Chapter 7

Chapter 7

A Chapter by Calvin

 April 19th, 1511  Helms family castle, Winchester England                                     A seagull let out a cry that echoed across the bay while heavy fog hovered over the waters, the fishing boats now slowly drifted out to sea as the sun began to rise. Madame Alice Helms was standing galivantly on her balcony glaring onto the horizon, in her mind she knew her destiny lurked somewhere in some far away land. She was very beautiful and the only living member of one of the most prominent families in England. Madame Helms was a very shrewd woman of thirty-one years of age, her castle sat atop a cliff overlooking the ocean and the small fishing town of Winchester. Alice Helms ruled the tiny village like a dictator, with her insurrmountable wealth she could get whatever she wanted and buy off whoever she needed to.                                                                                             The people of Winchester lived in fear of Madame Helms beneath her authority, they could not even leave the town without her permission. The castle she lived in was built for her ancestor, Sir John Helms. He was the knight who led the first and only successful crusade to capture Jerusalem, for this the King of England built him a castle on the ocean and gave him rule over the small town of Winchester. Even though the Helms authority over Winchester had been given back to the town itself Alice thought of it as her birthright to micro manage it's residents with ruthless intensity. Madame Helms had anything a woman could want, but there was one thing that she give all of her riches for.                                                                                                           Alice was a very powerful woman in Europe, perhaps the most. There were many conspiracies and mysteries surrounding her, Madame Helms would only leave her castle once per month to collect the taxes from the people of Winchester. The taxes were imposed by Alice herself, the residents had to pay the tax to be allowed to live on what Madame Helms called her land, the first and only resident to refuse to pay her tax was a fisherman who mysteriously tied himself to an anchor and threw himself overboard his vessel. Alice Helms stored a collection of Roman artifacts and relics inside the dungeon of the castle, it was for her eyes only. She believed herself to be the direct descendant of the Empress Helena.                                                                                                           " Everlasting life is within our reach Foles, all we have to do is take it. " said Madame Helms .  Foles was a proper and dignified English servant who had served as Alice Helms's butler for 15 years. " Pardon me madame? " Foles replied confused " Foles, you have been faithful to me all these years. I believe it is time to repay you in some way. "  she answered                   " How madame? "  he asked " In a few short months or perhaps a year or two I will become immortal, It is only fair that you should rule England with me. "  " immortal madame Helms? " " That's right Foles, everlasting life. I want to tell you a story, it's a story of what really happened on my ancestor's crusade. When the muslims were finally driven out of Jerusalem a friend of my ancestor's named Sir Henry Lindisfarne told him of an astonishing discovery in a network of tunnels beneath Jerusalem. They insisted that Sir John have a look at it himself, when he arrived he and the other knights crawled through miles of tunnel beneath The Holy City. Finally the knights reached a room inside a tunnel filled with  priceless treasures from Solomon's Temple, in another room separated by two large doors made of cedar they pulled back a veil and uncovered a golden box the size of a small casket. It had two angels made of gold with their wings stretching out to each other resting on top of the lid, the box would bring knights to their knees if they wandered too close to it. It was very ancient, centuries older than any other relic found beneath the city. Another discovery was a sacred tomb dug into a mountain which was by the inscription on the stone owned by Joseph of Arimethea, inside the tomb they simply could not believe what they had found. The cup of everlasting life, a simple carpenter's cup shining with the glory of God. Stained with the blood of the lamb, it gives everlasting life to whoever drinks from it. After finding these priceless artifacts the knights smuggled them to a mythical viking land called vinland, I intend to retrieve the grail from vinland and use it to take what's rightfully mine. The throne of England. "      " How do you intend to retrieve it from a land that may not exist? " asked Foles.                 Madame Helms turned around and walked to the fireplace in her bedroom, she hit her hand repeatedly on the ash-covered bricks inside the mantle. A secret drawer popped out from beneath the fireplace with an ancient, worn scroll inside it. Alice removed the scroll and brushed the dust off it with her hand, she reluctantly revealed the contents of the scroll to Foles.                     " My ancestor made this map after his return from vinland, it has been passed down from generation to generation. The grail  is somewhere along the coast.  "                                                     " It shows here on the map that the ark and Solomon's Temple are hidden far inland. "  " They are trifles to me!!!!! Nothing is more valuable than the grail! "    " How will you retrieve it madame Helms? "   " Four months and 10 days ago a ship called La Fantasia set sail from Barcelona. They were sent on a mission by King Ferdinand to search for gold for Spain, I made a deal with the spanish King to trade him the locations of english troops for sending a ship to the new world. A Captain Diego Santonio was put in charge of the mission, I understand he is one of the best mariners Spain has to offer. "     " Madame, how do you know this Captain Santonio will retrieve it for you? "   " Captain Santonio won't, I have an imposter disquised as a conquistador who will retrieve it for me. You might say he's a long-lost relative of mine. "      " One more thing madame, how do you know this Captain Santonio will land at the correct location on the map? "      " The navigator aboard La Fantasia studied navigation here in England. He was a dashing, young man, we met at a dance at Buckingham Palace. Hernando Iglesias is his name, I payed him three thousand pounds to lead the ship to vinland saying it will get them to their destination faster. "      " You certainly covered all the details madame. " replied Foles. " When you are the future Queen of Europe, one needs to be detail-oriented. "      " Queen of Europe? "     " Yes Foles, Queen of Europe. "     " How is that possible madame? "  " After I take the throne of England, there will be only one kingdom to stand in my way of conquering all of Europe. Spain! Once those dreadful conquistadors see that I have possession of the Holy Grail they will immediately defect, their Roman-Catholic religion would obligate them to. With possession of the grail I will proclaim myself the Roman-Catholic Queen of Europe, with the chalice I shall rule an entire religion forever.  "        Foles walked away confused and somewhat bewildered over what he was told by Madame Helms, in his mind he wanted to believe her knowing that he would be in position to rule Europe with her. Alice then retreated to her study in the middle of the castle and looked over her family tree that she had paid thousands of pounds for to discover her ancient family roots, it had just arrived by currior and she was desperately anxious to have a look inside. Alice tore the package open and flipped through the pages violently to discover if her assumptions were correct, she glanced at the pages briefly to make sure it was the right family. Just a few generations back was Sir John Helms, the most famous of all her known ancestors. A few more pages and she found Sigared, King of the Saxons.                                  After twenty minutes of constant page flipping a name caught her eye, the name she had paid thousands to trace. Empress Helena of Constantanople, a sigh of relief let out of Alice's lungs. She ran as fast as she could to the dungeon of the castle, inside it was a collection of Roman artifacts from the time of Empress Helena which filled the entire room. In the front of the room was the very throne which the Empress had ruled in, it was Alice's pride and joy. She sat proudly down in it and proclaimed " Europe shall belong to me as it did to Empress Helena! I will reign in her place in due time." Every artifact in the room was stolen, smuggled, or bought at a tremendously high price.                                                                         The dungeon had a very dark past, citizens of Winchester who did not pay their taxes were taken to it and beaten, whipped, and tortured if they did not produce the money. The darkness of the room had a ghostly feel that did'nt seem to bother Alice, ice water ran through her veins. Madame Helms was mostly distracted by the one thing that was missing from her collection, the grail. According to Roman legend Empress Helena had discovered the grail while she was coming to behold the place where the saviour suffered in Golgatha, she discovered it in some unknown cavern near the place where the true cross was discovered and had it placed in Jesus Christ's tomb.                                                                            The collection was the most valuable in Europe but was also the most secret. No one except Madame Helms with her political influence and insurrmountable wealth could acquire such priceless relics, it was hidden away in the dark dungeons of the Helms family castle. The castle itself was completely impregnible, it sat atop a cliff five-hundred feet above the sea. Alice hired french mercanaries to guard it closely at all times, they also worked as henchmen for Madame Helms. The mercanaries intimidated, murdered, stole from, kiddnapped and physically harmed anyone she told them to.                                                                                There had been rumors that Alice Helms was England's true monarch and that Henry VIII was nothing more than a puppet. Madame Helms began walking to her bedroom through the haunted halls of the dark and lonely Helms castle, paintings on the walls of helpless peasents being slain by knights decorated the rooms. It seemed as if the entire theme of the castle was violence and evil, these things thrilled and excited Alice. As she arrived at her armoury she quickly ripped off the tarp which concealed her masterpiece, a model of a colossal Roman palace. Once Madame Helms conquered Europe she would rule in the same place her ancestor ruled, Rome.                                                            Alice's Euphoria was broken up by an angry man busting into the room,                    " I have something to say to you Madame! " the man said sharply                                                                                                             Alice was startled at his bold intrusion.                                                                                                      " Come in, tell me whatever is on your mind. " Madame Helms replied calmly.                                " A few months ago me and some of my friends were in an alley and watched as one of your frenchmen beat a poor sailor to death for not making a payment on his loan. "                                                        Madame Helms froze for a few moments knowing he spoke the truth, but she regained her composure and cooly replied                                                                                                            " I am not responsible for the activities of my guards, if he really beat the poor sailor he will pay for it I assure you. But I am not responsible for his actions. "          " There was more than just one person involved madame, me and my friends witnessed you watching the brutality ten feet away. "                                                                                                                      " That is a lie!!!!!! " Alice shouted knowing that the eyewitness testimony of the three fishermen would put her in a very comprimising situation.                               " I thought maybe you might be interested in purchasing our silence, nothing unreasonable, say five-thousand pounds. " replied the shrewd mariner.                                                                                                      Concealing her mischeavious plans for the blackmailer Madame Helms replied " Very well, I shall pay you tomorrow at the front gate. Foles will show you out. "                    The leader of the french mercanaries named  Xavian Laurent came into the room as Foles quietly showed the angry fisherman out , he was six-foot eight and was a very intimidating figure. Xavian was wanted for murder and piracy in several different countries except England, Madame Helm's money made sure of that. His hair was as black as coal and his piercing blue eyes would penetrate through even the roughest of men                                                                      " What did that man want? " he asked Alice in his dry, scratchy voice.                     " He saw what happened a week ago when that old sailor would'nt pay me back my money and demands I pay for his silence. " she replied.                                         " Nothing to worry about, it would be your word against his. " said Xavian with a slight grin.                                                                                                       " Not when there is more than one witness, his friends caught a glimpse of us too. There are already many suspicions among the royal courts regarding activities here in Winchester, just one witness would not be enough but more than one would put all of us in a very difficult situaution. "                                                                 " What will you do Madame? "                                                                             " You know what to do Xavian. But this time make it look as if he were murdered, that would definately scare his friends from any foolish attempt to turn us in. "        " Oui Madame. "                                                                                            Xavian rushed out of the room and signaled with his finger to some of his henchman waiting just out side the door, the men knew that signal all too well. The french pirates grabbed their weapons and headed for the door, Foles heard their boots clapping loudly against the castle floor and immediately he recognized what was to be done. Foles Began leading the unsuspecting mariner away from the door and towards the long abandoned wine cellar, he would become sick to his stomach thinking of the attrabulous fate which awaited the would-be blackmailer. Xavian's henchmen were tightly gripping their swords awaiting the moment, their evil minds embraced bloodshed. With every step they became closer to the dead end which awaited them at the end of the hall, Foles personally did not approve the activities in which Xavian and his frenchmen participated.                                                 Guilt ate at his soul from within, Foles could not quit his job because he knew too many of Madame Helms's dark secrets. He would be silenced in a very unpleasant way if he left his job as butler at Helms family castle, Foles simply kept his moral values to himself and followed orders. He could not help but pity the helpless mariner who he was leading to his death, Xavian and his french murderers were not far behind them. Soon the old sailor began looking around as if he were puzzled as to where Foles was leading him, the wine cellar where Madame Helms had ordered him to lead her helpless victim was drawing ever near. The mariner then asked Foles about what was going on.                                                                                  " Where are you taking me? This is'nt the way to the door! "                                   " Your right sir, this is the wine cellar. Please realize that I never wished any harm to come opon you. "                                                                                         " What in heaven's name are you talking about? "                               By then it was too late for the blackmailing fisherman, from the corner of his blue eyes he could see three large men charging at him with swords. Foles ducked his head a tear of mercy streamed gracefully from his eye as he heard the screams and cries for help of the helpless sailor being slahed and diced to death by Xavian and his henchmen in the dark depths of Helms castle.          

© 2010 Calvin

Author's Note

please excuse grammar issues, misspellings, etc.

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Added on November 4, 2010
Last Updated on November 12, 2010
Tags: knights, castle, england, wealth, ark of the covenant, holy grail



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