Genre: Man from UNCLE
Word Count: 1102 words
My thanks to duckys_lady for her prompt and to sparky955 for tracking down the into on the Initiation Well and for her beta
“You've really done it this time!” Napoleon looked at the pile of rubble that blocked their path as he attempted to brush off his suit, but moist soil clung to it like a lost child. “Mr. Waverly is going to have my hide if I destroy another suit.”
“I can’t control what comes down in a blast, Napoleon, just how much explosive to use.” Illya ignored the state of his own attire. He’d long since given up on saving the mud-smeared dungarees he wore. “Any place is better than that castle. I always thought they were huge and cold. That one was very oddly designed, to say the least. The architect must have been a madman or a genius.”
“It’s funny how close those two are in reality.”
Illya tugged at a rock and started another mini avalanche of dirt and stone.
“Do you mind?” To the ceiling, Napoleon muttered, “I introduce him to wine, women and song and he gives me dust, dirt and ringing ears.” He then realized Illya wasn’t paying him any attention. “Illya?” When his partner didn’t react, he tried again, louder, “Illya?”
“I heard you the first time, Napoleon. I was just trying to figure out what I just found.”
“What do you mean?” He joined Illya as he was pulling away rocks and dirt.
“There’s a room or something on the other side of this.” He gave a large rock a yank and it rolled away, revealing what Illya had seen. He pushed his way through, followed by Napoleon.
The room was circular and the only light was from the entrance many stories above their head, while a stone staircase clung to the walls. The walls, in turn, were tiled with mosaics laid out in bizarre patterns. They all seemed to culminate into one massive design upon the floor.
Napoleon pointed at one, “Isn’t that a Masonic symbol?”
“Check out the one on the floor. That looks vaguely like a symbol of the Knights Templar. And over there is a crucifix. What have we stumbled onto?”
“No idea. It’s long abandoned, though, by the looks of it.” Napoleon toed some of the vegetation growing on edges of the room, then brought a finger to his lips and pointed upward. Voices echoed down from above and both men fell silent and remained motionless.
“Do you see anything?” It was the voice of one of their captors and Illya’s face became hard.
“Looks like some sort of abandoned well.”
“We don’t have time for that. Come on.
After ten long minutes, Napoleon whispered, “I think our THRUSH friends have discovered this, too.”
“I suspect the way up will be rather crowded.” Illya squinted down the corridor that stretched out before them. “They wouldn’t be able to see that from up there.”
“Go up and possibly get shot or recaptured. Go down the corridor to a fate unknown. What a choice. This is not exactly what I thought UNCLE meant when it said to ‘join and see the world.’”
“I’ve always thought a sure thing was a bit boring.”
“You wouldn’t happen to have a flashlight secreted away somewhere on your person, would you?”
“No, but there are these.” Illya knelt to collect a handful of partially used candles. He rubbed the moss off of one and examined it. “We aren’t the first ones down here, I suspect. They are old, but they will still work and I have my lighter.”
“Again you save the day. You know, THRUSH is going to eventually figure out how we got into our cell and follow the tunnel to here. We probably should be off.”
Illya nodded and skirted around the outside of the well, just in case there were still any THRUSH watching from above. He got about five feet into a roughly cut corridor and paused to light the candle. He handed it to Napoleon and then lit one for himself. The rest he crammed into the pocket of his pants.
For a seemingly long time they walked, slowly picking their way along the path. They would pause and examine the symbols on the walls, using grime-coated fingers to trace still visible patterns.
“Whoever built this was all over the place. You know, Napoleon, I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t some sort of initiation site.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve heard the Knights Templar would use places like this to initiate new recruits.” Illya stumbled and Napoleon caught him before he fell into the rock wall. Illya swore and regained his footing. “Thanks. It felt like someone pushed me.”
“Maybe you are right and someone is trying to protect this place.” Napoleon held the candle under his chin and made a spooky face.
Illya smirked. “Looks like we have a choice coming up. The corridor is splitting.”
“Left or right?” Napoleon held up his candle to light the way. The flame danced slightly. “You see that?”
Illya nodded and moved closer to the right fork of the tunnel. The flames remained calmly burning. Napoleon mirrored the image and the shadows danced on the walls as the flame swayed. “I think left.”
Again they walked, both lost in their own thoughts. Another fork and another choice to remain with the left corridor. Napoleon abruptly stopped and Illya plowed into him.
“I hear… water?”
They hurried along as the way grew lighter and lighter. Abruptly, they were outside in an overgrown garden and across from a waterfall. Like the well, it had been long abandoned.
“Wow.” Napoleon paused at the base of a statue of a lewd-grinning faun. “This is all very… wow.”
“You took the words out of my mouth.” At the sounds of a helicopter, both men moved back into the safety of the cave or at least they did until they saw the UNCLE logo on the side of the aircraft. “Looks like our ride has arrived.”
Napoleon merely shook his head in wonder. “When did you…?”
“Just before THRUSH took it off me. I was hoping they wouldn’t realize it had been triggered until it was too late. Remind me to give Gina a big bouquet of flowers when we get home. She must have really been watching that board like a hawk to pick up my signal.” Illya waved and the pilot waved back and motioned off to their right. “Ready to join in the fun?”
“Well, since we’ve been initiated and all.”
And, as always, they were off, ready for another adventure.
For more information about the Initiation Well and Quinta de Regalieria, please check out the following: