Lara Croft of Tomb Raider fame is the protagonist in this adventure-ballad. When Meagan Marie—who manages Official Tomb Raider Blog—suggested I write songs for the women of gaming, I happily accepted the challenge. Lara is probably my favorite female character ever, so I wrote her an epic. At five minutes plus, this is Homeric in scope. Fandom big or go home, I say. In my story, Lara raids the tomb of an ancient Undead Kingdom; rather than highlight her physical traits or her weapons, I focused on her cleverness—her distinctly feminine wisdom. The art of this is in the storytelling—the music merely provides a chugging rhythm. A lot of thought about gender differences and music went into this; you can read about the whole process here if you wish. And this is actually the second version of this song; the original was an even longer version about a race between Lara and Indiana Jones. It’s worth a listen, too, but it is less attention-span friendly. Free downloads of this epic are available here, and you can stream it on YouTube.
This song is dedicated to the many blogs that I read during my extensive research on Lara Croft: Of course, Meagan Marie and the Official Tomb Raider Blog, and also larahcroft.blog.cz, Eidos’ Tomb Raider Forums, tombraideraddiction, captivatingcroft, raidercroft, twinpistols, f***yeahlaracrofttombraider, effyeahtombraidergirls, fyeahtombraider, lara-croft, tombraidingb*tch, and laracroft. Thanks for the inspiration, bloggers! I hope you all enjoy because I am certainly enjoying playing as the #Gaming Bard. – Kavalier Calm
A Woman’s Clever Ways
When Lara reads about The Kingdom of Undead, her eyes light up, dreams fill her head.
She makes plans to raid that tomb—the Skeleton King’s Temple of Doom—
for great treasure waits in its vault: The Queen of Bone’s solid gold skull.
Our raider smiles because she knows:
No man, beast, or magic game
can beat a woman’s clever ways.
The tomb’s first room is dark as night; Lara lights a torch and to her surprise
the floor is covered by undead tigers, restless in their slumber.
They smell blood, and they smell meat, but Lara is ever-quick on her feet.
She can see they’re blind as bats, from years living in darkness;
they hunt with their nose and ears; she needs to trick them that she’s near.
The cave’s high ceiling plays with sound, so Lara screams louder than loud.
Her voice bounces off all the walls, hits those cats like a hundred war calls.
In confusion, they begin to roar—adding to the echo score.
As they crash and claw each other, Lara slips by without a bother.
The next room is home to a ghost, he appears to Lara, a demanding host:
“In the next chamber awaits your prize, but passage comes at a high price;
The toll is a life or limb; nothing less will get you in.”
Facing this grave toll, Lara uses what she knows from old scrolls:
these undead worship cats as gods; she says this to help her odds:
“Sir, like many of your people, I am part feline—on my mother’s side;
this makes me swift and nimble and gives me nine lives.
I have one I can give to you if you agree to let me through.”
To this, the ghost responds: “I know this is a clever trick,
but I respect its guile, so I accept.”
Into the throne room Lara steps, and right away she spies her get:
she takes a step towards the prize, the golden skull shines;
she jumps back in fear! as the King from thin air appears,
carrying a royal club of wood, smiling as only the dead could.
But Lara’s heart doesn’t skip a beat; she falls to her knees,
and palms stretched forward on the ground, she humbly sings:
“My King, do you not wish to rest?
At this he halts his march, at this he drops his arm:
“At times I tire of my task, but someone must guard my wife
against thieves like you, against their greedy vice.”
“My King, I can be your guard. I can give your wife a new temple,
a modern home called a museum where people will line up to see her,
where she will be worshiped every day and be treated like royalty.”
The King taps his chin and weighs the choice, turns his ear to his queen’s silent voice.
“The Queen says she likes this idea, and I learned early in my rule
never to argue with that woman—it’s a duel I always lose.
So, raider, we have a bargain, then, and I declare it a win-win:
You get to keep your life, and I finally get to end mine.”
He extends his hand in thanks, and as they shake, he fades away.
And as Lara grabs the skull, she hears the Queen say: