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He needed to eat again and there was a burger bar just around the corner. Once he had eaten he would need to check all the arrangements and then and he had two more drops to make. The clothes he had been buried in would have to go and he knew they would be welcome with the down and outs of Philadelphia.
His arrangements were finalised the removal company would pack his personal items held in the garage into a crate and ship them it would be around three to four weeks before they arrived. His flight ticket was confirmed and ready for pick-up at the airport. It was now 7.30pm and after dropping the clothes he drove to the leasing company outlet near the airport and gave the bike back. Then he got a taxi straight to the airport, picked up his suitcase and his first class seat to El Prat airport, Barcelona where his new life was setup and ready to go. It would be good to be back in Europe after spending 125 years in North America.
This was his life and had been since he had been cursed centuries before. He got his boarding pass and walked to the departure gate and the plane. Once in his seat he felt relief that it had all gone as planned and he was taken back all those years to when his nightmare existence had begun.
Gabriel Rochefaure had been born in Poitiers, in the Duchy of Aquitaine in 1127 to Comte Henri Rochefaure, a distant cousin of the then Duke of Aquitaine, and his wife Matilda a niece of the Duke of Austria. Gabriel was the eldest son of the union however his mother was the fourth wife of the Comte who had six sons and three daughters from his first three marriages. Gabriel was therefore not the heir.
The family owned lands in the County of Edessa in the Holy Land the first Crusader state founded by Baldwin of Boulogne in 1098 as part of the First Christian Crusade. In 1146 Edessa fell to the Turk warlord Zengi an event that triggered Pope Eugene III to announce that a Second Christian Crusade would be launched to recover the territory. Unlike the first crusade European Kings would lead this one. Gabriel's father offered his sons as knights for the joint campaign of King Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany to retake Edessa.
Gabriel, his 15-year-old brother Sebastian and three of his half brothers, Simian, Henri and Thierry were volunteered to fight by their father. The Comte had been particularly honoured when Henri was chosen to join a detachment affiliated to an order of the Knights Templar.
Gabriel found himself departing for the war at Metz in June 1147 at the age of 20 as part of the French force. The French and German forces marched separately across Europe crossing Byzantine and Anatolia. Each army fought battles with various Muslim factions until they reached Jerusalem in 1148. Gabriel had fought and survived many times but sadly witnessed the deaths of Simian to wound fever and Thierry and Sebastian, within an hour of each other, on Christmas Eve 1147, at the battle at Ephesus.
In July 1148 Gabriel and Henri found themselves part of an ill-advised attack on Damascus where the Christian army suffered defeat at the hands of Nur ad-Din and Saif ad-Din. Gabriel had fought hard, and well, during the many skirmishes of the battle but had received a severe shoulder wound from one of the hundreds of arrows fired at the Crusaders. This hindered his progress when the army began to retreat to Jerusalem. Gabriel had been riding, and fighting, with Henri and his detachment for much of the time but Gabriel's injury meant Henri had to leave him behind when his order were amongst the first to leave the battlefield. Gabriel was unable to defend himself and he was eventually captured and taken to Syrian Antioch for torture and eventually death.
When he arrived in Antioch Gabriel was immediately taken to a dungeon where his ordeal began.