By The Crossman
Prolouge 2: Strong men's binding.
Texas, USA. The 9th of October 1917 A.D.
The rain was falling outside, making the sight outside the windows blurry. Reinhardt Schneider and Jessica Fernandez sat before the fire as they tried harvest as much warmth they could muster. Samuel Graves had gone down the year before and the United States of America had nearly decleared war against Germany. But it was other problems upon his mind. His son and Samuel's was in Egypt investigating rumours that mummies had bean stolen from the valley of the dead kings. As Fernandez's daughter and young Henry Oldrey was in Japan recruiting were-foxes. It was like the dark servants of the world was becoming active long before they should. The letter from young Morris lay on his lap. He wrote that he would travel to Warakiya to inform him about what was about to happen. If he was to die in the British chanel the Belmont clan would die. He summoned God in his hearth and slowly prayed for John Morris and for Eric Lecarde. If they would have to fight the next battle in this endless war, he could only pray they where ready. "Do not be afraid." Fernandez said. "God have bean with us, He will be with them too." He slightly smiled. "The letter from Harker is not nice reading." She nodded. "Young Vincent have died of old age and his son have come to live with them. And Frau Harker have bad dreams like she had in 1897." He did the sign of the cross. "We can only pray He will be with them. What do you think about Frau Gwendolyn's health?" "I do not know." She frankly said. "But I fear the worst." He knew what she meant. If they had somehow found a way to resurrect the dark prince, he knew who his enemies was. He would be quick to strike against them. But it could be a natural sickness. But even that could warn of dark times itself. Whatever the case, he would pray for her sole and hope for the best.
Veros, Warakiya. The 13th of October
I went up and down inside the living-room. The doctor had bean with her a long time now. Not managing to stay outside the room any longer I opened the door. Doctor Nikita Onotop lay in the arms of Gswendolyn as she was kissing him passionately. "What the… " I ran over to them and she let go of him. I couldn't have seen it, but for a moment I thought I saw a look of anger in my beloved one's eyes. "I brought you here to see if your skills could heal my wife." I said with cold anger in my voice. "And then you misuse my trust and my wife's condition to try violate her." I grabbed the man by the collard and forcefully threw him out of the room. "But dumulah Lecarde," He said on poor German. "It was the lady who… " I couldn't bring myself to listen to him any longer and again lay hand on him and this time threw him out the door. "What is it?" I nearly snarled at the mailman standing at my door. With a shocked look he stepped backward. Then he shakily gave me a letter. "This, this letter is for you dumulah Lecarde." Taking a deep breath I took the letter before I stepped into the house again. Standing in the entryhall I opened the letter after noticing it came from Jonathan. I hoped it was good news. But I feared it wasn't.
Letter from Jonathan Morris to Eric Lecarde.
The 7th of October.
Dear friend, I congratulate you with your marrage and in this letter you'll find 20 punds. I'll come down to visit you the 20th of October and look forward to see you. It's strange we haven't seen each other since 1914. I hope I only get across the chanel alive. The German submarines are getting heavy on the ships now. But I'm sure I'll make it.
I shook my head. He couldn't have received my letter since he came here, now. I shook my head. I've heard he was getting high in Harker's firm but he must have permited himself a lift off. I was a mere guard in the village bank and didn't earn that much. It was just enough to support us as we lived in Reinhardt Schneider's home. It had bean nice of him to let us live here. And since her father died in 1913 there was nothing who tied us to England. Or to Spain for that matter. A family named Cruz had moved into my old home in Madrid. They looked nice so the choice had bean simple. I shook my head. I was just suppressing what really worried me. Nikitin was known as a truthful man. And if he told the truth, then something was amiss here. I have read the papers of Harker and dr. Seward and suddenly I know what was going on. But how in the world… I shook my head and then went toward the bedroom. But when I entered the room I nearly fainted. She was gone, just gone. Outside the windows I could see the moon shining down. How in the world was I to find her now? I went to the wordrobe and brought out the spear and began to redress in my green hooded tunic and brought on shoulder and chest-protectors and a pair of wrist-potectors. The trousers where kept in a simple grey and high boots in natural brown. I hunt a short-sword at my left side and then went out. I went a few houses down until I came to the historian's house. Greta Perkins, Heidrich's maid, opened the door. As I asked her to show me to Adolf. He sat in his study before the fireplace. The flames lit up his face with the white buird and silver hair and glasses. "What do you know about the castles around the village?" I asked after trading pleasantries. "You think about the Bathory ruin?" He asked somewhat surprised. And not only surprise, I saw fear in his eyes behind the glasses. "What can you tell me?" I kindly asked. "For nearly 400 years ago there lived a boyar family in that castle." He slowly began. "They descended from Vlad I of Walachia and where brave warriors and good women. But then Elizabeth Bathory, as was the house's name, claimed leadership of the family. She was said to have bean one of the most beautiful ladies of Warakiya. But then maids began disappearing. It was said she killed them and bathed in their blood in an effort to claim eternal youth. Whatever the chase might be, she finally stood trial for murdering more than 250 maids. But she ran away and people who came near the castle became ambushed by her rouges of servants. One day she was however found kneeling over a townsperson with theet-marks in his neck. The local priest tried to take her into custody but once again she managed to get away. But now the entire village, lead by the priest and his brothers, waged sledge to the castle and set fire to it. She was finally brought to justice. But now woodmen and hunters of the forest tells they have seen strange folk abroad. And some of the farmer's animals have bean found, drained of blood." I thanked him. Then I went all down the street until I came to the village's judistical office. It only consisted of five men, but they did their job. I know that since I'd bean with them when we arrested some robbers who had attacked the bank. Alexander Kruger sat at the desk in the hall. He rouse to welcome me. "Long time no see, old friend." He said on German. "Same here old man." I said as we shook hands. "You don't know if… " I was cut short, Dimitri and Juri came in the door. "Curse it Alexander." Juri said. "That old hag managed to avoid us yet again. I tell you, it's like she'd used some magic spell to throw us off guard." I gave them a somewhat comfused look. Dimitri laughed as he saw it. "It's this old hag we have tried to bring in a long time now." I shook my head. "I thought she sat behind bars after having practised black magic on the village square." Jusi snorted. "Magic is just plain rubbish. I let her go and thought it would be over." Alexander gave him a dark look. "Rubish or not, the next time we came across her she was trying to kidnap children from the kindergarten." I shook my head. With all this going on they would most likely don't have time to help me. If only John had bean here. It had felt so right when professor Van Helsing took us with him on a journey to Prousen in 1913 to hunt down that Strange-lady and her lovers. But now I was alone. John would soon be here, but I feared he would come to late. "Could you keep this letter for me?" I asked Alexander after he'd given me pen and paper. "Of course." He said. "It's meant for Jonathan Morris." I told him as I gave him the envelope. "Have a nice evening then." He whised me as I left the office.
Winter's woodland, Warakiya. The 17th
of October 1917 A.D.
The wagon raced through the night. It had bean a hard ride since I left Veresti and then Biztrich. The Orient express had taken me all from Paris and through the shadows of the war. But the front had only bean the worst of it. I have heard about the revolution in Russia the last year and that Germany was growing short of food and soldiers. The Austrians and the Hungarians where thrown out in civil unrest after the death of Franz Joseph. And I feared that the glorius empire who had stood since the 1500s was going to fall apart. The Germans had decleared submarine war upon all ships who travelled in the British naval and now the Star and most of his family was reported to being murdered by Stalin. What Lenin meant I hadn't heard yet and I feared he whould approve it. Those two young officers I had met in the taverna as we stopped to be inspected as we crossed the areas controlled by Germans, Benoditi Musolini and Adolf Hitler, had told me about how it was fighting in the trenches and was worried der Kaizer would not have more soldiers to send. I shook my head. This war was tearing all apart of what I had set high within human. That young man at the British hospital in France had really put it right. "It's the trenches of Hell." He'd bean a captain, Heisting I thought was his name. That other gay, Tolkien, had looked like he wanted bought to protest and agree with him. I had only gone there to see if I could get some medicines with me in chase I would become striken. But as I saw what the doctors was up against, I dropped it. I slightly smiled. It had bean a light shock when the officer on guard was none less than a royal duke, the duke of York, George I thought he presented himself as. He'd looked like a nice gay and he would do a good job in the military and such. "Dumulah Morris." The cabman said. "We are here." I jumped outside the wagon and then the cabman gave me my luggage. "I don't intend to stay with you dumulah." He whispered. "There are rumours going about that vampires haunts the village." I nodded and as the wagon rolled away I went toward the village. As I walked, I smelled the bitter scent of smoke and an even more troublesome smell. The smell of rotting flesh. The scent of death. I quickly removed my coat and hat, brought on my weapons and then prepared the Vampire Killer. If God was with me, I would come back to fetch my other belongings later.
Bathory ruins, Warakiya. The 15th of
October 1917 A.D.
I did the sign of the cross and then took a better hold on my spear. Then I went across the rotting remains of the draw-bridge, the chains lay broken and rusting into the water and all over the road. As I crossed over and start moving up the steps, I noticed someone sat at the highest step. It was an old woman, with a wrinckled and weather-hardened face, dressed in a torn black hooded robe. As she rouse her head, I noticed banks of white hair hanging down all around the skull-like head. She was so skinny that if I'd have some food I would gladly have given her some. "Who are you, young warrior?" She asked in a still deep but rasping voice. "My name is Eric Lecarde old one." I said as gently as I could. "There is so long since anyone came to this tomb." She said. Then her blood-shot black eyes sharpened. "Return home young one. There is nothing for you here. Death it all you will find here." I shook my head. "I cannot. But have you seen any come bay here lately?" The old woman shook her head. My hearth sank, then I heard what she said. "They come here now and then. I don't know who they are. Foul-smelling creatures hooded and cloaked like myself and I know they don't breath. But lately they have began to come with young ladies. They are always pale and always they want me to come with them and be with them. The crimson baptizing turn the meakest of ladies into blood-lusty whores. Turn back or be destroyed by the ones you love." I shook my head and went past her. "This I must do." I told her.
She saw him walk up the steps and inside the door. He was a fool. And yet, there was something about him who made her feel uncomfortable. She moved her hand and the doors swung shot, then she vanished.
Veros, Warakiya. The 17th of October
My blood became cold and I felt sick as I walked through the streets. People and even animals lay dead everywhere like an army from the war in France or Russia had washed over them. But somehow I knew it wasn't results of the war. The cracking of bones warned me just in time and I whirled around and cracked the Vampire Killer right into its rib-cage. It shattered into burning pieces and I did just in time do a back-flip as two more skeletons rouse from the ground. I doused them with holy water and they just about exploded. Three new ones rouse and I began running. I had to find Eric, but I feared the worst. At least his house still stood. But that didn't comfort me. I stepped inside and stopped dead in my tracks.
Bathory castle, Warakiya. The 15th
of October 1917 A.D.
I knelt in prayer before the draw-bridge. I hadn't prayed that often these last years, but now I placed all the faith I could muster in God's hands. My left hand was sweat around the cross around my neck. I then ended the prayer with the sign of the cross. My parents had bean members of the Spanish Catholic church so it just fealt right doing it their way. Then I got to my feet and crossed the now rotting bridge. The chains had bean torn out of the rock and most of it lay in the moat. As I neared the doors, it was like the windows higher up glared down at me with hateful eyes. I knew what most likely waited me inside these halls, but somehow I was able to press it down. I would do what I had to do and that was all. As I walked up the stair I again did the sign of the cross. This was the house of death and perhaps this was the last time I breathed fresh air as myself. Then I went inside. The doors boomed shut behind me as I walked inside, but that I had expected. What I didn't expected was when the few remaining candles in the hall suddenly lit up with sickly blue light. Something shattered underneath my boot and I noticed that pices of shattered glass lay everywhere. The large windows was shattered, even dough a good deal of the glass still was inside the frains. "Welcome to the house of the dead." An old woman's voice said just atop the stairs at the other side of the hall. Now I saw a small skeletal being in black hooded cloak sat on one of the steps. The green orb atop the rod she had on her lap caught the faint light. I knew who she had to be. "You're the hag terrorizing the village." I said as I walked toward her. "My name is Drolta Tzuentes." The old woman said. "And that is to be the last name you hear on this side the grave." I continued to walk toward her, then I smelled it. It was the foul scent of rotting flesh and suddenly all I wanted was to run. They too where draped in black hoods and cloaks, but I saw their repulsive faces and hands as they reached for me. I didn't know from where I gathered enough strength to attack the zombies. But somehow I managed to pierce their hearths with the spear and then behead them with my short-sword. I thanked God as they all burned to ashes after what I'd done against them. The old hag was gone, but that I had expected. I ran toward the stairs and followed the sound of her running feet.
Veros, Warakiya. The 17th of October
She was so voloptous, luxurious and elegant even at her age. Somewhere in her early 30s I guess. Brown eyes with red flames burned at me from a delicate pale face with dark red waves of hair falling all the way down her back. She was dressed in blue and red cloth who didn't hide her shapeliness and made me slightly blush. "Long I have expected thee arrival Jonathan Morris." I noticed my letter in her hand and I felt how I became cold with fear. If she'd done anything with Eric… I gathered courage and cracked the Vampire Killer at her. She became mist but shortly reappeared somewhere else. "Do my biddings cat." She commanded. I whirled around as I heard the spinning sound of a giant cat from the bedroom. Inside came the biggest cat I've ever seen. The Hound of the Baskerviles where nothing considered against this beast. Green flames from Hell burned in its eyes and I knew it wanted me dead with a cold determination I could nearly smell. "As you command countess Elizabeth." I knew it said it with telepathy. But I didn't care. This was no beast or monster. It was a demon from the abyss, that I was sure of. Then it jumped right toward me. I was just able to side-step it. But it turned with a mounstrous speek you shouldn't expect something this big possessed. With its claws extended it again jumped at me. I cracked my whip at it and it hissed at me. I tossed holy water at it and flames ripped up around its neck and throat. As it died it actually wounded me. It was nothing, but I put some Beladona on it just in chase. "You have great power, Belmont." She spread her cloak and three balls of bat-inhabited blue flames shot at me. I managed to take out two of them and sidestepped the last one. She teleported like mist and again tossed fireballs at me. It whipped them to oblivion and then tossed a dagger at her. I focused my mind like Reinhardt had told me and the dagger split into three. This time it was she who managed to sidestep me. I reclaimed the dagger and she tossed three new fireballs.
Bathory castle, Warakiya. The 15th
of October 1917 A.D.
The gallery ended in another hall. Most likely an old dining hall. Rotting benches, tables and destroyed dishes lay everywhere. Shattered bones and crushed skulls lay here and there and polouted the air with their own foul smell. It was like the zombies came out of the shades and clawed at me with their decaying hands. The sickly smell nearly knocked me cold and all I wanted was to throw up. As the last corpse burned away I knelt against the spear as I breathed heavily. "Kill him!" Drolta screamed and something fell from the ceiling. "Gwennie." It was a mere whisper. She was dressed in white cloth who exposed her body but I still recognised her. Then I actually threw up as two other white robed females dropped down. The dark-blonde one bent down over my wife and dug her fangs into her neck and began sucking. The brunette smiled at me as she licked her lips as she stroke her body. "I want you Eric." She said with a dark glow in her eyes I didn't liked. Sure they where all beautiful and attractive and such, but it just went right past me. Before she could attack, I dashed at her and sent my spear right through her hearth as I cut her head off with my short-sword. The other vampire jumped high into the air. And landed right on top of my lance. I was drenched in blood but didn't care. I removed her head and then continued for the hag. "Eric." The crispy crystal-toned voice stopped me dead in my track. Was she still aliva? I couldn't belive it. I turned and then ran to her side.
Veros, Warakiya. The 17th of October
She suddenly dashed at me and knocked me all over the room. "Thou shal give in to the power of mine. I am countes Elizabeth of the house of Basraq. And thou art doomed." She said as she loomed above me. I didn't understand all her ancient rubbish, but I got is so far that her name was Elizabeth Basraq and that… I froze mid-thought. She was Elizabeth Bathory. Uncle Reinhardt had made me read all the ancient books of my family and that person one I remembered. She was the niece of the big bad wolf Drac himself. Then rage took me. She'd most likely killed bought Eric and Gwennie and all the others in the village. I grasped my Bowie and hacked at her. I pierced right through bought cloth, skin and flesh and a gash opened in her belly and blood splattered upon my face. She screamed and I saw death in her eyes. She clawed at me with her claws extended, I cracked the Vampire killer at her face and it shattered. "All who oppose the power of the Dark Lord shall suffer in Hell." Suddenly I knew what she was up to. She was to try resurrect her fallen uncle. I prepared to douse her with holy water as she turned into a bat. Just then the sun shone through the windows and I grinned. Now I had her. But to my surprise she shattered the closest windows with her waight alone and then vanished over the roof-top of the nearest house. If I only could find her before dusk, I had her. Then I heard steps on the other street. I snarled as I ran to caught whatever it was. I was not to become trapped this time. This time it was I who should surprise them.
Bathory ruins, Warakiya. The 15th of
October 1917 A.D.
"But why did you kill my girls?" The words slowly went in. Whas it she who'd… It was like my mind just closed and didn't allowed me to finish. "He have betrayed thou. Thy should kill him." Mist came drifting through the cracks in the floor. I noticed the hag knelt to the ground as it shaped into the most voloptous woman I've ever seen. She wasn't young, but not old either. Somewhere past 30 I guess, but still luxurius and with a developed beauty who really made me stare. Red eyes burned at me from a perfect oval face with aristocratic features who made me think of the pictures I'd seen of old Dracula, framed by a flow of dark red hair falling all down her perfect round shoulders and elegant back. She was dressed in blue and red dress and robes who couldn't conceal her shapeliness, but it was the star, the evil star, who hung from a golden chain around her neck who really caught my eyes. I felt how my eves went down toward her spectacular bossom and tore my eyes away. Her pointed airs and pale blue-greyish skin told me she was a vampire. When she saw where my eyes where going, she smiled, parting her full crimson lips and her fangs became extended. I shivered but managed to stay calm. This, I thought, was the vampire who had turned my wife. "Who are you?" I asked. It was the old woman who answered. "You are now in the presence of countess Elizabeth Bathory of the house of Basraq." "Kill him." Elizabeth said to Gwennie in the same crispy crystalline tone She'd used on me. "Of course my lady." Gwendolyn said. I shivered and even more so when I heard her next replay. "I love you." Liz took her head in her hands and kissed her with open lips. I just felt sick and dush didn't have time to plan an attack. My own little Gwendolyn dashed at me with claws extended and her fangs drooling. I managed to sidestep her. But what was I to do? I couldn't just kill my own wife. She used my momentum to knock me to the floor and then landed onto me. "We shall rest forever togheter." She whispered in my ears with the same crispy tone Elizabeth had used. But this time I managed to keep control on myself. "To harm innocent people is that what you want?" I said as I moved away from the kiss she was about to give me. "It was you who became a doctor since your example of way of life was set my Florence Nightingale?" For a moment her eyes remcaimed some of the look I remembered from when I first got to know her. "Eric." She quickly said. "Kill me now before I turn back into that blood-thirsty monster." Almost without knowing what I did I dug my short-sword into her hearth. "Thank you." She whispered. Then she collapsed. Surprisingly it wasn't much blood who came from her hearth. Then I noticed Lix loomed over me. "Thour art a true man, Eric. Thy blood should make me powerful." She bowed down at me. I rolled aside and got to my feet. Then I jumped at the spear but she managed to knock me far away before I could put my hands on it. "Time to die little mortal." She said with a diabolical smile on her face. She landed ontop of me. She shouldn't get me. I should get her for what she did to Gwennie. I stamped the cross right in her face and then picked up a rock from the floor. Normally I wouldn't even bean able to lift it, but now I merely threw it right into her. Then I grasped around from more bricks to throw on her. My hand grasped something shapr, a broken piece of glass. I didn't care I becan bleeding as it cut into my flesh. As she grasped at me I dug it with all my force into her belly. Cloth, skin and flesh opened under the glass and blood splashed all over me. I didn't care. I was to kill her. Then I screamed as my hand was hit by a ball of flames. I managed to turn out the flames by using my clothing, but pain surged through me and I nearly fainted. But somehow I managed to stay conscious. But as I looked around. They where bought gone. I ran to the windows and saw mist drifting into the forest. It was first then I collapsed to the floor.
Verow, Warakiya. The 18th of October
Death appeared before them. "Is your work here complete?" Countess Elizabeth shook her head. "The Lecarde foiled my plot. And even dough I murdered all in the village, the Belmont nearly killed me." The angel of Death calmly nodded. Drolta wasn't sure but it was like he was almost grinning, his way of showing satisfaction. "Then they will follow us to castle Dracula." Uriel continued, almost to himself. "I have enlisted the service of the servants you suggested." The blood-bathing countess told him. "Good." Then he turned at the witch. "It is done then?" She quickly nodded"My spells and the death of millions have succeeded. 50 boxes of earth from the castle have bean shipped down to Istambul where I have seem to that the Oriental Express bring him with them to Paris. If all goes well, servants are prepeared with wagons to bring him to Carle and ship him over to Dower and then North." Death nodded. "Exelent. All have transpired as planned. The servants are ready, I hope you are ready?" They nodded. "Then come, to castle Dracula. The servants are ready and are awaiting your arrival." They all whisped away.
Veros, Warakiya. The 18th of October
Slowly I went though the streets of the town I had lived in so long. Alexander, Dimitri and Dr. Nikita were all dead. I recognised them as I went along. Mrs. Richter, they friendly wife of the butcher, young Mr. Yuri, the shoemaker's son, they where all dead. Some by burning, some had just got their throats torn open. I crossed myself, then froze as I heard steps coming at me. I snarled and prepeared myself. If some of the persons who'd done this still was here, I'll kill them. "What the… " I exclaimed as Jonathan Morris came running around the croner whit that whip at the ready. I felt relaxed as I noticed he held a small wooden-cross in his left hand and that there hung a crucifix around his neck. He was no vampire. "I got your letter." I finally said. "I know." John calmly said. He looked really worked out. With blood in his face and bleeding wounds who looked like claws had tore through his flesh. "If the bathhouse is open I could like a bath just about now." I laughed. It was the first time in long. "And when that's done," He asked. "then what?" Morris's face became fierce. "I'll go to where the vampires lurks, at least according to my family, the castle Dracula. You might come with me if you want to." Now it was I who became fierce. "I'll go with you." He gave me a look, then nodded. "Show me to the pool, buddy." "Follow me John." I said.
(A.N: This is the end of the prologue. The next chapter is where the real action began. See you.)