The strong are born to prey on the weak, and no man or beast can change it. But what if a vampire, with the elements of both worlds attempted to overcome these laws of nature. What would be the outcome? And would it effect our mortal souls?
Chapter 5 : A Glimmer of light
"Only the insane have strength enough to prosper. Only those who prosper may truly judge what is sane."
Alucard closes his shadowed eyes as he lowers his head towards the bloody floor. A small, almost untouchable smile grows from the side of his icy lips as Maria gently rubs her pale hands upon his back. She strokes her long, black fingernails across his smooth skin and slowly she leans forward to kiss him. Seconds before her lips make contact, Alucard clutches her wrist. His huge, gloved, hands make a mockery of her tiny skeletal arms and the vampire tosses her to the floor as though she were nothing. Maria lands harshly upon the filthy ground, a loud thud echoes through the now silent village, lingering as though it carried some message that wanted be heard.
"Why did you do that?" cries Maria. Her voice harsh and coarse, vampire like. He turns towards her and says nothing, but silence he gives speaks volumes, illustrating his point more clearly than words ever could. He averts his eyes for a moment, catching a glimpse of Lorien's bloody and broken body. Blood trickling from the wound on his neck into a large puddle of gory filth upon the muddy floor. He shudders slightly, his mind trapped in two places at once. The world of a human and a vampire's. Nevertheless, although distraught, Alucard controls the rage inside him that burns like fire and brimstone.
"Father...." He raises his head once more. A cold breeze blows over his silvery hair as he tries to stare as far into the perpetual night sky as he possibly can. His thoughts become more clear as he tries to unravel the viny mysteries of the universe.
"Father......It is over...." Maria's face shrivels as she hears his words. Nevertheless, Alucard does not notice her puzzling expression for something strange is happening around him.
"Father....do you hear me. Reveal yourself!" As he speaks, time and space around him seems to stop. The rain hovers in mid air and the cool, calm breeze melts away in a instant. The grotesquely mangled bodies of the soulless villagers sink into the ground, their faces vanishing as though they had never even existed. Maria's too. The whole village then fades away, as does it's nearby surroundings. The trees and the earth, the clouds and the sky, the light and the......no. The darkness remains. Suddenly the nothingness shatters like glass. Sparkles of blue and green flash forth, spraying the walls with brief moments of light. Then, there is only darkness.....
The invincible blackness engulfs him almost immediately. It covers him like a thick layer of black soot. It's so thick that he can hardly breath, and yet despite the overwhelming odds, Alucard finds strength enough to go on, and keep his crumbling soul together.
The icy coldness of the room is familiar to him. He instantly recognizes that he is home once more, Castlevania still stands. A familiar scent floods his vampiric senses and Alucard realizes his exact location. He now stands in the throne room of his father. The very same room that Richter Belmont had destroyed the Count 5 years prior. But then another scent pushes through the death and decay. A scent he would have sold his own soul for, to ensure that he never smelt it again
"Father...." As if upon opening his mouth, two candles light up with an eerie glow, and yet they do not seem to diminish any of the darkness that covers the room like a thick plague of locusts. Even the warmth that emanates from these flames would never be felt by anyone in this chamber, for it is a place of unimaginable evil, a place where the damned are cursed to wander for all eternity. Nevertheless, through the perpetual darkness of the room, Alucard catches but a glimpse of the source of all the trickery. The master of deceit. Upon his twisted throne of fresh human blood sits Dracula. His eyes hellish red as though a terrible curse had been placed upon him, yet his mouth is broad and wide with a smile so deceitful, that even his son could be subdued by it.
"Well met my son." blares Dracula in a thunderous voice that bellows through the room, echoing boastfully. "You have finally seen through the illusion I placed upon your mind." The Count's face beams with an unholy interest. His eyes wide and curious. Dracula raises his golden chalice to his lips, his gaze never moving from the dark clad figure standing alone in the center of the room, not even to the obvious liquidy contents of the cup.
"I have." Snaps the Dampile, cold emotions flooding his face." I should have realized sooner." Alucard eyes are locked firmly upon his father. Almost as though the two were battling each other and yet neither raising a hand, but a war of anger floats between them, filling the darkened room further.
"How so? What indication did you have that the world you I created was indeed a false one." whispers the Count as he stirs his drink in a circular motion with a single, deathly finger.
"Many things. Your world was so believable, I might not have noticed..................until Maria said my name." says Alucard in a surprisingly calm voice." Then I remembered what you said before, the words you said when we fought. "Put aside your weak human side..."
"Ah yes. My first clue. You do now realize that we never did fight. That too was a trick." utters the Count, with curious laughter. " I was not defeated by you and Castlevania did not fall." Alucard grinds his teeth slowly, trying to hide his pain and foolishness which pulls away from him like a rabid hound. He had been a fool to fall for such a trick.
"But what of Lisa's words? You must not have heard them." Dracula seems to be unaffected by the sudden outburst of confusion and hatred which shoots from the Dampile's mouth, although Alucard senses something deep within his father. Something....good? And yet perhaps he was mistaken.
"I did. Inside the corrupt place you call your mind. Utter nonsense. Just like your love for that girl.......Maria." Alucard's eyes widen and Count Dracula takes note of what he sees. " Love.....I lost so much time upon such insignificant things." Rage burns inside the Dampile as he hear his fathers words. He tries so hard to hold back but a single thought clouds his mind, destroying all reason.
Mother, did he not love you?
"How dare you.....!!!!!!" Alucard pulls his blue edged sword from his belt and without another thought, rushes forward. His eyes burn with inhuman hatred towards the only man left alive in his family. His own father. With each step he takes, he can feel the scent of blood grow stronger. He can almost taste it. It's so overwhelming that his body would simply let go and absorb it. But something drives him on, waving his sword like a frantic madman as though he was trying to please some dark god of chaos. He approaches his father in seconds, his feat ready to give way, as though some higher force was pushing him down. Nevertheless he manages to lift his ancient weapon high and with remorseless valor brings it down upon Dracula's head. And yet with death knocking at his door, what does the Count do? He smiles. But Alucard is chilled to the bone, for there is an unholy truth in that sinister grin. Power is one thing the Count has in abundance. His name is Dracula, and his name means death. In the blink of an eye, Dracula emits a wave of energy so powerful that even Alucard is helpless against it. The blast throws him backwards, spinning through the air. His cloak wraps around his body as he crashes into the wall behind him. And yet despite the unfathomable pain, the Dampile refuses to scream.
"With a Belmont at your side you were able to defeat me." Dracula snares. "But without one, you are as weak as a human."
Alucard lifts his darkened face towards his foe. Blood trickles from his head and falls down the side of his pale complexion. The Dampile catches its scent, sweet and tasty.
"Why do I crave for blood father? Was that not an illusion too." Alucard questions in disgust, his usually calm face portraying anger he had not shown before. At the sight of this, Dracula smiles.
"An illusion perhaps. But my memories." Boasts Dracula as he rises from his ruby throne. His mile long cape drags behind him like a blackened river flowing with never ending darkness. "Blood will forever hold new meaning to you. Join me, and streams of it shall flow before you at a whim. People will throw themselves at your feat with a snap of your hands. Why resist?" There is a lengthily and frightening pause as thoughts unique run through Alucard's head. In the moments that follow, Alucard's whole life is thrown into question. His religion torn asunder and filled with new meanings and questions. The very thought of blood makes him tremble and to have it at any time seems almost..........right? But despite the hunger which begs him to agree, Alucard refuses to let all he has fought for be destroyed by a single, unforgivable mistake.
"Your insane!" He cries, climbing an icy mountain to once again reach his feet. Dracula sighs deeply and flames of hatred seem to spew from his blood filled eyes.
"As you wish." mumbles the Count, intentionally allowing his son a glimpse of his huge, dagger sharp vampire fangs.
With the Counts back turned, Alucard rushes forward once again. Although Dracula seems defenseless, he is far from it. Quickly analyzing the situation, the Dampile tosses himself to the floor, and in one fluid motion rolls towards his demonic foe and thrust forth his ancient sword, penetrating the blackened heart of the motionless Count. However Alucard's hopes fall from the mountain heights to the depths of the darkest valley as the image in front of him shatters into a thousand pieces, sparks of unimaginable brightness bouncing off the floor illuminating the night black room for but an instant. A dark and distant voice cries out from behind him
"Perhaps your weaker than I thought." Alucard turns around to see the distant speaker but is startled to find the Count stand tall, but inches away from him. He tries to attack but Dracula clutches the sword from his hand, staring deeply into his own son's eyes. His glimpse seems to penetrate Alucard's very soul, attacking it from within.
"Imagine that. The son of a nobleman and a human slut really thought he could stand a chance against me. When I'm through with you, you will beg me to allow you to die." Dracula moves the sword towards Alucard with overwhelming ease but the Dampile pushes forth with all his might. His dampened vampiric powers would never be a match for the Count's but still he presses on. It is in human nature to fight despite the overwhelming odds but is this our greatest strength, or our most fatal flaw?
"Indeed, you are powerful, but no match for me." Dracula turns the sword towards Alucard's throat, cutting lightly across his neck. "I don't know how many undead you've killed with this sword but being a Dampile means that your related to each and every one of them, so it is only fitting that you should be killed in the same way. If you will not join me then die like the weak mortals you try so hard to protect." The sword cuts deeper and blood spews from the wound, dripping down Alucard's dark, black clothing to the stone cold floor. The empty eyes of his father hold nothing, not even pity for his own son whom he about to destroy. And yet Alucard pushes back, moving the sword, if only slightly, away from his bleeding throat.
"Then die you shall!" Dracula lifts forth his free hand. His nails elongate three times their usual size, sharp as diamond, strong as steel, he strikes them forward.
The glimmer of a shiny metal object forces Alucard to look towards it. With blinding speed.the object wraps itself around the Counts hand, burning metal bites through his flesh as the count cries out with frightening pain
"What? Who dares?" He turns to see Richter stand in the doorway, his whip held firmly with both his hands, trying to hold back the frantic Count. Maria stands at his side, her face as ever it was, young and beautiful, free of all pain. The Count was briefly diverted, the whip burning through his vampire skin. Channeling all his power Alucard grabs the sword before him, plucking it from his father's grasp. Without pity, remorse or mortal feelings Alucard plunges it deep into Dracula's icy heart. The inhuman wail that followed was disturbing to say the least. Mere men would be driven mad by it, never to sleep soundly in their beds again. But Alucard was no mere man, and as his father fell back, clutching his fatal wounds, Alucard made his feeling known.
"I am a vampire father, but not like you. Your path was filled with the corrupt ways of death and destruction. I will never be like that, for I am alone no longer. The soul of my mother will finally rest as I send you back into hell." Unleashing his full anger, Alucard strikes again. His sword rips through vampire flesh as though it was nothing, blood and fire fly forth as the evil in his father dissipates. His body begins to crumble away, black and gray ash replace ancient flesh and the dark, uncaring look disappears and is replaced by something Alucard had not seen in a long time. Fear. The terrified face of his father would never be forgotten as Alucard lowers his head in shame. He had committed the greatest sin of all, killed his own father. Castlevania then starts to shudder. Beams of ancient stone masonry begin to crumble and fall, confirming Alucard's hopes and fears, that he had indeed murdered his father. Without the power of Dracula, Castlevania would fall. A single tear rolls down Alucard's cheek as he hears Maria's gentle voice cry out from the distance.
"Alucard we must leave, this place is going to collapse." Alucard turns towards her and slowly rubs a single gloved finger across her face. He shakes his head slowly and points her towards the door. She seems confused, her eyes filling with water at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, she nods, and runs through the doorway, looking backwards but once as the pillars fall down on top of the man she had only just come to know. And although she holds back the tears which try to pour from her eyes, she would remember this moment for the rest of her life.
Richter Belmont and Maria Renard run through the dark halls of the castle towards the exit. Behind them they can hear it collapsing, large stones and crumbling walls covering their tracks. The monsters had all vanished allowing them clear passage to escape but it is still no easy task. It never had been.
"Quickly Maria, I can see the door." They rush forwards, bashing down the weakened rusty gates and sprint over the crumbling drawbridge. The wood cracks beneath the weight of their trampling feat until the metal chains which hold it eventually give way. They are only half way across, and the jump is too wide to make, but Maria knows what happens next and quickly she grabs on to Richter's body. As they plunge downwards, Richter snaps his morning star and it wraps itself around the nearest stone statue, allowing them both to swing safely to the other side.
Upon making contact with the earth, the two fall to floor, gasping for precious air. The two lie upon their backs for seemingly hours until Maria finally finds the strength to stand. She looks backwards at the destroyed castle, still holding back her tears.
"I have to go back...........I need to pay my respects" she utters slowly "He saved you life before and rid us of Dracula, I must thank him for that." Richter shakes his head fiercely.
"No Maria, I cannot let you......" She turns towards him and places a hand upon his shoulder. He sighs impatiently like an angry child but eventually agrees to her proposal.
"Very well Maria, but I must go with you." A wooden carriage laced in gold and silver pulls up besides them, four black horses pulling it along, tied down with bronze emblems of royalty. A short, plump man opens the door, a huge chain of precious gems wrapped around his elephant neck
"No Richter, I must...............I wish to go alone." Richter nods briefly and sighs.
"I understand." The wealthy man places his hand upon Richter's shoulder and begins to thank him. He tires on numerous occasions to shake his hand but each time Richter pulls it away or pretends not to notice.
"Well done, Richter. It's wonderful to see you. The whole village thought you were dead but I wouldn't believe it for a minute. Congratulations on destroying the Castlevania, we shall hold a feast tonight in your honor." Slowly Richter's steps up to the carriage and opens the restraints from one of the black horses. He rubs his hand gently upon it's well combed back and turns to face the anxious mayor. And yet, something is bothering Richter. He has shamed the Belmont name, allying himself with the Count, their most hated enemy and must forever bare the burden of truth..........unless....
"T'is not I you should thank." Richter says in a deep and thoughtful voice. He turns to Maria and points towards the stallion by his side. She nods once and smiles towards him. The two had never been so close.
The crumbled ruins of Castlevania are a sight that although not unique, still portray feelings of hope unlike any other form of glory. The multitude of demons and monsters which once dwelled there have been destroyed, and the lands of Transylvania are again free. And although surely the Count is dead, something else is causing ruins to move. Something is pushing away at the ancient masonry and heavy stone slabs that remain on top of the mountain of Castlevania. A hand so powerful, that it can lift tons of stone with unsettling ease. A gloved hand.
"So it came to pass that as he trudged from the place of blood and wrath, his soul changed."
Stephen Crane : The red badge of courage.
Alucard stands upon a cliff face several miles away from the Castle, although the ruins can still be seen clearly as the dreary fogs have mysteriously lifted. The shadowed figure stares off into the distance as though trying to solve some dark mystery eons old but the warm glow of the rising sun throws him further into confusion as he tries to make sense of the incredible events which have just occurred.
Father.....you taught me more about myself than I ever thought possible. And for that dark gift I sent you back into hell. I have committed a sin far worse than any other and as a result feel guilt that will surely last an eternity. I ask you now to forgive me, as I forgive you for the horror you tried to place upon me.
Alucard's thoughts then drift to another matter. He had been here before, hundreds of years prior when he, Sypha, Grant and Trevor had destroyed his father for the first time. He had felt guilt then, and now feels it once more. Dracula was all he ever knew, it was as simple as that. The Dampile turns to leave but a familiar scent floods his senses as he takes his first step towards the forest.
Maria slowly steps off her black steed and walks forward stroking her long, curled hair. The tears have still not surfaced as she holds them back with all her might. She would not cry now, it was too soon. There was always hope.
Alucard......I shall miss you. I will never understand why you remained in that castle with your father as he was going to take away your life. Why did you stay with him?
She stops in her tracks as she notices a familiar figure stood in the distance. His ebony black cloak flows in the wind as though it was alive and a part of the cold, gentle breeze. His pale face is turned towards her, a tiny smile on his lips.
She runs towards him, faster than she had ever run before.
The vampire cannot hide his smile as Maria turns to see him. She looked more beautiful than even he remembered, and as she approached, the two embraced each other.
"Alucard, I thought you were....." He places a single, gloved finger to her lip and nods silently. The tears begin to surface but Alucard seems to be unaffected by her human emotions.
Does he understand?
"Maria....it is wonderful to see you again." He replies, his silvery hair blowing backwards in the warm winds that pass.
"As it is to see you." She turns backwards to look at Castlevania but finds her gazed locked on the ruins. She speaks without looking backwards at the curious Alucard. "Do you think your father is finally dead?"
"I do not know. Only time will tell." Maria nods in agreement, but she knew there and then that she would never see the tyranny of the Count again in her lifetime. Alucard is now staring into the sunset, his eyes filled with guilt and confusion. Noticing that she is staring at him, he speaks.
"I need to know........that this is not a dream." Maria doesn't understand what he really means although she thinks she does. She wraps a single arm around his waist and together they stare into the orange glow of the sun. She rests her head upon his shoulder and Alucard turns to see her golden hair flowing down his arm. And although he finds it beautiful, his eyes want to see something else. Slowly they fall down her face towards her neck. It calls him and Alucard leans forward, although only slightly. Feeling his eyes upon her, Maria turns to face him, her arm still clutched around his body.
"Alucard, what's wrong?" She asks in a calm and friendly tone. Her face inquisitive but still as beautiful as ever. Unable to look at her, he averts his eyes.
"It's nothing Maria. It's nothing." She releases a confused smile and sighs gently before turning backwards towards the sun.
A small white dove lands upon the ruins of Castlevania. It's so helplessly unaware of the nearby danger that Alucard finds his attention turning towards it. He would overcome that which Dracula had placed upon him, he would have to.
"What will you do now Alucard?" He stops for an instant as he finds this vaguely familiar. His mind already forgetting the recent events.
"I do not know Maria, I shall have wait and see what fate has in store for me."
"Time will tell Alucard." replies Maria gently, trying to echo his past words.
"Indeed it will" answers Alucard in a thoughtful voice."Indeed it will"
And indeed time would tell for both Alucard and Maria, as although Castlevania is destroyed and the darkness of the Count has been defeated, something sinister still lurks in Transylvania. And despite the mysteriously beauty of the red sunrise, the vampire knew there and then, that the worst was far from over.
But together they would overcome any adversary or any challenge, for united they symbolize the best in all of us. Together they have hope. However, where there is hope, there is fate, and soon one of these two people would pay the ultimate price despite all of their good deeds. But as long as there was hope, they would triumph.
Hope springs eternal.
So what did you think? Did you enjoy my story or did you find it predictable and boring. Please tell me what you think as I am always interested to listen. Any comments on the pic by the way???? If you really really didn't like the ending, tell me now, and I'll send you my original ending. I really enjoyed writing this story and hope you enjoyed reading it. Thanks. Oh yeah if you want something else to read, please check out Angel's requiem on the Cvania Dungeon. It's by far the best story around and the inspiration for my story. Go on, you'll enjoy it.
Gareth John (Thanos_98@hotmail.com)