The decorative sword which Cassandra designed had been modeled after an ancient sword she had seen at the Museum of Fine Arts. When she saw the sword she was fascinated and read everything on the web that she could about it, but there wasn't much. It had been owned by a Knight named Lothar von Gotha or Lothar the Dark of the Knights Templar, who fought in the crusade to bring Christianity to the pagan Prussians in Eastern Europe. The sword was reputed to possess supernatural powers and when Lothar came into its possession by means unknown near the end of his successful campaigning, he left the Knights Templar and returned to his father's duchy. His father and brother died and Lothar became a Duke and gained in wealth and power till his death at about ninety, very old now, extremely old then.
Apparently Lothar wrote a book, called ‘The Book of Life from Death’ about the dark arts, and his theory of how they could be used, ironically, to do good. The dark arts were about destruction. If they were turned towards destroying the destructive forces in the world, they could be thought of as good.
Cassandra was fascinated and asked a friend of hers, Gregor, if she could use his Harvard College Library access to research the book. Gregor came along with her to the library and they found that the book did not appear to exist anymore, but some of the book had been copied-out by an antiquarian by the name N.S. Keynes at the turn of the 20th century. Cassandra and Gregor found a collection of Keynes’ papers at Harvard’s library, and in it, information about Duke Lothar.
Keynes had hired a research assistant, Harry Ian, a friend, to help track down rare manuscripts, and Harry found that the Lothar text did indeed exist in a library of an ancient English family, the Cravenwood family, in Sussex. Harry began transcribing the text with Keynes over a few weeks, but during this time they both started to have strange dreams of floating, as if on a cloud. over lakes of fire connected by many little lava-filled rivers, and up from below came howling sounds of an unclear origin. Keynes and Ian decided to stop working with the text, and returned it to the Duke of Cravenwood. His home, the ancient Foresthill Manor, had a fire in its library shortly thereafter. It destroyed many of the family’s books, one of which appears to have been Lothar’s text.