If you have read any of The Crystal Crux books, you know who Sinibaldus is – and you probably don’t like him. He is a seven-foot albino giant, a magician and showman in possession of a Bellerophon Crystal.
Sinibaldus used both hands to jerk open the V-necked collar on his robe. The dramatic movement revealed a large translucent crystal, on octagonal diamond the size of a large man’s fist dangling from a hemp cord over his heart like a glimmering talisman. “The power of Bellerophon is still with me.”
Betrayal – Chapter 4
Sinibaldus is the son of Claire. Claire was still a teen when she was raped and beaten and left for dead by an injured Templar she had taken in and nursed during a horrible snowstorm. Sinibaldus knew next to nothing of his father, only what little his mother knew and told him. After the storm ended, he left never to be seen again.
Everything about the pregnancy had been suspect from the start. The quickening occurred around two months. Claire was fully swelled at five months, her body pissing grey urine and her ass-end producing pasty black feces. She gave birth at six months. The infant was completely covered in a sac, a sinewy black membrane… The docteur took a scalpel and cut through the squishy black membrane… blood gushed out suddenly as the membrane exploded and dissolved completely, leaving behind an enormous hissing infant. The child did not cry and no one wanted to touch it… And then the room went deathly quiet as the hideous grotesque spoke its first word. “Maman.“… Two horror-stricken women rushed for the exit… The bloody, beastly thing crawled across the table and fell in Claire’s arms. It went straight for her breast and suckled.
Blue Grotto – Chapter 23
The Christian village of Chamonix were aghast including the priest, Father Lamaire. They threatened to stone her and the abomination if she didn’t kill it.
Young, weak, scared, Claire took her child and made a run for it. She went into the Alps to where heathens dwelled, cannibals some said. To her amazement, they were welcomed into their clan. There was prophecy scribbled on the cave walls of La Piscine Vivant, The Living Pool. They foretold of the coming of giant, a Nephilim who would wage war on the religions of the world, especially the Christians, burning their cathedrals and churches, slaying their pastors and prophets.
Sinibaldus and Claire were soon separated. She dwelt among the women, learning their ways, educated on how to be the queen of a clan. Sinibaldus dwelt among the men, learning the ways of stealth and war, practicing magic and adopting their disciplines, coming to believe that he was the chosen One, the Savior.
Both were molested and taken advantage of until the deviancy was expected and part of life, and they soon did likewise themselves.
Sinibaldus discovered within himself a supernatural power of air, heat and cold. If he concentrated hard enough, he could make things move, cover himself in ice and hurl bolts of fire. He was looked upon like a god and soon all the warring tribes of the Alps were paying homage to him, collecting and allying to fulfill the prophecy behind the throne of their giant, magical king. And it was believed in the prophecy, that Sinibaldus would birth more giants through the womb of his mother.
Sinibaldus and Claire, separated for years, were wed before all the clans.
It was believed they were going to sire a legion of monstrous bastards, immortal warriors of supernatural strength and superior intellect… and restore the former order. Nature must once again be divine.
Blue Grotto – Chapter 25
Try as they may, the prophecy went unfulfilled. No children were born to them. Claire’s womb was damaged and unfruitful. The clans razed towns and burned churches as promised, even getting revenge on the inhabitants of Chamonix that had run Claire and Sinibaldus off. But time passed and Claire got old. And then one night she died.
This truth, however, did not prevent Sinibaldus from being wholly convinced of his divinity and ability to impregnate his deceased mother… Prepared to do battle with the creatures in the otherworld once again, Sinibaldus … sought those spirits out, the ones who had filched her soul from the earth… He had to see Claire again. He had to bring her back. If that meant concessions, sacrifices and war, so be it, it mattered not. He would win and resurrect her.
Blue Grotto – Chapter 25
In his madness, Sinibaldus took to sacrificing women in the clan, intending to use their blood to purify Claire’s corpse and appease the evil spirits that had her.
As devoted as his followers were, this was a step too far. Sinibaldus was ambushed by those he trusted and loved amongst him – and they nearly killed him. But he escaped, killing many on his way out. He lived in the hills for a while, alone, taking revenge, committed to guerilla warfare until eating the flesh of his enemies made him sick.
Colorless, hopeless and vomiting continuously, consumed by his hatred for all things human and religious, Christian and Pagan alike, Sinibaldus left The Living Pool region and began to scavenge… hunting and foraging, assaulting and raping… He pitied no one. Portentously, his murderous rampage on the Continent left a bizarre and lasting impression that wove itself into folklore… zealous troubadours were singing about him, parents whispered tales about his evils at night beside campfires to frighten children and entertain travelers… ‘Blanc Fantome’ …. ‘White Ghost” …
Blue Grotto – Chapter 25
Sinibaldus’ travels soon found him scouring a region in Italy near the cave where the Sybil of Cumae lived.
The Sybil, Herophile, was visited by spirits of the dead who warned her of Sinibaldus’ coming.
“He has killed us. We hate him. Do not trust him. Spawn. Spawn. Murderer.”
Herophile’s long face grew even longer as her dirty brown eyes widened. Her attention to the quicksilver intensified. She placed her arthritic hands on either side of the bowl and her thin hips started gyrating as if ready to make love to the pedestal.
“What shall be done with the spawn?” She asked.
“Gift him,” the whispers agreed. “Gift him.”
Blue Grotto – Chapter 26
It wasn’t widely known but Sybils were extremely wealthy despite being wholly unconcerned about wealth. Herophile had been receiving gifts and payment from paupers to kings for generations. She had a storehouse of wealth deep within the earth where humans could not travel. Upon having a vision, she directed her servant, a black-winged imp named Donum, to fetch a Bellerophon Crystal she had stored away.
From the cliff face where she dwelt, she gifted Sinibaldus the Bellerophon Crystal and forced him to flee, raising a tempest of rain, sleet and hail.
Once again Sinibaldus was driven into the wilderness but now he had this beautiful Stone. It took him quite a long time to learn how to use it, how to enter its red light and ignite the kaleidoscope of colors trapped within. And as he nurtured the skills needed to use it, his other skills diminished, the ability to use the air, heat and cold.
As he got older, Sinibaldus found that living on the run was getting more and more difficult, especially with a price on his head. He had no intention of making any kind of alliances with Christian monarchs or governors but he noticed that people of all stripes liked to be entertained, and the more exotic, the better.
Sinibaldus began to gather to him other wanderers, misfits and abominations, deformed people and wicked creations. With the power of the Bellerophon Crystal, they agree to let him control their minds in order to be succored. They don’t want to be homeless and begging either.
Sin Circus is born.
Sin Circus travels Europe, setting up black tents outside city limits for extended periods of time, permitted for a while to entertain the public. Most often it is Church officials who raise enough Cain about the deviltries performed beneath the big top to get them to move on.
The transient trials continue until Sinibaldus ends up near Parthenope and negotiates a deal with Gherardus Fabbro, the Grand Duke of Campania. For Sinibaldus’ secret services as an adviser and interrogator of political enemies, Sin Circus is allowed to erect its tents permanently on the volcanic plains beneath Vesuvius. It provides a haunting backdrop and people flock to see performances. Every form of sin and pleasure can be watched, witnesses and participated in, if a person has enough coin. And despite the pleas of Church officials, Sinibaldus lives comfortably and untouchable.
When Gherardus has his brother, Turstin, arrested, fearing his younger brother might backstab him, Sinibaldus helps devise a special jail to hold him – and his family. Gherardus doesn’t want to murder anymore Fabbro blood. He just wants Turstin removed from the equation.
Sinibaldus proceeds to destroy a section of forest known as Eagles Pass with his magic. He unleashes bears and wolves that he controls. In no time at all, tales of horror and death kept travelers away. Even the eagles that once convocated over the Pass, fled. Adventurers died, trying to enter and make a name for themselves.
A home and barn were erected in the forest to house Turstin, his wife and their son. A protective colonnade of magical torches were erected around the little homestead as well as thousands of white semaphores with the magician’s blue eye sigil painted on them. As long as they remained within these barriers during proscribed times, the possessed animals would not harm them. Sinibaldus also arranged for trains of his misfits to enter the Pass several times a year to deliver things they could not fish and forage for.
Sinibaldus developed a meaningful relationship with Gherardus Fabbro, at least he thought it was meaningful. On the morning they met to betray Pero de Alava, he learned that Gherardus’ word truly wasn’t good enough.
“Behold that awful fig which has withered on the vine… I have no strength or conviction to offer anyone.” Gherardus stared Sinibaldus straight in the eye and did not blink. “You are correct, my friend, I would betray you.”
Betrayal – Chapter 4
Sinibaldus, unbeknownst to Gherardus, has made a secret deal with Gherardus’ eldest son, Rugerius. When Pero is betrayed and his castle at Capua is put to the sword, Rugerius, disobeying orders, steals Pero’s bride, Anthea Manikos, out. He takes her south to the isle of Capri and a grotto of blue water beneath it.
“Sinibaldus is going to get up inside of you, crawl right into that pretty little head of yours and murder your modesty. Without that virtue… you will sin like a common whore.” Rugerius groped her again. “You will act on instinct, an animal full of vice and lust… We will fuck like bears.“
Blue Grotto – Chapter 16
That was the plan. Sinibaldus was going to use the power of the Bellerophon Crystal to do what he had done to thousands before Anthea, murder their memories and hopes. But things went sideways from there. Anthea was extraordinary and Sinibaldus failed to injure her spirit. In fact, she injured him and cast him out of her mind.
“What happened?” Rugerius asked impetuously…
Sinibaldus had to recuperate. Inhaling slowly, methodically, he found his cadence. “Her soul is gorgeous.“
“What?… Who gives a fuck how her soul looks? I can’t see her soul. I don’t want her soul. You know what I want…“
“She is not alone… Devil? Demon? An angel for all I know. Whatever it is, I can’t get to her. Not yet… She’s being protected.”…
Anxious, restless, Rugerius stared and stared at Anthea… his rage doing flips and intensifying incrementally. When if finally peaked, he balled up his fist, pushed aside the giant and punched Anthea square in the mouth… splitting her lip…
“Vous aveugle fou! You may have killed her… This is not a war you can wage with your brutish hands. You can’t beat a possession out of her… If you kill her, what have you gained?“…
Blue Grotto – Chapter 19
Sinibaldus was utterly amazed by Anthea’s resistance and began to believe the young Greek might possess or have contact with some supernatural force that could help him resurrect his Claire. He was already taken by the belief that his mother’s spirit was lying dormant and untapped within Viridian, Rugerius’ cousin and lover. He had spoken to her and tried to have her but she resisted all his advances. This event, however, sealed it. Something magical and otherworldly was in play. The timing was right. Everything was falling into place. He would learn the secrets of resurrection from Anthea and bring Claire back in the body of Viridian.
Rugerius was oblivious to the powers at play. He was just impatient and arrogant and mad the giant magician had failed. Sinibaldus used Rugerius’ ignorance to his advantage. He lied and told Rugerius the reason Anthea could resist him was the fact that Pero de Alava was still alive. Sinibaldus had kept back this secret from everyone. He was supposed to have killed Pero already, using the possessed creatures on Eagles Pass to maul him. But somehow, someway, like Anthea here, Pero managed to do the impossible and elude the bears and wolves and get to the sanctuary prison.
“Go to Eagles Pass, Rugerius. Find Pero and bring him back. Let Anthea watch you kill him, slowly… When she sees that her one true love is dead… her grip on hope will end. It is obvious her wyrd is tied tightly to his… Pero must be her guardian.“
Blue Grotto – Chapter 19
Rugerius, anxious to get out of the blue grotto and do something physical and violent, decided to do just that. He ordered Sinibaldus to call off the possessed creatures so he could lead his mercenaries onto Eagles Pass.
“Do not cross me,” Rugerius said. “You may weave your charms and cast your spells but I’m quite formidable in my own right and as unmerciful as Anthea fears. Don’t make me prove it.”
Blue Grotto – Chapter 19
Sinibaldus did as Rugerius wished and took Anthea out of the grotto and back to Parthenope where she was kept in Rugerius’ apartment.
Sinibaldus wasted no time going after what he wanted. He tried over and over again to enter Anthea’s mind and possess her soul but each time, she resisted and expelled him. Undaunted but perplexed, Sinibaldus took to poisoning her.
“This envenom was meant for you, Anthea, and you alone. Now you have killed them with your kindness – not that they would have enjoyed their lives anyway.“… Tired of focusing on the children, Sinibaldus … swept Anthea up off the floor, noting at once how cold she was, as cold as he, shivering and weeping… intense pain wracking her insides… “No worries. You will survive this, ma Dame. The poison is only meant to weaken you, not destroy you...”
Cold Knight – Chapter 35
As Anthea continues to get sicker, her spirit continues to resist, seemingly becoming more and more powerful And worse for Sinibaldus, nearly every time she expels him, he sees and/or hears the old crone Herophile. He hasn’t seen her in years but still she haunts him.
“It is death,” Herophile breathed again from the midst of time. “You are bound to the Bellerophon Crystal, spiritually yoked to it. Only in death can you be spared.“
Cold Knight – Chapter 35
Allen M Werner is the author of the epic fantasy series The Crystal Crux