Guilhelm de Montanhagol, a Knight’s Templar knew his death was near. Few who entered the halls of torment emerged whole in mind or body. For six years Bishop Folques kept him imprisoned in a small cell in Toulouse. Condemned as a heretic he suffered the fate of the rack on several occasions.
He reflected back on the last time Folques visited him in the dungeon. His body lay splayed out on a board, tied down at his ankles and wrists. Rollers at each end of the board slowly turned pulling his body in opposite directions until dislocation of every joint occurred. He could no longer sit or stand. He slept, ate, and wasted away in his own filth.
His thoughts turned to his lover, Esclarmonde. He stayed comforted in the last hours thinking of his deep love. Esclarmonde’s skin was the color of alabaster. Her shimmering blonde hair, highlighted with wisps of silver, cascaded down her back. He longed to put his hands through her delicate hair one last time. He thought of her emerald green eyes, shimmering with love for him. Esclarmonde was strong; she would get the codex, written by the Apostle Thomas, safely hidden away.

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