- "That thing is after me. It has been hunting me for days. But I keep out of its trail, so I will persevere."
- ―Herbert, in his diary
Professor Herbert was the leader of the ill-fated expedition in Algeria. Daniel was his research assistant.
Herbert organized the expedition to the tomb of Tin Hinan, in the desert of Algeria. He was Dr. Florebelle's (Justine's father) friend, and it was thanks to him that he could receive the permits for the expedition from the French consulate. Another friend of Herbert, Faraj, gave him the mysterious map to the tomb. The map was apparently owned by Johann Weyer.
Not much of Herbert's past is known. From letters it reveals he was a long-time friend of Monsieur Florbelle and was familiar with his daughter Justine. In January 1839 he requested passage into Algeria from the French aristocrat. He was certain someone of French nobility could speed up the process to be granted the permits into French occupied territory he required.
Monsieur Florbelle contacted the consulate to send the permits to Herbert. Florbelle never got the chance to let his friend know this in writing, as his mentally ill daughter murdered him before he could even finish the letter. Likewise Herbert also didn't wait for the reply nor did he investigate into Florbelle's prolonged absence.
He took Daniel, his colleague from the university and many Arab workers along with him to the expedition. Ever curious, Daniel enquired what the Professor hoped to find there. As Herbert gave an account on the exact whereabouts of the tomb and legends of "Tin Hinan/The Mother of Us All" Daniel started to suspect there was an ulterior motive to this entire African expedition and the Professor knew far more than he was letting on, as if he was intentionally hiding information from him.
Daniel's relationship with Herbert is unclear but it seems he subjected him to humiliation on at least one occasion during their expedition to Algeria. The Professor forced Daniel to use a ridiculous pink parasol to protect him from the desert's harsh sun. It became clear from the cold factual statements in Herbert's recovered journal that he did not care for Daniel's welfare should his presence ever endanger or hinder their journey's success.
While he expressed some concern for the young man who nearly suffocated when sealed in the ancient ante-chamber, from his passionless annotations all that mattered to Herbert was recovering the orb which he desperately sought from its tomb. After freeing Daniel from the burial chamber where he was trapped, Herbert decided it's better to send him to England to recover. Daniel was sent back to Britain against his will with the shattered orb in tow. When Daniel later learns of the Professor's disappearance however he worries for his safety nevertheless.
The expedition goes on. Herbert continued pushing his unwilling men further forward to the brink of insanity. According to his diary, he found another Orb. His knowledge and intentions to misuse the second relic roused the Shadow's anger. Recovering the orb drew the Shadow's wrath onto him and his men, some of which are brutally mangled by it. Herbert believed that the murders were committed by his terrorized men to force the expedition to end so he takes extreme measures to keep control of the situation.
The men blamed the orb for all of this. Knowing they might try to dispose of the orb the Professor shot one of the men to restore order, and ensure they wouldn't dare seize it from him, calling them all "animals". Herbert sent one of the workers, Abdullah, out to contact the French authorities. Just two days later (the 22nd of May 1839) the expedition is completely wiped out by the Shadow. In his last diary entry he writes:
That thing is after me. It has been hunting me for days. But I keep out of its trail, so I will persevere. I can see a settlement at the edge of the desert. I'm getting closer. I can see it. But it is not me, it is Abdullah. Through his eyes I see, his mind I hear. Confined to myself, I see only death dressed in the Orb's darkest shadow.
Herbert spent his final hours aimlessly running through the desert trying to futilely escape the nightmarish Shadow. It was highly likely he was eventually caught and consumed, while it reclaimed its ancient stone relic. Meanwhile Abdullah, the man who was sent to Algiers, arrived maimed by the Shadow and delirious, but alive. After the arrival of Abdullah, the French dispatched a search party to look for the expedition. They found the camp abandoned with no sign of Herbert or his men. Their bodies were never recovered.
- Herbert: “Don’t forget your bag, Daniel.”
Daniel: “I won’t, Herbert.”
Herbert: “There is no shame in using a parasol in the desert. As it happens, it’s imperative to your survival.”
Daniel: “But it looks ridiculous.”
Herbert: “The shame will hurt much less than dying, I assure you.”
- Daniel and Herbert, during their Algerian exedition.
- Daniel: “Herbert, how did we find this place?”
Herbert: “An old friend back in Algiers gave me a map.”
Daniel: “Why isn’t he with us? Didn’t he want to come?”
Herbert: “He wanted to Daniel. But things don’t always turn out the way we plan.”
- Herbert and Daniel discussing Faraj.
- Two of the contacts in Herbert's stolen address book were Monsieur Florbelle (Justine's father) and the other, Alexander of Brennenburg. Everyone mentioned in this book was among his most trusted friends and confidantes. It is very possible that the Professor was well acquainted with the Prussian baron as well, and was even under his employ. He may have been sent to Algeria to retrieve an orb for him after the baron had accidentally broken Agrippa's orb in his hastiness to return "home".
- Herbert refusing to disclose every detail about the tomb or the relics sought within seemed to indicate he was using Daniel as a tool, a means to an end.
- When Daniel sent out letters asking for information, Alexander's response to all of his questions was simply "I know". Herbert therefore may have already known about the mysterious guardian of the orb from Alexander's forewarning and the consequences therein of intentionally taking its orb to wield its power. Therefore he may have deliberately kept Daniel oblivious to their powers so the Shadow wouldn't hunt him also. It's likely he thought it best to send Daniel back to England with his relic, that way ensuring at least one of the two orbs taken from the site would reach Alexander somehow.
|The Dark Descent characters|
|Main campaign||Main characters||Daniel • Agrippa • Alexander|
|Supporting characters||Herbert • Hazel • Johann Weyer • Wilhelm|
|Background characters||Abdullah • Sir William Smith • Professor Taylor • Doctor Tate • Henry Bedloe • Gabriel|
|Justine campaign||Main characters||Justine Florbelle|
|Antagonistic characters||Aloïs Racine • Basile Giroux • Malo de Vigny|
|Background characters||Victor Fournier • Hector David • Felix Marot • Clarice • Monsieur Florbelle • Madame Florbelle • Herbert • Daniel|
|Protagonists||Klaas Gottschall • Herbert • Johann Weyer • Elise Zimmermann • Gabriel|
|Deutoragonists||Faraj • Captain Ambroise • Sokal • Gustaf Zimmermann • Jacob|
|Others||Agathe Zimmermann • Anna Koch • Baki • Daniel • Emil • Margarethe Zimmermann • Tinker • Wilhelm|