Zombies in History
Sergei was born in the heart of the Novgorod Republic on a cold winter night 26 years ago. It was clear from the start that Sergei was a sickly child and would probably not make it through his first year of life. Things looked even bleaker for the child when his father was accused of treason and the family was forced to flee the city. They headed west hoping to get out from the influence of Novgorod and Kiev before they were discovered. However, tragedy struck shortly after their escape. Not being prepared for the harsh climate Sergei’s mother fell ill. They pressed on and were eventually able to find one of the many tribes that call that harsh land home. Despite his best efforts, the shaman that attended to Sergei’s mother was unable to save her. And whether from a broken heart or the same illness that had just taken his wife, but Sergei’s father perished not too long after. Left with an orphan child in their care, the tribe agreed to take Sergei in as one of their own.
Miraculously, Sergei somehow managed to survive in that climate. However, for his first few years of life he remained quite sickly and faced death multiple times. However, the tribe did not see this as a curse, but instead a blessing. According to their beliefs this marked Sergei as a potential shaman and he began training to take on the mantle whenever he was well-enough. Right off it was apparent that Sergei was some sort of a prodigy and he achieved his first ecstatic experience shortly before his tenth birthday. After this experience something seemed to kindle within Sergei and the illnesses that had plagued him for his entire life just seemed to disappear. Not only that, but began to develop a physical strength that seemed impossible for such a weak frame. Despite merely being a child, Sergei went about his shamanic duties with the skill of some of the most experienced shaman. Although he enjoyed the work he was doing and was grateful to the tribe for taking him in, something just seemed to be missing. He believed that he discovered what when he was 15. During one of his ecstatic states Sergei was told that he had to travel to Egypt and learn of the Hermetic Arts from the land that gave birth to them. And on his 16th birthday he left the tribe that had sheltered him for his entire life and began the long journey that lay before him.
It took years before Sergei reached Egypt, but all along the way he attempted to learn what he could of this ancient tradition. He learned quickly that in many places Hermeticism was considered to be heresy, so it was difficult to find people willing to teach him what they knew. When he finally reached the sand blasted land of Egypt, Sergei made straight for Alexandria, a city that had once held the collective knowledge of the ancient world. He figured that if anywhere had the knowledge he was seeking it would be the city where Alexander the Great had brought the great Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trimegistus. Unlike everywhere else on his journey he found people willing to talk of the Divine Art. It was not long before Sergei befriended the son of a wealthy merchant, who happened to be a practicing alchemist. With the help of his new friend’s vast assets Sergei was able to procure a house in the city and thanks to his generous benefactor he was able to wile away his days poring over ancient texts. It wasn’t long before he had the know-how to establish his own laboratory and with his knowledge in shamanism he became well-known as a healer. It wasn’t long however before he became complacent with his life again. There didn’t seem to be any greater truth in trying to create a stone that could prolong life and make gold. He began contemplating why he was told to come to Egypt and learn these things and came to the realization that alchemy was not simply a physical process but a mental and spiritual one as well. He went back and began reading all his texts over again with this mindset. And thus began the Calcination of Sergei.
He continued his reading of Hermetic texts, but his focus slowly moved to the myths of Ancient Greece and Rome. Knowing what he knew Sergei began to see alchemical implications in such places as the poems of Homer and the myths of Perseus and Theseus. Sergei began to feel that he was on the right track and that the great minds that came before him seemed to reach the same conclusion he had. He pressed on in his studies more fervent than before, feeling for the first time that that thing that had been missing his entire life was just out of reach. Sergei’s joy was short lived however. His friend and benefactor died in an accident in his laboratory. Sergei was forced to leave his house since no one was paying for it anymore and with his only friend dead, he felt that this was a sign telling him that his time in Egypt was over. Besides, he had begun hearing rumors that a man in Paris by the name of Nicolas Flamel had successfully created the famed Philosopher’s Stone. So, Sergei packed up the few possessions that actually belonged to him and set off towards France in a hopes that learning the process to create the physical Stone would help guide him in his path to create the spiritual Stone.