Wordcarpenter Books

Chapter Twenty-six 


In which an account is given of the beginning

of the journey of Hellmantle in Vietnam


In 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 balcony.

"What's the racket?"

"Garbage 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 mountains. 

"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 a roof.

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.

Later, 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 betel nut.

        "So what do you know about this big swinging stick, Ho Chi Ming?" he asked his missionary cousin.

        "Communist 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 Party."

"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 stand today."

"Amazing. 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 rice."

"It 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 Western propaganda."

"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?"

"Yep." 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."

"It 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 the battle."

"I heard about that. It wasn't that long ago."

"I think we had some family partake in that fifty-year thing."

"So, 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.

Hellmantle 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 them."

"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 here."

Hellmantle 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 up."

"Oh no," replied D'Aqs, eyes now closed.

"France is Catholic. Yes?"


"The 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 rediscovery.

"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!"

Spittle 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 self-righteousness.



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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