“Do not think to lecture me with antiquated notions of good and evil. You have all gorged upon the darkness within your hearts and now, cloaked in your own hypocrisy, you come before me parading yourselves as pillars of virtue. Be careful heroes, perhaps one day you will find yourselves standing where I am, facing men such as yourselves who seek your destruction.”
Who was Oliver Cademus and What was his connection to the Book of Cademus?
Details are sketchy about the founder of the Book of Cademus. Born 1072 in England to Mary and Sir John Cademus, Oliver was the last of six children, he was also the only son. Soon after his birth, around 1075, the family moved to France where Oliver’s ailing grandfather had left his estate to his daughter Mary.
Born into wealth and prosperity Oliver’s childhood was happy and carefree, as the son of a knight he soon became immersed in the dream of one-day becoming a knight like his father. After many years Oliver was to receive his wish and was dubbed knight aged 21 in the year of our lord 1096. In that same year Oliver was to face his first and last trial as a knight….The first crusade.
The Crusades inspired not only the most dedicated valour but also bloodthirsty cruelty, and the greediest vandalism of medieval men.
As a result of the meeting Pope Urban II had with leaders among the French nobility at Clermont and where he delivered a rousing call to arms. Oliver and his father, now quite advanced in years but having no intention of missing out on one last chance for glory, decided to join the holy crusade to put down the infidels who threatened their brethren and the holy places of Christendom
It is here where details about Oliver and his father’s involvement with the most bloodthirsty and cruelest of the five crusades which took place over several years become sketchy. It is however thought from records unearthed from letters sent home by Oliver to his mother that both he and his father were at hand when the army entered the holy city of Jerusalem on July 15, 1099. A bloodbath ensued with the Crusaders cutting down all before them. His father was killed during the attack.
Seeing bloody aftermath of the battle, his dreams of chivalry and honour forever tainted, the young Oliver was said to have cast off his armor and taken the robes of one of the dead and ridden away. Nothing was heard from him until his return eight years later to England where his mother and the remainder of his family had now returned.
Oliver was a changed man, bursting with new-found knowledge and a renewed sense of purpose. Soon after his return he was hailed as great prophet and holy man by the local townspeople, as they could not understand how else he could have survived on his own in a world of heathens and savages.
What sort of man was Oliver Cademus?
In his youth Oliver was a fairly quiet child, whose main hobby was reading, a hobby which engulfed him to the point of obsession. It seemed the young lord had a desire for knowledge, he was especially interested in other cultures. He preferred his own company most of the time and had few friends, not that this bothered Oliver as he was most happy spending his time buried in his books or being instructed by his various tutors. Polite for the most part it was thought that Oliver’s obvious intelligence and knowledge gave him the appearance of having a certain aloofness to other boys and girls as his age. In fact it was thought that many of them shunned the strange young lord.
No one really knows why Oliver’s life suddenly took such a drastic turn from his constant study to a desire to become a knight. Many thought it was a strange choice for a boy better suited to writing books to undertaking the difficult mental and physical challenges required by one planning on becoming a knight. The reason behind Oliver’s decision may never be known although the most common theory was that Oliver’s father, who had no sons had pushed or at the very least encouraged his son to follow in his foot steps. It was no secret that Oliver idolised his father so it was probably not difficult for his father to get Oliver to do pretty much anything, regardless of whether or not he actually wanted to.
Oliver Cademus the man seemed to be even more of a paradox than Oliver the boy. As a knight before heading off for the crusade, the quiet boy of his youth was now replaced by confident handsome man with a strong, sense of right and wrong and many thought there were no two better examples of chivalry than Sir Oliver and his father.
Upon his return to England many years after the crusade which led to the death of his father Oliver was a mere shadow of a man. The once tall blond haired, muscular man was now nothing short of a, thin, gaunt and pathetic excuse for a human being. Dressed in blood stained filthy robes this was hardly the triumphant return of a knight Oliver had often talked about on the days before he left England. His eyes reflecting a deep sorrow of a young life robbed of its innocence but alongside this sorrow burned something else, something unknown . It gave Oliver the power to allow people to see beyond the haunted visage of a man who had seen and learnt far too much about the world around him, to a man who yearned to give the world something it truly believed only he could give…eternal freedom.