Here, have some lore about the Darkest Nights world! Today’s story is about a religious figure that had legends created about him. And no, Alex, the name is not a reference to you, but to a certain manga.
Saint Alexander, sometimes called “the Paladin” or “Purifier”, was a legendary priest and exorcist. Claimed to be of many different religious orders by them respectively, but the question has never been answered. Whatever his exact Christian tradition was, he was of great faith and capability, and this is what made him famous. He is to have performed over 100 major exorcisms in his short career, and several other miracles is ascribed to him as well. If he hadn’t fallen after a few bright years he might even have gained a name as a prophet or savior.
Supposedly born somewhere between 1740 and 1745, Alexander’s childhood is mostly a mystery. He is to have been born into a lower or middle class family in a rural parish, and grew up in relative peace. His country of origin is almost as disputed as his exact creed. Most signs point towards Italy or Scotland. Wherever he was actually born, his first noted appearance at the global scene was in 1766, when he exorcised an entire haunted mob during a visit to Rome. Apparently he was already an anointed priest then, and during the next few years he made a furious journey all across the globe, carrying out exorcisms and miracles. His growing fame allowed him to gain disciples that he taught his arts to, and they still carry out his decrees to this day. He is said to have been able to defeat ghosts and demons, heal the sick and wounded, and grant blessings of protection. Some even believe him to be ordained by Christ. Unsurprisingly, this is the most common in the Holy Order of Saint Alexander itself.
Sometime in the year of 1768, or possibly early 1769, Alexander got hold of the Bright and Bloody Cross (more commonly known as the Rozenburg Crucifix). The Order says that he received it as a reward from a Cardinal or Bishop (who it is differs with the storyteller), but other versions include it being won in poker, gotten from the devil, acquired by mistake, or found in an hour of need (and some use more than one of those). Whatever the case, it’s a strange artifact in its own right, and he would be its last owner.
In the spring of 1770, Alexander and a few of his followers landed in Rozenburg. They had been called by rumors of strange happenings and terrible beasts. As the city was it the deepest pits of its decline, few can tell what really happened. Most agree that there was some kind of satanic cult around, made up from the dregs that couldn’t even leave. After this, records differ. Some say they were summoning a demon, some that they were casting a great curse or even invoking the apocalypse. Whatever the case Saint Alexander and his group seems to have put a stop to it. However, things did not end well. Only one returned from the excursion, and he could only stagger into Rozenburg before falling dead. His last words is often told as something along the lines of “It’s done, and it’s buried again”. Naturally this has caused people to wonder what it is that would be buried. Treasure hunters have searched, treasures have been found, but probably not what he was talking about.
There ends the tale of Saint Alexander. No one found the remaining members of the group, and after the broken raft used by the surviving straggler there are no trace even of in which direction they could be in. As the years went by, most hope of finding them was given up. Alexander was declared dead and then subsequently proclaimed to be a saint (and though it’s commonly accepted that he is, no one is sure who did it first). Now, 70 years later, no one but fanatics believe him to be alive, and most of them would claim he ascended to heaven.
The most lasting part of Saint Alexander is of course his legend. It has spread really well, and you can hear it in almost any country (though of course with its own spin each time). Apart from that, he improved the reputation of exorcists a bit, as well as created an order of just that. They are still active, and have a few hundred members all across the globe, most of them priests of varying traditions. They are held together by their wish to cleanse this world from demons, and thus they can even surpass major preconceptions about each other. It really is ahead of its time in some areas (and possibly behind in some others).
With the advent of science, not as many people believe in magic as before. Faith in god is still common however, even among scientists. Thus is created a weird spot for this modern-day saint. It’s hard to say that his deeds are just ancient myth when they are so recent. Those that disbelieve his magic usually retort with him being a good psychologist, and an excellent actor, but due to the lacking records it’s hard to determine his actual education. Whatever the case, he left quite a large mark on the world for a 4 year career.
So, here it was. I actually wrote most of this last night, but it came a little to close to being “early today” so I took a break until now. I hope it was interesting, as it was pretty fun to write. This historical character has been around for quite some time in my head, and now he’s on (digital) paper too! That’s all for now, but I might drop another post tonight… or not. Depends on if we manage to pull together a monday night session, and if I’m healthy enough to participate. ‘Til then!
Note: the years here supersede the ones supplied in the early rules draft!