Part 12 - The Necromancer
They Nephilim returned to Acre to discover that seven years had passed since they had left. St. Claire had left so they had no chance of returning to their former lives. Releasing Rylan and Danel from the jars they were placed in, they incarnated into the bodies of Jean DeLare, an entertainer, and Andris, a blacksmith. The four did their best to reestablish lives in Acre.
One day, Valentine spotted Gregor walking the streets of Acre. He flagged Gregor down and brought him to the others. They got caught up on what each other had been doing over the last six years. They learned that Gregor finally tracked down the Brazen Head. He tried for two years to find a way to activate it without the use of a blood sacrifice, something he refused to do.
He then placed it in the care of a catholic Secret Society called the Order of Bitter Piety. It was an organization within the Catholic Church that fought occult threats and kept dangerous occult knowledge from the general public. They had no love for Nephilim as well, but thus far they either were unaware of Jehoram’s presence within Gregor, or had chosen not to act on it. What surprised the others was that Gregor had actually joined the order and was working for them. Jehoram always had great hope for the church and was trying to reform it from within.
It was a mission for the Order that had returned him to Acre. A nobleman named Duke Vok was at the center of some rumors about being a necromancer. He had recently relocated to Jerusalem. Gregor was on his way there to look into the matter.
They made the four day journey to Jerusalem and after obtaining some lodging, they went and scouted out the Duke’s estate. It was a large plot of land with small village on it. The village had its own church and cemetery. They spoke with Father Zigmund, the priest at the village church. He said he had met the Duke several times, and nothing seemed odd about the man. In fact, Zigmund performed mass at the chapel at Vok’s mansion as his priest had recently died of plague.
They began to stake out the cemetery to see if anything unusual was happening there. For several evenings, nothing happened.
Then one night, Solaneker was hiding in the bushes in the cemetery when he heard the cracking of wood. He saw a cloaked figure using long claws to tear the lid off of a coffin that he had dug up. Gregor, Valentine, and Andris were sleeping in the church when they heard the commotion and saw the figure smash the coffin lid on Solenker’s head.
They ran to the cemetery where they saw Solaneker fighting the cloaked figure and losing. They charged to the rescue. When the cloaked figure saw that he was outnumbered, he sank into the ground and disappeared. They replaced what was left of the lid, and reburied the body. The next day they learned that the deceased had died from plague.
They next day Valentine began to ritually prepare a burial cloth so that he could track its location through Sorcery. They then began to monitor an old church where those suffering from plague were cared for, or at least left to die.
A few days later, when they got word that another had died from plague, Valentine requested that the person who died be buried in the cloth he had prepared. Those brave enough to attend to such matters, did as he requested.
Valentine then performed a ritual that would allow him to know if the cloth moved. Sure enough, two days after the body was buried, it moved. They tracked its destination to the mansion of Duke Vok.
The Nephilim stormed the compound, and convinced the house guards that dark sorcery was afoot. They burst into the chapel to find the clawed and cloaked figure standing over the stolen body. A fight ensued that ended with the death of the necromancer, which turned out to be Duke Vok himself.
Going through his house, they came upon the master bedroom. There they stumbled upon the Duke’s wife, riddled with plague. They were unsure how she was even still alive. They quickly locked her in the room and searched through the Duke’s papers and took anything they could find of an occult nature.
A few days later, they received word that the Duke’s wife had died. His notes indicated that he was trying to find a cure for her disease, and when science failed him, he had turned to necromancy. He had managed to slow the progression of the disease, but could not stop it.
It was time for Gregor to return home, and the others decided to go back with him. During the voyage back, Andris, Solanekar, and Jean, the three that had happened upon the wife’s bedroom, all began to show signs of having the disease. Their super-human fortitudes, suppressed most of its effects, but that would not last forever.
When they reached Rome, Rylan, Danel, and Janu were all forced to abandon their Simulacra as the plague began to consume their bodies. They managed to reincarnate into the bodies of three members of the Roman city watch, named Lazio, Tangis, and Ronard, respectively.
Gregor received word that he was being reassigned to the preceptor in Calais. In spring they began the sixth week journey to their new home.