The Wardens emerged into a clear to discover the Arch of the Crocodile, an immense, 50-ft. tall arch straddling a tributary of the Amazon. On the arch were several human men with strange, dark green skin that seemed to be covered in scales. Leading them in an escalating chant was a priest who had similar dark green skin, but war a crocodile skull as a helm.
The subject of their chants was a prisoner who stood before a large hole in the arch. Circling below the hole, excited by the possibility of fresh meat, were hungry crocodiles.
Observing the scene was a Nazi archeologist, who had come up short at the edge of the tributary, his compatriots having been killed in a failed ambush of the Wardens.
The tableau quickly turned to chaos. The prisoner — whom would turn out to be Hividar Macid, the sole survivor of a British exploratory expedition — decided to take his fate into his own hands and jumped through the sacrificial hole in the archway. He plunged into the water below, narrowly avoiding the crocodiles circling below. He slowly began swimming toward shore, trying to avoid the attention of the giant reptiles. The crocodiles, normally eager to eat such sacrifices, had their attention drawn to a hail of bullets from the shore, fired by the recently arrived Wardens.
A chaotic battle followed. The crocodile warriors began throwing spears down on the Wardens from the top of the arch, while their priest evoked the spirit of their cold-blooded god to cause savage wounds to appear on his enemies. The Nazi archeologist took cover, exchanging fire with the Wardens while simultaneously trying to avoid the native combatants.
Several Wardens charged the short line in a continued attempt to distract the reptiles away from Macid. They succeeded all too well. Father Cameron Dovenney found himself face to face with one of the creatures as it surged out of the water. It grabbed him, pulled him into the fetid jungle waters, and killed him, rolling his corpse over and over in a reptilian fury.
Meanwhile the Wardens exchanged fire with the crocodile warriors, one of which fell into the river and quickly became a second feast for the crocodiles. The Nazi, who had been trying to sneak away, was confronted by Sir Arthur Boundless and his elephant gun. The old man ordered the German to stand down, but he refused. Instead he drew a bead on Boundless, who pulled the trigger on ol’Betsy.
The gun misfired.
The Nazi shot, and didn’t miss, dropping Boundless to the ground. The German’s victory was short lived however, as Boundless’ students turned their fire on him. The Nazi died.
The battle for the archway continued, with the Wardens storming its heights and ultimately killing the crocodile cultists and their leader. In the aftermath a Brazilian priest — who identified himself in broken English as “Father P.” joined the investigation. He had heard rumors of individuals being kidnapped to serve as fodder for the crocodile cults foul rituals, and taken it upon himself to examine the ruins.
At the top of the arch the Wardens and their new ally examined the indentation at the top of the arch that contained a large yellow gem that pulsed with an uneven yellow fire. They preyed it loose and packed it away for further examination.
They also discovered a cave opening that led into the nearby cliff face. The initial room was filled with crude clay tiles, each of which had some sort of animal tooth embedded in the center of it. This provided to be a trap — stepping on the wrong tile caused spears to burst from the walls and strike at anyone standing in the room. Carefully examination of the tiles revealed that some had crocodile teeth; stepping on these bypassed the trap.
The Wardens found the cultists living quarters — a large cave with bedrolls spread about. They also found the chamber of the high priest, a smattering of Spanish doubloons, a gold cross … and an ominous pool of water in one corner of it. Rikard Greystone took it upon himself to investigate, trying a rope around his waist and diving into the pool. He swam through a short corridor, and surfaced in a large pool beyond.
That’s when he found one-eyed Kilquato itself. The immense crocodile was easily twice the size of those they fought outside, and it immediately lashed out at him. The former police officer and circus performer swam desperately backward. He emerged into the high priests chamber shooting “crocodile! crocodile!”.
The beast erupted from the pool after Rikard and was confronted by a wall of lead as the Wardens opened fire on it. Archibald Buchannan dealt one of the most telling blows, as he lined up a killing shot against the beast’s one good eye. It would have killed a lesser beast, but it only blinded Kilquato.
The mighty reptile roared and lashed out at its tormentors, but to no avail. The Wardens, their backs to the wall, finally managed to slay the beast with their combined firepower.
Feature Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Source.