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Chapter Three 


 

Which relates to how Hellmantle is given his first adventure

Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

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Being so dedicated to the pursuit of truth under the ever-watchful eye of God, Hellmantle hurried dinner and drank wine, hoping to get to the meat of why he had been asked to his uncles' place. D'Aqs became increasingly aware of the unbalanced emphasis of his cousin on all things related to the Bible.

"Like so many noble families," said Hellmantle out of the blue, "the history of the Hellmantle clan is at risk of being relegated to a dusty shelf in favor of watching television. For my part, I am proud not to have a television. It is winning the battle for people's limited supply of time and has even more power over people's belief systems than the Catholic Church had during its reign of terror for two millennia! It is for this reason that I have been able to get so much done in the family tree, and now, so close to finding the truth about what happened to Jesus, I predict it will profoundly affect our lives as well as the lives of mankind."

As a trained missionary, D'Aqs was skeptical at first of his cousin's outlandish opinions, but then realized that he was a bit off-center in general. His father gave him a glance during dinner that said he too was worried about his nephew. 

The professor, seeing how his guest was itching to hear what he had to say, delayed no more after the maid removed the dishes from the table.

"As we all know," he began, "our families left Normandy to escape the residual oppression from the Pope Pius and his minions because our family, both Grosseteste and Hellmantle, bear the name of the coveted Merovingian bloodline of the Desposyni: the ancestral offspring of the family of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And because of this, our family is a threat to the Catholic Church by virtue of being alive." Hellmantle's eyes beamed, loving the words that referred to the greatness of his ancestors, which gave him visions of his own greatness.

"Don't forget," interrupted Hellmantle, "that the Hellmantles in particular have been persecuted throughout the centuries following the First Crusade, when our forefather Owen Hellmantle fought alongside the Nine Worthies, such as Hughes des Payens and Godfrey de Boullion."

"Yes, we must never forget our ancestor Owen Hellmantle who distinguished himself during the campaign of the first of the six to recover the temple from the infidels." Hellmantle's uncle, who, as mentioned, was something of a rogue himself with family history, knew his nephew had spent countless hours reading about their family past that had magnified his zealous devotion to seeking truth, unlike his son who had instead become a priest. This both scared and thrilled him because in Hellmantle lay the future of the family, and perhaps the solution to the unsolved questions that had dogged the Hellmantles and Desposyni for centuries.

Nodding in encouragement, the light of hope brewing in his heart, professor Grosseteste spoke thus:

"Remember the family story about how your grandfather Dane Hellmantle joined the French Foreign Legion and saw action overseas?" The mention of Dane Hellmantle - or the Great Dane as he was known within the family - brought a palpable reaction to Hellmantle.

Professor Grosseteste went to his desk and brought back a letter.

"What is it?"

"This is an old letter that...that should have found its way home sooner but didn't." An edge to his voice. "It has to do with your grandfather. It was written by a soldier in the French Foreign Legion named Louis de Steward who happened to die just after the battle of Dien Bien Phu. Unfortunately the letter was left to Louis de Steward's brother Godfrey, who recently died without knowing where or how to find anyone from the Hellmantle clan. Since we had fled to New France three generations ago when the jackboots invaded, and de Steward knew no relations of ours in Europe, he couldn't find us." A frown and shaking of the head. "Since your father has passed away, I'm the eldest living male relative of Dane Hellmantle. It was de Steward's lawyer who found the next of kin, which was me." He handed the letter not to D'Aqs but to Hellmantle. D'Aqs felt a spicy mixture of guilt and shame for not showing more interest in the rich tapestry of his family's unique past. A slap in the face. But for Hellmantle it was the moment when all would change forever.

"The letter has our symbol on it." Hands shaking as he opened the letter, handwritten scrawl on yellowed paper had faded over time. He read the letter aloud:     
  

                                                                        December 1954                 

To the Son of Dane Hellmantle,

         
As a fellow Legionnaire, I impart this important message to you for safekeeping and execution. The brave Dane Hellmantle, whom I had the honor of serving with during the siege, and who now lies dead after weeks of intense fighting with the enemy's guns, gave me the responsibility to make sure the story of the lost scroll may be kept within the Hellmantle clan and that one day a Crusader from the descendents of the Long-Haired Kings will complete what needs to be done to bring the truth to light.

Before he was killed in Indochine, the Great Dane said to me that if he were to fall in battle I was to tell his son that he had found the map. I do not know where the map is because it was the Great Dane's design that no one person knew everything. The secret of the lost map was left with a valiant Dutch preacher who he had met while on leave in Hanoi. All that I know about this Dutchman is that he returned to his church on Luzon Island in the Philippines, where ‘the bell tower rings and the color rouge glows.' Find the Dutchman and you will find the map.

The Great Dane adamantly believed that this is a task for a Hellmantle. If he is like his forefathers, then he will have the spiritual vigor and undaunted courage to carry him forth to find the Dutch Padre and the map. These sacred scrolls are said to be from Jude Thomas the disciple. If these scrolls are found, it may change the course of modern religious history on par with his Merovingian ancestors during the First Crusade.
 
God bless you to whom this quest is bequeathed.

Louis de Steward

 

Hellmantle bolted up. "The hand of destiny touches me in the shoulder!" Eyes ablaze, sweat on his forehead. "We must correct the fudging of the divine message that has been carried out by Rome for two millennia!"

Professor Grosseteste dipped his brow slightly at his son, who sat wide-eyed listening to the madman sitting across from him. But for Hellmantle the letter in his hand had finally brought the legendary Dane Hellmantle to life. This greater-than-life character from a foggy past was now bringing him into the fold of great adventurers that had served God for a thousand years. Hellmantle spoke thus:

"Time and perhaps my life might be the sacrifice required for this adventure, but it falls on my shoulders and I accept wholeheartedly the responsibilities of this assignment with God as my witness. I shall flourish while I find this Dutchman and come into the riches of hidden truths too long buried from our eyes. I seek to shatter the illusions that hamper mankind and bring back the treasures that are bestowed to us and our forefathers."

D'Aqs watched his cousin with absolute curiosity. "Fudging?"

"Fudging, yes. Major fudging. At the Council of Nicea in 325AD." They both looked at D'Aqs.

"Yes?" His pale skin took on a rose hue.

"At the Council of Nicea the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great decided to make Jesus the product of a virgin birth, and a number of other very odd tenets that still to this day rub people the wrong way because it goes against very basic intuition," said his father.

"It was voted into existence, almost three hundred years after Jesus' life, that He was a product of a virgin birth and that He was the Son of God, not the Son of Man," Hellmantle, eyes piercing. "They also voted to adopt the belief of the Trinity."            

"I've always considered the virgin birth to be difficult to believe." D'Aqs sheepish and embarrassed at his lack of knowledge.

"That's an understatement!" Even in the Quran there's a passage that goes: ‘They sirely lie against God those who say, "God is one of three in a Trinity." There is no god except One Allah. If they do not stop themselves from their word of lies, a painful penalty will surely fall on the liars among them.'[i]"

"From what I know about Louis de Steward," said Jack Grosseteste, "he and Dane were stationed in Hanoi before the war and became friends. De Steward survived the war and lived in Laos after the surrender of the French until his death in 1956. There were many dedicated French soldiers who found it difficult to let go of a land they had ruled for 150 years. De Steward was one of these dedicated Frenchmen who believed the land was theirs. From what I know he was stabbed by one of his servants who was a secret communist." Hellmantle listened but had his back to him looking for an atlas in his uncle's bookshelves.

"Damn shame," he said.

"Your grandfather's friend Louis de Steward was one of these soldiers who kept fighting after a hundred-and-fifty years of colonial rule. And you know that the Grosseteste and Hellmantle possessions in Indochina were seized."

"When I was in Cambodia I could still feel anti-French sentiment, fifty years after the French leaving," said Hellmantle. At last he found an atlas, opened it to a detailed map of the Philippines out on the balcony and found Luzon Island.

Meanwhile Jack Grosseteste confirmed with his son that Hellmantle had Aspergers Syndrome and was precariously balanced on a precipice waiting for the slightest gust of wind to push the poor young man over the edge into the abyss. They agreed that his intentions were noble but he was careless enough to invite danger. As family, and with his father dead and so far away from home, the professor asked D'Aqs to accompany him to the Philippines on his quest, insisting the fresh air and exercise of the trip would do him good and contribute to his full recovery. D'Aqs shared his father's concern and agreed to join Hellmantle on his task as long as his father could cover the costs of the trip. D'Aqs thought it might be something he could contribute to honor his father's interest in secret societies that characterized the families' past.

Head buried in the atlas, studying the minutia of gradients and shorelines and roads, Hellmantle suddenly erupted:

"Providence will show that this Dutchman is still alive and that we shall find him!" Confident, spoken with a proud posture.

"Will you be able to afford the time off work?" asked Jack Grosseteste.

"Work! ‘Tis secondary to me uncle! This is everything! Finding the Padre is my focus now. Nothing will stop me and no one will stand in my way."

"But it could be dangerous."

"Dangerous! I hope it is! I am fit to undertake this sally without help or advantage. The journey must be executed with vigor and integrity since God will witness our trials and hardships that will be the road to salvation!" D'Aqs went to take the atlas from Hellmantle but he grabbed it back, exclaiming:

"None shall hinder my research nor obstruct my methods! Be not careless my cousin and get in my way!"

D'Aqs and his father exchanged looks again but this went unnoticed by Hellmantle, who, being inspirited, settled into studying Luzon Island on the map. D'Aqs, in an effort to keep things rational, asked:

"Do you even think that this Dutch priest exists?"

"Of course he exists!" exclaimed his indignant cousin. "The question should be my dear cousin, is he still alive." He could see Hellmantle doing some swift calculations in his head, his hand going to his chin. "If he were 25 in 1954, then he'd be 72 years old, and priests never really retire, do they?"

"Well, they do Rolland." Using his first name was D'Aqs' effort to reach out to the sane part of his mind, but this too failed to penetrate the wall of irrationality that had taken hold of his mental fortress.

"But he must be alive, don't you see? We are part of a secret brotherhood that has remained together since the victorious find in Jerusalem when the original nine crusaders from Normandy led the First Crusade in 1099 and found what they sought under the Temple of Solomon in 1106. My poor D'Aqs! Do you forget that our family history recorded that the Nine Worthies were following a map?"

"No, but what were they looking for?"

"The treasure was the discovery - or rediscovery - of sacred geometry that has since been the foundation for building cathedrals throughout Europe for the last thousand years. Do you forget your history, man?"

"I guess I do."

"Hughes de Payens changed history. He believed in the whispered secrets kept alive among the brotherhood to lead the First Crusade and persevere for seven years, digging under Solomon's stables to find the buried booty. And nobody knows his name. But we do. And some of his blood stirs through our veins. Now it's our turn to believe, to have faith, and to succeed." Vehemence overflowed in Hellmantle.

Professor Grosseteste, savvy enough to seize the opportunity of his nephew being so committed, took his cue and spoke thus:

"That's for you to find out, Rolland. And when you go to the Philippines to discover the truth, you should go with your cousin because he can learn about our family history, something he has ignored his entire life. It behooves all people to know about their past and family history. Our story happens to be a little more involved than the average family." He looked at his hands. "Believe me, I would go with you but I am not able. Remember, the only thing an older man envies of a younger man is the bounty of time that lies at his feet in the fullness of youth."

With his chin high up in the air, Hellmantle replied:

"Time is like malleable clay within the reach of a sculptor teeming with untested ideas," proud of his philosophical acumen. "I am a man who goes forth into the world to press my thoughts against humanity with only Helios and God as my witness. For me curiosity is the sparkplug to action. I have learned through hardships of adventure that the bite is more profitable than the graze."

"I'm afraid more goes on than can be explained by your little philosophy," said Jack Grosseteste.

"Tall words uncle," he replied.

"How?" asked D'Aqs. "How are you going to find a Dutch priest in the northern island of the Philippines?"

"Motorcycles, man! The modern horse. Stop off at all the churches with a bell tower we see while touring the island." D'Aqs thought it was a joke at first but then realized that his cousin was serious.

"It's an enormous task."

"I don't have a choice. If you want to come with me then I encourage it because you ought to know more about where you came from. Can you afford it?" D'Aqs looked at his father and saw the subtle confirmation in his nod.

"Yes, I can." It was at this moment D'Aqs committed himself to the challenge of finding a priest in the Philippines that started the chain of events that would follow.

 



[i] Sura: 5.73 
 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                             
          The Family of the Bible
FIRST PART
1.       Concerning the famous Hellmantle's position, character and way of life
2.       Concerning the ingenious man's visit with his uncle Jack Grosseteste
3.       Which relates to how Hellmantle is given his first adventure
4.       About what happened to our adventurer when he goes to the Philippines
5.       In which the story of our crusader's journey begins in earnest
6.       About Hellmantle's time in the city of sin on Christmas Eve
7.       About the brave Hellmantle's success on his adventure to Baguio City worthy of happy memory
 
SECOND PART
8.       In which the courageous Hellmantle of Normandy journeys north into the Cordillera Mountain Range
9.       About what happened to Hellmantle in the mission in the mountains and the crucifixion of Jesus
10.     Concerning Hellmantle of Normandy in the land of the headhunters
11.     About the required riding techniques to reach the destination of Sagada and the church organist
12.     In which the German artist is tracked to the Shamrock Café and dangers of the northeast of Luzon Island
13.     In which Catharine is tracked to the Shamrock Café and an eery coincidence of a reoccurring dream
14.     About Hellmantle reaching the rice terraces and finding a way to the northwest
15.     About what happened to our intrepid philosopher in the middle of the Sierra Madre Mountains
16.     In which a record is given about the brave Hellmantle through uncharted territory on his trusted dirt bike
17.     Which relates to Hellmantle of Normandy reaching the northern coast and the rubble of Aparri
18.     About the final day of the motorcycle journey and discussing the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in Vigan
19.     About the sermon in Agoo Basilica and what they find at the church with the rouge bell tower
20.     Concerning the Dutch Padre and what he knows about the hidden map
21.     About the return to Manila and the coup that causes the Great Man from Normandy grief
 
THIRD PART
22.     Which brings Hellmantle of Normandy back to Hong Kong to re-evaluate the next step in his quest for truth
23.     In which their journey is related to Jack Grosseteste and a new task is set before the Man from Normandy
24.     Concerning the journey to northern Vietnam to track down the map hidden at a French prison
25.     About how Hellmantle and D'Aqs compare notes on their task at hand in Hanoi
26.     In which an account is given of the beginning of the journey of Hellmantle in Vietnam
27.     About how Hellmantle and his brave squire ride north to the place where the four rivers meet
28.     Concerning the French prison and what Hellmantle finds there
29.     Concerning the discovery of the bottle and what lies inside of it
30.     Concerning the journey to Dien Bien Phu in honor of their grandfather the Great Dane Hellmantle
31.     About what the motorcyclists see on the fields in Dien Bien Phu
32.     Concerning the motorcycling required to reach Hanoi via the other side of the Da River Valley
33.     Which tells of the final stage back to Hanoi and the discussion after their most beautiful ride
 
FOURTH PART
34.     Concerning the visit with the knowledgeable Jack Grosseteste and the sally to India
35.     Concerning the arrival and journey to Kashmir Valley
36.     In which the journey begins in earnest through the checkpoints to the foot of the Moghul Fort
37.     In which Srinagar is reached and how the houseboat was as it was hundred years ago
38.     In which Hellmantle reach their houseboat on the lake below the fort and beside the mosque
39.     In which Hellmantle sets out for the Tomb of Thome and his brother Joshua beside him
40.     Which relates to the agreeable history of the journey north to the monastery on horseback
41.     In which Hellmantle returns to Srinagar and finds the first translations of the black stones
42.     Which concerns the deciphering of the discovery at the monastery and the need to go to the Ganges River
43.     About Hellmantle of Normandy's meeting with the holy man after taking a dip in the Ganges River
44.     About Hellmantle's meeting at Jack Grossetests's place with D'Aqs and Catharine the artist from Sagada
 
o       Chronology of Historical Events
         
 
 
 
 

 
 Following the Johnny Cash flow,
 
the suggested song here is:
 
"I Won't Back Down"
 
A Tom Petty cover.
 
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