- "Daniel, is that you? What are you doing?"
Alexander of Brennenburg or Alexander von Brennenburg is the primary antagonist of Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
Alexander is a supernatural, telepathic being who has been masquerading as multiple Prussian barons during his centuries-long life. He originates from another dimension, and although his methods are ethically and morally abhorrent, he identifies himself a victim of circumstance and simply desires to return home. He has been capturing humans and animals for many years in order to extract their Vitae through torture. He apparently was banished from his world of origin, forcing him to reside on Earth and take on human form.
By human standards, Alexander is a genius, a true Renaissance man, experienced in science and magic. He is quite knowledgeable and well versed in worldly matters, though his knowledge has its limits as he was unable to understand the secrets of life and their relation to the enigmatic cosmic energy known as Vitae. The baron is very familiar in anatomical studies, alchemy and botany. As evidenced by his various Memory Capsules, he left behind in his home dimension an individual to whom he refers to as "my love." He confesses the hope of reuniting with "his love" is his sole driving force to continue recklessly forward and commit terrible acts.
The world he came from seems much more technologically advanced than Earth. When Daniel touched the orb in the temple in Algeria he had visions of this place describing it as having "spiraling towers, endless deserts and impossible geometry". The baron often complains about the inefficient technology that he was forced to use to control the bridge in the Cistern. It is possible his home dimension uses some form as electricity, as the same note references "controlled lightning" being the comperable technology.
Alexander arrived in our world sometime during the early 16th century. Where exactly he hailed from is not clear, although he claimed to the people of Altstadt he was a nobleman born in the Rhinelands, inventing various titles for himself. He soon rebuilt the nearby Brennenburg Castle, which was consumed by a fire in the late 16th century, and this was to be the base of his operations. Here Agrippa, his pupil Johann Weyer and himself attempted to study the Orbs. He soon became a founding member of the Order of the Black Eagle, retaining a position as "Knight". Although he kept his family records secret to hide his unnaturally long life, members of the Order feared and respected him nonetheless. The younger members who later joined the court taking the positions their grandfathers once held who helped co-found the order become very suspicious of him. Over time the Order's fear of him after Napoleon's defeat grew, which became an impetus for the rapid completion of the portal back to his home-world. Alexander became afraid it was only a matter of time before they would have him executed.
Amnesia: The Dark DescentEdit
Some years before the beginning of the game, Alexander made an offer to Wilhelm, from the house of Gerich, to work for him. Wilhelm and his men were to kidnap healthy humans at the baron's whim without question. With the temptation of greater status within noble society, the former-soldier gave into his diabolic ways easily. However only two years later Wilhelm's men were found to be incompetent, their botched delivery of the captured people caused many of Alexander's servants to be killed by the authorities patrolling the forest. The baron was furious and under the false pretence of raising a toast to celebrating their hard work with as much wine as they could drink, he locked them in the Wine Cellar. The wine was poisoned, Wilhelm and his men all perished after consumption and possibly turned into Gatherers.
The incident made Alexander impetuous, the king's men were still investigating the woods. Fearing they'd follow the trail back to Brennenburg or he'd have insufficient prisoners to continue harvesting Vitae he went ahead with the ritual to return home. He broke his only orb recovered from Agrippa in a botched attempt to power his machine. He tried everything but failed to repair the mystic relic, necessitating that he acquire another one. There was little else the baron could do at this point but wait. Then it seemed fortune smiled upon him as he received a letter from Daniel who had arrived back in London from Herbert's ill-fated expedition and was curious about the Orb he recovered.
Alexander knew all too well that with the otherworldly relic in Daniel's possession, he was also being constantly followed by the enigmatic Guardian of the Orbs, The Shadow. Writing a short reply to all of his questions, he simply stated he knew everything, and offered him sanctuary if he came straight to Castle Brennenburg. Naturally, this would give the naive young man the incentive to come straight to him as no one else alive could hope to understand the Orbs or their power. Daniel was frightened by the response, and even more-so when he realized that everyone he came into contact with suffered a horrible death. Fearing for his life he trusted the baron's offer to protect him and fled.
When Daniel arrived with Orb in tow, Alexander was very pleased, showing him around the castle and his luxurious Guest Room. He and his servants appeared very dignified and made a very good impression for the guileless young man. The baron kept a close eye on Daniel who thought he was safe but as the man's sleep continued to be plagued with strange nightmares it became apparent the supernatural force had silently chased him to Brennenburg. Alexander began to sympathise with his situation, seeing him as a victim of circumstance much like himself. He promised Daniel they would both put a stop to these 'unpleasant dreams'. In the parlor he later told Daniel everything he wanted to know about the threat of the Shadow, and how it would pursue Daniel until he died for taking the Orb from the tomb in Algeria. However the baron was deceptive, deliberately mixing truth in with lies so as not to cause any suspicion. The last thing he wanted was Daniel throwing away the Orb, or fleeing Brennenburg with the Orb and risking the Shadow slaying him also.
Carefully manipulating Daniel, Alexander offered him as much care and information as he could without revealing his true motives. He brought the young man into his most precious chamber, the Inner Sanctum claiming here they would permanently banish the orb's shadow. The truth was it had become a priority for the baron to force Daniel's orb to yield its power unto him, otherwise he could not proceed with the ritual, Vitae alone was not enough. Daniel is enchanted by the relic to take it back but the baron holds him firmly back. He tampers with the Orb. This enrages the Shadow and it manifested, the walls burst with organic tissue threatening to devour them both. Alexander quickly covered the Orb and the cosmic horror vanished
Alexander knew whatever happened now he had doomed the 'branded' Daniel, though he had little time to pause for regret, since they were both running out of time. He'd have little more than a week to escape. The Shadow would surely return and consume the entire castle. He had to quickly teach his friend how to harvest Vitae through torture, helping transport the captive human vessels, and assisting the baron's servants to reinforce the castle from the approaching living nightmare that threatened to collapse it. The Baron lied to the gullible young man, claiming he was charged with the responsibilities of a prison warden, and the castle cells were where violent and wicked criminals were locked up. He fabricated all sorts of crimes and horrific stories that they were supposedly "convicted" of.
Slowly, Alexander began to teach Daniel of "warding rituals," torturing and spilling the blood of others to offset the Shadow in its path. Alexander told Daniel that he would have to take part in the rituals, or else The Shadow would find Daniel. The baron was lying of course, knowing that the Shadow cannot be banished, and that these criminals, these "murderers" were in fact innocent people, but he needed his cooperation regardless. Fearing his death, Daniel became Alexander's pawn, kidnapping villagers and brutally torturing them before killing them. All of the while, Alexander obtained more and more vitae, while at the same time, keeping the Guardian away from Brennenburg. In some diary entries, he writes that he does feel sorrow for Daniel, as the young boy slowly destroys his soul due to his manipulation.
Of course the Baron was aware that the blood wards could not appease the ancient horror, neither would they distract it for very long. Alexander became somewhat concerned as Daniel became more and more desperate as the wrathful Shadow beckoned for him. Nevertheless Alexander was excited as they had nearly gathered enough Vitae required. A few more human vessels were all that was needed. They journeyed to Zimmerman's farm outside Altstadt. The baron killed Herr Zimmerman while Daniel captured the wife and children.
Later that night one of Zimmerman's daughters managed to escape from the Prison, but Daniel found out. The mother was killed, and Daniel tracked down the little girl upstairs in the Storage, murdering her in cold blood. This finally broke Daniel's psyche and he realised he was no longer an innocent but a monster. The grieving man could not remove himself from the sight of her lifeless body.
Alexander was alarmed, seeing that the recent event had taken its toll on his friend. Fearing it was only a short matter of time before Daniel turned on him, he stole Daniel's orb and sealed himself away in the Orb Chamber. Having harvested enough vitae now to initiate the ritual, he had for all intents and purposes abandoned Daniel to the advancing Shadow sooner than he would have liked, since he would've rather done so after completing the ritual and removing the threat of reprisal.
Daniel knowing he'd been manipulated and thanks to Alexander he'll now die as a cold-blooded murderer instead of an innocent, swore revenge. Unable to cope with the guilt of his actions and fear of his impending doom he wiped his memories away with the Amnesia mixture. The former Daniel left but a final letter to himself behind instructing him to end the baron.
New Daniel fumbling with his shattered memories has little choice but to comply with his former self's instructions, the arriving Shadow prevents his escape and starts hunting him. Alexander also employs his servants, The Gatherers throughout the castle to patrol the rooms and kill Daniel on sight. The baron is confident that he'll complete the ritual, but makes one fatal miscalculation. He left Agrippa's old broken orb shards behind. Daniel is the only one who can rebuild the Orb and using it, is able to penetrate the Inner Sanctum protecting Alexander.
Realizing Daniel meant to stop him, Alexander starts communicating with him telepathically, taunting him often that he is responsible for all the death, intent on blaming the young man for his own misdeeds and corrupting influence. However as Daniel explores further into the depths of Brennenburg Castle, Alexander is horrified, ordering him to turn around, as the Shadow following the man starts breaking down reality everywhere it goes, killing his servants in the process.
When Daniel arrives in the Chancel, he is ambushed by three Gatherers and taken captive. He wakes up in a jail cell. Alexander begins to taunt him again. The baron is perplexed as to why Daniel would drink of the amnesia tonic to get a fresh start. He then tells Daniel to stay in the cell and save their work, hoping he'll agree so the Shadow will claim Daniel, leaving enough time for him to enter the portal. If Daniel decides to stay in his cell, the Guardian will soon consume and kill him, but if Daniel rejects his claims that he must sacrifice himself, he will escape from the cell and carry on through.
Finally Alexander is found in person, naked and levitating, at the very bottom portion of Brennenburg Castle, in his Inner Sanctum, in which he is performing the final stages of the ritual in order to create a portal to the world he came from. Here, Daniel has a set of choices to make: Destroy the recreation of the Traveller's Locket and allow The Shadow to kill Alexander, freeing him of its pursuit ('Revenge Ending'); toss Agrippa's head into the portal, killing Alexander, with Daniel apparently dying and being saved by Johann Weyer in the afterlife ('Good Ending'); or to simply allow Alexander to enter the portal, after which Daniel is killed by The Shadow and haunting memories of those he tortured, afterward hearing Alexander's voice praising him ('Bad Ending').
- When Daniel sent out letters to contacts asking for information using Herbert's stolen address book. Alexander of Brennenburg was among Herbert's most trusted friends and confidantes. It is very possible that the Professor was well acquainted with the Prussian baron, and was even under his employ. He may have been sent to Algeria to retrieve an orb for him after the baron had accidentally broke Agrippa's orb in his hastiness to return "home". Alexander's response to all of Daniel's questions was simply "I know". Both Alexander and Herbert therefore he may have deliberately brought Daniel along for the expedition and kept him oblivious to the orb's powers as insurance, so the Shadow wouldn't hunt him also. That way ensuring at least one of the two orbs taken from Algeria would reach Alexander somehow.
- Alexander's relationship with Agrippa, his pupil Johann Weyer is complex and not fully understood. The three appear to have some history and the baron expressed in one of his Memory Capsules his anger at Agrippa's apparent betrayal. It is possible Weyer gathered all the orbs to journey beyond the Universe without the need for Vitae but did not invite Alexander who trusted them both with the real reason for his efforts and why he so desperately sought to return "home".
- Alexander's portrait on low sanity might be what his true form looks like, as he clearly isn't from the realm of humans. Or possibly be a reflection of the corruption that has claimed his soul, similar in nature to "The Picture of Dorian Gray".
- Baron Alexander is voiced by Sam A. Mowry who previously voiced Dr. Eminiss in Frictional Games' series, Penumbra.
- The pass where Daniel describes the vision triggered by the Orb ("Unlocking alien memories of spiraling towers, endless deserts, and impossible geometry.") is a direct reference to H.P. Lovecraft's works. In his stories infact he often described cyclopean cities with towers of enormous height and buildings with bizarre geometries (e.g. the lost city of R'Lyeh).
- Daniel losing sanity as he gazes at the horrors that chase him seems to be another reference to Lovecraft's works, as gazing upon the Eldritch horrors is said to have the same effect (Although it's likely that this may also be simply out of fear).
- Alexander appears to have deep remorse for abandoning Daniel to the Shadow and also that he cannot bring him to his home-world. He bitterly considered it ironic that he had to use him, much like Agrippa betrayed his 'trust' in the past, allowing Weyer to journey to the other world and not him.
- Despite being a Prussian baron for centuries, Alexander speaks with a rather heavy American accent instead of German. This is might be because the people in his world speak in that way, or he simply chooses this way of speaking to communicate properly and blend in our world.
- Alexander, being an extradimensional entity, can mentally attack Daniel's sanity in an attempt to stop him. He does this once in the Chancel as he expresses his outrage at Daniel's ungratefulness at his "hospitality" and again in the Nave causing the young Englishman to hallucinate many giant spiders swarming the walls. However these cannot attack him physically and soon disappear.
- Daniel cannot honour his former self's final wish and personally murder the Baron with his own hands. Alexander is unreachable in the Orb Chamber. Only the Shadow can stop him.
- A note written by Alexander can found in the Control Room where he refers to brethren from his world as "mankind".