V-Ger 5

V-Ger – Stars of EternityChapter 5 – The Commandery

Chapter 5: The Commandery

Standing before the flames of the Athanor, I awoke with a bewildered mind, gathering the faint memories of the strange dream I had just experienced. Roaming through the arid and desolate expanses separating two sacred sites, receptacles of the Divine Light, which seemed strangely familiar, I had managed to escape the assassination attempts that had been made against me. I still visualized those alcoves nestled within gigantic galleries where ritual objects were meticulously arranged, but I couldn’t focus my attention more precisely to locate the place of their confinement. Barely a collection of parchment, an object resembling a two-headed raptor glimpsed, and my vision inevitably blurred.

I stood for a moment contemplating the flames of the hearth, not knowing who I truly was, and what I was doing in this place. Suddenly, a flash of clarity enlightened my mind. I was Blanche of Autun, the illegitimate daughter of Duke Robert of Burgundy, exiled to this place, the Templar commandery of Beaune, for several years now.

The allies of my illustrious progenitor had conspired and had me expelled from the Court of the Duchy when I was but a child. My brother Grégoire, my only loving family in this hostile world, had taken me under his protection, just as he had been knighted into the Templar Order.

Thus, I spent these few years hidden from hostile eyes in the shadows of the Templar commanderies. Many times we had to traverse the moor to escape those who wished to see me perish, including my own illustrious progenitor, for I was deemed a potential threat to the inheritance of his noble lineage.

Robert’s warlike inclinations led him to wage war in distant lands, plundering, destroying, violating, and massacring everything in his path. And when he returned to his domain, his fury could find no rest but in torturing, tormenting, and annihilating with his own hands any being he deemed inferior. How many pages, how many servants were slain by his wrath! How many maids, how many ladies-in-waiting were irreparably defiled by his repeated, degrading, and depraved assaults.

We settled here, in this commandery, thanks to the complicity of the Grand Master of the Temple, Jacques de Molay, whom Robert saw as a fierce and obstinate adversary. The Grand Master took a liking to me and allowed me access to an education befitting my noble status. In the archives of the Temple, I studied Sciences, Arts, Dogma, and became accustomed to deciphering ancient parchments inscribed with obscure inscriptions. I easily and quickly mastered them, gaining access to knowledge hidden from common understanding.

I remember loving to hide behind the grilles between the columns during sacred rituals, spying and apprehending so many forbidden things, so many things that my status as a Lady, noble though it may be, would never have allowed me to glimpse otherwise.

Thus, I attended knighting ceremonies and official ceremonies, but also higher rites specifically performed to bring prosperity and victory to the Knights of the Order.

Years passed, and I developed certain gifts for clairvoyance, clairaudience, mastery of Divine Energy, and its projection into base matter for the transmutation of bodies and Essences. The power of my abilities grew each day, and it became increasingly difficult for the Masters of the Order to compel me to keep my existence and powers secret.

Above all, I aspired to help those who had taken me in, cherished me, and educated me. I thus put my gifts and knowledge into practice to ensure success and glory for the Order’s endeavors!

As I reached adulthood, the Grand Master unofficially appointed me Guardian of the Order’s Secrets. Because of my unique gift of focusing Divine Energy, I was capable of projecting bolts of fire and light at anyone attempting to breach the sealed doors of the Temple.

I welcomed the novices, prepared them, and guided them through the labyrinth of the commandery towards their future initiation. In conducting preliminary interrogations to separate the wheat from the chaff, I occasionally escorted a lost soul to the door, or severely punished an audacious impostor.

Indeed, many from noble or common backgrounds envied the wealth and power of the Temple, starting with my progenitor Robert, and the good King of France, Philip IV the Fair.

It was rumored that Philip was plotting treachery to seize the wealth of the Order, and I sensed that my progenitor would contribute to what could be the extinction of our organization. Philip had incurred significant debts to the Templars. Simply unwilling to honor his loans, he feared that the Templars would become more powerful than him.

That’s why I took my task so seriously, excelling in uncovering spies and other wrongdoers coveting the secrets of the Order.

It was October 1307, more precisely in the morning of Thursday, October 12, and I was eagerly awaiting the return of my brother Grégoire.

Grégoire was a noble knight, pure and audacious, always ready to defend the Widow and the Orphan. He had distinguished himself with his heroic deeds during glorious epics narrated by the minstrels of the Duchy of Burgundy, making him a living legend.

Weary of rides and conquests, Grégoire felt the need to develop his spirituality in the service of the community. He first considered entering the clergy, but his impetuous nature could not reconcile itself to an existence solely focused on the contemplation of Divine Works. So, he applied and joined the Order of the Warrior Monks, and was knighted into the Templar Order in May of that same year.

His official mission was to secure the trade routes of the Duchy of Burgundy, accompanying caravans on paths filled with rogues and cutthroats.

Unofficially, he had been entrusted with the Quest for the Stone of Blood, a mythical artifact that bestowed upon its possessor the ability to transmute all base metals into pure Gold and to prolong life.

This Stone was sought after by numerous factions throughout the known world, in France, in Europe, and across the seas to Egypt and Jerusalem. This had prompted the Knights of the Stone to participate in the early crusades.

Since then, so many years had passed without the Stone ever being discovered.

For the Stone, I knew from my clairvoyant gifts, was not an object of the physical world, waiting for some Seeker of Truth to seize it, but a Grace granted by the Divine to the Honest Laborer, an Illumination of Being, an immaterial concept of unrealized potentialities awaiting the masterful hand of the skilled experimenter to materialize.

The Stone thus resided in every speck of dust, in every rock lying on the ground, in every rainbow coloring a rainy sky, in every gleam of a starry celestial vault.

Our alchemist Nicomede, obsessed with the Quest for the Stone, had also made this significant discovery and had an intuition of a new Path of Realization for the materialization of the Stone.

He had then summoned Grégoire to procure the various salts, earths, and waters he would need for the Great Coction.

Unfortunately, these substances were quite rare, and scattered to the four corners of the Duchy; the quest would take some time before it could materialize.

Grégoire had been gone for three months now, three long months during which his absence had deeply marked my heart and soul. Certainly, Grégoire was my brother, and I admired him boundlessly, but he was also, in my eyes, my Everything: the one who had taken me in, loved me, educated me, protected me, and made me grow. Sharing common aspirations, sense of humor, and conception of existence and duty, Grégoire was indeed more than my brother. He was another version of myself, my spiritual double. A loving and protective double.

All the Knights of the Stone awaited Grégoire’s return eagerly, and he was finally due to return tonight!

We had prepared a ceremony and a banquet in his honor, bustling here in the chapel of the commandery to put the final touches on the ritual furnishings, there in the banquet hall to arrange the furniture and dishes in the most refined and graceful manner.

As for me, I was feverish at the thought of seeing him again. Such a long absence had been almost unbearable, and I had to use my gifts as best as I could to know every day if he was well, where he was, and what he was doing there.

The other Knights even nicknamed me the White Mage, so strange did I seem to them during my sessions of mental concentration, searching for the presence and activities of my brother.

Finally, Grégoire arrived, and as he entered the commandery, his troubled air heightened my concern and perplexity. Why was he like this? What had he discovered during this Quest? Was he returning without having been able to gather the precious components for the future Coction?

My intuition was of no use to me then. He requested an audience with the Grand Master, and after his interview, he came to find me at the doors of the sanctuary which I guarded.

I then questioned him about his strange demeanor and its reasons. He informed me that while he had indeed been able to bring Nicomede all the components for the Coction, his travels and bivouacs at the borders of other domains of the Duchy had taught him that an irresistible threat would soon descend upon our Order.

The King had ordered the arrest tomorrow at the crack of dawn of all the Knights Templar, the confiscation of their goods, and their submission to the Question by the Inquisitors.

I had to prepare for the worst, and gather my belongings to be able to flee as quickly as possible if these threats were to be executed.

Before I could leave, I had to help Nicomede realize the Great Coction. He would need my gifts of clairvoyance and energy channeling to give Body and Life to the Double Being, the primordial essence and soul of the Stone of Blood.

For his part, my brother would ensure our safety for the time needed to accomplish this Great Work, standing guard at the entrance to our labor-oratory.

We spent the night toiling over the alembics, athanors, and crucibles of all kinds. Having chosen to work, given the little time we had left, in the Fulgurant Way, we had to pay particular attention to the dosage and manipulation of the substances we used, under the threat of untimely explosions!

Reddish smoke spiraled from the lids of the crucibles as we heard the raw material cry out in agony. Having extracted the Beautiful Body (Corps-Beau) by separating it from its wickedness, we subjected it to the Outrageous Leonine Aggression of the Emerald of the Wise, then began the cyclo-continuous ascension and precipitation of the Raptors until we obtained the Pilot Fish that would guide our steps for the pursuit of the Work.

As the Fish began to appear floating in a molten ocean, the crucible shattered, unleashing a deluge of fire, flames, and lightning within our den.

All hope of success had now vanished.

I left Nicomede’s lair disheartened and dejected. Our failure boded ill for the assaults we were about to endure.

It was dawn. The rays of a newborn Sun illuminated the nocturnal sky with a pale red-orange hue, and as it rose in the sky, a clamor grew louder in our ears.

Preparing for the impending battle, I donned my armor and strode confidently towards the entrance of the hall that I had to defend, determined to fight to save our Order.

The soldiers were there, at the entrance of the commandery, led by the Bailiff to our threshold on the orders of King Philip.

We heard the cries of rage from the soldiers, the collapses of walls and rocks of our enclosure, the suffocations and moans of the first line of Knights defending the courtyard.

As they penetrated into the inner courtyard, the fury of their steps accompanying them made the walls of the building tremble with a gloomy tone.

Their eyes fixed on me. They were initially taken aback, then decided to rush in my direction.

Grégoire joined me and pulled me by the hand, then began to run swiftly to evade their attack. We couldn’t go far, as other soldiers arrived, facing us and encircling us.

As I prepared to channel all my energy to propel them with a deadly discharge, a lance stuck in Grégoire’s arm, who, destabilized, let go of my hand.

He fell to the ground, and totally taken aback by what I had just seen, I did not have the opportunity to launch my deadly attack. Other soldiers arrived at our level, and plunged their swords into Grégoire’s side, who succumbed almost instantly.

I could not contain their fury. They surrounded me, subdued me, and beating me mercilessly, dragged me into a dark corner of the inner courtyard.

They had decided to punish me according to my sins. A Templar woman could only be a minion of Satan, in the service of the debauchery of a depraved and sodomite Order.

There, as they took turns torturing me, others defiled my intimacy with their seed, I saw the pyre they prepared for me.

When they had their fill of their outrages, they led me to the pyre, tied me up, and lit a fire that would soon consume me whole.

As the flames roasted my flesh and liquefied my azure eyes and blonde hair, a last surge of energy allowed me to cast a spell to project my essence to leave this world and carry me beyond the veil of time and space, to another form of existence. Thus, as I lost consciousness, I saw myself vowing a fierce and absolute hatred to all the men of this earth, cursing them forever, swearing to make them pay a hundredfold for their vile infamy. To all men, except perhaps one…

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