirmishes in what is modern day Vanora. My father believed he might have come into contact with some missing Christian artifacts, as a Pharoah if he had such things he'd have been buried with them but when the tomb was found they weren't there which was when he started to lose his reputation."
"And now Men-nu has found something?" Natasha asked
"A new chamber that Dad didn't find." Melanie said "Apparently it may hold some answers."
"It sounds like a longshot." Natasha said
"They're the best kind." Melanie said

Half an hour later the gang, because they'd all insisted on Melanie dragging them along, had met Men-nu and were exploring the tomb, it was dusty but that was to be expected, Melanie, Lori and Rosalie stepped into the new chamber and each of them gasped.
"I've seen something's in my time following you around on wild rides Melanie but this takes the cake." Lori said shining her flashlight around the room "The hieroglyphics are magnificent, a little dusty and worn in places but magnificent nontheless."
"Can you work your magic?" Melanie asked
"Yes but it's going to take a while to do it." Lori said "We're talking analysing each symbol."
"Sooner you start the sooner you finish." Melanie
"Leon!" Lori called into the main chamber, her brother Leon appeared quickly
"Yeah sis?" Leon asked
"We're going to be doing a little bit of ID work get the bots." Lori said
"Bots?" Men-nu asked
"Swarmbots." Lori said "They have their uses for stuff like this. We use them when we need to catalogue a find such as this chamber, we'll outfit each one with a camera and let them record each symbol and map the room."
"I presume the camera's have filters that allow you to go beneath the surface?" Men-nu asked
"That's the idea." Rosalie said "We apply the filters and we can figure out precisely what we're looking at, even something worn away on the surface with leave indentations beneath the surface."
"We've got the battery power to run through the night so there's that. Hopefully be able to have something by tomorrow afternoon." Lori said
"Do it." Melanie said

Melanie left the tomb, she needed some air, she walked a few metres away from the site and took in the sunset, sipping some water as she did.
"What's up?" Rosalie asked coming to stand next to Melanie.
"It's just weird being here." Melanie said "Of all the things I could have got caught up in I have to go chasing the same thing my Dad did."
"There were a lot of Christian relics that supposedly went missing around this Pharoah's time, it has to be while Vanora somewhat flip flopped between Abydos and the Rus Empire." Rosalie said
"I hope so." Melanie said "Because if it's not then we're going to be running into walls we don't want to." 

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2019, 07:34:56 PM »
The Text

The following morning the gang gathered around a table that was full of printouts and had an annotated map of the chamber on it. Hugo was doing his thing, he was a mathematician by qualification and for stuff like this he was certainly the best guy for the job.
"Ok so the new chamber, the cartouche as we call it can be broken down quite comfortably into different sections." Hugo said "There are about twenty five or so sections based off the content and context of the records."
"Sounds like a needle in a haystack." Nicolas said
"It would be if we didn't know that we were looking at the time before Amentuankh was crowned Pharoah." Melanie said smiling a little, this was reasonable progress after all, she looked at Hugo "So break it down Hugo."
"Ok the fourteenth section talks of his coronation so we can eliminate that section and the ones after it." Hugo said "The first section is a longwinded introduction of who Amentuankh was, it's like that chapter in the Christian Bible that recounts Jesus's ancestry with all the names. There's a couple of sections on his upbringing, one on his marriage and all that. I think based off an initial glance that what we're looking for lies in the eighth, ninth and tenth sections. Those appear to depict his time at war with the Rus Empire."
"So we need to take a detailed look at those?" Melanie said, Hugo nodded.

So the gang sat around the tent reading through the translations of the text in detail. It took them a while but gradually they started narrowing it down bit by bit until finally Rosalie let out a triumphant 'aha'
"What have you got?" Melanie asked
"Something interesting to say the least." Rosalie said she put the text she'd been reading on the table "It says 'Although I was able to sack the holy city of those non-believers I knew I would not be able to hold it. That was never my intent anyway. I came in search of their relics to take from them that which was held sacred by them, but these were not to be found within the city, according to one elder my men questioned what we had come for had been taken out of the city prior to our arrival, a subsequent search of the city by my men confirmed that he was telling the truth while questioning of others eventually yielded the direction of travel, south.'"

"South." Melanie repeated "So assuming this is accurate that means Tamora, Royal Seleucid and Slava Lavosk area."
"Within modern context yes." Rosalie said "But they could be much further afield than that."
"Let's hope not." Melanie said "Still not where I'd I've wanted this to lead."
"Well Jewel of the Desert is coming up." Rosalie said "We could probably find someone or something that gives us some information about what happened next."
"What we need is the Midaranye history of that time period in detail if we're going to piece this together." Melanie said "But the festival is the right place to start in any event."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2019, 07:24:36 PM »
Saint Peter's Way

After the Jewel of the Desert Festival it had been back to Elsion and days of reading through the various documents that they'd managed to buy, what didn't help was that most of it was in languages that in modern Mundus were considered dead or spoken by very few people. Fortunately the gang had called in a favour from their friends at the Achkaerin University of Arts and Culture and were joined at this stage of their investigation by Michelle Walker and her lecturer, not to mention Achkaerin's CETO representative, Doctor Donna Steele, it also meant that Melanie's flat was far more crowded than usual as they all sat around the place trying to decipher what the various texts they'd got said, desperately searching for even the slightest link to what happened after Amentuankh sacked Jerusalem.

"The cartouche has nothing." Rosalie McLean said, she was sat at what passed for Melanie's desk.
"That's interesting." Donna said
"How so?" Leon Downing asked
"The cartouche you found is essentially the record of Amentuankh's life it's sort of like a greatest hits album." Donna said "You can prove that Christian relics were removed from Jerusalem presumably by the Vanoran's in the days before Amentuankh sacked the city. Now if Amentuankh had actually captured those relics afterwards and it's probable that he tried wouldn't you expect that to be mentioned?"
"Yes." Brian Raines said "Failing to do so would be a significant failure and embarrassment on his part so he'd likely erase it from the history."
"He doesn't have them so they got away." Donna said "But where did they go?"

"I may have something on that." Michelle said "One of the scrolls in that box you brought back from the festival is written in a now extinct script that died out in the area around the seventh century." she was pouring over the scroll magnifying glass in one hand while her other hand held a pen that hovered over a notepad "Yeah this could be it.
"What is it?" Donna asked
"It's a letter from a small Christian community that at the time seems to have been in modern day Tamora." Michelle said "It describes how a small group of Vanoran's came through the settlement carrying something."
"Does it say what?" Melanie asked
"A chest reflecting gold, with a lid depicting angels atop it carried by staves." Michelle said, Melanie closed her eyes for a moment and then left the flat in silence Donna looked at Brian
"You never told her did you?" Donna asked "You never told her what her father was really chasing."
"No." Brian said "Jonathon became obsessed by it to the extent that it consumed him, if she'd known she could have gone the same way. Never underestimate the rabbit hole." Jonathon was Melanie's deceased father, like her he'd been an archaeologist who'd become maligned by the community due to his chasing of things such as this.
"Well you'd better go and talk to her." Donna said 

Melanie had managed to get down the stairs, out of the building, across to the park and had even managed to purchase an ice cream by the time Brian caught up to her.

"Melanie..." Brian said
"You should have told me." Melanie said "A chest being carried on staves with a lid depicting angels did you honestly think I wouldn't recognize what it was? That I wouldn't know the general description of the Arc of the Covenant?"
"Of course not you're much too intelligent for that." Brian said "But this quest destroyed your father. I don't want you to go the same way."
"And if he was right?" Melanie asked
"Then prove he was right." Brian said "But make sure that you lay this ghost to rest before it becomes your life's obsession."
"Do you think he was right?" Melanie asked
"I never doubted that Christian relics were moved, that much made sense." Brian said "I found his theory of it being the Arc fanciful though. But that's not the question - the question is what do you believe?"
"I've always believed in my father ever since I was a kid just learning about the wonder of history." Melanie said "I'm not going to stop now."

A few minutes later Melanie returned to the flat with Brian just behind her
"Are you ok?" Natasha, Brian's daughter and probably Melanie's closest friend, asked
"I'm fine what have we got?" Melanie asked
"The settlement the letter comes from no longer exists but it mentions the river Shatt al-Arab." Michelle said
"Which gives us a location in the Kingdom of Altai which essentially is immediately south of Vanora." Donna said
"It's Saint Peter's Way." Melanie said going to the nearest bookcase and pulling a map off the shelves before unravelling it on her dining room table.
"Saint Peter's Way?" Rosalie asked

"The spread of Christianity out of Vanora occurred through people travelling to other nations across Mundus and sharing their belief's, that's how you get a load of settlements in Altai that are of the Arab-Christian variety. We also know from the history of the Ecclesiastical State that the man responsible for founding that nation somehow journeys to that land from Vanora, the man in question is believed to be St Peter so the route he travelled became known as St Peter's Way." Melanie said slowly tracing the route on the map "However the route is older than that, consider that Attica the most southerly part of Tamora historically enjoys Christian roots and is a port."

"Take the cargo from Jerusalem south to Attica and then by sea elsewhere most likely Ecclesiastical State." Brian said "Makes sense but the cargo never arrived so it got lost somewhere along the way."
"It's a little more problematic than that." Donna said "A group of Vanoran's whether small or large and on foot is not going to be able to outrun an Abydonian army of the time given that they were cavalry focused. They'd never make it to Attica they'd be caught and massacred but that's inconsistent with what we're led to believe by the documented account."

"There's only one way we're going to find the answer to this." Melanie said "Pack your bags we're going to Tamora."
"Is that wise?" Brian asked
"Probably not but that's where the answers are." Melanie said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2019, 09:40:21 PM »
The Secret of Shatt al-Arab

Tamora wasn't a nation that Melanie had ever imagined she'd end up on one of these mysteries, they'd flown to Vanora and travelled the rest of the distance by jeep convoy crossing the border and following their maps to where the river Shatt-al-Arab intersected with Saint Peter's Way. The Sun was high and the air was humid, so much so that Melanie had foregone her almost synonymous leather jacket for a sleeveless white t-shirt, she wiped her brow as she surveyed the area with her eyes for the first time, everyone else involved was setting up equipment. Melanie started walking around the area her eyes narrowed in thought, going over everything they knew so far.

"Ok" it was Doctor Donna Steele who kicked things off "Jerusalem is that way" she pointed at the horizon "So this is the path to Attica."
"It's a plain" Rosalie McLean said "So if the Abydonian's caught up with them here it's a massacre of Vanoran's being run down and slaughtered."
"Any other battles of note happen around here?" Nicolas Mackenzie asked
"None that we know of." Brian Raines said
"Melissa get Apollo to work its magic." Donna said
"Already on it." Melissa Cunningham said, she was another of Donna's post graduate students, though probably the closest to protégé of them. Melissa had a laptop powered up and operational it was showing a map of the area they were standing in.
"What's Apollo?" Rosalie asked
"Apollo is a satellite that allows us to look beneath the surface and see what lies beneath." Melissa said, she pressed a few buttons and the screen now showed what was beneath the surface of where they were standing.

"Oh my word." Donna said looking over Melissa's shoulder "That's not what I expected."
"How so?" Leon Downing asked
"All of these shapes." Melissa said indicating large grey segments on the screen "Are most likely large concentrations of skeletons. I'd almost say battle formations."
"And they're scattered around enough to suggest a battle." Donna said "But that doesn't make sense, the Vanoran's are at a huge disadvantage here, if they had the time to get into formation then they were offering combat here. And against a likely highly mobile and cavalry based army offering battle on a plain is asking for death."

Melanie was crouching on the riverbank looking at the water, staring at her reflection she'd heard the conversation and she agreed with Donna that it didn't make sense for a Vanoran army of that time to offer battle to an Abydonian army of the time because there was no way on this terrain that the Vanoran's would win, so why offer the battle if you couldn't win? Then she smiled.
"Because it's not about winning it's about something else." she muttered, then she got up and turned to the group "What time of year did this go down?"
"Winter." Brian said "If the dating on the cartouche is accurate then this all happened in the winter months."
"I think I know what happened." Melanie said "There's only one reason you'd offer battle on this terrain when you know you're at a disadvantage."
"Which is?" Rosalie asked
"Delay." Melanie said "Put yourself in the Vanoran commander's shoes, if you're smart you've got scouts out front and watching your back so assuming that's true then you'd know that you're being run down. But you get here, a river with a high water level and a fierce current. You've got maybe a day's advantage over your pursuers what do you do? What's your objective?"
"Assuming that we're right about what they were carrying." Leon said "To keep that out of Abydonian hands."

Suddenly there was a chuckle from Donna who was now looking across the river, she'd got there.
"Your father always said you were brilliant Melanie." Donna said "Go on."
"Leon's right." Melanie said "So to keep it out of Abydos hands you send it across the river probably with a small guard. Let's say we're right about their advantage you send it across under the cover of darkness, give them enough time to get out of sight before the sun comes up and then when the Abydonian's come over the hill you fight them to buy time for the Ark to get away. By the time the battle's over the Abydonian's have lost a day and have an obstacle that they can't cross quickly."
"And if you're travelling light which the Vanoran's are and you're small in number you can lie low and make your distance each day until you get to Attica." Brian said "Guess I call the local authority?"
"Yeah." Melanie said, the only way that they were going to be able to prove their working hypothesis was to get their hands dirty and dig, and for that they needed the authorities permission.
 

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2020, 10:29:41 PM »
Needle in a Haystack

It had been a long hard few weeks of digging, sifting, cataloguing and such like in Tamora, the team had managed to dig up enough finds to be able to verify their working hypothesis. They had the remains of two armies one Vanoran the other Abydonian, they had swords, shields, axes, armour etc belonging to each side. But now came the hard part, the team was now aboard the Star Chaser it was the research vessel that the Bell family owned bought by Jonathon Bell and now owned by his daughter Melanie Bell. She was presently leaning on a table aboard ship looking at navigational charts with some of the others.

"Ok then." Natasha Raines said "We haven't found anything that suggests that the Vanoran's didn't make it this far. So going with the glass half full and assuming that they did then they've got to get from Attica to Ecclesiastical State. If this had happened anywhere in more recent years we'd be out of luck because the technology is just too advanced to give a reasonable search area, too many shipping lanes these days too many routes you'd never be able to guess which one they took." she paused "However we're looking for something in the sixth century, so wooden ships and maritime navigation by the stepping stone method."
"Stepping stone method?" Hugo Craig asked
"In simple terms because ships were limited in those days they went via multiple harbours and ports" Natasha said "So to get from Attica to Ecclesiastical State is a very pedestrian route" she traced a finger along the map "Matilda's, Iwi, across to Rokkenjima, Phuebra and then Marseilles before looping down. Never too far from a coastline."
"So they either went down at sea or had to abandon voyage somewhere along the route." Brian Raines said looking proudly at his daughter who was in her element.

Melanie surveyed the map carefully looking at the route and the countries along the way thinking carefully about their options.
"It'll take time but we could use the ship and re-trace the likely routes with the sonar we're packing we'll find it if it's on the ocean floor." Natasha said
"Ok you do that." Melanie said "I'm getting the next plane to Phuebra."
"Why?" Brian asked
"Most of these countries are CETO members if they had what we're chasing we'd know about it. It's not like you can mistake the Ark of the Covenant for something else is it?" Melanie said "Phuebra isn't an explored country to the same level as the others so I'm going to see if it's there."
"I'm coming with you." Rosalie McLean said "I'll run support for you while you're looking."
"Fine." Melanie said
"Us professors and teachers will head home and see what we can dig up in the research." Brian said
"Find me a starting point in Phuebra please." Melanie said "Tribal legend, old story, anything." Melanie said
"We will." Brian said
"Ok first to find anything concrete puts out the call." Melanie said "Needle in a haystack, let's get hunting."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2020, 01:28:52 AM »
The Village With No Name

Rosalie McLean sat in the hotel room, it was a twin room in a decent hotel in Khyat the Phuebran capital and not that far from the Achkaerinese embassy. One of the beds and the desk in the room were covered with books and papers, the printer sat on the desk as well, Rosalie sat cross legged on the other bed her laptop open and powered up she was doing what she did best, what she'd been trained to do as a Missionara - research, find the data, the little pieces of information that seemed insignificant and use them. She has never imagined though that she'd be using her talents to track down something like this though, it was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, given the Bene Gesserit's concept of spirituality this was potentially huge and in some way comforting given the 'Combligion' ideology that Rosalie held to - she was something of an odd ball in that her belief was shared by her two biological sisters, it didn't have huge traction but it was what she believed - the Kwisatz Haderach, the chosen one, the saviour of Mundus or whatever one wanted to call them was reincarnated through time whenever the world needed it - applying that belief to Christianity of course suggested that Jesus Christ was an incarnation of the Kwisatz Haderach but to Rosalie certainly not the first, it just didn't make sense to her in that respect, the great patriarch's of the Christian Old Testament - Abraham and Moses to her were likely prior incarnations and that was before considering the great prophets and the Kings of ancient Vanora. But what was important was what this belief made not the Ark but the believed contents of the Ark to her - the words of the Kwisatz Haderach.


Many miles to the south west of Khyat, in the furthest reaches of Phuebra Melanie Bell was driving an expedition spec jeep along a dirt road towards a remote village, or at least where they thought there was a remote village - it was definitely in the ball park of 'weird' a village that had supposedly centuries earlier fallen victim to something as yet unexplained, such was the nature of what had happened that the village name had been expunged from all the records, even speaking the name was considered to be tempting fate. Melanie dialled Rosalie's phone as she drove.

"I'm about five minutes away." Melanie said "How sure are you that this is the village with no name?"
"I'm certain." Rosalie said
"So if the legend of this place is right something terrible befell the inhabitants of the village when they did something they shouldn't have right?" Melanie asked
"Something unspeakable yes." Rosalie said "Sounds about right doesn't it?"
"Sounds possible." Melanie said

A few minutes later Melanie parked the jeep in the centre of the village, the place was without question a ghost town, she got out of the jeep and put her earpiece in so she could continue talking to Rosalie hands free.
"This is unbelievable." Melanie said "No exaggeration on the rumours."
"Any clue what happened there?" Rosalie asked
"Not got that far yet." Melanie said "Just admiring the view, it's high ground I can see the sea from here. Call Nat have her bring the ship down to the area nearest where I am."
"Any reason in particular for that?" Rosalie said
"If we're right and this is the place then there's only one reason you'd disembark and come inland if you were the Vanoran's." Melanie said
"If you could go no further." Rosalie said "You thinking shipwreck?"
"That'd be my guess." Melanie said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2020, 11:17:55 PM »
Mind That Step

The flames of the campfire were the only source of light and heat in the village, Melanie sat on a rock eating some food that she'd cooked on the fire, she was no Morelander when it came to this skill but she thought she was ok at it. The early morning wind was gusty and chilly almost hauntingly so. She'd done a quick look around the village to get a sense of the layout the previous evening, there hadn't been much else she could do given the time constraint, the village was small a few houses, what looked like a temple, a lookout tower and a granary. The area surrounding the village had some farmland so that seemed to be what might have been the inhabitants main income economically speaking. It felt odd to her after everything she'd been through in recent years to be flying solo in the field again, but they had a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of people to cover it with so solo was the order of business.

Having finished her breakfast Melanie stood up and checked everything she had with her, her torch worked, her phone was charged, her pistol was loaded and her knife was sharp, torch out she headed to what appeared to be a temple she stepped inside and chuckled a little, this was no Buddhist temple like anyone would expect to find in Phuebra this was something else - cross on an altar at the far end this was a Christian Church. Melanie crouched down and picked up an old dusty hymn book, well at least that helped date whatever had happened here

"Seventeenth century." Melanie said "What the heck happened here?" she left the Church and went back to the centre of the village this wasn't adding up - even if she accepted that something had happened to the inhabitants, which to wipe them all out would have to be something sudden or unexplainable then there would surely be skeletons around the place wouldn't there? But there was no indication of the villagers anywhere, Melanie narrowed her eyes in thought come on Mel, think it through, work the problem she ran the thought over and over in her head, there weren't any bodies in the village so all the villagers had to have left or been taken somewhere. So what could make them leave? plague? Yes but there'd be evidence of victims and there wasn't, natural disaster? Yes but again no evidence of it certainly no structural damage consistent with it. So assuming it wasn't naturally occurring what about man made? Seventeenth century was the 1600's, peak of the Ardian Empire's extent when it came to territory and the part of the world that Melanie was standing in - the Ardian Peninsula was right where it had all started to go wrong for the Ardian's. Still 1600's, Ardian Empire territory at its height occupying every inch of soil on the peninsula except Phuebra and Gowu, they held Rokkenjima, Toshikawa, Nueva Ardia…

Melanie suddenly ran to her jeep, opened the passenger side door, reached in and pulled out her GPS tracker she wasn't interested that much in her current location or where the nearest restaurant was, she was interested in something else - the distance between where she was and the Nueva Ardian border.
"Thirty kilometres." Melanie said, terrain wasn't that good in terms of seeing them coming in this part of Phuebra and 1600's meant no satellite's, no technological means of detecting an enemy incursion, but why come here? What could be worth violating a non-aggression treaty with Vaguzia and risking a war - it wasn't like the Ardian Empire had been led by fools, so what was the potential gain? "No you couldn't have..."

Melanie pulled the sat phone off her belt and dialled a number.
"Yes Melanie?" Doctor Donna Steele asked answering it
"How'd you know it was me?" Melanie asked
"You're the only person with my number presently in possession of a sat phone." Donna said "What can I do for you?"
"I'm standing in the middle of a village in Phuebra and I think I'm close to getting the answers." Melanie said "But I need something."
"What?" Donna asked
"This village I'm in was definitely inhabited until some point in the seventeenth century." Melanie said "Is it possible that the Ardian Empire learned the Ark was here?"
"I don't see how that's possible." Donna said "Unless they had something to go off that your father never saw. I'll try and find out."
"Thanks." Melanie said

Melanie hung up the phone and looked around again now trying to guess where the villagers had gone or been taken, there were some foothills just to the north, high ground more defensible position possibly even some hiding places. She started walking towards the foothills, with every step her heart started beating that little bit faster, it took her about an hour to get into the foothills, she looked around and found what looked like a cave entrance - she stepped inside and switched her torch on and then came the gasp, the cave was littered with bones, she peered closer at some of them there were the tell tale nicks and holes in the bones, gunshots, assuming these were the villagers then this was a massacre, she sidestepped around a skeleton and then wobbled, the cave floor under her gave way a sinkhole...

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2020, 11:21:10 PM »
Mine Eyes Have Seen...

tap...tap...tap..., chalk against blackboard, tap...tap...tap... stick against paper tap...tap...tap..., foot against wooden floor. Standing in the study of Bell family manor was Johnathon Bell, the Count of Elsion, sat at a table her head virtually buried in books was first a nine year old, then a thirteen year old and then finally a fifteen year old Melanie Bell. She was in her high school uniform and clearly worn out judging from the smudged ink on the palms of her hands, the books open in front of her all at pages which appeared hazy to read.

"Now once again Melanie" her father said, his voice assertive as if he was irritated "What does..."
"Why didn't you tell me what you were chasing?" Melanie said "Why didn't you tell me it was the Ark of the Covenant?"
"Did I need to?" Johnathon asked "Don't you remember this day?" the books were suddenly legible, the diagrams on the blackboard slipped into sharp focus, the pathways drawn on the map became clear.
"The Ark..." Melanie said then she looked at Johnathon "But this never happened."
"Are you sure about that?" Johnathon said folding his arms.
"Positive." Melanie said "And yet I feel like we've had this conversation just not verbally, all your research notes they spoke for you. And they got me this far."
"I always said I'd always be with you." Johnathon said "I just never thought you'd become an archaeologist."
"Yeah you did." Melanie said "I just spent years resisting. Really wishing I hadn't. Really wishing we hadn't grown apart."
"So do all parents and children who have rough times." Johnathon said "But that's never been the point has it? You are your own woman Melanie and if I was stood there with you I'd be proud of who you've become. Why do you think I never told you about all this?"

"Because I'm not you." Melanie said
"Exactly, you're not me if this was to be your quest then you needed to discover it for yourself, not to be trying to prove I was right." Johnathon said "Now get up."


Melanie opened her eyes and groaned, her body ached all over the bruises from the impact with the stone floor of the cavern were going to be with her for days as were the cuts, she looked up and saw the hole she'd fallen through, yeah that had definitely been quite the fall so much so that she was fairly certain her left arm was broken. Amazingly she didn't appear to have any head injury in terms of a cut though Melanie knew she couldn't account for any impact from the fall, but she did feel steady on her week - well as steady as she could be with sore legs. Having gingerly got to her feet and having discovered that her torch was broken Melanie had to trust the rather limited natural light in the cavern to guide her, she wasn't the type to just wait around for someone to come and rescue her she felt her way through the cavern a little, on a couple of occasions she had to grab for a stuck out stone to retain her balance, she felt her way around a corner and was greeted by natural light raining down on the cavern from another hole in the ceiling, it appeared that sinkholes were a bit of an issue in this part of Phuebra, but that wasn't what had her attention, sat in the cavern surrounded by rubble was a chest reflecting gold, with a lid depicting angels atop it.

As if not believing what her eyes were seeing Melanie approached the chest, she ran her right hand along the length of it tracing the edges and then rested it on the lid, she closed her eyes and smiled.

"Looks like you were right Dad." Melanie said "Looks like you were right."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2020, 09:58:58 PM »
A Mystery Solved

Melanie was sat, her back against the Ark and a smile on her face. She couldn't believe it, she'd spent so many years hearing about nothing other than how her father was a disgrace to the archaeological world, but here it was proof that he'd been right all along. Her arm was painful, well it was broken so what did she expect? And there was no way that she was getting the Ark out of there on her own. She looked up at the sound of approaching footsteps wondering who else was down there - a few moments later she got her answer as Rosalie McLean came into view.

"There you are we've been looking for you for hours." Rosalie said
"I fell and broke the sat phone." Melanie said
"Broken arm?" Rosalie asked looking at how Melanie was holding her wounded limb.
"Yeah." Melanie said "It was worth it though." Rosalie shone her torch on what Melanie was sat against and gasped
"Is that what I think it is?" Rosalie asked
"It sure is." Melanie said, Rosalie cracked a smile and took a sat phone from her bag "Nat I've found her." she was calling Melanie's closest friend Natasha Raines
"Thank heavens for that." Natasha said "Can I talk to her?"
"One second." Rosalie said, she handed Melanie the sat phone.
"Hi Nat." Melanie said
"Are you ok?" Natasha asked
"Yeah I'm fine." Melanie said "Well I've got a bang to the head and a broken arm but apart from that I'm not complaining. Fell into a sinkhole in some caves near that mystery village in Phuebra."
"Well at least we found you." Natasha said "Dad and Donna are on their way."
"They'll need a crane." Melanie said
"To get you out of course." Natasha said
"Not just for that." Melanie said, there were a few seconds of silence as Natasha put it together
"You found it?" Natasha asked
"Sure did." Melanie said

Around four hours later Melanie was sat in the back of a local ambulance being assessed by a paramedic, Rosalie was standing nearby while observing a crane were Natasha's dad Brian Raines and Achkaerin's CETO representative Donna Steele.
"If you'd have told me a couple of years ago that Jonathon Bell would be proved right in the end I'd have never believed it." Donna said
"I just wish he was here to see it." Brian said "His own daughter's quite the archaeologist."
"She'll surpass us one day." Donna said
"Finding that thing." Brian said as the crane lifted he Ark through the sinkhole's opening and out into the open air "I'd say she already has."
"Still not going to stop you marking her work though is it?" Donna asked
"No." Brian said
"Let's get this thing secured, protected and out of here please." Donna said

It was the following day on the Star Chaser research vessel, the ship heading for home. A fair amount of the lab space was taken up by the Ark it sat there in all its majestic grandeur. Brian was doing the initial noting of it, they'd work off this when they got back to Elsion and got into Echo's main lab. Melanie, still far the worse for wear walked in.
"Should you be up?" Brian asked
"Probably not." Melanie said "But I just had to see it again. Make sure I wasn't hallucinating because of the bang to my noggin."
"Well you're not imagining it." Brian said "Your father would be proud."
"Really?" Melanie asked
"Absolutely." Brian said, he gave Melanie a hug "So Ark of the Covenant found, what's next?"
"I don't know let's just see what happens." Melanie said "But first I have a couple of phone calls I need to make."
"The Duke and the Pope?" Brian asked
"Of course." Melanie said "It's not ours after all."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2020, 08:33:48 PM »
Where It Belongs

It had been about three weeks since their adventures in Phuebra, the Ark now sat in the lab at écho archaeology where initial observations had been made, everything stacked up, the material was right, the dimensions were accurate, the description spot on. Melanie was circling the Ark where it sat, her arm though still fractured was now held in a more typical bandage rather than a sling. The find still hadn't sunk in with her, it was weird and poetic in a way that she would complete the work that professionally speaking disgraced her father. She heard the lab door open and Donna Steele, Achkaerin's CETO representative poked her head around the door
"Are you ready for us Melanie?" Donna asked
"Yeah come on in." Melanie said, Donna entered followed by two very distinguished gentlemen the first was David Aragon the Duke of Vanora the second was the Pontiff of the Catholic Church Pope John Francis I.
"Your Holiness, Your Grace." Donna said "May I introduce Melanie Bell."
"Lady Bell." David said shaking hands with Melanie, the Pope bowed in greeting as did Melanie.
"An honour to meet both of you." Melanie said
"Your message surprised us." David said "We'd thought it long lost."
"Please." Melanie said gesturing that the two men could look more closely at the artefact.

The two men approached the Ark circling it and analysing it themselves.
"You've authenticated this I trust?" the Pope asked
"Yes." Melanie said
"Where did you find it?" David asked
"A cave in Phuebra." Melanie said "We presume based on our evidence that in an effort to keep the Ark out of Abydos's hands the Vanoran's of the time removed the Ark from Jerusalem heading south, they got to Attica and then set sail. We believe they intended to take the Ark to the Ecclesiastical State but were shipwrecked off the coast of Phuebra. They journeyed inland and set up a village in the jungle and that's where the trail ends."
"How did you find it?" the Pope asked
"We theorised the sea going route of the Vanoran's assuming that Ecclesiastical State was the destination and started looking for anything out of the ordinary along the route that could conceivably be related. Phuebra had tale of a village with no name." Melanie said "In short we had a fair slice of luck with actually finding it."
"What do you intend to do now?" David asked

"I'm prepared to notify the Panel of Scholars at the CETO of the find and seek their approval as I'm required to for us release the Ark, which of the nations you represent actually receives the Ark from us we'll leave to you to work out." Donna said
"I see." David said "Your Holiness?"
"Submit your letter Doctor Steele and we shall inform the CETO of which of our two nations shall receive it." the Pope said
"Ok then." Donna said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2020, 05:07:40 PM »
A New Challenge

The light pelt of the rain against the window of the flat in the centre of Elsion was the only audible sound other than the final throws of the shower as Melanie Bell the Countess of Elsion finished getting ready for the day not that she had much to do really it was just another day in the flat for her doing some research and so on. She poured herself a glass of milk and sighed just as the flat's intercom alerted her to the presence of someone trying to get her attention. She walked over and pressed the talk button.

"Yes?" Melanie asked
"It's Donna." the voice of Donna Steele, Achkaerin's CETO representative, came over the intercom "Got something for you."
"Is it interesting?" Melanie asked
"Maybe not Ark of the Covenant interesting but right up your street." Donna said
"Come up." Melanie said she pressed the button that opened the main door.

About a minute later Donna was in Melanie's flat.
"You seriously need to consider moving back onto the family estate you've got." Donna said
"Still a little early for that." Melanie said "It's just me so the flat's easier."
"Fair enough." Donna said she handed Melanie a folder "How'd you feel about a trip to Toshikawa?"
"For what?" Melanie asked
"Locals think they've stumbled across the site of the Battle of Tanagra."
"Where?" Melanie asked grabbing her world atlas and flicking to the map of Toshikawa
"Mountain basin just south of Mishamin." Donna said "It's northern Toshikawa."
"I see." Melanie said looking at the map "What makes the locals think that's where it happened?"
"Page ten of the folder." Donna said

Melanie turned to page ten and found a picture of a katana clearly of Toshikawan design. It had a silver spiralled guard around the handle.
"This is the sword of Kabuto Taira." Melanie said "Daimyo of the Taira clan during the Fushiri Wars, he died at Tanagra."
"Pretty compelling evidence." Donna said
"You realize last time you got handed a picture of a sword it led you to where Anezaki Ayanami fell?" Melanie said
"That had occurred to me." Donna said "So will you go and take a look?"
"You want me to go out there and help the locals verify if this is the site of the decisive battle of the Fushiri Wars?" Melanie said "The day that the Samurai with some help sent the Ardian Empire running out of Toshikawa?"
"Pretty much." Donna said
"All right I'll go." Melanie said "But if I end up running all over Midaranye this time..."
"I know." Donna said

Donna left about half an hour later leaving Melanie to look at the folder in more detail, she pulled three books off her shelves and started looking at the sources she had, the battle was well documented from historical accounts of the time but the one detail no one had ever been sure of the location, some records had likely been destroyed in the various internal conflicts within Toshikawa as the twenty clans of Toshikawa had every so often fought each other for power and influence with the Shogun. She relaxed in her chair and smiled before picking up the phone and making the arrangements for travel.

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2020, 04:40:50 PM »
The Battlefield

If there was one thing that was usually guaranteed when visiting the continent of Ardia it was baking hot sunlight. The battlefield of Tanagra, well technically the alleged battlefield, was a picturesque meadow these days though it wasn't hard to imagine the grass a lot shorter and the thousands of soldiers that had supposedly fought here. For Melanie Bell this was a little unusual, she had a large number of local archaeology students standing around waiting. Then Lori Downing finished with the satellite visual of the field.

"Here." Lori said handing Melanie her tablet that was showing the images the satellite had taken for them.
"Well?" Melanie asked
"There's an awful lot down there." Lori said using a digi-pen to draw the lines on the tablet screen "High concentration of bodies would be my guess here and here and here." she circled three areas.
"So dead centre, north east corner at the ridge and south west area." Melanie said looking at the map.
"Yep." Lori said "There's a load of stuff scattered elsewhere as well. This place is littered with stuff."

"All right then." Melanie said turning to Leon Downing, he was Lori's brother "Centre trench across the battlefield east/west axis, angle off to the north east and south west."
"You got it." Leon said
"Lori can you handle the tent and tech?" Melanie asked
"Of course." Lori said

As work started Melanie made her way to the centre of the battlefield and sighed, normally she'd have been in the trench digging away like mad but she was under doctor's orders not to go exerting herself too much, she still wasn't fully recovered after what had happened to her in Phuebra. So for now she had to supervise, she looked around the field.
"You're picturing it aren't you?" a voice asked from behind Melanie, it was Rosalie McLean "You're picturing the battle?"
"How much do you know about this one?" Melanie asked
"Barely anything." Rosalie said

"Final battle of the Fushiri Wars or more commonly known as the Samurai Uprising, sent the Ardian Empire out of the nation and asserted an independent sovereign Toshikawa." Melanie said "The Ardian armies under General Graille and the Toshikawan's led by Daisuke Miroma squared off here. The Ardian's coming from the south meant that the mouth of the basin was where the Samurai formed their battle line, the Ardian cannon pounds into them and the Ardian's advance, the battle shifts inside the basin but at close quarters the Samurai's swordsmanship gives them the edge, they rush the waves of advancing Ardians but Graille starts to throw riflemen in advance of the infantry. As the Ardian's press home their advantage a sound comes from the south."
"Who?" Rosalie asked
"It's Gowu's cavalry, Brianna Azurewind at the head." Melanie said "They smash into the rear of the Ardian's that are outside the basin and the fight inside is evened because suddenly the Ardian Empire is fighting on two fronts, the battle ends and the Ardian's flee in disorder."
"Is that where the song 'Men of Gowu' comes from?" Rosalie asked
"Yep." Melanie said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2020, 09:19:24 PM »
The Mystery Samurai

The dig was a month old, the trench's were dug, the tents were set up and now they were into the long slog of digging up the bodies, separating them out side from side - Achkaerinese, Toshikawan, Ardian. In some cases it was easy enough judging off what fragments of clothing the skeletons were wearing or what equipment the skeletons were carrying so to speak. There were enough swords on this battlefield to give the temple of swords in Bakkermaya a run for its money. Melanie Bell stepped out of the tent where she'd been examining a few of the swords and other things they'd found so far. The sun was warm as always and give it a few more days and they'd have the job done, there was no doubt that this was the site of the battle they'd hoped it was. Her radio crackled to life.
"Melanie?" a voice asked
"Yes?" Melanie asked
"Can you come to the northern corner?" the voice asked "We've got something here that doesn't track."

Melanie made her way over to that section of the dig, where she found Rosalie McLean waiting for her. The red head smiled at Melanie as the Countess climbed down into the trench.
"So what's the mystery?" Melanie asked
"This skeleton." Rosalie said "Looks like a samurai right?"
"Yep." Melanie said
"But the skull isn't consistent with this region nor is it Achkaerinese." Rosalie said she picked the skull up and handed it to Melanie
"Yeah this isn't from around here." Melanie said slowly turning the skull in her hand "We'll need to do a test to be sure but it could be from a few other places."
"You thinking slave trade?" Rosalie asked
"It would make sense." Melanie said "Royal Seleucid had a thriving slave trade back in those days after all."
"So assuming that's the case it would explain how whoever this is got here but not who they are." Rosalie said she glanced at Melanie and knew the look in her eyes all to well "And you want to find out don't you?"
"Of course I do." Melanie said smiling "A samurai who isn't Toshikawan? it's unheard of let's find out who this warrior is."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2020, 03:29:34 PM »
The Skull

Melissa Cunningham got out of her car at the dig site, she'd been surprised to get the phone call asking her to come out and take a look at something but she was also very very curious. She asked a couple of the locals for directions and was soon stepping into the tent  that was being used to analyze finds. Melanie Bell was already inside and working on something.
"So what was so big that I had to drop everything and get on the first flight down here?" Melissa asked "You haven't found the Holy Grail have you?"
"You find the Arc of the Covenant and suddenly everyone turns into a comedian when you make a phone call." Melanie said
"Couldn't resist." Melissa said "So?"
"I need a second opinion on something." Melanie said waving Melissa over to a table on which the mystery samurai's skeleton lay "I'm reasonably good with bones but you're more of an expert than me."
"What do you want me to confirm or otherwise?" Melissa asked
"Origin of this skeleton." Melanie said
"He's in samurai garb presumably Toshikawan." Melissa said
"Humor me." Melanie said

Melissa giggled and started looking at the now clean skeleton, pulling on some latex gloves as she visually analyzed the bones.
"Ok all the bones definitely belong together." Melissa said then she smiled "Now I see what's got you so excited, this skull doesn't look like it's from Ardia."
"That was my guess when I saw it but I wasn't sure." Melanie said
"Skull structure is great for narrowing down area of origin, there are differences subtle ones perhaps but they exist." Melissa said "How do you think we were able to believe we'd found the remains of Anezaki Ayanami in Revana and not a random indigenous woman?"
"I thought Lady Kristina took a DNA test and you did a comparison." Melanie said
"Yes but we only did that because we thought we'd found Anezaki." Melissa said now picking up the skull and looking at it "We knew based off the skull that it wasn't consistent with Ardia but was consistent with Achkaerin."
"So what about this one?" Melanie asked
"Skull structure is suggestive of Albion."  Melissa said looking carefully "Did you find anything around him that could enlighten further on that?"
"Not yet but we're looking." Melanie said
"Good." Melissa said "DNA can only take you so far, all you'd have is a person of whatever ethnicity from Albion on a Toshikawan battlefield."
"I've got the find now I need the story." Melanie said
"Exactly." Melissa said

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2020, 02:42:35 PM »
Who Are You?

The mystery Samurai's bones sat on the examination table but that didn't do much to help solve the mystery of who he was, all they had was that he was from Albion and that was to put it mildly a substantially large area, they needed to narrow it down. Melanie Bell stood elsewhere in the tent examining the latest batch of swords that they'd dug out of the ground, you could always tell the clan of a Samurai from the insignia on their blade and they were all here the Miroma, Yoshimo, Ouchi, Nekhaga, Taira, She, it was incredible in truth, Toshikawa's history was that of civil war after civil war, internal skirmish after internal skirmish but here was the one time in the whole of the nations history where all the swords of the clans stood together and fought the same foe, such was the nature of that struggle that the usually proud Samurai had asked for help, it was a definitive moment it was something that symbolised an awful lot. She looked up as Leon Downing one of her closest friends came in.

"We've got something." Leon said putting a worn satchel on a separate table "Found it close to where our mystery friend turned up."
"Contents?" Melanie asked putting down a sword to go over to where Leon was emptying the contents
"What looks like letters written in a language that's not Toshikawan, a ring bearing the insignia of the Miroma clan and then these."  Leon said putting a few small things on the table.
"Voudou tokens." Melanie said picking one up and examining it "Something to give a worship focal point? Something to represent the Loa?"
"Voudou?" Leon asked
"I've seen them in textbooks." Melanie said "Though I didn't expect to see one here." 
"What about the letters?" Leon asked
"Get Rosalie for that she knows her languages." Melanie said she ran a hand through her hair "Say that this stuff does belong to our skeleton, we've got a skeleton from Albion and personal belongings that suggest he followed the voudou faith...Paracambian?"
"Looks like a strong bet." Leon said "And if the language in those letters is Paracambian then that's confirmation."
"Yeah." Melanie said picking up the Miroma ring "If he was part of the Miroma clan that'd be pretty big wouldn't it?"
"I've never heard of a non Toshikawan Samurai." Leon said
"Maru got ravaged in the last civil war, but there is one other place we could go to look." Melanie said she sighed "I'll be back as soon as I can."

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Re: Finding the Lost and Forgotten
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2021, 09:06:05 PM »
The Outlander's Name

The Hall of the Samurai sat on a hilltop about a ten minute walk from the outskirts of Gowu, it was where following the exodus of Samurai onto Achkaerinese soil during and after the last Toshikawan Civil War that the heritage of the Samurai, their culture, their artifacts and their records were stored to preserve the history of a culture that the rising tide of most in Toshikawa wanted to forget, the War had been Su Mai's second and hopefully final power grab attempt and while she had been stopped it had been at the cost of the then existing Samurai hold over Toshikawa, the clans had been devastated, their numbers decimated and relatively few Samurai had survived and not all of them were embracing the inevitable change though some were. It was to the Hall that Melanie Bell and Rosalie McLean walked, not that they had a choice in the matter the hall was deliberately positioned away from a road to give the sense of being back in time.
"It's impressive." Rosalie said looking at the building
"It certainly is." Melanie said
"What are we looking for?" Rosalie asked
"Hopefully a name." Melanie said

The pair stepped inside the hall and made their way through the various artifacts to the central chamber of the Hall, the walls to each side held various katana from various noted Samurai, there were suits of armour from each of the clans and then at the far end of the hall were the records, one plinth for each clan, the banner of that clan hanging behind the plinth and atop the plinth a simple book - the records of who the Samurai had been. Melanie and Rosalie made their way to the plinths.
"And I thought the outside was impressive." Rosalie said
"Yeah." Melanie said, she carefully opened the Miroma clan's book - there was a digitizing effort underway but they hadn't got as far as the actual records yet. "So Fushiri war years and just before."
"Yeah." Rosalie said "Time for me to do my thing?"
"Sure is." Melanie said she stood aside and let Rosalie step up and examine the book, she had better language understanding anyway, Rosalie spent a few minutes looking through the book and then smiled.
"Got him." Rosalie said
"Go on." Melanie said peering over Rosalie's shoulder and training her eyes on the name, written in Toshhikawan script, that Rosalie had her finger next to.
"This word here." Rosalie said "Translates as Outlander."
"Meaning that he's not a native Samurai." Melanie said "And the name?"
"Janile Riafsette." Rosalie said
"Certainly sounds Paracambian." Melanie said "A Paracambian Samurai, who'd have thought it?"
"You clearly or we wouldn't be here." Rosalie said
"They might have more information about him around here somewhere." Melanie said
"Worth a go." Rosalie said