Friday, January 4, 2013

Meet Blake Simons - Investigator

Name:            Lord Blake William Simons
Age:               697 (human: 1315 - 1348, vampire: 1348 - present)
Height:           6’2”
Weight:          200lbs (91kg)
Eyes:              Dark Brown
Hair:               Dark Brown
Title:               Primary Investigator for the Primus Concilium


Blake Simons was the eldest son and heir to the Lord of Blakeston Croft, a small village in Lancashire County, England. Due to their remoteness, the village had little contact with the horrific plague that was slowly ravaging great portions of Europe beyond tales sung by wandering criers and heralds. That changed in the summer of 1348 when a lady and her entourage requested a few nights rest at Blakeston Grange on their way to the coast.

Lady Lucinda Mathison had appealed to Blake’s father for lodging and, bowled over by her beauty as well as mindful of his duty as lord, the elderly Lord William Simons readily granted her request. The deaths started immediately. The first to die were the village’s indigent population – men who preferred cheap rum over honest work and thus were sleeping in the streets as well as women who bartered their bodies in exchange for a hot meal or a strong drink. As the weather that summer had been unusually hot, few paid much attention or, truthfully, mourned their loss.

The fear and rumors began when an entire family on an outlying farm was discovered by a farmhand. All were in their beds and seemingly died in their sleep – father, mother, and three children ranging in age from five to eleven. The patriarch even wore a faint smile on his face. While most of the villagers attributed the deaths to the plague, a few whispered of creatures of the night and evil spirits while warding themselves and their homes from the devil. The local priest saw his congregation grow that week as frightened peasants sought to find comfort in God and protection from the evil they felt growing in their small village.

The Grange wasn’t unaffected.

The elderly Lord Simons had fallen ill with a wasting disease that weakened him more with every passing day. The barber had come and applied leeches to balance the blood. The vicar had prayed for his soul and the blessing of their Lord. Neither seemed to work and his health steadily declined. Bleeding to release the evil spirits followed the leeches but only served to further weaken the titular lord. Within weeks, the house was draped in black as they prepared for his death.

A week had passed since their arrival and the young heir had grown suspicious of the Grange’s new guests. He’d watched them carefully but could find no fault in their Mistress. She spent her days soothing his father during his illness and her nights alone. By chance, he caught the coachmen and lady’s maid sneaking off the property in the dead of night and followed them to a nearby tenant farm.

The moon was high and bright, enabling the nobleman to watch in horror as the façade of humanity dropped from the servants to reveal demons with blood-stained fangs and glowing red eyes. The three fell upon the elderly woman, their fangs striking her neck, wrist, and upper thigh while her husband slept in the next room. Sated, they disappeared through the connecting door. Before Blake could move, they emerged carrying a large bundle wrapped in cloth.

Sick with horror and fear, the noble heir followed the trio back to the Grange. Using servant’s stairs and hidden passages, he tracked of the human-looking demons he’d welcomed into his home to their Mistress’ room. From behind a portrait, he watched as they unwrapped the bundle to reveal the husband of the woman they’d killed. He watched as the beautiful Lady Lucinda transformed into the same demon he’d seen in the tenant house. He watched as she gorged herself on the blood of the innocent.

Over the next fortnight, Master Blake systematically eradicated the creatures that masqueraded as human. He managed to destroy most of the coven before he was captured and brought before the vampires’ mistress, Lady Lucinda. She attempted to seduce him into her coven, extolling the virtues of her strength and speed, and offered him a place to rule by her side – a god to her goddess. His refusal was met with fury and she turned him against his will, fully believing she was strong enough to command his loyalty. Her error cost her everything – her position, her coven, and her life – as Blake used his new strength to finish what he’d begun. When all had fallen, he read his father his last rites, severed his head from his body, and then set fire to the Grange to prevent Lord William’s rise as a creature of darkness.

Years later, he learned that his precautionary actions concerning his father had been unnecessary and went on a killing rage. Dozens of vampires fell to his claws and fangs and blades before he was brought before the censure and power of the Primus Concilium – the vampire ruling body. Recognizing the intelligence and power in one who’d not yet reached his first century, the Primus offered him a deal – work for them as an Investigator and, sometimes, executioner or meet his end. Blake has worked directly for the Primus ever since. 

His first assignment was to investigate the apparition of a god-like being during the Siege of Constantinople. With several covens augmenting both the Byzantine as well as the Ottoman Armies, the Primus was concerned that one had recruited one of the magical races to provide a bit of religious inspiration in order to win the conflict. Blake spent over a decade questioning every vampire, shifter, and witch in both volatile nations but found little proof either for or against the theory. Though he felt that he'd failed in his task, the Primus was impressed with his thoroughness and rewarded him for his efforts. 

Fascinated by the culture as well as enjoying a land that didn't look askance at his proclivity for sexual sadism and domination, Blake remained in the Ottoman Empire. There, he honed his skills with a whip - from the gentlest flogger to the barbed cat o' nine tails - and used them on his partners and enemies alike. His reputation amongst the human population of the skilled but cold lover grew to equal the rising respect of the local covens as a cruel opponent and he cultivated both images with alacrity. 

Publicly, however, his elegance, sensuality, and exotic beauty assured him a place in the court of the Sultan, Mehmed II, and he rose from the position of foreign guest to royal advisor over a limited span of years. So quickly did he move through the intricacies of court that many spoke of witchcraft and plotted against him. Those who spoke out against him usually experienced his recently-acquired skills at torture first hand until they recanted or succumbed to their injuries. It was his connections and preternatural speed that ensured Bayezid II reached Constantinople before his half-brother, Cem, to assume the throne of the Empire. It was also his accumulated wealth and inside information which persuaded the Knights of St. John to turn against Cem, escort him out of Rhodes and into France, and keep him there. Blake left the Ottoman Empire prior to the turn of the century to avoid further complications with the human population. Having not yet attained his second century as a vampire, he hadn't learned to control and manipulate his appearance in order to simulate aging. This meant that he had to move often to avoid difficult or dangerous questions.

He spent the next two hundred years working for the Primus and learning - and pushing - his limits as a vampire. He also caught the eye of the oldest amongst them, Queen Hauhet, leader of the Primus and one of the Firsts. The reputed matron of the entire vampire race was enchanted with the handsome Englishman who took such delight in destroying his own kind. They even became lovers for a time, exchanging blood as a sign of respect, affection, and trust. He grew stronger as a result and learned to temper his distaste for vampires and rose to the rank of Primary Investigator, the only vampire to do so that was not one of the founders of their kind.

Blake traveled the world in his role of Investigator, making few friends but many enemies. Those friends he did manage to keep are as loyal to the intimidating vampire as he is to his own way. It was in his role as Investigator that he met the man who would become his only Child, Augustin CalmetHe considers August to be both the son he will never have as well as the brothers he outlived half a millennium ago. He has already destroyed an entire coven for the former monk and would do so again and more if it was required. Until recently, he would have gladly died for his Child as well but circumstances have made him rethink that position.

As the human world evolved and became more civilized, at least outwardly, so too did the vampires. They set up regional and local governing bodies, policed their own when the need arose, but were always under the watchful eyes of the legendary members of the Primus. Blake’s role evolved as well and he’s become more of a true Investigator than executioner. With more time on his hands, he’s returned to running his business while accepting commissions from the local Vampire Council run by his oldest friend, Lady Elizabeth Pierce. It was during one of these commissions that he met his mate in a young human woman by the name of Alicia Johnston and nearly lost her to the ambitions of a greater violence demon from the Seventh Circle of the Infernal Plane.

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