| The Origins
of Arx Mortis
Covington (Doctor Pravus)
Abram was born of modest means in 1918
to Abraham and Sarah Covington in the
small town of Killing, Alabama. His
parents owned a small lot of hard clay
and rock that broke the back of his
father and put him in an early grave
just trying to scratch out enough food
to feed his family. His mother struggled
to keep the family afloat, but there
was not enough money to keep the house
and soon it was taken by the bank. His
mother and baby sister moved to a small
mission run by a local congregation,
but there was no room for a young boy.
He took to picking up odd jobs where
he could, living in the back of a local
In the summer of 1930, he took a job
at the local mortuary up on Ghost Hill.
Here Abrams life took a turn.
The Doctor that owned the mortuary had
lost his son and wife, and his daughter
was mad with fits of rage overtaking
her - some so violent that she shattered
her teeth and broke bones. The Doctor
was mad with grief and had left all
the duties of running the mortuary to
his partner, Doctor Adolph von Reaper.
Under von Reapers tutelage, young
Abram learned German, Latin, and French.
His aptitude for learning came so easily
and naturally that Von Reaper convinced
his partner to sponsor the boy in school.
So, with no formal education, at the
age of fifteen, Young Abram went off
to Wheeler Preparatory School for young
At school, Abram excelled in his studies,
earning marks at the top of his class.
In 1934, as his final year at Wheeler
was coming to an end, a fire destroyed
the Mortuary and took the lives of everyone
there, including his mentor Von Reaper.
The estate was taken by the state and
all the money dried up. The school disenrolled
him, sending him packing with no money
even to make his way back to Killing,
AL. That same year, his mother passed
away and his sister was found murdered.
Abram found himself all alone and destitute,
unable to get his transcripts from Wheeler.
Due to lack of payment, he was left
with no provable education - so he took
to working in libraries as a janitor,
and at night he would read the books
that lined the walls. Such wonderful
books! They filled his life. Inside
their covers were the answers to thousands
of questions and the beginning of a
He traveled from library to library
making his way to the New York City
Public Library, where he became interested
in ancient cultures and rituals. He
dug through hundreds of manuscripts
and papers, compiling notes and cross-referencing
them. Over and over again he found one
the number NINE.
He found that Nine could be found interlaced
throughout all the ancient cultures;
the Hebrews saw Nine as the judgment
and forever tied to the number Six.
The equation 3 + 3 = 6, whereas 3 x
3 is 9, and 6 inverted is the number
Nine. Nine was known as the judge because
by casting out Nine, the truth of a
mathematical problem could be determined
- thus to ancient civilizations Nine
was known as the judicator. Even language
has, grammatically, nine parts: the
verb, the noun, the adjective, the participle,
the conjunction, the article, the pronoun,
the preposition, and the adverb. The
number Nine in Hindu philosophy was
key for teaching. He found Nine nodes
of bamboo that the Taoists revered,
Nine openings to the male body in Islam,
Nine noble virtues in the Odinic rite,
and the religion of Asatru (and even
Christianity) enumerates Nine fruits
of spirit, just as the Chinese dragon
is made up of Nine animals. Culminating
all of this, Abram found that the Sumerians
prophesied that in the end, what could
be created in Six days could be undone
in Nine. Being that the Nine children
of Perdition were born of the angels
cast from Heaven (half human, half dark
angel), they could not be banished from
Earth. The Nine were commissioned with
the destruction of order
return of chaos.
Intertwined among this singularly odd
occurrence of the number Nine, he found
cryptic references to a secret society
called Arx Mortis, translated from Latin
meaning Death Fortress.
This society had one goal - the summoning
of The Nine, and fulfilling the prophecy.
But before he could decipher who this
organization was and the identity of
The Nine, war broke out. He was drafted
and shipped to the North African front,
where he was a medic.
It was here Abram discovered his true
calling it was as though he was
born to mend flesh. The few doctors,
over burdened with casualties, increasingly
gave young Abram more and more duties.
He accomplished each new task with the
precision and expertise of a trained
surgeon - even performing surgery without
supervision, his own survival rates
were higher than those of the trained
surgeons. In man, jealousy is a terrible
beast and he was soon transferred to
the front lines.
Hands that had once healed now had a
rifle shoved into them and he was ordered
to kill. It was here that fate took
its final cruel twist. While pushing
forward across the desert, his small
platoon came upon a German bunker. Inside
they found all the men dead. Their eyes
were sunken, the veins in the faces
were black as if some caustic bile had
been injected into them. There was a
table in the room with strange symbols,
some of which Abram noticed to be the
number Nine in different languages.
He looked about and, as his fellow soldiers
took cigarettes and booze from the shelves,
he gathered up the notes and papers
That night as the others slept, he sat
up reading the research. It concerned
the bones of what the Germans thought
was a child of Perdition that had been
found in the ruins of an ancient tomb,
here in north Africa. They spoke of
the tomb being sealed with the symbol
of Arx Mortis, but they were certain
the society had died off centuries ago.
As he read, in walked a young girl.
He looked up, startled. Her eyes were
like pools of emerald and her skin was
perfect porcelain. In her hand she held
an ancient book inscribed in Hebrew
with the words, The Book of Nine.
She smiled, and with a wave of her hand
Abram Covington felt his heart clench
and his lungs spasm for air - but none
was there. He fell to his knees, knocking
the table and lantern over and the tent
caught fire. He grabbed for his chest,
his veins felt like liquid fire had
been poured into them. He fell forward,
griping the sand
his body convulsing.
His fellow soldiers were springing from
their beds as the flames leapt higher.
Through the tears of blood and pain
he saw the young girls smile and
heard her whisper mortis.
Abram recognized it as the Latin word
for death, and just as quickly as they
had jumped up, those soldiers fell to
the ground - their lives snatched from
them by just a simple word. She stepped
forward, oblivious to the flames, gently
lifted his head and kissed him on the
forehead. Pain immediately seared through
his head, radiating from the kiss she
had given him, traveling through his
body like a rushing wave and bringing
unimaginable agony to every fiber of
his being. He looked into her liquid
green eyes as she gently held his head
up. How could such innocence hold such
evil? She bent and whispered in his
ear You are now Pravus.
The last thing he remembered were the
sounds of death and two large men gathering
He awoke lying on a cold metal floor.
He tried to stand, but the floor rocked
beneath his feet. He caught himself,
and realized his body was wracked by
he tried to steady himself,
but found that he was unable to steady
the floor. A few steps out the door
and he soon understood. He was on a
ship! He stumbled out onto the deck,
the moon illuminating water as far as
the eye could see. He doubled over in
pain, feeling as if his stomach would
turn on itself if he did not eat soon.
He fumbled his way forward, hunger controlling
him. He turned the corner to find a
man tending foul weather gear in a locker.
Without warning, Abram
fell upon him. He tore at the mans
neck with his teeth, his hands locked
onto the poor souls head. The
man screamed for help, which angered
Pravus, so he slammed the mans
head into the bulkhead repeatedly until
he was silent. The being that had once
been Abram Covington was horrified at
what he had done, but the burning inside
of him that was Pravus knelt and ate
of the mans flesh. When he had
fed, he lifted his head to notice the
girl watching him.
I am Prophet. I have chosen you
to fulfill my mission. It has come to
my attention that you seek the meaning
and of Arx Mortis. The
truth will soon be revealed. As for
now, you must feed. It has been a week
since you have eaten and even your undead
body needs food
but please, there
is plenty of flesh prepared for you
in the Galley. Do no harm to the help.
He did not see her for some time - not
until the ship arrived in Mobile and
they made their way to his hometown.
He was given access to money and fine
clothes and told to purchase the estate
where he had worked as a child. Once
he had acquired the ruins of the old
Graystone Manor, he was told to build
a clinic and open it to the public.
A diploma from Wheeler Prep, a degree
from the University of Bellview Medical
School, and a doctors license
were provided to legitimize his work
at the clinic.
Prophet knew things about the property
- it was as though she had been here
before. She took him to the old crematorium
and told him to knock out the wall behind
it, where he found a corridor to a secret
lab. There he found papers describing
how to bring a body back to life. Prophet
told him to destroy all such research
- it was of no use, just the ramblings
of a depraved lunatic. Boxes arrived
from strange lands, all addressed to
him, and soon workers arrived to build
and guard the clinic, and more importantly,
Covington Clinic opened in 1947. By
day, Doctor Covington helped the good
people of Killen, Alabama (the town
formerly known as Killing), but at night
he became Doctor Pravus, and he was
given the macabre task of creating bodies
for the Nine Sovereigns. It was then
that Pravus took to writing his journal.
Whereas the previous doctor of the Manor
had spent his time with dead bodies,
Prophet only wanted living victims -
the flesh had to be alive, she said.
A Sovereign must have a living host,
but each would have to be carefully
created to accommodate their special
needs and desires.
Pravus learned there were Nine Sovereigns,
of which Prophet was one - a child of
Perdition born of a woman and a fallen
angel. The original Nine had been killed,
their bodies burned to ash and the ashes
scattered across the oceans. She alone
escaped with her life, and the body
of Lord Mautamus. The secret society,
Arx Mortis, hid the body in a tomb where
it was protected until the Germans found
it and excavated it. From Mautamuss
bones and the flesh of living victims,
Doctor Pravus would now begin to create
fitting hosts for the remaining Nine
and Lord Mautamus himself.