The professor shrugged and tossed his head from side to side with a "who knows" expression written on his face.
"I believe you are right. Dr. Ravenswood would not accept such a task without the strict and proper approval. Perhaps he thought he'd had it, but it never left Frost's desk. One could conclude a great many things from this. Maybe this was a pet project of Frost's and now that things have gone awry, he has joined the metaphorical circus.
"Or perhaps it was an oversight and Frost was murdered for the same reason as Ravenswood. I really cannot say."
Noticing the discretion, Ben-David leaned forward and answered in quiet Hebrew, "The Institute is interested in finding their professor's killer. Continuing his quest is the only way to do so. I have approval from the Dean himself, but we are not to let the authorities know. They would be overly concerned for our safety."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
I always knew people played just as dirty in academia as in the real world, but fraud and murder... I just don't understand!
Garrett put a hand to his forehead and began to rub his temples - his hangover from earlier this morning seemed to be coming back. It was still faint, but enough to draw his notice. His voice was still taut with constrained British emotion.
"Ah, yes. So Frost has disappeared, the Dean is left in the dark, and Ravenswood has been murdered. No wonder the Institute is worried that the authorities may be concerned. I would be concerned - am concerned about the danger involved. What do you know about Ravenswood's research - do you have any sort of starting place to begin reconstructing it from?"
And later, but without any rancor, "...And you never did answer how that letter came into your possession."
In their more discrete language, Dr. Ben-David quietly resumed.
�Ironically, he was supposed to meet with me the week of Christmas to disclose some of his findings. I was unexpectedly tied up in a lecture at Istanbul when a colleague became sick.
�He did call me with his first discovery the first part of December. I�ve never heard him sound so excited. Apparently he found a hidden tomb of Templars predating the Crusades here in Jerusalem. That discovery put a much older date on the order than conventional studies assume. He would not tell me the location over wire, but his secretary said he was doing a great deal of work in the desert 20 kilometers north of here.
�We will need to find what he found and I�m sure it will all become clear.�
He hesitated at Garrett�s repeated question, �I stole it,� he said, �it was going to be taken as evidence and . . . I stole it.�
Shrugging he smiled, �What can I say? Cast the first stone, right?�
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett stared incredulously at Dr. Ben-David, and slipped back into English without even thinking.
"Did you say predated the Crusdaes? B-b-but that's impossible, isn't it? I mean, we have proof that the Templars didn't exist in even a nascent form until the arrival of the original members in Jerusalem and the granting of their charter by the king, which occured after the Christian forces had occupied the Holy Land..."
Garrett's mind reeled. If Ravenswood had told him the same thing, he would still be flummoxed, but not so incredulous. Coming from this professor, who claimed that it was Ravenswood's discovery, and perhaps the reason for his death, the revelation of Templar activity prior to the time which current historians believed they had been created, was - to say the least - hard to swallow.
Garrett sipped from his chai and used the moment to quickly paged through his mental map of the area, trying to figure out what would lie twenty miles north of Jerusalem that might have attracted the Claw's attention. If his memories were correct, twenty miles north would put one just about halfway between two of the West Bank cities. He reverted back to Hebrew, not because it was more secretive, but because he enjoyed speaking other languages, wanted to put Ben-David at ease, and enjoyed the mental discipline that translation forced him to use - partly as a distraction from his own growing anxiety. "So, he was supposed to have found this tomb somewhere between Ram Allah and Nabulos? Is there something extraordinary there?"
On Ben-David's revelation of having stolen the letter, Garret merely nodded, stern faced. He voiced no judgement on the matter, but merely sipped at his chai delicately.
We shall see whether he can make use of it, or whether it may have been the link the police were missing.
After a moment of reflection, he added, as an offhanded question, "Is there anything else ... that has come into your possession ... that might inform us as to Ravenswood's thoughts and activities?"
"History would agree with you, yes. But whatever it is he found somehow suggested otherwise. We must find evidence that would support the Templars being in Jerusalem before the Christians.
"Perhaps those tales of heresy were the result of them not acting very 'Christian-like' and getting caught in the act. Sodomy, desecration of Christian symbols, and worshiping golden idols are not exactly Italian traditions. They claimed it was to toughen up the troops to prepare for Muslim torture, but if one simply looks at it, one can find very similar activities going on in Israel thousands of years before the Crusades.
"What if the Templars were an extension of an existing Israelite movement? Perhaps duping the Christian world all this time?"
He paused to reflect on his question and then shrugged again, "One can only speculate, but whatever the case is, we must find what Doctor Ravenswood found. I scoured my memory and the only thing that comes up anywhere near that area is Al Jib.
"You know about the Temple, so perhaps you'll recall that Gideon was one of the older locations of the original Tabernacle. One of the places the Ark of Covenant and other relics were kept.
"Unless you can think of a better place, I suggest we start there."
Thinking about Garret's final question he said, "No, I can't say that I know anything else. I only have theories."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett's eyes narrowed as he listened to Dr. Ben-David in silence. At one point his hand ran through his hair, putting his already mussed locks into further disarray. It was not until the doctor put forth the hypothesis about the Templars being an extension of an ancient Israelite movement that Garrett replied. Missing the collegiate atmosphere of Oxford, and unable to resist an academic debate, even in these trying times, he interjected: "Doctor, with all due respect... I realize that what you've just put forward is probably only slightly more than a rhetorical supposition, but I see very little in the Israelite history that I am familiar with to justify it. A Jewish order, operating under Christian guise and going so far as to desecrate Christian symbols?" Shrugging, he continued, "Admittedly, my own expertise focuses more distantly in the past..." He waved a hand, dismissively, at the same time tempering his voice in an attempt not to be insulting. "Regardless of when the Templar's origins stem from, all current evidence that I am aware of points to them being much more rooted in the Christian tradition than the Jewish one - where such distinctions are possible or relevant..."
Garrett's eyebrows shot up and his voice began to slowly climb in volume. "Al Jib?! But Al Jib is only known as references in various ancient te... - You're not telling me that you've found Al Jib, are you???" Suddenly becoming aware of their environment, Garrett lowered his voice, and glanced around to make sure that they weren't being listened in on.
Quietly, and with eyes burning with the excitement of a hungry academic possibly on the cusp of being present at or near the onset of a famous discovery, he leaned forward and asked quietly, "Have you found Al Jib?"
"I'm not referring to false Christian orders and religious desecration, necessarily. There is a long tradition of sodomy, exclusive rites, idol worship, and mysticism in Palestine . . . and it isn't a Jewish one either. My supposition is, that if the Templars predated the Crusades, they must have pagan roots or we would have read about them in Jewish texts. And simply looking at the heresy they were accused of makes one wonder.
"Did you know that many people, members of academia, denounce the heresy charges as false? A hidden agenda by the Pope and a corrupt King to sieze control of the vast Templar estate? I'm not sure I agree with my peers on that conjecture. The Templars were disbanded in one single day and virtually every confessor said the same thing. A conspiracy of that size could not have been coordinated across the continent in that way. It simply raises a question . . . why would a Christian order use pagan rituals?
"I digress. Only our colleague's findings will shed light upon that one."
In answer to Garrett's surprise, he simply shrugged.
"His assistant seemed to think so, but if this is the case, it is a mystery to me as to why he kept so quiet about it. I think his assistant must have simply misunderstood.
"However, if the Templars have an origin seperate from Jerusalem, then Gideon would be a good place to look for. I've made arrangements to meet Dr. Ravenswood's assistant at the excavation site. I suspect you are interested in joining me?"
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett ran his hand through his hair and pondered as the Doctor made his point. "True, but there is also the possibility of religious cross-polination, or evolution, perhaps even in-breeding....It could very well be that the heresey charges are true, as well as the idea of Templar's eventual disbandment stemming from a corrupt pope and king harboring a plot to do away with them and seize their assets. The state definitely had an interest in curtailing the activities of the Templars, heretics or not. It seems to me that any state-approved, perhaps state-prepared, confessions loose some validity - under duress even a toughened man will sign something placed in front of him if his questioners use the proper methods. Just look to the Inquisition... If the Templars got their start before the Crusades..." Here Garrett paused and shook his head, unsure whether he would be able to believe it, even with proof, "...their religious practices could stem from any number of places - perhaps even an unrecognizable form of gnosticism, with Baphomet taking the place of the Demiurge, and so on. "
At this, he spread his hands and continued, "But, as you say, Doctor, there is no way of knowing until we discover what Dr. Ravenswood had found."
At Ben-David's implied offer, Garrett's whole face lit up. "You're suspicions are well founded, Doctor. I will admit my professional, as well as my personal, curiosity has been pricked. If you would have me along, I would be more than happy to join you." Over the cups of chai and plates of falafel, Garrett offered his hand to the older scholar hopefully, a sober smile on his face.
"Brilliant! We shall meet tomorrow outside the student commons. Does 7:00 sound good?"
Finishing his chai he apologetically stood, "I must return to my lecture. I am very relieved I found you. Until tomorrow."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett rose with the Doctor, nodding in agreement. "Seven it is, Doctor. Any hint as to what we might expect?"
He motioned for Ben-David to proceed him out of the cafe, and as the walked into the warmth of Jerusalem's afternoon, he continued, "I must say, I am looking forward to working with you - I only hope to be of any assitance possible in the making of two discoveries - one for the benefit of mankind's knowledge, and one for the benefit of justice..." His thin smile of pleasure at securing a position (of what sort had never precisely been mentioned) faded at the reminder that Ravenswood was not the only person close to him to have passed away recently. For several moments he was silent, meditating of the unfortunate timing that had snatched not only a mentor, but both of his parents, from this world in the space of a few days.
Garrett walked towards the Institute with Dr. Ben-David, slowing his long stride to allow the other gentleman the leisure of his own pace. After some silence, time spent mentally in the dark recesses of his own mind, and physically accompanying the Doctor through the busy streets of Jerusalem towards Ben-David's afternoon appointment, he turned towards his new employer and asked tenatively, "Doctor? I wonder if I might trouble you for a favor?"
Taking his left hand out of his pocket, he ran it through his already unkempt hair, took a deep breath and continued in Hebrew. "I know that time is pressing, but I was hoping that I could look through some of the Institute's archeological archives." He motioned slightly with his hand, indicating that he realized what he had said could be misinterpreted, " - not only for my own studies," he was quick to add, admiting, " - which is in part why I was coming here today - but in the hopes that I may be able to find something that sheds light on Ravenwoods' discoveries..."
Laughing a bit too heartily for the conversation at hand Ben-David responded, "Well, I don't expect we'll be sipping plum wine on a terrace over the Nile."
Reaching into his coat for a pipe a lit it habitually and then continued as his colleage accompanied him outside the cafe.
"I'm sure your assistance will be exactly what we need to solve this riddle. Great minds may think a like, but young ones think better."
He pounded his temple with a large grin and then tasted more of his pipe.
"Indeed," he said at Garrett's humble request.
Stopping briefly to scribble a note he handed it to him, "Give this to the librarian. But be careful, we don't want any present danger sniffing at our heels."
--Laveaux 18:33, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett chuckled at the Doctor's wise-crack about sipping plum wine.
"No, Doctor, thats not what I expected. Unfortunately, though, most of my work has been confined to the classrooms, archives and museums of England... I should have made you aware of this earlier, but I have very little experience in the field - not that I am adverse to it. In fact, I find myself quite eager to be mucking about in the actual locations that I've been studying for years." Garrett had withdrawn and packed his own pipe as he spoke. Now he lit it, and after drawing on with a few short, quick breaths to insure that it was lit, smiled and added quietly in Hebrew, "Especially if you have found Al-Jib..."
He paced the doctor, settling into a comfortable rhythm of strolling, puffing on his pipe, and light conversation.
Ah, I could almost imagine that the world was alright at times like this - a professional archeologist who seems to accept my scholarly abilities, good food, good tobbacco, a pleasant stroll... Of course, he knew that there was much the matter with the world presently - too much. The death of one of his favourite professors being a large, but partial piece. The recent death of his parents figuring much more prominently, but about which he was powerless to do anything.
Garrett wasn't accustomed to being praised so highly, especially by an academic he had just met. "Doctor, you flatter me. I am just learning to think correctly now, but you have obviously had much practice in a fruitful career... I would put experience ahead of youth, not the other way around."
Garrett accepted the note and nodded to Ben-David. "Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity. And please don't worry, I will make efforts to insure that my work there this evening does not point a telltale finger at our endeavors tomorrow."
Garret walked with Dr. Ben-David back to the campus, where he said goodbye until the morning, and walked immediately to the archives as soon as they had parted ways.
It was a hot day in Jerusalem, even with the morning sun splashing orange across the city, the night prior did not get cold enough to warrant desert briskness. Having not seen rain in two and a half weeks the desert was remarkably dry. Crystal blue skies cried for humidity and the people below worked through the dust of their day.
Dr. Ben-David was right on time. Having discarded his suit in favor for kakis and a button-up he looked slightly less Jewish now, however a broad smile and firm handshake reaffirmed the traits from yesterday. Standing proudly at the university steps and turned to reveal someone completely unexpected.
She was no more than twenty-four. Brown hair tied into a tight bun, revealing a once-fair, but now sunkissed face. Blue eyes and dark eyebrows suggested Italian descent. She wore kakis as well, boots, and a man's button-up shirt, with a fedora under her arm. A brilliant smile flashed from a delicate face and she said, "I'm Caterina Morelli, Dr. Ravenswood assistant. You must be Garrett?"
She extended her hand.
--Laveaux 18:44, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett had slept very little last night. Between his efforts in the archives, and his excitement at journeying to an actual archeological did - perhaps evn El-Jib - he had great difficulty in getting his eyes to stay closed...
It was not until this morning, dressing in his small hotel room, that Garrett had realized he didn't have clothing appropriate for fieldwork. Oh well, he thought, picking out the oldest of the trousers and shirts he had brought with him to Jerusalem, I suppose I will have to relegate these clothes to being my dirt-encrusted excavation outfit. Even this decision brought him some excitement - It was not that he disliked the quite, musty halls of Oxford and the museums in which he studied artifacts. He quite enjoyed the monastic feeling, in fact. But the immediacy of being at the actual location of events and history had long held a distant interest for him - an interest he found growing greater by the moment.
Just think! If this IS Al-Jib, then it is where Joshua supposedly made the Sun stand still; where Solomon offered sacrifices and prayed for wisdom; where Johanan and Ishmael fought by the great waters.... There are events that appear - that help to shape - the Old Testament, that occured there.
Garrett had experienced much the same feelings on his arrival in Jerusalem. And though they had faded - he found that his romanticized ideals did not mesh well with the practical reality of the situaion - they had not disappeared altogether...
Now, he was on his way to meet the Doctor, and Ravenwood's assistant, in order to visit a place of undiscovered history.
The student historian was dressed in slacks and suspenders over a button down shirt - the sleaves already rolled up to his elbows in the heat. He had allowed himself to dress down, wearing his sneakers instead of his dressier shoes, which would have been completely inappropriate for the dirt and mess of a dig site. In his left hand, he carried a deceptively heavy briefcase, containing his language dictionaries, his journal, a change of tshirt, socks and underwear (he wasn't sure how long they would be out), and some pens and charcoal. His blazer was cltuched between his left hand and the handle of the briefcase. No doubt it would need to be cleaned and pressed before it was ready to be worn in company again... His right hand held a haphazardly strung-together assemblage of his 35mm camera in its case, the camera tripod, and his archeological toolkit. The toolkit had been a Christmas gift from his parents, and had never seen use - its monogrammed ('GTH') leather case appeared freshly tooled, and the steel and wood instruments inside gleamed like freshly polished silver.
Garrett beamed when he saw Ben-David waiting for him on the steps. He strode up to him, stoping a step below, and, placing the tripod on the stairs, balancing it with his already full left-hand, returned the good Doctor's handshake.
His expression faltered only slightly upon seeing a young woman with the good Doctor. While his father would have had something decidedly unpleasant to say, Garrett was trying to train himself to accept women in fields that had traditionally been male-dominated. He was fully aware of past matriarchal societies, though most of the ones that he focused on tended to be strongly patriarchal. As with any man, he felt that a woman should be given the benefit of the doubt, unless she proved otherwise by her actions. Unfortunately, he had met a few women attempting to make a name for themselves who affected a cold and forceful attitude - a defense mechanism, possibly, against a disapproving masculine society. Understandable, to a degree, but still unpleasant to be around.
He leaned forward, precariously balancing the tripod, camera and small toolkit between his briefcase and thigh, and took her proffered hand. "Charmed, Miss Morelli." His smile answered her own. Well, at least she seems pleasant enough... He released her hand and rescued his tripod bundle, on the verge of slipping and spilling across the steps. "You are correct - I am Garrett. Although the late Professor..." Garrett paused for a moment, the smile slipping from his face. He forced it back, though his eyes contained some remembered sadness, and continued, "...the late Professor was fond of calling me Sargon..."
Hefting his bundles slightly, Garrett's smile changed to a sheepish grin. "I feel as if I may have overpacked..."
A thin eyebrow shifted upward revealing something in Caterina's face: pleasentries could be overshadowed by sass and perhaps a bit of surliness. Still with a smile she responded, "Sargon? A powerful military king overthrown by his own people. Some think he was punished by the gods. Perhaps you were a little rebellious to Dr. Ravenswood?"
Her eyebrow went back to its natural position revealing she was only taking a jab at him. Perhaps testing the waters of his sense of humor.
Dr. Ben-David chuckled, "Overthrown yes, but only after 60 years, Caterina. Maybe Dr. Ravenswood was pointing out Garrett's zealous 'staying power'."
This resulted in one of Ben-David's howling rounds of laughter. Smacking the young man on the back he picked up some of his own gear.
"Better to be prepared then caught ill-awares," Ben-David said, "though we are only going forty-five minutes away."
Caterina snorted, "It's only that far because of the way you drive, old man."
"If my father, rest his soul, was not watching me from heaven I'd let you drive. The old man is already hunting me for allowing you on expeditions."
The vehicle they must have been referring to was an old, dusty sedan that had been, at one point, forcefully turned into a convertable. Three crates rested in the back seat, but there was room enough for one person. Caterina, without hesitation sat in the passenger seat and Ben-David in the driver's side.
After everyone was settled he leaned back and quipped, "Did everyone bring their fishing rods?"
--Laveaux 18:44, 10 December 2005 (CST)
Garrett looked between the two people standing before him - Dr. Ben-David, the small bear of a professor, and Miss Morelli, Ravenswood's fetching young assistant. Well they seem well-at-ease with one another...And at least she knows her history. Sortof. The legend of Sargon of Akkad being overthrown by a revolution was probably false on two counts - first, it was a later-day addition to the legend of Sargon (other historians had placed its origin in the later Babylonian period); secondly, the legend goes on to say that Sargon emerged victorious. The Akkadian empire didn't actually fall until the reign of Shar-Kali-Sharri, Sargon's great-grandson, when it was ended by a revolution of the Gutii people. Garrett debated whether or not the first professional meeting with these two would be an appropriate time to correct them.
Of particular interest to Garrett was the fact that Sargon had supposedly been found as a baby floating down a river in a reed basket. Thousands of years later, another Semitic people, the Jews, would attribute the same myth to Moses.
He relaxed and smiled a little at their easy banter. "I would like to believe that he awarded me the name due to some staying power on my part - As I'm sure you know, the Professor had little time or patience for people who could not form their own ideas and stick by them - especially since Akkad didn't actually fall until a century and a half after Sargon's death," Well, it is done, whether it was politic or not, "but it was perhaps due to something else... A very bad pun in ancient Akkadian, actually. I'm afraid that the title was more a reminder of my shortfallings as a comedian than an honorifc..."
Garrett directed a shrug at Miss Morelli when Dr. Ben-David spoke of the ghost of his departed father, as if to say, "Why fight it?" As he grabbed his belongings and walked towards the car, his mind ran over the decisions he had come to last night.
Second thoughts had plagued him, kept him awake half the night after the archivist became fed up with his late-night presence and kicked him out of the Institutes' archives - something about the fact that even if Garrett didn't need supper and sleep, he did. Ah well. This seemed almost a fool's errand that they ran off on, trying to find a structure built by an organization from a time before that organization was even founded, in a city that had been lost for centuries, in order to discover evidence to apprehend a murderer... If Ravenswood's name had not been connected - no, in fact, embedded, in the project, Garrett would have tenderly informed Dr. Ben-David of his inability to participate. Of course, the implication of pay from the Institute helped to assuage his misgivings. If only that point could be firmed up in an appropriate fashion. As he left this morning, he decided that he would help the Doctor, but reserve judgement on the project as a whole until he had seen more.
Garrett climbed into the back seat, wedging his long legs behind the passenger seat in which Miss Morelli had placed herself. He carefully wedged his suitcase and tripod between the crates in the other back seat, and rifled through his suitcase for his journal.
He paged through it as he answered the Doctor's quip, "I was considering bringing it, but I suspect that the biblical 'Great Waters' of Gibeon are long since dry; and neither Sand Eel nor Stonefish are to my taste..."
Finding the page that he was looking for, he waited till they were under way, and holding his hat on his head with one hand, passed the open journal up to Miss Morelli with the other, saying, "Miss Morelli, I wonder if you would be so kind as to look at something for me. Does this seem to be an accurate representation of your dig site's location?" His thumb held the journal open to the page on which he had copied the map he had discovered in the archives the night before. He had not had time to confirm it with extensive cross-referencing (there had been so much that he needed to do, in such a small amount of time), but it seemed accurate enough to him.
He hoped it would prompt her to talk a little about the project on their way their. Forty-five minutes did not seem like enough time to receive the background information on such a find as El-Jib, not to mention a possible Templar structure pre-dating 1118 AD.