***A very fictional tale***
During the night of October 15, 1307, twelve nuns of a secret order in Marseille, France escaped the persecution and fate that was about to befall their already arrested brothers in arms, The Knights Templar.
Under cover of darkness, these twelve young women removed their habits and their Templar robes underneath and slipped away unnoticed into the night. To support them on their journey, wealthy patrons and allies gave them precious artifacts with which to fund their plight.
Running for their lives, the twelve women successfully stowed away on ships bound for Portugal and the New World. Each woman was also given for safe keeping, one of the twelve stones (gems) from the legendary “breastplate of righteousness” worn by The Knights Templar Grand Master and The High Priest in Jerusalem.
As time passed the former nuns blended into society worldwide. Some married and subsequently passed on to their children, the secret to the location of their respective Templar stone. The hope was that one day when the time was right the twelve stones would be fashioned upon a new “breastplate of righteousness” in the New World.
As luck would have it, all twelve stones survived plagues, pestilence, World Wars, and upheavals of all kinds while succeding generations of the original twelve women kept secretly guarded their respective Templar stone.
But, on the morning of June 10, 2017, in a quiet church in Trindade, Portugal behind the altar, the green onyx stone held in safekeeping by the recently deceased matriarch Clemora Duartez was stolen from its hiding place under the church’s Poor Box in broad daylight during her well-attended funeral.
Isabella, Clemora’s granddaughter, and her only heir swallowed her tears with a noiseless gulp as her grandmother’s favorite hymn “I will raise you up,” played solemnly on the church’s pipe organ. She stared with disbelief at her grandmother’s shrouded casket, hoping that somehow this was a dream and that she would soon awake.
Her late grandmother was never ill to Isabella’s recollection. Legend had it that the Templar stones were somehow imbued with unusual “powers” imparting certain “abilities” to their respective protector and her heirs. Lord knows Isabella understood all too well what unusual “abilities” meant, having been shunned since she was five years old for being a “stranger than normal” child.
To Isabella’s knowledge, her great-great-grandmother lived to be two hundred and fifty years and then one day vanished without a trace. A similar account had been reported in their family archives concerning the original ancestor who had first guarded the onyx Templar stone. Therefore, when Isabella’s grandmother who was in perfect health, passed suddenly at age seventy-one, it was a shock.
As the oncoming sirens wailed mourning sorrow in the distance in response to Isabella’s urgent phone call to the authorities about the theft, suddenly, a figure in an NBA hoodie bolted upright in his seat alongside a throng of mourners seated shoulder-to-shoulder in that pew.
The dark figure who initially appeared to be male pushed and shoved his way out of the pew knocking over the long wooden kneeling bench with a loud clamor.
Suddenly, he launched his body with almost impressive ninja-like ease over the two pews ahead of his original location. He then bolted out the back exit of the five centuries-old church.
Alertly, Isabella gave chase. The off-duty CIA Station Chief (call sign, “Navigator”) raced at breakneck speed outside to the church’s back parking lot, her tresses flowing in the wind like wings. Isabella scanned the parking lot. She spied her quarry racing three hundred meters ahead. His arms motored like propellers as he used them skillfully to accelerate.
He raced out across the street from the church and onto busy Bonjardim Rua. His jet-like progress propelled him forward. He knocked over startled pedestrians, and lunged over cars, ignoring crosswalk signals and weaving his way towards the only edifice directly ahead, the Trindade train station.
Isabella followed. The hem of her pencil-style long-sleeved black dress disagreed sharply with her frequent steeple chase lunges to catch up with her target. The dress ripped and tore at its hemline seams in noisy protest.
Still running at top speed Isabella pulled her favorite knife from her thigh garter sheath and finished off the dress fabric’s threads still clinging on haplessly trying to maintain her hemline’s original design.
Still at full speed, Isabella, with one yank of her hand ripped the sideseam further upward on her thigh and replaced her knife into its leg garter sheath, to the disapproving stare of two elderly ladies at Oporto Sun’s outdoor cafe seating.
“Desculpe!” Apologized Isabella, as she whizzed speedily past a pair of cyclists. The pair landed sprawled but unhurt on the pavement as she rocketed through the sliver of space, only she could see, between them.
Isabella, kicked off, in mid hurdle, her Luis Onofre pumps, their slingback straps had been a bone of contention arguing with her heels for several kilometers now.
Then, she entered the train station plodding barefoot on the warm concrete pavement. Her breathing was not the least bit labored (as usual) despite her recent high-impact aerobics.
Isabella scanned her environment. Her quarry appeared to be nowhere in sight…
However, there was one woman in her mid-thirties breathing heavily standing alone on the platform. She wore a red T-shirt with an Atlanta Hawks NBA logo on the back, and a pair of green sweatpants with a bulge in the right side pocket.
Isabella could see and hear a train slowing its speed; its metal brakes squeaked as the long train chugged heaving slowly as it entered the station’s platform.
Suddenly, the woman leaped in front of the train! Her timing was such that she landed squarely on the tracks and away from the oncoming train. Quickly, the woman scurried to the safe side of the track’s live rail and crouched as the slowly advancing train hid her from view.
Instinctively, Isabella vaulted her six-foot (1.85m) frame upward with ease, the blood of an angel coursing through her veins; she landed comfortably spread-eagled face down on the outer roof of the moving train…
****To Be Continued Next Sunday****