Father Pleasant’s Story
As I’m sure will come as no surprise to you Buddy, I grew up in a very devout home. My father, Increase, was not a priest, he was something worse, an elder in the church and, to put it bluntly, a zealot, and his fanaticism rubbed off on me as a child. He would spend long days, sometimes weeks on the road leaving me and my brothers and sisters with our mother. She was a distant woman, but I can’t say I blame her, because when our father was home he was either not there in mind or tyrannical. There was no loving in between. He would say that we had no respect for what he was doing, going out on the road, spreading the word, and falling demons. He would tell us that demons were real and that without pious men like himself kids like us wouldn’t be safe. He would beat it into us. Of course, we thought he was a lying asshole. Maybe we were both right.
Like most children, I eventually rebelled. I moved to Arkham, went to “one of them damned liberal colleges” my father was always going on about.
I always found it hypocritical that my father felt that nothing could shake who he was yet believed that liberal learning would corrupt me. To his credit, maybe it did… or maybe, I just wasn’t like him.
I took in life as much as I could. Joined clubs, tried drugs, even started a punk band with my roommates. We were called The Disciples of Nil, if you can imagine that. A punk band might be an odd place for a jump from the fundamental farm life, but it was a beginning point on a path back to the light, but thanks to my knowledge of the world, I felt it was a cleaner version of the light. The comradery, the purpose, the ability to see the world for the shithole we had made it while also feeling a boundless possibility for change in the face of… everything. After years of playing music, fancy learning, and a few drug habits I was ready to clear my head. I spent a few years in and out of rehab and eventually got clean, or so I thought.
Most people when they quit anything they don’t quit right away, they deflect and substitute. Some do it with other drugs, like booze, some do it with sex, some with exercise even, but most of us, we turn to God. Given my previous relationship with the All-Mighty, it was an easy place for me to turn to. So, my obsessive drive to do drugs was switched to an obsessive drive to learn all there is to know about the church.
It started with the Bible, a bigger book than people tend to realize. Even people with twenty-twenty vision sometimes need a pair of glasses or magnifying glass to navigate the tiny words and a wet finger to turn the tissue-thin pages. Given my name and history, it wasn’t long until I was in seminary and ended up following my father’s path and became a priest. I retained my obsessive desire to learn everything I could. I moved to the history of the church, then the history of other religions that intertwined, such as Judaism and Islam. I learned new languages, well, new to me. I learned old languages, dead languages, languages that I would use to explore the Apocrypha as far as I could go.
The thing about the biblical Apocrypha is that it’s not canon. The Bible, at least the Catholic one, has 46 books. The Apocrypha dimensions are not so well defined. There are a lot of books, a lot of scrolls and a lot of forbidden knowledge. In my hubris, a hubris I must have inherited from my father, I felt that it was my duty to learn it all… that I was so much a vessel that I could learn it all.
This didn’t go unnoticed with my superiors, instead of being concerned about me, they promoted me. I was assigned to a monastery in the west to organize the library. Now the word monastery tends to make people think of a remote castle with Christian monks that only eat gruel. While this place may have been that at one point, it certainly wasn’t that now. It was more of a tourist trap, a place that had throngs of daily visitors and only held Mass for the priests that lived there and tended the harvests. We grew olives and grapes and sold blessed olive oil and wine. Kind of ridiculous I know, but I did love the place and the library was massive. Walls of books to the ceiling, old books, scrolls, and objects. I loved that monastery and I loved my job.
It was at this monastery that I learned that my father was no liar. It was at that monastery, by some weird twist of fate, that I met my first demon.
His name was Harry. I know, weird name for a demon, but that was his name as a man I suspect. Most demons are disembodied fallen or absconded angels that possess a mortal. Harry, somehow, had come to terms with his angel. They had somehow become one and most importantly, no longer wanted to be demons.
Harry had come to the monastery seeking asylum from a higher demon, named Incubus, he was indentured to. Apparently, Harry was supposed to deliver a soul but instead allowed the soul to go to heaven.
Eventually, the demon sent a cult after Harry. When that didn’t work, he sent an army of lesser demons and we fought them off too. Then the Incubus came himself. With the help of our blessings, Harry was able to entrap Incubus.
Afterward, in the interest of learning, I promised to help Harry find safety, a place he could be safe. That is ultimately how I met The Professor and Charles.
Knowing of Harry and learning of the inner workings of demons only fueled my desire to know more. The higher-ups in Rome heard of our battle and held me in high regard, but I did keep Harry’s existence secret from them.
Through my new higher standing, I became Assistant to the Head Archive Curator in Rome. There I organized and consumed as much knowledge as possible, but it was never enough.
When my mentor, and friend, Father Fyrwit passed on I was given the position. I was young, only thirty, but no one was vying for the position and I was the one who knew the library best at that point.
It was at that point that knowledge became practice. In the interest of learning more, I started conjuring guides. First, I conjured angelic ones, but they had little to tell me other than reinforcement. It was always “Be happy with the light of God” or “Stay the path”, which I’m sure you can guess, for me at the time was not enough.
So, it wasn’t long until I started to seek out infernal guides. Guides I could control and impose to do my will without guilt, that I could force to show me secrets that I could control, that I could handle, or so I thought. My experience with Harry gave me a lot more confidence than warranted.
The funny thing about a lie is that if you want to believe it, you can, no matter how outlandish. One of my infernal guides, Ronove, was more than I bargained for. In my arrogance, my soul became his soul. He tore it asunder and scattered it’s pieces among his brethren for each part to be tortured and consumed over and over again. Eaten through a demon’s maw, defecated through a devil’s ass, just to be chewed and eaten again.
Much of those memories have been taken from me.
One day I awoke in a strange mansion. The Professor that you met before, his mansion. Through whatever weird channels that demons communicate through Harry had discovered my fate. Harry, repressing all of his fear, went back into Hell and recovered a part of my soul.
The other day you said that I helped people with weird things, things that aren’t supposed to be happening, and I suppose that’s true. But, it is a side motivation. The true motivation is to find the rest of my soul. The man that sits before you is only part of a man. Part man and part nothing. Best we could tell is that my soul was split among nine demons. I have recovered parts from four of them. I’m sure you have done the math. I have less than half a soul. So, no need to be embarrassed about having a goblin infestation problem, I believe you.
There is a crashing sound outside as both men sit up straight and attempt to shake off their inebriation. With dogs barking, the men run to the window and peer out into the night. Off, about 20 yards, out by the brush, they see a small, hunched pale figure regarding them with puffed out large black eyes, it’s hand clutching a dirty child’s doll. They see a goblin.