The Prophecies

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He spent his life in the ancient and mite-infested libraries of Old Toledo, poring through dusty tomes and ancient scrolls from all over the world, destroying his eyesight as he read by candlelight during the endless hours of his search, and when he found it, the tattered scroll nearly disintegrated in his trembling fingers.

The characters—stained and faded by the eons that had passed—were clearly Mandarin. They clearly stated what had happened, what was happening, and what would happen still. He coughed, unable to catch his breath as he read the document: Isabella would die in ten years, and Ferdinand five years after that, and then the prisons would empty and the heretics would be back on the streets; and the church would splinter, and those splinters would splinter; and the fool who sailed across the ocean would come back with gold and many years later, a man with an awfully peculiar name would be shot in the head with something called a bullet, in a place called Dallas, and after that, it would be proven beyond any conceivable doubts that the celestial bodies were not made of cheese; and after that, the entirety of the human race would obliterate itself in a great and fiery cataclysm that would turn all of the papers and scrolls and tomes to dust, along with all of the people and cities, and even the oceans. And the information that whirred through his head made him feel faint and he reeled, trying to imagine all that this tattered and ancient scroll contained. Its power. Its weight. Suddenly, as he held it carefully between fingers that still trembled with the excitement of his discovery, he could not help but think what the Abbot would say if this discovery reached the people.

He would be laughed at.

Ridiculed and scorned.

Perhaps he would be locked in Ferdinand’s dungeons as a blasphemer and a heretic, feeding on the unfortunate rats that were too slow to escape his desperate clutches, until—as the document specified—Ferdinand would die and his dungeons would be unlocked.

He would be chased out of Toledo and the entire world would ring with the laughter that his legacy aroused.

He couldn’t. He couldn’t possibly…

He paced back and forth in the crowded basement with the shelves that reached up over his head and threatened to engulf him. He pulled at the strings of his frock and tried to loosen his collar, to take a deep breath, but his gaze remained captivated by the scroll sitting on his warped wooden desk, and the candlelight that flickered in the interminable dark cast long shadows that made the archives seem like an endless labyrinth, with an innocuous piece of vellum at the center.

It was at this moment that the obvious struck him like a brick falling off the top of a cathedral, crashing down to the earth with a cloud of dust and debris that would hang in the slanted light and the shadow of the steeple.

Deus wrote this scripture.

Yahweh steadied the hand that dipped the quill…

He needed to take it to the King, to the Pope, to all the people of Spain, and make it known that the empire was of God and Christ and it contained the secrets of the cosmos!

But first he needed to seal the scroll, the wrap it in a fine leather sheaf and secure it in a codex, so that none would find it, and it would stay safe. He sprang from his awestricken lethargy and grabbed for his cloak and the satchel that contained his inks and his quills and the other tools of a scribe and he dumped them all in a forgotten corner that they wouldn’t leak and destroy such a holy Relic.

He grabbed for his sandals and struggled with the clasps that gripped his ankles tight and made ready to set out on his journey through the monastery, up into its tallest towers where the Abbot kept himself busy with whatever it was that kept Abbots busy.

He flew threw the tiny compartment of his library cloister and his heartbeat slammed against his ribs, and he felt a lump forming in his throat as he envisaged the holy honors that would be thrown upon him—heaped in great piles—once these prophecies proved themselves divine.

Sure, they would laugh.

And they would hold him in scorn.

But when one prediction after another played itself out in the world of man, he would be likened unto God himself, and in his excitement, with visions of gold and plenty swirling through his mind, he opened his arms to encompass all of the imaginary riches that piled up before him and as he raised his arms he felt—more than he heard—the tiny plunk of a piece of metal hitting wood.

And as he reached for his satchel he smelt the fine scent of pine mingling with the dust of the books.

And the smell of pine lingering among dusty books evolved into a smell of smoke that brought him back to his childhood stoking the smithy flames, and his rapture was so deep that he didn’t notice until he spun around, and beheld the great conflagration that had swallowed up his desk, and he lamented, for even as the parchment burnt to cinders, he knew the truth of its words and he knew that he was lost.

The fire spread, and he saw visions of the Sulphur lake, and he saw the loosened chains where once a great Beast was held, and he knew that the Beast now freed could never be caged again.

Written By Kane