Shrouded in mystery, a precious relic known as Il Testamento, or The Proof, circulated among the early Christians for centuries. Before their deaths, its guardians hid it from their adversaries, leaving only a crude map of its location. For centuries, it lay in darkness. Until now. Reports of its existence have resurfaced, inciting an ancient rivalry between a ruthless group that seeks to destroy it, and a secret association that lusts for its power. Summoned to Siena by a grandfather he has never met, Gabriel Dolcini is thrust into a dark maze of danger. And into his divine destiny.
Now, read on -
Abbot Porta sat in his cubicle, far away from the pomp and power associated with Rome. He rubbed his clammy hands together. It was all too extraordinary. He possessed the key—the power to escape the mundane, barren existence of a mere abbot. Pungent odors and depressingly dim overhead lights conspired to drive him mad.
He flung his wrist across the chessboard. The pieces clattered against the stone floor and echoed down the hall, mimicking the rest of the underlings that scurried about. He scoffed. After centuries of fruitless searching by the Soci, the “Associates,” a resilient group known only to each other, he had been the one to locate the prize. Now, they were the pawns and he the bishop. Soon, they would understand that. He dialed his superior.
A male secretary answered his call. “Buon giorno.”
“Buon giorno, this is Abbot Porta. I need to speak to His Excellency at once.” Porta stood and paced the length of his office as he listened to the powerful man barking orders on the other end of the call. Porta calmed his ecstasy. He was the one who would deliver the astounding news.
An annoying draft permeated the crumbling walls of the abbey, chilling his neck and ankles. He shivered. Summer would soon give way to winter. With the missives he had discovered, he savored his likely advancement, following the Primo Consul’s footsteps from a Tribunus to become a Prefect.
From there, his contributions would assure the votes he needed to rule as one of the two Consuls within the Soci. As soon as there is a vacancy. He smiled. Perhaps he would even rise above the man on the other end of the line and become the Primo Consul.
At last, the Primo Consul’s voice boomed through the tiny speaker. “Porta, what is so urgent that you demand my time?”
Waiting for effect, Porta said, “I have uncovered the thread that will lead us to the “object” you instructed us to seek.” He was careful. Someone was always listening.
“And where did you find this thread?”
“I was invited to the Abbey of St. John in Argentella in Palombara. While there, I took the opportunity to continue my search and examine the old vaults that were used to house documents from the previous abbots.”
Impatience and disappointment resounded through the speaker. “Those vaults were emptied ages ago.”
“Si. After inspecting a suspicious area, however, I discovered a hidden niche.”
“What did you find?”
Porta smiled at the instant jump in the Primo Consul’s interest. “Letters. A detailed account of an attempt to prevent the object from traveling to Seborga.”
“So you believe it rests there?”
“Possibly.” Porta proceeded with caution. It would not due to overstate his hopes and later disappoint this powerful man.
“Send me the letters by courier, and then send someone to investigate.” The line went dead.
Porta exhaled his disappointment. Not a word of appreciation. He dialed the number of a particular member of the Soci. One skilled in building trust.
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