Hello, Jacquie! Dan and Rayne hope you don’t mind that they dragged you all the way out to this paradise-beach bar in Bali to answer your question…
I’d like to meet up with Rayne and Dan from The Salisbury Key. I’d ask them how their adventures turned out and are they up to nowadays.
Rayne: Here he comes. God, will he ever stop worrying that he turns every head on the beach? He took to wearing baggy trousers and a long-sleeved T for a while, but I managed to persuade him out of those – which was fun – and back into his cutoffs and vest. He carries some guilt even now that his innocent magnetism was a factor in Jason’s death. He knows what Jase said in his last message, but those scars go deep.
It’s preying on his mind at the moment because we’re in Bali, the last place Jase and Dan visited together. Dan had those tantalising aerial shots of the Kyon Kam temples, and after a lot of diplomatic manoeuvring with the South Korean government – North Korea wouldn’t even pick up the phone – we got permission to take a small team into the jungle. I won’t go into details of what we found there because Dan hasn’t had the chance to write it all up, and you can’t be too careful what you say in the bars around here. We had two lots of followers all the way from Incheon. The Americans were just kids, harmless treasure hunters, but…
Dan (appearing behind Rayne with three ornate cocktails balanced on a tray): But the second lot were Korean paramilitaries, from which side of the border I still don’t know. That’s when having a hardarse soldier glaring out the back of your Land Rover really comes into its own.
Rayne: What? I didn’t do anything.
Dan: Right. I must’ve imagined that shotgun poking out of the window as well.
R: The ranger loaned me that. In case of tigers.
D: The point is that they left us alone.
R, sighing: The point is that they’d have ripped us a new one if they’d seen us lifting anything a single artefact out of those temples. And you didn’t. You were a really, really good boy. Jason would’ve been… Oh, shit, love. I’m sorry.
D: Don’t. I want you to be able to say his name. I want me to be able to. And you’re right – he would’ve been proud. He taught me everything I know about curation from a distance.
R: And once we’ve documented the sites, backed the reports up with all your photographs…
D: The diplomatic channels might open. Yes. I still can’t help thinking that solid-gold buddha with the sapphire eyes would’ve looked nice on our mantelpiece.
R: He would, and I could’ve sold him to pay for your funeral.
D: Like Kim Jong-un wouldn’t have sold him to hire the assassin… All right, all right! Point taken, though I love it when I piss you off just enough to make you look like a Kyon Kam tiger yourself. Save it for later. We’ll be sleeping in a proper hotel room tonight for the first time in weeks. You can pounce on me there.
R: That had better be a promise. This isn’t really answering the question, is it? What are we up to these days?
D: Other than buggering about in the jungle? Well, we’ve been out here since March, and we’re having a few days’ holiday before we head home. Windsurfing, dancing on the beach with the hippie kids, open fires and sleeping under the stars. Then we have to get back, because…
R: Because I’m in the middle of my part-time degree in archaeology. I don’t mind the bodyguarding work, but I’d sooner be home guarding yours. Anyway, it’ll make the long winter evenings go by faster if I know what the hell you’re talking about, won’t it?
D: That it will, although I didn’t notice them dragging last winter. And I have to get home to start a conversation with the Korean cultural attaché in London. And finish my book on the Staffordshire Saxon finds, and get ready to start teaching full-time again in autumn term, because Dean Anderson never came back to the university, and his successor didn’t know and couldn’t care less about him, me, Jason, or any of the rest of the story. He told me that wasn’t the kind of history he was interested in, renewed my offer of the assistant department head’s chair, and that was that.
R: Don’t say that like it means nothing. It’s what you want, isn’t it?
D: Yeah. Sorry. It means the world. We can get that beautiful flat we were looking at, the one that looks out over the river, and… Well, settling down is good. I dunno, though, sweetheart – sometimes I wish we could keep doing this. Running around the world with a jeep and a backpack and you.
R: We’ll still do plenty of that, I’m… Hang on. Is that my mobile or yours?
D: You’re the one who thought the Indiana Jones theme tune was funny, not me.
R: Oh, yeah. I forgot about that… You know what, Danny boy? Don’t get your pipe and your slippers out yet.
D: Why not?
R: Because this is from my brother. Just three words. Here, look.
D: “The key fits.” Wait. What – is he serious?
R: Who the hell knows? But that was his signal. Something big happening back in England, something to do with the souterrain stone – the key.
D: Whoa. We’d better grab our kit.
R: No need. Everything’s still in the Rover. Come on!
Jacquie, grab your bag! The boys will give you a lift back to the airport and see you safe onto your plane. No matter how big the adventure, they’re always gentlemen. We all hope you enjoyed this meeting, and next week it’s Lena Grey’s turn. Lena said…
Who would I most like to meet? Lee Tyack, of course, hands down.
Well, Lee will be waiting in the Merry Morgawr next Sunday, and I know he’d love to have a chat with you.