Chapter – 2 The Code of Genius

The Code of Genius

Chapter 2

Less than a mile away, the imposing figure known as Silas entered the opulent brownstone on Rue La Bruyère. The cilice belt, adorned with spikes, encircling his thigh, pressed into his flesh. The pain was a testament to his dedication to the Lord.

Pain is a reminder.

His red eyes swept the lobby as he crossed the threshold, his movements quiet and purposeful. He climbed the stairs, treading softly to avoid arousing his fellow numeraries. His bedroom door stood open—locks were considered unnecessary here. Entering his room, he closed the door behind him.

The room itself was simple—hardwood floors, a pine dresser, and a canvas mat in one corner serving as his bed. While he was a guest this week, he had been blessed with a similar sanctuary in New York City for many years.

The Lord provides me shelter and purpose.

Tonight, Silas felt that he had finally begun to repay his debt. Crossing to the dresser, he retrieved a cell phone hidden in the bottom drawer and dialed a number.

“Yes?” a male voice answered.

“Teacher, I have returned.”

“Speak,” the voice commanded, its tone conveying satisfaction.

“All four of them are gone. The three sénéchaux… and the Grand Master himself.”

A moment of silence followed, as if for a brief prayer. “Then I assume you have the information?”

“All four confirmed it independently.”

“And you believe them?”

“Their agreement was too consistent to be mere coincidence.”

An eager inhalation. “Excellent. I had feared the brotherhood’s reputation for secrecy might hinder us.”

“The prospect of death is a powerful incentive.”

“Then, my pupil, inform me of what I must know.”

Silas knew the revelations from his victims would be unsettling. “Teacher, they all confirmed the existence of the clef de voûte… the legendary keystone.”

A sharp intake of breath echoed over the phone, brimming with excitement. “The keystone. Just as we had suspected.”

According to legend, the brotherhood had crafted a stone map—a clef de voûte, or keystone—an engraved tablet that unveiled the final destination of the brotherhood’s most profound secret… a revelation so potent that its safeguarding was the brotherhood’s raison d’être.

“Once we possess the keystone,” the Teacher affirmed, “we shall be on the cusp of our goal.”

“We are closer than you might think. The keystone rests here in Paris.”

“Paris? Unbelievable. It is almost too easy.”

Silas recounted the earlier events of the evening—the final moments of his victims, during which they had frantically divulged their secret in exchange for salvation. Each of them had disclosed the same information to Silas—that the keystone was ingeniously concealed at a specific location within one of Paris’s ancient churches—the Eglise de Saint-Sulpice.

“Inside a house of God,” the Teacher exclaimed. “How they taunt us!”

“As they have done for centuries.”

The Teacher fell silent, savoring the triumph of the moment. Eventually, he spoke. “You have served God admirably. We have waited for this moment across the centuries. You must recover the stone for me. Promptly. Tonight. You comprehend the gravity of the situation.”

Silas was acutely aware of the immeasurable stakes, yet what the Teacher was demanding now felt nearly insurmountable. “But the church is a fortress. Especially at night. How am I to infiltrate it?”

With the unwavering confidence of a man who wielded great influence, the Teacher outlined Silas’s course of action.

When the call ended, anticipation coursed through Silas’s veins.

One hour, he reminded himself, thankful that the Teacher had granted him time to undergo the necessary penance before entering the sanctuary. I must cleanse my soul of today’s sins. The deeds committed earlier had been righteous, carried out with a divine purpose. For centuries, acts of war against God’s adversaries had been waged. Forgiveness was assured.

Nevertheless, absolution demanded sacrifice.

Drawing the curtains, Silas undressed, standing naked in the center of the room. He examined the spiked cilice belt coiled around his thigh. All true followers of The Way bore this instrument—a leather strap adorned with sharp metal spikes, which pierced the flesh, a perpetual reminder of Christ’s suffering. The agony it inflicted also served to quell the desires of the flesh.

Although Silas had worn the cilice longer than the prescribed two hours today, he understood that this was no ordinary day. Seizing the buckle, he tightened it another notch, wincing as the spikes dug deeper into his flesh. He exhaled slowly, savoring the cleansing ritual of his own pain.

Pain is a purifier, Silas whispered, invoking the sacred mantra of Father Josemaría Escrivá—the Teacher of Teachers. Even though Escrivá had passed away in 1975, his wisdom endured, his words echoed by thousands of devout servants worldwide as they knelt on the ground, practicing the ritual of “corporal mortification.”

Silas’s attention shifted to a thick knotted rope coiled neatly beside him. The Discipline. The knots bore dried blood, evidence of prior use. Eager for the purifying effects of his own suffering, Silas offered a brief prayer. Then, gripping one end of the rope, he closed his eyes and swung it over his shoulder, feeling the knots strike his back. Again and again, he swung the rope, lashing his own flesh. Castigo corpus meum.

At last, he felt the blood begin to flow.

The Code of Genius

Status: Ongoing


Native Language: English

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