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From the moment mankind took its first awkward step, it's been a long road to disaster. We hate each other. We fear each other. We're going to kill each other. One of these days, someone's going to go too far and every single one of us will die.
— Solomon Wreath.

Solomon Wreath is a high ranking member of the Necromancy Order and Valkyrie Cain's teacher in the art of Necromancy. Unlike most Necromancers who spend their lives sheltered away inside a temple, Solomon acts as the representative for the Irish branch of the order as well as working as a detective. He has a bitter rivalry with Skulduggery Pleasant, which stems from an incident during the war when he helped Nefarin Serpine, the man who killed Skulduggery and his family, escape from the Dead Men.

Solomon would quickly become an ally, teacher and friend to Valkyrie after the Battle of Aranmore Farm and trained her in Necromancy as well as aiding her in saving Skulduggery after he was dragged into an alternate dimension. Despite their friendship he was still loyal to the Necromancy Order and committed to bringing about the Passage, leading to him attacking her when she tried to intervene.

Battle vs. Will Anthonio Zeppeli (by Wassboss)[]

Mexico, January 1868

Wiping the sweat from his eyes, William Antonio Zeppeli continue his trek through the mountain range. His research into the origin of the Stone Mask had led him here, the same area his father excavated the mask in the first place. He reaches into his backpack and pulls out a map. He checks the directions scrawled down the side by the local he had spoken to, who had told him of a place where it was said the dead rose at night to feast on the living. According to the map he was holding the dead were supposed to appear more frequently around the highest peak and as he looks around, he spots it, towering over the other mountains in the area. Focused on the location he doesn’t notice a figure in a black suit watching him…

Climbing the mountain takes Zeppeli most of the day and when he finally reaches the peak the sun is starting to set. He immediately spots a cave entrance, man made by the looks of it, which appears to lead down into the mountain itself. As he enters, he finds that there are already lit torches adorned across the walls to light the way down and he cautiously follows the spiralling path until he enters a large hollowed out area. Carved into the walls are a number of symbols and drawings but Zeppeli barely notices as his attention is drawn to the makeshift stone altar, with a grey mask sporting a pair of fangs laid upon it. It appears to be the Stone Mask he has been searching for but there is only one way to be certain. Taking a penknife from his bag he pricks his finger with the blade and splashes it with a drop of blood, causing spikes to burst out from the back.

Satisfied he reaches for the sledgehammer he keeps slung across his back and lines up his strike, hefting it over his shoulder ready to destroy the mask. “That’s an interesting way to treat a priceless artefact” calls a voice from behind him. Zeppeli whips his head around to see man stood at the entrance to the room, dressed in a black suit with long black hair and a cane held loosely in his right hand.

“Who are you” Zeppeli demands.

“I’m a traveller just like yourself. I have an interest in rare artefacts. So, I’d be grateful if you didn’t destroy that mask. I’d even be willing to pay you handsomely for it since you were the one to find it.”

“This mask is to dangerous to be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.”

“Ah. So, you’ve heard the rumours as well. The rumours that the mask can unlock the chains between life and death.” Zeppeli feels a cold chill slither down his spine at the words.

“Are you a vampire?” he asks bluntly.

The man smiles. “Thankfully not. You’ve encountered them before?”

“Yes. And it is why the mask must be destroyed.” Zeppeli starts to bring the hammer down but it does not budge as if it is being held in place. Glancing up it appears the shadows from the torches have wrapped themselves around the hammer.

“I’m afraid I cannot allow you to do that,” the man says and flicks his cane, causing the shadows to pull the sledgehammer out of his hand. Zeppeli snatches the mask from the altar and turns to face the man just as a wave of shadows rolls towards him. Leaping gracefully over the attack Zeppeli reaches into his bag and pulls out a bottle of wine, taking a big swig as he lands. “Not the best time for drinking surely?” the man says smirking but the smirk is quickly wiped off his face as a razor sharp cluster of wine droplets slice into him. Zeppeli follows up with a charging Hamon punch but the man rolls out of the way, coming to his feet and sending burst of shadows at Zeppeli.

However rather than continuing the fight Zeppeli instead runs towards the cave entrance, placing the mask in his bag. “There’s no point staying to fight,” he thinks to himself “If I can just get out of here, I can lose him and destroy the mask when it’s safe.” Reaching the entrance to the cave he dashes out into the mountain peak, skidding to a halt as he sees a vortex of darkness blocking his pathway down. The man from the cave steps out of the vortex.

“You’re not going to make this easy for me, are you?”

“I, William Antonio Zeppeli, cannot allow the mask to cause more suffering in the world. So, I suggest you get out of my way or you’ll regret it.” The man raises his eyebrow at this.

“I’m not sure I’ll be the one full of regret. Since you gave me your name, I’ll give you the curtesy of knowing mine before I take the mask from you. I am Solomon Wreath, cleric of the Necromancy Temple in Ireland.” The shadows gather around him, straining like dogs on a leash ready to attack. Zeppeli settles into a fighting stance and with a wave of his cane, Wreath sends the shadows bursting forward. Channelling his Hamon Zeppeli strikes at the first shadow with a glowing fist and it dissipates, the others following suit. Taking another swig of wine, he sends more Hamon cutters at Wreath, who conjures up shadows to block the attack.

Sensing he won’t be able to achieve much at a distance Zeppeli looks around for something to aid him and sees a clump of grass. Snatching up several handfuls he sticks it together with his Hamon to create a barrier against his opponents attacks. Charging towards him, the shadows deflect off the barrier although some of the stronger ones manage to chip off parts of it. Once he gets within range Zeppeli flings his hands out and the grass splays out, covering him as he launches himself into the air. With a shout of “TORNADO OVERDRIVU!” he starts spinning rapidly and kicking downwards. Wreath creates his own barrier out of shadows and Zeppeli twists furiously against it. He grunts as the barrier begins to break under the strain and throws himself to the side as it finally gives way and the Italian slams into the ground.

As he gets to his feet Zeppeli presses forward and throws a punch so he leans his head back to avoid it. However, a cry of “ZOOM PUNCH” soon follows and Zeppeli’ s arm extends further, catching him in the face. Clutching at his bleeding nose, Wreath stumbles back as the shadows lash around him angrily. Zeppeli easily avoids the flailing attacks and moves in to prevent Wreath from controlling the distance. Another two punches take the wind out of the Necromancer and a kick takes him off his feet. Hitting the ground hard he glares up at Zeppeli and summons another vortex of shadows, disappearing into it as his opponent snatches at thin air.

Zeppeli looks around alertly but he can’t see the exit portal. He senses something above him and shifts to the side just as a spiked ball of darkness crashes down, followed quickly by Wreath himself. Looking around for some more grass to use as a shield, Zeppeli instead spots a withered stick about a metre long, probably left by climber who perished on the mountain. He snatches it up and swipes at Wreath who swerves out of the way. The two begin trading blows, Hamon and Necromancy reacting violently with each other and creating sparks, as if the two were clashing blades. Zeppeli steps back to avoid an attack and his backfoot drops suddenly, making him stumble. He glances over to see the sheer drop of the mountain face, having been pressed into the position by Wreath.

“Just give it up already,” Wreath says, “This will not end well for you.” Zeppeli isn’t beaten yet though and with a cry of “HAMON OVERDRIVU” he channels as much Hamon as he can into the stick, steps forward and swings it with as much strength as he can muster. Wreath channels his own magic into his cane and intercepts the attack. The combination of two powerful charges of magic causes a shockwave which knocks the two of them back. While Wreath is thrown to the ground relatively unharmed, Zeppeli is left teetering on the edge of the mountain. Wreath recovers first and sends forth a shower of needles which bury themselves into Zeppeli’s chest. The Italian coughs up blood and clutches at his chest, feeling the shadows writhing inside him as he slumps to his knees.

“This could’ve been avoided had you just handed over the mask,” Wreath says. With another flick of his cane a shard of shadow gashes Zeppeli across the throat, severing his jugular. Once he is sure he is dead he approaches, reaching into the dead man’s backpack, taking out the Mask and inspecting it with interest. He recalls how Zeppeli had spilled blood on it and caused it to sprout spikes. “Maybe it injects something into the wearer,” he ponders. He shrugs his shoulders; it will be up to the Necromancer scientists to figure out how it works and if it can help initiate the Passage. Slipping it into his jacket pocket he heads off to tell his superiors about his success, leaving Zeppeli’s corpse for the bird to feed on.

Winner: Solomon Wreath

Expert's Opinion[]

Wreath won this battle because he was able to control the range of the battle, owing to his wide variety of projectiles his Necromancy could produce. Zeppeli was mostly limited to melee attacks and this hurt him in this battle as he couldn’t get close enough to use his Hamon based moveset. He also suffered from having little experience against non-undead opponents which his magic was designed to directly counter whereas Wreath with his close to four hundred year lifespan had fought a wide variety of magic wielding opponents.

To see the original battle, weapons and votes, click here.