Read The Lafayette Sword Online

Authors: Eric Giacometti

Tags: #Freemasons;Freemason secrets;Freemasonry;Gold;Nicolas Flamel;thriller;secret societies;Paris;New York;Statue of Liberty;esoteric thriller;secret;secret knowledge;enlightenment;Eiffel tower

The Lafayette Sword (24 page)


Château de Tuz, Pontoise

March 24, 1355

icolas Flamel and his wife sneaked out of Paris with the Baron of Tuz. Their worker had family in the country and went off to
join them.

The couple slept two full days after arriving at the château. When they awoke, they were hungry, and the baron happily fed them at his table far removed from Paris. Flamel was also coming back to his senses after all the emotion and adventure. Before leaving the capital, he'd gone to the church and recovered Isaac Benserade's book, but he hadn't wanted to open it. It now lay in the baron's private study, far from t

“I have excellent news,” Lord Tuz said. “Bernard de Rhenac
is dead.”

“Really?” Fl
amel said.

“Yes, yes. He was crushed in the stampede right in front of your shop. A number of his guards died,
as well.”

“So we can go home?” Lady Perene
lle asked.

Jean-Baptiste de Tuz shook his head. “I don't recommend it. Guy de Pareilles hasn't concluded his investigation, and he's looking for you. He doesn't know if you're alive or piled in the common grave they had to dig after the British attack. I advise you to stay here until you're f

“But we have nothing left. How will we live?” Lady Perene
lle asked.

“I will help you two. God gave me a fortune. It's nothing for me to support my friends in need. But even though I think it's wise to stay away, I'm aware that you might miss your home too much, Lady Perenelle. You could return to your shop as a grieving widow—if you understand what I mean. I'd be happy to have some of my people keep an eye on you until things blow over and your husband can
join you.”

Flamel saw a strange sparkle in his protector's eye. Once again assuring Lady Perenelle that they would be all right, Tuz got up and walked over to the

Flamel joined him, and when they were alone the baron whispered, “You know, I opened that book of yours. Unfortunately, I don't have the knowledge required to understand its meaning, but it's about gold and also, surprisingly, about immortality. If God has left this manuscript to you, it's clearly a great responsibility. You must uncover th
e secret.”

Flamel thought for a while before answering. “I refuse. Too many men have died for this book. And what exactly would I do with immortality? It's di

Tuz grabbed his shoulders. “You must let go of your superstitions. Fear is man's worst enemy. And think about all the good you can do for those ar
ound you.”

Flamel looked his friend in the eye and excused himself. He needed time
to think.

“You're right, my friend. I wouldn't want to be in your place. Many strange ideas crossed my mind when I was looking at those illustrations of fabulous creatures, winged snakes, and men and women coupling in blood-filled tubs. I know they're traps concealing incredible secrets that have been waiting centuries to be

Flamel retreated to his room for a good hour before coming back down and asking to see both Tuz and Lady

“My decision is final. May God guide me. Lady Perenelle will return to Paris, but I will not stay here. I must do penance with a pilgrimage to Saint Jacques de Compostelle. I have committed grave sins. Out of cowardice, I was an accomplice to the torture of an innocent soul. I had impure thoughts. I killed a man in a horrible manner. I stole out of greed, and I lied before God. I must find my fai
th again.”

“What about the book, my friend?”
Tuz asked.

“On the way, I will find Flore de Cenevières and return the book to her. She alone is worthy to guard Isaac Benserade's

Lady Perenelle squeezed his hand. He k
issed her.

“I will leave in
two days.”


Brooklyn, New York

Present day

undreds of rats swirled magma-like fifteen feet below their feet. Their sharp screeches rose up from
the earth.

The door behind them sla
mmed shut.

“Now we're stuck,” Ma
rcas said.

Joan pounded on the door, but it did
n't budge.

At the same time, the rats looked up. Marcas felt a mass of beady eyes hone in on him and his c

The first contingent found the steps leading to the platform, and, as if pushed by a giant hand, the others fell into formation. A human feast awaited them a
t the top.

Marcas turned to Robinson, who was holding his service weapon in front of him. Even with the extra rounds, he'd be able to hold off the horde for only a few minutes. They needed to find
a way out.

In the shadows on the other side of the room, Marcas could make out a narrow

Robinson inched his way to the edge of the platform. “The people who built this room couldn't possibly have found better guardians. There's no way we can get past them. We'll be eaten alive. There has to be some way to continue, though. What did the mes
sage say?”

Marcas unrolled the map and read the second line out loud: “Perfection, the stone chases away the

Joan shone the light on the walls and ceiling. In the stone ceiling, they could make out what looked like closed portholes. She swept the ground with the flashlight and found a row of circular openings at the bottom of the walls, almost entirely masked by the mas
s of rats.

“Over here,” Robinson called out. “Give me some light. I feel something under my hand.” He was going around the edges of
the door.

“Look,” he shouted over the screeching of the rats. “Symbols engraved just left of
the door.”

“The same as in the warehouse,”
Joan said.

“Another reason to be careful,” Marcas said, examining the symbols: a triangle with an eye in the middle, a rough stone on a table, and a cube
on a base.

“Perfection, the stone chases away the

Robinson pointed to the second symbol, and Marcas immediately comprehended. Of course! A rough stone, the symbol of the Freemason himself, who had to be polished to chase away his own shadows. Just as Robinson went to touch it, Marcas grabbed
his wrist.

Not that!”

“Why? The rough stone is transformed. It's

“Too obvious. After getting through the first trap, do you really think the second would be that easy? Perfection refers to the nature of the stone. It can't be rough, bu
t rather—”

“A polished cube. Of course. The rough stone become
s a cube.”

Joan Archambeau was watching the rats, as if h

“Faster!” she said. “Or we're
done for.”

The first rats had reached the platform. Robinson aimed and shot two of them. The horde screeched in unison and devoured the dea
d animals.

Marcas pressed
the cube.

Immediately the portholes opened and filled the room with a blinding light. The panicked rats retreated through the openings at the bottom of
the walls.

As the room emptied, two steel tracks appeared on the feces-covered floor, along with a handcar. All around were old rolls of cables and rusty tools straight out of a Civil Wa
r museum.

Joan was the first down the st
one steps.

“Ingenious,” Marcas said. “Our brothers did fabulous work. I just hope the lights don't
go off.”

“In any case, we need to keep moving,” Robinson said. “The rats will come back, I'm sure. Between the fear of light and a tempting meal of human flesh, I'm betting the meat will
win out.”

The tunnel was as dark
as night.

Marcas could tell Joan was still worried. “Isn't there any other way out?”
she asked.

Tiny red eyes were peering ou
t at them.

“We can't go back now,” Marcas said. “We've got to kee
p moving.”

Robinson climbed onto the car and fiddled with the walking beam. “Seems to be in working order. Are yo
u coming?”

Marcas and Joan jumped on. The two men started to push and pull. The handcar squealed and shook the rails and then started moving. Soon they felt like they were on a primitive subway car, making headway through t
he tunnel.

“How old do you think this thing is?” Mar
cas asked.

“I'm guessing the end of the nineteenth century,” Joan said. “The industrial revolution was booming in New York at the time. The first tall buildings were going up. The railways were being built. The beginning of the go
lden age.”

Marcas looked at her, puzzled by the ever-changing moods. One minute she was arrogant. The next she was scared to death, and a moment later, she was a teacher giving them a lesson in urba
n history.

“It was more an age of iron than gold,” Marcas said. “Was urban history a requirement for your la
w degree?”

She smiled and seemed to relax. “No, my father loved history, especially New York history. He dragged me to talks at all the libraries. I learned about the first tunnels dug under the city. A lot of them have been studied in grea
t detail.”

Her voice was getting lost in the noise of the handcar. They passed groups of rats from time to time. As they continued downward, Robinson and Marcas stopped pushing and pulling and let the handcar roll on its own. Marcas stretched
his arms.

“We're headed southwest,” Robinson said, checking his compass. “We must be under the Upper Bay and are probably headed toward New Jersey. There are millions of tons of water above us. Let's hope the walls are strong. Joan, you know your tunnels. Has there ever been a

The worried look was back on the lawyer-historian's face. “Yes, as a matter of fact. In the Hudson River Tunnel
in 1880.”

Robinson started pushing and pulling again
. “Great.”


Nicolas Flamel's Journal

March 29

t's been four days since I left my wife, my shop, and everything else that was mine. This is the first time I've traveled a great distance from Paris. Most people of my generation never had the choice or the desire to leave. Times are hard, and the roads are dangerous. For so long, I was pleased with my life in my good city, protected from the dangers and temptations of the world. I thanked God every time I woke up to see the sun. And I lit a candle in the church daily to thank God for his

Yet that simple happiness was not enough for me. I had a thirst. Whenever I saw a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land, his skin darkened by the sun and his bones weary from travel, I longed for such

And here I am today, one of them, in a long cape blackened with mud, a staff in hand, on the path of Sain
t Jacques.

March 30

I have crossed the Loire and arrived in Chinon. Farmers returning from the hunt yesterday told me that the country is infested with gangs working for the British. They're pillaging isolated farms and holding up travelers. This is the first I've heard such things, and I've yet to encounter any bandits. What could they possibly steal from me? I live on charity and beg for bread outside the churches. I'm nothing more than an errant soul who has put himself in Go
d's hands.

I have only one treasure—the book. The outlaws do not know how to read, and there is little chance they will take it. But as a precaution, I carefully cut out the pages before I left. I rolled each one up and sewed them into the lining of my cape. I cannot allow the book to be stolen, as it is not mine. I am just a depository. I must return it to its legitim
ate owner.

May God p
rotect me.


Somewhere under the Upper Bay

Present day

arcas felt like he was in a mystical painting by Hieronymous Bosch. After a night in the depths with demons in the shape of the rats, he was being delivered and drawn closer to
the truth.

The more he thought about it, the entire journey from Paris to this underground maze resembled a succession of trials, a sort of initiation ritual. A nocturnal path over obstacles and through traps designed to lead to the truth. He even wondered if the cursed brother, the killer, wasn't an evil guide through the circle
s of hell.


The car shook as it came
to a halt.

“Everyone okay?” Robin
son asked.

The trio hopped off and looked down a narrowe
r tunnel.

It's too narrow for a handcar,” Robin
son said.”

“So we go on foot,” Mar
cas said.

The group walked in a line, swinging their flashlights left and right. They could see traces of the pickaxes that had broken the polished rock. Occasionally, a vein of quartz glittered, or a drop of water hit the ground with a crystalline plop. Suddenly, the walls vanished. Marcas directed his light in fro
nt of him.

They had arrived in a gigantic room—really, a cave. The ceiling was over thirty meters above them, a suspended sky. The beams from their flashlights bounced off the stone like faraway stars. They stood a
nd stared.

“Incredible,” Robin
son said.

“That's not all.” Marcas was directing his light toward the center of the space, where two massive pillars stood as tall as buildings. They were covered with engravings. Each had a pointed top that gave off golden re

“Antoine, do those two pillars remind you of something?” Robin
son asked.

Marcas didn't respond. He was blown away by this underground temple. “You're right,” he finally said, slowly approaching th
e columns.

He was in familiar territory. “He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jachin and the one to the no
rth Boaz.”

“The Book of Kings,” Robi
nson said.

“Jachin and Boaz, the two pillars of the Masoni
c temple.”

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