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Chapter Twenty-three 


 

In which their journey is related to Jack Grosseteste

and a new task is set before the Man from Normandy

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Hong Kong was a sprawling metropolis where vertical space dominated the little land available on which to build. Cars sped by with inches to spare on one-way streets that stood as a testament to man's civil engineering ability. In cities like Taipei and Bangkok, traffic was a battle where the fastest scooter won and where traffic law took a backseat, but Hong Kong prevailed in the Far East like a beacon of what to do to overcome traffic woes. Where else could you fly through the very heart of downtown in a big city at 80km/h? That's where D'Aqs found himself on the night of his visit to his father's: on the back on Hellmantle's Yamaha FZR400 motorcycle whipping down the streets of Hong Kong. Despite being in a metropolis with the highest density in the world, Hellmantle still rode by his own rules. And D'Aqs could tell he loved it.

After sleeping over on Lamma Island for the night, the Australian staying over after they had a nightcap on the balcony, D'Aqs was pillion on Hellmantle's racing bike as he cruised to the Victoria Harbour Tunnel where they crossed under the harbour to Kowloon. Hellmantle dodged cars and chose a route that took them through the thick underbelly of Tsim Sha Tsui, where he purposely took the overpass right through the middle of an office building between floors. To D'Aqs' astonishment, they rode through the parking level on the seventh floor. It was a labyrinth of roads that zigzagged through buildings and around sky-high apartments on their way north to Kowloon Tong.

After all the beautiful colonial buildings D'Aqs had seen in Burma, it saddened him that Hong Kong hardly had any colonial buildings left, especially in comparison to Manila and Hanoi. D'Aqs felt the familiar pang of regret and anger when he witnessed the abuse of old architectural gems through disuse and lack of maintenance. In Hong Kong since the handover a familiar equation emerged: colonial buildings were left to fall into disrepair by the Chinese government in Beijing so then it became more cost efficient to tear them down. In Hong Kong many of the old colonial buildings were on prime real estate in Central. Even Singapore had managed to keep the colonial flavor that in his opinion gave the city much more charm than Hong Kong. Privately on the back of Hellmantle's YAMAHA, he feared that there will be a day when all signs of Hong Kong's colonial past will be completely gone. And for the first time he saw people sleeping on the street, homeless and destitute in one of the world's most prosperous cities.

Soon they hit the shopping Mecca of Mong Kok where they turned for a long tunnel under Lion Rock Mountain. The number of cars drastically dwindled after the tunnel when Hellmantle maneuvered his peppy two-stroke racing bike between the mountains to Kowloon Tong and the academic condominiums for professors and lecturers. For the first time D'Aqs felt relieved when they arrived at this father's apartment, knowing he was a sane voice compared to his erratic cousin. It felt good to be able to discuss these unheard-of corners of religious history.

There were some books piled on the dining room table when they both entered. Jack Grosseteste had been doing some reading.

        "Son! You look much better. The motorcycling must be doing you good!"

"Yes, I'm feeling better."

Jack Grosseteste was in his usual good spirits, especially after Hellmantle gave him his grape juice offering.

"From the duty-free," he said. "And one is from your son!"

Despite the fact that D'Aqs had told his father about the trip, Hellmantle insisted on doing his own recounting of what had happened. His passionate recollection made even D'Aqs laugh, but also concerned for how could two men do the same trip and have two different variations of the same series of events. Clearly, Hellmantle's grandiose perceptions were beginning to take hold of his person. When he was done, he asked his uncle:

"So what do you think about the Dutch Padre Vander Poodre's sermon about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?" It was a second before his uncle realized he had actually said aloud the nickname of the Padre. Uncle Jack appeared in thought for a moment.

"Poodre?"

"Yes. It's the Canadian word for ‘power snow,' corrupted from the French poudre," he said not missing a beat.

"I find it fascinating that he should be giving that particular sermon just as you arrive at that exact moment. When you arrived at 6pm, it was the culmination of your pilgrimage. I find it eerie that you found Agoo Basilica on New Year's Day on your final day of motorcycling."

"Sure, it's destiny manifesting itself! I don't understand why people think ‘providence' is something that does not exist in real life. I am troubled as to why so many think it's a fiction. God is showing us the way, to right this wrong done by the Catholic Church so long ago, spearheaded by that fat fuck Constantine the Great at the Council of Nicea." Jack Grosseteste was quiet for a moment letting Hellmantle simmer before he asked more questions about the trip. The omma put some freshly skinned pineapples on the table. The smell of dinner cooking in the kitchen cause Hellmantle to salivate.

"Why?" D'Aqs asked "Why is that interesting to you? Not ‘providence, but the sermon. What's so special about the Twelve Tribes of Israel?"

"Because that great family story, especially that hidden part vis-à-vis the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, is everything. It's a story about us." Hellmantle leaned forward in his chair. "It's why northern Europeans even care about Christianity. It is the primary underpinning of the Bible, the reason why Europe converted to Christianity. Israelites are an extended family, part of the chosen family. It's the whole point of keeping a record of this chosen family in story form, yet so few of us see that you and I are descendents of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, or more precisely the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel and the House of Judah." D'Aqs saw that theology spoke deeply to his cousin's heart as well as his own, but for perhaps different reasons.

"Who exactly?"

"Well, that's the question, isn't it?" said Hellmantle, drinking his wine.

"Yes, that's the crucial question," Jack Grosseteste agreed. "This is what I know about it: Abraham had a son named Isaac who bore a son named Jacob. It was Jacob who fathered the twelve sons that came to be known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Abraham was willing to kill his only son Isaac by obeying God's command until God stopped him at the last moment and declared Abraham blessed. It was Isaac's son Jacob who was favored in the eyes of God that God re-named him Israel."

"I know that Dad," D'Aqs a bit offended.

"Son, let me say my piece. Jacob's sons were Reuben, Jacob's first born, whose descendents are said to have landed in modern-day France. The symbol on their shields was an image of a man. The next born was Simeon, whose descendents are said to now populate Scotland and Ireland, who are known to history as Celts, and whose symbol is the sword. The third son was Levy who is the priestly tribe of Aaron who remained with the tribe of Judah thus being one of the two tribes that are today's Jews. Levy's symbol is a breastplate. Judah was the fourth son who bore twins: Pharez and Zarrah. It is not Pharez that is the chosen line but according to the Book of Genesis the royal line actually went to the twin with the red string around his finger, Zarrah, because he was the first out. There was a ‘breach.' It was when the brave scribe Baruch took the last three offspring of the royal Zarrah line to Northern Ireland as described in detail in the Book of Jeremiah, that the throne of power left Palestine and migrated north, where it remains today. The tribe of Zarrah settled first in Ireland and then Scotland of course, and then with the Stewart line ascending to British throne. And of course its symbol is the red rampant lion. All four of these tribes had the same mother named Leah.

"The fifth son was the tribe of Dan who were primarily mariners and adventurers. They mainly settled Denmark and Ireland (mainly via the Danish Viking settlement of Dublin) and were symbolized by an eagle. The next son was the tribe of Naphtali who settled in modern-day Sweden and their symbol is a stag. The seventh son was the tribe of Gad who is believed to have settled modern-day Switzerland, and is symbolized by a leader of troops. The next son is the tribe of Asher, who is believed to have settled modern-day Belgium and Luxembourg. It has for its emblem a covered goblet. The ninth son is the tribe of Issaachar. This tribe landed in upper Germany. A donkey (under burden) is its tribal emblem."

"It is believed that it is where the name ‘Saxon' comes from."

"Thank you Rolland. The tenth son was the tribe of Zebulun, who were merchant traders and calligraphers who landed in the Netherlands. Its symbol is a ship. It is the only tribe that still exists today as its own country. Issachar's and Zebulun's mother was also Leah. The next son is the tribe of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, who settled Great Britain and her Commonwealth. Its symbol is an ox. The next son is the tribe of Manasseh, Joseph's first born, who landed primarily in the United States as part of its Manifest Destiny of settling the ‘Promised Land.' Its emblem is the olive branch - thus the symbol on US currency. And finally the last tribe is the tribe of Benjamin who are believed to have been mainly mariners and merchant traders, but came to be known in history as Vikings. The tribe of Benjamin is believed to have settled in modern-day Norway and Normandy, and its symbol is the wolf."

It was clear to Hellmantle that Jack Grosseteste should be teaching religious history in some small college in upstate New York, not economics in Hong Kong.

"And we are wolves," said Hellmantle, clearly enthused by the topic.

"Yes, we are wolves," his uncle confirmed. D'Aqs was fighting to gain an understanding of a subject that his father and cousin knew so much about despite the fact that it was him who was the missionary and lone minister among them. Jack Grosseteste showed some exasperation at his son's ignorance so D'Aqs showed off some of his knowledge of history.

"The Normans are Danish Vikings that were awarded land after the Siege of Paris in 925. So we're also from the Tribe of Dan?"

"Yes! Mariners and adventurers the Danes were," said Hellmantle.

"That reminds me." Jack Grosseteste got up and took out a color print. "Have you seen your Grosseteste coat-of-arms before? I don't think I've ever shown you." He put the color print on the table. There in front of D'Aqs was the coat-of-arms of the Grosseteste family. There were two eagles in the top two corners of the crest that he now understood to represent the Tribe of Dan. There was also a wolf at the neck of the crest that he can only assume is from the Tribe of Benjamin.

        "Dan and Benjamin," D'Aqs said. He watched both his father and Hellmantle nod, and then Jack pointed at the two Stars of David on the chevron across the crest. A tingling went up his spine. An edifice of belief was about to crumble.

        "The same Star of David that is on the Northern Ireland flag."

"The mark of an Israelite!" yelled Hellmantle. "History is coming alive isn't it? You're finally catching up after forty years of ignoring your family tree. We grew up with knowing we are part of this living history and that it's been systematically suppressed by Rome yet you never cared a damn about it, and only now, ye man of little faith, are realizing that it's not a fiction. We are from a great bloodline! But there's more to the story than just this, you'll see oh Doubting Thomas. There's more to the story than we have been told. My purpose in life is to find them and let people know!"

"Very interesting," he conceded, interrupting his cousin from his self-righteous lecturing.

"And the cross in the middle," said his father. D'Aqs could see it was the symbol of the Blonde Acquitaine. Jack Grosseteste looked at his son and winked his left eye. On reflex D'Aqs winked back at his father. For a moment Jack was surprised, but then it dawned on him that it was Hellmantle who had rightfully christened his son into the brotherhood of the Blonde Acquitaine. It was with solemn poise that Jack Grosseteste and D'Aqs then shook hands, slipping each other the grip.

        "Son, welcome to the brotherhood."

  

 

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
         
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