Pieter Van Eckhardt and The Cabal - Murti Schofield

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Eckhardt story notes


1/ By 1991 Eckhardt 's alchemical lab in Cappadocia and his work are almost complete.

2/ He is on the trail of the next painting. He has one already and needs the other four.

3/ Has hunted down the last of the Lux Veritatis - Konstantin Heissturm, Kurtis Trent's 68 year old father. This brutal and unnecessary act finally spurs Kurtis to take up the mantle of the Lux Veritatis avenger and hunt the monster down.

4/ At the opening of the game Eckhardt is on a killing spree in Paris. The Monstrum has returned! - (for genetic sampling/rejuvenation).

5/ He has caught wind of the Louvre painting, alerted after Jean Yves' enquiries have stirred up the waters.

6/ He is not involved in Jean Yves’ death but the Greys' hitman has made the crime scene look like the Monstrum's work and set it up to frame Lara.

7/ Eckhardt goes to the Louvre but is beaten to the prize by both Kurtis who takes the picture beating both himself and Lara.

8/ Eckhardt now goes to a variety of locations in Paris and Prague where he is successful in getting his hands on some of the paintings and the final materials needed for his completion of the work in Cappadocia. (He may get the paintings directly himself or be 'allowed' to do so by the Greys or by Lara).

9/ Once back in his Cappadocian lair he sets about completing the Eternity Gene Serum. Because of his alchemical mind-set he sees part of this final stage as the re-summoning and control of the demons who gave him so much grief last time. With the aid of the five paintings or five gates of defence he now expects to emerge triumphant especially with the backing of his acolytes who have been so supportive so far.

10/ Of course the Greys have been helping him purely for their own reasons. Having controlled and guided him without his knowledge they are ready to seize the results of his work and abandon him or worse, confine him in a similar situation to his last 'pit' experience. In the final battle with Lara their treachery allows Lara to weaken Eckhardt and leave him open to the demons' attack.
11/ In the end the supposedly all powerful, invulnerable Eckhardt gets defeated by Lara, betrayed by the Greys and carried off to another pit or some demon realm. Several of the Greys are also taken out by Lara leaving the survivors to escape (for another day)."

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Eckhardt alchemy principles


“Advanced alchemy is indistinguishable from science.”
“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.”
“…certain geometric arrangements of highly purified materials may be impelled to release the very forces of constraint which hold nature itself in check.”

Eckhardt was one of the greatest practitioners of the art/science of his time.
Alchemy as a discipline and practice was the science of its day attracting many brilliant and original minds. The practitioners’ knowledge of metallurgical processes was astonishingly advanced despite being ignorant of the structure of the nucleus or of electricity and they perfected many processes which are lost to us today. Atomic theories had been formulated as far back as the Greek Democritus who credited Moschus the Phoenician with even earlier works on the nature of matter.

Informed research into the ancient texts might well yield a few surprises; cold fusion for example or the genuine transmutation of elements without the need for elaborate hi-tech apparatus. Obscure alchemical texts make mention of a flexible mineral glass, controlling the forces of attraction between large bodies (gravity) and the intriguing ‘lumiere froide’, or cold light, of Edward Dutt Fulcanelli, all things we might identify as achievable goals with modern scientific techniques.
Unconventional thinkers and pragmatists were drawn to Alchemy’s mysteries. It demanded phenomenal discipline and dedication. But not everyone attracted to it’s shrouded promises of wealth and power had the intellectual stamina to stay the course. Inferior minds spiralled into madness. Years spent grappling with complex processes whilst confined to secret workshops choking on noxious fumes and vapours of mercury took their toll. Those unschooled in the inner mysteries of hermetically sealed apparatus became shambling wrecks. This image of the insane, bumbling recluse pursuing a mythical goal was encouraged by true adepts in the interests of secrecy..."

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Eckhardt diary text extracts

“Returned this ninth day of autumn 1345 to my dwelling in Prague. Much wearied by hard journeying from Anatolie and in the last part a hard crossing by boat plagued me by tearing afresh the newhealed incisions of head and middle body, enough I fear to put me in very sickly humour. The captain, may his bones bleach on storm tossed shores, will rue the day of his disregard for my simple welfare.”
“I return to the sewers of my adopted city with a sacred trust so astounding as to belie the wits I retain from the sea crossing. I scarce dare to put words to the truth of my pilgrimage. But I long to be about the task granted me. As to the promised hundred years in which to labour for the Enlumened ones - I will for this time keep my council and watch. The first wounds healed well enough, apart from that inflicted by the accursed boat. For my swift-healing body only the passing seasons will tell if the promised prolongation of life be true or a gilded lie. Their measures to which I did at first submit with trepidation left me in little enough pain and truth to tell did heal with almost unholy haste."
“As to the task entrusted to my arts, I will serve the Enlumened ones’ vision and wish to revivify their issue and see their like breed upon the land. My arts suit this desire very well and with my mastery of the Secret Skills they desire that I may serve them to mutual benefit. In this I shall prove diligent applying all fervour to the elevation of mortal flesh as a worthy vessel for the Enlumened progeny. To this end I have sworn the dedication of  my very life and essence.”

“On this second day of my return I am delivered once again into full and robust health. It must have been the travail of the seas that undid me for I feel now such a zest and quickening of the blood as to be scarcely containable. I must be about the tasks I have outlined this day beginning with my noble and eager guild brothers gathered here in the town for my return. They will be inspired by the recital of my travels, tailored of necessity to the bounds of their close trimmed, timorous and greedy souls. Their narrow vision of the alchemic verities is a disappointment but can be made valuable use of for my wider goals.  Feed the beast of burden only what it will appreciate. And use a short leash...”

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Cabal character profiles

The present day Cabal is a continuance of the original Cabal of Five formed by the survivors of the alchemists betrayed and almost killed off by Eckhardt around 1445. Over the centuries, as new members in the ranks replaced those who died off or were killed the Cabal’s passion for revenge has given way to greed. They want the secret of Eckhardt’s longevity. They will do anything for the promise of extended life and the current Cabal now serves the acknowledged master alchemist in an uneasy alliance.
All five of the present day Cabal are alchemist adepts in their own right. They have thrown in their lot with Eckhardt providing him with the materials and protection he needs. They also expect powerful positions within the re-established race of the mythical Nephilim order. All five are of indeterminate ages and origins having buried their pasts and changed their identities. Physical appearances give no clues as to the actual age of any Cabal member. Each unstintingly supports other members’ interests - on the surface. In reality their fates are tied to each other only until one of them can gain an unshakeable strangle hold on the others. Conspiracies and hidden agendas are rife. They know too, from the early records of the Cabal of Five, just how treacherous Eckhardt can be. Tensions are high within the alliance.
One such smaller alliance is between Joachim Karel and Kristina Boaz. Boaz has located one of the Five Obscura Paintings Eckhardt is after and she hides it on the one place no one would suspect –hopefully – the Vault of Trophies in the Strahov. For Boaz and Karel it could give them the bargaining edge they need if Eckhardt gets out of hand.

Charismatic genius behind corporate legal giants 'Karel and Roth'. Totally cultivated dude. Has strong links with the World Bank, contacts in the International Artworld and politics. Based in Paris.

FOR THE CABAL: masterminds the Cabal’s covert activities and legal security measures ensuring anonymity for the alliance and all Eckhardt’s activities. Ensures integrity of all The Cabal members’ interests including the acquisition and protection of anyone or anything they deem valuable. His legal expertise provides total protection for Eckhardt when in Europe or elsewhere.

Power: - Persuasion, clouding the mind, mesmerism.

ORIGINS: was accepted into the Cabal ranks after the inexplicable disappearance of a previous member. As far as can be ascertained from any records this was early in the 20th century. (It was in fact in 1890.) He might have originated in the Russian Polish borderlands or equally from somewhere within the Algerian N African coastal area. All available records are vague and contradictory. The name Karel is not believed to be his authentic one. Age indeterminate..."

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Cabal longevity


Apart from the shared interests and pooled resources of the Cabal each individual member of this unstable and disparate group has a self-serving agenda. Everything they do is for personal advantage. This involves a constant round of changing alliances and never ending subterfuges.

They all want the secrets of Eckhardt’s longevity and are prepared to put up with the worst of his murderous eccentricities if there is even a miniscule hope of sharing in his deranged dream of prolonged life and a part in the coming New Order. Eckhardt uses their greed and ambition by dangling enticing hints and obscure references to what this longevity secret might consist of. But there is no way he will ever divulge the truth. This is one of his many means of controlling the group of grotesques and ensuring that they serve his purpose. The truth they must never even suspect is that Eckhardt’s unnaturally prolonged life span is entirely due to a unique and highly intrusive process of surgical & alchemical interventions carried out on him by the Nephilim.

Back in 1345 Eckhardt journeyed to Cappadoccia seeking the legendary Nephilim/Grigori/Bene Elim/ Anakite/Gibborim race believing that they could be of use to him in his search for long life. The Ancients saw immediately that this fanatical individual could serve long term ends of their own and so they ‘changed’ his physical nature and sent him back to fulfil his part in a long term breeding programme that would ready the way for the restoration of the Nephilim Race. The ‘change’ was rather brutal in its effects but highly effective and Eckhardt’s vitality and drive increased manifold over the next 100x years. He became unstoppable. Unfortunately he was also treacherous and that was the cause of his downfall and incarceration (details in other documents)..."

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Eckhardt appearance


Since his escape in 1945 Eckhardt has made an effort to blend with the modern world – or as much an effort as an insane fourteenth century alchemist just released from 500 years of confinement in a plague pit can manage. His fevered mind is obviously on other things than his appearance, such as killing to keep his physical form from withering. But the need to remain as inconspicuous as possible has registered with him. He just doesn’t make too good a job of it.

Eckhardt’s dress sense is an outlandish anachronism blending Victorian style waistcoat and dark gloves (Gary Oldman’s Victorian gentleman’s garb in DRACULA). It makes the wearer stand out even more because of the clash. His colour sense ranges from dark through darker to black.

He carries a set of Prima Materia elements on a key ring around his belt [in the form of small ornate rods, medallions or rings]. These samples of key elements have been alchemically refined hundreds of time to quintessentially pure substances so potent that, in the right hands, they can transmute any element of similar atomic weight brought into contact with them. They are like variations of the Philosopher’s Stone each limited to a particular element.

Apart from his dress gloves he also wears a weird glove-like arrangement of wires, rods and leather strapped to his arm. This protective ‘Glove’ is to stop any accidental personal damage when unleashing the transmuting energies..."

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Eckhardt's alchemy skills

Advanced alchemy is indistinguishable from science.

‘Through the Golden Lion the Nephilim will enslave the sons of man and inherit the Earth.’ from the suppressed prophetic texts of Bishop Bedian.

Eckhardt’s vision of himself as the Golden Lion was far beyond the normal ambitions of his fourteenth century contemporaries. The more mundane alchemists of his time sought the secret of producing gold from lead. He had little regard for the misunderstandings they had about the true nature of the Philosopher’s Stone. The true aim of the dedicated alchemist is not transmuting ordinary metals into gold but the transformation of oneself into something infinitely higher on the evolutionary scale, in his case the Golden Lion.

Since the background of his training, mindset and successes is alchemy he still thinks and works in those terms. But at its most advanced levels alchemy is indistinguishable from modern genetic research. Just the trappings are different.

By the time of our story he has long mastered the ability to transmute simple matter. It is not a skill he values very highly for itself however. It is only valuable to him in harvesting the elements he needs to keep alive and in furthering his plans for breeding the next generation of Nephilim. Being able to control the transmutation of elements is a distinct advantage when working with highly evolved biochemical solutions.

He is able to transmute a range of elements into their immediate neighbours on the periodic table..."

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Eckhardt and the Nephilim


When Eckhardt returned from his exhausting travels to the central plains of Anatolie and his meetings with the Nephilim he set about building the foundations of his hundred years task with ferocious energy. To enable the Nephilim to repopulate the earth an improved version of humanity was required to become the worthy receptacles for the seed of the newly revitalised race. Eckhardt intended to take selected samples of sturdy human stock and breed viable receptors for the Nephilim insemination.

As a master alchemist he had long since perfected the transformation of base materials into gold but this was not the peak of his ambitions and was something he performed only to fund his higher goals.  As a member of a cabal of six advanced black alchemists based around Europe he was able to utilise the powerful connections of their greed-motivated patrons to locate and isolate twenty small communities in remote areas of Europe, the Russian borderlands and the Nordic nations.

These unknowing people were to be the building blocks of his Great Work, the guinea pigs in a prolonged series of alchemically based genetic improvements of the human race – the Nephumans As long as the landowners and gentry were paid off with small miracles of gold (only a tiny portion of what could be produced) and half-promises of much more the Six Alchemists could do as they pleased within the communities.

Kept in complete isolation the communities were tyrannised, treated like cattle and subjected to repeated experimentation to improve their health, stamina and overall physical vitality. Eckhardt believed that it was possible to use the alchemic principles of breaking down and rebuilding ‘Solve et coagule’ to gradually change the very basis of human body chemistry and eliminate the causes of mortality and ageing. He felt this was an essential preparation for the planned infusion of Nephilim ‘seed’ into mortal stock. His plans required the creation of a stock of living incubation vessels, a new hybrid genus - the Nephuman. But it was a ruthless process. There were many fatalities. Some communities died out and had to be restocked. Alchemic genetics at that stage was a primitive art with untried methods and materials. Much of the processes involved purging toxicity from the ‘resonant stratum of the fleshly clay’ and replacing it with refined ‘concentrated virtues of vital flux’. But slowly, painfully, progress was made. The results began to show within a few generations..."

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Eckhardt personal details



An insane fourteenth century genius known as The Black Alchemist. After 500 years imprisonment in a containment Pit he escaped in 1945 and set about reviving the biblical race known as the Nephilim. By the year 2003 he is a serious threat to the world’s stability.

1294: Born in Anschlosska, near Warsaw, of undistinguished parents.

1306: (age 12) Parents perish in a mysterious fire in their home. Eckhardt survives untouched and is adopted by a distant uncle of the family. Exhibits ferocious interest in arcane subjects and dark arts.

1314: (age 20) Initiated into the Cabal of six Black Alchemists. They are at war with the Lux Veritatis (in existence since 1176). Home town of Anschlosska is wiped off the map.

1345: (age 51) Has perfected his Alchemic skills. Risen to the rank of eminent Black Alchemist in the Cabal. Goes on a quest seeking the ancient Nephilim race in Anatolie, Turkey. Meets with Nephilim elders and signs a blood pact. Is given tasks to complete and rare metals to aid him in his toils. For this his life will be extended by 100 years.

1348: As part of his ‘tasks’ Eckhardt initiates the first of the Breeding Communities throughout remote areas of Europe, the Russian borderlands and the Nordic nations. He aims to alter human stock by alchemic means for Nephilim seeding.

1445: (age 151 but still looks 51) End of Eckhardt’s 100 years of extended life and his allotted time for the tasks. He has killed or maimed the other members of the Cabal and seized control of the Breeding Communities and all resources. Is now the only Black Alchemist. His attempts to betray the Nephilim result in them condemning him to the punishment pit.

1945: Eckhardt is released by misdirected Allied aircraft bombing the fortress where his Pit is buried. Hunts down the Lux Veritatis who have acted as guardians of the Pit for the last 500 years. Restarts his ‘Great Work’. [Age 551 years. A bit haggard but still looks a nifty 51.]

2003: He has reconstructed everything needed to rebreed the Nephilim, only this time he will be in control. Runs across Lara Croft. Big mistake."

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Copyright (c) 2024 Murti Schofield. Lara Croft and Tomb Raider are the property of Embracer Group AB and Crystal Dynamics (formally Core Design, Eidos Interactive, and Square Enix).
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