In which an account is given
of the beginning
of the journey of Hellmantle
the morning the cousins from Normandy were awakened by the sound of solid metal
banging on hollowed tin by one of the many old women who walked down the
streets with a wooden cart. Hellmantle went to his balcony and watched her
shovel raw waste into the open cart. Heaps of black muck, sullied vegetables,
ash and every other possible refuse had been deposited along the edge of the
road. Banging on the hollowed tin brought people out on the streets for their
daily garbage purge. He was watching the frantic catharsis of people sweeping
and shoveling the debris from the roadside puddles when D'Aqs appeared on the
pick up. But alas! Let's get your motorbike and gazelle young knight," said
Hellmantle, getting right to the point. They packed up and Hellmantle doubled
D'Aqs on his bike to the rental shop where D'Aqs rented the same model as
Hellmantle. They now both had a Harley Davidson type of bike called a Moc
Chau with a 150cc engine. Hellmantle insisted on getting this bike because
he foresaw the need for something with power to ride through the
"My motorcycle wisdom tells
me it is a smart move."
Outside roaming tribes of Moc
Chau motorcycles cruised the road in a hum around them. Leaves fluttered
from the thick boughs that lined the streets and punctuated the gaps between
colonial architecture. With a full tank of gas and compass in hand, Hellmantle
was confident that they would find their turn that led due west and upwards to
the mountains. However it was almost noon by the time they found their way out
of the spaghetti streets of Hanoi and hit Highway 6.
The road led to a new
frontier of endless miles of rice paddies, squared beside each other like
dominoes. The rice fields spread out towards distant clusters of trees dotted
on the horizon as the two motorcyclists from the Hellmantle clan slipped it
into top gear and opened up the throttle. They cruised towards Son-tay,
past meandering cyclists and mountain women who waved at them as they passed.
Many of the men had long white beards like their hero Ho Chi Ming. They
rode through towns moving farther west with their helmets dangling from their
knapsacks. Hellmantle's long hair and beard was blown back by the wind. It
stirred something within, so he yelled:
"Most people work to live
and then wait to die, but we live to play on two wheels!"
For hours the cousins
traveled west until they hit the first of the mountains just before Hoa Bin.
Palm trees covered the mountains as they ascended the range along a well-paved
highway. At the bottom of the Da River gorge going to Mai Chau,
they took the corner slowly as they gawked in wonder at the deepness of the
gorge at one corner. It was staggering with its rugged stone cut so
dramatically at the mercy of a blue-water current.
A day in the country with no
stops and an endless road that kept going way after sunset, darkness fell
slowly for over an hour until Hellmantle found a little colony of huts on
stilts built on top of rice paddies. The turn off from the main road took them
along a raised dirt path right into the rice fields to an oasis of wooden huts.
They both parked, checked-in and went to their hut that had bamboo branches for
When Hellmantle saw the
tourists sitting in a group watching an aboriginal hill tribe dance sung in a
choreographed ritual, he realized this was the ‘overnighter' from Hanoi for the
old fogies and armchair tourists. D'Aqs noticed that he didn't resent them like
he had in Sagada; he merely regarded them with curious interest.
from under the mosquito netting on his bed and assuming a habit learned from
Hellmantle, D'Aqs studied the maps. Upon locating where they were he felt a
tingling kick known to all adventurers. He tried to pinpoint a possible
location of a French prison along their route to Dien Bien Phu. Hellmantle was
reading a book on Vietnam. There was only the sound of crickets through the
windows. Neither of them wanted to see the tourists with freshly pressed pants,
so they stayed in the room and drank beer while Hellmantle sampled Vietnamese
what do you know about this big swinging stick, Ho Chi Ming?" he asked
his missionary cousin.
leader and founder of modern Vietnam," he replied with textbook accuracy.
"From the information I'm reading
here," said Hellmantle, "Ho Chi Ming had an interesting life. Want to hear
about it?" D'Aqs nodded but kept his eyes pinned on the maps. "Born in 1890 and
named ‘Bringer of Light,' he worked as a teacher until the age of 21 when he
signed on as a cook's apprentice in 1911 on a French ship, which took him to
North America, Africa and Europe. After working at a number of different jobs
in cities like Paris and London, he was one of the founding members of the
French Communist Party in 1920. The year before it is said that he handed
Woodrow Wilson an independence plan for Vietnam to get out from under the
French thumb. He was then recruited by the Russians who sent Uncle Ho to
Canton in China as part of the Communist International. Uncle Ho then
founded the Revolutionary Youth League in China, which ended up being a
precursor to the Indochina Communist Party and the Vietnamese Communist
"Hmm, who would have
guessed? Always labeled a bad egg."
"In the 1930s Uncle Ho was
imprisoned by the British in Hong Kong for his revolutionary activities and
from pressure by the French. After eventually being released, he went to Moscow
and Beijing and then returned to Vietnam in 1941, the first time in 30 years.
He was again arrested in 1942, this time by the Nationalist Chinese. When the
Japanese invaded Vietnam, he organized the August Revolution in 1945, which
took over most of Vietnam. When the French returned after the Japanese fled,
Uncle Ho took off into the bush where he then spent eight years conducting guerilla
warfare against the Legionnaires and French colonialists. After the defeat of
the French in 1954, he led North Vietnam until his death in 1969 and never saw
the victory over the south. After some more turbulence with the Americans, the
Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV) was founded in 1979, which is how things
And today he is still revered as the founding father of agrarian Vietnam," said
D'Aqs, eating peanuts. "Strange as it may sound, from the riding today I was
impressed with how wll manicured the fields were, especially compared to what
we saw in the Philippines."
"Funny, I thought the same
thing. Just from what I saw today, not one inch of land iwa wasted. The fields
are cared for. It's no wonder that Vietnam supplies China and the world with
makes you wonder if communism, which after all is an agrarian political system
of governance, fits this type of geography and culture." He shivered and
climbed under the covers. It was cold on the rice patties at night.
"Seems to buck
against what we were taught growing up, doesn't it?"
"Makes it seem like simple
"Speaking of which, listen
to this Orwellian national slogan for Vietnam: ‘Doc Lap - Tu Do -
Hanh Phuc,' which means: ‘Independence - Freedom - Happiness.'"
"Aren't they the largest
producer of rice in the world?"
They both mulled these facts over. Again D'Aqs was struck with an uneasy
feeling. It was more truth discovered that unmasked the lies fed to them from
the powers that be. Guile. He hated that.
Hellmantle stayed absorbed
in his little book.
"Did you know that over 3000
Legionnaires and French army were buried under rice paddies?"
"No, I did not."
says here that in 1994 the Vietnamese government allowed the French veterans of
Dien Bien Phu to restage their paratroop drop exactly forty years after
heard about that. It wasn't that long ago."
"I think we had some family
partake in that fifty-year thing."
I know we spoke of this yesterday, and excuse my ignorance, but what exactly
happened at Dien Bien Phu anyway?" D'Aqs was showing more interest the
more he felt short-changed from what they were learning from going out into the
world and seeing for themselves.
summarized from his little book.
"After failing with an
initial assault, the Viet Mingh, backed by 33 infantry battalions, six
artillery regiments and a regiment of engineers, camouflaged themselves and dug
in on the hills overlooking the French position. They prevented vital supplies
and reinforcements from reaching the Legionnaires despite six battalions
parachuting into Dien Bien Phu."
"They basically starved
"Yep. Grampa Hellmantle and
that chap Louis de Steward were two of the parachutists who landed on April 14,
1954. In their trenches and tunnels, the Viet Mingh were able to seize
the Legion Citadel and kill or imprison over 13,000 Legionnaires and
French regular army. Casualties of Viet Mingh are recorded at 25,000 it says
turned off the light and he spoke from across the room.
"I have a theory. Well, it's
not really my theory but it's speculation from what I heard when I was growing
"Oh no," replied D'Aqs, eyes
"France is Catholic. Yes?"
theory is that the French troops were in possession of important information
relating to a treasure of a religious nature. And that this was a primary
reason for the paratroopers' descent into almost certain death. Of course it
was hushed up because nothing was found."
"The Legionnaires landed in Dien
Bien Phu because of the map?" D'Aqs shook his head. "That's a bit much."
"No, no, wait for it. I had
heard my father once say that all serious Grail scholars have heard the rumor
that suggested that a map existed of a lost treasure that was said to belong to
Jesus himself. He thought that the Legionnaires were played unwittingly as a
pawn in the quest to secure the map. It was only after the Great Dane's death
that stories like this leaked out. That's how we came to know the rumor that
the Great Dane had succeeded in finding the map to the treasure but that it had
been lost or buried during the battle. It was said that all those who knew of
its whereabouts had been killed, and thus the secret of the map's location had
been lost forever. But the Blonde Acquitaine remained interested in its
"Remember, one of the
commandments of chivalry is:
Thou shalt perform
scrupulously thy feudal duties,
if they be not contrary to
the laws of God.
We must complete our mission and bring about a change
in this misrepresentation perpetrated by the Catholic Church, and bring justice
to our ancestor Joshua the Nazarene. This cone of silence has to be corrected,
and this responsibility falls on our shoulders because we are the offspring of
the Messiah and thus must make right what is wrong. Our chivalry is not
to an earthly woman of love, but rather to God who lives in the empyrean above
us watching us even now. We don't have a choice D'Aqs. It is my destiny. Faith
and hope guide me to the end of our course. Only those with the depth of belief
can attain this impossible task before us, and those faint of will can never
even approach the obstacles that lie in our path to bring the true message to
all peoples of the earth! The research and new evidence that has come to light
over the last twenty years is proof enough that now is the time in world
history when this change must occur!"
was all over Hellmantle's beard when he finished his little speech. A fear
reappeared in D'Aqs gut when he thought of how easily a man like Hellmantle
could get himself killed with such an unaccepted position and close-minded