I have set a large part of Nemesis of the Gods in Vienna, Austria where many ghosts and restless spirits walk among the verdant parks and lavish palaces. But Austrian ghosts do not confine themselves to their nation’s imperial capital. They can be found in towns, cities, villages and the depths of the countryside all over this beautiful land.
Deep in the heart of the picturesque province of Styria, stands the 14th century fortress of Gleichenberg castle which has been the home of Trauttmansdorff family and their descendants throughout its long and troubled history. Legends abound of miracles and terrible curses from within its walls.
In fact the name Trauttmansdorff might have died out altogether centuries ago when the sole heir—young son of the then Count—lay dying of lung disease. It so happened that a gypsy came to the Count’s court and revealed the location of a hidden spring. Its water had healing properties, the gypsy claimed, and the count was desperate for any chance of saving his son. He uncovered the spring and gave the boy water to drink from it. The boy recovered and grew up strong and healthy. Needless to say, the Count rewarded the gypsy well for his services and, over the years, the spring became famous for its miraculous healing powers.
Things did not go so well for a later Count Trauttmansdorff who was forced, by the Catholic hierarchy, to find twenty local women guilty of witchcraft. He was ordered to have them executed—the usual punishment for such a crime. Before they died however, they all issued a curse against his family that has resonated down through the centuries. This was at the time of the wars with Turkish invaders who murdered all twenty-one of the Count’s sons and nephews, delivering their lifeless, bloody bodies to the Countess. Understandably she became hysterical and never recovered her senses.
The curse didn’t stop there though. Phantoms and poltergeists scared workers and others away from the Count’s estate. Windows at the castle shattered, doors slammed for no reason, and loud crashing sounds - for which no cause could be traced - echoed down the dark hallways at night. A family member dug up the twenty skeletons of the executed supposed witches and reburied them in the forest, covering the site with concrete. He might as well not have bothered. Fires started in so many parts of the castle that the interior was destroyed. Soon nothing remained but burned-out timbers.
Now, the castle lies in ruins. The witches’ curse has been fulfilled. Are they satisfied? Do they rest in peace? The current owner, Countess Annie, lives in a charming house where she can look up at the ruins of her ancestral home, its broken walls reaching up into the sky like skeletal fingers. It was her father who tried to rid the castle of its curse by reburying the skeletons. She is utterly convinced of the malignity that continues to reside there. People have knocked on her door, complaining of unseen children throwing stones down at them from the castle. But there are no children there.
Is the continuing activity still down to the witches – or is there another, more evil force at work? Countess Annie is adamant. Whatever is there has taken over. And it means harm to any who cross its path.
Visitors to the area are advised to keep well away from the ground at night. Defy this and you might well find yourself with some unwelcome company…
Of course, Dr. Emeryk Quintillus knows all about unwelcome company…
An obsession beyond reason. A passion that transcends the grave…
#1 Wrath of the Ancients
1913. Storm clouds gather over Europe – and in a basement in Vienna, an unquiet spirit stirs…
Adeline always dreamed of visiting the Austrian capital, so the chance to work there seems like a dream come true. But, from the moment she sets foot in the elegant mansion that belonged to the late archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus, she senses a presence—one so menacing and evil, she fears for her sanity and her life.
Strange noises from behind the walls, shadowy figures that cannot be there, hieroglyphics that appear on the wall, and an enigmatic portrait of a long dead Egyptian queen. Quintillus had made the discovery of the century—so why did he hide it?
Ancient enemies are at war in this mysterious house, and Adeline’s fate is inextricably woven into theirs.
#2 Waking the Ancients
Quintillus is waiting. Arsinoe will have her revenge…
It should have been the assignment of a lifetime. Newly arrived in Vienna and living in a sumptuous mansion, Paula’s only challenge appears to be learning the language. But Villa Dürnstein is a house of sinister secrets—most of them in the basement. There, the unquiet spirit of Dr. Emeryk Quintillus continues to search for the woman who will take on the essence of the long-dead Cleopatra. His obsession with her has reached fever-pitch.
Now he has found her.
#3 Damned by the Ancients
Dare to defy the gods and you will pay the price…
Vienna, 1908 – Quintillus, brings Gabriele Ziegler to the studio of Gustav Klimt. The artist will paint the troubled girl as Cleopatra, with whom Quintillus is infatuated, but the painting is cursed and the girl is possessed by the spirit of Cleopatra’s long dead sister, the vengeful Arsinoe.
Now Arsinoe and Quintillus begin their unholy alliance
Vienna 2018 – nine-year-old Heidi Mortimer can see things others cannot. Her almost cat-like vision enables her to see the mysterious man in the basement. He asks for her help but her parents will not believe her. Yet in the basement, the long dead Quintillus is trapped, but not for long. He knows the little girl will help him.
Whatever the cost.
Cyrus Wraith Walker and Weird House Press