Villain, 100

Trying to Overcome Your Father Is No Easier with Necromancy Than with any Other Tactic

Ao3 Link

It turned out necromancy wasn’t even that fucking hard, it just had a stupid trick to it and now that Sam had figured it out, he was a necromancer.

Most necromancy was apparently more fiddly and stupid than sorcery was, but raising up the ghost of a dead asshole was the easiest thing a necromancer could do. The hardest part was finding something that Solomon had owned, but his books and shit were lying around the castle. After that, it was just tapping into the weird power that was adjacent to the Forces that Sam had never noticed. He held a length of chain in his hand to focus the power like Derel had suggested, and he took a breath.

“Are all the doors locked?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” said Henry. “I checked.”

Sam wanted to make him check again, but he didn’t. If Henry said they were locked then they were locked. He pulled on the cuff of his coat, having decided that he wanted him and Henry dressed for this. So he had on the boots he liked best and a coat that swept the floor, and some other clothes that Henry had picked out for him. Maybe that was a mistake, maybe he should be naked. That would piss Solomon off, and he deserved to know that everything Sam did was something he’d hate.

But it would also give him a reason to distract himself and that would distract Sam. No, it wasn’t worth it. And Sam was procrastinating by thinking about it. Annoyed with himself, he put a hand on his throne and concentrated on the necromantic magic he could feel. Doing so immediately put a taste like salt in his mouth, but he ignored it. He took a breath.

He turned his head. “You told the dragons not to bother us, right?”

“Yes,” Henry promised. After a second, he put his hand on Sam’s neck. “You want to have lunch first?”

“And have the taste of it ruined by this stupid magic? Fuck that,” Sam said, now annoyed with Henry. He realized Henry was offering him a way to put this off for longer and then got annoyed with himself for appreciating that. He gripped the arm of the throne and ran the magic into the circle he’d drawn around it.

“Solomon of Clan Netzer,” Sam said, pulling power from the source, through the chain, and pouring it into the book, but also the area around the throne. “I call you to return to this spot where you were slain.”

He was pretty sure a verbal invocation wasn’t necessary, but whatever.

Power flowed around him, swirling in a way that reminded Sam of a really bad wind storm. The taste on his tongue got worse, then turned bitter, and the storm quieted but didn’t disappear. Nothing else happened. “Why the fuck didn’t it…”

Henry put a hand on Sam’s back, just for a second, to quiet him. Oh. Sam straightened.

“And what could you possibly want?”

That was definitely Solomon’s voice, and even after not hearing it for almost a year, Sam felt all his muscles tensing at it, the urge to lower his head striking him. He ignored that urge. “Information,” Sam said.

Ghosts were supposed to be disoriented when they appeared, so Solomon probably thought that Sam had come to ask him for permission to do something. He’d think he was still alive, and since he was on Sam’s throne, he probably also thought he was holding court. Sam was supposed to be clear with him from the beginning so he didn’t get further confused.

“Hm,” Solomon said. Sam felt a small pressure against the circle, but nothing more. “I see. And here I assumed that if I were to die, you’d never want to speak with me again, Samson.”

Sam paused for a second at that. “I should have known you wouldn’t be disoriented,” he muttered.

“Oh, I’m quite disoriented and I fear I don’t recall the details of my demise. But I’m trapped in a circle, my notebook has moved from my study to my throne, and you’re holding a length of chain. Did you imagine this a hard mystery to unravel? Tell me, did you kill me?”

At least he didn’t have a handle on everything. “Henry did,” Sam said, heart beating in his throat.

“I’d say it was a team effort,” Henry said. He sounded tense.

“No doubt. Samson never could accomplish much on his own. I do so regret not killing you, Henry Arkhewer.”

“Good for you. We have questions for you.”

“We, is it?” Solomon snorted, using that tone he used when Sam had done something stupid. “Samson always had terrible taste.”

“You’re not here to talk about my choice in husband,” Sam said, tone curt. He wished his mouth didn’t taste so bitter.

“Husband. You are an absolute fool.”

“And you’re a delusional cunt.” Solomon was trying to bait him, distract him. “Let’s skip the pleasantries. I want to know about your experiments. What were you trying to accomplish?”

Solomon was quiet for a moment, and Sam almost wished he had a body, so he could hear him, get a sense of what he was doing. But he was just quiet. “I’m not of a mind to cooperate with you, Samson.”

“Then change your mind, Solomon.”

“He’s lying,” Henry said quietly.

Solomon was never lying when he said he wasn’t planning to help Sam with something. He chuckled quietly, which he did when he was angry. He was trapped in the circle, and had no power. “You, at least, may be forgiven for thinking I am the kind of man who will simply recite my plans to anyone who asks. My son should know better.”

“You never share anything with anyone,” Sam muttered. “Jocelyn didn’t know about your plan to become a god. None of your allies knew each other. Saul didn’t know you had another ally in the academy. Scott didn’t know you were taking instructions from Derel. I didn’t ask, but I’m betting Derel didn’t know that you knew where Hadrina was. Hadrina didn’t know you were planning to betray Derel. You were, right? His plan to save his species includes me, but it never included you.”

“Should I be impressed that you’ve gleaned some obvious information?” Solomon sneered. “You’ve clearly met all these people. Even you must have discerned that they’re not to be trusted.”

“Of course I did. Which is why you didn’t trust them. You were just using all of them, and you lied to all of them,” Sam said. “And Henry’s right, you’re lying to me now. You were conducting weird experiments on people to alter them somehow—you weren’t planning to give yourself wings. You were trying to change the world. You really think I believe you gave up on that just because you’re dead?”

“Do you really think I believe that you’re asking about the experiments because you wish to continue them? I’m remembering our last moments together, now. I seem to recall you vowing to destroy everything I’d built.”

Sam was still committed to that. He could taste blood in his mouth now. “Fine,” he said, hoping his shaking wasn’t obvious. “I don’t know why I thought I’d get answers from you without using force.”

“A typical response from you.”

Sam decided to ignore that too, taking another breath and tasting so much blood. He started working the second spell Derel had taught him. “What are you doing?” Solomon demanded, sounding tight.

“Using force.” The spell took shape, a ball of air this time rather than a storm, one that started to settle around Solomon. “It’s time you learned that you’re not the most powerful sorcerer in the castle anymore. You never were, really. And now you’re just a ghost and you are going to do what I say.”

“You…you cannot, Samson, cease this spell this instant or so help me…”

Sam smiled. “I’m not a little boy anymore and I’m not afraid of you.” He let the spell finish. “What was the purpose of your human experiments?”

“Their specific purposes were myriad,” Solomon answered immediately, though Sam could hear the strain in his voice. “Their overall purpose was the creation of a new species of human.”

Suitably insane, Sam decided. “Why were you trying to create a new species of human?” Derel had warned him that he had to word his questions very specifically if he did this, because otherwise Solomon might be able to weasel out of answering. It was no different than being careful about how he worded things with Scott.

And Scott had screwed Sam over enough times to teach Sam how to be careful.

“Immortality,” Solomon said, speaking quietly. It was a stupid, petty way to get back and Sam for forcing this on him. A childish way. “I sought immortality.”

“Of course you fucking did,” Sam growled. Immortality was such a stupid concept. What was the point of being alive if he couldn’t die? He may as well be a rock. “How many experiment sites are there?”


“Where are they?”

“The Shen’keit Fissures in the Fury Plateau,” said Solomon, and Henry went tense. “A cavern in Brok Pass. Under a warehouse in Port Noch. Under Estane Naval Base in Pelican Bay. Under a tower in Teown’s Sound. In the old temple under Glassheart Castern. In an abandoned manor house east of Archer’s Rest. In a ruined building in the Sevoshi Desert.”

The one in Pelican Bay was the one Admiral Aerchon had been running that Prince Gavin had found and shut down. The one in Port Noch was the one Boden’s idiots had been in charge of. “Was a demon placed to guard each of them?” he asked. He knew at least four of the facilities had had demons attached to them. The laughter demon his family called Harvey had been in the Pelican Bay facility, Debra the fracture demon had been in Port Noch, and the anger demon Timmy and the burn demon Wynona had both been guarding something, but hadn’t been able—or willing—to tell Sam where those two facilities were. But that left four experiments that Sam hadn’t met demons from.


“Which demons?” Sam asked. “By the names we use for them. In the same order as you listed the facilities before.”

Solomon hesitated again, trying not to answer, but he answered. “Jethrow, Wynona, Debra, Harvey, Danny, Marcel, Timmy, Blake,” he said.

Sam could feel Henry wanting to remind him of what he already knew. “Jethrow, Danny, Marcel and Blake aren’t the names of Clan Netzer demons. Where did they come from?”

“I made personal contracts with them,” Solomon said, voice getting less dull. “For the specific purpose of overseeing those projects.”

Great, now Sam was going to have to go to four places and banish a bunch of fucking demons. “Are there humans taking care of the experiments too?”


That meant they might all still be alive. Sam would probably kill them anyway, but it was good to know. He’d go after the two that didn’t have demons in them first, and…no, Henry was going to want to free the people in the Ech’kent facility first. Sam probably wouldn’t kill those ones. Whatever. “You’re going to tell me the exact nature of all these experiments and of the demons guarding them,” he said. His back was starting to hurt. So were his teeth. “But first, why were you trying to gather the leystones?” If he’d thought these experiments would make him immortal, then he definitely hadn’t been trying to become a god. Solomon must have known that was impossible.

“The reconstruction of the Web would have made me immeasurably powerful,” Solomon said, once again straining against the spell. What was the fucking point of that? “It used to kill humans, but if I were immortal, I’d be the only magic user in the world with full control over magic.”

“And you were planning to use this power to betray Derel and stop him destroying the world?” Sam asked.

“No.” That came easier. “I was going to have Scott kill Derel when his help was no longer valuable.”

Well. As far as plans to get rid of Derel went, that one was fucking useless to Sam. “Where’s the seer Derel was looking for? Meryan?”

“She fled to her hold.”

“Why didn’t you tell Derel that?”

“Because I didn’t want him to find her.”

“Why?” Sam knew the answer to that one.

“Because she might have told him my plan.”

That was the extent to which Sam cared about that, but now he could tell Derel he’d asked and that would make Derel leave him alone for a while, hopefully. “Who was going to reconstruct the Web for you?”

Solomon’s silence as he tried not to answer that was answer enough, but Sam waited him out. “You.”

Somehow the answer still took Sam’s words away, but Henry was there. “You really believed Sam would do that for you?”

“Of course he would. He was afraid of me.”

“I was never afraid of you,” Sam snapped, a chill under his coat. “And you’re lucky I never found out about my other powers when you were alive or you’d have died faster.”

That wasn’t a question. Solomon didn’t answer.

Sam wanted to rest against Henry’s shoulder, but not in front of Solomon. “Where’s Sylvia?”

“I don’t know.”

“Where’s Sarah?”

“Travelling with a relic hunter to help track down the stones.”

Sam hadn’t heard from her, so it was safe to assume that was going fucking badly. Or that she’d betrayed Solomon like all the rest of them. “How does it feel to have all your children hate you?”

“It doesn’t. I knew it would happen.”

Something about the way he said that twigged Sam as being wrong. He was quiet for a second while he thought through it, feeling as he always did around Solomon that his thoughts weren’t coming fast enough.

“That’s a fucking weird thing to say,” Henry said, voice quiet. But he was saying what Sam was thinking. “What do you mean, you knew?”

There was that strain again. “A seer told me all my children would turn their backs on me.”

“And so you acted like as much an asshole as you could to make it come true?”

“No. But I was resigned to the consequences of my actions.”

“Why would a seer have told you that?” Henry asked. Right, that was more important.

“Answer him,” Sam ordered, when Solomon didn’t.

“I don’t know why.”

“What else did your seer tell you?” Sam wanted to know. Seers were bullshit, but lots of things were bullshit.

“Many things. He told me about the end of the world. He told me about the human race’s only hope for survival. He told me about my family.” Solomon paused. “He told me that my son would be instrumental in finishing my work.”

“Well, you’d better fucking hope Saul comes back soon,” Sam said, cold. He wasn’t anyone’s fucking instrument. “Because that’s not going to happen otherwise.” That also wasn’t a question. The chain was getting hot in his hand. “Tell me the specifics of all these experiments. What they were for, who was supervising them, everything.”

Everything took over an hour, after which Sam was exhausted, but he questioned Solomon about his artefact hoards, his spellbooks, and his allies. He just wanted to go to bed and the chain was burning his hand now. “Henry, I don’t think there’s anything else, right?”

“No,” said Henry. He also sounded tired. “I think we’re good.”

Sam breathed out, the bitter taste in his mouth overwhelming, and released the spell. The chain cooled down, but not noticeably.

“Tired, son?” Solomon sneered.

Oh, fuck him. “You’d think after all that you’d be a little warier of pissing me off,” Sam muttered, preparing to banish him.

“I’ll give you some free advice,” Solomon said. “Threats only work on people who don’t know what you can do. If you want to intimidate people who understand your powers, do something, don’t threaten to do something.”

Rich, coming from someone who’d just had something done to him for over an hour. “You spent my entire life making me feel like I was missing something,” Sam said. “But I realized after you died that I wasn’t. You were. You needed to belittle me to make yourself feel strong. You made whatever was missing in you my fault, and I’m done letting you make me feel weak. I’m not weak and I never have been.”

“No,” Solomon agreed, and it was so surprising that Solomon agreed with him that Sam almost didn’t hear the second part. “But you are stupid. You compelled me to tell you the truth and assumed that meant you’d compelled me to tell you everything.”

Sam had no doubt he hadn’t been told everything, but he’d also been told what he wanted. “You wanted immortality and didn’t get it. Now you’re hoping I’ll give it to you by summoning you here over and over to ask you more questions. I won’t be.”

“No. You’re not who I’d have chosen for this, but you’re all I have. The world will begin to end soon, Samson. You must remove Gavin ven Sancte from Three Hills so he can awaken as the Leader and begin rallying an army.”

“And now he expects us to believe Catechism scripture is right,” Henry sneered.

“It isn’t. But you are all going to die. I’d hoped to lead you out of it, but that won’t be happening, so it lies with you, dubious though that is.”

“Sure, I’ll get right on that,” Sam said, exhaling heavily. “I completely believe that you allied with all these people who want to destroy the world because you wanted to save it.”

“The world can’t be saved. But the human race can. The Leader’s army will be necessary when our real enemy begins its attack.”

“What fucking enemy?” Sam demanded.

There was no answer. “Solomon. Who is the enemy?”

“I don’t know,” Solomon said, and that one sounded like it hurt.

“You…you don’t fucking know?” Sam demanded.

“I don’t.”

“You did all of this and you don’t even actually know why?” Henry asked. “What the fuck?”

“Everything else I was told was true. There will be an enemy. It will be up to you to figure out who it is. And that starts with getting Gavin ven Sancte out of Three Hills.”

“Fuck this,” Sam said, readying the banishment. “Fuck you, and your plans, and your schemes, and your insistence on running my life from beyond the fucking grave. I killed you, I banished Scott and your other demons, I’m going to shut down your experiments and I’m never going to fucking think about you again. You’re over, Solomon. Clan Netzer is over. I destroyed it myself.”

“Typical,” Solomon said quietly. “I’ll not waste time arguing with you, Samson. But if you really think Scott is gone, try to think a little harder. Members of our clan have thought that several times in the past.”

Scott was fucking gone and Sam was getting angry. “Goodbye, Solomon.”

“I shall wait for you in hell, son.”

Sam growled something inarticulate and banished Solomon with more force than was necessary, dropping the chain on the ground as a crack filled the room. “That fucking asshole,” Sam growled, after he was gone. “He just always had to have the last fucking word. Fuck.” His heart was beating so fast, when had that happened?

Henry put his arm around Sam. “He was a piece of shit,” he agreed. “Can’t say I missed him the first time, and I definitely don’t this time.”

“Me either,” Sam muttered. “We’ll go shut down that facility in the fissures tomorrow.”

“Thank you.” Henry kissed Sam’s cheek and pulled him away from the throne. “I’ll have the throne repaired while we’re gone.”


“It cracked in half when Solomon vanished.”

“Whatever, it’s uncomfortable anyway,” Sam said, embarrassed because he’d probably done that. But it could be symbolic, or something. “Let’s go have a bath and then get to work destroying everything he ever wanted to accomplish.”

“I can’t wait,” Henry said, and Sam already felt better as they walked out of the throne room together, away from Solomon’s ghost and any influence it might try to have over them.

Previous (Story)

Previous (Series)


2 thoughts on “Villain, 100

  1. Solomon had surprisingly good advice. Particularly about Scott.

    Some of the “why” of the Sorcerer King begins to make sense. Saving the human race from the impending end of the world justifies many sins, and the foreknowledge that all your children will turn on you would do a number on your relationships with them. But it’s still a rather stark change from “kind and idealistic father” to “abusive caricature of a power-hungry evil overlord.” What else happened to Solomon to make him change so dramatically?

    So Solomon, at least, thinks Gavin is the Leader. And that the Leader, far from being a threat to humanity, will be vital in its defense. The question is, is he right?

    Perhaps this chapter should get the Prophecy tag? I mean, we’re only hearing about it secondhand, but still.

    Who was the seer who foretold all this to Solomon. It definitely wasn’t Meryan, and probably wasn’t Jesse or Giles. Someone new? Someone we already know who just hasn’t been revealed as a seer yet? Someone who has been revealed as a seer who I’m forgetting?


    1. Yeah, Solomon was a lot of things, but he wasn’t stupid (at least not about everything).

      There were definitely a few other things that happened to Solomon to effect the drastic change in his behaviour after he got all these prophetic messages for sure. Some other stuff happened that we don’t know about yet and (spoiler alert) Solomon didn’t tell Sam everything he could have in this chapter. 😀 So we’ll learn more later on!

      The question of whether Solomon’s belief in Gavin as the Leader is correct is an important one, I think. Gavin is one of the stronger contenders for the title imo, but there are intentionally several quite strong contenders so it’s not a given at all. We’ll have to keep an eye on the clues and see how the situation develops!

      You’re right though, I should throw the prophecy tag on this chapter, I think even though it’s second hand it’ll be a useful one to come back to someday.

      As for who Solomon’s seer was, that one I will not answer yet, except to agree that it definitely wasn’t Meryan. I will also confirm it’s not something you forgot. 😀 Other than that, we’ll find out someday!

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked the chapter!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s