A new Holy crusade begins
Ithis related everything that had transpired in Ricardo’s office, much to the delight of Nick and David. With the most feared person in the Vatican now on their side, it would not be long before they could once again turn their attention to the next artefact. “Why didn’t you tell us about Ricardo earlier?” David wondered.
“I had no need to make him known to you until I felt his help was needed,” Ithis replied as she revealed herself to Nick for the very first time.
“Are you well enough to continue?” he inquired wide eyed.
“Yes my dear Nick,” she replied smiling sweetly; happy that at long last she could finally reveal herself to the man she loved, no longer needing to hide from him. To say that Nick was totally captivated by her would be a major understatement. His eyes took in every delicately beautiful part of her from her head to her toes. At barely five feet tall, her slender androgynous body was covered in a pale silver parchment like skin, with skin pigmentation that enabled her to blend in chameleon like into whatever surface she chose to hide in away from prying eyes. With no sign of genitalia immediately apparent to the eye, only her voice and her trim waist accentuating her gently curving hips and buttocks, together with her slender arms, legs and small delicate hands and feet, suggested her gender. She reminded him of a beautiful living statue. Her normal sized head with its well defined, yet slim jaw line appeared larger, simply because of her long neck and small frame. Her high forehead and small ears accentuated her almond shaped, hauntingly beautiful, aquamarine eyes with their large pale emerald green pupils that changed colour with her mood and emotional state. Her small nose with its delicate nostrils, and the narrow sensuous lips of her mouth completed the vision gently smiling up at him, with all the tender love she felt for him showing in her eyes, as their mesmerizing pupils deepened their hue.
Nick’s heart raced. In his entire life he had never imagined that anyone could be so beautiful. He felt his pulse quicken as he blushed and turned away. The feelings Ithis generated within him were nothing like the comfortable love he felt for Sophie, or the hormone enraged lust he had felt for Hector’s dazzlingly beautiful sister, Inez. This was so much more than that. He knew that finally he had found the one being he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Ithis’ smiled as she tenderly entered his mind to kiss his soul, releasing an all-consuming wave of exquisite love within him. Keeping physically apart from each other would be doubly difficult now that she had finally revealed herself.
Several weeks went by as they all grew impatient for news of Patrick’s zealous campaign to expose the Order. Each night while Nick slept, Ithis entered his mind tenderly making cerebral love to him, taking him beyond the normal wonderful sensations of touching each other’s bodies while making love.
Nicolai came to the reluctant realization that to keep his frustrated niece happy he had to give in to her constant pleading for her lover David, and finally allowed them the privacy of a room of their own, with Victor guarding them from outside the door. David had also finally relented, admitting to himself that he did indeed love his sex starved Ukrainian amazon, as the long days and lonely nights slowly dragged by during the hiatus. Then one morning Kolya burst into Nicolai’s apartment, excitedly waiving a newspaper in his hand. The Order was exposed to the world! They all watched the news as it rapidly unfolded over next two days via CNN news channel interviews with Miles. Both Davies and Randle had been subjected to brutal interrogation. Experts belonging to Ricardo’s organization, used modern methods of persuasion that the most infamous inquisitor of them all, Tomas de Torquemada, would have heartily approved of, had he been able to apply their use during his ruthless reign of terror over the Spanish people in the fifteenth century. Patrick’s hit squads had seized both men with military precision and spirited them away to a secret location in the English county of Hertfordshire. Randle was the first to crack under the intensive, often brutal physical and mental torture. Finally after many days he spilled his guts, blurting out about how Malcolm Davies had recruited him to the cause because of his deep personal hatred for Nick, encouraged by Davies’ solemn guarantee that through his powerful connections within the British government, Randle’s knighthood was assured.
Breaking Davies was a different matter altogether. Despite the chemical and physical methods used, he stubbornly refused for weeks to reveal who his fellow inner circle brethren were. But after almost two months of relentless sleep deprivation, water-boarding, and being constantly left in stress positions for hours on end, plus the constant assault on his very being by white noise generators, assisted by sadistic sexual abuse by his interrogators, he finally broke. Patrick’s ruthless methods produced the names of all the members of the Order’s inner circle. Many of them held prominent positions of power within governments and major international businesses worldwide. Snatch squads were dispatched immediately across the planet to pick up each and every one. They were taken to similar secret locations within the countries that they lived in and subjected to the same brutal treatment that Davies and Randle had endured. Once the location of each major Order cell was clearly established, inevitable arrests were made, using the offices of local law enforcement agencies, in some cases, by working in liaison with Interpol’s many contacts.
When it came to finding the hundreds of sub cells, it was a different story. Each one operated independently. Its leader only ever received his cell’s assignment by anonymous contact, usually via letter drop, or by a brief coded message placed in a local newspaper. No direct contact was ever made by a member of the inner circle. The Order’s security measures were carried out in great secrecy with a high degree of military precision, as were their assignments. It would be a long operation by Patrick and his interrogation teams before they finally tracked each cell down. Davies, Randle and the other members of the Order’s inner circle were all found guilty of treasonable acts of religious terrorism against church and state by the various country’s courts of law, and either sentenced to death, or to long prison terms. Randle was now a broken man. Driven insane by the torture methods inflicted upon him, he was confined indefinitely to the secure mental wing within the walls of England’s high security prison at Belmarsh. Davies was given imprisonment for life with no possibility of parole. He would spend the rest of his life in a cellblock inside the headquarters of the British Military Police in Colchester. Their fellow conspirators in other parts of the world were not so lucky. Most were executed by lethal injection, hanging, or firing squad, and in one case in the Middle East, by decapitation in a public space, which was broadcast live on the local television networks. The world’s press branded them all traitors to mankind for following Asima, by willingly abandoning their various religions’ strongly held beliefs, to follow the antichrist.
Days before the news about the Order finally broke, Ricardo had seen to it that Asima’s existence was made known to the leaders of all the worlds’ religions, as well as the location of his living tomb, together with the Order’s complicity in his evil quest to seize power for himself once more, placing himself above God in his many guises as the supreme being. All were deeply concerned. If he had been set free by the Order, it would have meant the end of the many religions’ spiritual hold over the vast majority of the world’s population. Through the pope, an extraordinary meeting of all religious leaders took place in secret, within the confines of the Vatican in Rome. Between them they created a military organization not unlike the armies of the crusades century’s before, which immediately swung into operation, made up from devout members of all the world’s religions, charged with guarding the location of Asima’s tomb and preventing any attempt to free him.
Should Patrick prove difficult in the near future, once he had finally rooted out all of the Order’s cells, Ricardo would appoint him official Vatican representative to the tomb guard for the duration, with special responsibility through prayer, for ensuring that all souls within the guard’s ranks were protected from assimilation by Asima. Ithis, Ricardo, Nick, David, Nicolai and Kolya now knew that at last the discovery of each essential artefact could soon resume, once the news of the Order’s exposure had finally died down.