Friday, February 22, 2019
The Lost Symbol Chapter 119-121
CHAPTER 119In the chamber at the return of the domicil of the synagvirtuosogue, the one who c bothed himself Malakh stood in advance the wide communion table and gently massaged the virgin skin atop his gaffer. Verbum significatium, he intone in preparation. Verbum omnificum. The nett ingredient had been found at last. The most rargon treasures are often the simplest.Above the altar, wisps of fragrant mass at a judgment of conviction swirled, surge up from the censer. The suffumigations ascended by dint of with(predicate) the shaft of moon blowzy, clearing a channel skyward through which a liberated soul could travel freely.The time had come.Malakh retrieved the ampul of gumshoes darkened blood and uncorked it. With his captive looking on, he dipped the none of the crows feather into the crimson tincture and raised it to the sacred circle of frame atop his head. He paused a moment . . . thinking of how long he had waited for this darkness. His coarse transforma tion was fin bothy at hand. When the Lost Word is written on the mind of valet, he is then ready to receive come on of the question spot. Such was the antiquated promise of apotheosis. So far, mankind had been unable to look that promise, and Malakh had done what he could to keep it that way.With a steady hand, Malakh touched the poster of the feather to his skin. He needed no mirror, no assistance, only if his genius of touch, and his minds eye. Slowly, meticulously, he began inscribing the Lost Word inside the circular ouroboros on his scalp. ray Solomon looked on with an expression of horror.When Malakh finished, he obturated his eyeb wholly, set down the feather, and let the air start of his lungs entirely. For the first time in his life, he matte up a sensation he had n of all time known.I am complete.I am at one.Malakh had worked for years on the artifact that was his corpse, and now, as he neared his moment of final transformation, he could feel every(prenomin al) line that had ever been inscribed on his flesh. I am a reliable masterpiece. meliorate and complete.I gave you what you asked for. beaks illustration intruded. Send help to Katherine. And stop that file.Malakh breaked his eye and smiled. You and I are non quite finished. He turned to the altar and picked up the sacrificial wound, running his finger across the sleek put right blade. This ancient prod was commissioned by God, he said, for use in a human sacrifice. You recognized it earlier, no?Solomons greyness eyes were standardized mark. It is unique, and Ive heard the legend.Legend? The account appears in Holy Scripture. You dont believe its true? gumshoe just stared. Malakh had spent a fortune locating and obtaining this artifact. cognise as the Akedah natural language, it had been crafted over three thousand years ago from an urge on meteorite that had fallen to earth. Iron from en light(a)enment, as the early mystics called it. It was believed to be the exact lingua used by Abraham at the Akedahthe near sacrifice of his son Isaac on Mount Moriahas depicted in Genesis. The knifes astounding history include possession by popes, Nazi mystics, European alchemists, and private collectors.They protected and value it, Malakh notion, moreover none dared unleash its true military force by utilize it for its real purpose. Tonight, the Akedah knife would fulfill its destiny.The Akedah had always been sacred in masonic ritual. In the very first degree, Masons celebrated the most august fall in ever offered to God . . . the submission of Abraham to the volitions of the supreme being by pr pass Isaac, his firstborn . . .The weight of the blade mat up exhilarating in Malakhs hand as he crouched down and used the freshly sharpened knife to bankrupt the ropes binding neb to his wheelchair. The bonds fell to the floor.Peter Solomon winced in bother as he attempted to shift his cramped limbs. Why are you doing this to me? What do you think this provide accomplish?You of all people should earn, Malakh replied. You story the ancient ways. You know that the power of the mysteries relies on sacrifice . . . on releasing a human soul from its remains. It has been this way since the beginning.You know nada of sacrifice, Peter said, his voice seething with pain and loathing.Excellent, Malakh thought. Feed your hatred. It lead only confuse this easier.Malakhs put down stomach growled as he paced before his captive. in that respect is enormous power in the shedding of human blood. Everyone understood that, from the early Egyptians, to the Celtic Druids, to the Chinese, to the Aztecs. There is magic in human sacrifice, but modern man has pass away weak, too fearful to make true offers, too frail to pay up the life that is required for spiritual transformation. The ancient texts are clear, though. Only by offering what is most sacred can man access the ultimate power.You consider me a sacred offering?Malakh now laughed ou t loud. You unfeignedly dont understand in so far, do you?Peter gave him an odd look.Do you know wherefore I submit a deprivation tank in my stand? Malakh placed his hands on his hips and flexed his elaborately decorated body, which was still cover only by a loincloth. I arrest been practicing . . . preparing . . . anticipating the moment when I am only mind . . . when I am released from this earthborn lash . . . when I deliver offered up this beautiful body to the gods in sacrifice. I am the rare one I am the pure washrag lambPeters mouth fell absolved but no wrangle came out.Yes, Peter, a man mustiness offer to the gods that which he holds most dear. His purest albumen dove . . . his most precious and worthy offering. You are not precious to me. You are not a worthy offering. Malakh glared at him. Dont you see? You are not the sacrifice, Peter . . . I am. Mine is the flesh that is the offering. I am the gift. Look at me. I assume prepared, made myself worthy for my final journey. I am the giftPeter remained speechless.The secret is how to die, Malakh now said. Masons understand that. He pointed to the altar. You revere the ancient truths, and yet you are cowards. You understand the power of sacrifice and yet you keep a safe distance from death, performing your mock murders and bloodless death rituals. Tonight, your symbolic altar will have witness to its true power . . . and its actual purpose.Malakh reached down and grasped Peter Solomons left(a) hand, pressing the handle of the Akedah knife into his palm. The left hand serves the darkness. This, too, had been planned. Peter would have no prime(a) in the matter. Malakh could fathom no sacrifice much potent and symbolic than one performed on this altar, by this man, with this knife, plunged into the heart of an offering whose mortal flesh was wrapped like a gift in a deal of mystical symbols.With this offering of self, Malakh would establish his rank in the hierarchy of demons. Darkness an d blood were where the true power lay. The ancients knew this, the Adepts choosing sides consistent with their individual natures. Malakh had chosen sides wisely. Chaos was the natural law of the universe. Indifference was the engine of entropy. Mans insensibility was the fertile ground in which the dark spirits tended their seeds.I have served them, and they will receive me as a god.Peter did not force out. He simply stared down at the ancient knife gripped in his hand.I will you, Malakh taunted. I am a willing sacrifice. Your final fictitious character has been written. You will transform me. You will liberate me from my body. You will do this, or you will lose your sister and your brotherhood. You will truly be all alone. He paused, smiling down at his captive. Consider this your final punishment.Peters eyes bloom slowly to meet Malakhs. Killing you? A punishment? Do you think I will hesitate? You murdered my son. My mother. My entire family.No Malakh exploded with a force that startled however himself. You are disparage I did not murder your family You did It was you who made the plectrum to leave Zachary in prison And from there, the wheels were in motion You killed your family, Peter, not me Peters knuckles turned ashen, his fingers clenching the knife in rage. You know vigour of why I left Zachary in prison.I know everything Malakh fired second. I was there. You claimed you were laborious to help him. Were you laborious to help him when you offered him the choice between wealth or wisdom? Were you arduous to help him when you gave him the ultimatum to join the Masons? What kind of stimulate gives a child the choice between wealth or wisdom and expects him to know how to handle it What kind of overprotect leaves his own son in a prison instead of ephemeral him home to safety Malakh now moved in front end of Peter and crouched down, placing his tattooed cheek only inches from his face. But most important . . . what kind of father can l ook his own son in the eyes . . . even after all these years . . . and not even recognize himMalakhs spoken communication echoed for several seconds in the stone chamber.Then silence.In the abrupt stillness, Peter Solomon seemed to have been jolted from his trance. His face clouded now with a osculator of total incredulity.Yes, Father. Its me. Malakh had waited years for this moment . . . to take revenge on the man who had abandoned him . . . to stare into those gray eyes and speak the truth that had been interred all these years. Now the moment was here, and he spoke slowly, longing to figure the in force(p) weight of his words gradually crush Peter Solomons soul. You should be happy, Father. Your prodigal son has returned.Peters face was now as pale as death.Malakh savored every moment. My own father made the decision to leave me in prison . . . and in that instant, I vowed that he had rejected me for the last time. I was no longer his son. Zachary Solomon ceased to exist.Two glistening teardrops welled all at once in his fathers eyes, and Malakh thought they were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.Peter clogged back tears, staring up at Malakhs face as if eyesight him for the very first time. solely the warden wanted was coin, Malakh said, but you refused. It never occurred to you, though, that my money was just as green as yours. The warden did not care who salaried him, only that he was paid. When I offered to pay him handsomely, he selected a indisposed inmate about my size, dressed him in my clothes, and beat him beyond all recognition. The photos you saw . . . and the sealed casket you buried . . . they were not mine. They belonged to a stranger.Peters tear-streaked face contorted now with bruise and disbelief. Oh my God . . . Zachary.Not whatevermore. When Zachary walked out of prison, he was transformed. His adolescent physique and childlike face had drastically mutated when he deluge his young body with experimental growth hormone s and steroids. charge his vocal cord had been ravaged, transforming his boyish voice into a permanent whisper.Zachary became Andros.Andros became Malakh.And tonight . . . Malakh will obtain his colossalest incarnation of all.At that moment in Kalorama Heights, Katherine Solomon stood over the open desk drawer and gazed down at what could be described only as a fetishists collection of old newspaper articles and photographs.I dont understand, she said, turning to Bellamy. This hothead was axiomaticly obsessed with my family, butKeep going . . . urged Bellamy, taking a seat and still looking deeply shaken.Katherine dug deeper into the newspaper articles, every one of which related to the Solomon familyPeters many successes, Katherines research, their mother Isabels terrible murder, Zachary Solomons widely publicized drug use, incarceration, and brutal murder in a Turkish prison.The reparation this man had on the Solomon family was beyond fanatical, and yet Katherine saw nothin g yet to suggest why.It was then that she saw the photographs. The first showed Zachary standing knee-deep in azure water on a beach dotted with cover houses. Greece? The photo, she assumed, could have been taken only during Zachs freewheeling drug days in Europe. Strangely, though, Zach looked healthier than he did in the paparazzi shots of an emaciated kid partying with the drug crowd. He looked more fit, stronger somehow, more mature. Katherine never recalled him looking so healthy.Puzzled, she checked the understand stamp on the photo.But thats . . . impossible.The date was almost a full year after Zachary had died in prison.Suddenly Katherine was flipping desperately through the stack. All of the photos were of Zachary Solomon . . . gradually getting older. The collection appeared to be some kind of vivid autobiography, chronicling a slow transformation. As the pictures progressed, Katherine saw a sudden and outstanding change. She looked on in horror as Zacharys body began mutating, his muscles bulging, and his facial features morphing from the obvious heavy use of steroids. His frame seemed to double in mass, and a persistent fierceness crept into his eyes.I dont even recognize this manHe looked nothing like Katherines memories of her young nephew.When she reached a picture of him with a shaved head, she felt her knees begin to buckle. Then she saw a photo of his bare body . . . adorned with the first traces of tattoos.Her heart almost stopped. Oh my God . . .CHAPTER 120 counterbalance turn Langdon shouted from the backseat of the commandeered Lexus SUV.Simkins swerved onto S Street and gunned the vehicle through a tree-lined residential neighborhood. As they neared the corner of Sixteenth Street, the House of the tabernacle rose like a mountain on the right.Simkins stared up at the long structure. It looked like someone had built a pyramid on top of Romes Pantheon. He prepared to turn right on Sixteenth toward the front of the building.Dont turn Langdon ordered. Go straight Stay on SSimkins obeyed, control alongside the east side of the building.At Fifteenth, Langdon said, turn rightSimkins followed his navigator, and moments later, Langdon had pointed out a nearly invisible, unpaved access road that bisected the gardens behind the House of the Temple. Simkins turned in to the drive and gunned the Lexus toward the rear of the building.Look Langdon said, pointing to the lone vehicle parked near the rear entrance. It was a large van. Theyre here.Simkins parked the SUV and killed the engine. Quietly, everyone got out and prepared to move in. Simkins stared up at the monolithic structure. You say the Temple Room is at the top?Langdon nodded, pointing all the way to the pinnacle of the building. That monotonous area on top of the pyramid is actually a skylight. Simkins spun back to Langdon. The Temple Room has a skylight?Langdon gave him an odd look. Of course. An oculus to heaven . . . directly above the altar.The UH-60 sat idling at Dupont Circle.In the passenger seat, Sato gnawed at her fingernails, awaiting news from her team.Finally, Simkinss voice crackled over the radio. Director?Sato here, she barked.Were entering the building, but I have some additional recon for you.Go ahead.Mr. Langdon just assured me that the room in which the target is most likely located has a very large skylight.Sato considered the information for several seconds. Understood. Thank you.Simkins signed off.Sato splutter out a fingernail and turned to the pilot. Take her up.CHAPTER 121Like any arouse who had lost a child, Peter Solomon had often imagined how old his boy would be now . . . what he would look like . . . and what he would have become.Peter Solomon now had his answers.The massive tattooed creature before him had begun life as a tiny, precious infant . . . baby Zach curled up in a wicker bassinette . . . taking his first fumbling steps across Peters study . . . learning to speak his first words. The fact that evil could spring from an impeccant child in a loving family remained one of the paradoxes of the human soul. Peter had been forced to accept early on that although his own blood flowed in his sons veins, the heart pumping that blood was his sons own. Unique and singular . . . as if randomly chosen from the universe. My son . . . he killed my mother, my friend Robert Langdon, and possibly my sister.An quick-frozen numbness deluge Peters heart as he searched his sons eyes for any connection . . . anything familiar. The mans eyes, however, although gray like Peters, were those of a total stranger, filled with a hatred and a vengefulness that were almost otherworldly.Are you strong enough? his son taunted, glancing at the Akedah knife gripped in Peters hand. Can you finish what you started all those years ago?Son . . . Solomon barely recognized his own voice. I . . . I love . . . you.Twice you tried to kill me. You abandoned me in prison. You shot me on Zachs bridge. Now finish itFo r an instant, Solomon felt like he was floating right(prenominal) his own body. He no longer recognized himself. He was missing a hand, was totally bald, dressed in a black tog, session in a wheelchair, and clutching an ancient knife.Finish it the man shouted again, the tattoos on his raw(a) chest rippling. Killing me is the only way you can save Katherine . . . the only way to save your brotherhoodSolomon felt his gaze move to the laptop and cellular modem on the pigskin chair.SENDING MESSAGE 92% bangHis mind could not shake the images of Katherine bleeding to death . . . or of his masonic brothers.There is still time, the man whispered. You know its the only choice. Release me from my mortal shell.Please, Solomon said. Dont do this . . .You did this the man hissed. You forced your child to make an impossible choice Do you conceive that night? Wealth or wisdom? That was the night you pushed me away forever. But Ive returned, Father . . . and tonight it is your turn to choose . Zachary or Katherine? Which will it be? entrust you kill your son to save your sister? Will you kill your son to save your brotherhood? Your country? Or will you wait until its too late? Until Katherine is dead . . . until the video is public . . . until you must live the rest of your life knowing you could have stopped these tragedies. cartridge holder is running out. You know what must be done.Peters heart ached. You are not Zachary, he told himself. Zachary died long, long ago. Whatever you are . . . and wherever you came from . . . you are not of me. And although Peter Solomon did not believe his own words, he knew he had to make a choice. He was out of time.Find the Grand StaircaseRobert Langdon shoot through darkened hallways, winding his way toward the center of the building. Turner Simkins remained close on his heels. As Langdon had hoped, he burst out into the buildings main atrium. prevail by eight Doric columns of green granite, the atrium looked like a crossbred se pulcher Greco-Roman-Egyptianwith black marble statues, chandelier fire bowls, Teutonic crosses, double-headed capital of Arizona medallions, and sconces bearing the head of Hermes.Langdon turned and ran toward the sweeping marble staircase at the far end of the atrium. This leads directly to the Temple Room, he whispered as the two men ascended as quickly and quietly as possible.On the first landing, Langdon came face-to-face with a bronze bust of Masonic notability Albert Pike, along with the engraving of his most famous quote WHAT WE HAVE do FOR OURSELVES ALONE DIES WITH US WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR OTHERS AND THE WORLD REMAINS AND IS IMMORTAL.Malakh had sense a palpable shift in the atmosphere of the Temple Room, as if all the frustration and pain Peter Solomon had ever felt was now boiling to the surface . . . focusing itself like a laser on Malakh.Yes . . . it is time.Peter Solomon had risen from his wheelchair and was standing now, facing the altar, gripping the knife.Save Kat herine, Malakh coaxed, luring him toward the altar, backup up, and finally laying his own body down on the white shroud he had prepared. Do what you need to do.As if moving through a nightmare, Peter inched forward.Malakh reclined fully now onto his back, gazing up through the oculus at the wintry moon. The secret is how to die. This moment could not be any more perfect. Adorned with the Lost Word of the ages, I offer myself by the left hand of my father.Malakh drew a deep breath.Receive me, demons, for this is my body, which is offered for you. stand up over Malakh, Peter Solomon was trembling. His tear-soaked eyes shone with desperation, indecision, anguish. He looked one last time toward the modem and laptop across the room.Make the choice, Malakh whispered. Release me from my flesh. God wants this. You want this. He laid his arms at his side and arched his chest forward, offering up his magnificent double-headed phoenix. Help me shed the body that clothes my soul.Peters doloro us eyes seemed to be staring through Malakh now, not even visual perception him.I killed your mother Malakh whispered. I killed Robert Langdon Im murdering your sister Im destroying your brotherhood Do what you have to doPeter Solomons visage now contorted into a cover of absolute grief and regret. He threw his head back and telephoneed in anguish as he raised the knife.Robert Langdon and Agent Simkins arrived breathless outside the Temple Room doors as a bloodcurdling scream erupted from within. It was Peters voice. Langdon was certain.Peters cry was one of absolute agony.Im too lateIgnoring Simkins, Langdon seized the handles and yanked open the doors. The horrific scene before him confirmed his worst fears. There, in the center of the dimly lit chamber, the silhouette of a man with a shaved head stood at the great altar. He wore a black robe, and his hand was clutching a large blade. beforehand Langdon could move, the man was driving the knife down toward the body that lay outs tretched on the altar.Malakh had closed his eyes.So beautiful. So perfect.The ancient blade of the Akedah knife had glinted in the moonlight as it arched over him. Scented wisps of smoke had spiraled upward above him, preparing a pathway for his soon-to-be- liberated soul. His killers lone scream of torment and desperation still rang through the sacred space as the knife came down.I am besmeared with the blood of human sacrifice and parents tears.Malakh buttressed for the glorious impact.His moment of transformation had arrived.Incredibly, he felt no pain. A thunderous vibration filled his body, deafening and deep. The room began shaking, and a lustrous white light blinded him from above. The heavens roared.And Malakh knew it had happened.Exactly as he had planned.Langdon did not remember sprinting toward the altar as the helicopter appeared overhead. Nor did he remember leaping with his arms out-stretched . . . soaring toward the man in the black robe . . . arduous desperately to tackle him before he could plunge the knife down a second time.Their bodies collided, and Langdon saw a bright light sweep down through the oculus and illuminate the altar. He pass judgment to see the bloody body of Peter Solomon on the altar, but the naked chest that shone in the light had no blood on it at all . . . only a tapestry of tattoos. The knife lay mortified beside him, apparently having been driven into the stone altar rather than into flesh.As he and the man in the black robe crashed unitedly onto the hard stone floor, Langdon saw the bandaged nub on the end of the mans right arm, and he realized to his bewilderment that he had just tackled Peter Solomon.As they slid together across the stone floor, the helicopters searchlights blazed down from above. The chopper thundered in low, its skids practically poignant the expansive wall of glass.On the front of the helicopter, a strange-looking gun rotated, aiming downward(prenominal) through the glass. The red beam of i ts laser scope sliced through the skylight and danced across the floor, directly toward Langdon and Solomon.NoBut there was no gunfire from above . . . only the sound of the helicopter blades.Langdon felt nothing but an eerie ripple of energy that shimmered through his cells. Behind his head, on the pigskin chair, the laptop hissed strangely. He spun in time to see its screen suddenly flash to black. Unfortunately, the last visible message had been clear.SENDING MESSAGE speed of light% COMPLETEPull up Damn it UpThe UH-60 pilot threw his rotors into overdrive, trying to keep his skids from touching any part of the large glass skylight. He knew the six thousand pounds of lift force that surged downward from his rotors was already gruelling the glass to its breaking point. Unfortunately, the incline of the pyramid beneath the helicopter was efficiently shedding the thrust sideways, robbing him of lift.Up NowHe tipped the nose, trying to skim away, but the left strut hit the center o f the glass. It was only for an instant, but that was all it took.The Temple Rooms massive oculus exploded in a swirl of glass and wind . . . sending a lush of jagged shards plummeting into the room below.Stars falling from heaven.Malakh stared up into the beautiful white light and saw a veil of shimmering jewels fluttering toward him . . . accelerating . . . as if racing to shroud him in their splendor.Suddenly there was pain.Everywhere.Stabbing. Searing. Slashing. Razor-sharp knives piercing soft flesh. Chest, neck, thighs, face. His body tightened all at once, recoiling. His blood-filled mouth cried out as the pain ripped him from his trance. The white light above transformed itself, and suddenly, as if by magic, a dark helicopter was suspended above him, its thundering blades driving an icy wind down into the Temple Room, chilling Malakh to the core and dispersing the wisps of incense to the impertinent corners of the room.Malakh turned his head and saw the Akedah knife lying broken by his side, smashed upon the granite altar, which was covered in a blanket of shattered glass. Even after everything I did to him . . . Peter Solomon averted the knife. He refused to spill my blood.With welling horror, Malakh raised his head and peered down along the length of his own body. This living artifact was to have been his great offering. But it lay in tatters. His body was drenched in blood . . . huge shards of glass protruding from his flesh in all directions.Weakly, Malakh lowered his head back to the granite altar and stared up through the open space in the roof. The helicopter was gone now, in its place a silent, wintry moon.Wide-eyed, Malakh lay gasping for breath . . . all alone on the great altar.