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 (5 page)

BOOK: The Lafayette Sword
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Grand Orient Masonic Hall

Evening of the initiation

he two men were just a few meters from each other. Marcas inche
d forward.

“How could you have done such a shamef
ul thing?”

“Someone needs to clean the stable. My rank authorizes me
to do it.”

hat rank?”

“Come now, my brother. Show some wisdom. There aren't many of us who can claim vengeance. Now sto
p moving.”

Marcas froze, his hand on
his sword.

“You have no chance of

“My poor brother, this is my home. I can go wherever
I like.”

Marcas glanced around. Where were the other

As if the killer could read his mind, the man bent his knees and sprang forward, aiming his knife at Marcas's gut. Without a second to spare Marcas leaped to the side and fell on the chairs, crashing to the floor. He swore and got to his feet, seeing the emergency exit already shutting behind t
he killer.

Marcas rushed out to the central staircase, following the sound of footsteps near the museum. He was heading toward the back exit, which had been blocked off when the building was renovated. The killer was

The guard arrived, carrying a
Taser X26.

“Where'd you get that? Only law enforcement can have those. I'll take it. The guy has
a knife.”

“I got your back. They called me the Black Angel when I was w

“Well, Black Angel, get ready. On my signal we're heading in there.” Marcas turned the Taser on and pushed the museum
door open.


The banks of the Seine

March 13, 1355

cross the Seine, a window lit up in the Louvre. The crowd cheered as the king, surrounded by his family, appeared on the balcony. Flamel looked at the henchman holding the torch near
the pyre.

The king gave the signal. The henchman lowered his arm, and the cheering gre
w louder.

As the flames encircled the pile of wood, the prisoner struggled to escape his death. But already thick smoke was swirling up. The henchman's aids rushed to fan the blaze. They poked at it with pitchforks. The prisoner could die from the smoke before the fire ever got to him. And the people of Paris would be frustrated. Insults and curses were flying in the air, along with the fi
rst ashes.

Flamel made the sign of
the cross.

Just then a gust of wind inflamed the already strident onlookers. They seemed to interpret it as a sign from God. The men began to wail and throw themselves on the ground. Women tore at their

“I'm ashamed for these people,” Lord
Tuz said.

The first flame reached the prisoner's shirt, and he lit up like a torch. The crow
d reacted.

The prisoner squirmed a final time before the fire started eating his flesh. His hair blazed. His skin melted, and his eyes

Next to Flamel, a man unbuttoned his pants and frenetically stroked his penis. Copulating couples moaned in t
he bushes.

Flamel was

The baron took him by the shoulder. “Come, my friend. Let's leave this hellish cesspool. I'll take
you home.”

When they reached the bridge, a wooden barrier blocked the way. A huge drunkard brandishing a sword stepped in fron
t of them.

“Nobody leaves. It's a party. Are you bad Chr

The baron pushed Flamel aside and ordered the man to move. “Rogue, your manners are as bad as your breath. Get out of
our way.”

The giant burst out laughing and pointed his sword at them. “Get back to the fire, or I'll cut you
in half.”

Before he could say another word, the baron pulled out a dagger, sidestepped the sword, and plunged the blade into the man's belly. The man stumbled and collapsed. Tuz stepped over the body and took Fla
mel's arm.

“More talk than brawn, like so many in Paris these days. My valet will curse me when he has to clean my dagger.
Let's go.”

A wild scream rose up from
the crowd.

el turned.

The prisoner's head had just rolled into th
e inferno.


Grand Orient Masonic Hall

Evening of the initiation

he immense and windowless museum was dark. The only light was from the hallway. It illuminated a few display cases containing aprons that had belonged to well-known Freemasons, precious eighteenth-century documents, and priceless ritual objects. Otherwise, the space was cluttered with scaffolding and wooden crates. Renovation work had been under way since the beginning of the year. Marcas knelt down and signaled to the guard. Nothi
ng moved.

“What do we do now?” the guard

“Turn on th
e lights.”

“The electricity's being redone. There's just the emergency lighting. The switch is across
the room.”

“Okay, that's where we go. You take the left. I'll take the right. We'll get th
e bastard.

Marcas stood up. Their light footsteps were the o
nly sound.

When Marcas reached the stage, he heard voices in the hallway. The worshipful master had arrived with several

“He's in here, and he's armed,” Marca
s shouted.

The voices went silent. Marcas felt the switch. The emergency lights came on, and Marcas climbed onto the stage. He looked around, pushing aside the crates and construction m

There was no killer. He had

The guard and the brothers j
oined him.

“Are you sure he came in here?” one of the brothers asked. “Could he have taken the b
ack exit?”

“That's impossible,” the guard said. “It's blo
cked off.”

As more brothers arrived, Marcas turned to the worshipful master. “Go call the police. Tell them I'm here, but we need backup. I know the killer came into the museum. Are you sure there's no other
way out?”

The worshipful master shook his head. “Not that I
know of.”

“Okay. Just go make t
hat call.”

The worshipful master hurried out of t
he museum.

Marcas was getting angrier by the minute. He saw Paul in his carbon-fiber wheelchair. The killer had probably picked Paul because he thought he was weak and vulnerable. How the man didn't know his friend! He was smart, capable, and faster in his chair than Marcas was on foot. Unfortunately, it hadn't saved him from disaster. Who was this killer? A Freemason—Marcas was aware of that much. And from what the man had said, Marcas knew he held one of the highest ranks, that of

He felt a hand on his shoulder. It was the grand secretary, Guy

“This is terrible. Blood in the temple. The grand master is out of town. If there's anything
I can do…”

Marcas sat down on a wooden crate. “I know the killer came in here. But then he vanished. Either he can walk through walls, or, mor
e likely…”

“He found another way out,”
Guy said.

ut where?”

The grand secretary looked around the stage. “You haven't looked hard enough,


Île de la Cité

March 13, 1355

here is the prisoner?” the torturer asked, his face stern. He enjoyed watching the guard
s stiffen.

One answered. “She is on t
he stone.”

The torturer usually handled suspects right from their arrival and settled them in, but someone had already done it for him. Clearly, the royalty wanted something important from this woman. He would make
her talk.

He took the stairs to the lower rooms, which were dank and cold. The dungeon itself was below these rooms. Prisoners who didn't confess were tossed down there. Either the rats or the waters that routinely flooded the dungeon would finish
them off.

He headed to the vaulted interrogation room, which stank of saltpeter and fear. He thought about the centuries that prisoners had been interrogated in this sewer-like cellar, the hundreds of years they had been chained to the stone, polished by suffering and blood. He had introduced his own innovation: replacing the chains with leather straps that ate into the prisoners' wrists and ankles as they tried to escape the torment. Then he would dip the straps in vinegar and put them back on to eat away the flesh and expose the tendons. At that stage, the prisoners were begging
for death.

He opened his collar and removed the key hanging around his neck. The door scraped against the rough cobblestone as he entered
the room.

The woman on the table moved. It was the startled movement of someone awakened from a

Small oil lamps burned at the corners of the room, throwing a pale flickering light on the walls green with fungus. A dark layer of dried blood and filth covered the stone floor. The torturer wouldn't allow anyone to clean it. Prisoners entered barefoot, and some confessed before they were eve
n tied up.

The torturer examined his new victim. She was young. Her hair formed a corolla around her delicately chiseled face. She was naked, except for thin linen panties covering her pubic area. It was the same fabric found in shops that supplied the nobility. She had a canvas gag in her mouth, and leather straps secured her to her be
d of pain.

He verified
the bonds.

Now he would let this angel know that her master from hell ha
d arrived.

When the first drops of burning wax hit her stomach, she started shaking. As the hot liquid molded to her shape, she let out a
long moan.

The torturer lodged the burning candle in her navel. “I see your eyes. They say pain. They say fear. And yet you know nei
ther yet.”

The woman's eyes g
rew wider.

“You think you have suffered, but you are wrong. True suffering is beyond what you can imagine. Pain has no limits. And fear—that has no limit
s either.

Sweat was pouring out o
f her now.

“This is only the beginning. Soon your entire being will let go. I won't even have to touch you. Fear overcomes all modesty. But don't worry. Shame will no longer be a concern for you. Give yourself up. Soon you will have so much water in your belly you will beg me to open your entrails and p
urge you.”

The woman turned a bright red as an acrid odor filled the room. She was

“If I removed the gag you would already speak. But that doesn't interest me. I'm going to leave you to reflect on your destiny. To meditate. I will be back

The torturer picked up the candle and let the hot wax stream down the woman's abdomen. She screamed int
o the gag.

He blew out the candle. “Until


Grand Orient Masonic Hall

Evening of the initiation

uy Andrivaux climbed onto the stage and moved aside a sheet of plywood. The plywood had concealed a wall hanging. He pushed back the hanging, pulled out a lighter, and held the flame over an opening. The flame faintly illuminated a stone

“Follow me. This hidden passage leads to the museum storage area. Few brothers know
about it.”

“I'll go first,” Marcas said, already heading down the stairs. At the bottom, he took out his own lighter and looked around. The space was full of crates and furniture from var
ious eras.

“No trace of the killer,” he told Andrivaux, who had joined him. “Is there an emerge
ncy exit?”

“No. There was, but it was walled up when we were correcting our flooding problem. I think I know where our man went, though. Come
with me.”

Andrivaux walked over to the wall on their right. In its center was a steel rectangle embossed with a tree in what looked like a cemetery filled wit
h crosses.

“I suppose you recognize this symbol, which was carved by one of our anonymous brothers,” Andri
vaux said.

“Yes, an acacia tree planted to find Master Hiram's body after he w
as slain.”

“You know your classics,” the grand secretary said, running his hand along the branches of the tree. He pressed on
e of them.

The sound of stone scraping stone filled the room as a gaping hole appeared in the floor. Andrivaux held out his lighter again, illuminating an ir
on ladder.

“What's that?” Mar
cas asked.

“A secret passage that probably dates to the nineteenth century, when Cardinal Richelieu's former mansion was converted to Freemason headquarters. I found the plans in some documents mixed in with the archives the Nazis stole from us during the war. You remember. We got them back not so
long ago.”

Marcas nodded. He did, indeed, remember. The archives had caused much blood to flow. He leaned over the hole. “Is it my imagination, or do I see a light at the bottom of this well
of souls?”

“There's an old electric installation that I had a brother restore last year. I wanted to surprise the grand master. I thought the brother electrician and I were the only ones who knew about it. But apparently our killer is aware o
f it too.”

“Where does t
his lead?”

“There are three underground passages leading out from the bottom of the ladder. One goes north, to the sewage pipes under the Rue Lafayette, if my calculations are correct. The second goes south and ends at a bricked-up wall, undoubtedly under the Rue de la Grange-Batelière. T
he third…”

Marcas was preparing to head down into the darkness when the grand secretary grabbe
d his arm.

“Wait. Let me go ahead of you. I'm familiar with it, and you aren't. There are two flashlights at the bottom of th
e ladder.”

The two man entered the dark hole, one after
the other.

“Be careful,” Marcas told Andrivaux. “Our man could be do
wn there.”

“I doubt that he stayed down here very long. If he knows about this, I'm sure he knows how to get out. The third passage runs more than a kilometer. It goes eastward, toward the Trinity neighborhood, and connects with a hallway leading to the catacombs. That is, if you believe the

Marcas followed Andrivaux, making sure the Taser was still on his belt. “How do you think he managed to close the passageway after

“He must know th
e secret.”

t secret?”

“There's a mechanism at the seventh rung of the ladder. You press it, and the stone closes over the

“What do you do to open it fr
om below?”

“You have to step on the fifth rung and then the third rung, skipping the fourth, and the door opens. Three, five, and seven—the symbolic numbers for apprentice, fellowcraft, a
nd master.

Marcas heard the dull scraping of the stone closing over the hole. They were now cut off from
the world.

The walls were damp and smelled of mold as they made thei
r descent.

“How deep are we?” Mar
cas asked.

“Twenty meters, at least. The brothers knew what they were doing. The engineer who designed this passageway was employed by the Baron Haussmann, who, as you know, was responsible for so many of the city's public works. He had all the plans for this nei

They arrived at the last rung and entered a vaulted room. Three doorway-size openings led in different directions. A Masonic symbol was engraved atop each: an eye in a triangle, a knotted rope, and a skull and c

Three possible exits for t
he killer.

Marcas squatted on the dusty floor and looked for footprints, while Andrivaux pulled out the two fl

“What kind of shoes do you wear when you come down here to work on the ele

“Waterproof boots. The sewers are
not far.”

Marcas pointed to the doorway with the knotted-ro
pe symbol.

“So that's where he went. Which o
ne is it?”

“The southern one. That's strange. It's the one that's bricked off. I don't understand how he coul
d escape.”

Marcas aimed the flashlight down the hallway. The light was soon lost in the shadows. Somewhere in this passageway was a man who had killed two brothers. He could still see those eyes behind the mask. And the man had an

Marcas turned to the grand secretary. “You'd better go warn our friends. This is too d


“Our police backup should have arrived by now. I'll n
eed them.”

“Be careful. These passageways, as well-built as they are, still aren't stable. They could collapse at any time. It's like Swiss cheese under
the city.”

Marcas held a flashlight in one hand and kept his other hand on his Taser. He headed down the p

BOOK: The Lafayette Sword
4.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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