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The Templar's Claim
By Sarah A. Powell
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Sarah A. Powell
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIn the Holy Land, Jerusalem 1109 A.D.
The small tunnel was suffocating, barely large enough for two grown men to sit next to one another. The only sound to be heard was clink ... clink ... clink as the men diligently continued to dig. The only light was a small torch to guide them. For almost ten years a small group of nine men have been working in the tunnel, digging day and night, hoping in vain to find something. So far any and all treasure has eluded them.
Ten years away from home, they have meticulously worked. This group of nine courageous men were brought together and stationed in the Holy Land in order to protect pilgrims that wished to travel the roads leading to the holy city of Jerusalem. They could marvel at the wonders of Jerusalem and walk in the footsteps of saints before them. One is in awe of the city where Jesus Christ, the savior himself, had walked. All pilgrims would be protected by these nine righteous men: The Poor Knights of the Temple Mound, The Knights Templar.
Suddenly, in the dim torchlight a shout echoed throughout the tunnel.
"I think I found something!"
As Payens was digging, he was no longer removing dirt, he suddenly hit solid stone.
"Just behind these stones, it has to be!" exclaimed Payens.
As if in a frenzy, a renewed energy enveloped the knights. Finally, after ten long years! Success! The stones were removed one by one in small pieces. Eventually, a small hole was made through the stone wall, large enough for one man to fit through at a time.
"Follow me!" exclaimed Payens as he grabbed a torch.
He crawled through the hole first, not knowing what to expect once inside. He looked around the faintly lit room that he had just entered as he stood up. Payens looked to his left and raised the torch; suddenly he dropped the torch on the ground and fell to his knees, crossed himself and began to pray.
"Oh, my God!"
Chapter TwoFriday October 13, 1307 in Paris, France at dawn
It was a chilly morning as the king's soldiers waited outside for the signal. The sky was alight with rich shades of pink and orange as the sun lightly kissed the sky as it rose. The soldiers were not sure what they were to face as they looked at the front gate. They knew what lay inside and their hearts began to race, and their minds chilled as quickly as their breath on the morning air.
The captain suddenly gave the signal they had been waiting for. All the soldiers drew in a quick breath and rushed towards the gate. They broke through the large oak gate quicker than anticipated. This, they felt was an omen, a sign that they still had the advantage of surprise and would not face armed men. They rushed inside the headquarters of the Templars and scattered throughout the complex. Each man knew where he was assigned to go.
They scurried quickly through the corridors with their pikes ready. As they moved through the labyrinth they were offered no resistance. The Templars were still asleep. The Templars were fierce warriors and none of the soldiers wanted to fight them. They rushed into their sleeping quarters and had their weapons ready to strike. The Templars were shocked to be aroused from their slumber by the king's soldiers. The soldiers quickly roused the Templars and bound their hands behind their backs. They marched them one by one to the carts that waited outside to take their cargo to the king's prison. The prize of those arrested was the Grand Master himself, Jacques Molay
Chapter ThreeIn the King's palace
Phillip stood in his bedroom and looked out the window. Suddenly he threw his head back and laughed. He knew he had won.
"Every Templar in France will rot in my prisons, including Molay himself!"
Phillip stepped back from the window. He was consumed with the thoughts of how much he would gain from the arrest of the Templars. Over the years he had borrowed vast sums of money and now that debt was erased. All the Templar holdings and finances that were within his realm were now under his control. His coffers were brimming with gold until the end of his reign and beyond. The first phase of his plan was a success, now to implement the second.
"The Templars will be tried and burned at the stake for heresy and all their wealth is mine."
Chapter FourScandinavia, 1310 A.D.
We have an agreement."
"Thank you King Hrothgar. The order is in your debt."
"The Templars have always been an ally of the Vikings. It is an honor to help. We have negotiated a fair agreement. I will ensure that thirteen of my best warriors accompany you to Upernavik. I will also provide you with a month's worth of supplies to ensure that your settlement thrives. If you ever need anything you only have to ask."
Chapter FiveUpernavik, Greenland, 1360 A.D.
Sire, when do you set sail?"
"I will sail in the morning."
"Are you sure that you will be received?"
"Positive. I sent word to King Mittgar and he has upheld the word of his father and has agreed to meet with me as soon as I arrive."
Chapter SixScandinavia, 1360 A.D.
Clairvoe stepped off the boat and was greeted by a delegation from King Mittgar.
"Follow us, the King is expecting you. Baltmor, ride ahead and inform the King."
Clairvoe climbed on top of the horse that was provided and followed the delegates to the castle. The Templars and the Vikings have been allies for centuries and were one of the few nations to grant the order sanctuary after Phillip poisoned the Pope against the order. His father negotiated with Hrothgar many years ago for the Upernavik settlement and both were lifelong friends. He was hoping for the same with Mittgar.
Clairvoe arrived at the castle and was taken to the throne room. Mittgar was waiting for his arrival. Mittgar approached Clairvoe and extended his hand warmly to him. Mittgar was a very tall man; he stood well over six foot tall. His hair was long and blonde and his bright blue eyes were warm and friendly. He wore traditional Viking garb and Clairvoe could see a scar on his left arm that was obviously from a battle that Mittgar was in long ago.
"Your majesty, I thank you for meeting me."
"Call me Mittgar. Our fathers were great friends and I hope for the same."
"As do I."
"What can I do for you Clairvoe?"
"I have come to renegotiate for a settlement."
"Renegotiate? What is wrong with the settlement that has been provided?" asked Mittgar concerned.
"It has been our home for nearly fifty years, but the climate is too harsh for our herds."
"I may know of a place not far from Greenland. The weather is more hospitable. We have had settlements in this land for centuries. I will personally see to it that a map is provided. I assume the previous negotiations between our fathers still apply?"
"Yes they will. We will continue to be allies and friends. If you ever need our help all you have to do is ask. If you are ever attacked by your enemies I will provide military support. In addition I will also pay 100,000 gold pieces for the land."
"100,000 that is a steep sum, especially for land you have not seen."
"Well worth the price for land that we can farm and raise our herds on. I know you will provide good land and will be fair."
"Well then, I agree to the terms." Mittgar smiled and extended his hand to Clairvoe to finish the deal.
"Thank you Mittgar."
"Well, this calls for a celebration. Tonight you will stay here in my castle and will dine with me and celebrate brotherhood between our people."
CH7[ Upernavik, Greenland, 1362 A.D.
I will take a small party and explore the land for the new settlement. Once I have explored the area I will return and then we will prepare to move everyone."
"I am eager to reach this new world that Mittgar has told me about." ]CH7
CH8[ Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, 1492 A.D.
They have been at sea for one hundred and ninety days. There was no food left, no water; the entire crew was starving, half suffering from scurvy.
"I don't understand we should have hit land by now."
He looked up; the sky was grey as if another storm was approaching.
"The men will mutiny soon if I do not get supplies."
He put his head in his hands and looked over the side of the ship, shaking his head and began to pray. Suddenly, as if God himself was answering his prayers, a seagull flew by the ship.
"Thank you God, I knew I was blessed and you had not forgotten me!"
Out of nowhere rang a long anticipated shout from the crows nest, "Land!"
"Captain, I see land!"
"Let us drop anchor and go ashore!"
He stepped ashore and looked around. He never could have imagined a new world as a tropical paradise.
"I hereby claim this land in the name of Spain, by the grace of their majesties King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. By the grace of God, I, Christopher Columbus, claim this land for you!"
As he planted a Spanish flag into the ground, the men cheered and celebrated. ]CH8
CH9[ In Vatican City, Vatican council chambers, 1500 A.D.
In the small secluded council chambers were two men. One was dressed in the red robes distinguishing him as a cardinal and the other was dressed in the robes of a pope. The cardinal was knelt before the pope.
"Your Holiness, I ask that you sanction this decree in order to protect ourselves."
"Cardinal Xavier, the secret has been protected for over three hundred years, what do we have to fear?"
"Your Holiness, I fear you have not been properly informed."
"What are you speaking of Father Xavier?"
"Before the explorer Columbus left for the New World, I told him to explore this new land. Your Holiness, I regret to inform you, but what was once thought destroyed is in fact not."
"What?" shouted his Holiness as he stood up from his chair and threw his cane at Father Xavier.
"I speak the truth Your Holiness."
"Father Xavier, if this is true then you have my sanction. Those outside these holy walls must never know. Find them and destroy them and any evidence that they have in their possession, do I make myself clear."
"Yes Your Holiness. I will begin immediately. I know exactly who to entrust this matter to. I will begin recruiting members to the new order."
"Do not fail!"
"I make an oath to Your Holiness that I will not."
"The fate of the church rests in your hands Father Xavier." ]CH9
CH10[ In Kensington, Minnesota 1898 A.D.
Chop ... chop ... chop was the only sound to be heard for miles. It was a beautiful fall day outside: the sky was a deep blue with the sun high and bright with a slight crisp wind to add a little chill in the air.
Chop ... chop ... chop
Chop ... chop ... chop.
Finally, the enormous poplar tree was chopped through. Olaf stepped to the side shouting "timber!" as the tree made a thunderous crash as it fell to the ground. He then proceeded to hitch up the oxen. He tied ropes around the remaining tree stump.
"Pull ... pull ... pull!" yelled Olaf.
The oxen were struggling to remove the stump. The remains of the old poplar were refusing to be budged from their century's old home.
"Pull ... pull ... pull!" yelled Olaf.
Olaf finally began to hear the stump begin to move.
"Just a little more! Pull ... pull ... pull!"
Finally Olaf was able to grab his axe to begin chopping up the stump and something caught his eye. A big rock was sticking out of the roots. He pulled at the roots that had grown around the rock and had become entangled. He chopped at the roots to loosen the rock. Olaf attempted to lift the stone, but it was still caught in the roots. Finally, he was able to pry the stone from the roots.
Olaf went to get his neighbor, Nils Flaten. Nils was amazed at the stone and that Olaf had found something. He helped Olaf lift the stone onto his cart and take it to Olaf's home.
"What is it Olaf?" asked Mills.
"I don't know Mills" answered Olaf.
Olaf cleaned some of the dirt off the stone. The stone was about 31 inches high, 16 inches wide, six inches thick and weighs 202 pounds. The stone reminded him of trying to carry a tombstone. As Olaf removed more dirt from the stone, he noticed something peculiar. It appeared the stone had some form of writing on it. He continued to clean the dirt off and whatever was etched onto the stone became clearer. He could not read whatever was on the stone. Whatever was on the stone was not letters he could recognize, but some strange symbols. 0
CH11[ Peoria, Illinois Bradley University 2010 A.D.
Alright class, we have a few minutes before class ends before spring break. When you come back, I want you to have thoroughly read the material I just handed out to you and be prepared to discuss and debate it when you come back. Take notes for discussion and write at least five questions to help perpetuate discussion. Enjoy your break."
At that the class was dismissed and all the students hurriedly gathered their belongings and ran out of the classroom. Professor Danielle Tortosa gathered her lesson plans and books, put them in her shoulder bag and walked out of the classroom towards her office.
Danielle or Dani as most of her colleagues and friends called her had been teaching history at the university for almost five years. At 33 years old, she was still the youngest member of the faculty. She had an athletic build, a tall slim figure, long blonde hair that she generally pulled up on her head, with deep blue eyes and was considered quite attractive.
She quickly stopped by the department office and grabbed her mail before going to her office to grab her jacket. Once inside, she sat down in her black office chair and began looking through the pile of mail. There was a large manila envelope with only her name on it, with no return address. She opened the envelope and pulled out a small packet of papers with a letter attached to the top:
I was wondering if you would take a look at some of my papers. I would like your expertise and opinion. I believe I have found a connection and onto something major. I will call you soon. X marks the spot this time.
Love you Sis- Henry
Dani decided that she would look more thoroughly at the papers when she got home. Dani put the papers in her shoulder bag and walked out of the office. She walked to a nearby café, as she did everyday to grade papers. As she walked into the café, she was greeted by Charlotte, one of the young waitresses that worked there and was a former student. Dani noticed that Charlotte's hair was pulled up in pigtails and was died a bright purple color as opposed to the green from last week.
"Afternoon Professor Tortosa, your running a little later than usual" Charlotte said as she placed a cup of coffee on a nearby table.
"Afternoon Charlotte, I just had to finish a few things in the office" Dani responded as she took a seat at the table.
"I was wondering when you were going to teach your class on the crusades?"
"Next fall, are you interested?"
"Excellent, well if you have any trouble getting into the class just let me know."
"Thanks Professor Tortosa" Charlotte smiled as she walked away.
Dani open her bag and pulled out a stack of papers and began to read through them and grade them. She was almost done with the pile when the next paper was the packet that Henry had sent to her. She began to look through the papers.
As Dani sifted through the papers, she came across one page with a map drawn onto it. It was obviously a crude map with symbols representing natural landmarks. Dani did not know what the symbols represented. There was no key or notations stating the area the map was suppose to be of. It could be anywhere. As she continued to read through the papers there were references to conspiracies, cover ups, and treasure. One of the last notations that Henry had made was a reference to Kensington, a notation that Dani had no clue as to what it meant. Suddenly her phone rang. She opened her bag, picked up her phone and opened it.
"Hey Sis, how are you doing?" said a cheerful voice.
"I'm fine, how about you? About time you called me, I haven't heard from you in quite a while."
Excerpted from The Templar's Claim by Sarah A. Powell Copyright © 2011 by Sarah A. Powell. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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