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Tabula Veritatis
Tabula Veritatis
Informations
Role Object of mass destruction. In the wrong hands, can stop the harmony among gods.
Location

Santa Cova Chapel, Montserrat, Catalonia

Eden, Iraq

Appearance Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse

The Tabula Veritatis is an ancient artifact that can raise the Devil. It is a Gnostic treasure and an object of immense power. It is first mentioned by Father Simeon during Inspector Navet’s reconstruction in Le Lézard Bleu Art Gallery in Paris, France.

Etymology

In Latin it means “The Tablet of Truth”.

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse

After the incidents that took place in Le Lézard Bleu Art Gallery, Navet decides to conduct a reconstruction in the crime scene. He calls all the participants that were present during the robbery to find any interesting clue that might lead to the thief and killer. When pretending to be Henri’s, George manages to speak to Father Simeon about his recent discoveries regarding “La Maledicció” – the stolen painting. When shown one of Wilfred Hobbs’ sketches of a particular part from “La Maledicció”, Father Simeon loses control unable to believe what he is seeing and storms out the gallery screaming that evil is coming and that the “Tabula Veritatis” is real.

Some time later, George is able to talk to Father Simeon about why he left the gallery so dramatically. The father tells George that the sketch showed an image hidden inside the Ouroboros [1], a dangerous image. The symbol represents a heresy, an object that the Gnostics call the "Tabula Veritatis": The tablet of truth. But in fact, it is a tablet of Lies: a tool of Lucifer, an artefact capable of undoing the whole of creation.

Later in the story, George and Nico track down "La Maledicció" and start to unravel its secrets. The painting happens to be a coded map to the location of the Tabula Veritatis, the ancient artefact which Father Simeon had claimed could raise de Devil. And for which he, and others, had already been murdered. The map guides them to the Castell dels Sants in Catalonia, Spain [2]. This happens to be Marqués’ (the real owner of “La Maledicció”) family home. Before Tiago’s mother died, she said to him that once the painting hung here again its meaning would become clear and the route of the Tabula would be revealed. The room has changed though and he doesn’t know what is different. Tiago asks for George’s help to decipher the painting before Russians come looking for it [3]. Marqués only had an old photograph of “La Maledicció” which wasn’t complete. The original painting was hiding an important clue to find the artifact, a face of a man with the symbol of the Tabula. Tiago wants to find the tablet because is his duty to keep it safe. The Gnostics brought it to Catalonia long ago, and only one Gnostic per generation knew its exact location. His father, Xavier, was the last of these. Xavier knew dark forces were gathering but Tiago was too young to learn the secret. So he commissioned “La Maledicció”, embedding clues to the location of the Tabula within the painting.

After discovering a secret entrance hidden inside the fireplace in Castell dels Sants, George and Tiago Marqués find themselves in front of what it looks like a clandestine Gnostic Chapel. Here, an interesting fresco occupies all the far wall [4]. It depicts the journey of Marqués’ ancestors, The Cathars, and their escape from the hilltop fortress of Montségur with the "Tabula Veritatis" from under the very noses of the soldiers of the Albigensian Crusade. Each of the escaping Cathars is carrying a Tabula to hide the real destination, only a Gnostic would know the right one. Marqués tells George that the Cathars lived in the South of France in the 12th century at peace with the Jews and the Catholics of the Languedoc. They preached that men and women are equal and that God is within oneself, and that the church is an obstacle of salvation. The pope found their core beliefs abhorrent though. The Cathars accused him and his church of corruption, this is why he condemned them as heretics. When the Pope learned that they were the guardians of the Tabula Veritatis, he conspired with the King of France and called for a holy war to wipe them out. The Albigensian Crusade was a callous, ruthless massacre. The final confrontation took place here at Montségur in 1244. The Crusaders believed that they had slaughtered all the heretics but a handful managed to escape with the Tabula. They travelled south across the Pyrenees along secret trails and brought the Tabula here, to Catalonia to be hidden once more. Sadly it was not the end of their trials. The Spanish Inquisition saw to that. Nevertheless for generations his ancestors continued to guard the secret of the Tabula.

Moments later, George decodes the Fresco’s hidden information thanks to Marqués’ medallion. He and Marqués are able to see the path of the Bons Hommes (The good men), the sacred trail that Tiago’s ancestors took across the Pyrenees, carrying the Tabula Veritatis. From Montségur across the mountains to an unknown Spanish town which is later mentioned to be “Berga”.

Meanwhile George and Marqués walk into the fireplace to investigate a secret pathway, Nico learns the backstory involving the mining company named “Wolfram” and its owner Gehnen. He, involved with a group of fascists’ soldiers, breaks into the Castell dels Sants in search for the Tabula. In order to accomplish his awful intentions, they kill Xavier Marqués and his friend Hernandez. Gehnen then stayed on the house locked inside the library researching the Tabula’s whereabouts. Years later, Nico is able to enter the library to find his documents and a useful map of Catalonia, believed to be an important clue for finding the artifact. The telegram [5], the coat of arms labeled with the town “Berga”, the fresco found in the secret Gnostic chapel and one of the saints depicted in “La Maledicció” help George, Nico and Eva (Tiago’s daughter) discover where the Tabula Veritatis is located: Montserrat. Unfortunately, Richard Langham appears on scene immediately after hearing this breakthrough. Exposed now as Gehnen’s grandson, Langham holds Tiago Marqués captive and decides to take him to Montserrat so he can help Langham find the Tabula.

Once in Montserrat, George and Nico discern a face of a man carved in a hill near a cable car station. It is very similar to the one seen in the “La Maledicció” restored by Hobbs [6]. Even though Langham is sure the Tabula is hidden inside the Monastery, George is absolutely confident that the real location must be near that particular hill, within the Santa Cova chapel.

Already inside the chapel, George finds a secret passage to a hidden cave that used to be a Gnostic shrine [7]. Here he and Nico find Gehnen’s dead body and next to it, the Tabula Veritatis. On a closer inspection, there is a row of symbols etched onto the top bar of the tabula. Near Gehnen’s corpse, a map and a photograph is observed [8]. It seems that Gehnen has decoded most off the symbols from a clay tablet seen in the picture just mentioned [9]. Coincidentally, this symbols are the same present on the top of the tabula but in different order. George wonders if Gehnen’s notes on the photograph might help him interpret the tabula.

It is later acknowledged that the Tabula’s marks are a set of directions that lead to “the source of four rivers”. According to Tiago Marqués the exact location is Eden, Paradise, where “river flows from and divides into four”. It’s where Jehovah created life and where Lucifer gave Eve knowledge. Unfortunately Richard Langham gets his hands onto the Tabula Veritatis, kills Marqués and takes his daughter Eva with him to Eden - or as it is called now, Iraq.

Following the story in Eden, the Tabula is seen on one of Langham’s hand who is about to use it to unleash the Gods' power to command Lucifer to smite Jehovah and annihilate him. Langham places the Tabula Veritatis on the altar and the powers start rising. Both of the orbs held by the enormous statues light up in green and blue. Flashes of light and immense power are focused now on Langham who, by now, is levitating over the foggy water. 

Nico tries to speak to Langham with no luck. She then asks Eva for answers on what to do now, but Tiago’s daughter has nothing relevant to say apart from a phrase his father repeated when she was young: “Pure light, white light, will conquer". By taking a look to her surroundings, Nico spots a large crack that runs from one side of the altar. A sublime light radiates from it, that’s it. Nico remembers she is loaded with very potent explosives so tells Eva to run and goes ahead to plant the incendiary device into the crack. Both Eva and Nico run rapidly from there and hide behind a rock formation. The explosion expands the crack and lets white light into the cave, pure light. George, with Tiago’s old medallion in hand, tries to focus the light so that it reflects where Langham is levitating just like he did with the fresco in the Gnostic Chapel of Castell dels Sants. Pura lux victura est, pure light will win.

Langham reprimands George for trying to stop him from destroying Jehovah and ask him to stop. Nevertheless, George is not going to let the world embrace Lucifer because that would only mean the humanity’s destruction. He keeps holding Marqués’ medallion until the light consumes Langham’s body until its disintegration. The immense power that is created during this action makes the whole cavern tremble and fragments of rock start to fall as the floor shakes at the same time. George, Nico and Eva must leave quickly the cave before everything gets destroyed with them inside. Nico doesn’t forget to take the Tabula with them moments prior the collapse of the ancient sanctuary.

Safe and sound, the three of them take a deep breath after being ejected out of the cavern by the blast of the explosion. Shears greets them effusively as he holds a meat brochette. As George and Nico discuss Eva’s future now that Langham has been defeated, she communicates them that it is her decision to take care of the Tabula Veritatis just how his father would have done if he was alive. Eva has now a Castell and a Gnostic Chapel to restore, and a new life to build as a Gnostic leader.

QuotesEdit

  • Tiago Marqués: “I know only that in the wrong hands it would be catastrophic for mankind.”
  • Tiago Marqués: "Good and evil are meaningless terms. We strive simply to maintain balance. And keep the Tabula from those who seek to exploit it for their own ends."
  • George: “It's so small, so innocent looking. Why would Simeon call it evil? Why so many deaths, for this?”
   Nico: “And why go to such lengths to keep it hidden.”
   George: “Unless it is as genuinely dangerous as Simeon claimed. The question now is, what do we do with it?”
  • George: “I guessed that finding the Tabula was the easy part. Figuring out its purpose was a different proposition.”

TriviaEdit

  • The Tabula Veritatis is a fictional item for the Serpent’s Curse story. It might be an allusion to the Gnostic tablet named “The Emerald Tablet”. A compact and cryptic piece of Hermetica reputed to contain the secret of the prima materia and its transmutation.
  • Gehnen’s backstory is mentioned in the Broken Sword 5 comic, gifted as a Digital Reward for backing the Kickstarter’s Campaign.
  • Father Simeon also tells the Cathars’ story but from another point a view, from the Catholicism: “The Tabula was smuggled out of the Holy Land millennia ago, and brought to Europe by the Cathars, an evil Gnostic cult. In 1209, the Church launched a glorious Crusade in the Cathar heartlands of Southern France. The Dominican Order wiped out almost all the Cathars and with them - The Evil that is Gnosticism. Our order, the Dominicans, were formed at that time to seek out and eradicate any remaining Gnostics. But they failed in their primary objective. They did not find the ‘Tabula Veritatis’. The Order presumed it lost, but the painting suggests it is still in Gnostic hands.”
  • Before Father Simeon’s dead, he manages to give George some important documents involving the Tabula. It is an ancient scan of a manuscript with a covering note, both written in Latin. An illustration shows a group of colored figures engaged in some sort of ritual. The Tabula Veritatis only appears in one file: “The Inquisition into Heretical Depravity” by Nicholas Eymerich, AD 1376. The note was signed by the Vice Prefect of the Vatican Archives. Simeon must have done some digging after he recognized the symbol on Hobbs' sketch. The scan of the manuscript read "And thus spoke the accused. In this ritual we find succour. Clad in Blue, the Perfecti takes the form of the spiritual and look towards the rising sun, towards the Tree of Knowledge. Clad in Green, the Credentes (believers) look the other way, towards the setting sun where stands the Tree of Life. And all shall know that the Light of Knowledge is blue, and that the Light of Life is green. For thus was the Light of Eden both blue and green. Intertwined with the Light of Man to become pure. Pure light, white light. Pure light will win. So it was written in the old texts. Affirmed by the Tabula Veritatis. And these were the accused's last words.”

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Gnostic symbol of a snake eating its own tail. It marks something that is hidden.
  2. A map of Catalonia seen in Hobbs' apartment helps George and Nico decode some of the painting’s secrets.
  3. While being captive by Shears on Adam’s apartment, Tiago Marqués might have told him a little too much about his ownership of “La Maledicció” and where he was headed. Subsequently, Shears shared that information with his boss Medovsky.
  4. The large painting covers the far wall of the chapel. It is surrounded by dusty inscriptions. George’s Latin is a little rusty, but he can still translate. "Ex Igne Puritas" - From Fire, Purity. "Ex Luce Veritas" - From Light, Truth. "Ex Labore Sapientia" - From Struggle, Knowledge.
  5. Another document, apart from the map, is found within Gehnen’s possessions. A coded telegram which reads: “The ‘Tabula Veritatis’ was smuggled out of Montségur to Catalonia by a group of Cathar survivors. I have confirmed this from confessions extracted by the Dominican inquisitor Eymerich of Girona. It is signed - Wolfram.”
  6. During the restoration of “La Maledicció” ordered by Medovsky, Hobbs realizes that a particular part of the painting holds a secret under its strokes. Inside the Ouroboros hides a face of a man with a symbol of the “Tabula Veritatis” on his forehead. Before Langham is able to steal the painting, Hobbs creates a forgery imitating the one Medovsky had – saving the original with the man’s face on a safe. Later in the story, Langham’s false version prevents him to see that the carvings in the hill near Montserrat are related to the Tabula’s location.
  7. A large carving of the Tabula Veritatis symbol is seen on one of the walls inside the Gnostic cave. All the other figures in the scene seem to be supplicating themselves to it. The carved figure has once been green. George wonders if it is a representation of Jehovah. Blue paint is peeling from the other carved figure, surely an image of Lucifer. A group of figures look up towards the Tabula. They are colored red. George's seen something like this before in the illustration in Father Simeon’s documents.
  8. Tucked under Gehnen's desiccated arm is an old map and it has writings on it. George prises the map out of under the arm of the corpse. It looks like Gehnen has scrawled some kind of last testament onto this map. "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." George's not sure but it looks like crafty old Gehnen left a secret message in his testament. When he holds the map up to the flame, something starts to change. The writing on the map begins to react to the heat. At a guess the locations on the map might match up with the ones he's marked on his photograph of the clay tablet.
  9. According to the translation of the tablet, some guy called the Sun King once had the Tabula Veritatis in his possession. The symbols on the tablet looked similar to the ones etched into the face of the Tabula Veritatis. 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.

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