|Image via Akseli Koskela|
La Abadía de San Joaquín de la Ascensión
Below fog from the sea was the rolling up the mountains. Ahead, the Abadía de San Joaquín de la Ascensión, the Monastery of Saint Joachim of the Ascension.
“Buenos Diaz” Padre Juan-Maria Gomez, said to Alan as he entered the old Abbey. He squinted at Alan, then “Alain” he cried, recognition filling his face with a new warmth. “It has been many years since you left the church’s embrace.”
“I seek shelter, father. Someone, I don’t know who, denounced me before the Inquisition as a member of the Cult of Archimedes,” a worried look crossed Father Gomez’s face. Alan continued, “if they’ve searched the house I am sure they will have the found the computer.”
“If they have found you in possession of a computer that will be evidence enough in their eyes. The monastery will not be able to save you. They will demand to search the monastery, they will have a commission from the Cardinal and if they find you, we will all be denounced as Heretics, computer programmers and servants of the devil.”
“Father, you must offer me sanctuary.”
Father Gomez shook his head, “follow me,” he said. Alan followed Father Gomez outside the Abbey into a vegetable garden. “Please wait here.” Alan sat on wooden bench next to a greenhouse and waited.
About an hour before noon an elderly monk came to Alan with a bowl of soup and a piece of bread. Alan got up immediately. “Please, where is Father Gomez? I cannot simply wait here. If he cannot offer me shelter I must leave immediately.”
“Have patience my child.”
“How can I have patience?” Alan knocked the proffered bowl of soup onto the ground, “my very life is in danger!”
The monk said nothing. Instead he stooped over and picked-up the bowl from the ground. Empty bowl in his hand, he stood and faced Alan. “We will not abandon you,” he said, before turning and leaving. The day was clear and crisp, whisps of steam rising from the spilt soup on the ground shone in the sunlight. Alan looked at the hunk of bread left on the wooden bench. His body would have appreciated a warm bowl of soup, especially his feet and hands, which were aching from the cold.
Finally Father Gomez returned. We can offer you an escape of sorts Alan, but your previous betrayal of the Chur--”
“I never betrayed the Church!” Alan protested, “I fell in love.”
“You abandoned your calling Alan,” Father Gomez retorted, “and all of us here. We are about to share with you a secret that no-one outside this monastery has ever been privy too. This is no ordinary monastery Alan; we monks are the guardians of a secret 300 years old.”
Alan was nearly overwhelmed by the dizzying heights of the steeple of the Abbey. Already at the summit of a mountain nearly 4000 metres above sea-level, the view from the steeple of the abbey was incredible.
“It is the only way.” Father Gomez whispered.
Alan looked-up, suspended just above his head he saw a thin white rope. Incredible that no-one had seen it before, but the rope was white and no more than an inch in diameter. Alan tried to follow the rope to its source, but the thin white line was soon lost in the blue of the Earth’s atmosphere.
“This is the secret that we guard Alan, the path to the Ascension. You must climb it, it is the only way.”