Disclaimer: Will Vaver belongs to me. All things Harry Potter and The Da Vinci Code belong to their respective authors.
It had taken Will a good couple of hours to get over being told his grandfather was the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion and that he had been trained to be a Senechaux. Did his grandfather really know the location of the Holy Grail? It was definitely starting to look that way.
"'An ancient word of wisdom'?" Remus rested his forehead on his folded arms, so the rest of his words were slightly muffled. "In what language?"
"It has to be five letters, whatever it is…"
"A headstone? What headstone? Where is it?"
Will suddenly looked up, "Not where. What."
"Got an idea?"
"I think so…" Will got to his feet and walked back to the table; he flopped down in a chair, picked up a quill and grabbed a piece of parchment. "I definitely don't think it's a physical headstone. That would be too simple…" he started writing as he spoke. "Have you heard of Baphomet?"
All was silent for a few moments before Hermione spoke, "The Pagan god?"
"During the Inquisition the Church accused the Knights Templar of many heresies, including the worship of 'false gods'. Baphomet was the pagan fertility god," replied Hermione, as she caught onto Will's thought process. Really, this kid was extraordinary.
Will nodded, "A figurative headstone… Well, it was until the Templars made a stone head of the god, which the Church turned into the horned Devil. So, a headstone praised by the Templars."
"Okay, but what does a pagan fertility god have to do with an ancient word for 'wisdom'?"
"Give me a moment," Will continued scribbling down what he was doing. "I present to you the Atbash Cipher."
"'And atbash will reveal the truth to thee'… Will, you're a genius."
On the piece of parchment that Will had just shown them, was what appeared to be an alphabet of some sort.
A B G D H V Z Ch T Y K L M N S O P Tz Q R Sh Th
"This is the Roman form of the Hebrew alphabet-"
"Another lesson from your grandfather?"
Will smiled, "Yes," he scribbled something else down on the parchment. "Baphomet is eight characters, but in the formal Hebrew alphabet, the spellings don't include vowels. So writing Baphomet in that form leaves us with-"
There on the parchment were five Roman-Hebrew letters:
"Does that mean 'wisdom'?"
"No, it doesn't," replied Will. "But… Hebrew is normally written in the opposite direction, and we can use Atbash in the same way. We have to rewrite the entire alphabet in reverse order, opposite the original alphabet."
"If you say so."
Will grinned, but didn't say anything as he began to reverse the alphabet with a little mirror substitution trick his grandfather had taught him.
A B G D H V Z Ch T Y K
Th Sh R Q Tz P O S N M L
"So, substituting each letter, we get…"
"And that means?"
Will grinned, "It means 'wisdom'. 'Sh' is pronounced as an 'S', 'P' is pronounced as a 'ph' and the 'V' is pronounced as an 'O'."
"But 'Sophia' has six letters."
"An ancient word for 'wisdom'," said Will, an almost maddening glint in his eyes now that they were getting closer to the discovering the secret. "In ancient Greek, Sophia was spelt with an 'F'."
"Were you in Ravenclaw, by any chance?"
"I was. Either that or Slytherin, but I don't like snakes."
Lily carefully pushed the cryptex across the table to Will, "By rights it's yours. You open it."
Will carefully took the cryptex in hand and started turning the dials; once he had spelled out SOFIA, he made sure all the letters were lined up precisely. If they weren't when he pulled, it could still smash the vinegar vial inside.
The others in the room watched with bated breath as Will slid the middle of the cryptex out of the outer tubing, and inside, just as Will had predicted the night before, was a smaller cryptex and a piece of papyrus paper.
Will unrolled the papyrus scroll and read it aloud, "In London lies a knight a Pope interred…his labour's fruit a holy wrath incurred… You seek the orb that ought be on his tomb…it speaks of rosy flesh and seeded womb…"
"I take it we're looking for a tomb then…"
"Interred by a Pope… Westminster Abbey, maybe?"
Will shrugged, "It's probably not that easy."
"No, it probably isn't."
"We should still try Westminster tomorrow though. See if we can pick up a clue or two or three…"
Sirius yawned and stretched, "I think we should sleep…" he trailed off into another yawn; he then rubbed his eyes before focussing them on Will. "Especially you. Isn't your brain close to exploding yet?"
Will grinned, "This kind of thing makes me happy."
"You're a strange little boy, Vaver."
Sirius and Will were the last to leave the conference room that night; the younger of the two carrying the smaller cryptexes and the new piece of papyrus.
"Are you okay?"
Will glanced at the Auror walking beside him, "Yeah… A bit overwhelmed… I mean, how often do you find yourself on a Grail quest?" Sirius snorted. "I guess it's what he wanted though…"
"It seems so."
The ministry felt so huge when it was empty; it was quite daunting.
"I hadn't spoken to him for a few weeks before he died…" said Will, before he really knew what he was doing; it just felt to him like Sirius would be willing to listen. "We got into an argument because he wouldn't tell me about my family. I've been asking since I was a kid, but he always said he would only tell me when he thought I was ready to know. I guess I'm still not old enough…and I probably won't ever find out now, anyway."
Sirius frowned a little, "Like Hermione said, maybe he was grooming you for the truth?"
"But what would being a Senechaux have to do with my family?"
"Well, I don't know… Maybe we can look into it after we've solved the Holy Grail mystery?"
Next Chapter: Westminster Abbey and Grindelwald.