Theodore D'Albâtre, Scion

Theodore D’Albâtre
AKA Houngan Wa Tèt Blan
AKA Baron D’Ivoire

I know the Haitian people because I am the Haitian people.

François “Papa Doc” Duvalier

People of Haiti, I am the heir to the political philosophy, the doctrine and the revolution which my late father incarnated as president-for-life and I have decided to continue his work with the same fierce energy and the same intransigence.

Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, 1971

It is the destiny of the people of Haiti to suffer.

Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier

Pain – and suffering – are the very essence of what it is to be alive. I have suffered and I will suffer more. But I know now that I am so much more than this mortal shell. And in that knowledge I must walk forward into the unknown. Never blind, but guided by that – and those – who have gone before. And now I am awake like I have never been before.

It came when the sun was high. It came when I was least prepared. It is the way of the lwa to surprise those who live in comfort. To take them and make them know the futility of their life. And that is where I was. For despite the pain of life, I had fallen into it – welcomed it. I was a man grown accustomed to the stagnation of life. But no more. The Baron himself has woken within me the truth of my being. I am no man, No man to lie stagnating in any life that I have chosen for myself. The sheep who followed me on that day saw nothing – it is their destiny to remain ignorant. But as sheep, they are now my flock. Simple tourists. They come to my home – to New Orleans – to see all that they think is our history. But our history is ever-changing. We do not sit alone in dark foreboding Churches. We move. We move constantly. Ours is a belief born of the old world – born of the dark lands of Africa. Born there, but turned through slavery and the white man’s stolen religion. We move on.

And those men, women and children stood witness to the greatest change that I have known. And they were blind to it, because they are sheep, and it is not the pace of the sheep to know the truth of their shepherd. But it is the place of the shepherd to guide his sheep, and look after them. The shepherd’s role is not to reap the rewards of their ignorance. But the sheep must know that the shepherd is there for them – and they must know that their world is not safe. In their suffering they turn to their shepherd for guidance. And thus it is the duty of the shepherd to guide. And if that guidance must come as a result of suffering, then it is the duty of the shepherd to ensure that that suffering comes to pass. Now I know this. Now I know that even as I slept, walking through the mundane days and nights of my life, my destiny has called out in my dreams – guiding my life that I might move to fulfil my potential when it was awoken from its sleep.

This is who I am. My mother called me Theodore. She was Brigitte D’Albâtre, born and raised in Ayiti – Haiti to English speakers. I was born in 1972 in Jacmel. My mother saw the corruption of Baby Doc’s regime, and feared the tonton macoute. She saw their atrocities and feared for our safety. We moved to the United States in 1977 – to New Orleans. I was just a child, but the terror that I saw before I left Ayiti has stayed with me forever.

But America was not the safe haven that my mother sought. The Vodou that she practiced was not as that which was practiced in Louisiana. Their Voodoo has changed over the decades that the white Roman Catholics have worked to eradicate it. It is Vodou by Walt Disney. But I was a child. And although I saw my mother’s loneliness, the scars that I knew from Ayiti were still strong. I did not see her sadness at how different she was from even those who struggled yet against the blind Christian hate for anything different. I grew up in the ghetto’s of New Orleans – and my life was my own – so I knew her pain, but I did not see the cause – and I did not seek to change it. My life was my own concern.

Nor did I seek to benefit from what little schooling I had. The US has never been a prime example of racial harmony, and the south has faced the greatest turmoil in getting to where we are now. School for me was a place to be abused because of my dark skin. And those schools that only black children went to were the worst – they only prepared a child to live in poverty. Life was better lived outside school, and I turned my back on my education. I grew up into the burgeoning gangs of New Orleans – and so began my education in “Voodoo”.

It was “Voodoo” then because that was all the Creole children of New Orleans knew. It was a weapon to put fear into our enemies – nothing more. In a world of black and white – and belief and superstition – “Voodoo” was as good a weapon as gun or knife. The gang that I grew up into was the “Open Grave Houngan Posse” – young, naïve, and above all, stupid. We existed for the sake of ourselves. The land that we claimed to protect as our own was nothing. No value save that which we placed upon it – and in doing so gave value to it to our enemies. The story is the same wherever you look now. No real reason to fight – just the very fact that there is nothing else to do. In a world where the dispossessed are left to fall through the cracks, it cannot be anything else but for them to make for themselves something of value. I became cold even to my mother. Only my brothers mattered. Only my brothers mattered until I was 17. That was when my mother killed herself. That was the first awakening. That was the time that the calling to follow the lwa came. The only time that I took care of my mothers affairs was after her death. The only time that I had for her was once she was gone from this world. And it was then that I found her knowledge of the lwa. Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it differently if I knew the outcome? No. In coming to know what she knew, in learning the truth of Vodou, I learned that all things come for a reason. We do not always know the reason. And sometimes I am saddened by what I see. But there are those things which happen. And ours is not to stop them. Ours is to make that the world we live in continues – and to balance that which occurs that we hate, with that which we love. It is never easy. Now I face the future knowing that some of what happens should not. It is the measure of our wisdom that we act to prevent that which should not happen, yet allow that which should to come to pass.

The legacy of my mother’s understanding of Vodou has brought me to where I am tonight. It took time. As do all things. In the beginning, there were duties to the gang. Those duties remain tonight, but my place within the gang has changed, as have I. It is perhaps the very reason that I chose a family – a community – away from my mother, and the community that she tried to exist in, that she saw the need to pass on. It was her ultimate sacrifice to my father to start me on the road that would lead to him – even as I walked that road, blind to the real reasons for my travel. But in the time that I have had between then and now, I have found my true family. The Open Graves, and I with them, were without direction. My time has been spent learning a direction from my mother’s understanding of Vodou. And as I learned that direction, I brought my new family onto my new road. They do not all walk my road. But they now have purpose. They flaunt the laws of this land, but they are seldom killers. Even then, death has its place. We are few of us immortal in the physical plane – if indeed any of us truly are. Death must come. There are those that die young. And there are those that die old. There are those that die in peace. And there are those that die in pain. There are those that die for no good reason. And there those that die for good reason. Mortal men were never meant to understand death. I do not make any claims myself – although the full extent of my nature I do not yet know. But I do not stand in the way of death, even as I work now to understand my newly defined place. I am awoken by my father.

My father. The Baron. Baron Samedi. He came to me just a couple of nights ago and woke me from my dream of a life. I knew over 10 years ago. In my dreams, and even in the rituals that I performed. He was my met tèt. It comes now that our worship of our ancestors is more right than I had truly understood. He is my father. All that I knew before has only started me on the road that I must now walk. There are still questions. There are more questions than there were before. But now those questions are different. There are few who do not question their faith. Though most in America would never admit it. But their faith is derived from a land far away that they do not understand – so small is their world. All who have faith seek to understand it – and their place. In that search arises questions. But I have been exposed to a truth that is kept from most others. And I know that each and every man, woman and child who has faith has a different faith. Even within Vodou, no one worshipper’s belief is the same as another’s. But is anyone right? I must open my mind to possibilities. But at the same time, I must know that my father has kept me on the track that he wants for me. And thus all that I belief cannot be wrong.

And all this brings to me the now. I have existed in the dual form for nearly 10 years. The opportunity to be something other than a member of a gang had to be taken. Even though the Open Graves are my only remaining family, and my place amongst them is one of a guide, I know that they bring more disruption to the balance of the world than they should. I cannot stop them. They believe, but not enough. They are not wicked people. They believe that they do what they can to keep their families – both of blood, and the rest of the Open Graves – safe. And to some extent they do. But in the world we live in, they must defend themselves and their families from others who would create pain for them – and those enemies do not believe. To survive we must take the action that we must. But whilst they do not have the chance to do other than they do. I am more than that. Thus I work yet to bring balance to the imbalance that they wreak. Thus I am a treacher. Thus I teach those who come to this city about the nature of the past. Not just my past. But the past of all those who have been in New Orleans. They see me as a fool in a costume, playing a part to entertain. But some leave with knowledge. And some of them are better for that knowledge. That has been my place in this dream life. Now awoken, I must watch – and keep watching. And I must make sure that those that I have been lead to also keep the balance. For I do not think that they are like me. The Baron is not their father. That leads me to more questions. Who are they. And what do they believe? Do they believe anything?

Theodore D’Albâtre is the leader of the Open Grave Houngan Posse – a gang in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The OGHP are a faction of the Black Gangster Disciple Nation. The OGHP are a Vodou worshipping gang, and Theodore, as their leader and spiritual leader keeps away from any “action”. Theodore, as befits his role as a “met tèt” of the Baron, does nothing to disguise his appearance. Theodore’s bleached dreadlocks would be quite obvious, and the last interaction that he had with the police in the context of any gang action was some time before he bleached his hair (approximately 10 years ago). As a day job, Theodore works on a local “Voodoo” tourist route. He does what he can to educate the masses as to the history of New Orleans, and the role that Creole culture played in the growth of the city.

Theodore speaks English, French, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Theodore’s followers are members of the OGHP:

The “generic thugs” are members of the OGHP who have faith in Vodou:
Dajon Tullis
Duval Trufaut
Marcus Pender
Jamal Calliham
Noah Magruder

The “Chevals” are members of the OGHP who work for Theodore in a spiritual fashion rather than engaging in gang activity:
Patrice Toutant
Laurent Villere
Benedicte Lalande
Angelique Dellassixe

The Ghede Warriors are zombu, raised from the dead with some seeds stolen by the Baron from Damballa and given to Theodore:

Phil Simons, former police officer from Mythic, Texas: the first to be raised, Theodore chose the body of the Aztec Scion, Camilo Cienfuegos, to house his first Ghede Warrior, and was more than a bit surprised when it rose containing the spirit of the Texan lawman.

John Sanders and Luke Sanders: the second two to be brought to life, Theodore ordered his men to find him reasonable condition bodies, and proceeded to bring them to life during a Vodou ceremony in Serafine’s basement in New Orleans. Finding the Sanders brothers reincarnated, Theodore became convinced that his father was continuing the joke of reanimating those killed by Daniel Blake.

Paul Sanders: the third Sanders brother was reanimated in Las Vegas when Theodore came across the body of a dead wolfman. The fact that the wolfman’s body had a broken neck has proved to be no end of fun – with Paul always happy to freak people out by allowing his head to loll uncontrollably around.

Serafine Mallorquin: murdered in New Orleans whilst Theodore was in Las Vegas, Serafine returned in the body of a woman who had been killed during the battle over New Orleans.

Theodore’s guide is the Captain Debas – a Ghede spirit serving Theodore at the bequest of the Baron.

Theodore has a new friend in the form of Boukman – a brown-necked raven gifted to him by the Baron. Theodore is not sure if he named the bird, or if it told him that that was its name.

The Second Coming of the Baron Samedi

It has been a long time comin’. But there are no more answers even now. Them what start this journey with me are not all still here. Daniel Blake, child of Hermes, adopted child of Athena, and then child of Hermes again – him doin’ his own thing. Autumn Raine, child of Set – she summoned away to fight the battles that ravage the Egyptian Gods even now. But what relevance they? The Gods of old have called mesel’ and Agent Hito to fight now with Michael Ravencroft and Eric Chambers. A band of heroes never more unlikely – and made no more likely by the events that transpire as our fathers try to bring us together.

Hito, child of Hachiman – him remain a mystery. Him consumed by a duty that is no longer relevant. Him unable to look upon the new battlefield, even as he run across it. Him tied to the past. But him a reasonable man. Him willing to listen to those who know better. And him willing to put his own ideas to those who would hear them.

But Ravencroft, child of Odin – him his father’s son, and no mistake. Him proud. And him blind. Him willing to turn him back on people. Him willing to drive him sword into the backs of people who take him as a friend. Him unwilling to listen to the words of them what no more than him. Him trouble.

And like him, Chambers, child of Tyr – him quick to react and equally quick to judge. A man who turn him back on him friends walk into a jungle alone rather than talk – that a man who will make similar mistakes in the future.

But these are the men that me father wants me to educate. These are the men that me father wants me to fight with. And I am no man to deny me father. Even as him show me ever more the futility of our actions.

We summoned to the British Museum in the heart of London. We summoned through the deepest of winter – a winter that no man of Africa’s blood should ever have seen. We walk through the thickest snow to become, once again, more that we are now. In front of me father, Odin, Set, Tyr and Hachiman, we told of the war to come. And we shown the blindness of the Gods – the blindness that damns all the children of the world. There was a time though, when I thought that for all the fightin’ that the Gods would do between theyselves, we few who they chose would find common ground without the millennia of history that forms their wars. That time is over now. For we men, we children of the Gods, are no more immune to such willingness to sacrifice our strength on the altar or our hubris – and our ignorance. The rift greater now than when we last saw it. And I find mesel’ drawn to one side, despite me desire to bind us together.

Each child of the Gods was taken by they father to be shown the truth as they saw it. To be prepared for the battles to come. I see Ravencroft – pale and drawn – no doubt at him father’s doin’ – walk forth with a new ally – and with new strength despite how him look. I see Hito return from him father’s side, soaked to the skin, with three man-ravens at him back. I see Chambers – covered in blood and bone – perhaps him own blood – perhaps shot by him own father. And I see Autumn – knowing that me father will take me away now for him own form of education.

Me walk with him through the jade doors to another world – a veranda in the old south – two chairs looking out onto the world. Me sit with me father. Him tell me that changes are comin’, but that he not feel the need to mask the truth with visions and prophecy – any more than necessary. The Gods have they ways it appear – and even those who come late to the party cannot ignore the rules of the game. Him offer me a drink – something special – something more than the drink that him give me the first time him come. It is strong. There is a finger floating in it. Fitting for the Lwa of Death that me father is. Me drink it and feel the effects of the alcohol. Somethin’ I not feel for some time, such is me father’s blessing on me – or curse. Him tell me that things are getting’ serious – no time for walkin’ slow to the battle – no time for light-heartedness. I remind him that we not have to be so down, just ‘cos a fight happenin’. Him been in the thick of it – him home burnin’. But him the Baron Samedi, and me his child. Me let him know that me take me job seriously – but that me not let the weight of the world – and its failings – get me down. I think it do him good to know that him legacy live on in me. Him tell me that we need to talk more. That we need a better way of getting’ in touch. Me agree.

He tell me to stand. I feel the drug of the alcohol weighin’ down me bones. He ask me to sit in a rockin’ chair – and I rock back in it. Back and forward, each time back further than the last. Him tell me it is the time for the vision bit. I slide back from him and down. Me vision fade to black. Slowly it come back to me. There a woman now – a machete in one hand. She ask me what is more important to me. I tell her that me people come first in all things. She shows me a line of threads, glowin’ in the dark. She tell me to take one – any one. I do this. She cut one. She ask me to take another. She cut another. She tell me that each choice has consequences. She ask me is it important to make the right choices in life. I tell her that it is important only to choose – not what the choice is. All things go on. Me can change them, but never know how that change will affect the world. She happy with that response. I shown the bodies of all those that have come before me – all the Baron’s children who have not made it this far. It a chillin’ sight. But I would not be me father’s son if me let the fear of death stand in me way. Him return to me then. Prepare me to return to those who stand as me allies in all this. Even as them seek to tear theyselves apart. He tell me that now it is time for me to look the part, and him reach out with him burnt skeletal hand and him tear the hair from my head, replacin’ it with bone – and I feel the skin on me face tighten – for I am the child of the Lwa of Death – and people should damn well know it. I shake me head from side to side – the Baron D’Ivoire is reborn – and me “hair” makes the sound of dead bone on dead bone. From the left a dark shape approach and land on me shoulder. Not for the Baron’s son three man-ravens – just a raven on its own – neck brown – for this is a bird from Africa. Me not need anyone but meself to stand out from the crowd. For I am me father’s son. I walk out to meet the others – me father leads me – and Boukman sits on me left shoulder. Him a dead man – but him can never be killed for him a servant of the Lwa. Him neck brown, like faded, caked blood – to show that even when the French cut off him head, him never truly die.

Me sit down once again, only to listen to the other children start they fight all over again. We more God than man now. But me not know whether their war is. Only time will tell.