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Son of perdition, p.12
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       Son of Perdition, p.12

           Wendy Alec
 
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  ‘Impressive. Let’s hope the Accord goes through without another hitch.’

  ‘The Israelis still not buying into the peace process?’ Jason asked.

  ‘The truth is, Jas, if I don’t get the Israelis to the table this time, the entire process is finished.’ Adrian set down his cup. ‘Destroyed.’ He looked straight ahead, grim.

  ‘I thought you had it in the bag?’ Jason said, puzzled.

  ‘I have. But it’s complicated. He leant back in his chair and sighed ‘The major challenge to the whole peace process is that the Israelis won. Single-handedly defeated the combined Russian and Arab military in twenty-two months.’

  He lowered his voice. ‘The earthquake was the event that threw it their way. We all know that but of course . . . ’ He nodded in the direction of the resident Rabbi overseeing the Shabbat observance regulations. ‘ . . . they’re attributing that to the hand of the Almighty. And who can blame them? I mean it was a showdown – Iran, Russia, Turkey and Syria decimated on the mountains of Israel. An unmitigated victory. It makes the war of ’67 pale in comparison.’

  Adrian drew his head closer to his brother.

  ‘They’ve got enough nuclear fuel to power Israel for seven years. The truth is the Israelis want total capitulation from both the Arabs and the Russians. Nothing less. To them the peace accord is an admission of defeat. We had them at the point of signing three times.’

  He drank down his coffee.

  ‘When it comes to the issue of Jerusalem, they won’t concede an inch. In their terms, they defeated the Arabs and they’re demanding some major concessions. They want the entire Temple Mount back, East Jerusalem returned and a watertight military commitment from the EU, UN and NATO to protect Israel and her borders for the next seven years . . . ’ He sighed. ‘The old 1967 borders.’

  ‘Whew! Tough, little brother! And the Arabs – they’re going to accept that?’

  ‘They have already. It’s the Israelis. They’ve agreed to all our demands but they refuse to denuclearize.’

  Adrian suddenly looked worn beyond his years.

  ‘I’ve worked day and night for this, Jason.’ He nodded to the waiter and pointed to his cup. ‘But I think I have it covered.’

  The waiter filled Adrian’s cup and retreated.

  ‘I have attained access – how do I put it? – to something of extreme value to the Israelis.’ He paused. ‘I intend to lock it down by the end of the week. I’m sure they’ll be persuaded. I’m not prepared to let anything stand in my way.’

  Jason noted the speed with which his younger brother had moved from relaxed charm to man of steel in less than five seconds.

  ‘I heard about the Temple Mount fiasco.’ Jason gestured at the papers. ‘Some ancient relic stolen.’

  Adrian lowered his voice below the hearing of the EU support staff, civil servants and secret service agents now positioned all over the lobby.

  ‘It should have been kept under wraps. The Israelis are blaming the Arabs. The Russians are blaming the Israelis. The Arabs say it’s a set-up by Mossad. The issue is – they aren’t taking it with a pinch of salt.’

  ‘You think it was terrorists?’

  ‘We don’t think. We’re sure.’ He sipped at his coffee again. ‘It had all the hallmarks of a terrorist group.’

  ‘And no sign of the artefact?’

  Adrian shook his head.

  ‘It’s evaporated into thin air. Every agency in the world is onto it but there’s nothing. To all intents and purposes it may as well never have existed. And every scientist sent to verify it was murdered by the terrorists.’

  ‘Do you know what it was?’

  ‘If I tell you, Travis has to kill you.’ Adrian grinned. ‘Classified.’

  ‘But you think Israel would do almost anything,’ Jason’s eyes narrowed. ‘to get it back into their hands?’

  ‘Oh, yes. I think one could safely say they would sell their very souls.’

  Jason studied his younger brother intently, but as usual Adrian was inscrutable.

  The sound of wailing sirens outside echoed thrugh the hotel.

  Jason watched as the elderly King of Jordan entered. Immediately ten Secret Service men materialized across the room.

  Adrian rose. ‘Julia’s book is on The New York Times best-seller list this week.’

  Jason shrugged.

  Travis appeared from the shadows and placed Adrian’s jacket over his shoulders.

  Adrian grinned. ‘I could have sworn the ruthless New York media tycoon with the zero people skills was based on you.’

  Jason scowled, then they both laughed.

  ‘Drop in to Normandy on one of your London trips.’

  ‘I’ll try, Adrian, really . . . ’

  Adrian smiled affectionately at his elder brother. ‘You’ve helped me get up the ladder of politics, Jason and I’ll never forget it. Whatever I can do for VOX – it’s yours. The deal with China state TV’s still on. I meet in Beijing in two weeks.’

  Jason slapped Adrian on the back. As they walked together through the lobby, Adrian turned to Jason, suddenly grave.

  ‘Look, there is something, Jas . . . ’ He looked his brother straight in the eye. ‘It’s Nick. His body’s stopped responding to the antiretroviral treatments. He’s dying, Jason. He’s been given six months. He needs you.’

  Not a muscle of Jason’s face moved.

  Adrian walked a few steps, then turned back in exasperation. ‘Hell, you’re a stubborn son of a . . . ’

  He shook his head at Jason, then turned on his heel and disappeared down the hall in a flurry of black suits. Jason watched as Adrian and the King of Jordan embraced.

  His jaw clenched at the thought of his youngest brother.

  Nicholas De Vere.

  Chapter Sixteen

  The Revelation

  Monastery of Archangels, Alexandria, Egypt, 19 December 2021

  Nick and St Cartier sat at a corner table on the rooftop of the monastery. Sixteen round tables were covered in pristine white tablecloths. They were the only guests.

  Around the perimeter of the cupola four hooded Egyptian monks stood quietly at attention. Nick laid down his knife and fork. Instantly, two monks hurried forward, unobtrusively clearing away his plate. Nick pulled his leather jacket over his shoulders.

  ‘Eleven degrees. Bracing, dear boy. Good for the system,’ the professor declared.

  A third monk stepped forward, holding a huge platter of fresh watermelon and baklavah.

  ‘Dessert, sir?’ he asked.

  Nick shook his head. He sipped on his mineral water.

  ‘The usual, professor?’

  St Cartier licked his lips and gazed with relish at the baklavah.

  The monk put a large piece onto his plate.

  ‘I saw Jason,’ St Cartier said, ‘when I dropped your mother off in New York. She said you’re spending a week with her. at the manor.’

  He pointed again to the tray and the monk placed a second piece of baklavah next to the first.

  ‘Yes – I drop in to Adrian’s place in Normandy tomorrow, back to London, then down to the manor for Christmas.’

  Nick leant back in his chair, watching his old friend tuck in zealously. ‘You should watch your cholesterol, Lawrence.’

  St Cartier waved him away.

  Nick looked up at the Milky Way glistening in the inky sky and frowned.

  ‘You dabble in astronomy, Lawrence. What is that?’

  He pointed below the full moon glowing high in the Egyptian night sky at a strange white apparition that hung in the heavens.

  ‘It was in the skies over Alexandria last night. I watched it from the Cecil Hotel balcony.’

  St Cartier dabbed gingerly at his carefully waxed moustache.

  ‘Yes, Yes. I know, my boy.’

  He took his spectacles from a case in his inside pocket and put them on and studied the apparition gravely.

  ‘Spectacular. Its appearance is unprecedented.’

  Ni
ck followed his line of sight up to the rotating dome on the observatory of the Monastery of Archangels. Three monks gazed through a telescope, transfixed by the apparition.

  ‘Astronomers have received reports of sightings from London, Washington, Berlin – even as far away as Beijing. Through our Coronado Solar Telescope, it has been possible to actually distinguish a waxen spectre astride a white stallion,’ St Cartier said softly. ‘In apocalyptic discourse, Nicholas, it is a marker. A precursor, if you will. Its appearance in the heavens heralds the advent of the White Rider.’

  ‘The white what?’ Nick looked at him strangely.

  ‘The First Seal is about to be broken. The White Rider will come forth. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.’ The professor sighed. ‘Your disdain for the supernatural aspects of life only serves to reinforce my belief that your ignorance of theological and paranormal affairs is greater even than it appears.’

  Nick glared at him darkly. ‘Give it a break, Lawrence.’

  The professor’s pale blue eyes glittered with exhilaration. He removed his glasses.‘White, red, black and pale horses . . . ’ He placed another piece of baklavah in his mouth and closed his eyes, savouring it. ‘Sublime,’ he murmured.

  ‘As I was saying,horses – white, red, black and pale – representing Conquest, War, Famine, and Death. The forces of Men’s destruction described in chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation.’

  Nick stared at him blankly. St Cartier lowered his voice condescendingly, but his eyes twinkled with mischief. ‘The Bible.’

  ‘I know what the Book of Revelation is,’ Nick retorted. ‘Some raving fundamentalists waving sandwich boards and quoting the end of the world, hustling their end-time wares on TV. Fundamentalist delusions. A scam for the weak and vulnerable.’

  A monk hovered over them with a large silver pot of coffee.

  ‘Your gross delusions, Nicholas De Vere,’ St Cartier nodded to the monk, who poured the steaming liquid into two cups ‘only serve to reinforce my belief in your complete ignorance of philosophical, ethnographic and historical analysis.’ He took a long slurp before setting the cup back down, then put his glasses back on and studied the white apparition.

  ‘I have been a student of Greek and Latin for over forty-five years, since my early tenure as a Doctor of Sacred Theology. I spent thirty-eight years using every form of analysis and argument to test and critique the disturbing imagery of disaster and suffering . . . ’ he hesitated ‘ . . . that is the Apocalypse of Saint John.

  ‘The Apocalypse predicts the Battle of Armageddon, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the infamous beast whose number is 666. Some believe it predicts nuclear warfare, solar superstorms, even AIDs. The Book of Revelation is a map, Nicholas.’ His eyes flashed with fervour. ‘A map of the end of the world,’ he proclaimed ominously.

  St Cartier gestured up to the white apparition far above them in the Egyptian skies.

  ‘When the First Seal of Revelation is broken, the White Rider of the Apocalypse – the Son of Perdition – will come forth to rule.’

  Nick looked at St Cartier, flummoxed. He shook his head. ‘You’ve lost me completely.’

  St Cartier sighed impatiently. ‘The signs of the end of the world – the Apocalypse. In the time of the end, a ruler of immense stature and power will arise. A ruler who will gather ten rulers around him to create a one-government system. A world government. The Son of Perdition.’

  ‘Oh God, Lawrence.’ Nick raised his hands, incredulous. ‘This is the kind of teenage brainwashing The Omen propagated in the seventies. What’s he going to rule – North Korea, with 666 tattooed on his scalp?’

  ‘He will for a short time rule the world,’ St Cartier declared, ignoring Nick’s sarcasm and pushing the dessert plate to the side. He opened his briefcase and removed a tiny palm-sized computer which he placed in front of him. He switched it on.

  ‘Does the term “New World Order” mean anything to you?’ Nick asked.

  ‘Ah – now the light’s come on,’ St Cartier exclaimed.

  ‘The New World Order refers to a belief or conspiracy theory that some powerful group has created a secret plan to rule the world via a single world government,’ Nick rattled off.

  St Cartier nodded, raising his eyebrows.

  Nick continued. ‘Some groups are religiously motivated and believe that the agents of Satan are involved. There are others without a religious perspective on the matter.’

  St Cartier nodded slowly. ‘Impressive,’ he murmured. ‘Gordonstoun taught you well, Nicholas. You’ve no doubt heard of the Illuminati?’

  Nick shrugged. ‘According to last decade’s pop culture, they were a renaissance-era society of great thinkers who were expelled from Rome and hunted down mercilessly by the Vatican.’

  ‘Poppycock! Fiction writers.’ The professor pursed his lips in annoyance. ‘A flagrant flight of the imagination.’

  His fingers flew across the small keyboard.

  ‘The Order of the Illuminati came into existence on 1 May 1776, two centuries after Michelangelo’s death. Its nominal founder was Adam Weishaupt. Their plan was to use the Grand Orient Lodges of Europe as a filtering mechanism to set up a secret brotherhood, an elite that would infiltrate every corridor of power with the goal of One World Government. Weishaupt and his Illuminati were eventually banned and forced to work underground. They resolved that the name Illuminati should never again be used in public. Instead they would use front groups to fulfil their goal – world domination.’

  He turned the computer towards Nick. ‘Study it.’

  Brother Francis stood at the table holding out a silver platter of fruit. St Cartier’s hand hovered over the fresh figs and red dates. Finally, he picked up an orange fruit the size of an apple.

  ‘Dom nut,’ he exclaimed, holding it out to Nick. ‘Your mother’s favourite.’

  Nick shook his head. ‘Orange juice.’

  Brother Francis signalled to a second monk who hurried over to pour Nick a glass of freshly squeezed juice, sweetened with cut sugar cane, while St Cartier took a crisp white napkin and tied it around his neck.

  Nick grudgingly scanned the computer screen.

  ‘Financiers, dating back to the bankers during the times of the Knights Templar, financed the early kings in Europe and funded the Illuminati,’ the professor explained. ‘They still operate today outside social, legal and political restraint. They control the international banking systems, the military-industrial complex, worldwide intelligence agencies, the media, pharmaceutical cartels, drug cartels . . . the list goes on. Their infiltrators are positioned behind the scenes at every level of government and industry. Both American and British intelligence have documented evidence that they have financed both sides of every war since the American revolution,’

  Lawrence took a large bite of the dom fruit. The juice slid down his chin and onto the napkin as Nick watched in amusement. ‘Ah – gingerbread . . . no – caramel!’ St Cartier smacked his lips. He chewed vigorously.

  ‘Abraham Lincoln,’ he said between mouthfuls, ‘put a damper on their activities. He refused to pay their exorbitant rates of interest and issued constitutionally authorized interest-free United States notes. He was gunned down in cold blood.

  ‘Their plan is to unseat the present powers of hereditary aristocracy and replace them with an intellectual aristocracy, using a staged revolt of the masses.

  ‘The French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the assassination of John F. Kennedy – he didn’t toe the line. After the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy threatened to close down the CIA, transfer power back to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and remove authority from the Federal Reserve.’

  St Cartier undid his napkin and wiped his hands fastidiously. He glowered out at Nick from under his eyebrows. ‘Some say 9/11 . . . ’

  Nick gave him a dark look.

  ‘You were doing pretty well, Lawrence. Don’t push it,’ he warned.

  St Cartier ignored him. ‘Today the same organization exists unidentified
, covert and unseen. Hardly recognizable in 2021. But more powerful than ever. The Iluminati are the controllers in tandem with organizations such as the Committee of 300.’

  ‘Committee of what?’ Nick stared at him in disbelief.

  ‘An upper-level parallel government ruled by the Council of Thirteen. They dictate policy, determine the issues; their orders are executed by the lower levels of the food chain – the Council of Foreign Relations, the Bilderberg Group, Club of Rome, Trilateral Commission and their offshoots. The Controllers don’t get their hands dirty. The more sinister operations – executions, assassinations, coups, money laundering, drug running – are covertly enforced by renegade factions of the intelligence agencies under their control and the Illuminati’s network of private armies. The ruling powers supply inordinate amounts of arms and money to both sides to achieve their objectives. Their primary goal – to form a one-world government. To obliterate all religions and governments in the process.’

  ‘What’s this got to do with anything, Lawrence?’

  ‘While the Illuminati work behind the scenes to create conditions favourable to a New World Order,’ St Cartier gulped down the remains of his coffee, ‘the Illuminus gather evidence and take direct action, influencing groups to prevent the New World Order from attaining a foothold. These Illuminus believe that the totalitarian society has already arrived in a subtle form.’

  Nick stared at St Cartier in disbelief. ‘You’re . . . you’re a believer?’

  St Cartier nodded. ‘I have followed their trail for over three decades – both as a Jesuit priest, before I left the order, and as a CIA officer. Yes, Nicholas,’ St Cartier declared. ‘I am an Illuminus.’

  St Cartier continued. Unrelenting. ‘Today there are thirteen families of great influence who rule the order. They are the Controllers. They meet on a regular basis to discuss finances, direction and policy. Influential dynasties with old money.’ St Cartier removed a tin of tobacco from his jacket and lit his pipe. ‘Switzerland was in fact created as a neutral banking centre so that Illuminati families would have a safe place to keep their funds without fear of destruction from wars or prying eyes.’

 
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