The kidnapped Council member becomes possessed by the souls contained within a Well of Souls, whereupon a few of the possessing evil souls strive for, and acquire, re-corporalisation.. His colleagues must track him down and perform soul extractions and exorcisms to cleanse him, and also try to recover the stolen items of holy treasure, and prevent them from being used, and the dormant power within, being unleashed.
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The Indie Oracle
The Archangel's 1st Proctor [The Well of Souls] tells the story of a noble Varangian merchant, who, after having been asked by Emperor Flavius Heraclius to join him at the Battle of Nineveh, is subsequently chosen by the Archangel Rufael, to bear the many souls of Holy Angels, who, on the conclusion of a battle between themselves and the Fallen Angels, as a result of their unmitigated slaughter of their Fallen brethren, feeling too unworthy to return to Heaven, confused, were in the process of Falling to Hell themselves.
Duke Bolli Vekel Rendar, 1St Proctor of the Archangel Rufael; as Pluto de la Suryan, founded, in the eighth century, with St. Augustine de Hippo, the secretive Vekel Augustine Council.
One of the many interests of the Vekel Augustine Council is the holy treasure; a mass of religious and magic artefacts, codices, scrolls, sceptres, et cetera. The Holy Treasure was divided into Troves nearly two thousand years ago. One particular Trove, the Bonaventure Trove, was entrusted to the friar, Father Bonaventure, in Italy, in 1646. And was taken to America in the 1600's by Father Bonaventure's Brotherhood; the St. Ignatius Brotherhood. It is presently housed in one of the Council's Californian properties.
After a recent raid on the property, a dozen or so items of holy worth were stolen from the Trove. A demon, a businessman and a cardinal, all vie for control of the stolen treasure items, during which time, a council member is kidnapped, and a small faction of Watchers pursue the demon and the businessman, in order to exact revenge on the demon, and acquire a particular powerful item of stolen holy treasure.
The kidnapped Council member becomes possessed by the souls contained within a Well of Souls, whereupon a few of the possessing evil souls strive for, and acquire, re-corporalisation.. His colleagues must track him down and perform soul extractions and exorcisms to cleanse him, and also try to recover the stolen items of holy treasure, and prevent them from being used, and the dormant power within, being unleashed. Δ
Anointing The Disciples Ψ
The morning air brought with it a tide of recrimination and blame. The gathering in the penthouse disbanded, and many of the Council members went out into the field, looking for leads on locations. The fact that one of the Fallen had taken Wiligis Fran meant that the places where their colleague could be imprisoned were almost infinite. Pluto said that the fact that the businessman Simon Yaeger was in league with the minion Balam, could possibly even the playing field, since, having informed Bridie Brogan and Count D’Carabonari of this collusion had them turning their surveillance attentions to all of Yaeger’s known assets, believing that if they could track the businessman, they would get a beat on the whereabouts of the demon, and their colleague Wiligis Fran. Many of the Council members who had been in the penthouse, returned to the Malibu estate. If the minion demon had been so bold as to make a strike against one of the Watchers, then it was most prudent that they fortify the defences at the estate, as Balam and Yaeger were the only two outside of the Vekel Augustine Council, in possession of knowledge as to the whereabouts of the Bonaventure Trove of Holy Treasure, which was neatly tucked away in the estate’s underground. The Council needed to be ready and prepared for any and all ill-conceived attacks the minion Balam may try to launch.
Balam was less stupid than he was greedy. He would be satisfied with the items of treasure Simon Yaeger had managed to steal from the Malibu estate. Each item was capable of unleashing untold mystical and supernatural power. Balam would make do, he’d surmised he should have more than enough to raise his standing amongst the minion masses.
The angels and the Watchers didn’t get on, but differences aside, Kutiel, Zotiel, Manakel and Rampel, accompanied Gadriel, Pluto, Vlad, Comas Sens, Ursala and Marina Tanco, to the Watch Seru’s premises. Seru’s warehouse was as big as an old meat packing factory, but without the meat. There were four walk-in freezers, still in operation, and rack after rack of shelving. None of the meat hooks had been removed. And here and there, on the ground, lay, soiled, remnants of bloodied clothing. Seru was an unsavoury character. He was also out of shape, very fat, and very lazy. Looking around the place, he was tantamount to a racketeer. Having a choice of living anywhere he pleased, it appeared the Watcher pleased to live in his warehouse premises. Seru had both great respect, and a great fear of the Watcher Gadriel. With Gadriel present, he was exceedingly co-operative, answering all the questions the holy angels fired at him. No light could be shed on Balam’s whereabouts or motives. Pluto and his people found it interesting that the minion demon would so mislead Seru, intimating that it was necessary for the soul of Portus L’ Fane to be extracted from the Well of Souls. It left everyone of the Council members with no shadow of a doubt that Balam’s intention was to extract a soul from the Fontum Animarum.
It was clear to all that Seru, greatly angered, though not out of concern for the uncertain fate awaiting Wiligis Fran, but pure and simply due to injured pride, was, as soon as practicable, going to make all efforts to hunt down the demon Balam and exact his revenge, for the humiliation the demon had cause him by using him as a complete and utter dupe. Seru was on the warpath. Pluto and his people could pick up no leads regarding Wiligis’ location. Leaving Gadriel at the Watcher’s premises, he headed for the Council’s Malibu estate, to personally brief the Sensors, and place them on high alert for a possible inbound attack by one minion demon Balam, and a corrupt businessman, Simon Yaeger.
Having successfully duped one of the Watchers, and successfully obtained the Fontum Animarum and along with its keeper, the demon Balam was feeling near invincible. Leaving Wiligis Fran bound and gadded, Balam and Yaeger returned to the western coastline, for an abruptly scheduled meeting with their Vatican mole. Nothing seemed to surprise the minion Balam, however, the catholic businessman, Yaeger, as dark and corrupted and disturbingly deranged as he’d become, he couldn’t contain his shock and disgust at the discovery that their devious Vatican mole, was indeed a fully frocked cardinal, and a special envoy no less. There in all his red and ribbons, stood Marlon A. cardinal Stonabeti, with his undignified manner and endless orders.
Stonabeti had done his homework, he knew all about the businessman Simon Yaeger. He knew how the businessman had converted to Catholicism, within a year after his wife and son’s death. He knew all about all the generous donations Yaeger had paid to Tiberius cardinal Alti’s senior aide Portus L’ Fane. He also knew about Yaeger’s personal funding of L’ Fane’s quest to find the Holy Treasure. What he wasn’t sure of was Yaeger’s reason for wanting to possess the Bonaventure Trove, though given the power that lay within each item, the cardinal correctly assumed that the businessman’s interest had initially been the revival of his long since dead wife and son. The cardinal, seeming oblivious to the perversion of his own actions against the cloth, against common decency, against the natural order of things, hypocritically stood in judgement of the businessman, and proceeded to resent Yaeger’s presence, and resent the fact that Yaeger had used the cardinal’s religion only as a means to an end, a way to get his greedy little black arts mitts and the trove of Holy Treasure.
In possession of a small incantation to stay a minion demon’s hand, the special envoy Stonabeti was feeling all important amongst his audience of two. Wasting no time, they returned to Yaeger’s isolated, east coast hideout. The first thing the special envoy did was to snatch up the Well of Souls, and proceed to lavishly fondle it. Simon Yaeger thought the cardinal wasn’t quite right in the head. The demon Balam recognised Stonabeti to be mildly mentally deranged, but seeing the darkness and devilment ooze from the special envoy, Balam embraced the Vatican mole. Wiligis Fran was conscious and witness to the unholy spectacle. The Council member, centuries and centuries and centuries old, was well aware that despite his immortal status, his number was soon to be up. Yaeger felt sickened by the sight of the full frocked cardinal, pouring and drooling over the soul filled sphere. More than that though, he saw someone, however sick and twisted, capable of extracting the necessary soul, and getting on with the relevant rituals, to make him all and powerful. He continued to watch, in disgust, as Marlon A. cardinal Stonabeti lavished the container of Souls. Balam wasn’t so patient, he didn’t know or like the cardinal, he merely wanted to get on with being made a powerful demon. It was all within his grasp, and as far as the minion was concerned, drooling over the Fontum Animarum was simply wasting time and preventing him from becoming a mighty powerful demon. Balam stormed over to where the cardinal knelt, and made a grab for the Well of Souls. The cardinal was too quick, hunching and turning, as if protecting the Fontum. He screamed at the demon.
“Stay your hand ye demon! Beast, I shalt cast it out!! In nominee Patris, in sanguine Christi, vi officii, et ejicite daemon! Prius archangelus….
Balam looked on in horror, he also resented being called a beast, which was deemed to be so much in lower standing than a demon, even a minion demon at that. The cardinal was really prepared to cast him off, send him packing back to Hell. The demon quickly retracted his step, and thought much better of attacking the cardinal. Perhaps for the time being he would play it by ear. Balam marched and stomped to the far side of the trailer, and dwelled on how very much the cardinal had just made himself a new, and soon be extremely powerful, enemy. Wiligis Fran, no longer dazed and fully aware of the situation, knew that Gadriel would not be able to track the Fallen Balam. He knew that help was not to hand, and he knew it was absolutely crucial that the dark and diseased rabble before him not be allowed to employ the stolen items from the Bonaventure Trove. Having a view of the whole trailer, Wiligis Fran had seen fourteen visible pieces of treasure, included amongst which were several codices. The codex of Ayurved and the codex of Gurveva, in particular, holy volumes that contained incantations and spells. Spells to wake the dead. Spells to kill the living. Spells for power. Spells for peace. Spells for pestilence. Some of the other volumes as well, some of the most powerful codices in the world. Additionally, there was a Brudishan dagger, a weapon that need only be pointed to do its damage. There were sabres, and pendants. The Holy Treasure was just that, holy, and immensely, all encompassing powerful, to be wielded for evil purpose in the wrong and devilish hands. Wiligis knew that it was he, and he alone, who just there and then had the power to put a stop to the trio’s proceedings.
Having been unceremoniously prompted by the minion demon, the special envoy thought it an appropriate time to reveal himself.
“I have waited a lifetime to embrace my true purpose. To release my ancestor, so that his work may continue. I now called forth the venerable cardinal, Anis De Botte, in whose name I shall gain control of the Bonaventure Trove of Holy Treasure!”
Well that announcement didn’t go down well in the room. Simon Yaeger swallowed his shock and shot a long look at his companion demon, the minion Balam. Balam was obviously equally surprised. It had come as news, shocking news at that, to both the demon and the businessman, that someone should walk in and take their treasure, they didn’t think so. They’d waited for months to find a way to activate the treasure items. But they saw no wisdom in putting an end to the cardinal’s antics, not before the release of the soul, a soul that had apparently belonged to an ancestor of the special envoy. Still though, ancestor or not, that would lay him no special claim to their Holy Treasure.
The cardinal, shuffling on his knees, close to where Wiligis Fran sat, still gagged, with his hands bound, placed the Well of Souls on the ground. Rummaging around in one of the pockets in his inner garments, Stonabeti produced a wax chock. Ignoring Balam, and ordering Yaeger, he had the centre of the industrial trailer cleared. Back on his knees again, the cardinal began to draw a large circle, from memory, inserting many symbols and signs. Simon Yaeger, who had made an extreme hobby of practising Satanism, became particularly interested when the cardinal sketched out a large pentagram, centre circle, stretching tip to tip of the circumference. He wasn’t sure though, why it was that the cardinal was inverting quite a lot of the lettering he drew inside the wax confines of the pentagram. Wiligis Fran however, knew exactly what the cardinal was doing. The Council member could see from the diagram, and the lettering, that Stonabeti fully intended to release all the souls, all the dark, evil souls from the Fontum Animarum. He knew the warped cardinal had to be stopped. And just then he was devising a way to do exactly that.
Demanding silence, and woe betide anyone who stepped in the circle, cardinal Stonabeti, standing dead centre of the pentagram, began to mutter and chant. The Fontum Animarum began to vibrate, and inch side to side, on the spot. Wiligis Fran, possessing the only good soul in the trailer, seemed in pain and became terribly anxious, once the sphere began to move, albeit ever so slightly. He knew his time was soon up, and he knew the wicked cardinal was about to release upon the world, a host of damned and evil souls. The sphere lifted from the ground, jumping five feet high into the air. To Balam and Yaeger’s great delight, it began to circle the pentagram, and the cardinal, as quick as you like.
The ritualistic show was too enticing, nobody had been watching Wiligis Fran. Nobody had seen him work his way out of his bounds. As Stonabeti’s voice rose to fever pitch, the Fontum Animarum began to falter from it’s orbit, descending slowly back down to the ground, though still within the huge waxed out circle. That was enough, the devilish deed was done, Marlon A. cardinal Stonabeti had initiated the soul extraction. He had opened the ethereal gateway to let the imprisoned souls escape their confinement. Barely visible, a fine ghostly plume began to emanate from the Well of Souls. The cardinal fell onto his knees once more, threw open his arms, and literally breathed in the essence of soul, the ethereal essence of his evil ancestor, the disgraced cardinal Anis De Botte. Wiligis Fran, carefully calculating the progress of the ritual, made his move, sudden and super fast. It was a simple but extremely effective strategy; as soon as the Fontum Animarum had been mystically opened, and the souls therein began to leak out, Wiligis Fran raced across the trailer, dove over the wax circumference, barged into the cardinal, pushing him out of the way, and threw himself on top of the delicate Well of Souls. It was as if time in the trailer was greatly slowed to a shocking, barely able to function mode. Balam, who had jumped to attention, was prevented from moving by the sheer shock of the Council member’s tactic. Simon Yaeger, seeing the cardinal flung half out of the sacred circle, was too shocked to move, deeply concerned and wondering only if he was to be prevented from gaining access to the power of the stolen Holy Treasure items. The loud cracking sound of the Well of Souls shattering beneath the body of Wiligis Fran, put paid to the demon, the businessman, and the cardinal’s aspirations. They could only hope that the cardinal had ingested enough of his ancestor so as to contain the knowledge of how to active the Holy Treasure items.
Wiligis Fran lay sprawled across the pentagram. Beneath him the Well of Souls, completely shattered, was slowly being absorbed into his body, fragments and all. And those souls that had not yet begun to bleed from the Fontum Animarum were also absorbed along with the vessel, into an altogether new, and immortal host. Cardinal Stonabeti scrambled up onto his feet, and pouncing like a demon, began to attack Wiligis Fran. He was stopped in his tracks though, when the Council member’s body twisted and contorted in a spasmodic fit, twitching and jumping and pumping as the fine plumes of ether found various ways to enter the prostrate Fran’s being. This was a most unfortuitous, unforeseen turn of events. The escaping souls, instead of pouring out from the Fontum, to be carried on the wind to those poor unfortunates who would be over come and possessed, were instead, in urgent need of a new vessel, cramming themselves into a singular person.
The Vekel Augustine Council member was in the process of containing the worst of the worst. The cardinal fell down on the trailer floor and began to roll around in severe agony. His new occupant, though not fully extracted from the Well, was fighting for room and dominance in the unsuspecting Stonabeti. Simon Yaeger saw his opportunity. It was true, he was a dab hand at the ritual dark arts, he’d been practising for years. And right then, in his trailer hideout, he knew the exact ritual he needed to perform. He needed to anoint the disciples, the hosts to those worse than the damned. Directed by greed, Simon Yaeger raided his hocus pocus cabinet, from what he could remember, he concocted a ritual which would effectively create an indentured zombie, that is, if his performance of the ritual had of been correct, but, being a dab hand rather than an ordained person of the cloth, not that such a person would engage in such depraved activity, he made a total hash of the ritual. Still though, the effects were startling.
Cardinal Stonabeti was still tossing himself around on the ground. He was still in a lot of pain, and he’d taken to punching his head with his fist. The conversation he was having with himself, and the deceased, diseased cardinal, Anis De Botte, was exceedingly aggressive, and it seemed as though Anis De Botte had the upper hand. Suddenly, special envoy Stonabeti became silent, stood up and staggered over to the far corner of the trailer, placed his face in the crease of the wall, and remained, tight jammed into the corner, silent as a mannequin. Wiligis Fran had also become quieted as he lay face down on the floor, seemingly very attentive to the words of Yaeger’s botched up ritual. The businessman walked over to cardinal Stonabeti, checking to see if the devious, devilish man of the cloth was responsive to his orders. Pure and simply, Simon Yaeger had attempted to anoint his two new disciples, to take control of them, and the soul, and souls, they’d both ingested. Not being able to shake the demon Balam from his side, and knowing that if it came down to a physical contest, Balam would win outright, it was important to Yaeger that he, and he alone, should take a working possession of the stolen items of Holy Treasure. In Stonabeti, and the prostrate Wiligis Fran, he saw his advantage.
Minutes after becoming still, and moments after Yaeger had finished his ritual, the Council member shot up into the air, levitating a full four feet off the ground, feet together, arms apart, as if a candidate for a bad crucifying, a tragic crucifying. Balam, never having seen anything like it before, was puzzled, but unafraid. Simon Yaeger however, backed away from Stonabeti, and worked his way around, close to the trailer door. What had he done? This wasn’t part of his ritual. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. As slow as anything, like the long brace sail arm of a old, rickety, creaking windmill, like a holy man on a spit roast, Wiligis Fran turned over, arms still wide apart, almost touching the floor as he rotated, his back to the ground, he was eerily floating, face up. His beautifully tailored, Patagonia raw silk, lilac designer shirt, open at the collar, was shredded around the torso, and soaked with blood. But there was no blood on the floor, and there was no longer any blood on Wiligis Fran’s torso, everything had been absorbed back into his body, including the souls of those worse than the damned. Simon Yaeger crapped himself when Fran, still in mid-air, still with his arms outstretched in a crucified position, began to shudder and chuckle, a deep, bellowing chuckle, as if brought forth from the bowls of Hell. Balam was undeterred, easily recognising the demonic sounds the Council member was issuing, hellish, devilish tones.
With all his dabbling over the years, with all his black masses and dark art practices, Balam and Astroroth and Gapp and Crone were the only actual demons from Hell the businessman had ever come into contact with, and they’d been enough to put him off his perverted past-time forever more. More demons, he neither needed nor wanted. Realising that Stonabeti may very well be under his spell, Yaeger inched back around to where the cardinal stood stationary, grabbed him by the arm, and began to quietly manoeuvre him to the trailer entrance. Balam wasn’t afraid, he cared only to rid himself of his minion status. The minion demon would ensure that whatever, or whoever, came forth from the Council member, understood that it was Balam, and Balam alone who was the master. While Balam was busy waiting for a fight, waiting to exert his mastery, Simon Yaeger quietly eased open the trailer door, and was just about exit with the zombified Stonabeti, when the door, rocking the cabin by the force, slammed shut, and the lock snapped on! Wiligis Fran began to float down to the floor, landing in an upright position, looking overly menacing with his arms still opened out in the sign of a cross.
“You care not to know if it is that you have enslaved us to your influence? Stay! Sit down, answer your enquiry.”
As the Council member spat out and repeated his words, over and over, in different pitch and tones, without being touched, the businessman was lifted and flung, spun all the way across the room, landing in the swivel chair, which then rolled back and bashed into the filing cabinets. The zombified Stonabeti remained where he’d been left him, right next to the locked trailer door. Yaeger knew that he’d receive no help for the minion demon Balam. He was exceptionally scared as Wiligis Fran began to descend on him, as, trying to get out of the way, he was only able to slide back and push his swivel chair further up against the metal draws.
Wiligis Fran looked between thirty seven to forty three years old, was six feet tall and very slim, with light brown, just below the ears, flick-back hair, and long sideburns. He had a long, oval, attractive, very slender, clean shaven face, and was always immaculately dressed in very expensive and very smart clothes. He walked towards the cowering, overweight businessman, and with his right arm extended, caught hold of Yaeger by the chin, and proceeded to heave him out of the chair and up off his feet. The Council member, having had a great many centuries to refine his strength and speed, was, due to a heavy possession, extraordinary strong, and extraordinary evil. The more Wiligis Fran exerted himself, the worse he looked. His hair had turned straw-like, oily, and almost matted. His eyebrows had become substantially bushy, near enough joining together, and his nostrils had thicken and flared out. His lips uncontrollably quivering, looked thin, and had turned a dark red, and black, and his straight white teeth looked grey and brittle. His eyes, sunken in his cheekbones, were as dark as kohl, cold, beady and mean looking. His face was ashen and withered, with dark patches around his dark eyes. His hands seemed to elongate, with nails that were black and rotten yellow, long and striated. Wiligis Fran looked altogether ghoulish. The saintly, smart looking man had become ugly and evil, and all of a sudden, very weak. He fell down onto one knee, and, unmoving, stared at the floor, compliant and zombified.
“Yes! Excellent! Excellent! Now he’s at my mercy!”
Balam pivoted around on the spot, he couldn’t contain his excitement. As far as he was concerned, he had two birds in his hand, there to do his bidding. That was not, however, what Simon Yaeger believed. As far as Yaeger was concerned, he had successfully delivered two birds into his own hand, both there to do his, and his bidding alone. At first not trusting Wiligis Fran to be in a truly zombified state, Simon Yaeger rushed out of his corner, back over to the trailer door, and grabbing cardinal Stonabeti, began to open the door, to go where, he wasn’t sure, he just knew he needed to make a run for it.
“He’s gone! He’s gone! There is nothing left in him. They’ve taken him over. And you have prepared him to follow my instruction.”
Yaeger stopped short of exiting the trailer, and turned first to inspect Wiligis Fran, and then to weigh up Balam. He had to find a way to throw the demon off. He had to find a way to get rid of him. The businessman knew that with the minion demon around, it wasn’t safe for him to have any of the Holy Treasure items activated, because sure as anything, it would be Balam and not he who would claim the treasure for himself. Yaeger was in a quandary. He knew he couldn’t hideout much longer. He knew the dreaded, much feared Vekel Augustine Council would be searching for him. Added to which, he thought perhaps one or other of the demons who had been in the Malibu estate labyrinth during the attack, would also be searching for him. But like it or not, activating the treasure in the minion demon’s presence would not, in any way, shape or form, be to his own advantage. He wasn’t sure what to do. Of course, ‘what about the words Stonabeti had begun to recite, the words that had quite terrified Balam, the words that had made him stand down from the assault he’d been about to level at the cardinal’? Some of the words Yaeger remembered, but then the cardinal hadn’t gone so far as to finish the rite… and Yaeger had no idea which rite it had been anyway, but he knew that if he could know the rite, learn the words, it would arm him against the demon, it would give him a necessary edge, though how much of an edge, he didn’t know. The zombified cardinal was the answer, the answer to activating his stolen Holy Treasure, and the answer to him ridding himself of the scourged minion demon. He dare not show his hand, but at the first opportunity, he would arm himself, familiarise himself with the getting rid of Balam rite. Until that time though, Yaeger thought, it would be prudent to hinder all efforts to activate the treasure items, he wasn’t about to allow anyone deprive him of what he had worked so hard to acquire.