In the year 1119, the first crusade had already captured Jerusalem when Geoffrey Bison was on his way to join Hugues de Payens and seven others on their way to Vienna. These nine soldiers of fortune were soon to become known as the Templar Knights. For the next ten years they cleared the pathways from Belgrade to Istanbul protecting pilgrims on their way to the Holy Lands. It was in 1129 when Pope Innocent II sanctioned the Templar's as an official arm of the Catholic Church that began one of the most storied chapters in the history of the world. When the First Crusade captured Jerusalem thirty years earlier the Templar's were able to now take refuge in the remains of the Temple of Solomon. Over the course of next ten years the Knights managed to uncover and stealthily remove the treasure of the ages. From 1134 to around 1144 these 9 Templar Knights managed to retrieve vast riches that were hidden under the Temple of Solomon. Though under allegiance to the Pope one would have thought that all this wealth would immediately go on to Rome but instead Hugues de Payens and Count Hugh of Champagne decided it would be better if the treasure was hidden in four separate locations all through-out Europe. Only a token amount went to Pope Innocent II. It is said that from then on every Papal succession was possessed in locating the Templar's treasure. In the end it was Pope Clement V who along with the King of France became so jealous of the Templar's wealth that they conspired to eliminate the order all together not realizing that all the riches of the Templar's would remain hidden forever.
For over two hundred years the wealth of the Templar Knights continued to grow. In each of the four locations where the treasures of the Knights were hidden no one person knew where the other was located. Only through a series of clues and maps revealed likely places to their locations. It was in Prussia around 1350 that Prince Gland-Kambila a direct descendent of one of the original 9 Templar Knights found one of the locations in which the Templar's had hidden some of their vast wealth. Upon locating this treasure Gland Kambia made his way into Russia. With the wealth of Kings at his disposal Gland Kambia and his descendants through international marriages over the course of generations the beginnings of the Romanoff family was born. All the while the location of the rest of the Templar's wealth remained a mystery. Hidden away for centuries where no clue was thought to have survived.
In 1885 Carl Faberge` was commissioned by the Czar of Russia to commemorate Easter with a gift to his wife. In true Faberge` fashion the first of 57 Faberge` Eggs were made. From 1885 until 1915 each year Faberge` gave the Czar one of these most precious of all gifts. Unfortunately the house of Faberge` never recovered from the Bolshevik Revolution and never again was an original Faberge` Egg made. The mysterious disappearance of 9 of these exquisite works of art and the rest of Nicholas II vast wealth remained a mystery. Each egg was so magnificently crafted with pure gold and the most precious of all the fine cut stones from diamonds, rubies, and emeralds all inlaid within made every Faberge` egg one of the worlds most valuable priceless pieces of art.
Present Day: Chicago.
As Fred Jenkins, a short stocky man with grayish receding hair stood by his office window this cold dreary January morning wondering what the day would bring when suddenly in walked Tom Swartz. The two hadn't seen each other since college some 20 years earlier. Back then, Tom already had a government job lined up while Fred was finishing up his degree as a structural engineer. Realizing how long it's been Fred embraced Tom. "How the hell are you" were the first words coming from Fred. "Come on in. Want a cup of coffee?" As Tom was taking off his coat "Sure that sounds great. Cream and sugar if you have any." "Fred I need your help. You probably know by now that my brother was killed in Afghanistan two years ago. It was there that Tony actually found one of the greatest treasures in the history of the world." "Yes, I had heard about the murder of your brother but the rest. You mean to tell me that there really was a treasure and Tony actually stumbled upon it only to be killed because of finding it?" As Tom was retelling of how one of histories most elusive treasure was lost only to be found some 80 years latter by his brother, Fred handed Tom his coffee. "It all started in 1916 in Saint Petersburg."
1916 Saint Petersburg Russia
At a time when the world was darkened by storm clouds of war it was already casting a foreboding signal that the end of one of histories most storied dynasties was coming to an end. The sun was setting quickly on the last Tsar of Russia. Nicholas II was forced to abdicate leaving the door wide open for a new order to rule all of Russia. The last day of Imperial Russian rule brought Colonel Victor Yousif to the Palace. There he was given explicit instructions on where and when to take possession of the last remaining belongings of the Tsar. To the rest of the Col's troops they knew nothing of what they were about to carry out of Saint Petersburg latter that night.
It was just after midnight when Col. Yousif troops had finished loading the caravan of trucks. Realizing that this was the last time Col. Yousif would ever see Nicholas II again forced the Col. to do what was necessary to carry out the Tsars last orders. Leave Saint Petersburg as quietly and quickly as possible. If the Bolsheviks ever got their hands of what was in those trucks there is no telling of what the future would bring. Under the cover of darkness the Col. and his men slipped quietly out of Saint Petersburg and into mystery.
"Fred what I am about to tell you only the President knows the rest. My brother did find a lost map to the whereabouts to something of great historical value. Tony didn't know what he had but knew enough from the map itself what ever was hidden would be of immense value. With the Universities help in financing Tony's expedition to Afghanistan my brother was able to fulfill a lifelong ambition. That was two years ago. There was a vast treasure that much we know. It's total value still remains a mystery. All we know for sure is that al-Qaeda is somehow complicit in my brothers murder. The treasure on the other hand we can only assume that terrorist organizations that are known sympathetic to al-Qaeda are more involved than we previously thought. Who or what is actually behind all of this is any bodies guess. What we can figure out is the nuclear blast that occurred in Mecca has something to do with all of this. Don't exactly know how but our sources in Europe have suspicions that a mastermind, one who not only controls al-Qaeda but practically every other terrorist organization as well, is behind what is gong to be another World War if we cannot stop them in time. Would you be willing to accompany me in retracing my brothers steps in Afghanistan to see if we can crack this case and find what my brother found and stop a nuclear war before it is too late? Thinking for a moment coffee in hand Fred stood up " When do we leave?"
Present day: The Vatican, on the eve of the Conclave of Cardinals.
As Cardinal Sebastian sat quietly contemplating his next move Bishop Chamberlain walked in "Your eminence General Bolshaulf seeks and audience, shall I summon him in." Yes, yes." As the General walked in Cardinal Sebastian stood "And, what have you to report." " Your eminence the attack on President Smith and Boris Sadinski failed. They both managed to survive unharmed. but, I can report that the United States and Russia are now committing their armed forces in retaliation against China who they suspect as the source of that nuclear attack on Mecca and on the attack against their Presidents." From the moment the General declared that both Presidents managed to escape unharmed the devious mind of Cardinal Sebastain once again was planning a coupe-de-gras, a final push to ignite World War III.
Ever since Cardinal Sebastain managed to convince al-Qaeda that the treasure Professor Swartz found would be better served if it was used to buy access to much needed men and hardware the influence the Cardinal had over the Vatican only increased to the point that Sebastain would now be in line to become the next Pope. It was after all the one tangible asset in which to finance the destruction of the United States and bring the world to it's knees where every nation would capitulate to Cardinal Sebastain. The one ruler over all.