The Nostradamus Revelation: An Omega Sector Thriller.
A mysterious artefact... An ancient prophecy... A doomsday deadline thosands of years in the making and only Major Donovan Stone and his team of Omega Sector operatives can prevent an impending disaster of epic proportions... Get ready for what could be this year's most sought after action adventure thriller... Nothing can prepare you for The Nostradamus Revelation!
July 3rd, 1566
St. Michel Chapel
Brother Jean-Baptiste Chevalier would be dead in less than an hour. Had he known that would be the result, he would never have agreed to this unholy mission.
Since he was oblivious as to how this would end, Brother Chevalier unknowingly shuffled down the aisle of the cruciform, Romanesque, St. Michel Chapel. The hour was late, and because he carried with him the manuscript he set out to retrieve two days ago, no one would care about the time of night or his tardiness.
Were it daylight he would have admired the architectural grandeur surrounding him. The barrel-vault ceiling that curved smooth stone 22 meters high, stretching the entire length of the 97-meter long cathedral. The nave etching a path toward the ornate marble altar, sculpted with scenes of the Holy Family. Stain-glass, rose windows would have allowed beams of sunshine to dance across the face of the assembled parishioners sitting diligently in prayer as they listened to the Word of the Lord. Two aisles crossed paths with the nave while the transept formed the top portion of the cross-like cathedral. One led into the choir; the other into the sanctuary.
Conversely, at nightfall St. Michel Chapel took on a completely different look. Ominous beams of moonlight shone like beacons in through the stain-glass windows. Tonight rain fell and thunder struck, so that the cathedral took on a more threatening connotation. A flash of lightning crackled, illuminating a sculpted stone pillar of Christ in agony causing a shiver to run down the spine of Brother Chevalier as his long, black cloak skimmed the smooth polish of the stone floor.
The church was dark, the weather menacing, but Brother Chevalier had made this walk many times before. It was not the darkness of the cathedral that frightened him; it was what was about to happen that chilled his bones.
He continued walking, quickening his pace, turning right at the transept until he reached the sanctuary. Once inside the Holy Room, Brother Chevalier opened an ornate side door, a bas-relief of Christ on the cross sculpted flawlessly upon it, and descended the flight of spiral stone steps on its opposite side.
At the bottom of the steps, he turned right entering the catacombs of the hundred-year-old cathedral. The passage was narrow, not more than two meters high and three across. Made from the same stone that had been part of the original bedrock, the catacombs held one of the most sacred features of the cathedral that only those privileged enough ever saw. Every ten feet, niches, carved into the walls, held votive candles resting on wrought-iron braziers around magnificently sculpted, painstakingly decorated statutes of the Holy Family and several prominent saints frozen in silent prayer. The long stone hall finally ended abruptly fifty feet from the stone steps that led down from the cathedral. A thick oak door with iron hinges stopped any further progress.
Normally, this door remained locked. Keeping its secrets confined to the opposite side. Tonight, however, it was not.
Without knocking, Brother Chevalier entered the room.
The room was not large, just big enough for its purpose. A plain, round, oak table occupied the center of the room. A modest fireplace, crackling with burning ambers, was set into the room’s far corner. The walls were plain stone. Smooth and decorated with two tapestries depicting the coat of arms of their Order- a black and white, cross Fleury, that counter-changed over a black and white shield, divided quarterly, and forming eight triangular pieces called a gyronny.
He went directly to the head of the table to greet the Master of the Order of the Dominicans, Father Vicente Francisco. Brother Chevalier knelt on one knee, presenting his Master with the soft, leather bound, handwritten manuscript about the size of a standard sized bible.
“Thank you, Brother Chevalier; your efforts will not go unnoticed.” Father Vicente took the manuscript from his fellow brother then motioned for him to sit beside him.
The Master of the Order continued, “Two days ago a beloved member of our brethren died. With him, he took the knowledge that so many sought. His collections of works could fill the libraries of Rome and Florence three-fold. But it was his last work, this one,” he held up the manuscript Brother Chevalier handed him, “that could shake the very foundations of our faith. It is why I commissioned Brother Chevalier to retrieve the work, so that it may not fall into the hands of heretics and fanatics.”
“Why do we even disgrace our table with such works? Why not just burn the book?” A younger brother of the order demanded. Quite a few Brothers agreed with the younger one.
“I am in agreement that the book advocates heretical connotations, but to burn it would be to condemn our good brother who wrote those words. That I cannot allow. He has been a devout member of our community and one of the most ardent supporters of Christ Our Lord and the Holy See. I will not allow his name and reputation to suffer over this manuscript. In it, our dear brother prophesizes about the very heart of our faith, and the precise moment we shall meet our Lord and Savior.” Father Francisco placed the Manuscript in front of him on the table, “Within these pages lay the truths of Christendom, certain truths forecasting the end of this world and the beginning of a new everlasting divinity. As it is now, none but us are aware of its existence. It will remain that way until the end of days. Procured safely, with other works of great importance, inside The Philosopher’s Library.”
A chorus of murmurs echoed from around the table.
“That library is full of untruths and fanatical rants from overzealous free-thinkers,” One brother opposed.
“Our faith has no business assimilating with the likes of those heretics!” Shouted another.
The Master continued, “I understand your apprehension. If I did not think that this was the best recourse of action most beneficial to our faith, I too would voice similar concerns. Which is why, I have sent for someone responsible for keeping the secrets of that Library concealed. He has assured me that the manuscript will be safe. Never to be seen, nor spoken of again by outsiders. Our faithful brother’s name will not be tarnished.”
A knock on the solid, oak door confirmed the Master's words. A brother at the far end of the table rose to his feet and opened the door. A few whispers between the two, then the brother stepped aside and the stranger entered.
The man was dressed in a black, hooded, wool robe, his hands together, hidden inside opposite sleeves. He gave a curt nod to Father Francisco revealing the seal of his Order, which hung around his neck. It was an iron cross in the center of a circle with hands, symbolically, in prayer. Those in the religious community knew the seal. It was the seal of The Order of the Servants of Secrets.
To Father Vicente Francisco the symbol was personal. For a time, in his youth, he had served with them. While there, he spent his time learning the secrets of their faith, serving humanity for better or worse. The Servants of Secrets were trusted with the world’s most sacred knowledge. Many of the world’s most ancient works survive within the walls of the Philosopher’s Library. Some of Aristotle and Plato’s earliest works are among the hundreds of ancient works that one can find there- works written long ago by the founders of Neo-Platonism, Plotinus, and Ammonius Saccas. Even mysterious texts belonging to a secret ancient organization called the Brethren of Purity, whose ancient origins are still unknown, are said to be hidden somewhere in the Library’s great halls. But, it was not just philosopher’s who’s works could be found there. Works by great Greek and Roman historians like Herodotus, Thucydides, Quintus Curtius Rufus, and Plutarch just to name a few could also be found there. Even modern scholars like Geoffrey of Monmouth, Maimonides, Augustine of Hippo, Roger Bacon, and Albertus Magnus' research and texts hid deep within the secret Library.