It was in this tiny village in the south of France that a poor parish
priest named Berenger Sauniere discovered four parchments that were to
change his life, and the surrounding village, forever. Two of these
parchments were genealogies of Dagobert II, the last of the Frankish
dynasty of priest-kings known as the Merovingians. The other two
contained ciphered messages which, when decoded, displayed the following:
"To Dagobert II, King, and to Sion belong this treasure and he is there dead."
"Shepherdess - No temptation that Poussin and Teniers hold the key;
Peace 681 By the cross and this horse of God I destroy this dæmon
of the guardian at noon blue apples."
After finding these parchments, this once-poor parish priest became
suddenly and inexplicably wealthy, perhaps because of having found some
buried treasure. He began hanging out with members of the Parisian
upper-crust occult demimonde, such as composer Claude Debussy and opera
singer Emma Calve. He commenced a redecoration of his church and
surrounding property in a most bizarre fashion, leaving behind strange
clues in an effort to communicate to future generations the secret that
he had learned from the parchments. These clues, many involving the use
of occult, qabalistic, alchemical, Masonic, and Templar-oriented
symbolism, seem to indicate the involvement of a secret society known
as the Priory of Sion.