The sun shined down through the hole in the ceiling, cheerfully illuminating the gloomy darkness. Thomas Carter, professor of archaeology, grinned widely at the sight and set his torch aside. "Here it is," he said, sounding like a child about to get candy, "The Chamber of the Sun and Moon." He pointed to the floor of the vast, square-shaped room. Dotting the stonework were several circles, each circumscribed by arcane symbols and ancient writing.
"See these?" he said to his two graduate students, Elizabeth and Michael, as the guards began spreading out, scouring the room for threats, "These circles are the time-tables I was telling you about. This room is designed so that the sun shines down through the ceiling and lights up each circle at a different time of day, almost on the hour." The professor's cobalt-blue eyes glittered with excitement. "It's like a sundial, only much larger. Can you imagine? They made this centuries before we'd ever heard of sundials in the Core."
Carter strode toward the center of the room, easily stepping over the sparse, leafless vines that'd taken up residence on the floor of the chamber. He stared up through the hole in the ceiling. "Perfectly round," he murmured, awed, and his gaze followed the angle of the ceiling down to the opposite end of the room. A short staircase led up to a door set in the far wall. Curious, Carter walked closer, readjusting his eyes to the dim half-light and getting a better look at the relief on the door. A human figure, balancing an orb in each hand while down on one knee. It rang a bell...
"Elizabeth?" the professor called, "Those scrolls you found. Will you get those out for me, please?"
Suddenly, Carter jumped up where he'd been reading. "Michael," he said, "I'll need those two globes." And without any further warning, the professor shrugged off his coat and tossed it aside. He walked toward a darker part of the room, unbuttoning his shirt as he went.
"Sir?" Paul, the captain of the guards for the expedition called questioningly, "What are you doing?"
"I'm going to get us into that door," came Carter's reply. Paul exchanged a completely bewildered look with a nearby guardsman. Even in the dim light, everyone could see exactly what Carter was doing.
"Why are you undressing, then, sir?" Paul asked dubiously.
"There's an enchantment on the door," Carter said. He shrugged his shirt off and tossed it aside. The excitement of unlocking the secrets of this temple was quickly overriding the professor's normal sense. He kept talking as he kicked off his boots and unbuckled his pants. "See the carving on the door? To open it, you have to position yourself like that carving in the circle when the sunlight shines on it."
"And how long before that happens, sir?" Paul replied. He was liking this less and less.
Carter strode confidently back into the light, completely naked and studied the floor for a bit. If his state of dishabille bothered him, he didn't show it. "Judging from the position of the sun now, we'll have a window of about an hour in another two hours. Once the time starts, I'll get into position and wait for the door to open."
"What are you going to do in the meantime, sir?" The guard captain was frowning openly now as he looked his employer up and down.
"Explore," Carter replied, grinning like a schoolboy.
"Sir, you've been sitting like that for almost an hour," Paul's baritone voice rumbled disapprovingly, "Shouldn't something have happened by now?"
"Shh," Carter admonished the guard, "The sun hasn't completely cleared the circle ye--aha!"
Even as the professor spoke, a green light started peeking through the door's seam. A dull rumbling echoed through the temple chamber as the doors slowly swung open.
Carter's blue eyes lit up and he stood up straight to see. Then the door opened fully and he saw it.
"RUN!" he shouted, and, without another moment's hesitation, turned tail and fled the way he came.
An hour later, Carter sat on a stump in a clearing, breathing heavily from his long, furious flight from the temple. A rustling in the brush heralded the arrival of the graduate students and guards. Carter sprang to his feet, having forgotten in the run that he'd left his clothing in the sanctuary.
“Is everyone okay?” he asked, chest still heaving from running, “It didn't get anyone, did it?” His cobalt eyes glanced over each face in turn, marking them off in his mind.
“Everyone's accounted for, sir,” Paul replied, “As soon as we were off the temple grounds, it backed off.”
Carter nodded, and for a few moments, the only sounds the group of archaeologists heard were the chirping of birds, the rustling of leaves, and their own breath as they panted in an effort to calm down. Some of them would probably still be having nightmares.
"All right," Carter said finally, wiping his forehead with the side of one arm, "Let's get back to the town and regroup. We'll have to try a better approach next time." He turned to begin leading the way back to town.
"Sir?" Paul's voice called uncertainly to the professor, "I don't think that's a good idea..."
"What's wrong with it?" Carter asked, turning back around, "If we're careful, we can find out what's in the rest of the temple still."
"No, not that, sir," the guard captain replied, sighing, "It's just that, well...you left your things back in the temple..." The captain trailed off in embarrassment and gestured vaguely at Carter.
Suddenly, Professor Thomas Carter was very aware of the fact that the others were either staring at him or pointedly trying to look away. A red tinge crept into his tanned cheeks as he realized what was happening. There he stood, naked as the day he was born, in front of his graduate students and guards. The professor coughed, flustered. "You're right, Paul," he said, admirably trying to play it off. "Let's um...get back to town. Anyone have a sheet or a towel handy?"
Professor Thomas Carter of the Eye of Anubis game. Set in Ravenloft, this temple is located in Sri Raji. I used a lot of Mayan symbols as a basis for the carvings and reliefs, though you can't tell on most of them. The circle on the ground is actually the Mayan calendar.
I used SketchUp to create a mockup of the background before I did it, and I wish I could tell you where I got the texture from, but it's somewhere on dA and I cannot find it for the life of me >_< I really need to write it down when I use textures. Sorry, whoever it belongs to.
Carter's a very thorough archaeologist. He loves his work and isn't afraid to get in up to his elbows on the job. Full immersion thrills him and when presented with the opportunity to try something out the way they did it long ago, he's eager to give it a shot if it means learning more.
Did this all in Photoshop CS3. Again, using SketchUp as a reference for the background (cuz I'm still learning backgrounds). Mayan images were from various places on the internet. If you Google "mayan images," everything I used for reference is on the first page of the Image search.
Thomas Carter and the Eye of Anubis © Mikhail Rekun [user3787]
Artwork and story © Micah Weltsch [user3786]