What's in a Name?

The popular Alucard, whose real name Adrian Farenheights Tepes, hasn't been featured in all that many games. Though short on appearances, he's always managed to play a major role in the activities due to the dysfunctional father-son relationship and his reactions therein. Below is a short history of the young Alucard's exploits, followed by a chronicle of his life events over the next six hundred-plus years.


The Son of Dracula

Image contributed by ray_e1x3@lycos.comThe final years of Mathias Count Dracula's isolation were anything but ideal: The vampire lifestyle, though feverishly coveted in his living days, wasn't all that it was cracked up to be. The new love of his afterlife, Lisa (the believed reincarnation of his long-dead wife Elisabetha), was executed at the hands of suspicious townfolk who mistook her expertise in healing medicine for witchcraft. And he was of yet unable to launch his murderous campaign on a stage large enough to where he could properly punish all of God's creations. His diagnosis was a severe case of depression, and he readily prepared to up his efforts and seek counseling in the form of worldwide devastation. "A man of these principles could only be defined as a beast," you'd think. It wouldn't make sense, then, that the Dark Lord was in many ways perhaps misunderstood. For one, it was the very same Lisa who saw through his rough, well-worn exterior and learned to love the man trapped inside. During even his most tumultuous episodes, Dracula, thought to be incapable of love, managed to find in the presence of Lisa a semblance of happiness. There was one event in particular that brought him much joy: The birth of his son, who they named Adrian. "This, my blood, will be the perfect ally in the war," Dracula thought.

Because of his genesis, the mutual bond between vampire and human woman, Adrian was born a half-breed (or a "dhampir," as some mythologies refer to such an offspring). That is, he had all of the vampires' strengths and none of their weaknesses (save for the thirst for blood). But no powers alone can define what a person truly is, and as far as being his own man, he was of yet unshaped; only Dracula knew of Adrian's true potential, and he'd have to strike while his son was still young. After Lisa's death, the now-more-determined Dracula took Adrian directly under his wing and began training him in the black arts; through relentless effort, Adrian was molded into a warrior who would day fight in the name of darkness.

Adrian's unique existence as a half-breed was not without its quirks. Though he was trained only to recognize one absolute, the tenets of darkness, Lisa's gentle, more human traits always seemed to cloud his "better judgment," as Dracula saw it. What Dracula never realized is that Adrian was at his mother's side at the time of her execution, and he was touched by her final words: "Do not hate humans. If you cannot live with them, then at least do them no harm. For theirs is already a hard lot." With the sentiment forever implanted in his brain, he would often question his father's intentions--but it was still family, and his need for the relationship was very real. Adrian grew into a man, and after standing silent for as long as possible, he could no longer live the lie--he chose his own path by breaking away from his father's control and by running away. With the inside knowledge that his father was going to soon unleash his wrath upon the people of Romania, and eventually the world, Adrian would now turn his efforts toward thwarting the rebellion before it had the chance to start. Furthermore, as a symbol of his own cause, he took the new name "Alucard" (his father's branded name in reverse) to show outwardly that his beliefs stood in direct opposition to Dracula's. (In time, he would otherwise become known as "the estranged and forgotten son of Count Dracula.") As a half human, half vampire, he was immortal yet vulnerable, and he knew the emotional price of his actions.

Fate started to take its course: Dracula's army began to terrorize the habitants of Transylvania, and their jurisdiction was only going to widen. Alucard would have to act quickly. But right before he was to begin his crusade, he met a young woman who would forever alter his destiny.

In Castlevania Legends, Alucard makes his Castlevania-universe debut, storyline-wise, as the love interest of Sonia Belmont. The story: Soon after the two warriors met, they fell in love. When their relationship grew to the point of trust, Alucard revealed to Sonia his intentions: His father had to be stopped, and he was the one to do it. Sonia had a secret of her own: She, too, was going to confront the Dark Lord and put an end to his treacherous reign. Alucard strongly objected to her involvement because he felt it was too dangerous; he was perhaps, even, underestimating her power. With the understanding that she would not act on this impulse, Alucard headed toward Walter Bernhard's former haunt (now being called "Castlevania" by those in the know ) to complete his mission. Image contributed by ray_e1x3@lycos.com
Alucard arrived at the castle keep but could find no sign of his father. His attention immediately turned to the keep entrance, where the battle-worn Sonia Belmont was just arriving. While he was disappointed by her intervention, a certain truth became apparent--that maybe Sonia was "the one." To be sure, he initiated a test battle, where he utilized his skill with a sword, his transformation powers, and his dash attacks therein; though, Sonia was more than resilient in combating these attacks. Thoroughly impressed, Alucard realized that the war was better left in her hands, for she had no emotional connection to Count Dracula that could possibly doom the effort. Indeed, it was time for Sonia to meet her destiny. Alucard realized one other cold truth: For as long as he would roam the planet, he'd forever be a threat to the very humans he wished to protect. The solution was to submerge his powers, to place himself into a state of rest and thus disappear. Though Sonia was saddened by this reality, she used this emotion as the impetus to challenge and destroy the Dark Lord. Soon after the victory, Sonia gave birth to a baby boy, who she knew would carry on her legend as well as his father's....

There was a time before the order was solid, when it hadn't by their actions been established that there would always be a Belmont present to deal with the threat of a Count Dracula resurrection. Knowing this full well, Alucard decided to stick around for a while and see where events led. When but a mere twenty-six years later Dracula's return was imminent (his defeat at the hands of Sonia perhaps feigned), Alucard was ready to finish the war he had started years before. His efforts led him to the catacombs, where it's no coincedence that he ran into Trevor Belmont. Though Alucard could easily tell by the scent that Trevor's was Belmont blood, he decided to instigate a test battle, as he had with Sonia, to make sure that this warrior's intentions were true. Thus, he acted as a boss: He'd transform into a bevy of bats and quickly retake human form to release a three-directional fireball attack--a power he learned from his father--and repeat this process. After seeing enough of the Belmont in action, he revealed to Trevor his true mission: He was on his way to confront his father, and he'd need Trevor's help to do it. Alucard's method in hunting Dracula was a passive-agressive approach because it was a confrontation he was still dreading. Luckily, Trevor was happy to oblige and take on the larger role.

As an ally, Alucard fought in slightly different manner: He could at first only release one fireball (called "the Ball of Destruction"), but he, like Trevor, could collect morning star power-ups to twice increase the attack's power. That is, with each level of increment, he could then fire two- then three-directional fireballs. Additionally, Alucard could transform into a single bat, a power that helped the duo to quickly and conveniently fly over and around troublesome obstacles. After helping to destroy Dracula, despite his good intentions, Alucard couldn't help but feel a deep guilt for fighting and killing the man who gave him life. Still torn between two impulses, he knew that his long-overdue slumber would be the means most theraputic, for his own sake and for those to whom he'd remain a threat. He finally submerged his powers, making good his promise to disappear.

In 1797, evil forces pulled off perhaps their greatest coup when the dark priest Shaft coaxed Richter Belmont to the side of evil using a spell that afforded him direct control over the Belmont's actions. In the removal of the Belmont, Shaft was thus free to plan for Count Dracula's resurrection without much in the way of resistance. Though, due to the unexpected lack of a Belmont, the forces of nature sensed an incurring imbalance. In response, powerful forces began to struggle for the soul of Alucard, and the troubled half-breed was waken from his slumber. Simply by this precedent, Alucard knew immediately that it was his duty to investigate the matter.

Alucard infiltrated the freshly risen Castlevania, at his command many different regular and sub-weapons; his ability to transform into a bat, a mist formation and a wolf; some new offensive maneuvers attained through the collection of relics; and his assortment of magical spells. In the castle's Marble Gallery, he met Maria Renard, Richter's sister-in-law, who was leading the search for the missing Belmont. Combining their efforts sporadically, they were able to solve the mystery: Upon encountering Richter the first time, Alucard knew that it was Belmont blood in his presence, which helped them to deduce that Richter wasn't acting on his own and was forcibly placed in charge of ruling over the castle in Dracula's absence. After equipping a special pair of glasses, Alucard confronted the seduced Richter only to find the truth--that Richter was under someone or something's control. By focusing his attack on the spell's globule-like essence, Alucard was able to free Richter from the spell without harming him. Though, there was no time to celebrate; Alucard insisted that Maria usher the exhausted Belmont away from the castle while the investigation proceeded. Immediately thereafter, Alucard discovered a portal that lead him to a magically created upside-down version of Castlevania, where the real villain was hiding.

Alucard braved the more dangerous habitat and located the source of its existence in the castle's reverse Marble Gallery. It's here where he found Shaft, who revealed his ongoing plot to once again resurrect Dracula. In the ensuing battle, Alucard put an end to Shaft's excursions once and for all. Though defeated, Shaft's plan had come to fruition because the ritual had already been completed, and the now-revived Dracula made known his appearance in grand fashion. The battle that Alucard had dreaded for years was underway, but nothing would deny him. "How is that I've been so defeated?" Dracula wondered. "You were doomed ever since you lost the ability to love," Alucard retorted. If it were any consolation, Alucard recounted to his fleeting father Lisa's final words, whence she proclaimed her eternal love. It was a painful encounter, but Alucard was relieved to have finally said what he'd been holding in for centuries.

At seaside, where Maria and Richter had regrouped, Alucard confided that the battle was inevitable, that it was no fault of the unwitting Richter. "Always remember," Alucard lectured as best he knew, "that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Feeling that the blood that flowed through his veins was cursed, he was ever-intent on disappearing forever. "We will not meet again," he said in parting. Richter noticed that Maria was upset. "What's wrong, Maria?" he asked. "I'm sorry," she replied, "I can't let him disappear from my life." Richter's comforting words instilled in her the courage to give chase, to track him down and perhaps save his haunted soul. Whether or not she got to Alucard in time is unknown, but it was almost certain that we'd be seeing him again.

In the year 2035, a man named Genya Arikado and his close associate Yoko Belnades, a Catholic Church employee, began frequently visiting the Hakuba Shrine in Japan. What they were looking for, Mina, the shrine caretaker's daughter, was not sure, but she was always friendly to the duo. Genya, a very cold man with an inhumanly attractive face, was a member of a shadowy organization somehow related to national security. He and Yoko knew well of the events where the castle was sealed away in the eclipse by a group of vampire hunters and the prophecy that someone would come to the castle in 2035 and inherit Dracula's powers. In their investigation, they found the link between the Hakuba Shrine and the dark side of the eclipse and entered into the castle, where they planned to prevent the rebirth of Count Dracula.

In reality, Genya Arikado was a guised Alucard, who was once again waken from his eternal slumber due to the absence of a Belmont who would otherwise counter the threat. As far as they knew, there were no Belmont warriors left. Though, through only the purest of instinct, Julius Belmont was surely present, somewhere roaming that castle, but because of his amnesia and his advanced age, it wouldn't have been a wise bet to depend on him. Alucard knew the deal: The seal suppressing Dracula's powers was breaking, its contents leaking out. If someone with bad intentions, like Graham Jones, were to seize the opportunity and inherit that power--absorb it--his father (or at least the representation of his father) would return, reborn once again. So he had a plan, a true gamble: He would find someone with the potential to command powers similar to the Dark Lord's but equally important of good heart, and he would summon the worthy subject to the castle on the day of the solar eclipse.

The subject came in the form of Soma Cruz. Through a number of trials, Alucard, somewhat shadily, helped the seemingly ordinary young man to discover his natural absorbing ability in the hope that Soma would use this power to collect all of the enemy souls, the castle essence, and even Dracula's powers in becoming "Dracula"--or, in this case, a self-aware absorbee who would then enter into where "only Dracula could go," the Chaotic Realm where the seal lay broken. Once inside, Soma would reinforce the seal by releasing back into it all of the collected essences. The gamble paid off: Soma destroyed the source of the leaking powers and rid himself of the demon spirits before they could corrupt his soul and push him toward Dark Lord acceptance; thus, the castle, too, was resealed, his friends were transported to safety, and the threat of Count Dracula's resurrection was averted. Alucard would stay behind, locked away in the castle so that he could be sure of two things: That he'd be back in a state of rest, no threat to the humans, and that he'd be the first one to know if the seal ever again threatened to break.

(Notes: Reader JHenryCT tells us that "Genya" translates into "illusion" and "Arikado" means "to have horns." This is a not-so-subtle way of informing us that he's Alucard in disguise. Another reader, Akujou, gives us this alternate view: "If you consider it to be a Japanese alias, then you can see the possibility that Arikado was a romaji translation of 'Alucard.' The r could easily be an l in transition, and 'kado' could be pronounced with a silent o and a strengthened a, making it 'kaad,' which is how the 'ar' sound is made in Japanese. So it could mean 'Alucard's illusion.' ")

It was one year after the many developments of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. As Soma and Mina Hakuba walked the streets of Cruz' home town in Europe, lost in conversation pertaining to the events at the solar eclipse one year earlier, Celia Fortner appeared suddenly, in a violent blaze, and ordered a pack of summoned demons to attack the duo. Genya Arikado, who had been tailing them, made known his presence and tossed to Soma a handy knife, which the boy used to cut down the demons and through the process of absorption "rediscovered his power of dominance." Arikado corrected this notion: "Your power didn't return," he explained. "It was always with you." Arikado had been investigating Celia on behalf of a top-secret Japanese government agency, which was well of aware of the activity of Celia's cult and its intention to (a) eliminate Soma Cruz and (b) somehow resurrect the Dark Lord. Arikado stated sternly that the investigation was to continue, and Soma was not to get involved. To be sure of this, Arikado disclosed no further information.

Soma would not comply, and after gathering his own information thanks to Hammer, whose shady connections helped to discover the cult's whereabouts, he arrived at their castle and soon made his entrance. Arikado, who was supposed to be protecting Mina, caught up with Soma in the castle's guest house, disappointed with the boy's defiance. Soma had to be kept under observation at all times, Genya knew, because there was always the chance that he could be drawn in by the darkness. His continued participation endangered the efforts of the Church and the secret agency, but Arikado knew deep down that Soma would not turn back. This was in part reason for his appearance, for Arikado came bearing a gift: He handed to Soma a talisman that was property of Mina; she wanted him to wear it, to further protect himself from the darkness. The cult had to be stopped at all costs, after all, and stifling Soma's efforts was hardly the top priority. Arikado departed to track down Dario Bossi, who was wanted worldwide for several counts of arson, and Celia, who had escaped to a nearby river.

It was Soma Cruz who finally located Celia in the castle's garden area only to discover that Mina, too, was present, bound to a tree and at the mercy of the shadow priestess. In a blast, Celia murdered the "abducted Mina," an act devised to draw upon Soma's hatred and forcibly bring about the return of the Dark Lord. Soma, thinking his trusted friend to be dead, gave in to his hate, and the forces of chaos began to gather in anticipation of a true Dracula successor. Arikado arrived in the nick of time to reveal the truth, that the Mina killed was an imposter--a doppelganger. Because he had equipped Mina's darkness-resistant talisman, which was delivered to him by Genya, Soma was able to halt the process before the transformation was complete. All parties involved were then witness to the grand reemergence of Dmitrii Binov, who revealed that he hadn't been defeated--that he had instead feigned defeat in order to cagily occupy Soma's soul after copying the boy's "power of dominance." Furthermore, he used this new power to collect all of the chaos energy manifested moments before. Arikado protected the now-vulnerable youth and, ever the threat to their cause, saw through the exit of Celia and Dmitrii, who knew well of Arikado's true identity.

Deducing that the duo had transported to the castle's basement, Arikado ordered that the exhausted Soma stay behind while he, alone, put an end to this. Once again, Soma had no intention of complying with this wish, and he followed Arikado to the castle's condemned tower, where there lay a barrier blocking a portal to the basement--the "Abyss," as it was called. At the request of Arikado, the trusty Julius Belmont used his legendary powers to break the seal but in the process collapsed in pain, physically and mentally impaired and from that point on useless. Arikado was grateful for this sacrifice. And while he had come to accept Soma's continued involvement, Arikado insisted that Soma allow him to go in first; Soma yielded to at least this wish.

Arikado entered into the abyss and at its end found Dmitrii, who was continuing to absorb demon souls in preparation for his anointing as the new Dark Lord. Knowing that Arikado would attempt to thwart his reign, Dmitrii had the answer: He turned on the unsuspecting Celia and made of her a human sacrifice, an act that successfully reversed the flow of Genya's dark power and rendered it void. Soma arrived to find Arikado hunched over. Dmitrii was victorious! Or so he thought. Just then, the irresponsible Dmitrii realized a cold truth: The power of dominance isn't easily contained, and unlike Soma's, Dmitrii's soul wasn't strong enough to withstand a power that intense. As the helpless Dmitrii succumbed to the pain, he was forced to relinquish his collected souls; without a leader to guide them, the souls sought survival by fusing together to form the humongous Menace, a demon of unspeakable power. Arikado, his dark powers still lacking, was banished and thus unable to contribute to the final battle, which Soma was forced to face alone.

Soma had won, but the sheer magnitude of the Menace's defeat, combined with Soma's releasing and resealing of his collected demons, caused the castle to rattle and shake. Soma and Arikado raced out of the crumbling castle and safely reached the nearby river, where they watched as the castle collapsed unto itself. Exhausted, they pondered the day's events. Soma wondered if his ducking out as next in line made certain a constant need for a Dark Lord--that it was inevitable that he would be "the one." Arikado confided: "Perhaps there is a need for Dark Lord, but there is no reason for you, Soma, to become it." When the relieved Soma ran over to celebrate with his friends, who had just arrived at the scene, Arikado stood alone and wondered to himself, "If the world needs a Dark Lord, one will emerge, even if it isn't Soma." Genya Arikado's plight was far from resolved.