Level 1

Dagger of Xian -- Backplot 1
Legend has it that if you drive the Dagger of Xian into your heart, you acquire the power of the dragon. Quite literally.

In ancient China, the Dragon Emperor was the holder of this power and with his army along side him, he was a force to be reckoned with. Thus empowered, he staked claim to the vast lands that are China.

However, his final battle ended in defeat. While people fell into submission all around him, the warrior monks of Tibet would not relent and courageously fought against him. Knowing the power of the dagger, they succeeded in removing it from the Dragon Emperor's heart, reducing him and his army to carnage. The dagger was returned to its resting place within the Great Wall and safely locked up for all time...

Now three parties hold the dagger close to their heart. And all for entirely different reasons.

First, the Barkhang order of Tibetan monks, whom are descendants of the original warrior monks that defeated the Dragon Emperor. They have sworn to protect the dagger from ever being discovered again.

Second, the fanatical Fiama Nera cult that worship the dagger and its mystical powers. Not much is known about this enigmatic cult except that it has attracted some of the most ruthless thugs and mercenaries around the world. The cult is led by Marco Bartoli, the son of the famous Italian magician Gianni Bartoli. Gianni Bartoli was obsessed with finding the legendary dagger. He was said to be very close to finding it but died in a mysterious accident which sunk the ocean liner Maria Doria.

Lara Croft, forever the adventurer, is the third party. On her travels, she will encounter the other two...

circa 210 BC
Qin Shihuang , the "Dragon Emperor", was the first true emperor of China. Ruling China with an iron fist, he often executed generals who where merely late for military maneuvers. Uniting the warring states of China through conquest, it is commonly thought that he overpowered the other armies through superior armament, but folk legends speak otherwise. Some thought him a demon, a "xian" , which is the Chinese name for a mystical being. This is how the legend unfolds:
Legend of
the Dragon
Startled birds rush into the air to announce the advancing armies of the Dragon Emperor. As their armies push westward toward the Tibetan plateau, Tibetan monks make their stand near a section of the Great Wall. In the ensuing battle, many monks fall to the Dragon Emperor's merciless army, which is armed with iron weapons and supported by archers of remarkable marksmanship.

The emperor's warriors, who share in the dragon's magic, exhibit reptilian eyes and skin. A general waves his arm and the men charge. The battle is joined by the dragon himself, as he scorches his enemies with his fiery breath. A Tibetan archer, behind an escarpment on the Great Wall, releases an arrow which finds its mark in the dragon's neck. The dragon turns to deal with the archer on the wall and steps over a monk that is lying amidst a demolished wooden wagon near the Wall. This monk lies wounded, impaled by the first volley of the Chinese army's arrows, but is presumed dead by the dragon. As the shadow of the dragon falls upon this monk, he attempts to focus through his pain and notices a glimmering object in the dragon's chest.

Curious, the monk musters up what strength he has left and rises, reaches out, and withdraws the dagger from the dragon's heart. The magic of the dagger swirls in the air returns to the dagger. The dragon recoils in pain, and kills the monk with his last fiery breath. The dragon collapses and dissolves. His armies, who witness his demise, are struck with grief and without the power of the dagger, they return to their normal human form. With his strength gone, a general falls to his knees. The warrior monks drive the Chinese army away.

Later, two of the monks find the dagger among the remains on the battlefield. Recognizing its deadly powers, they return the dagger to its proper resting place in a temple deep within caverns below the Great Wall of China. One of the monks turns the key to the temple's inner door and an elaborate lock mechanism rotates the door opens. While one monk stands guard, he waves the other to enter the temple. The second monk enters to find the an altar.

The dagger is placed into its receptacle in the altar. The altar emits a blinding purple light that envelopes the room. The monk covers his face and screams. The huge temple door slams shut and locks...

Present Day
A year or so has elapsed since Lara Croft discovered the Scion, an artifact from the lost continent of Atlantis. In the intervening year, she has taken the time to take care of some unfinished business in Egypt and the remnants of Atlantis, write about her latest travels, and build a training course on the grounds of her mansion to hone her skills. She even did a little fashion modeling for a celebrity magazine.

Lara is enjoying a rare bright and sunny afternoon on the balcony of her bed room. Her faithful old servant, friend, and research assistant brings her a cup of Earl Grey and along with it, an ominous letter that was just delivered. Tearing open the envelope, Lara begins to read the letter enclosed within...

Dearest Lara,

I am writing to you with sad news of Professor Richard Pollard; our mutual mentor, colleague and friend. Most recently, Professor Pollard joined with a team of Chinese archaeologists to excavate around the ruins of the remote western region of the Great Wall of China.

I have just confirmed news that Professor Pollard, as well as his entire team, was brutally murdered while at this dig. I have been unable to obtain any further information or details from either the British Consulate in China or the Chinese government. However, from the scarce information I was able to gather, the perpetrators of this heinous crime are likely part of some organized crime syndicate. It is the only possible way that anyone could have the resources to locate the professor's team.

I have tried to make sense of this all. I haven't a clue as to the motives of such an attack on the professor. I know that you and Professor Pollard were good friends and he considered you his brightest student at the university. I was certain that you would want to know of these events. There will be a memorial service held for the professor at the university this Tuesday. I do not know when the wake and funeral service will be held, but I'm sure it would give his wife, Elizabeth, great comfort if you would attend.

Your Humble Servant,
Robert Trent
Lara slowly sinks into her chair in horror and let the letter slip from her fingers. Doctor Pollard was her mentor and had taught her everything she knew about field archaeology. He was a gentle man, an archaeologist with integrity and of great renown. He was dedicated to the preservation of antiquities, and hadn't an enemy in the world. This act of senseless violence leaves Lara bewildered. Or is it really senseless after all?

Lara's sharp memory drives to consult the old tomes and scrolls in her library. After pouring over map after map of the mountains of China, a glow comes over her face. These ruins must represent the resting place of the legendary Dagger of Xian. It would be hard to assess what the dagger would be worth on the black market. The dagger would be a prize indeed, but is it worth killing for?

I'll stop by to see Elizabeth on my way to the airport, Lara thinks to herself, I doubt that the Chinese government will be particularly hospitable to my visit, perhaps I should charter a heli. She springs from her seat not wasting a moment to hesitation, as she prepares to leave for China.

"Possibly an organized crime syndicate, eh?" Lara ponders aloud, as she opens the door to the closet near her bed, "Then these might come in handy." She draws out a pair of well worn pistols and a shotgun5... (follow plot)

  1. For lack of any better story, this plot is the fabrication of our staff, without the prior knowledge of Eidos or Core, but is based on the information contained within the notes from the Tomb Raider II CD (which is included at the top of this page), and from within the game itself in the form of cut scenes and full motion video sequences. Neither Eidos Interactive nor Core Design is responsible for the contents of this page.

  2. The Chinese word "Qin" is the name of his kingdom. The word "shi" means "the first" or "beginning". The word "huang" or "huangdi" means emperor. Therefore Qin Shihaung's name literally means, "the first emperor" of China. Note that the "pinyin" method of Chinese transliteration is used in this example, so that the 'Q' in Qin is pronounced as "CH".

  3. There are a couple of possible intreptations for the word "Xian" because there is some ambiguity in the usage of the word. We describe two likely candidates here:

    1. The first interpretation is if we consider "xian" as a single word corresponding to the Chinese Character for "mystical being". On examining the etymology of the Chinese word "xian" , one finds that it is comprised of two root words: "ren" which means "person" and "shan" which means "mountain". Therefore, literally, the word "xian" is "being who lives on/in a mountain" - eg. a fairy, spirit, etc...

    2. The second intrepration is if we consider "xian" as two separate words which makes up the name of one of the oldest cities in China, Xi'an: "xi" which means "west" and "an" which means "peace". Together the second interpretation refers to the city of "Western Peace". The city of Xi'an was originally named Chang'an [in which chang means "long"], meaning city of "Eternal Peace". This city served as the capital for the Qin, Han and Tang dynasties. The Emperor Qin Shihuang was entombed with his terra cotta army near this city. Also, a section of the Great Wall of China runs through this province.

    Although the latter is a likely inerpretation for the word "Xian", it would have been more correct for the word to be written as "Xi'an". Because of this spelling and the fact that the original name of the city was Chang'an, we consider the former interpretation of this word as the correct one. However, either way you look at it, it makes sense. Note that the "pinyin" method of Chinese transliteration is used in these examples, which also means that the 'X' in xian is pronounced as "SH".

  4. The dialogue between characters and many of the plot details and that describe the full motion video sequences and cut scenes throughout this Traveler's Guide are based on the transcript as provided by Clear's Tomb Raider 2 Page. I didn't ask him if I could steal his work, but I just wanted everyone to know that he was the one who did all the hard stuff, and deserves the thanks and the credit.

    Also, a special thanks to Vicky Arnold, Core Design's script writer for Tomb Raider 2, for clarifying many of the plot points. She writes, "The Emperor is the dragon; the idea being that the dagger will give this power to whoever has enough belief to drive it into their heart - and that his warriors who fight alongside him will have added powers too. Hence the [Fiama Nera] cult's interest [in the dagger]. The guy with the disturbing green eyes is one of the Emperor's generals and when the dragon is killed, he and the other soldiers return to their normal human strength. You might be able to see when the general falls to his knees, that his eyes turn back to normal and his fangs and reptilian skin disappear."

  5. Throughout the walkthrough for Tomb Raider II:The Dagger of Xian, there will be plot details describing cut scenes, full motion video sequences, and [what we consider to be] missing plot points. These plot points will be in italics at either/both the beginning and/or end of each walkthrough.