Get up, fool!“, barked Guillaume Imbert, the French Grand Inquisitor. Yet the Grand Master Jacques de Molay continued to lay on the prison floor, passively resisting to the end. “OK… that was your last chance, Templar scum. Guards – crucify him, and wrap him in a shroud which his bodily fluids will seep into, leaving a ghostly imprint which will quickly come to be believed an image of Christ Himself.

There was a sudden rattling at the cell door, and a plainly-dressed Philip IV and his entourage swept in. De Molay opened a single swollen eyelid. “What, no bling today, Your Majesty? Pawned all the Royal Jewels, perchance? Presumably that’s why you’re planning to seize the vast Templar treasure trove… such a pity we’ve already hidden it in plain sight in a location known only to the author, his/her publisher’s marketing department, and Henry Lincoln.”

No worries, Jackie-boy“, smirked the king, “I have already set in place my own sprawling conspiracy to retrieve it that will run for centuries – yes, even beyond the French Revolution and the first two World Wars upon which your man Nostradamus will write so eloquently.”

“Pah!” retorted de Molay. “Our Templar conspiracy has a two century headstart on your upstart Royalist conspiracy. In fact, we have well-drafted plans to go underground for seven hundred years only to reemerge as a 21st century ninja fighting force with a secret Gnostic terrorist agenda. Unfortunately, because I am illiterate, I could not read those plans, so torturing me to reveal them has been a bit of a waste of time so far.

You call that a conspiracy?” spat the gallic Inquisitor. “But how will you preserve the secret knowledge of Jesus himself at the heart of your anti-Church Templar initiation ceremony which 20th century novel-readers will hear so many versions of? Surely you will need some kind of heavily-enciphered Macguffin to transport dangerous heretical information that could change everything for heavily religious readers (if they happen to be particularly gullible) through time?

Yes, the Church wants to know that too“, exclaimed Philip IV, “for it is their fanatical agents who are going to be hunting it down for the next six centuries. Even if they are all in my pocket in Avignon at this particular point in history.

The Grand Master paused menacingly, eyeing the two men. “Well… OK, then… seeing as we’re best mates an’ all that. We’ve already had our deepest, darkest secrets enciphered by a mad monk by the name of Roger Bacon, who cunningly disguised it as a herbal manuscript from two centuries hence, with instructions for it to be copied by Leonardo da Vinci when he’s born. Oh, and we’ve listed the 365 secret hiding places for the Templar treasure in an appendix at the back. Basically, it’s a bit like the Beale Papers, which we’ve got planned for the future too – good job we’ve already written the Declaration of Independence, eh?

The King drew his once jewel-encrusted dagger and sharply held it at de Molay’s throat. “And does your idiot author really expect his/her readers to swallow all that guff, even if they are laying on a sun-kissed beach? Surely that’s enough to make even one brain cell want to strangle itself?

Guillaume Imbert gently pulled the king’s arm back. “It worked for Dan Brown“, he hissed in the Royal Ear, “so nobody wants to mess with The Secret Formula“.

Is this true, then, de Molay?” snarled Philip. “Is this the Secret Novel-Writing Formula enciphered in the Templar’s secret codex? Will it be Dan Brown himself who will decipher the so-called-six-centuries-hence ‘Voynich Manuscript’ and grasp the Templar money-making secret of writing Romance novels? You know, the secret of making unlimited money from home I see described in so many banner ads unfurled outside my palaces?”

But the Grand Master merely turned to face the king, slowly raised his hand in the ancient Sumerian symbol of defiance with his middle finger raised aloft to the sky, and proclaimed the secret Templar initiatory phrase later to be popularized by Priory of Sion Grandmaster Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli – “Prithee, sit on it, sire“. Plainly, some secrets are beyond all discussion…

5 thoughts on “Generic historical cipher mystery (short version)…

  1. Dennis on March 22, 2009 at 4:31 am said:

    C’est formidable, Seigneur Nick! So, this is the formula that Barbara Cartland used?

  2. Only if she was writing before 1912 could we reasonably deny that awful possibility. Then again, she might have once been a friend of Athanasius Kircher, who knows? 😉

  3. Dennis on March 24, 2009 at 5:33 am said:

    AIRC, she said she prayed, and God usually gave her a plot. Seriously.

  4. If her faith was so strong, why did He always give her the same plot?

    Just kidding! 🙂

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