|Santa Cova Chapel|
|City||Montserrat Monastery, Catalonia|
|Address||08199 Montserrat , Monistrol de Montserrat, 08691, Spain|
|Appearance||Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse|
Santa Cova Chapel, also known as "Chapel of the Holy Grotto", is situated close to the Montserrat Monastery.
It can only be accessed using the cable car from the Montserrat Monastery Train station.
Inside the chapel lies a Black Madonna.
Santa Cova literally means "Holy Grotto" in spanish.
Broken Sword: The Serpent's CurseEdit
After dealing with the burnt console, thanks to Trevor’s help, which handled the mechanism of the cable cars in the Montserrat station to rescue Duane and Pearl Henderson, George and Nico notice a man’s face carved into a stone down hill. It looks like the face seen inside the Ouroboros in “La Maledicció” - it's exactly the same shape as that rock. Observing the painting, he remembers that Langham's got the forged image. The one without the face, so the rock is not going to mean anything to him. George doesn’t think the Tabula Veritatis is up at the Monastery. He think it's down there somewhere, around that rock.
As George and Nico get closer to the face in the rock, he knows for sure that they are on the right track. It is definitely the same as the face in “La Maledicció”. But with one difference, the symbol of the tabula is missing from the rock formation. As they see no way to reach to the stone face, they decide to take a look around and find another way up.
The old chapel, Santa Cova, near the mountain looks like it has been built into the cliff face itself. The exterior is a couple of hundred years old. But the inside - who knows? Some parts could be much older. It might be connected somehow to the face in the rock. As the doors seem open, George and Nico decide to take a look inside for clues.
Once inside they find George’s good old friends, Pearl and Duane Henderson. Unfortunately, the Hendersons aren’t having a great vacation. Pearl isn’t her cheery self because nothing is going like she planned. The monastery was closed, they got stuck in the cable car and now the old chapel is a building site. This was supposed to be the spiritual highlight of their trip but the only spirit she sees - is a rotten turpentine over there.
George tries to talk to Duane as Pearl isn’t in the mood to talk for now. Duane tells him that she has been planning and researching this trip for years, their little pilgrimage. And Santa Cova chapel here was the cherry on the cake. There is not a thing she doesn't know about this place. Pearl can be a mine of information about the chapel if George can just cheer her up. According to Duane, she expects a “spiritual experience”. As Nico says: “smells, bells and heavenly lights”.
By taking a look at the place, a statue of the Madonna and Child watched over the chapel. She's the little lady the Hendersons came to see. Though Pearl's in too much of a state to even look at her. George needs to find a way for Pearl to notice the statue and that will surely make her feel much happier. After searching the place, George finds some items that will be useful for this task. First by handling an old crank, he lowers the candelabra to light the candles and place an old mirror to maximize brightness. The light from the candelabra then spills over the Black Madonna like waves of spiritual goodness in candle form. Second, by putting some wood shavings covered with Henri’s perfume in a mug left by the altar and lighting it up, George creates a hand-made Potpourri. A sweet aroma then starts to fill the room. Third, by hearing Duane’s humming (See in Trivia), George figures out a way to recreate that same tune but gracefully played by Nico with her special mop. With all this spiritual gifts in the air, Pearl instantly recovers from her melancholy and notices the Black Madonna in all its glory. She takes a time to say a little prayer and all is well. Pearl is back to her cheery self.
She kindly tells George everything she knows about the chapel. Pearl read that the Black Madonna has been here since the 9th century. She's called the Virgin of Montserrat. Some say the original was move to the Cathedral, but Duane and she know that is just a bluff. They call it "The Chapel of the Holy Grotto" and it was built directly into the mountain itself in 1696. It survived the Napoleonic Wars, mudslides, civil war. But the chapel is still standing today. George then asks her if she knows anything about the face carved in the stone outside. But she knows nothing about that, apart from the fact that for thousand years people have claimed to see a face in its shapes. By showing her “La Maledicció”, Pearl communicates George she sees the obvious Gnostic connotations, the Dominicans, all those Gnostic saints: Doubting Thomas, Judas and the woman in the red cloak, the infamous Mary Magdalene herself. If Pearl remembers rightly, there was an Ouroboros right here in this chapel. Back in the thirties and forties the chapel was renovated and the workmen uncovered numerous symbols carved in the rock. Amongst them was a fine Ouroboros but it's not here now. It was considered blasphemous, so they plastered over it. Pearl and Duane have to go now to follow their spiritual journey, but not before giving Nico a radio in case she needs it. Remembering the other one is among George’s possessions.
Taking a closer look to the wall near the Madonna, George sees that it is made of bare rock. There is a recess in the wall with Latin words carved above it. It reads “Puritas”, Purity. This was already see in the fresco inside the Gnostic chapel in Castell dels Sants. By placing a lighted candle in the recess and touching the Ouroboros symbol found hidden inside the plastered altar, a secret pathway opens before their eyes. George and Nico proceed to enter the very dark cave.
One short and very dark climb later, they find themselves inside a very dark cave. Seconds later after entering through the entrance, the stone door shuts behind them. George, confident, believes it will open in a minute or two. Unfortunately, this never happens and they are both now trapped. George starts banging the door and screaming for help with no luck. On the other hand, Nico seems pretty calm about this. George suggests Nico to see if she can get the door open while he checks out the dark, evil-smelling cave. George finds a possible source of light near the far wall, lights a match and throws it inside. The entire cavern illuminates and the first thing that strikes their eyes is a dead body lying a few steps from George. They appears to be Gehnen’s remains, who upon seeing he was trapped in a cave with no apparent way out decided to commit suicide by blowing his brains out.
At first glance, the cavern is riddled with Gnostic symbols. A large carving of the Tabula Veritatis symbol is displayed in one of the walls to which other three related images supplicate to. A carved figure which had once been green represents Jehovah, a carved figure with blue dyes represents Lucifer and a group of figures colored in red look up towards the Tabula. At the back of the cave and isolated from the rest, lies a small statue in a pedestal. It reproduces a woman with red robes holding a child on her arms. She looks like the Virgin Mary, but seeing the way she shows her shoulder and the color of her clothes, George and Nico arrive to the conclusion that it must be Mary Magdalene. Marqués had told George that the Gnostics revered her. There are ancient scratches on the plinth, as if someone had moved the statue. George gives the statue a push, and it turns anti-clockwise. One pillar stands both sides of the statue. One of them had been sculpted into a tree and then painted blue representing the Tree of Knowledge. The other one had been carved into the shape of a tree and painted green representing the Tree of Life.
By taking a closer look to Gehnen’s leathery corpse to figure out how to get out of there, George notices an old black and white photograph of an ancient clay tablet near the cadaver. Someone, presumably Gehnen, had taken the time to translate the inscription. At a glance, the inscription seems to relate to the exploits of someone called the Sun King. Tucked under Gehnen's desiccated arm is an old map with writings in it. George prises the map out of under the arm of the corpse. It looks like Gehnen had scrawled some kind of last testament onto this map (See in Trivia). George believes Gehnen might have left a secret message within his testament. When he holds the map up to a flame, something starts to change. The writing on the map starts to react to the heat. At a guess, George considers the locations on the map might match up with the ones he's marked on his photograph.
Near Gehnen’s body, George discovers an ancient artefact whose shape matches the symbol of the Tabula Veritatis from “La Maledicció”. This has to be it. So Gehnen did find it. It's so small, so innocent looking. Why would Simeon call it evil? Why so many deaths, for this? And why go to such lengths to keep it hidden. Unless it is as genuinely dangerous as Simeon claimed. The question now is, what do we do with it? George guesses that finding the Tabula was the easy part. Figuring out its purpose is a different proposition. A row of symbols are etched onto the top bar of the tabula. These symbols look just like the ones on the photograph of the clay tablet. He wonders if Gehnen's notes on the photograph might help him decode the tabula. By combining both objects, George needs to find a way to decipher the symbols’ meanings.
After decoding the Tabula’s marks and learning that it is in fact a set of directions to “the source of four rivers”, Nico tells George she might have found a way out. A secret button hidden inside the carving of the Tabula on the wall. If Gehnen died looking for a way out, there has to be more to it that just a hidden button but Nico is sure that it must be important.
By placing Tiago Marqués’ medallion on a circle of iron that is set into an ornate frame that covers an oil lamp, a light from the jewelry illuminates one of the figures on the opposite wall. If the medallion changes position, the light reflects on a different figure. This could be George and Nico’s ticket out of there. After taking a break to rethink, George realizes that moving the statue into different positions while changing the medallion’s location in relation to this can make the stone door open again.
Once the door is open, George takes the medallion back from the circle of iron and both Nico and he leave the evil looking cave only to find Richard Langham talking to Eva and Tiago Marqués inside the chapel. Luckily he hasn’t spot them and they have some time to think what they should do to stop or distract him. George decides to use the old gun found near Gehnen’s body to divert Langham, but this is useless. Either way, he ends up with the Tabula Veritatis, shoots Tiago and takes Eva with him. Already gone, George and Nico try to talk to Marqués who warns them to bring the tabula back. When trying to revise all the clues to find out where Langham is heading, Tiago realizes the exact location is Eden, paradise, where a “river flows from and divides into four”. It’s where Jehovah created life and where Lucifer gave Eva knowledge. Where the Gods are held in balance. Now Marqués is gone, but he was right – they have to stop Langham and rescue Eva.
With the help of Duane’s radios, George is able to distract Langham’s guard who is patrolling Santa Cova’s main entrance by hitting him with a hammer enough to knock him out. Outside they see a cable car ready to go, so they rush to climb onto it (specifically climb of it) before Langham even thinks of stopping the cable cars’ mechanism from working again.
- Duane: “She's Santa Cova's very own walking encyclopedia. Well weeping encyclopedia I should say.” (Talking about Pearl)
- Duane: “Well howzabout that! So this is the beautiful Nico! No wonder you been hiding her away from me, Georgie boy.”
- Nico: “It's lovely to finally meet you too, Mr. Henderson. George has told me so much about you.”
- Duane: “Oh call me Duane, my dear. And let me assure you of one thing. Everything you've heard is quite possibly true.” (See in Trivia)
- Pearl: “The sound of angels. The lights of heaven. The smell of piety. The Madonna. i do believe tears! She's crying, Duane! The Madonna's crying!”
- Pearl: “The road of Enlightenment waits for no woman.”
- Pearl: “Take care of him, poor little lost lamb.” (Talking about George)
- Nico: “Don't worry. This little lamb's in safe hands.”
- Nico: “Are you scared George?”
- George: “Course not. Just worried about you tripping- that's all...”
- *One short and very dark climb later*
- George: “Whoa, this is one dark cave.”
- Nico: “It's the door that worries me, George.”
- George: “I'm sure the door will open again if we give it a minute. No need to panic.”
- *About a minute later*
- George: “Now we panic.”
- George: “Gotta say, Nico - you're pretty calm about this.”
- Nico: “Travelling with you George, I’ve got used to this kind of thing. If I panicked every time a door shut behind us, probably for ever, well...”
- George: “You're right. What was I thinking?”
- George: “Fumbling around in the dark wasn't going to be fun. But heck, I'd spent a lifetime doing it, so what was new?”
- Nico: “Thank God. I was getting worried we'd be trapped here - just the two of us - forever.”
- George: *There could have been worse ways of being trapped forever.*
- The chapel is actually a real place in Spain. There was a restoration completed in 1997.
- The chapel has two doors. Unfortunately, one of them is locked with a high security padlock. Though the building has a bell tower, there is no bell inside.
- Scattered on the floor near the entrance inside the chapel, George finds some wood-shavings. They smelt exotic, like potpourri. Grandma's favorite. His mother always said "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".
- Near the chapel’s main door, a stone carving shows a kneeling figure in prayer.
- As any building site, George can see a rickety scaffolding, cluttered with tools and supplies. The scaffolding is a little loose. When touched, everything rattles making a surprisingly dulcet noise. It can be seen a half-empty bottle of turpentine (or as George prefers to think of it, half full). A fire extinguisher (With all the lighted candles, it seems like a sensible precaution). A huge cheese grater. A spectacularly unremarkable traffic cone. Two paint cans hanging from the scaffolding. A selection of tools where a stonemason's hammer can be found. A hammer with a long, thin head.
- George surprisingly says that the building might really need Mr. Tidy, speaking about how messy it is. Though “Mr. Tidy” might be or not what writers intended to transcribe, it sure sounds and reminds fans to “Mr. Shiny”. Sam’s best friend and loyal polishing machine seen in the Hagenmeyer Clinic in The Shadow of the Templars.
- Ever since an unfortunate car accident back home, Pearl has been scouring pilgrimage brochures. They have statements like "full of wonder and life-changing imaginary", "penance potential", and “a real spiritual experience". That is what the brochures promise. Pilgrimages, little monks singing. “The whole shebang”.
- For what George and Nico can hear from Pearl’s small prayer, the accident involved a little boy on the wrong side of the road when she, unexpectedly, ran over him with her car and broke one of his leg. It looks like the family is claiming her for a compensation.
- Nico is sure the chapel will be very spiritual once it's finished and restored. She suggests Duane if the chapel's not what Pearl expected, how about visiting the monastery. He quickly refuses to go there because that place is for tourists. Not pilgrims.
- When asked about what Duane had been doing since George and him last met in Quaramonte, he mentions their little sideshow in Rome. Though that was supposed to be a secret. Taking into account that Duane might or might not have been in a clandestine mission backed then. Supposedly, he is a snoozer which is two pay grades up from a sleeper. Well, that’s what Duane has heard.
- This is the first time Nico meets Duane personally. Though they’ve heard a lot from each other, George has never introduced him to Nico before. Possibly because Duane might be loud, large, and short-sighted. But boy is he a charmer!
- The tune Duane is whistling is Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. In their courting days Duane and Pearl used to hang out with the Campanology Society. It happens to be Pearl's favorite.
- The last time Pearl was in a mood like this, Duane tried the old hug routine. He still has the scars. Not Just the mental ones.
- Pearl prefers the flowery scent. If George manages to prevent the evil goat from eating the flowers gifted by Fleur, he will be able to place them in the Potpourri mix and maybe get a special achievement for that.
- Gehnen’s last testament reads: "My friends, I know that you will eventually find me, but then it will be too late. I have decoded the tabula and I know our destiny lies in Paradise. The key to the power of God is in our hands. I die secure in the knowledge that you will now be able to complete my work. Tell my family that I died doing my duty - that I surrender my life gladly to the cause. In the light of the day these worlds will fade like our souls. But rest assured that when they do their echoes will guide us to where we will meet once again."
- On the oil lamp pedestal it reads "Ex Luce Veritas": Out of Light - Truth. George’s seen the same words on the fresco at Castell dels Sants. This and the previous Latin phrase on the recess of the wall before entering the cavern indicates George is in on good track.
- Near Gehnen’s body there is an old water canteen whose contents have long since been drunk and an old flashlight. It looked like it died around the same time as Gehnen. A Fedora hat lies on the opposite corner, just like the one in Gehnen's trunk back at the Castell. The years haven't been kind to it.
- The gun Gehnen used to blow his brains out is too corroded and rusty to ever be fired again.
- According to the translation in the clay photograph, some guy called the Sun King once had the Tabula Veritatis in his possession. A) If this letter matched the one on Gehnen's translation, this must be the location of the "Sun City". D) This must be Sunset Mountain. E) Young Cities. B) Mountain Kingdom. C) Three rivers region.
- Ramon was right, Gehnen was in fact dead in the mountains.
- According to the Gnostics, Mary Magdalene and Jesus were more than close friends. Their relationship evolved until the birth of a child. Depicted in the statue inside the cavern.