10 – The Grandmaster

(June 12)

The smell of Boswellian incense embraced Pope Benedict’s robes as he tarried back to his private quarters. (No, I don’t have a sense of smell in my visions, hold on and you’ll see how I knew this fact).

<Ah-choo!> Benedict sneezed again. (Understand now?)

(Another day, another vision. I usually don’t get pummeled like this unless something big is afoot. This is not a good sign.)

“Hurensohn!” Benedict swore in his native dialect. “Why do we use such strong ash?” And he rubbed hard at his nose with a handkerchief. “Ach, Father, forgive me, but if Cardinal Renoit waves his censor in my direction next time, I’ll excommunicate the toifel!”

Later that evening, after Benedict was able to shower, I watched as he once more engaged with some fellow conspirators. This time his visitors were not two men who looked like a pair of Hitler’s Aryan army, but instead a young woman and an older gentleman. The woman was a gorgeous brunette whose silky hair covered her face yet could not obscure her beauty.  Although I couldn’t tell for sure, I was guessing that this was none other than Ms. Teri Abbracciavento. Interestingly enough, she bore a striking resemblance to the older man who sat beside her. The scholarly type, he looked like the classic, European university professor – bushy grey eyebrows, a bulbous Italian nose, shaggy grey hair, and one of those tweed suits with patched elbows that made him a living cliché.

I noticed Benedict snickering to himself, and I wondered if he was amused at the same thing I was – (assuming this really was Teri A.), did her father know what his daughter had been up to lately?

“Blessed is the man whose sin the lord does not count against him…So how is death treating you, Antonio?” Benedict quipped as he scratched Deter behind the ears.

“Pah, Death is quite inconvenient,” The oldster replied. “Were you aware that I can’t get a IdentiChip? Apparently my fingerprints prove I’m dead. How am I supposed to buy anything once hard currency goes away?”

“Father, I told you that you’d have nothing to worry about.” The woman reached over to pat his hand. “Your death was necessary. We’ve already discussed this. Benedict’s people will see to all your needs – just as they have always done. Correct?”

“Teri is correct.” Benedict agreed (Bingo! I was right – again). “You have no need to worry, Antonio. Your mind is too valuable to have you waste it on such trifles. If you want an IdentiChip, we’ll get you one.”

“I should hope so.” Antonio Abbracciavento nodded.

“Father sometimes invents things to worry about.” Teri joked to Benedict. “If his mind is not always at work, he gets frustrated, so he is always thinking of new conspiracies.”

“Figlia mine, I do no such—“ Antonio began.

“In any case,” Benedict glanced down at his watch. “I’ve read your briefing about Lazarus. What is his current status?”

(Hmmm. So Joe was involved with Alan’s recent troubles?)

Teri smiled slyly, “Ah yes, Alan was a nice assignment. Although I didn’t get to consumma-” yet here she glanced at her father. “Well, the important thing is that we have him secured.”

“Does he suspect anything about me?” Benedict inquired, whilst Deter pawed at him.

“No, he believes you to still be as innocent as a baby goat.”

“Two millennia is a long time to live for anyone. I’m sure that Bruder Lazarus will thank us for helping him get to the afterlife.”

(Joe, if I thought you could really end our lives, I’d be the first one at your door. But, you can’t do it. So whatever you are planning, it won’t work).

“So long as I get his immortal seed first.” Teri reminded.

“Putta!” Antonio could stand it no more. “Enough of such talk before I smack you!”

“I am what I am.” Teri said defiantly to her father. “Of all people, YOU should know that much.”

“My friends.” Benedict played peace maker. “Let’s keep our eye on the prize. Antonio, the time is near. The End Game is brewing and the first Check is about to occur. What is the latest from The Prophets?

“I have read the transcripts and viewed their tapes. Elijah and Enoch continue to deteriorate. It’s a sad sight to see such great men destroyed — as if History is being reversed.”

(Hmm, so this Antonio is in league with the mystery man who captured the prophets? Is Joe that man? If so, I didn’t see that coming.)

“I prefer to say corrected.” Benedict smiled.

“Eh?” Antonio was confused (and me as well).

History is being corrected. Elijah and Enoch were certainly extraordinary men; but, they have had their time. They were taken up body and soul to heaven and then preserved for this very mission. They knew what they were getting into. Nothing in His Universe is free and even WE will have to earn our fare before this is all over.”

“Well, I should hope my work has been enough to stamp my ticket.” The professor grumbled. “And my daughter’s as well.”

“We shall see. But, who knows what tomorrow may bring.” Benedict shrugged. “In any case, please continue. Has there been a new prophecy?”

“Hmm. Well, it seems…”

“Yes?” Benedict pressed, hungry for news.

The color drained from Antonio’s face, “The Seventh Seal will soon…be broken.”

“And so it continues.” Benedict nodded, although he too shuddered at the teacher’s words. “There is no going back now.”

(Actually this IS a big deal. Trust me).




My vision of Benedict and his conspirators continued. After the professor’s revelation about The Seventh Seal, all three of them turned inward — examining their thoughts. Antonio seemed to realize that the subject that he had devoted his life to was unfolding before his very eyes – although now it appeared he didn’t have the stomach for it. (Be careful what you wish for, right?). Meanwhile Teri seemed to be relishing every moment. And as for Benedict, well it was obvious that he still had a major part to play before he could finally retire to that much desired rest, (but I couldn’t help thinking of the proverb: He who digs a hole, falls into his own pit).

Eventually Antonio spoke further about the terrible implications of the Seventh Seal. (And for the most part, he explained my work quite well). Yet, it was all he could do to hold himself together and he noticeably shook during his monologue.

For his part Benedict listened stoically, detaching himself from the grim horrors which the professor described. Once Antonio finished, The Pope added his thoughts, “Dreadful? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. After all, we must remember — the sheep were made to be shorn. It is their role in The Great Play.”

“All things work together for The Good.” Antonio patted his daughter’s hand as if to console her, yet I knew he was trying to convince himself more than anyone else.

“You are not responsible for this, Antonio.” Benedict advised. “Just because you have the foreknowledge doesn’t make you guilty.” The oldster was about to reply, but got tongue-tied instead and the Pope sensed his fear, “Sharing what you know with the world will NOT stop the events from happening. Do not even think of such a foolish act.”

Teri looked at her father in horror. “Papa! You were not contemplating this were you?”

Again, Antonio stuttered – further convicting himself.

(Fool. Don’t you realize that God has a plan and things will happen in His time and His time alone. We are all just pawns of the prophecies – whether we act or not. That’s why I don’t care anymore – after all, it doesn’t matter what Antonio, me, or any of us do — He already knows how it will all turn out anyway.)

“Get control of yourself, Abbracciavento.” The Pope grated. “You’d be a fool to reveal such knowledge to the world. No one would believe you. More importantly, The Wheel of Time WILL turn and December 21st will arrive regardless of what you do.”

“Father will do no such thing.” Teri quickly changed the subject. “And speaking of December 21st, wouldn’t you like to hear about Ma’bus?”

“The rascal is proving to be quite a genius, eh?” Pope Benedict said.

“Indeed. He is becoming a power by literally buying the world.”

“Everybody wants the Tri-mark, eh?”

“Did you know many nations have stopped accepting trade unless they are paid in Tri-marks? Nobody has confidence in the financial backing of ANY country – except Ma’bus’ UMAN league.”

“So, Ma’bus has the world by the balls and now the UN wants to sell our souls to Ma’bus?” Benedict summarized. “And yet I say — what the wicked dread will overtake them.”

“Your Grace, what will happen now?”

“I would bet Ma’bus’s going to have Ban Ki-Moon removed – soon.”

“Assassination of The Secretary General?” Antonio gasped.

“Father, don’t interrupt.” Teri hushed him.

“That would be the next logical move.” The Pope explained, making the motion to wash his hands of the matter. “And there’s not much we can do to stop it – as I said, the Wheel of Time will move forward of its own accord. Once Ki-Moon is out of the way, the picture becomes clear for our adversary.”

“Ma’bus will be elevated to power – just in time for the Great Ceremony.” Teri smiled.

“Ah, my children,” The professor interrupted. “I’m afraid you are mistaken. For Ma’bus has already declined such a position.”

“Ma’bus as Secretary General is inevitable.” Benedict re-affirmed. “I’m surprised you didn’t see this, Antonio — the world is in turmoil, it needs ONE person to step up and draw us together under the banner of peace and safety. Who else could it be but, Ma’bus? Sure he makes a pretense of resisting, but in reality only because his time has not yet come. He will accept the post when it is laid at his feet – when the world begs him to take over.”

“Father, I’ve already told you The Brotherhood has been pumping Ma’bus up quite overtly throughout Africa.” Teri reminded. “They’re also building anti-Asian sentiment against Ki-Moon amongst the radical factions of Europe.”

(I would have known that had I been to any of the recent Brotherhood meeting).

“But, how does that help our cause?” Antonio asked. “I thought we were trying to destroy Ma’bus, not give him even more power.”

“Have you ever played Karpov?” Benedict asked.

“In chess?” Antonio returned the question. “Are you asking if I have played the Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov?”


“Why would Karpov waste his time with me? I’m no master.”

“I have played Karpov – once.” Benedict reminisced. “1984. I DID hold Master rank at one time – although it was unofficial, given my religious position. In any case, he taught me quite a lesson – for Karpov’s intentions become understandable to his opponents only when salvation is no longer possible. That is what happened to me too — he drew me in, allowed me to rise to a position of power, and then ruthlessly crucified me. Once he decided to make his move, his drive to mate was inevitable and certain. Mind you, at the very point when I felt that I was on the verge of setting up my mate of him — when I felt most secure and actually stole a breath! — the very next instant, he turned the tables on me, and his every successive move led to victory. He was inexorable.”

“And that is what we shall do to Ma’bus, father.” Teri giggled.

“Check and mate.” Antonio agreed.

“Indeed.” Benedict smiled. “We’ll give Ma’bus what he wants – we’ll give him the world. For that is HIS destiny. But in the end, I’ll take it back – for that is MY destiny.”

(I’ve got to say, although I’m done with The Commission, this vision WAS interesting – even for me. Hey, if The End of Days really are coming, then that’s fine by me – perhaps that will finally stop the insanity!)