Garrett awoke in his hotel room surprisingly early and fresh on the morning of the 3rd, especially considering how he had spent the evening, and how much of the local rotgut he had imbibed in the wee hours of the morning. His grief was a pain that was ever present in the pit of his stomach, if dulled.
They're gone.... They're gone, and I couldn't be there to say goodbye...
With a groan, Garrett rolled out of bed, and made his way to confront the stranger in the bathroom mirror. A haggard man with bloodshot eyes and several days worth of stubble stared back at him, a vacant look resting on his face like an uncomfortable stain. The muted throbbing of a hangover started to make itself apparent behind the doctoral student's orital sockets. Luckily, it wasn't that bad this morning - a prairie oyster, as opposed to the hair of the dog, might be enough to clear it up... He splashed water on his face, and returned to staring into the mirror for an interminable time.
Wake up, Garrett. They're gone, but you're not. They're in the ground by now... A realization that almost broke his newfound resolve, but he struggled on with the mantra that he had developed in a drunken haze last night. It was important not to lie to himself. You're in Jerusalem - One of the hearts of the many-headed beast you've chosen to study. With no possible return in the near future. Again, this last bit was hard for him to express to himself, but his strength and resolve increased as he continued, Would they want you to wallow in grief? To rush home to their graveside? Or to stay and make the best of the hand you've been dealt? Father always said one of the secrets to his success was in recognizing opportunity when others only see disaster. At least one lesson you should have learned from him, Garrett, old boy...
ssssssssssnck.......sssssssssssnck........sssssssssnck. Almost without concious thought, Garrett had taken out the straight razor and sharpening strap as he completed his monologue. He found himself sharpening the blade, getting ready to attack the forest of hair that had sprung up on his face.
A couple of minor nicks, stinging applications of stiptic, and a shower later, Garrett was dressed, and had packed his bags. In the shower, as he began to consider what his next steps would be, besides reclaiming his personal dignity, he had realized that for the first time in his life, he would have to carefully monitor his monetary expenditures, one of which was hotel costs. In the past, he had been able to count on his father, the steel magnate's, money. Now that he was dead and gone, it had been discovered that much of his 'fortune' of the past several years was actually illusory, and most of the family's property had been seized to pay Elliot Halburn's debts - the remaining operational steel mills and blast furnaces, the sea-side cottage, the London townhouse, and most distressingly to Garrett, the country estate in which he had grown up. He had counted his money as he packed.
Two hundred pounds to his name.
It was a shockingly small number, even if things in Jerusalem were still relatively cheap, compared to say...London. Luckily, the Holy Land was under British Mandate, so his money was usable here without changing it.
Garrett struggled with his bulging suitcase and academic briefcase down to the lobby. He would even avoid using bellboys now, if he could save a few bob on tips... He checked out, and then hailed a taxi (a cost which made him wince with his new-found penny-pinching behavior) to take him to a hotel with cheaper rent. He had absentmindedly found one a few nights before wandering through Jerusalem in a drunken haze. It had looked reputable at the time...A medium sized compound, left over from some past age and converted into lodgings for travelers and pilgrims. His opinion changed only slightly on walking into its lobby.
So, they need a new coat of paint - or two or three - on all the walls... So, there's no grand piano and veritable Garden of Eden in the lobby, and the ceiling fan seems to operating rather erratically... All I need is a bed, a roof, and a desk to write at...
He checked in, paying ahead for a few days, and hauled his own bags up to his room. He was pleased to discover that the lock on the door seemed strong and sturdy, and that the small balcony outside his window did not connect with any adjoining rooms... Before unpacking, Garrett sat at the table and began to write several letters...
-To his younger brother Thomas, expressing his grief and the damnable vagauries of fate that had trapped him in Jerusalem. He finished by hoping that Thomas was able to find his way in the new world they had both been plunged into without money, and the address where he could be contacted in Jerusalem.
-To the dean of his particular college at Oxford, explaining the situation in brief, and extending tenative feelers about an extended stay in Jerusalem for research purposes. Garrett was only in the first year of his doctoral program, but a trip to the area of interest was not unheard of even then.
-To a few of his professors, in similar veins, with brief personal notes about hopes and plans, and questions about their suggestions of what to do when trapped in the holy land.
-To Richard Smith, a friend he had made when the Americans chipped in after that terrible business at Pearl Harbor. A few Americans had come to Blechley Park to help with the work there, and Richard and Garrett, being academics at heart, hit it off quickly over games of chess and wandering ideological conversations. Richard was back in the States, doing Lord Knows What, but he and Garrett still kept in touch occasionally...
Several hours later, Garrett sealed the letters in envelopes and dropped them at the front desk to be mailed. It was not long after noon, and he grabbed his coat and hat and went for a ramble through Jerusalem, his journal and a few scraps of paper in his pocket, thoughts whirling through his mind.
As he walked through the old district of the city, he thought of everything that had happened in his life, between himself and his father, how their relationship had brought him here today, to the study of cross-cultural religious mythology, to the pursuit of the less tangible academics of history, rather than the hard cold cash of industry... He loved his father, that was sure, but he also had harbored a distaste for his extreme Anglican dogma, his hard-nosed business practices that brooked no opposition, his gruff and distant manner, like the cliched English aristocrat that he longed to be...
Without concious volition, Garrett found himself at the Wailing Wall. He stood in silent contemplation for a few minutes more, before something stirred inside him. He pulled out two scraps of paper and wrote down brief passages on them. He made his way toward the wall, his hat covering his hair in respect for ancient custom. Standing before the ancient, cracked stones, he put his hand up to touch them. Coolness and age seemed to leak from the very minerals, a spirit of religiosity that had deserted Garrett years ago drifted through the air like a lazy mist, a scentless but heady incense. He bowed his head and did something that he hadn't done in years. He prayed.
Moving his words silently with a prayer from the Anglican Book of Prayer, he slipped the first paper between cracks in the stones, amongst all the other scraps of prayers and wishes that other pilgrims had placed here over the years in the remaining Wall of the Temple. The first scrap held a small, impromptu prayer for his parents:
Lord God, please guide my parents on their way to you, take them in your gentle hands and shed your glorious light on them. Allow them entrance to your radiant kingdom and forgive them their sins in this earthly life. As your Son suffered on this earth, so we know that Man is redeemable through Your Name. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.
His lips paused a moment, and then continued. Had he been making any sound, an acute observer, unless he were one of a handful of people, may well have been confused at his speech: His new prayer, and the slip of paper he placed in the wall for himself were both in Ancient Aramaic, the language of biblical times. It was simple, saying only:
Lord, Guide me to the Truth.
After a few moments of contemplation, Garrett withdrew from the wall, retreating to a public bench a few hundred feet away, where he rested in contemplation.
Sitting on the bench, Garrett considered where to go next.
While my money may last me a few weeks, I'm going to need a source of income to support my studies... Who needs my skills? Other scholars? Travelers? The consulate? Hmmmm... Lets leave travelers for last - Not that playing tour guide to the rich would is below[/i] me... Not any more... But I'd much rather do something I have an interest in.[/i]
He had hoped to investigate some of the Biblical and Apocryphal myths in the region... Solomon's Temple, the Tower of Babel (although that was a bit of a trek), various details of the exodus, and other similar stories that made up the Abrahamic Canon. He had bought a book on the Temple before leaving Britain, tantilizingly entitled "The Secrets of Solomon's Temple". Unfortunately, the author chose to focus on some of the more outrageous myths surrounding it, devoting precious little print to scholastic study of the temple, its history and architecture. Garrett had actually found himself sniggering out loud while reading it once or twice - decidedly unrefined behaviour.
Rested from his time on the bench, Garrett prepared to depart, checking to make sure his wallet, watch, journal, paper and pens were still with him. First, he would swing by the institute at which he had delivered his paper some five days past. Although it was not a popular subject, there had been a few admiring and encouraging words after the day's session. Perhaps someone would need an academically trained translator. He was fully aware that his pentalingual skills were his highest selling point in the field at this time. With luck, someone would actually be going into the field to do a study! How exciting that would be! Failing that, the consulate may have need, or know of someone who needed a translator. If worse came to worse, Garrett could try to find a tourist in need of a guide/translator. While he had been in Jerusalem only a week and a half (having arrived not long before Christmas - his parents had sent a present with him, with strict orders not to unwrap it until December 25. It had turned out to be a small archeologist's kit, specifically for the fine work of uncovering and cleaning small or fragile artifacts), Garrett didn't know the city well, but he knew it well enough to show a foreigner its major sights and attractions...
He sighed and took one last look at the vista of the wall before rising to depart.
The Department of Archaelogy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem already made quite a name for itself. Worldwide excavations were only briefly halted by the Nazis before resuming again two years prior. Many members of the Institution were, in fact, employed by the Third Reich for some of Hitler's strange and eclectic Biblical obsessions.
Residing on the cypress-consumed hillside of Mount Scopus, plans were already afoot for moving the facilities to Giv'at Ram where they could expand enough to support the large scale projects that were under way. It was rumored that certain royal members of Belgium were funding the move, but the Institute had yet to publicly comment.
Approaching Mount Scopus meant transcending into another time. Still in the old world on dirt roads and cypress-lined temples, the blocky and somewhat ordinary buildings of the Institute were wildly out of place. On a Friday morning, however, hundreds of students and professors would roam the pastures of this arm of university as if it had always been there.
Garret wouldn't even make it to the Administration Annex before he was recognized by a gray-bearded man in thick glasses and a black suit. Somewhat stubby, his generous face distracted from his otherwise imposing posture. Offering a meaty hand to the intellectual he trudged forward from across the courtyard, nearly ramming into two students as he went.
"Garret Holburn! I recognize your face from the archives. I am Dr. Benjamin Ben-David, pleasure to meet you, sir. The Department has been trying to reach you for two days . . . we'd almost given up."
His accent was distinctly Israeli, but his English was British-trained, not a hint of an American yawl.
"We'd like to offer you a position on a new research study. . . if you've the time, of course. Come, you must eat. I will buy you morning breakfast. There is a place that serves India tea with milk, and not a pig on the premises."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett was enjoying his stroll towards the Institute's administration building. When he had been here to present his paper, almost a week before, he had been too consumed with performance anxiety to really take in his surroundings. Now, however, he walked at a lesiurely, if purposefull pace, through the old buildings and trees, soaking in the character of the place, left hand in his trouser pocket, and a contemplative look on his face.
So it was not surprising in hind-sight that he was completely dumbstruck by the rather brusque approach of this bearded gentleman. He slowly checked his own progress across the quad, silently looking at the approaching dark-clothed figure before some unconcious instinct bred into his family generations past caused him to raise his own right hand to meet the gentleman's proffered one.
"Oh. Right, ummm. A pleasure, Dr.... Ben-David... Shalom."
Garrett withdrew his hand after giving as firm a handshake and nod as he could at the moment. He grabbed his coat lapel with his right hand, and his mind finally clicked into gear.
Benjamin Ben-David. A Doctor Ben-David? Do I know that name from somewhere? He scoured his memory. He knew many of the names in his particular areas of study, but there was no way that he could keep track of all of them, and both Benjamin and Ben-David were common enough names...
And then the second part of Ben-David's introduction clicked into place. Work! And just at the moment that Garrett was looking for it, as well.
With his crisp, slightly upper-class British accent, Garret continued, "Doctor, I would be happy to join you for breakfast, and I believe a cup of tea would be spot on at the moment," Not the least of which is because you've offered to buy, which in my current state is a consideration... "Fortunate that we met at this very moment then. Please, lead on." The tall doctoral student withdrew his left hand from his pocket and gestured for the doctor to do just that. As they began to walk, he stopped himself from immediately asking about the Doctor's offer. Garrett had been trained that this was the time for small talk and banter - business would come with the food.
"So, Dr. Ben-David... You speak English very well. Have you spent time in Britain? Oh, and if Hebrew is more comfortable for you," he switched to Hebrew and continued, "I always enjoy the practice..."
The jovial-faced man, something akin to Germanic legends of Saint Nicholas, brightened as Garret spoke Hebrew. Leading him across the quad, he turned conversationally inward as they went.
"It is true then," he resumed in English, "I heard you were quite the linguist."
In Hebrew he added, "A dying art."
"I worked with Dr. Ravenswood at Oxford, you know him, yes? He was rather fond of you."
Dr. Ravenswood was Garret's freshman Survey of Near Eastern Studies professor and not exactly an amiable one. They developed a working relationship over Garret's student years and became quite a good resource on Jerusalem history for him. Many students called Ravenswood "the claw" because of an unsettling muscle condition that kept his right hand clinched. Ravenswood was retiring this year, last Garret heard, at 78 years old. His harsh nature and thick load of studies made him notorious throughout the Oxford gentry.
"He spent a great deal of time working on my accent for no other reason than my vernacular greatly irritated him."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
The tall scholar actually blushed as Dr. Ben-David called him a linguist. "No," he replied, shaking his head slightly, "not a linguist. Merely someone who learns the skills he needs...in order to find what he seeks. I must say, I haven't studied the structure and evolution of languages nearly enough to be called a linguist, merely picked up a few tidbits here and there in the studies of the few languages I know." Evolutionary Linguistics held some interest for Garrett, but the study of Religous Anthropology was his current brightest star, tying in closely with the study of Modern and Ancient Near East History that had consumed his undergraduate years and early post-graduate study...
Garrett developed a wistful smile at the mention of Dr. Ravenswood. The Claw had been a tough professor, true, and stern at the best of times. Yet, as Garrett's interests in Ancient Near Eastern History had become apparent over the following years, the two had found a professional relationship which Garrett still valued to this day. All in all, he would be sad to see Ravenswood leave - he still referred to Garrett as 'Sargon' occasionally, after a bad pun that he had made as a young postgraduate student that had actually cracked the Claw's face into something resembling a smile for the briefest of moments.
With a chuckle, Garrett responed to Dr. Ben-David's story, "Yes, Professor Ravenswood was - sorry, with his upcoming retirement, I've already started to miss him. Professor Ravenswood can be - very ..." Garrett hesitated, trying to find the appropriate turn of phrase. "Particular," he concluded.
He continued in English, and asked with interest, "So, I take it you're an Oxford man, then?" His shoulders, which had started to creep up when the Doctor had called him a linguist, were relaxing again. Finding another Oxford alumn would lay out a background from which they could build a relationship - and would hopefully help him land whatever this job was.
He would be only to happy to continue this casual talk all the way to the resturaunt, discussing surface issues and trading backgrounds (and establishing credentials) with Dr. Ben-David.
"Ah, no," he said, "I have always been a member of this school, but I worked with Ravenswood on some of his studies. Many of his studies, actually. I spent a great deal of time in Oxford. Can't say that I miss the climate."
He offered a cackle and was, indeed, truly amused at his own joke.
Nearly missing his step, Dr. Ben-David shuffled onward toward a small cafe on the edge of campus. The decor was more Indian than Hebrew, but once inside one could not mistake they were in Israel. Decorated with frescos illustrating the Torah's more prominent stories, sandalwood incense in the air, and Israeli proprietors did little to represent the Indian cuisine and teas they were serving.
Finding a small table in a well-lit corner beneath an open-air arched window, Dr. Ben-David sat down.
"They call it chai. You must have some. Cinnamon, pepper, and all things exotic and spicy. It is a bastardization of course. All teas in India are called chai, but this is an import and we do with what we are given."
Ben-David ordered sweet potatoes with honey and the legendary chai and after his colleague ordered, he immediately leaned forward, a solemn expression on his face.
"I'm afraid I must tell you. Dr. Ravenswood has passed on. We received the news on Monday, what . . . two weeks after Chanukah? It is a tragedy. Terrible tragedy."
After a thoughtful pause, he added with subtle remorse, "He was murdered the night of the Christian holiday."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett chuckled politely at the older professor's joke. Luckily, it was January in Jerusalem, and Garrett was able to deal with the mild temperatures, a pleasant change from England's wintery white. He hoped, however, to be able to return to Oxford before the thermometer skyrocketed and the Israeli landscape became a backing oven - the Holburns had never been a family for excessive heat.
The doctoral candidate followed the older doctor into the cafe, looking around at the decor and the conflation of cultures. Ah. Charming. Exactly the type of thing that subtley spreads ideas from one culture to another. If there were Indian religious images mixed in here, I might joke that in 3- or 400 years, a small Israeli sect would start worshipping KRSHN, an Indian-influenced aspect of YHWH.
Garrett took a seat at the small table in the corner, still glancing around to take in the Torah stories done in Indian fashion. "Sounds delicious! Except for the past few days, when personal matters have precluded it, I've been attempting to take my tea at a different establishment every day. I haven't made it this far, yet... Tell me, do they have Falafel here? I tried it just the other day, and find it quite appealing to the English-born pallette."
The young scholar ordered a chai, eager to taste this new strain of tea, and either a small Falafel platter, or else a small plate of Chummus and pita.
Doctor Ben-David's terrible pronouncement was met with silence. Garrett stared at the Doctor for several seconds, a shocked expression on his face as the news sank in. With a shaking, indrawn breath, he lowered his face into his hands, his elbows resting on the table. It was too much - first his parents, then Doctor Ravenswood! Some detached, analytical, and perverse part of his brain corrected itself, and thought: Actually, Dr. Ravenswood was probably actually first, and then your parents died in their accident later.
For a long time, Garrett sat with his head buried in is hands, his breathing very deliberate and slow. After a while, he rubbed his face, rose back up to face Dr. Ben-David, and apologized with a strained voice, "I'm sorry - you see, this is not the first piece of horrible news that I've recieved recently. That is terrible... Absolutely terrible. Murdered, you say? And on Christmas?" Garrett pinched the bridge of his nose, and closed his eyes, his mind on dark thoughts. "Have they caught the bug-," he caught himself about to swear, and changed directions mid-sentence, "-andit who did it, yet?"
Falafel and chai was served promptly, only moments before the professor gave his bad news. Dr. Ben-David solemnly lowered his head and put a reassuring hand on Garret's forearm after he came back around.
"You must not apologize. Grief is a necessary part of life. I understand you were close and may times professional relationships hold a great deal more weight than personal ones. Respect and admiration are often ties that cannot be broken. I must say I reacted quite poorly upon hearing the news myself."
He paused to enjoy the chai and let the news settle.
"No one knows who murdered him, but those in academia have no doubt as to why he was murdered. Dr. Ravenswood had made a discovery that many do not want the world to know. It is a long lost secret that died with the Crusades.
"Tell me, if you can, what do you know about the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon?"
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett nodded slightly in respnse to Dr. Ben-David's comforting words, one hand remaining on the bridge of his nose. He remained silent for a few moments longer, waves of grief swirling in his head. It was true, he had respected and admired Dr. Ravenswood, a great deal. The man had not only been an academic icon for Garrett, but had provided a no-nonsense sounding board for the young academic many times, for problems both personal and public.
Another funeral I will miss...
Garrett siezed onto the Doctor's proffered question like a life-line, using it to reel his mind back from the brink of the dark chasm of grief. He took several more moments to gather himself, sipping at the chai, but too deadened to take in its flavor.
He knew a good deal about the Temple and the Poor Knights of Christ - was in fact reading a book regarding the Temple itself at the moment, much of which was ridiculous claptrap... The Temple and the Templars were subjects that seemed to attract those groups that saw shadows in every corner and miracles in every raindrop. The Tower of Babel, Garden of Eden, The Order of the Rosy Cross, and Noah's Landing all provided similar fodder for over-enthusiastic psuedo-scholars...
He gathered a shaky breath and answered, obliquely at first: "Ah. The Temple and Templars.... The Belgians, then..." He waved off the last comment and proceeded, "Solomon's First Temple, housing the Ark of the Covenant, the holiest of holies, which held G-D's covenant with man. Many of the stories about Solomon, such as being able to control djinn, and other fanciful tales, are probably later fabrications by Semitic and Arabic cultures... The fraternal order of Freemasons claim to trace their heritage back to the the original mason of the temple, one...ummm....Hiram Abif... Built for Solomon by the Phoenician king, another Hiram." Garrett began to pick up speed now, his academic memory kicking in and over-riding his grief responses. He may not have been an expert on the Temple, but he had a good working knowledge of it, as anyone who studied the history, religious imagery and evolution of the near east should.
"King Solomon, also known as Saladin by the Arabs, was reknowned for ruling wisely, but political expediency cause a lapse in his piety as he attempted to ingratiate himself with pagan foreign nations... He built the Temple sometime in the 10th century BC, to replace Moise's tabernacle. In the early 6th century BC, Nebuchadnezzer conquered Israel with his Babylonian armies, and destroyed the Temple. Now, Nebuchadnezzer was a character.... Skipping the second Temple, that brings us to the Templars."
Garrett paused, and looked at Dr. Ben-David, trying to gauge his reaction so far. It was only just occuring the the young academic that the Docotor might be one of those so-called kooks that believed there was more to the temple than met the eye. His knowledge of the Poor Knights of Christ was a little more diffuse - They had definitely been a powerful historical factor, and were the focus of much modern speculation, but they were a little too late in history for his specialty. If they hadn't been the focus of so much modern study, and had such an effect on the history of the area in general, he might know only the very basic facts....
Garrett took another sip of the chai, and continued in his crisp Bristish accent: "The Templars, two knights and their 7 companions, were granted the rights to create an order by the King of Jerusalem in the early 12th century AD. The so-called 'Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple which is in Jerusalem', and later 'Templars', or 'Knights of the Temple', were responsible for defending the roadways and pilgrimage routes, and were granted a portion of the site of Solomon's Temple as their headquarters. It is believed that they undertook extensive excavations of the Temple Mount, although there is debate among current scholars as to whether Mount Moriah was the actual Temple Mount. Over the next couple of centuries, the Templars quickly expanded, gaining frightfull power, money and influence. There was a backlash in the late 13th and early 14th centuries AD, when the Templars proved too powerful for temporal states to control. After the rapid death of several popes who would not agree to demands to excommunicate the Templars by the French king (who had been financially stymied by the Knights), Pope Clement the Fifth agreed to help in doing away with them. On Friday the 13th, 1307, vast numbers of Templars were arrested, tortured and often put to death. Many believe this is the origin of the superstitions surrounding any Friday the 13th as being an unlucky date..."
Garrett stopped, his grief momentarily forgotten in academic recall. He wrapped a hand around the mug of chai and smiled wanly at the doctor, and continued in British-accented Hebrew, "Well, I've perhaps babbled too much. As I hope you can see, I have a basic understanding of the subject, but, to be frank my knowledge focuses more on the period of the Temple than the Templars..."
"I admit, you know more than the average scholar," Ben-David said smiling, "I can see why you came so recommended. Is there something you didn't study in that stuffy school?
"The Temple of Solomon is a mirage. No one ever was very certain where it existed, or even if it did exist in the splendor the Torah suggests. While it is true the Knights took residence in the Temple Mount, it was most certainly not their headquarters.
"Well," he paused with a sly grin, "It was not the place they held most precious. A strong group of researchers believe the Templars kept their true operations a secret and continued to operate long after 1307. Perhaps even until this day. Finding the trail of Templars through history means finding their true home and I assure you no one will find this in Jerusalem.
"The truth is, the Templars are all but completely gone from history after that day and all of the confessions taken and the leaders executed. Anything that suggests they somehow survived is mere mythology, right?
"Dr. Ravenswood was on a project funded by Oxford for the sole purpose of disproving the wild allegations that the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians or anyone else is in anyway connected to the Templars are not, except by ritualistic practices alone.
"His research took him here and in two months he requested Oxford extend the grant money to fund the second leg of his research taking him no place other than. . ."
Ben-David took a dramatic pause, ". . . Scotland."
Leaning forward he said, "Why would Ravenswood want to go to Scotland to research the Templar conspiracy?"
It was difficult to say if the professor was challenging Garret into recalling history or simply asking because he didn't know.
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett bowed his head an blushed slightly at Doctor Ben-David's flattery. Waving his hand slightly, he tried to pass off his knowledge as insignificant...
"You've also found a historian who just so happens to be in the midst of reading a mid-caliber book on subject at hand. If you had asked me these questions a week ago, I would not have been as well prepared..."
As the doctor went on to talk about the Temple, Garrett was drawn into the academic discussion. This is one of the reasons that he loved being in school, and might very well return to a university to teach - the discussion, debate, and never-ending learning process that the academic life entailed.
"But, of course, Doctor. Many of the stories in the Torah are apocryphal - the origin and evolution of these stories is where I hope to do my doctoral work. Yet, it seems to me that there is some evidence to support the idea that Solomon's Temple existed, and that it may have been on Mount Moriah..."
Garrett was a little taken aback when Dr. Ben-David revealed that Ravenswood had gone to Scotland after Jerusalem... Its not that he didn't believe the good doctor - The facts would be easy enough to check with Oxford - but the fact that a man as level and esteemed as Ravenswood would put stock in these odd on-going-Templar myths... If it was true, it was disturbing, any way you looked at it.
"Well, Doctor, Scotland is a mystery.... I can't recall whether any of the original Templars hailed from there, the two from Flanders being the only ones that come easily to mind... I have read that Rosslyn Chapel has been connected to the Poor Knights..." Garrett scratched his head in consideration, pausing for a moment before continuing, "I think you would have to know what he discovered here in order to divine his reasons for traveling to Scotland... I assume you were in contact with him while he was here?"
"Scotland is not generally on the Templar radar. The only connection, of course is the Scottish Rite and Robert the Bruce was one of their supports after 1307, having been excommunicated from the Church he cared little what the Vatican thought anyhow.
"Any ties between Scotland and the Templars is speculative to be sure. For Doctor Ravenswood to request a transfer was very curious although I'm certain the support he gave to Oxford was sufficient."
He pulled a letter from his pocket with the familiar Oxford seal. Handing it to the young student he said, "They granted him permission to go."
The letter read,
Dear Dr. Ravenswood,
The Dean of Liberal Arts received your request for further funding on the Knights Templar Survey Research Study. After much deliberation and reflection upon your research we've decided to approve the amount of 2,500 pounds and a ticket by rail to Edinburgh.
Please find the schedule attached. The University is excited about any future revelations on the subject.
Respectfully, Christopher Frost, Ph.D Office of the Dean of Liberal Arts
"You may wonder why we haven't simply checked with Oxford about this matter. Christopher Frost has gone missing and, oddly enough, the Dean had not only not approved the funding extension but hadn't approved the research project to begin with. In fact, he had no idea the research project was going on.
"So, you are correct. To find out why the Doctor wanted to go to Scotland, we shall have to follow his steps here.
"Dr. Ravenswood never received this letter and never made it out of Jerusalem. The Office of the Governor General is inspecting this case, but have no leads and will likely give up.
"I'm afraid it is up the Claw's friends and colleagues to find his murderer and whatever secrets he uncovered."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett thought that ties between the Templars and Scotland were a little more than speculative. After all, as the Doctor had reminded him, there was an entire Scottish branch of the Masons - an organization commonly conflated with the Templars in one way or another in the modern mythology. The historian bit his tongue and took the proffered letter with only a nod of acknowledgement.
He glanced over the letterhead and seal on the letter, giving them the briefest glances, and then proceeded to the main body, reading the short letter quickly while sipping his chai.
At Doctor Ben-David's mention of Frost's disappearance and the Dean's ignorance of the project, Garrett raised his eyebrows and read the letter a second time before handing it back. He was bursting with questions.
Running his hand through his hair, he asked, "So... You mean to tell me that Ravenswood was operating without official approval of the University? That hardly seems like the Ravenswood that I knew. Where did you get this letter? And what are the circumstances surrounding Frost's disappearance - does it look like foul play?" Garrett slowed down, suddenly aware that it was silly to ask all of his questions at once.
It was obvious why he was being approached by the Doctor... As a student and...friend... of Ravenswood, Garrett would be inclined to help the Doctor follow Ravenswood's footsteps. And he wanted to. He wanted to badly. His parents had been killed by an act of God, but perhaps bringing justice to Ravenswood's killers would sooth the wound that all of their deaths had opened. To add insult to injury, Ravenswood had been in Jerusalem at the same time as Garrett, and he had known nothing about it. Garrett's plans to present a paper at the Institute had been known for some time - ever since the paper had been accepted in the fall of '46. Why had Ravenswood not contact him or told him of his travel plans?
He asked one more question, this time in Hebrew: "Just one more thing, Doctor. Should I assume that the Institute knows about your plans to follow up on Ravenswood's research...?"