In which the story of our
crusader's journey begins in earnest
After the assault of his
person, Hellmantle was sore getting up the next day looking puffy and unsteady,
limping to his motorcycle. As if to stay centered on his enterprise and ignore
the soreness of his shin and swollen nose, he kept telling his cousin facts
from history books he had read. D'Aqs, for his part, only nodded and tried to
piece together this complex world that his cousin spoke of.
the map is imperative. We must do it for the Great Dane and for
the Blonde Acquitaine. Our achievement will rival those of the Nine
I ask you something?"
may Mr. Testicleez," replied Hellmantle.
are you so into this? The Desposyni? I mean, why does it all matter?" He
couldn't really describe the look on Hellmantle's face, but after seeing his
shock, he felt ashamed for asking. He cleared his throat before answering:
"Why do some people like
chocolate?" He shook his head. "There's a lot you don't know about D'Aqs, but
maybe in time you will come to know what I know - if you're interested that is.
The great story of the Bible is still happening. The Old Testament is really
just a story about a family. A big family tree. And we're part of this
story. You'll see I due course." He let out a tremendous sigh that could be
heard in the crosswinds and roar of honking horns of Manila's city streets.
Under a blue sky and in the
tropical heat of December, they could hardly see the road in front of them
through pollution and dusty air. The gray-brownish hue of the smog hung like a
skirt above the city, but on the horizon it petered out to the fantastic blue
sky with no clouds marring its purity. Escaping claustrophobic congestion of
Manila's traffic was frustrating because potholes, lack of road signs and
general disarray of streets slowed their speed. For Hellmantle, riding on the
right-hand side of the road after riding on the left side in Hong Kong proved
hazardous so he clung to the centerline because Jeepnies pulled over to
the shoulder in quick movements never checking for traffic in its blind spot.
Motorcycles with sidecars called Tricycles were also a menace on the roads
because they disregarded traffic law in a reckless manner. But soon they found
their rhythm, able to tackle traffic turbulence with little distraction.
Hellmantle was giddy and could not help talking to himself as he rode his
CR250, and spoke thus:
"Those who think for
themselves have always stood on a slippery perch threatened with the punishment
of death! Such is the fate of original thinkers since the beginning of time.
Those that have a small mind dominate the petty, and by dominating the petty
they exercise control over the other small minds that add up to a big voice.
But not me! I break away and break out! I shall correct the mighty wrongs that
have hurt humankind and injured those with sensitive antennae for truth!"
Volcanoes stretched across
the horizon in a ridge of apexes, some bare as ping-pong balls. Palm trees
covered the huge plateau that led to the apron of the mountains. After hours of
dodging irresponsible drivers, breathing in leaded exhaust and enduring debris
churned up on semi-paved roads, they pulled over for a drink of water in San
Fernando that felt like liquid silk on their dusty palettes. Named after King
Ferdinand II of Spain, St. Peter's Church, with its massive yellow dome,
dominated the city.
"Since the church doesn't
have a bell tower we don't need to check it out," said D'Aqs, making sure they
were both on the same page.
"True, it is sans
tower, but rather an attractive piece."
"I believe it's where the
Good Friday Flagellantes takes place every year, where peoples dress
like Christ, prostrate themselves until their backs are raw from whipping, and
re-enact the crucifixion with real nails. Serious devotion."
"I've heard about that." The
church courtyard was void of life.
"To me the church looks like
Saint Sulpice seminary in Paris; the place where Saint Bernard de
"Never heard of it."
"Try not to be embarrassed
about that," said Hellmantle, the closest he could come to empathy. "Saint
Sulpice is where monks and scholars have always worked with our forefathers; it
was the spiritual nerve center of the First Crusade. If we find the map we
could take it there for interpretation and safekeeping. Remember, the Catholic
Church has its share of assassins who would try to kill any of us who
wanted to reveal any of these secrets."
The intensity in his eyes
surprised D'Aqs. A man on a mission, he reminded himself he was there to make
sure Hellmantle wasn't killed by his recklessness. D'Aqs remembered before the
onset of Aspergers that went untreated for so long, Hellmantle was every bit
attentive to all practical aspects of life, from running his properties to
managing his affairs with a balanced hand. Now his illness had clearly taken
hold, particulary after his father had been killed in a car crash that some
believed was instigated by Rome. But everything really changed after his
identical twin brother Rhein was killed in a skiing accident during rade eleven
when they were at boarding school together. D'Aqs wasn't on that ski trip but
from he had heard Hellamantle was the one who was egging his brother on to take
a steep jump that he himself was too afraid to take. Rhein broke his neck and
died two days later, Hellmantle consoaling him on the skihill in a frozen
puddle of tears. Much of his jois de vivre evaporated after that, him soon
leaving the school at the end of that year. He head heard through his father
that Hellmantle had become an extremist in everything he did, as if he flaunted
death to take him to his twin brother the afterlife. The twins used to talk for
hours afterdark in the dorm with other Desposyni offspring about details
of adventures in history that were handed down only verbally generation to
generation, a world of high adventure out there somewhere far beyond the
steeples and spires of the private school.
For D'Aqs the story of
bloodlines was a murky one at best, often making him dizzy remembering where
each family line descended, but for Hellmantle it came easily because he had
been immersed in Grail history since he could speak. D'Aqs had been brought up
with its history of intrigue and secrecy, but to hear it swallowed and spouted
as unmovable fact made him uneasy. He knew secret societies had protected the
bloodline of Jesus and His true message but none of it ever touched him until
now. This man in front of him was a living representative of this belief
system. But D'Aqs was still quite skeptical as to whether it was true. It was
one thing to believe something but another thing to prove it true.
"I suspect," he said,
sensing D'Aqs skepticism, "that you have only a minimal interest in all of
this, but I am the opposite. I began reading some books about this secret
history many years ago, which has served to provide many missing pieces of the
puzzle for me. Like the fact that the words ‘Holy Grail'' describe
Jesus' bloodline, not a cup."
"Oh, how so?"
"Holy Grail comes
from the French ‘Sangreal" or ‘Le Seynt Graal" or ‘le Saint
Graal" meaning ‘Holy Blood.' Sangre is Spanish for blood. To
seek the Holy Grail is to try to find a woman with the bloodline of Jesus.
That's pretty important to know my preacher cousin! All those books of Grail
lore were basically about knights going out to get laid!"
"That's the first time I've
heard it expressed like that."
"The Blonde Aquitaine
and the Prior de Sion maintained the belief that Jesus had children that
were to be the hereditary kings of Europe for many centuries. Hey man, the fact
is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and that he had children - three to be
exact. It was Jesus' second son, named Josephus, who had children and it is
from his line that the Merovingian families come from. And as a Merovingian
family, we believe we have the blood of the royal line that flows in our veins.
Because of this we have the responsibility to protect His untainted beliefs
until the Catholic Church loses enough power so the public is ready for the corrected
truth!" Soaking wet from sweat from his little speech, Hellmantle turned on
the engine, slipped into first gear and left D'Aqs in a dusty cloud.