Destiny or Fate

Author: Mark Safransky <x-lander[at]>

Disclaimer: All characters with their respective rights, properties, and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers, and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Copyrighted: November 16, 2002

Summary: What events shaped and formed the man who we know as Rupert Giles and his darker side, The Ripper?

Warning: Crossovers ahead. (Yes Plural.)
The Following TV Series or books have been included in the story.
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer
* The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
* Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
* Indiana Jones movie series

Rating: PG-13 to PG-16; for mild cursing, violence, and demonic horror content... in other words a bit more grown up then the series...but only cause I don't have to suck up to censors.

Author's Notes: Based in Tenhawk's Journeyverse, this story in meant to compliment his visions as well as the other authors he's allowed to play here and even destroy it once or twice.
<...> indicates thoughts.
Huge thanks to Tenhawk for allowing me to play in the Jverse and for the interesting comments on Giles' past from his earlier stories that got Kyle and I interested in knowing more about him, as well as to Kyle for all his help and pointed comments. They kept me honest as well as from conflicting with prior Jverse stories.

Bath, England
August, 1968

Young Rupert Giles leaned back further into the window nook with his book as he heard the raised voices from his father's study below. Trying to concentrate on the book and block out the voices, he knew that whatever disagreement that had sprung up between his parents and grandparents had escalated into shouting matches.

It seemed that whatever it was they disagreed about had happened sometime right after his latest birthday. Rupert had an uncomfortable feeling it dealt with him. Shaking his head to clear this line of thought, he turned back to working his way through the Latin text in front of him. He was quite proud of the fact that his parents had taught him to read Latin and Attic Greek so he could read the classic works of literature in their original forms. Plus the Egyptian hieroglyphs his Uncle Alex had taught him. It also helped that he was quite intelligent and at the head of his class in the local school.

Sighing, Rupert leaned his head back against the window as the sun warmed him. He wondered about the argument happening below and the significance of the two men from the group his father worked for as an archivist. One of them was stodgy like his grandfather while the other was younger than his father but seemed to be a pompous arse.

Sir Edmund Russell apparently was one of the head men of the group as was his grandfather. The younger man, Quentin Travers, seemed to be in a position of power over his father, but subservient to Sir Edmund and his Grandfather Edward.

The raised voices suddenly broke off and he heard his mother's step upon the stairs. As he realized that the argument was over for now, he slipped from the nook and placed the book upon his desk as his mother knocked and then entered his room.

"Rupert, dear, your father and I would like you to join us in his study with your grandfather and our guests. Come along."

Nodding his head in agreement but quaking a bit inside, Rupert followed his mother down to the study. Walking in, he saw his grandfather had taken the chair behind the desk with Sir Edmund sitting in the large chair before it. His father and Mr. Travers were both seated in the small couch along the south wall. His mother pointed to a small chair opposite his father and motioned for him to sit while she joined his grandmother on another couch.

"Rupert," his grandfather said fondly. "It's good to see you boy. We've been talking about your future and it's time to tell you something about our families history."

"Yes sir?" Rupert said in confusion as he looked from face to face.

"Now, Rupert, we Giles' have served a secret society for generations. A secret society called the Watcher's Council of Great Britain." Edward Giles paused for a moment as if seeking the right words to impart this great secret on his grandson.

Rupert immediately asked, "Does that mean there are Watcher's Council's in other countries?"

Sir Edmund coughed in amusement while Travers glared at the boy. Edward merely smiled and continued, "No my boy, there isn't. We're merely headquartered here in Britain. We do cover the rest of the world. It's just that when the Empire was at it's height, the title was deemed to be correct." His eyes shifted towards Rupert's parents for a moment before returning to him. "As for what we Watch, that will take a bit more to explain."

Rupert took this information in as his grandfather motioned his attention to a large leather-bound book on a side table. Looking at the cover, he read the word 'Vampyr' gilded in gold leaf. Looking up in amazement, his eyes questioning, he opened his mouth but got nothing out before his grandfather continued.

"Yes Rupert, vampires do exist. But we do not watch them, per se. We watch the Vampire Slayer."

"Vampire Slayer?" Rupert inquired.

Gesturing to the book, Edward said, "Open to the first page and read what it says."

Rupert complied and read aloud, "Into each generation a Slayer is born, one girl in all the world, a Chosen One, one born with the strength and skill to hunt the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer."

After reading those words, Rupert looked up and slowly moved his gaze about the occupants of the room with his eyebrows drawn together in concentration as he pondered what he had read and the fact that no one in the room was laughing.

Finally, his grandmother Lillian sighed and said, "No Rupert, it is not a joke. We are the heirs of a grand tradition dating back centuries. We who know the truth about the darkness that roams our world aid the Slayer in her battle. We find, train and support them with research to enable them to defeat the forces arrayed against them."

Looking at the others he noted that they all nodded in confirmation of his grandmothers words. Looking back at the book, he turned the page and saw it dealt with the calling of the Slayer and began an explanation of just what vampires were.

"Demons?" he asked in a quavering voice.

"Yes, Rupert. Vampires are the demon-possessed corpses those who have been turned or sired by vampires." Edward Giles said softly but firmly. "You see, this world is much older than is generally acknowledged. Originally, demons roamed the Earth and made it their home, their hell. However, thousands of years ago they were forced out of our dimension to the realms we call Hell and such. One demon mixed its blood with a mortal before being forced out. This mortal died and then rose as the first vampire. It then mixed its blood with another and another and the race of the Nosferatu came into being. Unfortunately, the means used to force the demons from our dimension didn't take into account that the vampires used the corpse as an anchor to enter and remain in our dimension. Thus, some benevolent power created the first Slayer to aid mortals in the fight against these new demons."

"But if vampires are real, then are all the other creatures and such mentioned in myth real as well, Grandfather?"

"Very good Rupert. Yes, they are. It is surmised that some of those turned into vampires were mages and having become evil, they found magic's to allow other creatures to enter our dimension."

Rupert sat in silence for a moment to contemplate this New World view while his family and their guests watched him. "And this Council fights these creatures?"

"Not quite young man," Travers said condescendingly. "We research their weaknesses, try to keep up on where they are and what they are up to. As well as assigning a field agent to be in direct contact with the Slayer, training and supporting her in the battle with this information as well as with weapons for her use."

Trevor stood at this and said, "Gentlemen and ladies, I think we've quite inundated Rupert for the moment and he should have the time to process what we've told him. After he has done so, the family can begin to show him his heritage."

"Yes, quite right Trevor," Sir Edmund noted as he stood. "Come Quentin, let's get back to the Council."

"Sir," Travers replied.

The men were shown out by Rupert's mother, April, as his father and grandparents stole out of the room. Rupert continued looking at the book and began to shake as he realized that everything one feared in the dark was quite real in fact.

When his grandmother Lillian looked in on him a little later, Rupert was avidly perusing the tome his grandfather had used to introduce him to the darker side of reality. Slowly walking up behind him, Lillian took note of the pinched look of concentration as well as the shine of interest she could see in her grandson's eyes. Softly placing her hands on his shoulder, so as not to startle him too much, Lillian finally spoke, "Well Rupert, what do you think of all this now?"

Looking up in quiet astonishment, Rupert replied, "Grandmamma, it's incredible! This book relates theories about how vampire society developed, a listing of known vampire clans, a listing of all known ways of dispatching them. I find it interesting that they turn to ash once you kill them. Just don't see a good reason for that though."

"Well, there are a couple of theories on that. The one I subscribe to is that the corrupting energy of the demon animating the corpse basically is the only thing holding the darn thing together. The energy both accelerates the decomposition and keeps that from happening at the same time."

Rupert's face showed his puzzlement at that last statement. "How can it do both?"

"Well, that is one of the paradoxical things that can happen when demonic energy is manifested in our dimension." Lillian pointed out philosophically. "The energy keeps the corpse together and animated until it is dispatched, then the corpse decomposes in mere moments."

"I guess that makes sense," Rupert replied with a small smile. "What about this Slayer, who picks them and how can you find them?"

"That's a much more difficult question to answer," his grandmother answered with a whimsical look. "The prevalent theory is that a group of beings collectively known as the Powers That Be are responsible for calling the Slayer to duty." Seeing the questions already forming on Rupert's face, Lillian quickly went on. "As for who or what they are, we really have little clue except that they are servants of God who dwell in a higher plane. Now, as for how the Council finds the Slayer after she has been Called is a secret that is known only to the Chairman of the Council and the Head of Operations. It is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Council to keep the forces of darkness from finding Slayers before they are trained."

"Oh. Did you ever train a Slayer?" Rupert asked hesitantly.

"Yes dear, I did. She was a lovely girl named Erica Lindstrom. I was assigned to her in 1926 and we were stationed in Dresden. Her father was a Luftwaffe officer who hired me as a governess. He, of course, had no idea what his daughter had become or why I had applied for the job. It worked nicely though that he spent long hours training and thus Erica and I had time to do the same." Lillian stopped suddenly with a sad look on her face.

"What happened to her Grandmamma?"

Lillian sighed before replying, "She was a wonderful Slayer but eventually ran afoul of a Master Vampire by the name of Lothos of the Clan of Malbon. He is an ancient vampire believed to have been sired in 796 by Malbon himself. He killed her in 1928 just after her seventeenth birthday. Her father was devastated and eventually died in a training accident not long after. I returned to the Council and was assigned to help train Field Watcher's about Master Vampires and their methods."

Rupert leaned over and gave her a tight hug as he murmured, "I'm sorry."

Lillian hugged him back, "Hush child, it wasn't your fault anymore than it was mine. She simply wasn't ready for some of his tricks. Master Vampires are much more cunning than young ones are. After living so long, they can emulate human behavior better as well as having learned a great deal over that time."

Rupert thought about that for a moment before asking, "What about Grandfather's Slayer?"

"Your grandfather didn't have a Slayer." Lillian answered with a slight grimace.

"Why not?"

"To begin with, your grandfather is not a Field Watcher. He was recruited to be a Watcher by me in 1930."

"Really?" Rupert asked in astonishment. From the way his grandfather acted and the way many of his associates seemed to be subservient to him he thought that he must have been a Watcher for most of his life.

"Well, he has done some interesting things in his life. He had an incredible adventure in Egypt about the same time I returned to England from Saxony. In fact, I think it helped to prepare him for working for the Council in many ways." Lillian reminisced. "Anyway, we met in London at a Ministry building and after we married, I introduced him to the Council. He went to work in the archives section helping with the translating of old calendar systems used in ancient prophecies into the modern calendar. In fact, he wrote a book on it that is used by the Council in it's Master Plan of Battle. While there was some intrigue surrounding that book, it eventually was what got him promoted to the Council's governing board."

London, England
Watcher's Council Headquarters
May, 1933

Smoke filled the dark paneled room. With the majority of the council members and their aides in attendance, the room was full and the air had become choked with smoke. Bang…Bang… Bang, the gavel of the Chairman of the Council of Watchers demanded silence from the emergency gathering of the council.

"My fellow Watchers, We face a crisis. Our archiving department has uncovered a flaw in our master battle plan. I turn you over to our head of operations, Sir Edmund Russell."

The diminutive man paced as he talked. "As you all know our master time table in based on a compilation of all the prophecies in our possession." He smiled toward the man at the other end of the table from the chairman. "Written by our own, Charles Q. Travers."

Charles raised his hand in acknowledgment.

Sir Edmund's voice hardened, "Perhaps you can explain to the council how you calculated the dates that we've accepted as the basis for our future action."

"That's really not necessary Sir Edmund," said Charles Q. Travers III in his upper crust accent.

"I believe it is," insisted Sir Edmund. "In fact, I insist."

"Very well. As most of you know, my family has carried the scared duty of interpreting the various prophecies for the Watcher's Council for over one hundred years. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that we've vast experience in the various calendars that have been used over the ages."

The less informed members of the council merely bobbed their heads in agreement.

"Recently I've taken the task of translating all of the accumulated dates and collected them into a master book that this Council has graciously adopted as it's working master plan." He turned defiantly towards Sir Edmund. "As it should have, I might add."

"I see." Sir Edmund's voice was still hostile towards Travers, but now there was a hint of doubt in there. "Perhaps then you can tell us what the date of the…" Sir Edmund consulted a scrap of paper, "the 9th moon of Solarium is?"

Charles Travers stood there like a trapped rat. He surreptitiously glanced over at Edward Giles, his eyes begging for help. Finding none he began to stammer. "Well.. I'd have to check the book. I don't know off the top of my head."

"Nonsense," shouted Sir Edmund. "Your family has been working with these documents for over a hundred years. Surely you should have every one of them memorized by now."

"I can't be expected to remember every date…"

Edward Giles stood. He'd finally been forced to choose sides. "That would be August 27, 1960," he said, his voice filled with confidence.

"Mr. Giles, how does it come to pass that you know that date, when the author of our master plan does not?"

"Because, as you well know Sir Edmund, I wrote the bloody book."

Bath, England
August, 1968

"Wow, was he related to that mean Mr. Travers that was with Sir Edmund?"

Lillian chuckled under her breath for a moment, "Yes dear, Charles was Quentin's father."

"Hmm, I think they were both mean." Rupert said judgmentally.

"Perhaps dear, but they have served the cause for a long time." Lillian said calmly. "Now then, I think that I should give you a couple of books to read before we go any further."

"Really?" Rupert asked excitedly. "What books?"

"Well, I think you can finish Vampyr. Plus I'll give you a copy of the Slayer's Handbook, The Field Watcher's Guide, and I'll let you read my Watcher Diaries concerning Erica."

"Thanks Grandmamma!" Rupert stood and clutched the large tome to his chest as he followed Lillian to the shelves for his reading material. He could hardly believe what he had learned but wanted to know everything he could about it. Thus starting young Rupert Giles down the path of a Watcher.

A Few Days Later

Rupert slowly stomped down the stairs to the kitchen with the Field Watcher's Guide clutched under his arm. Yawning, he checked the kettle on the stove to make sure there was hot water in it before grabbing a bowl out of a cupboard and filling it with some oatmeal. He then added the water and stirred with a spoon, preparing his breakfast. Sitting down, he began eating while he continued his study of the book.

After a few moments, his father Trevor entered the room and prepared his own breakfast. Looking over at his son, he noted the deep concentration on the book and smiled slightly. "Well son, I see you're still reading the materials your grandmother wanted you to study. Are you about ready for another talk?"

Startled at the intrusion into his study, Rupert looked up at his father and said, "I'm not entirely sure what more there is to talk about. Father, you are a Watcher, correct?"

"Yes, I am a Watcher." Trevor answered in puzzlement.

"Does that mean you were a Field Watcher or have you always been an archivist?"

Trevor suddenly understood the question. "I was assigned a Slayer before you were born. Alyssa Agnello was raised by a Council group based in northeastern Italy. Shortly after she was called she was assigned to one of the Watcher's in that group. Unfortunately, her Watcher was killed in an accident and the Council assigned me to replace him. So, your mother and I went to Italy. We attained jobs translating ancient texts in Gemona, a small city near the Austrian and Czechoslovakian borders. Alyssa had been placed in the care of a friend of her former Watcher. Once we arrived, your mother and I assumed guardianship for her."

Rupert wondered at the emotions that flitted across his fathers face, but before he could comment his father continued.

"She was a gifted Slayer, very quick and powerful. Unfortunately, she wasn't very innovative. She was very much bound by her former Watcher's training." Trevor sighed as he poured himself a cup of breakfast tea. "While I tried to expand her repertoire of weapons, she stubbernly held that she needed only her stakes and crossbows. Unfortunately, she was wrong. She faced an Arioch demon which could only be defeated by being beheaded."

Rupert thought for a moment before finally screwing up the courage to ask, "Father, do any Slayers survive more than a few years?"

Trevor eyed his son uncomfortably before answering, "Well, some Slayers last longer than others. But in the end, one Slayer dies and another is Called. That's the way it's always been. I've heard of a Slayer that lasted 4 and a half years before falling but I believe that she was the longest-lived of the Slayers."

"Good Lord!" Rupert responded in horror.

"Yes, outliving the girl whose destiny it is to save the world is a terrible thing and every Watcher must live with it eventually."

Rupert slumped in his seat before he finally told his father, "Then I don't want to be a Watcher. I'd much rather be a grocer or a fighter pilot than be responsible for watching someone who deserves more than to fight and die during such a short life."

"Now son, it's as much your destiny as a Slayer's is hers."

"Why?" Rupert asked in astonishment.

"This is a family legacy, as my mother was before me, so shall you follow in my wake. You will eventually be trained and then assigned to a Slayer. It is your destiny!"

"Not if I don't want it!" Rupert spoke sharply.

As father and son stood tensely, Lillian and April hurried in after hearing the raised voices and each took a male to calm.

As his grandmother led him from the room, Rupert eyed his father with a no-nonsense look that spoke volumes of his resolve to not follow in his father's footsteps. Although fascinated with the knowledge of the supernatural, he had no intention of training some poor girl so she could go to her death. However, the knowledge might prove useful for himself in the future.

Lillian led Rupert into the sitting room before she sat herself and looked into his eyes. The resolve shining from them almost took her breath away but she knew that if she didn't get Rupert off this path and soon that his grandfather would use heavier-handed methods.

"Rupert, I know that lerning of the Slayers short span must have come as a bit of a shock but…"

"Grandmama, it is inhumane to be the instruments of that kind of heartless treatment." Rupert said, sure in his ethical stance.

"Yes, it is dear," his grandmother agreed to his slight shock. "However, what happens to all the people that the Slayer saves who go on to live long and productive lives? Many of them would never have survived if the Slayer wasn't there to make that happen. While I feel as you do that life for the Slayer is too short, it is the provenance of the Watcher assigned to her to try to ensure that she has as long and productive a life as possible. That is why we train her, provide her with weapons and research the threats she faces. To give her the best chance of surviving the forces she faces every night."

Rupert thought hard on that before finally looking up at his grandmother, "Alright, I can understand that but father made it sound like the Slayer's were merely tools to be expended in the battle by the Council!"

"Yes dear, I know that mindset well. A large portion of the present Council is of that opinion. However, if you promise not to voice that sentiment too loudly, I'll try to teach you all I can that may help you in the future. What do you say Rupert?"

"Alright Grandmama, but I'm not sure that I would ever want to be assigned a Slayer knowing that I couldn't save them."

"Perhaps not dear, but you could help in other ways. You're very good at picking up those ancient languages that your Uncle Alex and been tutoring you in. You could specialize in something like that."

"Yes," Rupert agreed. "However, I know Uncle Alex wants to take me on a dig with him next summer to see if I'd like to pursue an interest in archaeology. I know that would make Grandfather happy as well."

Lillian chuckled at the thought. "Oh yes, he would. In fact, he'll probably ask to accompany you on that dig." Her eyes narrowed a bit as she again focused on her grandson. "So Rupert, you will promise to not make a fuss over this again?"

"Yes Grandmama."

"Good boy. As you know, you're supposed to start school in a week." Watching Rupert nod in response, Lillian continued. "We've decided to have you tutored at the Council compound just outside London. Your mother and I have recently been asked by the Council to start a small course of instruction for the children of Watchers. We accepted and you will be in the first class."

Rupert's eyes shined. All those books that must be there and he'd be able to read them all.

Bath, England
May 1969

Rupert looked up at his ancestral home after his stay at the Watcher's compound just outside London the past year. He had to admit that while he had learned a great deal there, he still had the yearnings to stay here in childish ignorance of the world. Being merely eleven years of age, he knew he was still a child but the subjects of his study had had a profound effect on him. He was more serious, more introspective than ever. He knew his behavior both made his parents and grandparents proud and a bit sad. Shaking his head, Rupert knew this simply wouldn't be solved anytime soon. Besides, he was definitely looking forward to the dig his Uncle Alex was planning to take him on.

"Rupert, let's get the bags into the house," his father requested. "We don't want to give your mother anything to squawk about before dinner is ready."

Grinning in response, Rupert headed to the boot and started grabbing the luggage. "Now Father, you know Mum wouldn't squawk for at least 10 minutes."

Laughing, his father reached over and mussed his hair as they carried everything into the house.

After getting all the luggage unpacked and the family began settling into its home routine, Rupert headed down to the Library and looked through the collection on the shelves looking for something to read before his mother called them to dinner. He found his grandfather sitting at a reading desk with an old tome open in front of him and was making notes on a pad to his right.

"Grandfather, I didn't know you were here. How are you?" Rupert asked as he came over and peeked at the book.

"Ah, Rupert. I'm fine. And you boy, how did you do on your finals?" Edward asked gruffly.

"Very well, Sir. I believe I'm at the top of the class."

"Glad to hear that. So, you're still going along with Alex on his little dig?"

"Yes sir, and looking forward to it. Uncle Alex says it should be interesting. He believes that the cathedral was built on some earlier building and wants to see what's there. He said something about it possibly dating back two millenia."

"Really? I didn't know that there was enything there besides the old hillfort. Sounds like it should be most interesting." Edward glanced towards his grandson who continued to peek at the book. "In fact, if I can finish my research, I might be tempted to join you."

"Most excellent." Rupert replied with a smile. "Perhaps if I aided you in your research, we could be sure that you would be able to accompany us on the dig."

Laughing, Edward leaned over and patted the boy on the shoulder as he said, "And not, incidently, letting you get a good look at this book, eh?"

Rupert blushed in embarrassment but a cheeky grin appeared. "Well, it would only make sense to pool our resources."

"Alright, you've convinced me." Sliding the book slightly over so the boy could see it clearly, Edward motioned for him to get a chair. "The Council recently acquired a copy of Cassiodorus Liber Humanarum Literarium. It's a ninth-century manuscript considered to be one of the most important sources for the survival of classical secular arts and mathematics into the Middle Ages. I'm going through it for any cryptic passages that might be hidden prophecies. Plus, it's interesting in its own right to a mathematician such as myself."

"Wow," Rupert commented as he gazed upon the book clearly. He frowned suddenly and turned his eyes to his grandfather as he asked, "So, who was Cassiodorus?"

Edward waved vaguely in response. "He founded two monasteries in Calabria, where he established a monastic tradition of scholarship. From 503 onwards, he held a succession of political offices and he through those positions he sought to build an Italian state based on the cooperation of both Gothic and Roman ideals. Unfortunately, he didn't succeed. Interestingly enough, he was a member of the Watcher's Council in his later years. His attempts to create that state would have given the Council a country of it's own."

"Why wasn't he able to succeed?"

"Well, politics for the most part. Although it's said that Greek Master Vampire was interfering in his attempts. We never found out for sure."

Rupert thought carefully on this as he continued to look at the book. "No one knows what vampire it was or if it really was interfering?"

"We suspected a vampire named Kakistos but were never able to prove it. Besides, the politics of the day worked against the plan anyway. There was very little chance of getting the Goths and the Romans to work together to that extant."

"Hmm, okay, what are you looking at right now?"

Smiling, Edward motioned at a passage and began to explain his research to the boy.

Old Sarum, Wiltshire, England
June 1969

The graduate students volunteering on the dig being run by Alex O'Connell were busy setting up the work tents that would be used by the personnel working the site. Edward Giles and his grandson stepped from the car and walked over to where they could see Alex directing the placement of some equipment.

"Alex!" Edward called out as Rupert raced forward.

"Edward, so the scamp was able to drag you along?" Alex responded as he thrust his hand forward to shake Edward's.

"Of course. Plus, I was interested to hear you believe there to be more at this site then is commonly believed." Edward commented as Alex hugged Rupert enthusiastically. "What exactly do you think you'll find?"

Straightening up, Alex motioned for the two to follow him. "Not entirely sure myself. We know that this site originally dates back to the time Stonehenge was built. Probably as a defense for that site. However, there is little remaining to be entirely positive that is true. Then, after the Norman conquest and the building of Old Salisbury here covered any clues. However, after they moved the city and cathedral to it's new site down the road, and nature reclaimed the site. I think that if we were to dig down under the medieval debris and into the original foundations of the hillfort, we might learn more about this site as well as more about Stonehedge. What purpose it might have served that required a defensive site a mere two miles away."

Rupert glanced between the two men and said, "Maybe it was to protect the builders of Stonehenge while it was being built."

Both Edward and Alex looked over at Rupert a moment before glancing back at each other. Alex leaned forward a bit and said, "Actually, that's probably the best explanation for this site but I'm interested in why it was probably abandoned after Stonehenge's first circle was completed."

Smiling, Edward waved at the stone ruins and exclaimed, "Whatever the reason, it's wonderful to be participating in a dig again. Especially when there is an inn a mere mile away."

Alex and Rupert both laughed as Alex responded, "A dig with all the comforts of home. It's a dream come true." Turning to Rupert, he winked and asked, "So Rupert, what can you tell me of this site's history?"

Rupert beamed. "It is an iron age hillfort that is presumed to have been built at the same time as Stonehenge. It was called Sorviadum by the Celts, meaning 'the fortress by the gentle river'. It was later occupied by Roman forces and is thought to have been the posting station known as Sorviodunum. There are several Roman roads that do converge on the site. In Saxon times a small town grew up within the prehistoric ramparts which helped to defend them against the occasional attack by marauding Vikings. After the Norman conquest in 1066, William the Conquerer was a frequent visitor and part of the Domesday book was written here. In 1075 the See of Sherbourne was moved here under orders of Lanfranc. The bishop Herman who oversaw the move died in 1078 and his successor Osmund built the great cathedral which was consecrated in 1092. A great storm came and the building was largely destroyed by lightning. Reconstruction began in 1100, the year after Osmund's death. Roger, the Bishop of Salisbury, finished the job. He also was the Chancellor under Henry I and accumulated a great deal of wealth and influence which reflected on the town. After the death of Henry I in 1135, the officers of King Stephen became distrustful of Roger and eventually arrested him. He died in 1139 from a fever. The city went into decline and tension developed between the civil and religious authorities over the next 50 years. In 1194, Bishop Richard Poore suggested moving the cathedral to a virgin site on the river Avon to Richard I. He approved and the populous moved to the new site. After the move to the present site of Salisbury, Old Sarum was reclaimed by nature and mostly pasture land now."

Edward grinned at the expression on Alex's face. "He's been studying up on the site ever since you told him where the dig was going to be."

"Well, that was most concise and informative." Alex shook his head in amusement. "I can see that you're going to be an uncommonly capable researcher. I think we should be training that ability Edward. I can always use the best and young Rupert here is definitely showing the promise."

Shaking his head, Edward merely said, "We'll see what the future will bring. For now, how about a tour of where we'll be excavating first."

"Right this way," Alex said, motioning them forward. "Rupert, mind that you follow the dig rules I told you about."

"Sure Uncle Alex!" Rupert replied. This summer was going to be so much fun!



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