The story is in three parts - Part 1 today, Part 2 on Wednesday April 1st, and Part 3 on Wednesday April 8th.
'The Director will see you now,' said Grace Ironwood. She held the door open as Jane walked in, then closed it softly behind her and left. Jane was alone with the Director. He stood up immediately and started to speak, but she was so taken aback by the power and grace emanating from him that she couldn't take in a word he was saying. He had a full golden beard, and shoulders and arms which looked strong enough to hold up the whole house. Then she saw that he had gone quiet and was waiting for her reply. 'I - I'm sorry, Sir,' she floundered. 'I didn't quite catch what you said.'
'I was saying, Mrs. Studdock, that these difficulties we are having with the Belbury people are not so important as we think.'
The Director nodded. 'I know, I know. Your husband is their pawn and soon they hope to have the whole world likewise under their power. Hitler was the same. But I am the Pendragon, and I am compelled to take a longer view. As it was in the war which has just ended, so it is now, and so it will always be. Come now, let me show you.'
He walked across to a wall packed from floor to ceiling with books and pulled a pair of shelves apart, exposing an empty space lit faintly by a spark of orange light. 'Follow me,' he said, stepping forward into the half-light. Apprehensively, Jane obeyed. The Director pressed the orange light - a button, Jane saw - which turned to green as the shelves closed of their own accord and she felt the floor drop down beneath her. They were in a lift; rapidly descending. After a minute or so, it stopped. The Director punched the button with his thumb and the doors slid open.
Jane looked out onto something like a huge underground cathedral, with pillars and arches everywhere and a dazzling array of candles. The Director led her along a wide central aisle; and through these arches, as she walked, Jane saw richly-coloured mosaic portraits of crowned figures, both male and female, adorning the walls.
They came to a round chamber, its floor-space almost entirely taken up with beds fashioned out of grey stone. There were no bed-clothes as such, but each bed had its own carved pillow. Jane couldn't make head nor tail of it and stood there with her mouth open and her hands on her hips, trying to discern some kind of pattern. There was a bed in the centre, she observed, and the others seemed to radiate out from it like the spokes of a wheel. But the Director had kept on going, and had gone ahead of her into a smaller chamber. Jane caught the glimmer of candlelight on a rough stone altar and scrambled after him, ducking under the arch to catch up. Then she heard the unmistakeable sound of a train clattering past nearby. She gazed questioningly at the Director, who was heading back towards her, carrying two strange objects - a golden circlet in his left hand and a ball of green and blue crystal topped with a silver cross in his right. He stopped and looked Jane in the eye, but she could tell straightaway he had no interest in explaining the sound. His eyes were keen and bright but their focus and attention were entirely on herself, not on what was happening around them. He handed her the circlet - it was warm to the touch - then carried on walking, out of both chambers and back into the nave before turning briskly right. He paused, with Jane at his shoulder, on the threshold of a lantern-lit passageway, between two royal mosaics.
The Director gave two small bows, first to the King on his left, then to the Queen on his right. An inscription in purple italics beneath the left-hand mosaic read, 'Mark III', and under its partner, 'Thomasina of the Northern Marches.' They crossed the threshold and pressed forward along the passage. Another train hurtled by - closer now - and Jane felt a gust of cool air on her cheeks. Soon the passage widened out and they were standing in a circular ante-chamber on a floor of polished marble. Through high rectangular openings - one straight ahead, one to to left, and one to the right - Jane perceived the metallic gleam of railway lines. Directly in front of her was a tall wooden post with signs jutting off towards the three pairs of tracks. Jane managed to read four of the place-names - Tintagel, Rome, Jerusalem, Mount Kailas - before the Director whisked her away.
'This way,' he said, ushering her off to the left. Already she could hear the train, and they hadn't been on the platform more than five seconds when it appeared - sleek and silvery to look at but as noisy and rattly as an everyday Tube service. The doors opened automatically and Jane and the Director climbed on board...