For whom does the bell toll?
Although this story revolves around Alucard and Maria, it begins long before either were born, in the ancient lands of Transylvania where vampires and demons should not exist, and the people live happy lives, free of pain and suffering.
The torrential rain pours down hard upon the muddy soil of Transylvania. The floor becomes slippery and dangerous, and those foolish enough to run upon it could suffer injury. But someone is running, running faster than they should at any time. Running as though they were being chased.
Wind howling, rain.......rain pouring. I can feel it. Tired.......so tired, must find shelter.........but it's too dark. I can't see. But I know he's there.....right behind me....I can feel it. Faster.....must run faster....but he's still there. Watching me, chasing me, gaining on me. And I am dead.
For whom does the bell toll?
Chapter 1 : In the Beginning
"The road has been long and hard, but we are almost at the end of our 'Holy War'"
Babylon 5 : In the Beginning
Maria rode upon her black horse across the vast plains of Transylvania towards the village of Cassada, and although all was well, something did not feel right. Perhaps it was weather, the storm was most unfriendly. Or maybe it was the feeling of freedom she was experiencing since the Count had once again defeated. In truth it was neither. She glanced to her left for an instant and quickly understood what it was that was making her jittery. Alucard was a vampire, and as a result did not need to ride upon the horse. He could run just as fast, if not even faster than the black steed she was mounted upon, and his sprinting besides her was most strange. Black shadows sprouting from behind him confusing vision and sense. He didn't even seem to be trying very hard either she thought as whipped her horse to go faster.
It had been almost three days since Alucard had destroyed Dracula and Maria was looking
forward to getting some well earned rest. The Dampile running by her side looked none worse the wear but Maria
was too tired to notice. It had been a long trek home although they could have reached Richter's village in a few
hours, Alucard had told Maria that he found the thought most discomforting. Saving a Belmont's life is one thing,
becoming friends with one is something totally different. Or maybe not, for Alucard had developed a close relationship
with a woman named Maria. A Belmont, no, but still a hunter.
The gates of Cassada were shut closed as the two approached from the murky darkness of the night. The defenses were still up, most likely in case of an attack from Dracula's armies. Perhaps they do not know that he is dead, Alucard briefly wondered. Maria slowly stepped down from her horse, throwing back her soaked hair as she sighed deeply from the cold.
"Watch this." Maria whispered to Alucard. Her features changed from stern to innocent as she walked closer to the guard on the other side of the fence.
"Excuse me sir." she asked politely, a small, gentle smile grew across her thin white lips. "May we come in to the town for the night. We have been traveling for three days without rest and are weary from the journey. I give you my word that we will not cause any trouble." Contrary to what she expected to happen, the guard raised an eyebrow and glanced past Maria to the stranger behind her. He seemed to think deeply to himself, but Alucard had already anticipated the guards next words.
"I'm sorry but I'm under strict orders not to admit any outsiders." came the reply from the sentinel, the grip on his spear easing slightly. He turned around to leave but Maria managed to push her arm through the rusty gate in time. She and touched his back gently and as he turned to face her, Maria smiled generously.
"Please." she whispered, her gaze hypnotic. The guard could not help but to return the smile and eventually agreed to allow them entrance. Maria thanked him vigorously and proceeded with Alucard to the small tavern located in the center of town.
"That was handled.........well, Maria." Alucard responded thoughtfully, a tiny smile grazing his marble face.
"Thank you, I thought so." Gently Maria placed her arm in his and Alucard generously accepted. Together they walked briskly through the creaky tavern doors, smiling at each other as the whole place flooded with a strange but frightening silence. As they approached the bar, the silence dissipated and normal conversation was resumed.
"Perhaps Maria, things are finally going our way."
The guard yawned loudly as he looked at his watch. His shift was coming to an end and he was grateful for this. It had been another long day with little action or excitement and all he could think about was the feeling he would experience as soon as he placed his head upon a pillow. Sleep was something he yearned for despite being a man of war. The nearby sound of trampling leaves forced him to grab hold of his spear and he spun around, weapon held high.
"Who goes there?" Exclaimed the guard as he caught sight of a figure approaching him, shrouded in darkness.
"Whoa, calm down." replied the mysterious voice. The guard instantly dropped his weapon as his replacement emerged from the shadows and he released a long sigh of relief. "What's wrong? Tough shift?" chuckled the newly arrived.
"I wish." But wishes sometimes come true, and neither of these guards were aware of the burning yellow eyes that were watching them from the shadows. Lurking, watching, waiting.....
It took much talk to convince that Bartender that we were honest citizens before he allowed us to rest here for the night, Maria thought quietly to herself. There was something about Alucard that people didn't like and as a result the price for room was high. Nevertheless she was tired but she briefly wondered what her brother Richter was doing at this moment. Celebrating no doubt. As she rested her head upon the lone pillow that lay on the cold, itchy bed, she turned her head to see Alucard staring through the window. Although he often spent his time thinking, it was becoming more and more clear to Maria that there was something wrong. His pondering became more frequent, and his gazing deeper. Right now it's almost as if he had never seen the outside world before. She was about to question him but then remembered that he had recently lost his father. It would not be wise to interrupt him now. Maria closed her eyes briefly as her vision became hazy but she immediately fell asleep.
Should I tell Maria? Alucard pondered as he continued to gaze at the village below him. He turned around and stared at her deeply. She was beautiful, he thought. Her golden hair, although it had not been combed for days, glowed warmly, and her face, although pale, was a beauty to behold. He examined her for several long minutes before eventually averting his eyes. He knew that this could never be. The most forbidden of unions would never happen again if he could have anything to do with it. His own life was torture, no other should have to bear the same pain.
Alucard removed his silver sword from it's scabbard and examined it from top to bottom. Not a single scratch was etched upon the silver blade and the edge was still sharp. Sharp enough to cut through almost any earthly substance with the greatest of ease. He was about to set it down when a loud scream shook through the room. Maria awoke with a start and shot up out of the bed. She turned towards Alucard, her eyes wide open questioningly.
"The scream came from outside Maria, the opposite side of the tavern." She shook her head in dismay and Alucard knew what she was thinking. Would the nightmare ever end?
"Let us go then." She said hesitantly and together they ran down the spiral staircase to the entrance of the tavern. The room was deathly silent as they entered, everyone inside was looking to the direction of the screams, none brave enough to venture outside. Alucard then sprinted towards the door, his sword ready at his side, but in the blink of an eye, it burst open with a terrible crash. There, covered in fresh blood stood the guard who had admitted them earlier, his face frighteningly pale, his hands shaking uncontrollably. Nevertheless he managed to blurt out a single word. A word Alucard was all too familiar with.
"Werewolf." As if by some trick of fate, the instant he finished his sentence the tavern wall was smashed through. Splinters of wood and glass flew through the air showering the villagers as screams of terror shook through the small room. There stood the demon the man had mentioned moments prior. Standing on all fours like a rabid dog was the beast of the moon, it's yellow eyes burning with devilish anger. The creature's back curved like a hunchback, with a mouth frothing red. Inside it's jaws was the guard who had warned them, his body dwarfed by the demon's tremendous size. It shook it's head ferociously as it tore apart the man in it's maw with frightening ease, his blood spraying in all direction. As it dropped the guard's corpse to the floor it focussed it's attention on the closest opponent. It would have been Alucard, but Maria had thrown herself in front of him. The strange powers she posses allows her to control animals and she then attempted to use these on the werewolf. Slowly she waved her hands in front of it, the creatures eyes following her every movement, watching, waiting. She began to mumble something not even Alucard understood, but he did not interfeer. Slowly Maria moved her arm closer and closer until she gathered enough courage to touch it, but as soon as she got close, the wolf lashed out. It's huge bloodstained claws threatened to tear her apart but Alucard threw himself at Maria knocking her to the floor. He was quick enough to save her but not himself, the werewolf struck him full force in the chest, tearing through skin and bone throwing him backwards across the room. He slammed hard into the bar, the thud echoing throughout the small tavern as though it was some huge cave, the people inside winced as he collided with the bar with a force barley imaginable.
"Alucard!" Maria cried out with but a single thought, her eyes filled with sympathy. There was a brief silence as the Dampile struggled to speak, his clothes torn assunder by the claws of the wolf.
"I.....I am fine. Give me a moment." Alucard coughed blood as he struggled to get back to his feat, the villagers faces clouded with surprise and amazement as the stranger found the strength to stand. But the amazement turned to hatred as they saw the blood upon his chest slowly seep back into the wound. The flesh upon his chest pulling itself back together, leaving no trace of the wound that should have scarred him.
This will be most difficult, Alucard thought to himself as he saw the rage in the eyes of the people around him. Maria on the other hand was having difficulties of her own, the werewolf had backed her into a corner, it's fangs dripping with fresh saliva. Quickly Alucard rushed forward, sword gleaming as he approached. With its back turned, the Dampile threw his sword forth. With blinding speed the blade spun through the air, the tip glowing blue with holy fire. It imbedded itself in creatures side but Alucard's hopes plummeted as the creature refused to acknowledge the powerful attack. It continued to approach Maria, and it was close. She could feel it's breath upon her face, it's gaze piercing her like daggers. She turned her face away and shut her eyes. This was the end.
With no ideas left, the vampire forced himself to reveal his powers. Hesitantly, he put his two hands together, the tips of each finger touching the other. He closed his eyes and concentrated. At first it seemed as though nothing was happening, but as he began to shake, it was all too clear that Alucard had vampire's blood in his veins. Hair began to sprout from his body and he fell down to all fours. His face elongated, fangs growing from his mouth and his weapons turning into purple fur. Quickly Alucard looked around at the world which had changed yet remained the same............and he growled.
The Werewolf stopped in it's tracks and turned it's head towards the tiny wolf that posed no threat. Maria bravely opened a single eye and saw that the demon in front had turned around, it's eyes fixed upon a lone wolf in the center of the room.
Where is Alucard?
The beast turned its body to face the wolf which had begun to approach it slowly and Maria raised a puzzled eyebrow. Suddenly the purple wolf turned to her and barked.
Is that Alucard? He's full of surprises.
Without another thought she pulled forth the two daggers from her pocket and with the grace of a Belmont she spun into the air. She landed hard upon the creatures back and immediately she began to hammer her daggers into it's spine. Blow after blow she rained upon it, the werewolf howling in excruciating pain, it's eyes filled with pain as the woman on it's back refused to stop. She continued to attack, filled with a strange, curious rage, until eventually the creature keeled over. She then pulled herself off and began the same ritual into it's chest despite the fact that the werewolf had stopped howling moments before. She stared into it's eyes, they were filled with tears, pain, but still she did not stop.
"Maria desist!" Alucard cried out, but his words seemed to pass through her like light in darkness. The Dampile then grabbed her hand, pulling her back. She turned her head to face him, wolf's blood trickling across her face, and she began to cry. The wolf on the floor whined quietly before shutting it's eyes for the final time.
"I'm sorry Alucard.....I don't know what came over me....I...." her voice trailed off and Alucard was left standing horrified, although his facial expression showed nothing.
"Maria, it is over." he said, staring at her like a disapproving father. But as the villagers began to close in on them, Maria knew this to be a most blatant lie.
Dead end! No escape. Can't run, can't hide. He's too fast, too strong.......what chance do I have? Time.....I need more time.....but he's already there.....watching....waiting....smiling.....and I am dead.
The rage that filled the room was almost tangible. Alucard could feel it pulling at him from all directions. The villagers now knew that he was a vampire and had quickly unsheathed their weapons. Swords, guns and broken glasses were pushed closer towards him, even the barman was ready to attack.
"Vampire!" cried a voice from the crowd.
"Not by choice I assure you." Alucard responded quickly. At another time perhaps, this could have been perceived as humor, but not now. The villagers rage seemed to grow even after the Dampile's remark and in the seconds that followed, the first gun was fired. A terrible sound of thunder filled the small, badly lit room as the remaining guns were shot at the vampire and his companion, but Alucard was quick to react. With inhuman speed he grabbed hold of Maria and tossed himself through the window behind him. Glass cut deep into his pale skin as he flew through the air, Maria wrapped safely in his ebony cloak as they avoided the onslaught of bullets and daggers that were thrown at them without remorse. The two landed hard on the muddy soil outside, Maria unable to contain her scream as she felt the impact of stone smash against the back of her soft head. Alucard seemed to be immune to pain Maria thought as she glanced upwards at his bloody body. Glass had imbedded itself in his arms and face, and small rivers of blood were flowing from his wounds.
"Maria, run!" screamed the Dampile as he pointed towards the gate. The werewolf had made short work of it as it lay trampled on the floor, the body of another guard crushed beneath it. As the two rushed out of the town they had only just entered, Maria could not help but to smile.
"I suppose we'll have to go somewhere else." she laughed to herself as she and Alucard ran through the gates of the village, not looking back once at the place neither would ever see again.
"Huh?" The vampire turned with a start. His face, like his thoughts, miles and miles away.
"You drifted away for a moment, I thought I might never get you back." Alucard refused to smile at Maria's poor humor but nevertheless she did not allow his depressing personality to affect her. The church they rested in had been long deserted, as had the town itself. Most likely the villagers had fled when Dracula arose but no-one had returned now that he was dead, and the silent village was now rotting away like a corpse. The church itself was a work of beauty. Huge, bright windows made from dozens of different color glass dictated an ancient story of war between good and evil. A figure, most likely an angel, shinned rays of holy light upon the demons beneath it's feet.
Demons. Alucard thought to himself. Demons...Like me. Does this mean that I am evil? If so, perhaps it should end here, right now!
"So what were you thinking about?" Maria asked rather suddenly, her voice as calm as ever it was.
"Nothing Maria, nothing you should concern yourself with." The Dampile lifted himself out of the red silk chair and walked towards the stain glass window at the far end of the room. "In fact, I'm not sure if it's something I should concern myself with."
"Oh! Please tell me." Maria took Alucard's place upon the couch and turned to face him, although he had not yet turned away from the church window. There was a strange silence as Alucard did not reply.
"Oh forgive me Maria. Once again my mind is drifting, what was it that you wanted?" Maria found herself chucking quietly but after the moment passed, she briefly wondered why. Perhaps it was because a man, a vampire, a species she was dedicated to eradicating, was just as human as she was. She pulled herself out of the beautifully carved rose chair and slowly she stepped over to Alucard. With her gentle hands, she rubbed them upon his huge back but she was surprised when he jumped and turned around to face her. Alucard's face was pale. Although this was natural for vampire's, even half one's, Maria could see that there was definitely something wrong.
"Please Alucard, tell me, what's troubling you?" The Dampile released a long, troubled sigh and walked Maria back over towards the couch. He sat her down slowly and Maria pulled his arm forcing him to sit too. As soon as she saw that Alucard was struggling to speak, she reached out for his hands. He placed one in hers and began to speak.
"Maria, we have been through much together, and would trust my life in your hands....."
"As would I trust mine in yours."
"Thank you, but please allow me to finish. I believe that the time has come for me to share with you the secrets of my ancestors but you must answer me the following questions. This will make it.....easier for me." Without saying a word, Maria nodded and Alucard released another deep sigh. "Why do you and those like you fear my father more than any other vampire?" Although surprised by the question, Maria showed no signs of discomfort. Perhaps Alucard had began to have an effect on her.
"Because he is the most powerful of all vampire's. No other has even come close to matching his........." Allowing her no chance to continue, Alucard began his next question.
"And now that Dracula has fallen.....? Does that hatred remain for him?" Another question that threw her. Dracula was Alucard's father and so she would be careful that she did not say anything too harsh.
"Well Alucard, I must admit that I do not...."
"The TRUTH Maria.......please." Without further hesitation, Maria spoke her true feelings.
"Yes I do still hate him.....because of his tyranny, countless people have died and many new vampires were born. He has spread his curse like a plague!!"
"That is what I must tell you Maria. My father was not the first of his kind."
"The one.....the first one was ancient before my father was even born."
His cape, long and black, covering his whole body. His face......I cannot see. The dark hood reveals nothing.....especially in the night. But a vampire he is.......I know that for sure. His teeth. They gleam like the moon. Unmistakable. And his eyes, red like wildfire. Yes, a vampire he is......and I am dead.
For whom does the bell toll?
It tolls for me, and me alone.
End of Chapter 1
Well there you have it. The first chapter of "For whom does the bell toll." It took loads of time to write this and hopefully my hard work has paid off. I really, really, really want your opinions. The Trial of Alucard was really a prologue to this story as I have great hopes for the future. I will put these characters in situations you would never expect to find them in and introduce familiar faces from the past (although maybe not the way you may think.) I want your ideas, opinions and your criticisms. I want you to compare it to my last story, I want you to tell me what you like and what you don't like. But mainly I just want you to enjoy it. Please E-mail me, Thanos_98@hotmail.com. Thank you for reading.