A few streets away, the tiny, scarred man named Ophaniel hobbled through the side entrance of the Memorial Temple on Rue Saint-Marc.
He looked around the familiar lobby as he crossed the threshold. He heard the organ playing on the second floor as he passed by the paintings of past Masters proudly hanging on the wall. He decided not to take the elevators, instead climbing the stairs quietly, not wanting to disturb his brethren’s ceremony.
The anteroom door was open. Inside, the walls were painted purely black, imitating a rocky underground cave.
The skull that had sat on the table was gone. Only the cup of salt, bowl of water, and the painted V:.I:.T:.R:.I:.O:.L:. sigil were still in place, remembering the beauty of initiations that once took place within those walls.
He moved toward the council chamber he knocked on the door twice, paused, then six times, paused again, and added two final knocks.
“Someone knocks for admission, Venerable Master,” said the Tyler.
“See who it is and make a report.”
“One that is done with good work seeks admission in here.”
“Good work has been performed? “Asked the master in an aggressive tone.
The warden nodded affirmatively.
“So far he had done well, but there is still much for him to do. Let him enter under the penalties of his duty.”
Opahniel was escorted down to the middle of the room, where he opened up his old, dusty leather bag, took a jar from it, and placed the jar on the altar facing the Master.
“Tell me all you have learned, apprentice.”
Ophaniel knew the information he had obtained from Elizabeth would please the Master.
“Most Venerable Master, she confirmed the existence of the Mechanism…”
He could see the excitement on his Master’s face. “The Mechanism... Exactly as we, dear brothers, suspected.”
According to the rumours, a high-ranking rat in the Vatican had carved a manuscript on the inner layer of Mount Sinai’s famous solitary tree. The document contained information so powerful that its protection was the reason for the Vatican’s existence.
“When we possess the Mechanism,” the Venerable Master said, “we will be closer than we have ever been.”
“We are closer than you think, Master,” Ophaniel said, “The Mechanism is here, in Montreal.”
“Really… it is almost too easy. How do you know the information you got from the doctor is accurate?”
Ophaniel reviewed the events that had taken place in Elizabeth’s office. She was trying to buy back her life by telling the secrets. She had given him the precise location of the Mechanism, well hidden in one of the most famous Churches in Montreal, the Saint-Joseph Oratory.
“Inside a Church… how predictable!” The Master shouted. “How they lie!”
“They have been for centuries.”
The Master remained silent, letting the triumph of this moment settle over him. At last he spoke. “You have done well, little apprentice. We have waited for ages for this. You must bring the Mechanism here. I am sure you understand the importance of this mission.”
Ophaniel knew that this was very important, and what the Master ordered would be almost impossible to achieve.
“But how will I enter the Oratory at night without raising questions?”
With a confident tone, the Master explained what was to be done.
When Ophaniel left the ceremonial chamber, his skin crawled.
Acts of war had been committed in God’s name for centuries. Forgiveness was assured. He kept repeating the last thing the Master whispered in his ear: boost one another.