Standing at 5'9" tall and exhibiting little muscle mass, Solomon does not cut an imposing figure. His handsome face and gentle demeanor exude a quiet calm and relaxed confidence that belie a stern determination when his mind is set. His speech is articulate and soft; it is rare and frightening indeed when his voice is raised in anger.
He dresses in simple brown robes devoid of symbols of wealth or status and carries a simple quarterstaff with him at all times. He walks with a pronounced limp in his right leg, which he compensates for with his staff.
Before the Gauntlet
Gareth Williams was born the third son to a minor landed noble in Herefordshire England. Once his two older brothers proved healthy and able, Gareth was promised as a postulant to a nearby Benedictine monastery. Entering monastic life at the age of 10, Gareth proved quite intelligent and quickly took to his Latin studies, becoming an effective scribe of the holy texts by the age of 14. He hadn’t been able to explain it at the time, but Gareth had always felt a calm, a sense of rightness in the monastery that had transcended simple emotion, and he knew that his destiny was with the Church. At the age of 18 he took his monastic vows and was sent west into Wales, to a monastery near the southern tip of the Black Mountains.
Gareth continued his studies, now reading the holy texts in their original languages and expanding his biblical knowledge. However after residing at the monastery for a couple of years, that feeling of calm and rightness left and was replaced by something more sinister. It began as a simple feeling of wrongness; an uncomfortable feeling in the pit of his stomach that wouldn’t go away. At first he believed he’d just taken ill, and allowed himself more rest. But the feeling persisted, and began to grow worse. Now he began having nightmares, scenes of hellfire and brimstone waking him drenched in sweat. God was testing him, he was sure of it, and he dedicated his free time to prayer and reflection; but the nightmares continued.
And then one night he finally understood. His door opened and the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen was standing there, naked, the light of the candles in the hallway framing her gorgeous form. Lips formed into a smile reminiscent of a lion examining its prey while her eyes steamed with pure wanton lust. Involuntarily Gareth felt tightness in his loins as his body reacted to the woman’s beauty and lustful stare. His breathing became shallow as he stared at her, unable to turn his eyes from her. And then he felt that wrongness that he’d been feeling for so long. It was stronger now, stronger than he’d ever felt it, and he knew that it was because of her. The feeling tore him from her spell and he reached over and instinctively grabbed the wooden cross that sat next to his bed. Holding it in his trembling hands before him, he whispered, “Begone foul temptress.” The woman simply smiled at him and retorted, “I will see you tomorrow night Gareth.”
In the morning when he woke Gareth remembered the encounter only vaguely, and assumed it had been a dream until he sat with the other monks for breakfast. That same overall sense of wrongness permeated the hall, but when the elder monks entered along with Brother Thomas, a monk that had arrived in the monastery some eight weeks earlier, the feeling intensified. It was then that Gareth realized the truth. The feelings of discomfort had started just after Brother Thomas had arrived. Then he remembered reading about infernal creatures, creatures sent by the Adversary to tempt, corrupt and destroy mankind. He remembered a creature called a succubus, sent to corrupt those of pure heart through carnal lust.
He stood up, brandishing the same cross he’d used the night before, “Begone foul beast! Return to the abyss from whence you came! Your master has no power here, God rules this house!” Brother Thomas cackled maniacally as his form shifted to the infernally beautiful woman, now with small horns protruding from her skull. “Gareth, do you not realize? Your god has no power here now; you were to be my last. All of your brothers have tasted of my sweet nectar, do not deny yourself the pleasures of my flesh.” Gareth looked across the room, looking into his brothers’ eyes in stunned silence. He could see that she was right; he could sense that this place was no longer holy. Having no other recourse he began chanting the holy ritual to banish the demon. She simply laughed and began speaking in a tongue he’d never heard before, one whose very sounds dripped with Infernal damnation. When she finished, she hurled a bolt of hellfire at him and Gareth closed his eyes and accepted his fate. He felt immense pain as the hellfire hit his right leg and he cried out for Divine aid. Just then he felt a sense of peace, as if a warm blanket had been wrapped around his shoulders. Opening his eyes, he saw feathered wings protecting him and the demon disappear in a flash of brimstone.
Without any word, the protective wings disappeared and Gareth was left in the hall with the stunned monks. Fearing the demon would return, Gareth limped out of the monastery, moving as fast as his infirm leg would allow and ran to the only place he thought might be safe. He’d heard rumors from the other monks of a cabal of wizards and warlocks who controlled the caves under the Black Mountains not far from the monastery. It took him well into the night, but eventually he found his way into the caves, however he found no covenant. Exhausted, he slept for the night in the cave, not knowing that he was being watched by grogs of the Blackthorn covenant.
In the morning he woke in the company of an old man sitting on a nearby stone. He introduced himself as Iudicium, a magus and resident of the Blackthorn covenant. He explained that the grogs who had been watching Gareth sensed something off about him and had alerted Iudicium. He further explained to Gareth that this unease the grogs had felt was the Gift, and that he would teach Gareth if he wished. Believing that it was God’s will that had brought him here, Gareth agreed and at the age of 20 became Iudicium’s apprentice.
His apprenticeship proved to be rather uneventful given the nature of his parens, but he did spend the requisite time learning lab work as well as traveling around the Stonehenge Tribunal and meeting all of the quaesitores living there. While his parens focused his studies on the arts of Intellego and Mentem, Gareth noticed that he also had particular aptitude with Vim, perhaps as a result of his previous encounter with the succubus. His gauntlet was equally uneventful, consisting of a series of written examinations designed to test his knowledge of the Code of Hermes as well as his insight in applying it in specific situations. After passing, he took the name Solomon.
First Cycle (1202-1208)
Solomon remains at Blackthorn with his Pater and serves as a junior Quaesitor within the Stonehenge Tribunal. He travels frequently, often at the behest of his Pater who prefers not to travel unless absolutely necessary. The majority of his investigations are related to low crimes, and he earns a reputation for being fair but tough. Even with his Gift hindering his social interactions, he develops a rapport with many of the grogs throughout the Tribunal and does his best to learn the Anglo-Norman spoken by many of them.
His laboratory work is focused on continuing his education of his Quaesitorial duties and learning spells that will aid him in his investigations.
Second Cycle (1209-1215)
Realizing that there was little more he could in Blackthorn under the shadow of his Pater, Solomon answered a request for quaesitorial support in the Rhine tribunal and made his way there. While spending some time traveling through Black Forest he meets Sophia, the magical owl which would eventually become his familiar. He continues his laboratory work in order to improve his quaesiatorial duties while also creating his talisman.
Third Cycle (1216-1222)
Solomon travels to Magvillus, Domus Magnus of House Guernicus, to study the immense library there and further his quaesitorial spell repertoire. During this time he also serves as a wondering quaesitor for the Rome Tribunal. In 1220, as part of a routine investigation he stumbles across a potential infernal magus within the order. After over a year of quiet and intense investigation, he finally acquires enough proof to bring the evidence to tribunal where a Wizard’s March is placed upon the infernalist.
Solomon, along with a company of three hoplites, eventually track the infernalist to Pompeii where he draws power from a mundane sex cult that worships a succubus who aids him. During the ensuing confrontation, Solomon learns that the infernalists demonic patron is the succubus who had first tried to seduce him so many years ago and was feeding on the lustful energies that had taken hold of the cult here. It took all of Solomon’s Strong Will to resist her temptations even as one of the hoplites who had traveled with him succumbed to her wiles. After an exhaustive battle against the cult, the infernalist and his demonic patron, Solomon and Guillaume Flambonis, the only hoplite to survive the encounter, prevailed. Upon their return to Magvillus, Solomon personally recommended Guillaume for training as a quaesitor.
Fourth Cycle (1222-1229)
Having heard of Solomon’s success in hunting down the infernalist, the covenant of Duresca asks him to join them and help hunt down the remnants of infernalists operating within Iberia that were not destroyed during the Shadow War. Solomon gladly agrees and takes up residence at Duresca, leading many investigations throughout the tribunal. He has some success finding magi dabbling with infernal influence, but does not uncover any major practitioners like he had previously.
When Guillaume informs him of the attempts to rebuild the covenant at Andorra, Solomon agrees to travel there and aid in its reconstruction.