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Old 29-11-11, 00:05   #1
Craig Michaels
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Arrow Tomb Raider Fanfiction Competition #17: The Jungle

Theme: The Jungle

It's been gloomy outside, and I'm ready to go somewhere with tropic sun, glittering waterfalls and dazzling vistas . . . plus cursed temples, diabolical traps, ravenous animals and everything Lara Croft is good at dealing with. Your story must be set in some sort of jungle--you may interpret that freely.

  • Word Limit: 500 to 5000 words.
  • Use proper spelling and grammar.
  • Leave a break between paragraphs when posting your entry.
  • Your entry must incorporate the aforementioned theme.
  • Your entry must be original and written for this competition.
  • One official entry per person.
  • Every entry must be posted before the deadline.
  • Participants must vote in order to have their entry remain valid.
  • The winner of this competition is to host the next.

This competition will run until 9pm GMT, 15 January 2012!

Previous Competitions:
Competition #1 / Voting / Results
Competition #2: Tomb Raider Levels / Voting / Results
Competition #3: Without Warning... / Voting / Results
Competition #4: Lara at Home / Voting / Results
Competition #5: Unlikely Situations / Voting / Results
Competition #6: Pick Your Poison / Voting / Results
Competition #7: The Sun / Voting / Results
Competition #8: Unsung Heroes / Voting & Results
Competition #9: Deep-Sea Drama / Voting / Results
Competition #10: Holidays / Voting / Results
Competition #11: Friend or Foe / Voting / Results
Competition #12: Stranded in the Himalayas / Voting / Results
Competition #13: The Death of Lara Croft / Voting / Results
Competition #14: Dressed to Kill / Voting / Results
Competition #15: A Survivor is Born Voting Results
Competition #16: Fear Voting Results
archaeologist in Berkeley

Last edited by Craig Michaels; 10-01-12 at 23:49.
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Old 30-11-11, 20:51   #2
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Awesome and very open theme, I love it!
now the old king is dead long live the king
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Old 05-12-11, 01:24   #3
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I will definitely find the time to enter this one!
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Old 02-01-12, 04:25   #4
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Hello all .
Long time reader, but not much of a poster here on the forums. Below is my submission for the story contest. It's written as a screenplay for a game I am currently developing. Hope it still can count.

Tomb Raider: Riddle of the Lotus

Scene 1:
Lara strolls through the Amazon rainforest. She steps through shallow streams and damp ground taken over by roots. Lara comes to a cliff-side and slides down.

(Break to level 1)-level ends with field of flowers, and mercenaries attacking

A mercenary falls to the ground. Lara, with both guns drawn, aimed at where the man stood, surveys the scene. Several bodies lay around her. Holstering her guns she looks around and sighs.

Scene 2:
Lara exiting the stage at a conference. Applause comes from the audience as she takes her seat.

Woman on stage: We would like to thank Mrs. Croft for her years of work in the field. It is an honor to have her here today.

Lara takes her seat. She smiles and watches the stage as the presenter continues.

Lara looks out to sea from her balcony. The sun shines off the water. Lara turns and pulls sunglasses over her eyes. As she begins to walk inside she hears a car pulling up below. Lara turns back and looks over the railing. Several figures get out of the car. They draw out guns and make their way into the hotel lobby. Quickly she turns back. She grabs her guns off the table. Lara opens the door quietly and enters the hallway.

(Break to level 2)-hotel and alleyways.

Mercenary peeks out from behind a corner. Lara peeks out from the opposite corner. The mercenary looks to a car across the alley, then back to Lara’s hiding spot. He weighs his options. Slowly he steps out, aiming his assault rifle at the corner. Lara peeks around. The mercenary fires a short burst. Guns still drawn she hugs the wall. She looks to her left and runs. Almost at the next wall, the mercenary puts down his gun and runs toward a car parked at alley’s end. As he puts his hand on the door a bullet hits. Another shot hits his gun. Lara walks toward him firing yet another shot near his head. The man raises his hands and looks at Lara with terror.

Lara: I’m getting a sense of déjà vu. I’ve been here before, being shot at by people I don’t know, for reasons I cannot comprehend. Who sent you?

The man lowers one hand toward the door handle. Lara’s gaze is fixed upon the man’s eyes. One gun follows his hand while the other aims directly at his temple. He opens the door and beckons to a small computer screen. Lara steps back, passively allowing him to make his move. He sits down, still with one hand up. With the other, he presses several buttons on the screen then begins talking quietly in Greek. Lara cannot quite hear him, but tilts her head to see if she can get a glimpse at who he is talking to. He stands up out of the car and tips his head inviting Lara to sit down and talk to whoever is on the monitor. Lara lowers her guns and walks over to the car. As she approaches, Lara cracks the butt of her pistol into the man’s temple, rendering him unconscious. Cut to inside the car. Lara sits in the passenger seat. The mercenary’s body slowly slides down the car and on to the ground.

Lara: He seems nice. Unlike your other men, much more cooperative. Like them, however, he tried to shoot me.

Woman on screen: My apologies. You see, I was unaware that my men were chasing the legendary Lara Croft. I had received reports that my men in South America were killed by a woman fitting your description. I had you tracked to here, all the time thinking you were a spy, instead of someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I realize after this a simple “I’m sorry” won’t do. I know you are in no need on money, though I would be happy to repay you for the trouble I have caused.

Lara: I would prefer to know exactly who you are, and what I have stumbled upon that is so important.

Woman on screen: Of course. My name is Grace Long: President of Long pharmaceuticals. My men in South America were surveying a bit of land for medicines we use in our products. It happens to be a fairly valuable product, and we are not the only ones seeking to use it.

Lara: Well, shooting is certainly one way to eliminate the competition. Though a bit extreme for routine gathering of medicine.

Grace: It does go deeper than that. But revealing more would be dangerous to our company, i’m afraid. I can tell you this product has not yet been marketed, and is in very short supply. Others want it, and in South America it seems lawlessness is the only safe way to go. In order to save lives, some must be sacrificed. That is why my men were so eager to fire on you. I hope you can forgive me.

Lara: It keeps things interesting. Enlightening as this chat has been in relation to recent events, I do hope this is our last run-in for a while. Thank you for the explanation, Grace.

Grace: You have my word we will not interfere with your travels again, Miss Croft.

The screen shuts off. Lara stands up and walks back down the alley.

Scene 3:
Lara is at the Parthenon. Examining a caryatid and taking notes, her attention is suddenly caught by a man walking toward her. He has a big bright smile, large aviators and slicked back hair. He wears a white cotton shirt with the top few buttons undone.

Sleazy man: Miss Croft! I am glad to see you still in one piece. I hope I’m not interrupting anything.

Lara: That depends. Normally you would be, but I am curious as to what you know about me being “in one piece”.

Sleazy man: I heard about yesterday. It seems like you got into quite a bit of trouble. Obviously nothing you couldn’t handle. Allow me to introduce myself. Darren Courts, president of Courts Medicine.

Lara: What brings you to Greece, Mr. Courts?

Darren: Business, business! Though I like to take in the sights while I can. I know time is valuable, like yourself. And I hate it when I am interrupted. Which is why I will keep this brief. We both have a common enemy. I would have never made the mistake of attacking an innocent bystander, especially when that person is the famous Lara Croft.

Lara: You’re talking about Grace? Is she the competition?

Darren: Competition on the marketplace is one thing, but as you know, she doesn’t take well to anyone touching her things. At least, what she believes is hers. Take the Parthenon for example. Its beauty should be enjoyed by everyone! Those flowers in the middle of the jungle Grace’s men were collecting; they hold great potential in medicine. They should not be in the hands of a woman like Grace. Their power to heal will be locked away, available only to the wealthy. My company looks to distribute their potential to everyone who needs it. It can be refined in a very effective way. Grace doesn’t want anyone to know this.

Lara: What exactly do these flowers do?

Darren: They hold a cure. The unique makeup of the flower has many potential uses, including treatment of many deadly flu strains. With more research from my company, their power could be unlocked. What I need is your help. I do not have an army like Grace’s. If you help me retrieve these flowers, you will be hailed not only as a great archeologist, but as the discoverer of the cure to some of the world’s most deadly diseases. As well, you will get your vengeance on a woman who has tried to kill you twice for no reason.

Lara: That is an intriguing offer, Mr. Courts. But I think you mistake my motives. I have no intention to take revenge on Miss Long. If I had wanted her to pay, she would have. I do not wish to take sides in this matter. And, if you’ll excuse me, but I do not truly understand your motives anymore than hers. I am an archeologist, not a mercenary.

Darren: I see… Well I suppose it was worth a try. Enjoy the sights, Miss Croft. One day they may be gone.

Darren walks away. Lara keeps her gaze fixed on him.

Some hours later, the sun is beginning to go down. Lara is sketching a study of a small sculpture. She hears a gunshot. The head of the sculpture explodes. Lara dives into cover, drawing her pistols.

(Break to level 3)-Ruins

The sniper runs into the temple of Athena Nike. Lara sprints through the temple. He attempts to reload but jams the gun in trying to perform too quickly. Lara is now almost upon him. He drops the gun and turns to run. Lara leaps and tackles him to the ground. He rolls out and stands up. The sniper throws a punch, Lara ducks and grabs his sleeve, then immediately pops up with a straight lead to his jaw. He drops, with a painful crack against the marble floor. She grabs the man by the collar and pulls him up to her face.

Lara: I thought Miss Long and I had reached an understanding about each other’s affairs.

The man’s radio beings to crackle.

Radio: Cops are on their way. Take care of her now or get out of there.

It is Darren’s voice. The man, bloody nosed and wide eyed looks from the radio to Lara. He nervously smiles. She smiles back, and then head-butts him right above the nose, knocking him unconscious.

Lara: No army like Grace’s indeed…

Scene 4:
Lara walks up to the edge of a deep canyon. She crouches and pulls out her binoculars. Deep in the canyon, near the bottom, part of Darren’s research base can be seen. Several guards patrol the outside catwalk. She puts away her binoculars and begins to rappel down the side of the cliff.

(Break to level 4-Canyon & Base)

Darren runs down a corridor, protecting his head as he yells orders to his men. Lara runs full force down the hallway. Pistols drawn she begins to fire, hitting each guard within succession of them taking aim. Darren boards a helicopter getting ready to take off. Lara reaches the helipad as Darren makes his escape.

Cut to Grace watching security camera footage from Daren’s base. She smiles as Lara storms the base, destroying Darren’s equipment.

Grace: Miss Croft has turned out to be very good for business…

Scene 5:
London Heathrow airport: A limousine driver puts Lara’s bags into the car. Lara sits inside, legs and arms crossed, resting her head against the window.

Cut to the countryside.

Driver: I heard of your award in Greece Miss Croft. Congratulations. It must be a great honor.

Lara: Thank you. I am lucky to be in a field I love so much.

Driver: I too have always found history to be fascinating. As a matter of fact I spent many summers of my youth in this part of the country. The castles of Cornwall always fascinated me.

Lara: They are remarkable. Is-

Lara is cut off by the sound of the window cracking. She looks the front passenger side and sees a small round hole. The driver slouches over in his seat, his hands still leaning on the wheel as he falls to the side. The car drifts off the road and tumbles over into the ditch. Resting perfectly on its roof, Lara is able to open the door and crawl out. She stays low, her back to the car, fearing the shooter is still looking for her. All around her is grassland, save for the ruins of a castle just over a small hill. Lara runs up the hill and dives over. A gunshot hits where she jumped, sending dirt up into the air. She runs to the ruins, hoping to lure the shooter in closer.

(Break to level 5-Castle ruins)

Lara stands on the upper floor of the castle looking down through the broken floor at the sniper. He cautiously scans for his target. Unmoving, Lara waits. He gets closer to her, not thinking to look up. Quietly, she steps forward and over the edge. She delivers a powerful kick to the man as she falls. He drops the gun and collapses unconscious.

Lara: If it is revenge Darren wants, he will have to try a lot harder than a single shooter.

Scene 6:
Lara sits down on her bed. She grabs the remote. The tv is set to the business channel. Lara undoes her boots.

Television: Grace Long, head of Long Pharmaceuticals, announced today that their company is close to making a major breakthrough in H5N1 treatment. The drug is still being refined, but Long declares this is the most important breakthrough in years.

Lara sits back and stares through the screen.

Lara: It seems unlikely that she could have orchestrated such a plot. Though the events between Grace, Darren and myself have no doubt been good for business. Am I just a tool in all of this? Perhaps Darren was not the one after me in the countryside. It's time for some answers. And I have a feeling that Grace has them.

Scene 7:
Lara crawls on the damp ground of the Amazon rainforest. She moves forward slowly, approaching a small hill. Pressing down closely to the ground, she looks over cautiously. In the clearing below, a large group of people are picking flowers and bringing them into climate controlled housing. On the outskirts of the field are guards. All of them carry large automatic guns. Meticulously, they march around the outside perimeter of the camp. She crawls backward and looks for another way around.

(Break to level 6-Amazon Rainforest revisited)

Lara stands feet away from Grace. Between them are three guards. They surround Lara. She waits, poised to strike at whoever moves first. One behind her drops and spins, attempting to kick her leg out. She jumps and then falls onto his extended leg, cracking it. The second man pulls out a pistol. Lara leaps toward him, grabbing his wrist with her left, deflecting the pistol’s aim. A shot is fired off into the ground. Simultaneously with her right arm she elbows the man in the jaw. He begins to fall limp. The third guard is pulling out his pistol, trying to shield Grace. Lara grabs the disarmed man’s gun as he falls. She rolls and comes up firing. The last guard falls. Grace stands, hands against a stone wall, looking down the barrel of the gun pointed at her.

Lara: Does this count with “interfering with my travels?” How about my way home from the airport? And the driver you had killed?

Grace: Darren was a danger to my operation. If he had not gotten involved, we would have never chased after you. But he had to go and tell you everything. This type of field has no room for two. We couldn’t risk leaving you alone with what you know.

Lara: I have never been a danger to you or your company. I would suggest a bit more discretion in the future. That is, if I decide to give you a future. It seems you are the one on the wrong end of a gun this time.

Grace’s eyes open even wider. Shaking with terror, she presses tight against the wall. Lara recognizes her genuine look of fear. She begins to lower her aim. Suddenly, she is struck by Grace’s gaze. She looks over Lara’s shoulder, then quickly back. Lara spins to see the first guard who attacked her taking aim, clutching his leg. She fires off a shot through the man’s arm. He screams and drops the gun. Quickly Lara stands up and looks back to the wall. Grace is gone. Lara sprints foreword past the ruins. She looks around for Grace. Slowly she comes to a jog, then a walk, then stops. She is gone.

Lara leans back against the side of her jeep. Dirty, cut, and exhausted, she allows herself to slide to the ground. She looks up to the tree canopies. For the first time in days, Lara smiles.

Darren talks on his cell phone. He sits on a balcony high above the streets. Camera slowly pulls back revealing the Jesus statue of Rio. He tosses the phone on the table breaking a glass. He then turns to look over the city.

Last edited by ri_oh; 12-01-12 at 19:33.
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Old 02-01-12, 09:33   #5
Craig Michaels
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Awesome work ri_oh! Way to get the competition going to an exciting start--the first time I've read a story built as if it's really a level.

I'll look forward to more too . . . if we need an extension I'll grant it.
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Old 02-01-12, 16:44   #6
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^A short extension would be appreciated by me, for sure. I was planning on writing something but Xmas and New Year happened and before I knew it, we've only a few days left!
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Old 02-01-12, 17:24   #7
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May I enter?
I'll try and whip something up.
“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.”
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Old 02-01-12, 18:14   #8
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^I'm sure you still can.

I have an entry, I just need to finish it. :/
now the old king is dead long live the king
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Old 02-01-12, 18:33   #9
Craig Michaels
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The due date is now January 15th! Good luck everyone . . . beat the winter weather with some tropical adventures in . . . The Jungle!
Here's some inspiration:

archaeologist in Berkeley

Last edited by Craig Michaels; 10-01-12 at 23:49.
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Old 09-01-12, 19:29   #10
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A Change of Heart

Lara's eyelids fluttered as she gazed at the pedestal. Everything she had wished and searched for, her great efforts had led her here, deep into the middle of the Amazon rainforest. On the pedestal stood a majestic red ruby, an glowing gem that had been the talk of local tribes for centuries. It was a famed relic, something that had been worshipped and feared by the humble people throughout their history. Many had sought to claim it, and failed, until one legendary adventurer took up the challenge.

Lara secured her 9mm pistol into the leather holster dangling by her right thigh, and slowly crept towards her prize. The room glowed with a faint crimson light, clashing with glowing streaks of golden sunlight stabbing through the temple ceiling. Lara was on edge, she felt pride, for she had overcome horrific trials and a dangerous journey through the Earth's most majestic yet fearsome rainforest to be here. At the same time though, she felt afraid, for she knew not why the artefact had been so feared, was her lust for a good challenge about to finally be put into question? If the artefact truly held "mythical powers", then she would soon face a challenge like never before. Lara had learnt to appreciate myths such as these, for she had seen things in her adventures that had forced her to question her own mortality and the boundaries of this world many times. This time however, things would be different.

Lara brought her fingers up, and caressed the smooth crystalline object before her. She panted for a moment, aware of the eerie silence in the plant filled chamber. She clasped her hand around the ruby, and dislodged it from its resting place. Nothing happened. She sighed. Lara stared into the ruby for a moment, before swiftly placing it in her reliable brown rucksack. She made her exit, back into the tangled jungle she had so despised.

With the ruby in check, Lara began her treacherous journey back through the Amazon. She knew her route, it would be a simple trek through the humid expanse, and nothing near as dangerous as that which she had previously faced. What she did not expect on this return however, was that she would have company. A stocky, dark skinned tribesman emerged from behind a mass of exotic plants ahead of her. He eyed her with displeasure, scanning her from head to toe with an intimidating look. Lara was not one to be intimidated however, she had faced of many judgmental men in the past. This man however, was different. He was not from the same world she knew, he was a tribesman, and so immediately fascinated Lara, for although she had read every textbook she could acquire on such unusual people, interacting with them in person was always a different experience. This one, more so than usual. The man began so speak, and not in the archaic grunts that Lara had received from the other tribesmen from this jungle, but in pure English, with an accent completely indiscernible to Lara.

"You have what you came for, am I correct?" The man questioned. Lara stood in disbelief for a moment before replying. It crossed her mind that perhaps this part of the world was not as unexplored as she previously thought; the tribe must have had to deal with English speaking people in the past.
"I have, yes. What can I do for you?" She was eager to discover his intentions.
"I am not here to ask of anything from you. I merely wish to teach you what I know." The man held out his hand, as if waiting for Lara to take it. She did not.
"I don't understand." Lara replied, eyebrow arched.
"In time you will. It is what you really came for, is it not? Follow me if you wish." The man swiftly turned and raced into the trees. Lara stood flabbergasted, unsure of what he had meant, but she was curious as ever. She gave chase.

"Wait!" Lara cried out. She had been running for a long time, she felt as though she had totally lost her bearings, the jungle had changed before her: a purple mist swelled around her feet and the trees seemed to reach even higher than before, creating a vast canopy above which blocked out the sun. She felt confused, and scared, but still curious. Curious as to why the man had led her here, why he could speak her language, and more so who he really was. She stopped her chase, and stood for a moment, observing the life around her. There was no silence here, creatures hissed and tress rustled everywhere, creating an atmosphere similar to the sound of hundreds of cars rushing through a busy city. There was a sense of importance and life to this place. She remained standing, and closed her eyes while listening to the pleasant sounds. She felt at home, possibly for the first time since being a little girl at the Croft estate.
"You feel it. Do you not?" Lara's eyes opened sharply. She looked around her, but saw no-one. She felt a hand on her shoulder, and turned to face the large tribesman.
"It is love. A love for this place." The man placed his hand over hers, which she realised had been clenched to her chest. She was speechless. Perhaps it was adrenaline, but she felt truly mystified. The man pulled away from her, and ushered for her to follow. He did not run this time, but slowly crept into the thick fog. Lara followed.

Days passed which felt like a blur to Lara. She had journeyed with the tribesman, who had revealed his name to be "Coração". He had talked with Lara the whole time, telling her great stories of "his people" and the many tribulations they had faced during their stay in the rainforest. He showed her many primitive skills, together they hunted small animals for food and made shelter from collected leaves and wood. He even showed her exotic species of animal she had never read about before, frogs with skin that glittered in the sunlight, or birds with fiery red feathers. Lara didn't know why she had stayed with the man, but she felt a sense of comfort when she was with him. She had long since forgotten about the red ruby and her reason for being here. She wasn't concerned about leaving and returning "home."

Night fell on her seventh day with the man, and the Lara lay comfortably on a collection of leaves and feathers, admiring the glittering stars reflected in the gargantuan river before her. Coração stood at the edge of the bank, slowly fishing the glowing waters with a large stick. Lara watched as he painted patterns in the river. They almost looked like letters, but washed away before she could read each one. Every action he made felt like art to Lara, and she had learnt so much in such a short space of time. More than this however, she realised she truly admired this man, more than any she had ever met. Her gaze was broken as Coração turned and came towards her, before sitting at her side.
"The trees whisper in the night, can you hear it?" Lara smiled affectionately, before closing her eyes and listening deeply. She could her the faint rustle of the trees. The wind caressed her, and she opened her eyes again after taking a deep breath.
"I love it here." She said softly, almost afraid to interrupt the faint conversation of the trees around her.
"I am glad, for I knew you would." Coração smiled, and Lara stared into his deep, brown eyes. It dawned upon Lara that she truly meant what she said. She had always felt like a headstrong, passionate woman in the past, she had never even said the word "love" before let alone felt it. She had changed in this past week, and she felt attached not only to this new home she had found, but also to the person showing her it. She turned to sleep as she pondered her strange feelings towards this mysterious man from the jungle.

On her twenty-seventh day in the Amazon, Lara had become a changed woman. Her skimpy brown and blue clothes had been replaced with a sleek brown fabric, and her body was adorned with handmade jewellery and organic paint of an exotic palette of colours. She raced with Coração through the blazing rainforest, her daily routine of hunting and exploring had become second nature to her. This day however, her routine would be dishevelled once again.

Lara stopped in her tracks, suddenly overcome with one thought. She clasped Coração's arm and stopped him as well. She then pulled the towering man to embrace her. Without saying a word, Coração placed his arms around her, and held Lara tight. The two stood in an opening, the sun gleaming above them and illuminating the couple. Lara had finally realised, that she was in love. Coração caressed Lara's flowing brown hair, and smiled at her amorously. She felt at peace. Such peace would not last however...
Lara pulled away from Coração as she heard a rumble in the distance; a noise she had now forgotten but once been so accustomed to. The helicopter blazed from the vast canopies as if from out of nowhere. Lara stood in disbelief as the mechanical monster came to a halt just near her. From within, a panicking elderly man emerged. It was Winston, Lara's one time trusted butler. He raced towards her, waving his arms as if he had just won a marathon.
"Lady Croft, thank goodness you are safe! I was so worried, just look at you!" The man rambled for a while, and Lara spotted a medical team emerging from the helicopter. She remained in silence, but realised something was missing. Coração had vanished. She began to panic.
" Coração!" She screamed, whilst running back into the jungle.

"Miss Croft, are you well today?" Winston peeked from behind sturdy wooden door to Lara's Croft Manor bedroom.
"What happened?" Lara crept from beneath the silk sheets of her bed. She felt an immense sense of loss, and stared vacantly at Winston.
"We followed you when you fled into the forest. You were rampant and we found you clutching this..." Winston held out the glittering red ruby.
"I don't understand." Lara stood, and continued to stare at Winston.
"There was one other thing Lara." Winston continued.
"I did some research and discovered something about the way you were acting." Lara was still confused.
"Go on."
"The word you were shouting, it loosely translates as the word "heart". Does that mean anything to you?" Lara held the red gem tightly in her hands.
"I suppose it does." She looked into the ruby, and felt a familiar feeling. Perhaps the mystical power she had heard of wasn't so fearful. Coração, the man or heart of the Amazon, had taught her to trust herself and to love the world in which she lived. She had felt love for the very first time, and although she was saddened by the loss of the man, she realised that she had gained so much from his teachings, and for that, she would forever be changed.
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