Book III: Chapter 16
Ironically, the Annals of the Brotherhood reflect only a small footnote about Tower Bay, and the official version of events describes only the lie that I told them.
To this day it is my firm belief is that nobody else on earth ever knew the truth about Tower Bay — expect me (and now YOU).
As I said previously, after realizing my colossal failure with my 409 Experiment, I razed the town to ashes and burned myself to cover my tracks so the Brotherhood wouldn’t get their hands on the true weapon of mass destruction I’d created. I didn’t die from my horrific burns, nor did I perish in any of the intense torture sessions my brothers put me through. In fact, after the Brotherhood finished with me, my needs were well cared for by the Sisters of the Holy Cross and I remained with them in seclusion at Poitiers for the next thirty years.
I enjoyed my time with the sisters. More importantly though, during those three decades a generation of powerful Brotherhood leadership eventually passed from this world — and forgot about me.
After I deemed it safe to re-enter the world I was so soured by the experience with The Brotherhood, that I didn’t seek a renewed alliance with them for over 500 years. Instead I pursued another path to enlightenment (recall my time as Merlin and my foray into the arts of sorcery – which in truth really wasn’t magic at all, just a bit of good old fashioned science and mathematics, all aided by my ability to see the future via The Sight. Magic? Sorcery? Pah! Don’t get me started…)
As for the evils that occurred at the former site of Tower Bay, they too became forgotten legends, for History marched on and, as always, the earth eventually repaired itself. And even while I (as Merlin) became trapped in a crystal cave by the witch Nimue, future generations returned to the Tower Bay locale – completely ignorant to the horrors that occurred there.
A new settlement called Streoneshalh was built on the ruins of Tower Bay in the 650’s by the Anglo-Saxon King Oswiu. It was Oswiu who built the original abbey — that church lasting until 867, when it fell to Viking attack. (I can confirm the Viking raid because I was back on the surface by that time).
The abbey was eventually re-founded in the late 1070’s and it was a majestic sight to behold. It flourished in the region that became known as Yorkshire until 1540.
Unfortunately Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries doctrine signified the beginning of the end for Whitbey – opening the way for the abbey to fall into disrepair and allowing for miners to pilfer its stones.
As far as The Brotherhood is concerned, it was my friend Lazarus who later encouraged me to (re)connect with the group – although Lazarus never knew about my earlier associations.
Lazarus first recruited me sometime around mid 960’s. I knew that he had been keeping tabs on The Brotherhood since the fall of Rome, but this was not unusual for him because he’s been a member of many elite secret societies (remember, he always loved the cloak and dagger crowd). And yet, although Lazarus also took all the same oaths of allegiance that I did (at least where The Brotherhood was concerned), I believe Lazarus never really wavered in his true allegiance to Christianity (although I can’t say the same for myself). And so, I “let” Lazarus recruit me back into the Brotherhood – if only because I had nothing else to do.
Meanwhile, after I’d confirmed that there was no chance anyone could associate me with the past failures of Ambrosius, I continued to insinuate myself into the ranks of The Brotherhood — yet always under a different persona.
Obviously when one is immortal, one has all the time in the world to create new identities – complete with a full lifetime of back story. Furthermore, my knowledge of the alchemical arts allowed me to subtly modify my appearance – a priceless skill that helped me sell each new identity. In fact, I guarded my secrets so well that even Lazarus did not know all of my alter egos!
But what’s important now, for our story, is that, for over 1,000 years I’d remained abreast of The Brotherhood’s activities.
As a result, learning about the meeting tonight had taken me very little effort – despite the fact that I hadn’t been all that active lately, and that the world as a whole was completely unaware of this secret conference.
And so I sat – or rather, Baron Von Bodenwerner sat — and waited for dinner to get started.