The Bishop

Katia here. I apologize for the long delay. There was a delay when Martin asked us to meet him in Paris on an urgent mission to find Father Tom. When I told him that I was too busy trying to solve the mystery of what happened to my sister, he snapped at me, “This is far more important. Anyway, they are connected.”

To agree to travel to Paris was no small thing. Both Laura and I have commitments. We drove back to Houston, and then mom had to have minor surgery, so I stayed to help out with that. My parents helped me buy a ticket for Paris, and then Laura and I got a hotel near DWF, which had a direct flight. We finally leave tomorrow. Martin is already there. Yesterday, I received a package from him with a tarot card, The Hierophant, and a post-it which said only, “Sunday, the 26th–meet me at THE church.” Laura and I have no idea what it means, but we will do some research on the flight over.

Meanwhile, we might have also found another clue. Before we left the AirBNB in Austin a small, unmarked package was left by the door on the night we met with Martin. Not knowing if it was for us or for the owners, we hesitated to open it, but decided that we couldn’t contain our curiosity.

The packaged contained an old skeleton key with a luggage tag attached to it with the following four words written on the tag:

Fortitude
Papal
Transport
Heimdalir

I’ll write again when we get to Paris!

 

The Students

In the dark of night, seven students lit torches and silently slipped out of their dormitory at the University of Paris to meet and make a pact that would result in both lifelong friendships and a new world order. They climbed the long steep hill in Paris up to a well-known and sacred crypt, where they exchanged solemn vows. Then they ran laughing down the hill, certain they would be caught and punished.

A stern-looking man greeted them in front of the dormitory when they returned. He said to them, “Gentlemen, I know what you have done and I shall not punish you. However, you must listen carefully. What you have done this night will some day be part of history, but what comes next will be a secret you will carry with you to the grave.”

The students looked at each other in astonishment, then followed the man as he led them into the chapel attached to the dormitory. One student whispered to the other, “Who is that?” to which the other student replied, “The Bishop.”

The Card

Yesterday was May 1st, also known as May Day, and we celebrated by going to an obscure little Bulgarian restaurant with the Man in the Porsche.

Allow me to explain.

Last week Laura and I were sitting a local coffee shop that is also a cyber cafe, still frantically trying to contact Father Tom or Tim Markle, poring over possible clues from Iza’s notebook and trying to hack into Iza’s laptop. All of these endeavors have been unsuccessful so far. Meanwhile, we’d become very worried about a Porsche that seemed to be following us, although we allowed that we were possibly being paranoid as it could have been the car of a UT student, and some of them visit the same few haunts every day, as do Laura and I. We have occasional delusions that we are in an action movie and possibly in real danger, and then we have a good laugh about it. We try not to think of the duffel bag full of cash.

I was reading a Wikipedia article about Adam Smith when a man walked up wearing expensive jeans and jacket and a cashmere scarf. He put a business card in front of me that said only “Martin” in stylized letters with a phone number below. “I can’t talk,” he said, putting the card on my keyboard, “Please call this number and set up an appointment.”

“Excuse me?” I asked, but he had left as quickly as he arrived.

After conferring with Laura we called the number, which turned out, quite oddly, to be this Bulgarian restaurant. We made reservations and showed up at 7:00 P.M. for supper, and sure enough, Martin was already seated at a table in the back corner.

“I’m here,” he said, “Because you’ve been trying to contact Father Tom. He has most certainly disappeared.”

“We emailed him,” Laura said, “but his email said he was in Paris.”

“He was in Paris, but he was supposed to update his email this week and it never happened.”

“What make you so sure something happened to him?”

“He hasn’t been returning even my most urgent messages.”

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Let’s just say that I’m an advisor of sorts. He is very important to me,” Martin said.

“Does this have anything to do with my sister Iza?”

Martin looked at me for a long minute and said, “You are Iza’s sister?”

“Yes! Do you know where she is?” I asked excitedly.

The waiter brought menus and Martin looked at his for a minute. Finally, he took a sip of water and said, “She is on an important mission. It’s quite secret. Tell me, have you ever heard of the Card Keepers?”

Library Day

Not able to make heads or tales of anything, Laura and I headed to the library to regroup and try to make sense of the clues we’ve discovered so far. Laura brought the flyer she swiped from Father Tom’s door, in order to send an email to the address on the flyer, and also to see if we could decipher the strange number string at the bottom.

We still haven’t figured out the number string, but Laura thinks it might be an ISBN number. We sent an email to Father Tom and only got a strange away message.

We are pretty sure we’re being followed, We noticed after my last visit to Iza’s apartment that an old Porsche 911 keeps showing up in the parking lot of places we visit. We haven’t been able to connect the car with any one person, but it seems like too much of a coincidence not to mean something.

One more reason we are here is that I found a library receipt dated the day she left for Frankfurt. The slip shows she checked out both The Rights of Man and Common Sense by Thomas Paine. We’ve searched the part of the library where these books are kept, on the off chance that she left another clue, but we found nothing.

Chess Club

Laura and I went to the chess club meeting this evening, only to find out it had been canceled. We hung out in the student union, in front of the closed conference room where the club was usually hosted, trying to figure out what to do next. I’d called Tim Markle, left him a message, and gave him my cell phone number, but still haven’t heard anything back. While we were hanging out a kid carrying a skateboard came by and said, “Are you looking for the chess club meeting?”

“Yes! Do you know why it was canceled?”

“Father Tom is sick. He said he’d be back next week.”

“Father Tom?”

“He’s the faculty advisor for the club.”

“I’d like to leave him a note,” I asked. “Can you tell me where his office is?”

“Yes, it’s in Calhoun Hall.”

“Thank you!”

We headed over the building but it was locked, so we decided to go back to our AirBNB and come back tomorrow morning.

Contacts

Late last week Laura and I drove to Austin and against my better judgment we went back to Iza’s apartment. I’m not convinced that her apartment isn’t being watched, either by bad guys she is hiding from or authorities trying to find her. However, as far as I know things went off without incident.

Although I didn’t find an address book or cell phone (presumably she has her contacts on her person as we speak), I did find a class notebook from last semester, with notes in it, but also a list of contacts for a group project: Tim, Kelcie, and M. along with emails and one phone number written off to the side.

I went ahead and took the notebook with me. It had notes for Finance 207 and Accounting 199. I took it, not only because of the group project contact info, but because my sister is a history major who hates math. What in the hell was she doing taking Accounting and Finance?

We then headed to an AirBnB we booked near the university and I promptly sent an email to the three people in the notebook. I also called the phone number, which turned out to be for a pizza place. We wandered the campus for awhile with no plan, and when we got back to our rental place I found that one of the people I’d emailed, Tim, had responded with an email that said, “Please do not contact me.” No response from anyone else.

On a whim, we decided to go to the pizza place whose phone number was in Iza’s notebook. We ordered a combo and pitcher of root beer and sat in a corner by a bookcase filled with old board games. That’s when I saw it. A flyer for the UT Austin chess club, with a contact phone number for a Tim Markle.