Royal House Archives
Coroner's Report, 11/14/799
Royal Male cadaver exhumed from the Palace Catacombs. Found in underground mausoleum. Untouched door but wall was broken in. Treasures stolen. Body intact. Subject-cadaver name: unconfirmed.
Connection to royal family highly probable. Presence of gold thread suggest expensive burial attire. Bones indicate the subject was heavy-set, well-fed. More analysis forthcoming. Wealthy. Wreath around skull. Structure of tomb indicates high political pull and social esteem.
In-depth analysis of bones yields the following data:
- Carbon dating puts subject's Time of Life in the second century AD
- Traces of long-term low-dose heavy metal toxicity, consistent with gold-lined silverware used during meals (as expected of the upper class)
- Spinal compression indicates minimal hard-labor and extended periods of sitting; slant further indicates frequent use of recliner
Evidence of infection found. Possible Cause of Death? Samples sent to upstate laboratory.
Some concern that the infection is still contagious. Probability: near impossible. Several team members absented themselves. New researchers taken in.
Preliminary tests of infection yield results: benign. Reconfirming research.
Researcher not found. Signed out of laboratory minutes after filing report.
Test re-executed. Results were less promising.
Test re-executed. No change.
Initial postulations suggest a revitalization of infection, as unexpected side-effect of repeated testing, use of high-end technological procedures and chemicals. Laboratory locked down. None allowed to leave. Some take their own lives. The rest of us continue research.
Contact with outside world forbidden, but results were sent to the Emperor. Acknowledged the relation. Return memo detailed two sons of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus of the 2nd Century AD, Lucius Aurelius Commodus and Marcus Annius Verus. In 169 AD, following the end of the Parthian War, the two sons were made Caesar by Marcus Aurelius. Commodus was age 8. Verus was age 7.
More commit suicide in the laboratory.
With limited personnel, an estimate of the subject's age was reached, with some degree of accuracy, after establishing the year of Death as 169 AD.
These were the remains of an 8-year old.
Research concluded. Little to do. Lockdown continues. Food and water supplies not given. Doors have not opened again since lockdown.
Only one researcher left in laboratory.
The researcher writes furious notes about the research, until finally there is nothing else to write about.
The researcher staggers to the refrigerator room where the remains are kept. She aims to die there.
The researcher takes a look at the skull. She no longer studies. She gazes, staring into the empty sockets. She lies down beside it and clutches a fresh image in her hand, tiny and fragile. She had used chemicals to create the pigment, and memories to inspire the subject of the image.
The researcher grows weaker.
The researcher closes her wet eyes.
Titiana Paula Claudia