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Sokal was a French soldier, fighting against the English during the Siege of Calais in January, 1558.[1] He is a major character in "With the Blessing of a King", from the Remember short story collection.[1] He was the only survivor of the story's events besides Johann Weyer.[1]

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Background[]

Sokal was a French soldier who fought in the Italian War of 1551-1559. In January, 1558, he took part in the seizure of Calais from England.[1]

Events of "With the Blessing of a King"[]

In the early morning of January 8th, 1558, the day after Calais fell to the French, Sokal was on patrol along with his commander and a fellow soldier.[1] They ran into Johann Weyer, a prominent scholar and occultist, and halted him for entering the occupied city.[1] When interrogated as to his purpose, Weyer showed Sokal’s captain a letter from the French King, Henry II of Valois, one that granted him the right to enter the city.[1] The captain then decided to aid Weyer, who was less than pleased about the company.[1]

Weyer eventually found the building he was looking for, a small 12th Century church. After finding it locked, Sokal and the others broke down a side door and came upon a priest sheltering an English soldier.[1] The two captives pleaded for their lives, but the captain murdered them regardless.[1]

The group then entered the crypt and went to a nondescript tomb, Weyer at first tried to pretend he was a simple pilgrim, but the Captain saw through the facade and threatened him.[1] Weyer then reluctantly agreed to divide the spoils between themselves.[1] Sokal, not understanding German, was oblivious to the finer details of their conversation, but was very uncomfortable at the thought that they would desecrate a tomb.[1] He quickly came to the conclusion that the captain would either charge him with treason or simply just kill him.[1] Sokal then reluctantly assisted Weyer in opening the tomb by picking out a star-shaped soapstone and lifting the counterweighted slab easily; however, the counterweight holding the chain snapped and he was struck by the slab as it fell.[1] Sokal, in serious pain with his shoulder busted, stayed behind as the other three men entered the tomb.[1]

In the mithraeum, Weyer, the other soldier, and the captain discovered an Orb. Sokal was able to see the glow and repeatedly asked what was happening.[1] Weyer then took his chance to escape from the Captain by summoning The Shadow, which immediately devoured both soldiers.[1] He then grabbed the Orb and ran off to the exit; however, he was unable to remove the wedge he had propped the door open with, and the Shadow began to move towards the exit.[1] Sokal then grabbed his sword and brought it down against the wedge, sealing off the rampaging Shadow inside the chamber.[1]

After this, he collapsed due to his injury and sheer exhaustion and pleaded with Weyer for an explanation.[1] But Weyer only quickly apologized to him, and left.[1] Sokal then took the start-shaped soapstone, which would remain in his family for centuries until the events of Old Friends.

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