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Hellblazer: Royal Blood

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Sir Peter Marston knew the identity of a killer on the streets of London, and it pained him to know that he would have to contact John Constantine, if he meant to see the killing end. He and his driver went looking for Constantine, only to have Constantine find them


Synopsis

Sir Peter Marston knew the identity of a killer on the streets of London, and it pained him to know that he would have to contact John Constantine, if he meant to see the killing end. He and his driver went looking for Constantine, only to have Constantine find them first. John had had a good run lately, having begun a relationship with his friend Kit Ryan. So, seeing Marston naturally filled him with nearly as much displeasure as Marston himself felt at having to contact him. John had heard about the murders, and Marston arranged with him to speak on the matter later that day.

In the meantime, John met with Kit, who invited him to live with her, provided that he keep his dealings in black magic out of her house.

Later, John and Marston met, and the nobleman brought John on a tour of the Caligula Club - a secret sanctuary where Britain's rich and powerful could satisfy gruesome and deviant desires. As John expressed disgust at the patrons activities, Marston explained that the more powerful a person is, the more bent his passions must be. Great stress requires even greater release. John's disgust was increased to the point that he could stand no more, and demanded to know what this was all about. Begrudgingly, Marston showed him to a room where a demon summoning had occurred the night before. John would be needed to perform an exorcism, but he would need to know that the man on whom he would have to perform it was a member of the Royal Family.[1]

The demonically possessed Prince of Wales continued his violent killing spree, going so far as to consume the flesh of his victims. Marston pilfered the police records on each incident, sharing them with John. Marston had likewise gathered the three witnesses who had been involved in the ritual - though they claimed to have no involvement in the possession. John informed them that he would need their cooperation at a meeting later that evening. Marston would also have to bring some special equipment, too.

On his way out, John encountered a man who was apparently the prince's younger brother. The man attempted to convince John to let his exorcism go awry, such that the possessed prince would die, and the younger prince would be next in line for the throne. Naturally, John refused.

After enlisting the reluctant help of a politically radical medium named Nigel Archer, John gathered the three witnesses for a séance. To aid in this, John had Marston retrieve the three known victims from the morgue in order to question them. The witnesses would serve to attract the demon to them. The demon was drawn out, and John demanded that the demon should give up its name - an important element in summoning and binding demons - in exchange for its victims' lives. The demon complied, giving the name Calabraxis. In addition, though, it implied to the victims that it had once also possessed the man who was to become Jack the Ripper, years ago.[2]

The prince began to wonder who he was, before he was a killer. His body couldn't take the amount of flesh the demon had made him consume, and the demon grew impatient with his weakness. The prince struggled to remember his identity, but the demon prevented him. However, the demon could not prevent him from accessing its memories. He saw back to the previous night's séance, and when he recognized Marston there, he remembered who he was. In response, the demon wrestled back control of him, and began forcing him toward the Caligula Club to kill the troublesome John Constantine.

Meanwhile, John moved in with Kit, promising not to let his work life mingle with his home life. He had snuck a page from Ben Cox's Grimorum Verum into Kit's apartment, needing to research how to exorcise Calabraxis. With any luck, he would succeed without being killed himself.

Meanwhile, Marston and David Hezlet - one of the witnesses - conspired to have John Constantine killed before he could go to the press about it, once the killings had stopped. However, they needed John to stop the killings first. John arrived at the club soon after, to discuss their plan, but a commotion in the hallway captured Marston's attention. In the meantime, John searched Marston's desk, and discovered that the man had a copy of the Grimorum Verum's pages on Calibraxis, meaning that Marston had been involved in the summoning somehow. A scream drew John out into the hallway, where he discovered that the possessed prince had already arrived and killed many of the patrons. The prince leapt onto his chest, and ripped into John's shoulder before the occultist passed out.[3]

John woke later, his wound having been treated by Hezlet. Hezlet, meanwhile had secretly stepped out to kill the other two witnesses. John realized that this was Hezlet's task, and as he prepared the exorcism ritual, he and Nigel attempted to find a solution to the scenario that wouldn't see them killed too. Given the Grimorum pages in Marston's office, John knew that it was he who summoned the demon, he simply couldn't figure out why.

John stole a pair of handcuffs from one of the rooms at the club, and then returned to Marston's office to question him as to why he intended to put a demon on the throne. Marston had wanted an absolute ruler, who could function without the push and pull of parliament and the people's wants. Disgusted, John agreed to remove the demon, if only to keep it off of the streets.

With the prince pinned to an arcane circle, John ordered the demon to exit the body. Calabraxis leapt out of the prince's throat, and after John had handcuffed Marston to the wall, he had the demon enter him. However, since Marston was chained to the wall, the only human on whom the demon could feed was his host. Hezlet attempted to intervene, but John threw him to the demon as well. After some consideration, John and Nigel left the unconscious prince alone, knowing that killing him would cause more problems than it would solve.[4]

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