Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Eighteen 


About the final day of the motorcycle journey through Luzon

and discussing the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel in Vigan

Laoag City, Ilocos Norte Province


Hellmantle and his missionary cousin left Laoag for Manila in the dark riding due south. It was true that D'Aqs was now in quite a bit of pain with his ribs so he was slow in the morning whereas Hellmantle was almost manic. To lift his spirit, Hellmantle said to him:

"God favors us today My Son! I had a dream last night that portends impending bounty! I feel it so it must be so."

Hellmantle and the man with the broken ribs rode for a full hour and a half before the sun came up, by then they were well on their way to Vigan City. When they reached the city, it appeared as a fossil stuck in amber in a dried-up river. The old Spanish town had remained unaltered since Juan de Salcedo founded it in 1756. In front of some old storefronts were old wagon wheels still in place since the time of horse and buggy, carriageways and wooden doors and cobblestone roads just as they were nearly 250 years ago. In the old town two-story merchant houses that sold everything a colonial settler would need to establish themselves in their new land still functioned. With the main church and city hall laid out around a central park separating them in a well-proportioned urban plan, like a gem hidden in the rough, Vigan stood like a jewel along one of the greatest strips of real estate in the country.

He and D'Aqs rode to the church with a bell tower in the middle of town. It was both run-down and freshly painted, as if a coat of paint would protect this house of prayer against the ravages of the coast.

"The priest in charge of services is named Melvin Arinicqo," said D'Aqs, looking at the sign beside the entrance to the church. They both entered the calm and cool interior of the church, Hellmantle walking slowly in his motorcycle boots. A dozen people sat on pews with heads bowed, praying. A fresh wind blew across the benches through the open windows on either side of the church.

"See the portrait of Jacob?" D'Aqs nodded. "As you know, my missionary cousin, Jacob's the biggie; the kingpin of the Bible."

"Yes, he was a biggie. The father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob, grandson of Abraham and son if Isaac, was renamed Israel by God."

"So you know how the House of Judah and the House of Israel, lineal descendents of the twelve sons of Jacob, split and then fought each other for two hundred years before the Assyrians conquered Palestine, led by Nebachannezzer?"

"Yes. Before the Diaspora. From a top-level down view, from the sons of Jacob sprang twelve tribes but under King David they were united and known as Israel. After the death of Solomon, Israel divided into two nations: one was the tribe of Judah who based themselves in Jerusalem became known as the House of Judah. These peoples became known as Jews. The ten northern tribes who rejected Solomon's son became known as the House of Israel. They had their capital in Samaria. Entire books in the Old Testament are dedicated to the power struggle between the House of Israel and the House of Judah. The ultimate division between these two houses happened in the Red Sea port of Elath (Kings II 16: 6-7). The House of Israel was overthrown by the Assyrian empire. They were led into captivity beyond the Tigris River and basically settled in the southwest of the Caspian Sea near the Caucusus.

"So then you know the House of Israel in the northern kingdom consisted of the all of Jacob's descendants except the two tribes of Judah and Levy that make up the House of Judah. So the House of Israel gazelled from the Middle East in 683BC and settled mainly in Scythia, or modern-day Russia in the Caucasus. When they were in the Caucasus, I think around modern-day Georgia, they became known as Caucasians. From there they went mainly into northern Europe and Scandinavia and the British Isles. When the House of Israel fled from Palestine for southern Russia they were lost to history after that. That's why they are called the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They're were lost but now they have been found!"   

Hellmantle, manic in the eye, held up his hand and spoke thus:

"As you know Jesus' primary thrust was to find his lost flock."

"You think that Jesus' primary thrust was to find his lost flock, which were the Ten Lost Tribes?"

"Certainly. Jesus says in Matthew 15:24: ‘I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel.' Jesus is the shepherd who is gathering his lost flock. This flock, of course, was the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, or also called the ‘House of Israel' in the Bible."

"I know this stuff Hellmantle."

"In Genesis it says Abraham was chosen to be the forefather of a nation through whom all the families of the earth would be blessed, but the whereabouts of the descendents of the House of Israel were lost. In the Letter of James, for example, it says of him: ‘James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.' The letter, written by James the Disciple, is addressed to the twelve sons of Jacob, the primary family in the Bible. His other primary thrust was to unite the Twelve Tribes of Israel once more." Hellmantle was trying to whisper but his voice was so intense that it carried. People trying to pray stared at the two tall men standing in front of the portrait of Jacob.


"So not only are we descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, we also have the bloodline of Jesus. I'm interested where Ten Lost Tribes of Israel went and where they are now. It's a worthy question and one so rarely asked. Yet this remains untaught to students of the Bible." D'Aqs, relaxing his posture and taking his hand to his chin reflected for a moment after hearing his Asperger cousin's summary, suddenly having clarity after the manic delivery and jerky hand movements. Distilled and threads connected that had been loose ends, he saw what he was saying, the canvas of his painting and deciphered a logic and underpinning to it all.

"Yes, okay. I can see that. We are Israelites. Yes. How many hymns have I sang talking about the Israelites and I never thought they were only Judah and Levy. Going to the Caucasus after Palestine I've heard before but never the connection of the word Caucasian. The Scythians I've heard of too but didn't connect them to settling Europe. The northern Europeans and Scandinavians and people of the British Isles being where the Israelites settled makes sense to me too, especially that stuff about the lion and the unicorn and the red hand and the rampant lion."

"And the Stone of Destiny."

"That too. If Jesus had children there's certainly a lot of hype around our families to incline one to believe it. But yes, Jesus sought to gather his lost flock, the House of Israel that disappeared after the Assyrian conquest. The House of Judah is still in play and together with synagogues and adhering to the Law of the Torah as we had before we left. I suppose it's your presentation of all the information that frazzled me but I see it now."

"So then you are no longer my doubting cousin?"

"I'm doubtful about a lot of things still but I'm seeing a ray of light in your overall view. I'm extremely skeptical about the Mormon story about the origin of the Red Man but I have to admit I've never done any reading on it." He put his hand on Hellmantle's shoulder expecting him to tense up. "Even if we don't find the Dutch preacher I can say I've come to know you better and your view of history. That's something of worth at least." Hellmantle broke away from his hand and spoke thus:

       "But we shall find the Padre!"

       "We have today Hellmantle. I'd say our chances are pretty slim."

       "Oh ye of little faith. A minister. The irony."

Just then they saw a young priest walking down the aisle, who didn't look Dutch. He smiled and then disappeared behind the chancel.

The cousins returned outside where sunny skies lured them back onto the road, riding south along the west coast towards Manila. The ride took on a feeling of reverie, passing town after town and church after church until they had passed through Santa Maria, Candon, Santa Cruz and San Juan. Most of the churches were derelict and disintegrating historical vestiges and some only colonial detritus. The road was busier but smoother than what they had had, so with Hellmantle out in front they made good time down the coast.

They stopped at a church with a big fort with colossal flying buttresses coming out of the walls to a second inner wall where there was a rather plain church. Hellmantle and D'Aqs climbed up the main stone steps through the outer wall and then up the wooden steps in the turret where Hellmantle popped a betel nut. From a hundred feet up, they could see their route south and the stretch of oceanfront that connected with the Bataan Peninsula.

"I reckon we have traveled two hundred kilometers so far," said Hellmantle, spitting the rich red juice out the window below. "And we have another 250 kilometers to Manila."

"But still no sign of the Dutch preacher and the map." In the wind that assailed them from a hundred feet up they could see the thin white line outlining the waves hitting the shoreline. Countless palm trees covered the land.

"Could you move your flight to Hong Kong forward?" D'Aqs asked him.

"No. But it wouldn't be good form anyway. We gave ourselves enough time to make it around the island. We've seen two-dozen churches and no Dutch preacher, but to take more time would be to fail, or like changing the rules mid-game. If we don't find what we need to know then that's God's way of saying that it was not meant to be. But I believe we will prevail as all the signs are in play. It's been an honest effort so far. That's the most important thing."

"Reaching Manila from so far north seems unrealistic."

"With you now, having taken the vows to chivalry and the Blonde Acquitaine, how can we fail? Belief is half the battle when it comes to achievement!"

"OK, that's fair. I understand what you're saying. Good policy."

Despite his belief of the impending failure of the task to find the church, D'Aqs savored the view from the turret.

"The fate of the journey hangs in the balance but, I don't know about you and your ribs, but I am going to enjoy the ride no matter what." He could see that D'Aqs was down in the mouth, either from his injuries or from despair at failure to find the church and the Dutchman, so he pointed to a church far on the horizon to bolster his spirits.

"See that lone church on the horizon that stands like a twin-towered castle with the classic Spanish architectural flourish?" He nodded and stared in amazement at the dreamlike image.

"Quite a piece that one." It was like a cream-colored house of God shining a light from the middle of its center pillar as if beckoning them to go there on their motorcycles.

"See, it's a Holy Quest," said Hellmantle because the entire structure of the cloud formation above the church showed a light shining from behind a cascading dark mass. The sky revealed God's den above as if His own hand had selected this Spanish church near the end of the peninsula. White fingers of lightning flashed down to the cross above the five arches.

"Marvelous fortune my brave squire! Perhaps God has slipped through the crevice of time and His divine spirit resides in omnipresence at that church." He nodded in silence, enjoying the beauty of the sky.

"There's something there we must see," said D'Aqs, They walked back to their motorcycles and rode south along the ocean. Hellmantle passed more and more villages with more people at the side of the road waving at the two helmetless, fair-haired cousins go by. Dogs and children amid indigenous tumbleweeds and dust soon became a hindrance running out on the road just before the sun started to set. It was also at this time when they saw a little shack built in a tree. Soon there were clusters of tree houses at the side of the road. Squat, wide-branched trees held tree houses where families lived. For fifty miles the land was swampy so tree houses made of wooden planks had been built. The people had not cut down hardly any of their trees.

"Tree houses!" he screamed from ahead of D'Aqs. It was just after the tree houses when Hellmantle and D'Aqs arrived at a town named Agoo. Once the center of Catholicism of Colonial Spain, the church was in the center of town with a red-trimmed hue around the corner stones as if it had magical power. Hellmantle parked his motorcycle beside the church and they walked to the Agoo Basilica, their legs rubbery from the miles of riding.



TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                  
          The Family of the Bible
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
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
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
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



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