Chapter One, December 21, 2012
The scroll was delivered to the White House in the wee hours of the morning by an old woman demanding secrecy. High-ranking officials were summoned from their beds, and after a flurry of activity, had declared the scroll authentic and “threat-free”. Only then was the message copied and deciphered, the age-delicate original stored in an acid-free environment for preservation.
The president’s polished shoes sank into the rug as he crossed the Oval Office. He had engineered a rare moment alone and used it to remove the file from the hidden alcove in the Resolute desk. Withdrawing its contents, he read through the report and studied the map at the bottom of the reproduction.
Outside Caen, in the north of France, was a place called Falaise. It was here the message had been discovered, under the ancient ruins of a castle that once belonged to William the Conqueror. The cave itself was a significant find, containing pictographs and vault-like chambers that held an entire library of scrolls and tablets, and a treasury of precious gems and metals.
But in an inner chamber, sealed away from all else, was a priceless sculpture of a woman with long, curling hair, flanked by an inordinately large hound and wildcat. In the photograph, the woman’s arms were lifted to the heavens in supplication, with the rolled parchment resting in one hand.
The president considered the lacy writing and the meticulously drawn symbols. Carbon dating and writing-style analysis had traced the parchment to the early eleventh century, corresponding to William’s reign.
Translated, the missive warned of a world-ending event. As the Mayans had predicted today to be that day, the timing made the find more significant. The White House stood prepared for the worst.
But if truly a prophecy, it also declared the existence of a champion and, therefore, hope. He polished his glasses with a soft cloth and donned them to reread the cryptic message.
When Armageddon threatens,
The sleeping one will wake.
Along the same meridian
The fallen steps in place.
One coast will gather light and kind
The other dark, despair,
But each will yield its suffering
To a world laid waste with fear.
The call will soon be answered
Old wounds doth fester e’er,
The battle begun before Earth was wrought
Must be won in the helm of the sufferer’s heart
And from thence She leaps forth
The president slumped deeper into his regal chair and tapped the sheet of paper against his chin. The words meant nothing to him. He was a politician and understood legalese, not prophetese. But the nation’s top minds were working on the cipher. With the clues supplied by the mysterious crone, he was certain they would be able to come up with something.
The intercom squawked, jarring him back to his hectic day. He folded the prophecy and stuck it in an inside pocket, then replaced the file in the hidden drawer.