Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Secret Order of Doom, Part Four

"And who," Ms. Madison asked politely, "would the order of Cain be, when they're at home?"

"Ah..." the retired cleric cleared his throat. "You probably heard about the so-called 'Gospel of Judas' around about Easter time."

"Along with most of the world, yes," Ms. Madison nodded. "Wasn't it a really old religious text that said Judas was just misunderstood?"

"More than that," Samuelson smiled. "The Gospel of Judas tried to present Judas as a hero, as the only man who truly understood the message of Jesus Christ, the other eleven having got it completely wrong. All bunk, of course." He shook his head with a sigh. "Some people made a great deal of fuss about it, but most scholars were just very bored. See, we actually knew this 'Gospel'", he made a face, "existed. Some of the Church Fathers attacked the 'Gospel, and the group that produced it, the Cainites."

"Who are related in some way to the Order of Cain, right?" Ms. Madison smiled.

"You have it," the retired vicar grinned. "The Cainites presented a very esoteric religion, based on the idea that salvation was through some hidden knowledge, rather than the blood of Jesus Christ. More, the salvation they presented involved actions that seemed horrendous to the uninitiated.

"In most of the world this presentation of an alleged Christianity had no impact. They died out, except for a small number in Syria. With the crusades, their ideas returned to Europe, appealing to a few strange people. There were rumours that, like the Cathars, they had European cells, secret 'priories' sworn to protect their strange secrets."

"And you think that your friend was killed because he found out some of this?" Ms. Madison looked curious.

"Exactly," the old cleric nodded. "But I don't know where to start, and I certainly want to go on living. The Green Man has the ability to find this out and stay alive."

"While I," Ms. Madison sighed, "am just stuck in the middle. "I'll get my handbag gun and try not to get stopped by the police. Well, I'll be seeing you, Reverend."

"I'm preaching in a private chapel Sunday," the cleric replied. "And I look forward to it, believe me."

"I don't," Ms. Madison turned to go, "because I don't know if I should yet."

And, with that, she left the church, walking back to the pub. She ordered food and put her feet up. With the food came a slip of paper, printed in the Green Man's hand:

Castle Acre Priory: Tomorrow, six o'clock.

At least the surroundings would be nice, she thought to herself, as she filled in a report for the benefit of the Green Man.

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