Looking back it is hard to think I didn't see it sooner. But no one ever does, do they? Not until it's all over. \n\n\nMy name is Henry Johnson, I am a researcher in iconology and symbology. I have worked over the past couple of years very closely with the British government on several cases; sacred temples, buried corpses in ships and supernatural sightings. I live alone, with no pets you’ll be surprised to hear, but of a keen love for reading. It makes the loneliest of night gratifying.\n\n \nWilliam Shakespeare is an all-time favourite author of mine. I had been meaning to reread a few of his classics until last week. A case arose which encouraged me to reread one in particular. I looked up to my book self and removed a dark red book with golden binding. Only a week before that book had encompassed hidden answers that I wasn't even sure I was looking for. Now, it held nothing but words, meaningless words.\n\n\n\n\n"[[Antony and Cleopatra]]" I read, "Act 1 Scene 1".\n
Oliver smiled.\n\n\n“This one is easy. Three ships came to shore, but only one left unharmed. The other two were towed away. The last ship standing deceived the others into thinking the shore were safe. They blindly followed, leading to their capture and extinction. As someone once said, 'Forgive my fearful sails. I little thought you would have followed.' In light of recent events it is very funny this painting is here, very funny indeed.” \n\n\n\n<html><a href="http://candidpresence.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-fighting-temeraire-a-painting-by-j-m-w-turner-ongoing-change/\n/">The Fighting Temeraire, by J. M. W. Turner.</a></html>\n\n\n\nI turned to the picture and started to take in what Oliver had just said, but when I turned back he was gone. \n\n\n\n\n[[The Book]]\n\n\n\n
//The coin has been found which means in 3 hours Catherine will be dead. Oliver has already made it clear that if I try to save her they will know I am descendent also. And I will die. The descendent of Marc Antony, it still doesn’t feel real. I have been distracting myself all day trying to forget about the fate my friend has fallen into, the fate I tricked her into. No, stop it! You know you can’t help her! Why do you make yourself believe that you could make a difference? Maybe, deep down, it’s because I can. My research team are angry that I keep dropping the equipment, but my hands keep shaking. The fear never goes away.//\n\n\n\nI skimmed through the next page looking for any movement or decision. \n\n\n\n//I’ve decided to take her, I have hour until the organization are supposed to reach the site. I can get her away, I can hide her. It’s in my blood.//\n\n\n\nCould this organization be the Octavian Roman Cult that historians believed was kept hidden and secret for centuries? Think for a second Henry, Think! A cult comprised of people who would risk their lives to save the lives of their future children, from a curse worse than death. There was only one way to stop the curse, and that was to extinguish the blood line of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, and Catherine and Michael are certainly dead. \n\n\n\n[[The Day Michael Found Out]]\n\n\n[[The Day Catherine Found Out]]\n\n\n\n[[The Call]]\n\n
//One cold evening I was walking to the bus stop from work, when a young man dressed in a suit squeezed my shoulder. He asked me my name, and for some weird reason I felt the urge to answer, “Catherine Lane” I said. \nMichael took me on many dinners and cocktail evenings. He brought luxury jewellery and high society clothing, before he told me. He swept me in, made me trust him. All so that I would believe him when he told me I was a descendent of Cleopatra. Of course I did not believe him. I screamed in his face until my voice cut out. I smashed glasses, plates; infuriated that not only would he keep a secret from me, but that this life we had built was a lie. \nHowever, by that time I loved him and hearing that he could be a distant relative didn’t change that, and so I listened. He told me Oliver, an old friend I’d never met, worked for an organization that protected special people like us from the time we were born. //\n\n\n\n[[Back|Michael's Journal 3]] \n
My mind was a blur. The lantern and boats kept reappearing over and over. I had hoped an answer would surface, but nothing ever did. I felt unless and frustrated, for my only responsibility was to decipher those symbols, and I couldn’t. I knew any chance of insight was in these journals. So, I begun to read. \n\n\n//The first day of research was a drag. The heat that repels itself against the red soil is hellish, and the wind when it picks up is refreshing. Nevertheless, after the relief comes the fury of the dust it carries, sunglasses are a must. Eliat asked me today how I knew Oliver and Catherine. What do I tell her, the truth? I don’t even know if I believe the truth anymore. Oliver has created a plan, but he has only told me what I need to know, the rest he keeps quiet. I used to trust Oliver with my life; he saved us so many times from those people in black cars and black suits, but now? Now I barely know who I am. Catherine is nice to talk to she understands, but to stand by her is to betray him, and to stand by him is to betray her.//\n\n\n\nHmm interesting, this Michael appears loyal but by his tone it seems he is to deceive someone, is that betrayal the knowledge of their death? The Roman Lantern…Oliver. He must be the friend. Amira told me he was a suspect to begin with but was released, as it was concluded that he had no motive. I sipped my whiskey and carried on reading.\n\n\n\n[[Back|The Email]]\n
There were rumours among historians that this oath was not merely a promise of loyalty, but of sacrifice. The creation of an oath that inspired a cult that even to this day, in the darkest corners of religion seek the ancestors of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. I am not a superstitious man but when it comes to religion and power, I believe in man’s barbaric ability to do anything in order to protect it. \n\n\n\n<html><a href="http://romanvoices.wikispaces.com/Oath+of+allegiance/">The Oath Research</a></html>\n\n\n\n<html><a href="http://russellg003.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/octavian-emperor-augustuss-oath-2/">The Oath Research</a></html>\n\n\n\n[[Back|The Email]]\n
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“You have a fine collection here Mr Johnson."\n\n\n“Oh it is not mine of course, I merely talk about it using long, irrelevant words” \n\n\nOliver laughed. \n\nI had not expected him to be so tall, he was quite intimidating in person, gave off a sense of self importance, or arrogance as some people called it. \n\n“Are you staying for long?” I asked.\n\n"Oh no, sorry I have to rush off. I have a dinner date, I am just popping by." His wide eyes turned back to the painting. \n\n"Your job Mr Johnson, is it merely to stare at these paintings, whilst extracting tiny elements of imagery, in order to create meaning?”\n\n“Something like that yes. Why don’t you try with [[this one]] you seem so in awe of.”\n\n\n
//I am the heir to the most elaborate thrown in the world. I encompass the blood of royalty. I am Cleopatra’s decedent. Her very flesh and blood, the majestic liquid runs through my veins. I sign because the truth is out there, and yet…\nI thought I’d feel relieved or glad, but I feel scared, and suddenly alone.//\n\n\n\nMy coffee fell out of my hand and shattered across the hotel floor. A sharp scratching came from the mug as it shattering echoed throughout the room. \nA descendent? That isn’t possible! A family line to withstand that much time, war, illness, is… unimaginable. This girl has lost it, no wonder she was worried about the crazy house. I looked over to my Antony and Cleopatra lying on the coffee table, but hesitated. And yet… over the years I've heard rumours, read articles, which against my better judgement prove otherwise.\n\n[[The Oath]]\n\n\n\n
I had just arrived home after several meetings with art curators. I reached for the coffee mug I had left by the sink, but no, today was not a day for coffee. I walked through into the living room, reached into my wooden cabinet and poured myself a large whiskey. I slumped into my armchair and looked at the Shakespearean play sprawled across the coffee table. Ping Ping. It was an email from Amira. \n\n\n\n//Hi Henry,\n \nSome good news has just surfaced about the case. Our detectives found some online journals and two of them are written by our victims, Catherine Lane and Michael Burrows. Both are attached below; read in order of numbers.\n\n\nKind Regards\n\n\n\nAmira//\n\n[[Michael's Journal 1]]\n\n[[Catherine's Journal 1]]\n\n[[Michael's Journal 2]] \n\n[[Catherine's Journal 2]]\n\n[[Michael's Journal 3]]\n\n\n\n
Last Tuesday evening I received a call from Amira Yassin, a well-respected police officer in the Israeli Police Force, informing me of a murder discovered earlier that day. \n<html><a href="http:/www.ablogabouthistory.com/2013/08/20/the-lovers-coin-a-rare-discovery-of-a-mark-antony-and-cleopatra-bronze-coin/#sthash.iDRg0DVq.dpbs/">The Lovers Coin</a></html>\n\nTwo British graduates, Michael Burrows and Catherine Lane, had been found by archaeologist, [[Eilat Mazar]] murdered. They had been part of a research team that led to the recent discovery of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony’s Brass Coin in Tel Bethsaida.\n\nI asked Amira, who I had only met once previously before at an international board meeting, why she would contact me? Surely this would be of interest to the British International Affairs and not I, a researcher from Portsmouth? She replied with hast to my question and assured me that the International Office was aware of the situation, and that I was highly recommended for [[‘mystery cases’]]. \n\n\n[[The Email]]\n
Dear Oliver Barnes, \n\n\nI have recently helped with the investigation into the murder of your friends Catherine and Michael. I am very sorry for your loss. I was hoping that you might accept an invitation to an Art Convention that I am speaking at tomorrow evening? It is being held at the The National Gallery in London.\n\n\nI could maybe enlighten you on the case, to help with closure and grieving of course. \n\n\nKind Regards \n\n\n\nHenry Johnson\n\n\n\n[[Welcome to The National Gallery]] \n
Ring Ring.\n\n \nAmira: Hello Henry?\n\n\n\nMe: Hello Amira, please do not hang-up this is urgent, I …I need your attention and your upmost tolerance. What I am about to tell you is inconceivable, especially to those outside of the historical arts community. It’s-\n\n\n\nAmira: Wait Henry, I’m sure I told someone in my office to contact you but these bloody interns don’t know a stapler from a phone. We caught him yesterday. He is a low life at best but he is behind bars and everyone is safe for now, until trial at least. \n\n\n\nMe: I don’t understand?\n\n\n\nAmira: DNA came back from forensics and it showed that his figure prints were on the baby lanterns. Was a real shock, but everything has turned out well I think. Thank you so much for your help though Mr Johnson, turns out he was just a looney. \n\n\n\nMe: But Amira-\n\n\n\nAmira: Sorry Henry I must run. I have a birthday dinner I need to get to and it’s getting later over here. Hopefully see you soon under better circumstances. Bye. \n\n\n\nI remember my mouth being dry and my hands burning as the paper appeared to thin under my grip. In my mind I could see the image of the Lantern cut into Michael’s flesh; the symbol of betrayal, but who did he betray? His loyalty was towards Oliver, as far as the journal’s suggested, but maybe? \n\n\n\n[[The Email to Oliver]] \n
Something he had said has spark some familiarity in me. Where had I heard those words before?\n\n\n\nI took out my Antony and Cleopatra book from my case and flicked to Act III Scene XI. There before my eyes in a book that had never left my side was Shakespeare’s quote:\n\n\n\n//“O my lord, my lord,Forgive my fearful sails! I little thought\nYou would have followed”//\n\n\nThree ships and a roman lantern; one symbol represents the urge to follow, and the other to betray? Catherine must have followed Michael, the way Michael followed Oliver. But then Michael couldn’t have betrayed Oliver, because he had already betrayed Catherine by leading her here.\n\n\nSo why draw a symbol that relates back to Shakespeare?\n Unless it didn't. Maybe it was Shakespeare who wrote the words in order to relate to a symbol? \n\n\nI turned to [[the last page]] of Antony and Cleopatra…\n\n
I picked up my warm coffee took a slip. I carried on reading…\n\n\n\n//I heard a rushing noise again from somewhere to my right, I didn’t want to stop, I was scared. I reached the dugout section of our site, there was a small flicker of light ahead and I couldn’t make out what it was. I carried on walking. Lying at the end of the pit were three lit candles in baby lanterns.\nBelow, seen only in the quick flicker of the light were two bloody bodies. I could not make out that it was Catherine and Michael at first, for their faces were a massacre of red that appeared deformed. The neighbours say I screamed, but I don’t remember. It all happened so fast. I stumbled backwards and fell, cutting my hand on a rock and ripping my shirt. I ran back to my friends and the police arrived soon after that. Time to me was lost, I have no idea how long I was out there the blackness just makes everything stop.//\n\n\n\nMy coffee was now cold. I placed it next to the sink and peered out of the window. It was rather late and the street lamp just beyond my garden was flickering.\n\n\n[[Back|Eilat Mazar]] \n\n
The Curse of Antony and Cleopatra
Due to an Art convention hosted at The National Gallery, that I had volunteered to speak at on 13th August, I’d decided to stay in a hotel near Knightsbridge. My taxi from The Royal Holloway to central London I had hoped would take a while. I opened Michael’s Journal at the folded down page. \n\n\n\n//Why would he put me in this position? We are all supposed to be friends. No one was supposed to get hurt. But he has the answers I need, the answers that will be lost to both Catherine and I if one of us does not do what is expected. But I don’t even know if I can, I’m an awful liar; my hands become sweaty and my neck turns pink and blotchy. Oliver says when it comes to it I will do it, for it is in my nature to be strong and brave, it is in my blood. Oliver says on the night of the coins discovery all will over.//\n\n\n\n\n<html><a href=http://www.omaha.com/article/20130906/NEWS/130909161/1734/>The Lost Coin Found</a></html>\n\n\n\n\n[[Back|The Email]]\n\n\n\n
Eilat Mazar, is a female Archaeologist who studied at Jerusalem's Hebrew University and specialised in the artefacts of the 7th century.\n\n\nFrom the photograph I received from Amira, I could tell Eilat had a short, petite structure, with dark shoulder length hair and a natural olive skin tone. The night she had found the bodies she was wearing tight khaki trousers and a white shirt. They were taken in by the forensic team but no DNA evidence was found to link her as a suspect. \n\n\nAfter discovering the bodies of Catherine Lane and Michael Burrows, Eilat broke down in shock to the local police. When asked if she had moved the bodies, she replied no. \nEilat Mazar wrote down her [[statement]] and then left to stay with family. \n\n\n\n[[Back|Antony and Cleopatra]]\n\n
“…It could be interpreted as a symbol of mankind’s futile efforts to combat the forces of nature.”\n\n\nMy talk was nearly over thank God and luckily my second job had just arrived. Through the large wooden gallery doors, Mr Oliver Barnes entered. \n\nHe strolled around the room glancing at the paintings. Every five minutes he would pick up a full glass of champagne and replace it with an empty one. He was nervous.He was also indifferent to the famous artwork that was scattered around him; until he came to ‘The Fighting Temeraire’, by J. M. W. Turner. \n\nIt was a painting that I had not devoted as much attention to compared to his other pieces such as, Snow Storm - Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth.[[I wandered over]] intrigued by the humour streaming off his grinning complexion. \n\n\n
It appears the two victims Catherine Lane and Michael Burrows were mummified; thus killed by the removal of internal organs and the brain, which is said to have been removed from the nose. The body was surrounded by salt, which is suggested to have been put there to desiccate the body. \n\nAround the bodies was an outline of their exact position in order to represent the human shaped coffin commonly used by Egyptians.\nBut this was not what intrigued Amira enough to contact me, it was the symbols. \n\nEngraved into Michael’s chest was the outline of a lantern, an image that to a mere onlooker would usually represent light or guidance. However, I knew this was no normal lantern. Its shape was a defined rectangle, made up of nine glass windows. It was The Roman Lantern – the symbol of Betrayal. \n\nMore disturbing than this was the engraved symbol of three ships that lay upon Catherine’s upper chest. It was no more graphic than Michael’s corpse, yet it chilled me in a way a symbol hadn’t. It was symbol I did not recognise and therefore, for the first time I could not translate. \n\n\n\n[[Back|Antony and Cleopatra]]\n
\n\n\n\n//"No grave upon the earth shall clip in it. \n\n\nA pair so famous."//\n\n\n\nAct 5, Scene 2\n\n\nThis has happened before...\n\n\n and Shakespeare knew?\n\n\n
//I met Oliver at the University of Glasgow, we studied Archaeology together. Through a shared interest in rocks to football, we soon became friends. We lived in a student house for three years, and in all that time he didn’t tell. He didn’t tell me that he wasn’t really a student, but a protector in a secret society. He didn’t tell me that we had met before, maybe a brush of an arm in a coffee shop, or a glance over a newspaper on the tube. He had been observing me for months before I physically met him. He didn’t tell me that he was from a bloodline that swore an oath to find the decedents of Marc Antony and Cleopatra. And that I was one of them. But when he did, I wasn’t too happy let’s say that. We didn’t speak for a year after graduating, and it was only after the mysterious death of both my parents on a skiing trip that I started to wonder. But I didn’t need to find him, because not so long after my parent’s disappearance he found me.//\n\n\n\n[[Back|Michael's Journal 3]]\n
My heart was now suffocated in my own heated blood. I could not bear to not know what these students had been involved in any longer I needed answers, I needed to stop wasting my time and flick to the end. \n\n//They’ve found it; the coin which has engraved two of the most influential leaders of mankind. Their love forged in a coin that was blessed in sacrificed blood, and graced by the Gods. Even imprisoned beneath tons of soil, it survived. No one in the camp knew what that coin meant to me. No one understood. When I saw the coin behind its expensive, shatter proof glass cabinet, I thought 'that belongs to me, it’s mine'. If I told them why, they’d throw me in a mental house and strap me up to an electric box. They would leave me because…//\n\n\n\n [[Journal Continued...]]\n\n
I was sitting in The Royal Holloway University Library, drinking a now cold vanilla latte. I brushed the coffee droplets off the edge of the table and picked up the journal.\n\n\n\n//I need to know everything. My mind is a blur, everything Oliver told me isn’t enough anymore. I know I am not supposed to write it down, to speak of it, but I want to. I want to admit it, not for the sake of others, but for myself. Oliver has explained that he has proof. His organization has followed Michael and I since we were children. Oh lord does childhood seem so long ago now that both our parents are dead. Endless questions flicker through my mind, who was my Grandmother, where was I born, did my parents know? So many questions and yet the biggest question of all has already been answered...//\n\n\nI must figure out what she is hiding. I’m sure it will led us to the cause of her death. The three ships are connected; they are trying to tell me something. I am certain.\nI grasped my Antony and Cleopatra from my case, and opened it at the orange sticky note I had left the day before. “In time we hate that which we often fear…” Shakespeare was such a wonderful distraction. \n\n\n\n[[Back|The Email]]\n\n