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Tales of Ercovea: A Collection of Myths

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Chibi, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. ((Arrrgh, I've been gone for so long. I should be shot @_@ I hate it when I randomly disappear, makes me feel bad. But I iz back now, so please 2 b no shooting? Anyway, this is a project of mine that I've been working on for about a month now, simply titled Ercovea. I've already showed it to some people, and they like it, so I decided to show it here as well.))

    ~~~~~

    The night lay softly over the land, soft and dark as velvet. Animals whispered in the darkness and their gleaming eyes flashed between the trees and undergrowth before disappearing into the night. The sky was clear of clouds, and the cold light from the two moons radiated brightly across the land, turning the tips of the trees to silver. One moon was huge, and was as bright as a silver coin, while it's companion was much smaller and situated just at the top right corner of the larger moon. This smaller one was a light blue, and mingled with the white moonlight to make a silver-blue combination of light that seemed to bleach everything into a light powder blue shade.

    In the middle of the woods, one clearing in particular provided an excellent view of the two moons as they made their journey across the starry sky. A large fire crackled merrily in the middle of this clearing, throwing its own orange light upon the many people that crowded around it. All of the occupants were children, except for one grizzled old man who sat in a chair while the rest of the children sat. Their ages ranged from five to seventeen, and even the oldest of them seemed to be excited about something. They knew they practically had the whole night to themselves, their parents knew where they were (although the younger kids thought they didn't, while the older ones figured it out a long time ago), and no dangerous animals would ever come so close to a fire. The children all sat, watching the old man with an air of restrained excitement.

    The old man seemed to be unaware of their presence. He sat in his chair, which had been graciously provided by one of the older children, smoking a pipe and watching the smoke as it drifted between the leaves of the trees and eventually into the sky as if reaching for the stars. His skin was a deep tan and he had more wrinkles than a dried apple. He sported a frizzled gray beard that went down to his collarbones and equally gray hair, his sharp eyes peered out from under gray eyebrowns and he seemed to have an eternal squint to them, and no one really knew why, he just did. The old man had been around for as long as they remember, and some of the children had the belief that the old man would be around forever. After a few long minutes of silence, the man dumped out the ashes of his pipe and began to refill it. As he worked, he suddenly said, "Now you lot o' younggins. I suppose you want a story, eh?" In contrast to his thin and wrinkled appearance, the man's voice was clear and strong as if it belonged to a man a third of his age. He stuck his pipe back in his mouth as the air was filled with excited cheers.

    "Tell us the story of the three men!" One boy crowed, bouncing up and down while waving his hand.

    "No! I want to her the story of the parsiath!" A girl scooted closer to him. "About the blood-drinkers and how they made their pact for immortality and were cursed forever."

    The old man gave her a look. "You young generations' a bloodthirsty lot," he commented. There were chuckles all around as the wittier children got the joke.

    "What about the tale of Morvyn the Great? Tell us about him and the giant snake!" Another child called. The older children didn't say anything. They had heard all the tales before, but they still enjoyed hearing them. Besides, they knew the routine between the old man and the children.

    The man held up a gnarled hand for silence, and he got it. Slowly and deliberately, he took a drink from the mug that had been sitting on the ground next to his chair. When he was done, he set it back down, cleared his throat, and spoke, "Well what's the use of telling stories if you didn't know how everything began? You'd be startin' in the middle of a tale, not the beginning. Everything has to have a beginning, else'n the thing just falls apart." There were nods all around. Many knew what was coming, but no one argued because they wanted to hear a story, and to get to the story they wanted to hear they had to endure the first one. The man puffed at his pipe and watched as the smoke rings floated away. "Now our beginning starts at the very, very beginning, of Ercovea itself." He settled deep into his chair listening to it creak until he got himself comfortable. "Now, in the beginning, before everything we know existed, there was a void. . ."

    * * * *​

    In the beginning, before everything we know came into existence, there was a nameless void. It is known that the great god Luxovious spun our world out of this void, intent on making a home for him and his wife. Then he made everything. He made water, fire, stone, and air. He made he lands and sea, he blew his breath into clouds, he covered the top and bottom of the world with ice and made the far western lands a desert. Then he gave everything a name. They are not like the words we use today, like water, fire, and air. These names were the true names of all things, words that have been long forgotten over time.

    Luxovious' wife, Cerdwin, looked upon the bare world filled with ice and stone and sand. She wanted the world to be beautiful, so she ground the earth into soil with her hands. She scattered this everywhere, and with her will she made trees and plants rise from the earth. Her hands pulled the mountains out of the ground and made them stretch towards the sky. Then she filled the world with mana, binding everything together and bringing harmony between the plants and animals; she called this harmony Nature. When she was done, she and Luxovious settled into the Vertan Mountains. All the while Cerdwin had been heavily pregnant and after a few months she gave birth to two gods, a set of twins. One twin was bright and radiated a visible aura of light. The other twin was pale and shrouded in shadows. Cerdwin loved the two babies immediately, she named one Irvyn, which meant white, and the other Keaira, which meant little dark one.

    Being the children of gods, the twins grew up quickly, as all gods do. In a day their eyes were open; Irvyn's were bright gold and Keaira's were a pale ice blue. In another day they were walking and running and were about the size of three-year olds. On the day Luxovious showed his sons the world and taught them about it, and they just watched and listened. n the fourth day the sons were as large as children who have lived for ten years, and they spoke clearly and perfectly, naming everything Luxovious taught them. On the fifth day they grew into young adolescents and their powers began manifesting more greatly than before. In the final three days, the gods grew into men and became the gods of light and darkness respectively.

    They were already eight days old, but the twins were already wiser than mortal men. Irvyn gazed on the world and felt a great sadness in his heart. "Father," Irvyn asked Luxovious. "Why isn't the world a happy place to be?"

    "What do you mean son?" Luxovious asked, puzzled by Irvyn's question. "It is a wonderful place."

    "For us," Irvyn answered. "The mortals cower in fear, terrified by their dark world and the things that lurk in it. We should give them light. They may be below us, but that does not mean we cannot watch over them. We would not be much different from them if we didn't."

    The God of Light was not to be dissuaded from his decision. He took a handful of the gods' divine fire and infused it with light. He threw this ball into the sky and it became the sun. The mortals below were grateful for the light, and they thanked Irvyn graciously. One person did not smile at Irvyn's gift to the world, however. His brother, Keaira.

    "What is wrong brother?" Irvyn asked when he noticed Keaira's look.

    "Your sun-disk may not have been the best of ideas, brother." Keaira answered, looking up from the book he was reading.

    Irvyn could not understand the meaning of Keaira's words. The world was bathed with light and the mortals were happy. Was that not good? When he pointed this out, Keaira just smiled.

    "You shall see soon enough Irvyn," the God of Shadows whispered, "that too much light can be just as bad as too much darkness."

    And soon Keaira's words proved true. The ground began to scorch under the sun's heat, plants withered, and animals died from heat. The sands of Arunab became unbearable, the sand scorched the feet like fire and soon nothing could live there. The gods watched the world sadly; the mortals begged them for help.

    "We must get rid of this sun-disk," Luxovious declared.

    "Then we shall be right back where we started before Irvyn made the light," Cerdwin told him. She stood next to her son, fully supporting him.

    "We do not have to get rid of the sun," Keaira said mildly. He did not seem concerned at all. He still sat in the corner, reading his book.

    The other deities turned to him. "What are you suggesting, son?" Luxovious asked warily.

    At first Keaira did not answer, purposefully stretching the silence. Then he said, "We do not need to get rid of the sun. Just send it away for a while."

    "But then the darkness will come back," Irvyn protested.

    "Exactly," Keaira agreed, "the darkness will come and cool off the scorched earth and then the sun will come back. It repeats, and our problem is solved."

    Irvyn did not like the idea, but Luxovious agreed on the fact that they had no other plans. So Keaira ascended into the sky. The heat did not burn him, but the light did. The light burned his skin, wisps of smoke came off his body and charred his clothes, but Keaira still got close enough to the sun to touch it. He struck it with his fist and sent it flying across the sky and over the horizon. His hand burned from the physical contact with the light, all the way down to his bones, but Keaira still did his work. He threw out his robes and darkness rushed upon the land. The sky turned dark and night fell on Ercovea. Without the sun's rays to beat down the earth, and it quickly cooled down. Animals emerged and the ground could be walked across again.

    Keaira returned to Mount Kakara, where Cerdwin gasped at the sight of his hand, burned and useless. The god said nothing as she took his hand and began dabbing it in medicine and poultices, trying to heal it. Irvyn was horrified at what his gift had done to his twin and Luxovious wondered if Keaira could regain the use of his hand. But Cerdwin could work wonders, and almost completely healed the terrible injury. But as a consequence one of Keaira's hands is thinner and paler than the other.

    By the time Keaira was able to use his hand again, more problems arose. As Irvyn predicted, the monsters that dwelled in the darkness returned, plaguing the mortals worse than before. By the time the sun came back over the horizon the mortals were fearful, their gratefulness for the night briefly forgotten.

    Irvyn was not happy and wanted the night to be banished forever. Of course Keaira refused, and the two began arguing furiously. Light and darkness collided and all cowered in terror at the wrath of the gods. Not even their parents could quell their anger.

    To try and clear his head, Luxovious went out for a walk. He thought of his dilemma along the way. Both of his sons made solutions to problems, but in turn caused more problems. They could see the errors in their solutions, but were too proud to do anything about it. The father god knew he needed to make peace between the brothers, or else they would grow worse. His steps brought him to a feather lying on the ground, fallen from the wing of a hawk. He picked it up and studied it, and suddenly he knew what he had to do. The twins did not need something, but someone to make them see peace.

    "This woman shall have the spirit of a hawk, free and unchained from all of the problems that affect us," he declared. He said "woman" because he knew that having another male would only complicate things even more. "She shall be strong and proud like the hawk and her mind shall not be weak-willed, like most mortal women are." He thought about the person he wanted, what she would think and what she would be like. Then he took the knife from his belt and slit his hand. He curled his hand around the feather, letting the silver blood of the gods soak into it. He put his thoughts into his blood, and the feather lit up with a flash. From the light sprung forth a woman, clothed into a deep maroon dress and an even darker red cape. Her skin was a nut brown, her eyes the color of chocolate and her wavy hair spilled across her back in brown waves. She was proud and graceful, she held her head proud and high as she looked around. She was perfect, Luxovious thought, and he named her Caoimhe, which meant gentleness, beauty, and grace.

    "Where are my brothers, father?" Caoimhe asked, for she already knew the whole situation thanks to Luxovious' blood. "It is not wise to keep them fighting."

    "Back at the mountain. Come, my child." Luxovious turned to go.

    "Wait," Caoimhe told him. He turned in puzzlement and watched her as she went up to a large maple tree. She spoke to it, gently asking it if she could have some of its wood. The tree knew she was a goddess, and a gentle one at that, and gave up its wood graciously. Using the wood, Caoimhe fashioned a staff out of it, then she pulled a large red ruby out of the ground and settled it on top of her staff. "Now we can go," she said once the stone and wood had blended together and hummed with power at the goddess' touch.

    Luxovious led her to Mount Kakara, where Irvyn and Keaira were still arguing. They paused when they saw their father walk in with a beautiful woman trailing behind him. Caoimhe immediately went up to them and began speaking. She spoke soft, quiet words that reassured them and made their rage sweep away like leaves in a gale, and for once they sat back and began thinking. "Why not make a light for the night too?" She asked, "Not a bright one, brother Keaira. Just enough so the mortals can see and drive back the demons." With her advice, the gods all reached a compromise, and Caoimhe became known as the Goddess of Neutrality and Peace.

    Using their combined powers, the fives deities created the moon. At first there was only one moon, but they had used such a burst of power that a second, smaller one was created as well. Then, Caoimhe and Irvyn danced among the stars, and the souls that inhabited the stars danced with them. They led the souls around and around and eventually caught them, then they planted them in the surface of the moons. The moons lit up with light, making the world below visible. But as they watched, one final thing happened.

    The gods are supremely powerful beings, and when they are near their auras make strange things happen. The energy of the souls bled out from the moons, and with all five of the deities nearby and their auras flaming, the two energies mixed. The auras of the souls spun together and the gods' and goddess' auras weaved a net that held them all together. The deities watched in awe as two goddesses were born from the souls, quite by accident. One was a woman barely younger than Caoimhe and the other was a girl barely older than an adolescent. The women were called Alastria and Alastriona, and they became the goddesses of the moons and the watchers of the world. The rest of the deities settled themselves in their new and improved world, finding balance at last.
     
  2. "So there was balance in the world after the gods created the moons?" One of the children asked when the story was done. He tilted his head to one side, confused, since he had always been told there was some sort of trouble or another during Ercovea's early years.

    The old man chuckled and took a sip from his drink. "Not for very long," he stated. "Y'see, when you make something like a world, you gotta keep it in good shape. Especially when you have people like elves and dwarves running around, you gotta make the races balance each other, just like the world."

    His answer was met with a few puzzled stares. "But why were the elves and dwarves created anyway? Why do that if they upset the balance?" A girl asked, twirling his hair with her fingers.

    "Because the humans were messing it up first." One of the older children replied with a cheeky grin.

    "You're absolutely right, boy." The man told him, puffing away at his pipe.

    Now many of the children were confused. "But - but, why?" A seven-year-old asked. "Why anything if we were upsetting the world?"

    The old man took a slow, deliberate swing of his drink. "Well, that's another story all together," he said. "But if y'all want to hear it..." He saw nods from all around. "All righty then. Well first off, many races are on Ercovea..."

    * * * *​

    Many, many races walk the faces of Ercovea. Many creatures stalk its shadows, warm themselves in its sun, howl at its moons, divulge its secrets, and sleep in the cusp if its hand. And whether you walk, fly, swim, slither, whether you use two legs or four or more or none, whether you breathe fire or call upon the elements for power, you were the idea of one of the seven gods.

    Everyone knows that the world started out from nothing, and the great Father God Luxovious spun the world out of this nothingness for his consort, Cerdwin. At first the world was empty and dead, but then Luxovious and Cerdwin breathed life into it. Cerdwin made trees sprout from the ground, made soil for them to grow in and crafted plants to give the world beauty. To give it life and change, Luxovious made the animals and gave them all specific traits and instincts. Cerdwin made her trees sprout fruit for the lesser animals and used the power of mana to bind the plants and animals together in harmony. She named this harmony Nature.

    It seemed fined for a while, until Luxovious grew curious and dissatisfied. Eventually, he fashioned Man from the five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and aether. Earth to shape the body, Water for the blood and organs, Wind to sustain life — evidenced by the air we inhale and exhale — , Fire to give the flame of life, and Aether to give us souls and bind all of the elements together. Cerdwin looked upon Man and smiled, and using the same elements she made Woman, for she knew the pain of being alone and joys of love, something she knew from her own lover. However, Luxovious had one more gift for the humans, the gift of intelligence. This made Man powerful and the humans rose above the other animals. They could not see in the dark, hear prey stepping in the grass or smell a thousand scents, but Man's power lay in their cunning mind and their nimble hands which could shape the world to their will.

    It is uncertain why Luxovious gave humans intelligence. Some say he wanted to see change in Ercovea, other say he was fascinated with free thought and will and wanted to study the understand how the mind worked. Some even say that the gods themselves did not understand their reasons for existing and their purpose, so they made humans because they wanted to understand more of themselves.

    However, with intelligence came a powerful consequence. Humans did not know how to control their wills, and they unleashed a great evil upon the world. They had a desire to control all things around them and they let loose evils on nature and each other. Then the children of Luxovious and Cerdwin came in. Irvyn, the God of Light, looked upon the humans and felt a great sadness enter his heart. So he offered his own gift to men: the gift of morals and the desire to better one's self. However, Irvyn's twin brother, Keaira, the God of Shadows, saw this and decided to even the humans out. He gave them the give of ambition and greed and self-desire. Not the be left out, Caoimhe, the youngest of the siblings and the Goddess of Peace and Neutrality, gave the gift of free will and choice so the humans could choose between good and evil. And so the balance was restored in humans.

    But like with his father, Irvyn grew dissatisfied. He believed that the humans did far more evil than good, and he decided to create a purely good race. He then crafted the elves from trees and shaped them in his own image. From their beginning, elves have believed in doing good and living in peace with nature, since Irvyn taught them morals and stressed the joys of being good. This is why elves shun evil and never take things from nature without her permission first. And yet again due to free will, elves also had an opportunity to do evil, and in consequence they are arrogant, prideful, and unwilling to change.

    Keaira knew that there was trouble brewing in the lands. Humans and elves, so caught up in their differences, were fighting over the surface land. They would rip up Ercovea if they were not balanced out. So Keaira created the dwarves out of clay and rock. As a gift to Cerdwin, he gave the dwarves a home inside the earth, under the mountains. He showed his dwarves the lovely gems and metals under the earth, which were coveted but never found because the humans and elves did not know they had to dig for them. Then the god gave the dwarves greed and ambition, which is why dwarves dig furiously for treasure and then refuse to part with them once they find them. But this was not the greatest gift of all. Keaira whispered a secret to his children, one that had been kept only by the gods. He taught them the secret of steel, and with it the dwarves made metal tools and weapons, which gave them an advantage over the humans and elves that wanted the metal so badly.

    While this made a somewhat stable balance between the races, it greatly upset nature. Elves were mainly good with a few bad traits, dwarves were not wholly good while not being purely bad, and humans could be good, bad, or neutral. While they balanced each other, their evils were instead turned to the original inhabitants: the plants and animals. Animals were hunted for meat, fur, and for sport. Plants were uprooted and burned to make way for cities and materials. The ground was overturned in search of more gems and metal.

    Cerdwin was horrified, and Caoimhe came to her aid. Without telling her brothers, Caoimhe made the mythical beasts. She made dragons and griffons, unicorns, phoenixes, dire animals, ents, fren, and all of the powerful creatures that do not walk with Men. She also gave these creatures intelligence, but also strength cunning and magical powers in order to set them on an equal footing with the other races. These became the defenders with nature, alongside Cerdwin's Fae races, and often combated with the other two-legged creatures. They became feared, respected, hated, and revered among others.

    And then came the final two races, the spiritual and the evil. Two sides of a coin, always hating each other. The evil beings are the servants and children of Nukpana, the mother of all evil. The dark goddess created her servants to combat the other deities, and most of them were cast into Evermore with their creator. The most well-known of Nukpana's children are the demons, the hell-raisers, which are said to be made from the elements and man's fears and selfish desires. Some still walk Ercovea today, such as the ogres, trolls, beholders, parsiath, minotaur, hellhounds, wraiths, shades, and a variety of others.

    The exact opposite of these are the spiritual beings. They were originally conceived by the moon goddesses Alastria and Alastriona, although all of the gods and goddesses had a hand in their making. The spiritual beings are those who have been blessed by the gods, who serve as their messengers and carry out tasks. Angels, summons, and guardians are prime example of spiritual beings, although summons were crafted specifically for the magi to give them a closer connection to their gods. Sometimes spiritual beings were personally made by a god or goddess and given power instead of originally being a mortal blessed by a god, although this is rare and these beongs are hardly ever seen by the mortal eye.
     
    #2 Chibi, Oct 5, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  3. Wow Chibi, you are really good at these stories. I like it so far, and I think you should continue the way you're going. Keep up the good work! *Sits down at the fire with the rest of the kids.*
     
  4. Nice. I love these myths that you have come up with. This original mythology is very reminiscent of Greek and Norse mythology, with the burning sun, the dwarves, and the elves.
     
  5. Thank you! I'm glad people like these stories when I have so much fun writing them. :D

    And you're right Secad, when I thought no one would notice xDDD Yes, this is greatly influenced by Norse mythology (which I love), it gets a little more obvious later on. Especially with the god who walks with two ravens....
     
  6. ((And this was a neat little myth that spiraled out of control until it became a short story. I have a way of doing that with the things I write :p ))

    "Wow, that's a lot of creatures." One of the children remarked wen he was done.

    The man nodded wisely. "Yes, there are many, many races in Ercovea. All the humans, elves, and dwarves have their own races native to their lands. And then there's the Arunabs, the Kal'ser, and Slit-Eye people, whose lands also have different creautres. And then that's not even touching the Fae or the magic islands." He sipped his drink as a stunned silence came across the place.

    "Wooow, that's a lotta animals." A child said, scrathcing his curly mop of hair. "Have you seen them all?"

    The man chuckled into his drink. "No, I've seen many things throughout my life, but never the other creatures of the foreign lands."

    Another silence fell, although this was a decisive silence. The children were preparing to ask for the next story. As they were racking their brains, one child suddenly raised hishand. The man looked at him. "You said the evil beings and demons were created by Nukpana," he said. "Who's that?"

    The reaction was not what he expected. The old man almost dropped his pipe and the older children gasped. The younger children looked around in confusement. "The mother of all evil," one of the older children murmured, although no one knew who it was.

    "It's just some silly tale my mother tells me," a girl proclaimed, although she looked unsure of herself. " 'You be good, or Nukpana will come and carry you off and eat you,' is what she says."

    "Nukpana is no silly tale," the old man growled in such a tone that everyone was silence instantly. His jaw hardened as he glared at them. "You mean to tell me that you younggings don't know who Nukpana is?" He watched as the younger kids shook their heads fearfully. The man sighed and ran his hands through his wispy hair. "What's the world comin' to these days? When I was your age I knew all of the stories about Nukpana."

    "Could you tell them to us?" One brave child asked, his curiosity winning over fear.

    The man bit his lip as he thought. "Your parents won' like me tellin' them to you, so you must keep this a secret, uderstand?" There were enthusiastic nods all around. Children loved keeping sercrets, especially if it was from their parents. "Alright now you lot, if you kids come down with nightmares I don't want you complaining to me or your parents. Remember that, or I won't tell you a story ever again." The declaration was enough to stun every single one of them into silence. "Now, I'll tell you about the daughter of Keaira--"

    "The daughter of Keaira?!" A child gasped, and immediately he was hushed from every side.

    The glare the man gave him could have withered a plant in seconds. "Yes," he growled, "his daughter. Now be quiet and listen. It was a short while after the dwarves were created...."

    * * * *​

    It was not long after the dwarves had first come into existence when our story begins, and it begins with the Great Father, Luxovious. He was angry with his son, Keaira. His son's recent actions had upset him, but what the dwarves were doing was what enraged him. Keaira's creations were tearing up the earth looking for precious gems and metals, and Luxovious had seen his wife in pain over the destruction.

    Spurred by his anger, Luxovious traveled to the Netherworld, where Keaira lived. The spirits parted for him and let him pass, and he stormed into Keaira's castle. His voice thundered throughout the entire Netherworld, and it was a terrible thing to hear. He demanded Keaira to explain himself, and told him to send the dwarves back where they came from.

    Keaira faced his father, and although he was afraid he stood his ground. "I made them to restore balance, Father," he said. "The humans and elves up the world because of their differences, and now they will turn to the dwarves and let the earth be."

    "And your dwarves are twice as bad! Digging up every little thing on the planet for metal!" Luxovious shouted back.

    The two gods argued fiercely, like they had done in the past. Unfortunately, Luxovious and Keaira did not agree on many subjects, and they were often at odds with each other. But this time it was different. It was more than just a petty quarrel; the future of Ercovea was at stake. As they fought, Luxovious grew angrier. Being a God of Law, he was used to being obeyed, and he struck down those who did not obey him. In his anger he struck at his son and knocked Keaira to the ground.

    Keaira was shocked as he fell, for he never thought his father would result to violence. In fact, he was so shocked that he forgot to defend himself. Luxovious struck again and again, and eventually Keaira could not fight back, for his father's power held him a vice grip. The blows repeatedly struck him, and the silver blood of the gods began pouring from Keaira's body. Now the blood of the gods is different from mortal blood, for a god's power runs through their blood. As the floor was stained silver, the nearby shadows moved. The gods' powers and auras, magnified by their emotions, had spread into the shadows and was creating something. An entity was forming from the anger and pain and the raw power was giving it thought. It could sense pain and fear, and it loved it. But more than that, it could sense power, and it craved power. Keaira and Luxovious were oblivious as a mass of shadows detached itself from the rest and hurled itself upon a pool of blood on the floor.

    The raw, undiluted power ran through the shadows, and in that instant the shadows had shape and consciousness. A being was created all in a moment and she looked at the quarreling gods in amusement.

    Luxovious, sensing the surge of power, stopped his assault and looked at the beast before him. Keaira felt the blows stop and looked as well. The creature was large, taller than even the gods, with black scales covering its body and four muscled legs, with pearl-gray claws that could shred through flesh and bone. Her head was wide and reptilian, almost rectangular in shape, with a wide mouth filled with fangs. She had four eyes, slightly slanted and teardrop-shaped, which glowed a bright crimson and had no pupil or iris. Around her neck was a writing mass of tentacles, like the mane of a lion, and the gods noticed that some of the longer tentacles were actually snakes.

    The shadow creature bristled, her tentacle mane thrashing. She felt the rage and fear fading, replaced by shock. The two emotions still gripped their holders, but she wanted more. "Why do you cease your fighting, gods?" She hissed, her voice slithering through the air like a serpent's. "Do not stop on my account."

    The way she spoke, the vibes she was letting off, instantly made Luxovious suspicious. Meanwhile Keaira was watching her in wonder; this was something born of his blood and his shadows, so was this in a way an embodiment of his nature?

    Luxovious stood up, forgetting his bleeding son for the moment. "What are you, beast?" He demanded, "What is your name?"

    The beast lifted her head proudly and looked Luxovious right in the eyes. "I am Nukpana," she sated, her voice both proud and bold. "Born from shadows and of blood spilled out of anger and drenched in fear. Power flows through my body and my eyes will pierce the darkness and see the deepest secrets that lie there."

    Luxovious narrowed his eyes at Nukpana, for he did not like her words or her description of how she came to be. He remembered her words though and was consumed with a sudden guilt as he looked at what he had done to his son.

    "Tsk, don't look so guilty Luxovious." Nukpana hissed, her tone smug and pleased. "If you really feel bad about what you did, then why did you do it in the first place?" She inched forward and flicked out her forked tongue, scenting the blood in the air. She could still smell power in the blood, and she wanted it.

    Luxovious noticed this and suddenly stepped in front of Keaira protectively. The shadow beast had made him forget his anger towards the other god. "That's as far as you go, beast," he growled.

    "Father," a voice spoke from her feet. Luxovious was horrified to realize that the broken whisper belong to his son. Keaira pushed himself into a sitting position and let the hood fall back from his face. "Do not scorn her for what she is. That is the jobs of the mortals." He could sense the darkness around Nukpana, even thicker than his own, but his own amazement prevented him from seeing the other things in her heart.

    Luxovious flinched at the harsh comment, like Keaira knew he would. Instead he turned back to Nukpana. "How do you know my name?" He asked, deciding to change the subject.

    Nukpana smiled visibly. "I am born from you, from your anger," she explained. "It is only natural that I know your name. However, my true father, whose blood, pain, and fear —" Luxovious flinched at each word as if it were a blow "—brought me into existence. I know his name is Keaira, and I know he sits behind you now." She stepped a little to the side so she could see Keaira better.

    The God of Darkness gazed at her, his ice blue eyes meeting her bright red ones (all four of them). He was still in a minor state of shock, because this creature was—in all technical terms—his daughter. Keaira had a difficult time comprehending that. Nukpana stared right back, neither challenging nor bold as she had displayed towards Luxovious, instead she just seemed to be taking the sight of him in. Finally Keaira stood up; Luxovious moved to help him but Keaira flinched away. He leaned against the wall for support, smearing blood on it. "What's done is done," he said, speaking to both of them. "We cannot change the past, merely accept it and adapt to the present." The shadows in the room came towards him, drawn by his unspoken command, and covered the blood in the room. Nukpana hissed in displeasure as she sensed the blood disappear and Keaira glanced at her.

    Two ravens suddenly flew through the window, one black and one white. They cawed and perched on Keaira's shoulders, chattering and fanning their master's wounds with their wings. "I must take my leave now," Keaira said. "I am tired and I need to rest. Luxovious, I suggest you take your leave as well. Nukpana, come with me." He turned his back on them and limped away. Nukpana followed, but not without throwing a smug glance at Luxovious first.

    The Father God was hurt from Keaira's harsh words. He didn't even call him father, just Luxovious. He knew Keaira's words had also been a veiled threat, and if he didn't leave soon then the Netherworld would turn against him. With a heavy heart, he felt his son's realm.

    He met the rest of his family at Mount Kakara, which is also known as the gate to the heavens. They had known something was wrong, and had gone to the mountains to wait for Luxovious to return. Luxovious was forced to tell them what had happened, to their horror. Cerdwin was sad and angry with her husband for striking their son, Irvyn was also angry but he was mainly worried for his twin and was considering going to the Netherworld to check on him. Caoimhe was only worried about Nukpana, for she did not trust Luxovious' description of her and feared that Keaira might be in danger. Even Alastria and Alastriona had come down from their moon gardens to see what was going on, and the arrival of Nukpana terrified them. Even though the other gods and goddesses were afraid of Nukpana, they did not want to do anything yet.

    Their fears were not well-founded though, for Nukpana was not as powerful as they all thought. She had only gotten a little of Keaira's blood, and she wasn't even a goddess. Her own powers were barely that of a demigod, but she was intimidating all the same. As she padded after Keaira, she watched his bloodstained robes hungrily. Her tongue would flick out, and over and over she would almost lick a bit of blood off him, but she always stopped herself at the last moment. She knew it was better to wait, and she looked up and saw the white raven staring at her. As she looked upon it she noticed that there were patches of thick cloth over its eyes, and she wondered why.

    "I must leave you now," Keaira said as they stopped in front of what must have been his bedroom chambers. "I need my rest. Kotor and Koten will show you around, and any questions you have may be answered by them." He swept into his room and shut the door, while the ravens flapped downwards.

    "Revered Daughter," he black raven spoke, "if you would come with us please. We will show you around the castle and the Netherworld; we hope you will enjoy being here."

    Nukpana nodded absently. "Which of you is which?" She asked, looking back and forth between the two birds.

    "I am Kotor," the black raven answered her.

    "And I am Koten," the white raven added.

    Nukpana blinked in surprise. Koten and Kotor. "Knowledge and Power," she whispered, already knowing the names of all things (more thanks to Keaira's blood).

    "Correct," Koten said, taking flight and circling above them before flying off. "Come mistress, this way." Nukpana wondered how Koten could see despite the cloth over his eyes and told herself to ask him about it later.

    The two ravens flew among the corridors of the castle with Nukpana always in tow. They told her of how Keaira spoke to the stone and created the castle purely out of words and willpower; then later he opened his realm to the souls of the dead, for the stars were becoming too many and there were souls who were not pure enough to enter the heavens so they wandered aimlessly. There were souls everywhere as well, drifting in and out with an occasional wail and coming through the walls and floor, but none of them touched the trio. Not all of the inhabitants were souls, there were also shadowdrakes and ghouls and the walking undead, the latter of who served as Keaira's army.

    They explored the huge castle for almost a day, but not all of it. The building spanned so far that not even the ravens knew where it ended. Instead they flew out and showed Nukpana the Netherworld, all of the secret passages and the rivers of spirit energy, the mountains underneath the earth and the ever-present souls. Most of the spirits milled about, conversing with their dead friends and family, but as they went deeper they came upon the condemned souls, the ones who screamed in torment. As Nukpana gazed at the souls, locked forever in torture for their sins, she smiled and a nefarious plan began to form in her mind.

    The only thing that they did more than walking was talk. It seemed that Nukpana had a question for everything, as all young ones do. She asked about the Netherworld and the souks and the servants of Keaira, but most of all she asked about Keaira himself. She questioned about his powers and his beginning, then she asked about his family. She had many questions about his family, about all of the other gods and goddesses for that matter. She thought about Luxovious and Cerdwin (Caoimhe was no threat to her), but she was greatly annoyed by the little information she could get on Irvyn. He was the God of Light, which was bad, and Keaira's brother, which was worse.

    Eventually Koten and Kotor left her, saying that they would come if she ever needed them. Nukpana smiled and made her way to Keaira's chamber and laid herself in front of his door like an obedient dog. She laid there for days, and the souls brought her food whenever she wanted. When Kotor came by and asked what she was doing, she responded, "I am guarding my father while he sleeps." She was admired for her loyalty.

    Koten flapped by and looked at her curiously. Nukpana stared back, feeling the force of his gaze even though she could not see his eyes. "I shall see Keaira now," he said, his tone indicating that he would not take no for an answer.

    Nukpana blinked in shock and stood up so he could pass. She opened the door for him, wondering why she was doing it and how Koten could see where he was going. The raven passed and he waited until the door shut before going further. "Master Keaira," he spoke, hopping towards the bed. "Your sister Caoimhe has come by, she wants to see you."

    Keaira sighed from the bed. "I am injured and do not wish to be disturbed," he whispered faintly.

    "I know that master," Koten replied, "and I told her you were. She was very persistent that she had to see you."

    Keaira sighed again, for despite his often cold nature he could hardly refuse his siblings anything. "Fine," he grumbled, "bring her in."

    Meanwhile a woman had arrived outside of his door. Kotor led her in, and Nukpana looked up with interest. The woman was a goddess, she could tell form the aura. She was young, nearly mid-twenties, but there was something that caught the eyes immediately. It was not her beautiful nut-brown skin, her dark brown eyes, her wild brown hair, or even her dark red clothes made of velvet. It was the way she moved, both with grace and dignity; she held her head high and proud and she looked Nukpana right in the eye. A noble hawk sat on her shoulder, and it looked as well. Nukpana was surprised, this had to be Caoimhe, if she remembered Kotor's description of her. The demigoddess had believed Caoimhe to be weak and timid, being the Goddess of Peace and Neutrality, but she did not expect this wild, untamable spirit.

    Kotor did not notice the sudden tension, or rather he acted as if he didn't. He fluttered forward and rapped his beak on the door. "Master, mistress Caoimhe to see you." He cawed loudly.

    Suddenly the door opened and Koten appeared. "Master Keaira bids you welcome, mistress," he cawed. "Although he asks that you leave your hawk."

    Caoimhe nodded and transferred the hawk to her arm. "Stay here Acheron," she told it, setting it down on a nearby chair. She gathered her cloak around her shoulders and stepped forward. Nukpana moved aside, although she and Caoimhe did not break eye contact until Caoimhe went through the doorway. This left Nukpana with the three birds, and an odd silence descended.

    Behind the shut door, Caoimhe approached the bed, then realized it was empty. She frowned until she heard Keaira's voice, "Over here, sister." She looked up and gasped at the sight.

    Keaira leaned weakly against the window, staring outside blankly. His hood was over his head, but Caoimhe could see his face and the scars on it. Keaira seemed weaker, more tired, and simply drained. He turned towards her and she saw his eyes, normally a chilly blue, were almost colorless with exhaustion. "Welcome Caoimhe," he whispered, his voice as weak as the rest of him. "I trust you are well?"

    His ironic sarcasm was not lost of Caoimhe. "I am, but you are not." She said and stepped toward him, taking one of his hands in her own. It was the hurt one, the one which was always thinner and paler than the other hand.

    "I could have told you that," Keaira replied, letting her examine his hand. "So why are you here? Did Luxovious send you to talk to me instead of coming himself?"

    Caoimhe shook her head. "No, Irvyn did." She saw Keaira's look and went on, "He was afraid that you would think Luxovious sent him and throw him out, so he asked me to come with him."

    Keaira looked down guiltily, then frowned. "Irvyn's here?" He asked in puzzlement.

    Caoimhe nodded, "He waits at the front gates. I was to go back and tell him it was alright for him to come."

    "But that's not you sole reason for being here," Keaira said, looking back up into her eyes.

    The goddess hesitated, then shook her head. "No, it's not," she admitted. She suddenly looked at the door as if fearing she would be overheard, then leaned closer. "I don't trust that creature sitting outside your door. She's dangerous."

    "She's also my daughter." Keaira replied, although he stumbled over the title.

    "But you do not think of her as one," Caoimhe retorted quickly.

    Keaira paused, and slowly closed his eyes. "No, I do not," he sighed. "And I could not even if I wanted to. I am darkness Caoimhe, and we both know that darkness isn't exactly nurturing." The sardonic smile was back.

    Caoimhe nodded. "She is ambitious, and hungry. She is darker than even you brother, and I know that's a hard thing to do."

    "It's how she was born," Keaira sighed again. "From blood, anger, pain, and fear." He looked at their tightly clasped hands and blinked in thought. "But I suppose you are right, I shall keep an eye out. Although she might not be as dangerous as you think. She's only a demigoddess."

    Caoimhe sighed in relief. "That's one good bit of news at least." She turned to go. "I'll have to go to Irvyn," she said as she headed for the door. "He will be getting impatient."

    "Why does he want to come?" Keaira asked as he followed her out.

    "He's very worried about you. You know what happens when he gets upset."

    Keaira nodded and looked at the scene in front of him. The ravens were hopping on a table, Acheron was perched on the back of a chair, and Nukpana was laying beside the table like a hound. Despite the awkwardness before, they seemed to be engaged in a conversation now. They looked up as the deities approached and Nukpana actually seemed brighten; the tentacles wriggled in excitement and Keaira swore he could see a smile on her reptilian face. Darker than him or not, she certainly looked happy to see him.

    Nukpana scrambled to her feet. "Father! How are you? Are you well?" She asked, for she certainly was happy to see him, but for different reasons than Keaira suspected.

    Keaira looked at her, aware of his sister's gaze. "Better than I was before," he answered evasively.

    Nukpana smiled again and looked at Keaira closely. His voice was weak and thin, she could still see his half-healed scars and his tired eyes, and she did not miss how he leaned into Caoimhe's arm for support.

    "Have a nice trip sister," Keaira was saying.

    "Oh I will," Caoimhe answered with a smile. "Be sure to tell your souls to keep their hands off him." Then she collected her hawk and left without another word.

    Nukpana was puzzled. "Keep their hands off of whom?" She asked Keaira.

    "My brother, Irvyn," Keaira replied absently. "The souls like his light, and they hunger for it."

    "Is master Irvyn coming?" Kotor asked hopefully, for he liked Irvyn's company.

    "Yes," Keaira answered, "tell the castle to prepare for his arrival."

    As they talked, Nukpana sat by the table, not hearing a word they were saying. The snakes around her necked hissed in agitation, and she longed to rake her claws across something. She pulled a deep breath to calm herself and asked as steadily as she could: "Why is he coming?"

    "To check on me, no doubt." Keaira told her, "He will insist on healing me as well."

    Nukpana nearly snarled in anger. This could ruin her plans completely! Yet… As she pondered the matter, she realized that this could actually work in her favor. She could kill the two birds with one well-placed stone, but she had to hurry. While Keaira and the ravens weren't looking, she slipped away and ran from the castle. She ran with all the strength in her, and soon she was running down the secret tunnels that led to the lower regions of the Netherworld. She burst out and stopped in front of the screaming souls of the tortured. She was nearly frantic by now, Irvyn might have already arrived and if he did then her plan was wasted. Wasting no more time, she threw back her head and roared, and the sound shook the very stones around them.

    While Nukpana may have not been a goddess, she still had power, and she called upon that power now. She commanded the torturing of the souls to ease; she could not banish it, for only Keaira had that authority, but she could lessen it until the screams died away. "Spirits!" She yelled, then she continued once she knew they were paying attention. "Hear me, for I have a proposition for you!"

    Countless heads turned to her, and millions of glowing eyes bore into hers. Nukpana grinned and went on, "How would you like to be free?"

    The shouts she received rattled the earth under her claws and she howled for silence. She went on, "I can free you, all of you. But you must help me first."

    "How?" Many of the spirits asked, although a few asked "Why?"

    "Because I do not have the power to free you just yet," Nukpana explained. "But if you help me then I will."

    "How can we help you mistress Nukpana?" The spirits asked eagerly.

    Nukpana smiled and she knew she had won. "I need the strongest warriors out of all of you. If you succeed, then I will let you feast upon the aura of Irvyn, the God of Light."

    This again sent the ravenous souls into a frenzy, and again Nukpana had to silence them. "I will choose," she said and began walking among the spirits. They crowded around her and begged that she choose them, and she snapped at them when they got too close. Occasionally she would pick out a spirit, and after she had explored the entire mob only a handful of spirits towed after her. They were those whose sins had been the worst while they were still alive, and they had been tortured for centuries and still had countless years to go. Nukpana stood in front of them and asked for their names.

    "We do not know, mistress Nukpana," they answered. "We do not remember."

    "Very well then," Nukpana said. "I shall give you new names." And she did. Their new names became Greed, Envy, Lust, Conceit, Murder, Hate, Deception, Disdain, and Heartless. These later became the nine worst sins, although for now they were just spirits. "I must leave you now," she said to them. "I cannot free you, but I can ease your suffering so you can think clearly. I shall leave the paths to the above levels open, and when I call you, you shall rush down these paths, find the God of Light, and kill him. Do you understand?" They promised that they did, and Nukpana left them and hurried back to Keaira's castle.

    Nukpana's greatest fear had been that Irvyn had already gotten to the castle while she was away and healed Keaira, but when she returned she realized that her fears had been foolish. The servants and spirits were bustling about, preparing for the god's visit, with Kotor and Koten supervising everything. Keaira himself stood by and watched, but said nothing.

    Nukpana went up to him and spoke quietly. "You don't look well," she said.

    "I don't feel well," Keaira admitted, watching the snakes on her mane.

    "Perhaps you should talk a walk," Nukpana suggested, amazed at the opportunity that had just landed in her lap. "The energies of the Netherworld could do good for your health."

    Keaira frowned, pondering both Nukpana and her logic. "I suppose they could. That's not a bad idea actually." He pushed himself off the wall he was leaning on and slowly made his way towards the door. He soon found Nukpana right next to him.

    "You are weak Keaira," she said, looking distressed. "Please, lean on me. I'll support you."

    Keaira looked at her warily, but Nukpana could be just as deceptive as her father, and she radiated sincerity. As cautiously as an alchemyst handling an unknown potion, he laid his hand on her shoulder and gently supported himself. He was careful to avoid the tentacle mane, which was constantly moving and writhing, and he watched some of the snakes eye his hand curiously. Nukpana supported him as easily as if he were a small child, and the duo walked carefully outside, looking to all outsiders like a kind soul helping a cripple.

    Nukpana smiled almost every bit of the way, for every step took them further away from the castle and Keaira's protection. After a while the castle became just a faint impression in the distance, and Nukpana was ready to put her plan into action. Before she could though, she sensed a disturbance that rippled throughout the entire Netherworld. She snarled with displeasure, for the feeling make her guts churn and her tentacles and snakes thrashed and hissed madly. "What is that?!" She hissed, grinding the stone beneath her claws.

    Only Keaira did not seem affected by the change. "That would be my brother," he said mildly. "He's entered the Netherworld."

    Nukpana tensed, and Keaira felt her powerful muscles bunch up under his hand. A long, low hiss crept out of her teeth, which was echoed by the snakes. Keaira misinterpreted her alarm as her sickness from the feeling. "Doesn't feel too good, does it?" He asked with a smile. "Every time Irvyn comes here, he upsets the entire Netherworld."

    Nukpana hardly heard his words. Irvyn was coming, she had to do it now! Ignoring Keaira, she howled once more, and the sound traveled through the Netherworld and down below where the spirits lay in wait. They heard their mistress' command, and they burst out of their prison and headed for the god whom they could sense like a beacon.

    Meanwhile, Keaira stepped back in alarm as Nukpana howled. He sensed that something was very wrong. "Nukpana!" He cried, his voice like a knife. "What are you doing?!"

    His voice snapped Nukpana back to the present, and she whirled to face him with bloodlust in her eyes. "Something I've been wanting to do for a long time," she snarled in answer and leaped upon Keaira. She easily overpowered the smaller god and raked her claws across his body, bringing forth bubbling fountains of silver.

    Keaira was taken completely off-guard, and he readied his powers to fight back, then he realized he truly was weak. The huge claws sliced open his body, and the god screamed in pain. And what a scream it was! It echoed throughout every corner of the Netherworld and even the mortals in Ercovea could hear something in the wind.

    And Irvyn, who had been heading briskly to the castle, heard it. Not only did he hear it, he felt it. He could feel claws ripping through his chest and a terrible fear went through him. Even though he had never heard such a sound before, he knew immediately that the scream was Keaira's, and that he was feeling the pain and fear of his twin. "Keaira!!" He screamed in response, and he noticed that there were a group of souls flying towards him. In seconds the nine spirits were upon him, and they grabbed him with their cold hands and hungrily sucked at his aura. The spirits rejoiced at the pure light flooding through them, and Irvyn felt his energy draining away. While surprised, Irvyn reacted quickly. While the souls may hunger for light, they also fear it, and harsh light blasted from his body and into the spirits. The nine warriors howled and fled, disappearing into the distance. Irvyn did not chase them, and instead took to the air, racing toward his brother as a bolt of light.

    Nukpana had sliced open Keaira's body, and now she licked hungrily at the blood. It tasted better than anything in existence, and she lapped at it thirstily. Keaira thrashed under her, but she just held him down and slashed open more wounds, bringing forth more blood. She could feel her power growing every second the blood entered her body, and soon the attacks Keaira was throwing at her ceased to have affect. The snakes on her neck bit the god again and again, and the potency of their venom increased with Nukpana's power. Soon the poison burned in Keaira's veins like fire, and in that terrible instant the god knew he was going to die.

    Nukpana leaned in close to him. "Thank you for your blood Father," she hissed, her maw stained silver. "It has been most sweet." Then she bot into his body, intending to drain him of every last drop of blood.

    But something stopped her. Something slammed into her and knocked her off of Keaira. She shrieked in agony as the spot where she was hit burned like a branding iron and scorched her flesh. When she got back up she saw Irvyn, standing in front of Keaira and shining in all of his glory. "You shall come no further beast," he said, echoing what his father had once said to her.

    Nukpana snarled at him, furious that her plan had backfired. Behind Irvyn, she could see armies of the undead running towards them, led by Kotor and Koten. Irvyn threw a spear of light at her, which she quickly dodged. Nukpana knew that if she did not run, then she would die. She was already a goddess now, if she had been any less powerful then Irvyn's first attack would have vaporized her. The snakes on her neck hissed at Irvyn, and Nukpana roared, a sound of summoning. At the sound of her call, the nine souls rushed to her side, and the bonds that tied the condemned souls to their torture broke free, and they rushed to the one who had spoken sweet promises to them. "Come, my darling," she said to the souls who stood by her. "Let us leave this place, and find our own sanctuary!" She turned and ran, leading the souls to the gates of the Netherworld. Keaira's armies followed them.

    Now that Nukpana was gone, Irvyn allowed his anger to drop and he fell to his knees beside his twin. "Brother," he whispered, cradling Keaira in his arms. He could tell Keaira was still breathing, but he had lost an incredible amount of blood.

    Koten and Kotor flapped to his side. "Will he live?" Kotor asked.

    Irvyn frowned, "Not if I don't heal him. Right now." He knew what he had to do, and he knew Keaira would not like it, but he did not care. Irvyn would do anything for his brother. He set Keaira down and placed his hands on his chest, after a moment his hands lit up and poured healing light into the dying god.

    Keaira's eyes snapped open and once more he scream, the sound actually cracking the stone around them. Even though it was healing magic, any type of magic involving light put him in agony. The scream tortured Irvyn, but he knew his brother would die if he did not do something, and that thought kept him going. Keaira thrashed and screamed, mindless in his pain, and was not even aware that his brother was with him. The wounds on his body, while severe, could mostly be healed, but when Irvyn staunched the blood flow he realized he had another problem on his hands. Keaira was still poisoned, and Irvyn did not know how to deal with poison.

    In an instant the god made a decision. He picked his brother up in his arms and ran. Koten and Kotor followed him. Travelling on wings of light, Irvyn fled Netherworld and flew to the Vertan Mountains where his mother, the Goddess of Healing, would help him.

    Irvyn made quite a show, bursting into the mountain with his dying brother in his arms, shouting for Cerdwin. Even though Keaira's dwarves had torn up her earth, Cerdwin still loved her son dearly and she took him without even asking Irvyn what had happened. Normally the Mother Goddess was gentle and kind, but a change came over her when she laid eyes on her son. She snapped out order and moved with purpose, demanding that her supplies be brought to her.

    Luxovious and Irvyn had no choice but to run along and obey, and along the way Irvyn explained what had happened. Luxovious was furious, but his concern for Keaira kept him from going out and hunting Nukpana down. Irvyn called for Caoimhe, and she soon left her home in Irisma Allenaho to help aid her older brother.

    "I told him," the goddess said with tears in her eyes. "I told him that his offspring was dangerous." She gently brushed the hair from his face and went to get Cerdwin's herbs.

    The gods worked until the sun began to set, and suddenly Alastria and Alastriona came down bearing grave news. Being the watchers of the world, they had seen Nukpana and her followers enter Ercovea. When the evil goddess left Netherworld, she realized that there was another world right above, perfect for plundering. She and her spirits settled into Ercovea and Nukpana had already shown herself among the mortals. The humans were the easiest to sway and already some were praying to their new goddess. The other deities were alarmed by the news, for a god's or goddess' power truly lies within how many believers they have. They knew if too many mortals began believing in her, then she would become unstoppable.

    Their only source of comfort was that the elves and dwarves did not believe in her. Irvyn's elves sensed that she was evil and would have nothing to do with her, while Keaira's dwarves sensed something had happened to their god and they believed that this new goddess had something to do with it. Even though he was at a loathe to leave his brother, Irvyn descended down to the humans and elves that worshipped him and warned that the new goddess they were hearing about was evil, and that she had tried to kill his brother. The dwarves were a bit harder to convince. Luxovious feared that because Nukpana was Keaira's daughter, then the dwarves would immediately take her in. The others feared this as well, but they had no means to convince the dwarves because while they held Keaira in high regard, they had lower opinions of the other deities.

    "Let us go," Koten told the gods as they debated on what to do.

    "They will believe us," Kotor added helpfully.

    And so the ravens flew down into the home of the dwarves, underneath the earth which they so often flew above. The dwarves recognized them for what they were and welcomed them into their homes. Nukpana had not yet turned to them, thinking that they were inferior. After the ravens came, not a single dwarf would hear of Nukpana. They shut their doors to her and her believers and prayed to Cerdwin for Keaira's health.

    But while all of this had been going on, Nukpana walked boldly among the humans. She gave herself a human form and went among them, mostly men. Everywhere she walked heads turned, for she was wild and beautiful and could fulfill all the desires men have for women. All along with her walked her nine spirits, whom she had given corporeal bodies as a reward for helping her. They were the generals in her armies, and wherever they went, destruction followed.

    Greed made the mortals want things they did not need, and they grabbed power and wealth and kept it to themselves. Envy placed jealousy in their minds, a jealousy so great that they actually acted out against those they envied. Lust went among them and placed desire among them, a burning desire for anything they wanted, and she and Greed drove people out of their minds with wanting. Conceit made them think solely about themselves and Disdain made them scorn others. Hate brought forth their worst feelings and made them fight among themselves and others. Deception tricked and manipulated whomever he saw, Heartless shut off people's empathy for their own kind and wherever Murder went, death followed.

    The gods longed to strike down these sins, but going down to Ercovea in mortal guises as Nukpana had done would never work, and they needed t guard their own realms from invasion. At the moment they had two problems: what to do with Nukpana and Keaira's health. Of course Nukpana had to be gotten rid of, but they did not know how to go about doing it. Keaira seemed to be getting better, but it was slow going and he was very weak.

    It was Caoimhe's idea to go among the mortals and ask for their help. They needed leaders, but also people who were most like themselves. Their Chosen Ones would act as the voice and vessel for their god or goddess, and they would rally the people. It was a good idea, everyone agreed, and they all looked for a suitable candidate. Luxovious and Caoimhe chose a human, Irvyn picked an elf, Cerdwin went to one of the Fae, and it took all of Keaira's power to appear before a dwarf and choose him. Alastria and Alastriona did not need a vessel, for they could come down to Ercovea any time they pleased. These five chosen became known as the Avatars, and they were each given something special to separate them from ordinary people.

    Nukpana laughed at these chosen, she believed they stood no chance against her children. She was creating monsters from Mans' worst fears and their own selfish desires. Each had power over an element, and these monsters became known as the demons. She was creating other things as well, often from her own twisted imagination. She created orcs and ogres and trolls, the destroyers. In her talons she shaped hellhounds, wraiths, shades, and a manner of others. One horrific example of Nukpana's gifts included an incident where a group of humans prayed to her and asked her for immortality. She gave it to them, but these humans could not ingest any type of nutrition except for the blood of other living creatures; they became known as the parsiath, the blood-drinkers.

    However the Avatars and their deities were persistent. To combat Nukpana's demons, Alastria and Alastriona made the spiritual beings, angels and summons. The two forces fought bitterly, and they met for one final battle right in front of Mount Kakara, the Home of the Gods. Countless lives were lost, and the blood of the slain soaked the ground until lakes of red ran everywhere. The battle was very close, but eventually Luxovious and the others won because there were more gods on their side. At one point the Avatars cornered Nukpana, and they cast a web spell that ensnared her tightly. Now that she was caught, the gods put their plan into action. Keaira had recovered from his attack, and now he and Irvyn clasped hands and called upon light and darkness. The two elements mixed and opened a gate to another dimension, one the gods had created. The others quickly shoved Nukpana through the gate and trapped her there. Her demons, horrified, rushed in after her in alarm, leaving their other comrades behind. When the gate was closed, the rest of Nukpana's army fled and was either cut down or escaped.

    Nukpana was furious, her conquest of Ercovea brought to a halt. In her rage, she decided to make the best of her prison. She crafted it to her desires and named it Evermore, because it would stand there forever as long as she was imprisoned there. Because the spirits of the damned had originally allied themselves to Nukpana, the souls of the condemned were now sent to Evermore where they would be tortured forever. Netherworld lies in between Evermore, and even though the worlds touch no one except the blessed can travel between them. Even though Nukpana is trapped in Evermore, she vowed to one day escape and take Ercovea, even though that day has yet to come. But for now, the world is safe from the Mother of All Evil.
     
    #6 Chibi, Oct 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  7. A collective shudder went around the children as the tale finsihed, looking like a ripple in a pond. "Oh wow, that's so..." One boy trailed off and shuddered again. No one said anything, getting the message.

    "Yeah, that's why it's important to know the legends." The old man said, "So you know what's evil and what's not."

    "That's so sad," another child murmured. "Poor Keaira, almost getting killed by his own daughter."

    The man smiled a small, sad smile. "Yes, the dark god has had his fair share of pain. However he's tough, and he's even triumphed over Nukpana on many different occasions. Once he knew what she was then it was nearly impossible for her to trick him again."

    Some of the children sat up. "Why would she want to try and kill him again?" A boy nearly the fire asked.

    The pipe puffed smoke rings into the air, and the man watched them float away lazily. "Well, you see, when a god is killed, whoever kills him or her then he or she gets her powers. Meaning that if Nukpana would kill Keaira, she would become the new ruler of the shadows and have complete control over the Netherworld."

    "So you're saying that if someone killed Irvyn, then they would become the new God of Light?" A child asked, scratching his head quizzically.

    "Very good!" The man beamed, puffing away on his pipe happily. "I knew yew kids didn't all have mush for brains!"

    There were giggles all around. The man sat up straight and lookedat them slyly. "Now there are many tales of Nukpana's tricks towards Keaira. Now the most famous isabout the three men. It goes a little something like this..."

    * * * *​

    Once, a long time ago as all stories are, there were three men. One was from Casta, one from the deserts of Arunab, and the third from the distant lands of Kal'ser. These men were all servants of Nukpana, the mother of everything evil. This was before Nukpana was banished to Evermore, and she walked the earth just like all of the gods.

    These men were Nukpana's most loyal servants, aside from her nine generals. They knew what she was and her evil, but they did not care because in her humans form she was wild and could satisfy all the desires men have for women. When she called them to her lair one day, they all came obediently, even each man was jealous of the other. They bowed at the feet of their mistress, who was pacing eagerly.

    "The one whose blood I am born from, Keaira," she was saying, a cruel smile on her lips. "He is weak. He has recently faced the displeasure of Luxovious, again, and it has weakened him so. Now it is my time to strike him down and take his place as ruler of the shadows."

    "And of course you shall succeed, O' reverend mother," the Kal'ser man said, who always showered his mistress with praise.

    "No, I shall not succeed," Nukpana answered sweetly. "You will, the three of you." She saw their expressions and smiled. "Don't you see, my dearies? If I were to enter Keaira's kingdom, I would be struck dead within an instant. But if you, three mortals, went there, you would hardly be looked at twice."

    "But Revered Nukpana, we are only mortals, just like you said." The Castan man protested.

    Nukpana just smiled her sweet, dark, which could charm the hearts of men at a single glance. "I will help you dearest," she said, sidling over to him. She gently drew her hand over his shoulders, and the man shivered at her touch. The other two men glared him in hate. "Here, take this." From the nearby shadows she spun a cloak made of darkness. "Whenever you wear this, darkness will hide you from the sight of others." The Castan took the cloak and fastened it around his shoulders.

    Strolling over to the other two men, Nukpana smiled at them too. "You, strong Kal'serian, whose strength is unmatched." She drew a magnificent sword from the shadows. "Take this blade, and no foe who wishes you harm shall defeat you." She turned to the Arunabian and gently caressed his cheek. "And you smart, quick Arunabian. Your strength lies in your brains and your quickness. It is not your way to get what you want by brute strength, but by brains and deceit. Take this." She unfastened a snakeskin pouch from her belt and tied it around the Arunabian's belt. "This is a potent poison, one which can even make the immortal gods feel the touch of death." She went to stand in front of the men again. ""Destroy Keaira, dear ones. Offer him help, and when his back is turned strike him down!" She blew them each a kiss and they were all whisked away on wings of darkness.

    The men suddenly found themselves in the Netherworld, where Keaira's kingdom lay. In the distance they could see his castle, surrounded by mist and rising miles into the air until it touched the top of the Netherworld. The men set off to the castle, not speaking to each other or really acknowledging the other's presence. Along the way, the spirits of the dead moaned and tried to grasp them to feast off their auras, but Nukpana's gifts kept them at bay.

    It took the men two full days to reach the gates of the castle, although it was impossible to tell the passage of time underneath the earth. When they got there, they demanded entry, and to their surprise the skeletal guards let them pass without a fight. They were led to the chambers of Keaira, where the god lay wearily on his bed.

    Keaira looked upon them as they entered, his eyes more chilling than the coldest ice. Even the man of Kal'ser — people who pride themselves upon their bravery in battle — felt a knot of anxiety clutch him. "Why do you enter my kingdom, mortals?" Keaira asked them quietly, "What is your purpose?"

    As the men listened to him, they realized he truly was weak. His voice was thin, barely more than a whisper, and they could hear each ragged breath he drew. The Arunab stepped forward. "We wish you well, mighty god of the shadows," he said in his most charming voice. "We wish to help you get better." The other men heartily agreed.

    But Keaira was not fooled. Being the God of Darkness, he saw the shadows in the men's hearts. He knew who sent them, and why they were really there. He knew their true intentions and he saw the gifts they wore. "Very well," he said, knowing that in his current state he could not face all of them. "You may help me; bring me an object of great desire, something prized by all men, rich and poor."

    The men were puzzled by the quest, but set off anyway. They hunted across Ercovea, searching far and wide for a gift to please Keaira. But it was the man from Kal'ser who came back first. With him he brought a staff made of solid renoah wood. Renoah is the strongest wood in the world, dark as coal and smooth as polished glass. Having a piece the size of your thumb is easily worth gold, but having an entire staff made from it went far beyond extravagance. The Kal'serian had gotten the prize from the lair of a dragon, whom he slew with Nukpana's sword. He presented the staff to Keaira proudly while the other two men watched resentfully.

    Keaira lifted the heavy wood effortlessly, examining it. The dark color matched his robes, and after a moment he turned to the Kal'ser man. "Kneel," the god commanded.

    The man knelt. Taking the staff up in both hands, Keaira swung it so fast that the man had no time to react. The wood met his skull, which cracked open like a ripe melon. The man fell to the floor, dead, leaving the other two men to gaze in horror at what had happen. "It was the wrong shape," Keaira said mildly. "I want something else now. Bring me a ruby, this big and shaped like a star." He curled one of his hands into a fist and glared at the men dangerously.

    The remaining two men fled, terrified of Keaira now. The Castan had heard of such a gem, and he also knew where it was supposed to be hidden. He went to the lair of a hoarder serpent, but the Arunabian man had followed him without him knowing it. Using Nukpana's cloak, the Castan snuck into the serpent's lair while it was sleeping and stole the gem. When he got out though, he found the Arunab man waiting for him. As was mentioned before, all these men were jealous of each other, and wanted Nukpana to love them and them alone. When the Arunabian demanded the Castan to give him the gem, he refused and threw on his cloak. The Arunabian was clever though, he threw a handful of powdered chalk at the man, which stuck to his cloak and suddenly made him visible. Then the Arunabian drew his sword and killed the man as quick as a flash, for the cloak only protected the man from other men's sight, not their swords.

    Taking the gem for himself, the Arunabian headed back to Netherworld. Keaira welcomed him warmly and took the gem. As a celebration, he brought for two glasses and bottle of wine. He poured each of them a glass, and when he turned around to set the gem down the man quickly dropped a pinch of the poison into his glass. When the god turned back around, the Arunabian was just smiling pleasantly. They raised their glasses. "Now," Keaira said. "Why not a toast to—" he paused and looked at something over the man's shoulder. "Oh hello there Koten. Care to join us?"

    The Arunabian turned around. He wanted to see Koten for himself, one of Keaira's pet ravens. It was said that he represented knowledge and whoever looked into his eyes would gain the knowledge of everything. As he looked though he heard a loud caw and a large white bird flew off. While he saw looking away, Keaira quickly leaned over and switched their cups. When the man turned back around, he saw Keaira smiling apologetically. "Sorry," the god told him. "He's shy, and he hates it when people try to look into his eyes. Now, where were we?"

    "We were making a toast," the man answered, taking his glass. "I propose a toast to your health, great god."

    Keaira smiled a soft smile and raised his own glass. "Yes….that would be suitable, to my health. And to yours too, mortal." He drank deeply, while the Arunab smiled and drank from his own glass.

    Keaira set his glass down gently, while the entire room went silent. The man watched him intently, waiting for the first signs of the poison. The god noticed his stare and smiled pleasantly. "Yes?" He asked, politely.

    The man immediately knew something was wrong. Keaira's smile was off in a way and he had an expectant air of someone waiting for something to happen, the same feeling the man himself had a few moments ago. Just then, a stab of pain twisted in the man's stomach and brought him down to his knees. Keaira's smile got wider and he stepped forward. "Foolish mortal," he said softly. "Do you think I didn't know what was going on, even from the very beginning? It is unwise to challenge the gods, boy, even a weak one. Now you shall see why." He stood by and waited patiently. The poison was strong enough to kill a god, and against a mere man it killed him in seconds. Then, Keaira gathered up the souls of the three men and stored them in the skull which he kept all skulls in. When it was done, he casually drank the rest of his wine, savoring the taste. Then he left, leaving the body of the man behind for his servants to take care of. Because the three men tried to kill a god, their souls suffer an eternal torment from Keaira's creative methods of punishment. The god changes their tortures every few millennia.
     
    #7 Chibi, Oct 13, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  8. I like your mythology. It lowers the gods somewhat, making the status achievable instead of born. In addition, I have a feeling that a lot of god murders are going to take place, hee hee.
     
  9. Yeah, I guess that's another Norse inspired thing, since they have a way of making their gods more "mortal" somehow, giving them faults and all. And god-murdering people don't come around all the time, they're just fun to write. :p
     
  10. "Can we listen to the parsiath now?" One of he children demanded impatiently. The others shushed him.

    The old man chuckled good naturedly. "Ah yes, that's always the one the children ask for the most.What most don't realize that there aren't any tales of the parsiath."

    This caused a bit of confused murmuring. Some of the older children understood, and some didn't. "All the tales are about vampires, right?" One of the children asked timidely.

    "Yes, very good." The man replied. He puffed his pipe and waited for another comment.

    "What's the difference?" Someone asked in puzzlement.

    The man smiled, he knew someone would say that. "The parsiath have wild hunger and ruled by their instincts, little better than wild animals. However some of the stronger-willed parsiath have still retained their reason and self-control, and they call themselves the vampires." He took a drink from his mug and smiled at them. "The vampires are very rare now, the werefolk and vampire hunters murdered them relentlessly."

    "The werefolk? Like the werewolves and werecats?" One asked.

    "Yeah, the werewolves and vampires hate each other," was their answer.

    "Why is that?" Came the quick reply of another child.

    "Because the werewolves killed the cows that the vampires drank blood from," the same child replied.

    "Actually they hated each other long before that," the old man replied. "But the cattle incident certainly didn't help. That's a tale all of the werefolk tell their children, and I once had the honor of hearing it from a werecrow. Now if I can remember how it went..."

    * * *​

    Once in the far north, the massive cathedral of Castlemoor was filled with people. Now, this was hundreds of years ago, before the castle was abandoned and left to ruin. But the castle was not filled with regular people; it was filled with parsiath. Yes, my listeners, the shrieking demons who thirst for the blood of the living. These were not regular parsiath though, they had learned to control their animal instincts and think and reason like the humans they had once been. They resented the others of their kind who could not restrain their hunger and were little better than animals, to alienate themselves from their other kind these tame parsiath called themselves vampires, one of the most terrifying and rare creatures on Ercovea.

    But this was a long time ago, when the vampires were larger in number. The Forsythe family, whose ancestors were a part of the first blood-drinkers, originally built the castle in order to give all the vampires a haven to go to. No one knew that vampires inhabited the castle; they were never seen during the day, and during the night people reported that the place was ablaze with lights. The never seen population of the place struck a chord of terror in the nearby villages, and they made up stories that ranged from demons to worshippers of Nukpana to possessed cult members. The vampires largely ignored the villagers, believing them to be little better than food. However, people had to keep Castlemoor clean and running nicely, and the vampires couldn't do it during the day or else they would burn and during the night they were too busy partying and hunting.

    So, naturally, they found slaves to do the work. Most of the slaves were people from villages whom the vampires had kidnapped and brought to Castlemoor, and some of the slaves were born inside the castle. The vampires eventually had hundreds of human servants and slaves under their command, which they ruled with fear and violence. The slaves were kept chained in the dungeons beneath the castle, and they constantly wore collars and chains like animals. Now the people were resentful of the vampires, but they were too afraid to do anything. These humans had a man who they looked up to as a leader, who was strong and handsome and very clever; his name was Lucian, and he had once been a hunter before he had been brought to Castlemoor.

    Lucian had a natural charm to him, nearly everyone loved him dearly. But Lucian never saw himself as a leader, not until much later, and he simply contented his other prisoners by telling stories. He would tell those who had been born inside the castle of the world outside, of the trees and animals and the sparkling lakes that ran down from the magnificent mountains that the cathedral was built into. His tales captivated people, and Lucian knew that he was giving his fellow slaves a small bit of happiness and hope, and he gladly told his stories over and over again. Some of the bolder slaves talked to him and tried to convince him of organizing the slaves for escape. At first Lucian was against it, but slowly they swayed him. But the one thing Lucian feared the most was Torin.

    Torin Forsythe was the current ruler of Castlemoor, a cunning vampire, but arrogant and condescending. He liked Lucian, for he noticed how the others looked up to him and figured that if he could control Lucian, then he could control the rest of the slaves as well. He often gave Lucian privileges, he was fed better food than the rest of the others, and sometimes the master himself would unchain Lucian and go for a walk in the woods. Lucian hated it when Torin decided to stroll with him, even though he was freed, he knew he could never get away, for the vampires were swifter than deer and just as nimble on their feet. Torin was openly mocking him, he knew, dangling his freedom in front of his face while knowing that Lucian did not dare reach for it. Also he talked to Lucian about the slaves and the greatness of the vampire, promising Lucian that if he could keep the others under control and have them behave, then Lucian would be made into a vampire as a reward.

    Before, Lucian had not been sure about what to do. But to hear Torin talk of his friends so scornfully, then suggesting that Lucian himself could become a blood-sucking monster so he could rule cruelly over the people who looked up to him was the final straw. When he was chained again, Lucian decided to rise against the vampires.

    The slaves knew they could never defeat their masters, even though they vastly outnumbered them. It would be a slaughter. Instead they decided to slip away in broad daylight while the vampires slept. They planned for nearly a month, and on one night, when both of the moons were full, they put their plan in action. Lucian had snuck some hairpins away from one of the vampires while Torin had summoned him for one of the vampire meetings. A few of the slaves had been former thieves, and they used the pins to pick the primitive locks on their chains and collars. Altogether it took nearly two hours to free every single slave, and they quickly slipped out. The sun was barely rising and the vampires were already asleep, and they managed to slip right out the front doors because the vampires never bolted them.

    Lucian led them through the hills, knowing the land because he had hunted in them so often. When midmorning came they had gotten out of the moors and into the forest. They stopped for rest, but Lucian was impatient to go; he knew that if they didn't run as far away as possible, then the vampires would catch up to them when they started hunting for them. The others were ignorant, saying that no one could run across the moors all night, but Lucian had spent time with the vampires and he knew better.

    When the set off again Lucian pushed them hard and fast, and many people complained, but Lucian kept going. The others were forced to keep up or else they would be left behind. Finally they collapsed with exhaustion, deep inside the forest. They settled down and began making shelters, but Lucian sat apart from the rest. He knew they had come many miles, they had long since left the castle many miles away, but a deep dread still clutched his heart. As the sun began to set he waited, just as the other former slaves waited fearfully. The moons rose and the stars appeared and not a single person nodded off to sleep, not even the children.

    Then it came. It was neither a howl nor a scream, but some horrid mixture of both. It came from a creature far away, they could tell, but it was so loud that the wind carried it down from the mountain and into the lands below, where it was heard by the creatures of the forest. It was an unnatural sound unlike anything Lucian had heard before in his life, and for the first time he was afraid. Desperately, hopelessly terrified of the thing that could make that sound. Soon the howl was joined by others, until it sounded the shrieking of a thousand damned souls. Then, all at once, the noise fell silent.

    The slaves crouched in the shadows of the trees, trembling and terrified. "By the gods!" One man exclaimed. "I've never heard anything like it! They sound like demons, straight out of Evermore!"

    The comparison to demons didn't sound very far off, and at once the slaves were up, ready to bolt in terror. Lucian’s voice rose, calming them and gathering them. "Come, my brothers! Follow me into the forests! We will lose them." But deep in his heart, Lucian knew it was helpless, and that he was only postponing what was to come. But he still ran, and the others followed him. He didn't know why he ran, perhaps it was some primal instinct deep inside of him that screamed for survival and told him to fight back, no matter how futile. Their previous exhaustion was now gone, and the hunted slaves now ran as fast as they could, running for their lives.

    Lucian could hear the vampires hunting for them, even though they were still farther up the mountain. They were all howling and snarling, and the sound echoed down the lands. Lucian now knew what it felt like to be hunted. Back up the mountain, Torin led the hunting party down the mountain and into the moors. He was furious, so much that even though he was not thirsty a wild bloodlust rose up inside him, destroying his rational thought. The other vampires might have resembled the parsiath they so often scorned. The trail of the humans was stupidly easy to track, the scent and footprints of the escaped slaves were so thick that Torin knew he wouldn't lose the trail any time soon. Most of all he wanted Lucian, he knew who had led the escape and wanted the pleasure of killing him personally.

    Below, the humans could hear the vampires getting closer, and some of them already knew they could do nothing about it. Suddenly they came across a massive clearing, and Lucian noticed the ring of mushrooms only a moment after he crossed it. Almost immediately there were angry shouts, and they sounded like ringing bells. There was a brilliant flash of light, and Lucian found himself on the ground quite unable to move. A few of the others had stepped over the ring and they were imprisoned as well, while the rest of the slaves stood at the edge of the ring, watching fearfully.

    Lucian looked up and saw faeries, hundreds of them. None of them looked happy. Of course, the humans had so foolishly stumbled into one of their faerie circles, they had a reason to be mad. Even so Lucian could not helped but be awed by their beauty. Each of them could have fit in the palm of his hand, but they all had pale skin that shone faintly in the double moonlight. All of them were dressed in dark blue, and their hair was either white or a bright blue; they had translucent dark blue wings that were like a butterfly's, with a bright circle on each of them. Moon faeries, all of them, or full moon faeries to be more specific.

    One of the faeries fluttered forward, she had a young and ageless look about her, which people say is what all faeries look like. Her beautiful face was scrunched up in a fierce scowl, and her icy eyes shove like silver in the moonlight. "What do you want, human?" She asked, her voice dripping with scorn. "Have you come to destroy our ceremony? If so we will make you wish you never set foot in this forest."

    With vampires hunting them, and angry faeries in front of them, Lucian suddenly feared everything supernatural. "Please moon faeries," he said. "We did not mean to step across your boundaries. We did not see the circle."

    Laughter answered him. "Oh, as if we have never heard that before!" A few of them said.

    The lead faerie narrowed her eyes. "They all say that, you know," she said.

    "But it's true!" Someone shouted from the edge of the faerie circle. Lucian realized with a jolt it was his wife, Ada. "Why should we notice little faerie gatherings when we're being chased by killers?!"

    The faeries gasped and then growled, advancing forward. Their leader stopped them with a look. "That's enough human," she said coldly. "You did not cross our circle, you can go while we deal with this group of foolish people."

    Suddenly another howl split the air, one much closer, it had to be in the forest. Everyone started, especially Lucian. In under an hour the vampires had crossed land that had taken them all a day to travel! The faeries suddenly looked openly scornful and afraid. "What is this?" A faerie demanded. "The blood-drinkers cross into our lands, they should not be hunting tonight!"

    "They're after us," Lucian gasped. "Please, they kept us as slaves and now they hunt us! We were running from them."

    This caused a bit of murmuring amongst the faeries. Lucian noticed that some of them turned pitying, while others were still distrustful and most of them were merely confused. The lead faerie paused, then sighed, "We know of this, although no one has ever done anything. I can see the marks upon your wrists and neck. No creature should have to suffer under the tyranny of those monsters."

    "Then help us," Lucian pleaded.

    The faeries were silent, looking to their leader for advice. She seemed to be deliberating, and the sounds of the hunting vampires were clear now. Lucian broke into a cold sweat. If the vampires found them he figured there was very little the faeries could do about it. Then the leader raised her proud head. "We will help you," she said. "We will call upon the power of the moons, and pray that the moon goddesses are merciful of your plight." With that she rose into the air, as did the others.

    The humans watched in awe as the faeries began singing, using the ancient magic of sound for their ceremony. They joined arms and spoke in the language of magic, the language of the Fae. Lucian watched in amazement as the faeries seemed to light up, silver and blue light streaming from their wings like mist above a lake. He had no idea what they were saying, but it was both beautiful and haunting. Suddenly, in the midst of their singing, a beam of light fell down from the heavens and to the earth. Lucian saw with shock that the lights were coming from the moons themselves. The lights broke into many different beams that struck Lucian and the rest of the humans. Lucian felt his blood boil and light explode in front of his eyes, and suddenly he realized he was free.

    He soon stood up, feeling energy rush through his veins. His limbs were unresponsive at first, but as the seconds passed he felt himself growing strong and powerful. He could feel the raw magic crawling under his skin like ants, but at the same time it twisted his stomach. "There," he heard the faerie say. "You have been touched with raw moon magic, the magic of Aether. Moon magic brings change, and it will change you. Whatever animal you touch, you shall become."

    Before Lucian could ask what she meant, he heard another scream, only a mile away. He bolted, along with the humans, leaving the faeries alone. Now that he had magic running through him, he felt strong and powerful; he ran faster than any normal human and his eyes could now see into every shadow. Ada ran with him, although neither of them knew where they were going. Others ran beside them, while many split up. Lucian came across another clearing, but this time he stopped in horror.

    In the clearing was a dead buck with its side torn open to reveal the ribs glistening wetly in the moonlight. Standing on the deer, tearing ravenously into its flesh, was a magnificent black wolf. Its glossy pelt rippled in the moonlight as its muscles bunched and quivered, and the growls coming from it sounded terrifyingly like the vampires'. As the humans burst through the wolf looked up and growled threateningly. More growls answered it, and suddenly there were more wolves peering through the underbrush at them. The wolf thought that the humans had come to take its kill, and in a moment it had crouched down and sprung, its bloody teeth intending to soak once more in blood—Lucian's blood.

    The animal was so fast that Lucian could only throw his hands up to protect himself and listen to the shouts of horror from his friends. The giant black body landed on him and pressed him to the earth. He smelled the animal's foul breath and felt the strength above him. Lucian knew he was going to die. But as his hands touched the wolf's fur, the most extraordinary thing happened. He felt the magic in him boil over, like liquid fire rushing through his veins. He screamed in pain, but the scream deepened until it became a howl, like that of a wolf's. Suddenly Lucian changed, everyone could hear his bones popping and snapping as they rearranged themselves, and the yelps and screams told them that Lucian could feel it as well. Lucian began to grow taller and his muscles bunched out until they stretched painfully over his skin—and then his skin ripped apart and fell to the earth in bloody strips. But instead of blood spouting out, black fur grew. He rose onto two legs like a man, but he was covered in black fur and his hands hand curled into cruel claws. Most shocking though was his head, which was now that of a wolf’s! Lucian looked around, fearful of what had happened to him. He could still think like a human, but he felt the fury of the animal rise in rise, combating his thought and reason for control. Torn between the mind of the wolf and man, Lucian threw back his head and howled, a mournful sound that came from deep in his chest and echoed through the woods much the same way the vampires’ hunting screams had.

    The other humans and wolves watched in horror and fear. The black wolf lowered his ears and whimpered, unable to comprehend what had happened. The man suddenly became a wolf, yet he was not a wolf. The poor animal’s mind was left in confusion on whether or not to attack. The other humans were suddenly just as terrified of Lucian as they were the vampires, but the other wolves had gone for them and they found themselves accidently brushing against the animals and changing as well. Ada had actually reached out and grabbed the black wolf on purpose while it had been on top of her husband. Now the clearing was filled with more popping and ripping and growling; the half man and half wolf creatures rose out of the darkness and unable to help themselves they howled. It was joined by the others and even the uncertain wolves joined in until the leaves shook from the trees.

    The vampires heard the sound quite well, and they paused in confusion. “What in Nukpana’s name was that?” One of them demanded.

    “They sound like wolves,” another answered uncertainly.

    “Don’t be stupid,” a vampire snarled. “Wolves don’t sound like that.”

    “Well what other animal howls at the moon?” The second vampire retorted.

    “It doesn’t matter!” Torin yelled, although he knew it mattered a lot. It sounded like a lot of wolves were in the forest; he would have to hunt them down once he was done with the humans. “They might kill the slaves, we don’t want them to spoil or fun, do we?” His words were answered with affirmative yells, and once more they hunted. The scent of the humans was unmistakable now, they must have come through the brush only minutes before. He could sense a faerie circle ahead, and he swerved to avoid it. For a few moments the human scent was strong, and then it changed. The scent of wolf thickly overlaid the human’s and Torin felt his lip curling in disgust. Through the trees he could see a large shape walking on two legs, and with a growl of pleasure he leaping into the air like a springing tiger and aimed right for the creature’s back.

    To his shock, the creature whirled around and struck out. That should not have happened, no creature could move as fast as a vampire, especially not a human. The creature’s fist—as big as Torin’s chest—slammed into him and knocked him right out of mid-leap. The force of the blow made Torin fly into a tree and break it right in half. The vampire was shocked and afraid (although he would never admit to the latter). No creature had even hurt him before, except for another one of his kind. Suddenly he was feeling two things foreign to him: pain and fear. He did not like it at all, and the feeling deeply unsettled him. He looked up at the sound of yells and snarls and gaped at the scene before him.

    There were wolves in the clearing, but they were not wolves. They stood on two legs like a human, but were nearly ten feet tall and were covered with fur like the pelt of a wolf’s. They had wolf heads that snarled and snapped, white fangs flashing in the moonlight, but Torin could clearly see the intelligence in their eyes. What kind of monsters has this forest bred? He thought to himself and noticed an actual wolf pack running from the battle. Suddenly one of the wolf monsters, a huge black wolf man, broke away and ran for him. Torin rolled away and struck out, but felt his fist blocked and another come for him. The vampire dodged, but barely. Now he was really scared; no creature in nature could match the vampire for speed and strength, and these creatures were doing it with ease. As Torin fought, he tried using the vampire’s psychic skills. Vampires had enhanced mental powers, which allowed them to control the minds of others and move things without touching them. He struck out at the creature’s mind and reeled back as a deep, primal hatred washed over him, and all the while that hate was directed and controlled by a human mind. “Lucian!” He cried out in shock, for he knew the feel of the creature’s mind.

    The creature snarled. Torin, the vampire heard in reply, a single word filled with such loathing that it was like a physical blow. Lucian roared and reached for Torin, trying to tear him apart. But now that Torin knew who the creature was, he fear rapidly faded and was replaced with the anger from before. The two leaders struck, rolling over in a mad whirlwind that crashed through the other wolves and vampires.

    What have you done to yourself Lucian? Torin asked as they fought.

    Lucian growled, not used to telepathy as a means of communication. I have changed, we all have, for the better. You have come to hunt us, but now we will hunt your kind down the way the wild wolf hunts down a deer.

    Torin knew that Lucian meant every word that he said. But we are not deer, my little slave. We are vampires, and the night is our territory. We were granted our gifts by Nukpana herself. His claws managed to rake Lucian across the face, and the wolf howled in pain.

    And the enemies of Nukpana, Alastria and Alastriona, granted us our powers. We are evenly matched. Lucian replied, and suddenly lunged for Torin’s throat. He bit in deep and felt the sweet vampire blood run down his own throat, and with a horrid shock Lucian realized he liked the taste. He tried to rip the vampire’s throat out, but suddenly pain exploded in his head and he found himself being thrown away by another vampire protecting their leader.

    The few seconds of distraction had saved Torin’s life. When he stood up his flesh was already healing, but for some reason it was not healing properly; it had to have been the moon magic. Torin’s throat slowly closed, but a horrible scar marred the once perfect skin. Now he was furious, so much that he could have matched Lucian’s rage and the uncontrollable fury that marked the parsiath from the vampires was dangerously close to breaking his self control. He launched himself once more at Lucian, and the wolf matched him.

    All across the forest, the other vampires found themselves encountering the same problems. They found that some of the slaves have turned into giant man-spiders, or man-deer, man-boar, man-insects, and ironically man-bats. They all fought like demons, and the vampires soon realized that they were being matched for strength and speed. The revelation was deeply unsettling for the blood-drinkers, who prided themselves on their incredible skills. They battled well into the night, finding their enemies matched skill for skill. Eventually the vampires stopped fighting to kill their slaves and fought out of pride, not wanting to be faced with the humiliation of defeat. At the same time the slaves realized that the vampires could not take them back to the Castlemoor, they were too strong, and they started to fight to kill their former masters.

    The fight lasted for so long that it was only when the moons began to set did the opposing sides pause. Both Lucian and Torin were tired, and when they broke apart they stared at each other, their very wills grappling with each other. Lucian could feel the moon magic leaving him, and he had a feeling that he would turn back to a human soon, and he knew that the vampires would tear him apart when that happened. Torin was also weak, a feeling he had not had in centuries, and some of his vampires had been killed. They were outnumbered and Torin did not know that the beasts were about to change back, but he did not want to face the humiliation of retreating.

    Lucian panted and looked back at the wolves at his back. Some of the others had returned, with forms like half-spiders and half-birds and other beasts, and he knew they all outnumbered the vampires. But their strength was waning quickly, and with and sick feeling he began to back away from the vampires. Torin didn't follow. Instead their reflecting eyes watching them as the beasts slowly began retreating. Finally they ran with the speed of vampires, disappearing within seconds.

    One of the vampires turned to Torin. "Why did you let them escape?" He demanded angrily.

    Torin slowly turned to him. "Do you want the pleasure of chasing them?" He asked quietly, something in his eyes feral and angry. He got no answer, but some of the other vampires backed away from him. He turned to Castlemoor, just a smudge in the distance. "Come, we must get back to the castle. The sun will rise soon." The mention of the burning sun was enough to convince the others to turn away from the slaves and flee back to the castle.

    Meanwhile, as the moon vanished and the sun began to rise, Lucian felt his blood began to boil again. He ran as fast as he could, as if he could run from the pain. Beams of sunlight sliced through the trees, and the moment one touched Lucian he felt such pain course through his body that he tripped and fell in the dirt. He cried out as his bones began rearranging gain, turning him back into a human. He was left gasping the dirt, still unsure of what had happened to him. The others were around him, confused and worried about what would happen to them now. "We're doomed," someone said. "The magic has worn off, and the vampires came just come out the next night and kill us all."

    "Not so," another objected. "I can still hear and smell like the wolf, and my eyes are still better than before. And watch," he stood up and grabbed a branch that was as thick around as his arm. He pulled and with an awful ripping he tore the limb right out of the tree.

    "The faeries said the moon magic is the magic of change," Ada whispered, sitting up. "If we are changed, then it must be permanent."

    The others reluctantly agreed, then they all decided to try and find a place where they could find a replacement set of clothes. The village they came to stared in shock, but warily took them in. they listened to their tale with awestruck eyes, and some of the former slaves were even reunited with their families. When night fell again the vampires went out hunting again, but the uncontrollable transformation did not come. Instead Lucian felt the magic in him again, and he realized just by thinking about turning into a wolf, he could become one. He could turn into a full-fledged wolf that was the size of a bear, and he learned to again turn into the huge man-wolf that he had done the night before. In order to protect the other villages from the vampire's wrath, the former slaves made their own village. they vowed to protect the other villages around them from the vampires, and make sure that the vampires would neither hunt the villagers or take more as slaves.

    The vampires never recaptured their escapees after that, and the vampires and wereanimals always hated each other since. Lucian and Torin always fought, for their hatred of each other was the strongest. Whenever they had doubts about their war, Torin would look at himself in the mirror and touch the scar on his throat where Lucian bit him. And Lucian would see his reflection in the water and stare at the parallel scars on his face, where Torin had clawed him. Their scars would remind them of their hatred for the other, and strengthen their resolve. As the years passed, the humans began to join the werefolk as vampire hunters, and they began pushing the vampires out of the land. One attack killed many of Castlemoor's inhabitants, and the vampires fled, Torin was among them. No one ever lived in Castlemoor since then, and the relics of its former inhabitants can still be seen to this day.

    ((Almost forgot about this story, even though I've had the idea for a while.))
     
    #10 Chibi, Oct 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  11. Wow, now we have Eastern European aspects. I love the origin story of the werefolk. However, how exactly did the parsaiths who were vampires manage to keep their sanity? Were they just lucky?
     
  12. ((I would like to thank Secad for giving me the idea for another story. Ideas are always welcome. Now, this thing took TOO DAMN LONG. *dies* However, I did have fun, in a twisted way.

    Warning: Contains gore and bloodiness and probably some...disturbing bits, I would say. You haz been warned. Other than that, Happy Halloween and enjoy my twisted take on vampires >:D))


    As the story finished a few of the children gave a shudder. The parsiath—or rather, vampires—were always the easiest way to give someone the chills. Some were excited though, the supernatural giving their young, innocent imaginations a thrill that they couldn't find in their normal lives. "Are the werefolk still around?" An excited boy asked eagerly.

    The man smiled a little. "Yes, they still exist. But they don't live around us humans, due to their promise of protection. Unfortunately, some people consider the werefolk no better than the vampires and hunt them down almost as much as the vampires."

    There was a collective gasp. "Why?"

    "Ignorance and fear of things we don't understand." The man answered neutrally, relighting his pipe, which had gone out.

    "Wouldn't the werepeople be harder to kill than vampires?" A smart young lad wondered out loud.

    "Not really," was his answer. "For some reason, no wereanimal can stand the touch of silver. It burns their skin. Also, because they were touched by faerie magic, like the Fae they cannot stand to be in the presence of iron." He blew a great cloud of smoke. "Besides, they cannot regenerate their flesh like the vampires."

    A few murmurs broke out, most of them concerning what story to ask for next. One of the children was frowning in puzzlement. She was playing with a little white gerbil, but her attention was not on her pet. Finally gathering her courage, she looked up and said, "I don't get it."

    Eyes turned to her. "You don't get what?" The old man asked kindly.

    "The vampires," she replied. "You said they were once parsiath, but they overcame their animal instincts. How did they do that? Was it luck or something else?"

    The old man smiled widely. "Ah, that is a very interesting tale indeed." He said; he noticed some of the looks of disappointment and added, "It features Dracula, the greatest of all vampires." Immediately heads snapped up, paying close attention. Dracula, king of the vampires, was almost never spoken of in stories and any chance of a story featuring him was a rare and special treat. The man took his pipe out of his mouth to speak better. He was uncertain about this horrifying tale, but they had taken the previous few tales well enough. "Well, it was before the parsiath even existed. . . "

    * * *​

    It was far up north, around the place we now know as Brighthill Crossing. Back in those times Nukpana had not yet been banished to Evermore, and the gods were still trying to defeat her. She had many followers who had been tempted by her dark promises, and one of them was a man named Alucard.

    Alucard was a very wealthy man, but cold and aloof. Once he had been nice, always smiling and friendly, but that was before his wife had died. She had been a beautiful poet, and in their mansion was one of the biggest libraries out of Taersis. After his wife died, Alucard ordered all of his libraries barred shut and he couldn't bear to look at single book. Caught in his depression, joining one of Nukpana's cults was very easy for him. Many of his friends joined with him, all of them become loyal followers for similar reasons. During his following, Alucard became obsessed with death. He feared it terribly, and even though he knew he would join his wife when he died, he shunned all instances of death. He could barely even stand to see one of the blood sacrifices to Nukpana. He decided he wanted to be immortal.

    He ordered his libraries to be opened, and every day he pored over books, trying to find some way of avoiding death. But there was none, there some ways of slowing down the process of aging, but still in the end Death would claim his victim. In many instances the books would say "Only the gods are immortal," so Alucard decided to go the Nukpana for advice. He convinced his friends to help him, for they were all so close that they might have been family. So they gathered a few animals for slaughter and managed to conduct a ceremony to summon the evil goddess to them.

    Nukpana felt the summoning, and was curious. It was not a summoning day, yet some of her followers still called for her. She went to them in puzzlement. In the smoke of their fires, the humans saw four glowing red eyes staring at them.

    They all cried out and fell to their knees. "Mistress Nukpana," they all cried out.

    Nukpana was amused, watching the little humans crawl on their bellies in worship always made her laugh inside. "No need for that my dears," she said, her voice dark and smooth as poisoned honey. "Now, why have you called me?"

    Alucard was the only one who looked up. It was his idea after all, but suddenly he felt nervous. "We wish to become immortal Nukpana, to never die. We could serve you forever."

    Nukpana was shocked, what an arrogant request the little human was making! Suddenly she laughed, a sound that thundered for miles around; it was a truly terrible thing to hear. "Oh, what a jest!" She cried, "Immortality? My little human, that is a mighty tall request."

    Alucard gulped and trembled, fearing that he was about to be eaten. The goddess quieted herself and peered at him intensely. Then, she smiled. She saw an opportunity for amusement, which the humans always provided. "Alright then, I'll give you a chance. But first, you must prove yourselves."

    The group looked up, hardly believing their ears. "You will, mistress?" Alucard asked.

    "Of course I will, but first you must pay attention." Nukpana replied, "Now, come back here when both of the moons are dark. When you come back, you must have your ceremonial daggers with you. Also, bring the flower and berries of the plant you humans call the red nightshade, a bowl carved from the skull of a wolf, and nine babies."

    "Babies?" Alucard asked, puzzled.

    "Yes, babies," Nukpana sighed patiently. "You know, the squalling red things that human females give birth to? Bring nine of those with you, but none of them can be over a month old."

    The request was very unnerving for the others, but they promised. The number nine was considered an unlucky and evil number, because of Nukpana's nine spirit generals whom had attacked Irvyn. But also finding nine babies under a month old would be very difficult; not to mention keeping them until both of the moons were dark would require would almost be an impossible ask. But they promised all the same. When Nukpana vanished, the group looked at one another in fear. "By the goddess," someone spoke at last. It was Alucard's closest friend, Iodocus Forsythe (although today the name would be called Jodocus). "What a terrible request, yet I fear what would happen if we do not do it." The some of the others, Iodocus' wife among them, murmured their reluctant agreement.

    Alucard sighed, "There's no going back now. We already promised that we would do it, and we do not want to anger Nukpana." Despite their fear of carrying out Nukpana's wishes, they feared what would happen to them if they didn't even more.

    Back in her den, Nukpana watched the humans and laughed. They had already passed her first test: they did not back away from something repulsive to them. The snakes on her neck hissed quietly, asking "But what of the other trials?" Nukpana merely narrowed her eyes, watching as the humans left, all of them puzzled and fearful. She rapped her claws against the stone in thought, wondering whether or not to help these humans. She didn't want them to fail just yet, but she also wanted them to figure out what to do by themselves. Finally, she figured that just a little push in the right direction wouldn't hurt too much. She raised her giant head and bellowed, "Conceit! Heartless!"

    Across the world, two of Nukpana's generals heard her call. Conceit and Heartless, named after the sins they had committed when they were alive, fled back to Nukpana as fast as their forms could carry them. They bowed in front of their mistress and asked, "Yes, Nukpana?"

    The Mother of All Evil formed a ball of darkness in her claws, which showed the group of humans. "I want you to find these humans," she said. "Bewitch them, like you do to all others. However, I have a few requests. Conceit, I want you to make them to think of themselves better than the other humans of their own kind, however, do not shut off their care for the others in the group, they must be able to work together. Heartless, I want you to shut off their empathy for everything else outside of the group. I want you to make it so they can murder their own mothers without a care."

    The two sins were puzzled. From Nukpana's words, it was as if she wanted them to bring the group closer together, which was something that they did not do. "Why, mistress?" Conceit asked hesitantly.

    Nukpana smiled a sly smile. "Because, dear, I want you to. Is that not enough?"

    Conceit sensed a veiled threat when he heard one. He bowed with Heartless. "More than enough, mistress. We shall do as you command."

    "Before you go," Nukpana called as they began to leave. "Make sure it's not too extreme. I want it to be subtle, so the humans think it is their own free will."

    The duo felt uneasy. That was easier said than done. But they promised. Then they flew away, to where the group lived. Then they roamed among the village, spreading their powers very softly as to not make the humans mindless. The hardest thing was to direct their powers to one specific purpose. Usually, Conceit made people care about themselves, but to have them care about only a select group of people was hard for him, just as it was for Heartless. They feared Nukpana's wrath if they failed though, so they worked until they believed they had done their work.

    When Alucard woke in the morning, he felt only subtly different. His friends and fellow cult members were the only people he cared about, and he deemed everything else important. However, he only believed that it was his own thoughts instead of the influence of the sins, which was what Nukpana wanted. Later the group met at Alucard's mansion, there were only about twenty of them, which was quite small for a cult of Nukpana back then. Alucard felt stronger somehow, more confident, and his fears from last night were nonexistant now. "We can get the nightshade easily, I even have some growing in my gardens," he said, although his gardens had been left to grow wild. His wife had loved to take care of plants. "The hardest thing would be finding the nine babies, so we will do that last. Now, we must find a wolf and kill it." The others had also left their fears behind, and they all organized into hunting parties and wet to find a wolf and kill it.

    It took many days though, because they had to venture away from civilization to find the wolf. And by some stroke of bad luck, when they did find a wolf, they also found a pack of them. They wondered how they were supposed to kill a wolf without enraging the whole pack. While they deliberated, the wolves watched them, knowing they were humans but also sensing food. The wild wolf had little to fear from man, especially when they were part of a pack. So the alpha wolf, a huge black male, began to run for the campsite of the humans.

    Alucard saw them coming and shouted in alarm. Without really thinking, he picked up one of their crossbows and fired an arrow. His aim was true, and it hit the wolf in the chest, piercing him right through the heart. The wolf yelped once, then fell to the ground dead. The other wolves stopped and watched their leader, waiting for him to get up. When he did not, the wolves grew fearful. Their alpha had been taken down with only a single shot from Man, and they began to retreat. Soon they were gone, and a few of the group went to retrieve the wolf. The others praised Alucard of his skill and make a great cloak out of the creature's fur and carved his skull into a bowl, just like Nukpana said.

    Now, my children, I must pause to tell you an interesting fact. You see, this great black wolf was the ancestor of another well-known wolf. One of his cubs would sire another magnificent black wolf, which would later on try to kill Lucian when the human stumbled upon it eating a dead deer. So, ironically, the wolf that was killed would later help these humans become vampires, but his future offspring would inadvertently help cause the vampire's downfall by breeding the first werewolves. This goes to show that even the gods have a sense of humor.

    Alucard often wore the creature's hide as a cloak afterwards, to show off his kill. When they returned to Alucard's mansion with their new bowl, they went on to orchestrating the kidnapping of nine babies. Because Heartless had shut off their empathy, they did not care for the pain their actions would cause, they only cared about completing their quest. They scoured the nearby towns and villages, and by some stroke of luck managed to find nine babies under a month old. The families of these babies were kept under close surveillance in the days ahead and the night before both of the moons were dark, these babies were stolen out of their homes. Their kidnappers fled to Alucard's mansion, where they hid their prizes until day came. Of course the villages were in a frantic uproar, but no one even thought of looking towards the mansion of Alucard, for everyone believed he was a recluse who never stepped out of his home. The cult waited until nightfall, then gathered a few flowers and berries from a nightshade bush and set off to the place where they had last talked to Nukpana.

    The goddess was shock when she felt herself being called again. She had not looked at the humans for quite a while, and even though Conceit and Heartless had done their jobs she still didn't think the humans would succeed. Curious and wondering, she went immediately. When she got there, she saw all of the things she had requested sitting on an altar, surrounded by black candles. "Yes dears?" She asked, secretly admiring the humans for their determination.

    Alucard bowed deeply. "Mistress Nukpana, we have brought everything you requested," he said.

    "I can see that," Nukpana replied. "Well done, all of you."

    "Will you make us immortal now?" Alucard asked her hesitantly.

    Nukpana chuckled, "Of course, my dears." She blinked at them and started instructing them. "Crush all of the berries in the bowl, do it well. Use your daggers."

    Alucard did not protest. He unsheathed a beautifully decorated dagger and used the hilt to mash the black berries until they were a liquid paste. Their juice stained the inside of the skull.

    "Now, feed some of the juice to each of the babies. Make sure each gets some," Nukpana instructed coldly.

    Alucard paused; the others gasped. "But Nukpana, these berries are poisonous." Alucard protested weakly.

    Nukpana narrowed her eyes. "I know that. Do it anyway, it is part of the process. However, pour the juice into the flowers first, then give it to them."

    Alucard's statement did not come from concern for the babies, since Heartless had long since shut off his caring his heart. Rather, he wondered what use nine dead babies would be. However, Nukpana commanded it, and he carefully poured some of the juice into one of the blood red flowers, and then so carefully as to not spill a single drop, he tip the juice into each of the infants' mouths. He wondered how long it would take for the poison to have effect.

    "Now, while we wait, tear the petals of the flowers into tiny strips. Mash them as well, but don't completely ruin them." Were Nukpana's next words, her eyes never wavering from Alucard.

    As the human worked, some of the infants began to twitch and cry. It was a chilling sound that made Alucard's stomach turn to stone, but he worked carefully and precisely. Nukpana felt a grudging respect for him, but she was still smiling at what she knew was to come. "Good, very good. I believe the poison is working well enough. Take your dagger and slit their throats."

    Alucard froze, some last grasp of humanity flickering inside of him. "Slit their throats?" He repeated stupidly.

    "Yes," Nukpana growled, "all of their throats. Then let the blood drain into the bowl and mix with the flowers."

    Her commanding voice, along with the feeling of impending doom if he didn't obey, made Alucard snap into action. He picked up the nearest child and carefully slit its throat with his knife, then held the wound over the bowl so the blood would drip into it. "Don't let all of the blood drain," Nukpana told him. "We need the blood of all of the children to fill the bowl. Besides, you'll need some for later."

    Noting the information, Alucard soon put the child down and reached for the next one. He completed his grisly task one by one until the bowl was filled to the brim with blood. Under instructions from Nukpana, he took his blade and began to gently mix the blood in a counter-clockwise circle. As he did, he heard Nukpana began to chant. She spoke words of darkness, using the tongue of the demons, which sounded like claws sliding over rock and death rattles; the mere sound of the words awoke deep primal terrors buried deep within the human DNA, and the group suddenly found themselves inexplicably terrified, so terrified that they couldn't move a single muscle. When Nukpana was done, the irrational fear was gone as quickly as it came, leaving them shuddering and shaking in a cold sweat. "Now, drink it." Nukpana ordered, her tone saying that she would not take no for an answer.

    Alucard knew that she had done something to the blood, cursed it somehow. But, despite everything, Alucard still wanted to become immortal, so he took the bowl in both hands and drank. He nearly gagged on the taste, but he still swallowed. "A few sips are fine," Nukpana said, "leave some for everyone else."

    Alucard shuddered at the coppery taste and handed the bowl to the person nearest to him: Iodocus. The man had some sort of horrified blankness to his expression, and the blood nearly made him sick. Conceit had done his job well however, and Iodocus wanted to become immortal as well. He drank some of the blood without a fuss, and then passed it to his wife, who drank as well. The bowl was passed among the others until it was finally emptied by the last person. Alucard could feel his stomach twisting painfully, either from the nightshade or the blood.

    Laughter drew his attention, as it did with the others. Nukpana was laughing quietly to herself and shaking her head. "How arrogant you humans can be sometimes," she said. "Even demanding the gods for things you want, thinking we'll bow down and give it to you. I admire your determination, but I do not give gifts lightly. I will make you all immortal, but your immortality shall come with a heavy price. Now you must drink the blood of a living creature for nourishment, any of the food you humans regularly eat will provide no satisfaction at all. There are other consequences, but you'll find those out soon enough." With a terrible roar of laughter Nukpana was gone.

    Iodocus trembled, "What does she mean?" He asked, then he suddenly screamed in pain and fell to the ground, clutching his stomach.

    Alucard ran for him worriedly, but he only managed to take a step before a pain of his own hit him. It was the worst pain he had ever felt in his life, it originated from his stomach and flowered through the rest of his body. The pain was like liquid fire along his veins, his heart felt like molten rock and Alucard feared that he would be torn to pieces any second. The screams of the tortured echoed throughout the land, and even the animals fled in terror from the noise. But, unbeknownst to them, their screams gradually changed, becoming more and more high-pitched until it was like the sound of breaking glass. Soon the scream was more like a howl, a howl belonging to a demon. Eventually the pain burned itself away, and Alucard realized that he had changed. All the shadows of the night were crystal clear to him, it might as well have been day. He could hear nearly everything around him, the rustle of things in the undergrowth, the beating of an owl's wings, and the moaning of his comrades, which suddenly seemed very loud. In fact, every sense seemed heightened. He could smell the earth, leaves, sweat, and above all blood. For some reason, the scent of blood made him ravenous. He stood up smoothly and looked around for the blood. He saw the dead children on the altar, and leaped for them. He picked up one of the children and began draining the rest of its blood away.

    He was oblivious to the others getting up. They were all the same, hungry for the blood of the infants. They grabbed the bodies and snarled like wild animals over the scraps. After a few seconds the changed humans had ripped the bodies apart, feasting off the blood and raw meat. Alucard licked his lips and looked around, then paused in shock. Everyone had silver hair. "Iodocus," he called, feeling his words lisp strangely. He ran his tongue along his teeth and stiffened when he felt his tongue cut open. Even more strangely, he felt the cut heal right up. He poked one of his teeth with his thumb and realized it was elongated and very sharp, almost like a cat's.

    Iodocus looked up and both he and Alucard gasped. "Iodocus," Alucard repeated again. "Your hair, it's turned silver! And your eyes—" Alucard could not bring himself to speak of Iodocus' eyes, which had turned a deep red and the pupils had become vertical slits.

    "So have yours," Iodocus replied, his eyes growing wide with shock.

    Alucard picked a strand of his hair and looked at it fearfully. Indeed, it was now silver instead of the jet black that he remembered. No doubt his cold gray eyes had also turned that chilling shade of red. What confused him most was that he was hungry, or was it thirsty? It seemed to be an odd combination of both. Anyways, he was starving, but he had no idea what he wanted. Suddenly he stopped and listened, he could hear something moving in the distance. He should have been able to hear it, but he heard it all the same. In an instant he was off, running so fast that the land around him became a blur. Alucard was shocked; even though he ran, his footfalls were soft and silent, and when he jumped he sailed into the air like a springing saruren*. He spring brought him right in front of a rabbit and he struck out with his hand (he noticed vaguely that his fingernails had grown into sharp claws) and killed the animal with one blow. Alucard could hear its heart flutter and stop, and the sound drove his hunger even further. His reason almost completely gone, he grabbed the rabbit and bit into it, sucking away the blood in its body.

    The others had tried to follow him, but soon they were distracted in their own ways. The thirst was ruling them, and the animal instincts were suddenly ruling their brains instead of thought. Even Iodocus found himself chasing after a deer and killing it to drink its blood. Mainly they left the flesh alone, although on a few occasions they tore into the meat for more blood. Alucard finished his rabbit and tossed it away, briefly sated. He looked around, growling warily. His mind had long since given up to the animal urges, and the human part of him died quietly and quickly, without a fight. In her throne room, Nukpana laughed as she saw the humans descend into madness until they became little better than animals, her work was done. Now, it was up to the humans to see if they deserved immortality.

    The monsters now stopped and looked up in alarm. The sky was lightening, and for some reason it filled them with an odd sort of terror. The kind of fear that you have no idea what originates from, but you know it best to obey it. Home, Alucard thought. Go home. Home safe. But where was home? If Alucard had still been human, he might have remembered, but his more primal mind was quickly forgetting everything about the human Alucard. Luckily, Alucard could pick up his scent on the ground, where he had walked from his mansion into the woods. He followed the scent, and the others followed him in turn. They moved through the forest light a pack of wolves, and when they finally came out to Alucard's mansion the sun was almost up. Suddenly Alucard broke into a run with the others, fearing the burning disc.

    He didn't even bother using the front door. He merely leaped up—a leap that was ten feet tall, mind you—and crashed through one of the windows, spraying broken glass everywhere. The other followed him, frantically pushing through the window to get in. Some cut themselves, but the cuts healed in moments. Alucard got up and looked outside; one of them was still running, straggling behind. As they all watched, the sun suddenly broke over the horizon, sending beautiful golden beams of light across the ground.

    But when the light touched the straggler, he screamed, and the sound was like nothing on Ercovea. It broke all of the windows on the southern side of the mansion and was heard from even fifteen miles away; it was like the dying screams of a thousand damned souls. Right before their very eyes, their comrades burst into flames, and for an instant it was whirling, still howling, before collapsing into a pile of ashes. Luckily, the rest of them were facing south, so the light didn't touch them. Alucard yanked the curtains closed and fled with the others.

    Alucard roamed the mansion, trying to get a feel for the place. Some corner of his mind twitched, and the scattered pieces of remembrance flickered at the edges of his conscious, but he ignored them. At least the place felt safe. He might have even slept for a bit, for he was very tired, but he suddenly came across one of the few servants in his mansion. He heard her heartbeat, a delicious wet sound that made his mouth water, and when he scent reached him he reeled as if struck by a physical blow. The maid looked over, alarmed by the strange man who just appeared. His hunger reared up, wild and out of control, demanding the girl's blood and demanding it now. Alucard leaped and slammed into the girl, knocking her into a wall. He bit into her neck, right into the major artery, and let the sweet blood flow into his mouth.

    Now I've never had blood myself, but according a vampire's description it tastes heavenly. Perhaps it's due to their change, since I don't think I could dine down on blood. But vampires treat it as a delicacy, the taste of blood drives them as wild as one of us tasting chocolate or wine or anything similar. Alucard simply couldn’t stop himself, and after many long minutes he drained the girl of every drop of her blood. When he looked around, everything around him seemed alive, somehow. Even in the darkened corridors he could see dust motes whirling about, hear the footsteps of people even though he knew they were more than five floors up. He could even smell the dust and leather and paper in his mansion; and to his amazement he could even feel the vibrations in the floor that the footsteps of the many people sent out. But most of all he felt their minds, whispers of their animal thoughts came to him, and even though his mind was primal Alucard had strengthened mental capabilities. He roamed, eventually finding a windowless room and sleeping in it.

    He awoke at dusk, and waited until the sun went down to go hunting. The others had killed the rest of the servants while he had slept, and they awoke also to go hunting. The forest had become their hunting ground, and the mansion their home. Alucard hardly saw the rest of his comrades after that, they kept to themselves and marked a specific parts of the mansion "theirs", and anyone who stepped into their territory would pay. The people in the villages below sometimes heard their hunting calls, which were a bone-chilling mix of a howl and scream. The villagers called the monsters the parsiath, which meant "blood drinker" in the ancient language.

    Still the tattered human memories sometimes pricked at Alucard's mind, giving him an unexplained feeling of discomfort. Sometimes he found himself wandering the halls of his mansion, wondering whether or not if he knew more about the mansion than he thought. One day, many months after his change, he came across his library. Curious, for he smelled a rat inside, he slipped in. Books littered the floor, perhaps from one of the hunting parsiath. The pages were scattered across the floor and a few of the shelves were even tipped over. Alucard crept in, slowly as to not draw attention. Halfway through though, his foot trod on a piece of paper and made a crackling sound. He looked down at the page and picked it up. The page was covered with flowery, elegant handwriting that spelled out the lines of a poem. Alucard's eyes roamed over the words, unable to comprehend them.

    Something tickled the back of his mind, a memory. The handwriting was familiar somehow, he had read this before. Words started coming to him, and he found himself reading the poem in his hands. He read it over and over, and he knew he was on the verge of discovering something. Suddenly, like water breaking from a dam, he remembered. My wife wrote this, he thought, the first coherent thought that had passed his mind ever since he lost it. He remembered her face, everything about her was mapped out in agonizing detail in his head. He remembered her, then remembered himself. My name is Alucard. He paused and blinked, and he knew it was true. My name is Alucard, and I wanted to live forever. Just as his animal mind had taken over long ago, the human mind began bubbling up, and his primal side fought for control.

    A scratching sound alerted him, and he whipped his head around to see a rat making its way across the floor. In an instant he was crouched and ready to spring, but he suddenly stopped himself. No, he thought, I will not. I can control myself, I will let it go. He stayed there, crouched in position, his muscles trembling from the effort of staying still. A part of him screamed for a meal, demanding that he kill it before it could get away, while an equally strong part of his mind was rising out of the dusty corners where it had once slept and was battling against the other side furiously. He watched the rat until it scuttled into a hole in the wall, then slumped with relief. The battle was won, and the instinctual part of him died down, kicking and screaming all the way.

    Now thinking, Alucard stood up and straightened himself. He gently folded the poem and put it in his pocket, then walked out of the library. He walked like a human now, instead of the stalking grace of a parsiath. He was still as graceful as a predator, but when he looked at his surroundings it was with a calm gaze instead of the glittering intensity of a parsiath looking for a next meal. He walked all the way back to his room, which had been left alone to gather dust. The mental battle had tired him out, and he gently fell into his bed and into a deep sleep. He slept all throughout the night and day, and when he awoke it was night again. He took out the poem and stared at it, reminding him of his wife and sanity. As he stared at it, he heard a sound and looked up. He quickly stuffed the paper back in his pocket and went outside, following the sound of footsteps.

    In an adjacent hallway, he found another parsiath, drinking the blood of a rat. As he approached, the parsiath's head snapped up and it growled ferociously. Alucard recognized him after a few moments. "Iodocus," he said, his voice rough from disuse. The parsiath growled, not understanding, and began to back away. "Iodocus," Alucard repeated, slowly following him. He saw Iodocus paused, and something flickered in his eyes. The beginnings of a memory, he knew. Gently, Alucard expanded his mind until it touched Iodocus', and he felt the parsiath recoil in shock. Iodocus, he said, desperately trying to reach his friend.

    He watched as the parsiath paused. He frowned, and then blinked. Alucard saw a few scraps of sanity slowly return to Iodocus' face. "Alucard?" He whispered, standing up. His face was confused as he looked around him. "What…happened? I don't…remember anything…" He shuddered and the feral look started to come back.

    Alucard stepped closer. "Come on, Iodocus. Get a grip on yourself. Remember who you are, remember your wife."

    Iodocus froze, the name familiar to him. "Mirna?" He gasped, whipping his head around. "Where is she Alucard? Is she still here?"

    Alucard smiled, something he hadn't done in months. It felt weird to him. "As far as I know, yes. I don't think anyone has left the mansion."

    Iodocus sighed in relief, then looked up at Alucard. He looked as puzzled as ever. "I don't get it," he admitted. "What happened to us? Why did we become so…" He made a wild gesture with his hands, trying to find the right word.

    "Nukpana tricked us," Alucard growled, his anger threatening to break his thin control. "She made us lose our minds, get lost in our instincts. She lied to us, Iodocus."

    "I'm not so sure," Iodocus replied. "All of our injuries heal in moments. And look at us; our only diet is blood, but we haven't gotten thinner or gaunt or anything. Except for the paleness, we haven't changed a bit since that night. Not in appearance, anyway."

    "Except for the eyes and hair," Alucard added bitterly. He still hated his hair.

    "Except for that," Iodocus said with a smile. "Alucard, I'm worried. Do you think the others could regain their sanity now?"

    Alucard nodded. "I'm sure of it. I reached you, didn't I? Just through a bit of mental persuasion—telepathy, I think people call it—and the mention of Mirna. We just have to make people remember who they are."

    Iodocus frowned in puzzlement. "Then how did you do it?" He asked.

    Alucard reached into his pocket and unfolded the poem. Iodocus took it wordlessly, then nodded in understanding. When he handed it back, his eyes were troubled. "I'm sorry Alucard," he said, "but I have to find Mirna. I'll be back soon, but I must do this." He turned and ran, leaving Alucard alone in the halls.

    The lord of the mansion sighed and looked at his reflection in the window. He looked so different, with pale skin that glowed faintly in the moonlight, silver hair and glowing red eyes. Alucard hardly recognized himself anymore. "I told myself that my name was Alucard, to bring myself back to sanity," he told himself out loud. "But, I am not Alucard at all. He died that night when he asked for immortality. Nothing about me is Alucard, except in name." Suddenly, as he watched, his hair darkened in color until it had become a raven black. Being more sensitive to magic now, Alucard felt the magic crawl along his skin until it faded. So just by thinking of myself changing, I changed? He thought, realizing that he had a very powerful magic indeed. Perhaps Nukpana's gift wasn't too bad after all. "At least I look a bit more like myself. But I'm still not Alucard, I never could be. I'm the opposite of Alucard, which is Dracula."

    "So you want us to go around calling you Dracula now?" Iodocus asked from behind. The newly-dubbed Dracula turned to see his friend approaching with Mirna, the latter of whom looked incredibly confused.

    "Yes, I would like that very much." Dracula said softly, looking back out of the window.

    Mirna blinked and snapped out of the dazed stupor she had been in. "Aluc…I mean, Dracula, are we going to help the others?"

    Dracula sighed deeply. "We might as well. We were all in this together."

    And so the three wandered the mansion, using their newfound mental powers to help their friends reach sanity. By the time the sun was up they were all gathered in the library, wondering what to do. They knew they had to walk among the villages again to see what had happened in their absence, but they didn't know if they could resist feeding. A decision had to be called, and Dracula said he would train himself so he would be able to walk in the village. A month later, he kept his promise.

    He went at dusk, so the sun would not harm him. People gasped as he passed by, and Dracula found himself in the midst of a crowd of people. He heard them call him by his human name, Alucard, and more than once he almost snapped at them. Many people thought he had died, and his sudden and unexplained reappearance drew the attention of many. While there, Dracula was constantly shivering, and many thought he had developed a sudden cold. In reality, with so many humans near him and not daring to feed off of a single one, Dracula was being driven out of his mind with the conflicting desires. However, he managed to learn that it had been nearly a year since he was first turned into a parsiath, and that blood-drinking demons had appeared recently. He could still read the thoughts of the villagers, and he knew they were deeply suspicious with him. But through personal charms and a bit of parsiath hypnotism, he managed to win all but a few over. Many people followed him still, and at one point he slipped into a shop to avoid them.

    It turned out to be an alchemyst's shop, and to avoid going back out again Dracula decided to look around some. While he was in there a plan began to form in his mind. After a few minutes he went up to the owner of the shop. "Can I have you make a potion for me?" He asked.

    The alchemyst was rather surprised at the request, since people hardly asked for a potion. "Of course I can sir, but it will cost a lot of money."

    "I can pay," Dracula replied. "I would like you to make me a potion that goes on the skin like a cream. Can you make a mixture that can shield the wearer from all types of sunlight?"

    "Um, it'll take a while, but I'm sure I can think of something." The alchemyst replied, incredibly puzzled by such an odd request. "Come back in approximately two weeks and I should have it by then."

    Dracula smiled a crooked smile. "I will," he promised, then left. The sun had gone down by now, and many of the people had disappeared. As Dracula headed out of the village, he was stopped by a farmer. "You don't want to go outside," he said fearfully. "The parsiath will get you!"

    "Oh, I doubt it," Dracula replied, then went off. His friends were waiting for him, and they listened eagerly to the news.

    "Almost a year," Iodocus remarked. "It has been such a long time."

    Dracula nodded, and then frowned as he counted the amount of people around him. "Where are Desmond and Art?" He demanded; the rest of the parsiath fell silent.

    One of them raised their hand. "They said they were going out for a snack," he said. "They should have been back by now."

    "Damnit!" Dracula exploded, causing everyone to jump. In an instant the lord was stomping out of the room and down the stairs. "I swear, if any of them have gone to the village I'll skin them! I've already fought back enough superstitions and if they ruin everything I've done they will pay!" Every second he grew more and more feral until the other parsiath hung back from him.

    He did not have to go far though. When he got to the front doors the two missing parsiath burst through them, carrying a bloodied body with them. The scent of human blood filled the room, and Dracula just stopped himself from feeding on the dying human. "What are you two doing?!" He roared, glaring at them with glowing red eyes. "Take this human out this instant!"

    "We can't, lord Dracula," one of them replied. He looked very distressed as he laid the person down on the floor. It was a boy barely out of his teens, and he was thrashing about as if in pain. "Look!" The parsiath grabbed the boy's lips and pulled them back, revealing teeth that were rapidly growing sharper. The assembled parsiath gasped.

    "He's turning into one of us," Iodocus whispered to Dracula.

    Dracula frowned and looked at the two parsiath. "How did this happen?" He asked, ignoring the body for the moment.

    The two were anxious to get the story out. "We were out hunting some cattle, when this human came out and saw us. He tried to attack us, but he tripped and fell on his own knife. There was blood everywhere, and I—we couldn't help ourselves. He was dying when we finished, so we decided to give him some of our blood to replace his, and this started happening…" They broke off as Dracula's feature's twisted in rage.

    "Have you two gone completely insane?!" He roared, "Our blood is not the same as theirs! That should have been obvious the moment you realized we can regenerate our flesh!" He would have said more, but the boy suddenly gasped once and went still.

    "Is he dead?" Someone asked.

    Dracula knelt down and felt the boy's neck. "No, but we cannot return him in his current condition. We'll put him in one of the guest rooms until he wakes up." He picked up the boy as if he weighed no more than a feather and carried him to the living quarters. Only Iodocus dared to follow him.

    "What will you do with him?" He asked as Dracula laid the barely breathing boy on a bed.

    "That depends on what happens when he wakes up," Dracula replied. He pulled up a chair and sat next to the boy's bed and watched him. In fact, he stayed there for three whole days. People came in and out, but no one disturbed him.

    On the third day, while Dracula was in the middle of reading some more of his wife's old poetry, the boy suddenly came to life again. Dracula's sensitive ears picked up his heart accelerating, and when he looked over at the boy he saw him thrashing again, the eyes growing a bright red and the teeth once more becoming fangs. Entranced, Dracula got up and stood over the boy, watching him carefully. The boy let out one more gasp, shuddered all over, and then went completely still. He was still breathing, and his heart as calm, but there was something different to him. A few seconds passed in silence, then the boy's eyes opened; they were a bright red and the pupils were slitted like a cat's. A growl rumbled in his throat, and Dracula leaped back an instant before the newborn parsiath leaped up and tried to claw him. However he was not so lucky a second time, and so fast that not even Dracula could keep up the parsiath crashed into him and sent them both crashing through the door.

    The duo whirlwinded through the hall, kicking and clawing and even biting, just to have their flesh regenerate. They cracked the walls and tore huge gouges into the wooden floor and made such a loud din that every corner of the mansion heard it. The other parsiath rushed to investigate, but in the meantime Dracula managed to kick his attacker away from him and stand up. And as it rushed at him again, he held out his hand. "Stop!" He commanded, using his mind to deliver a telepathic blow that completely floored the crazed parsiath. Remember, Dracula said, stepping closer. He forcefully shoved through the parsiath's mind, digging deeper until he found the human memories buried deep beneath the surface. He grabbed those memories and forcefully pulled them to the surface.

    The other parsiath came rushing in and froze at the scene before them. Dracula and the newborn were facing off, but neither of them were doing anything. They all saw the insanity clearly in the newborn's eyes, but then his features relaxed. He looked around, puzzled. "Where am I?" He asked after a moment. He then saw the group standing in front of him. "Lord Alucard!" He gasped in shock.

    "That's Dracula to you," Dracula answered sharply.

    "What has happened to me?" The boy demanded fearfully.

    Dracula chose not the answer him. "What is your name?" He asked instead.

    The boy paused, then replied, "Keairan."

    Dracula nodded, once. He turned to Desmond and Art. "I'll let you two explain," he hissed. "This was your idea in the first place, so you have the pleasure of dealing with him." He left then, going back to his library.

    Even though he did not take much part of the new parsiath's training and education, he oversaw much of it. He studied the newborn closely and made notes to himself whenever he discovered something particularly interesting. The new parsiath's hair did not turn silver, and his eyes remained red for only a week before turning back into their former green color. His mental capabilities were more sluggish to rise and, most interestingly, he seemed to have morals and was less excited about feeding on blood. Of course, Keairan had not had an encounter with Conceit and Heartless, so it was only reasonable. While the parsiath taught their new charge, the village was in a riot. Some of them came to Dracula's mansion, demanding entry, but they were ignored. Two weeks after the incident, Dracula traveled back into the village.

    People surrounded him, demanding explanations, but Dracula forced them away using his telepathy. He knocked on the alchemyst's door and let himself in. The alchemyst was delighted to see him, and he brought out a large bowl of a pure white cream that he claimed was his best work. "It deflects all sunlight," the man boasted, "and of course it's about fifty gold pieces."

    It was an outrageous price, even for an alchemyst, but Dracula wordlessly dropped a bag of gold on the counter and took his precious prize. But before he went, he looked at the alchemyst and put his fingers to his head. "Tell me the recipe for this potion," he whispered, digging into the helpless man's mind. When he found the right memories, he violently ripped them out of his head, leaving the man with a total blank spot in his mind. He left the alchemyst as a moaning heap on the floor and headed back for his mansion.

    He waited for the dawn. And when he saw the sun beginning to rise, he took out the cream and began smoothing it over his skin. He only covered his fingers, then looked at the sunlight shining through only of the windows. Slowly and fearfully, he stuck his fingers into the sunlight. To his shock, they did not burn. It seemed as if the alchemyst had done his job, and Dracula soon broke into a smile. He soon put the cream all over his skin, then walked right out into the sunlight. It was warm and felt good on him.

    Nearly an hour later a few of the parsiath came in, looking for their leader, and they screamed in shock when they saw him lying on a table, stretched out in the sunlight. They thought he was dead, and when he sat up, apparently perfectly fine, he stunned them all into silence. "It's alright, my friends," he said soothingly. "I have found a cure against the sun. It's this poultice right here." He held it out for them and told them to try. They did so reluctantly, and then to their delight it worked for them as well. And it was this way that Dracula brought a cure for the burning sunlight to the vampire's world, nowadays they called it sun cream.

    However, they had more problems on their hands. The villagers had found the alchemyst, and they were now convinced that Dracula was up to no good. According to reports, they were getting ready to form a mob and storm the mansion.

    Dracula laughed at the news. "Let them come," he said. "In fact, let's invite them in. We'll clean the place up and prepare for their arrival."

    Certainly the villagers were shocked when they got a message saying that Lord Alucard wanted them to dine in is mansion. Some were suspicious and brought weapons with them, but most of them went anyway. When they were led in, they gasped at the grandeur of the place. Candles were lit everywhere, giving the place a surreal glow to it. Iodocus led them around the mansion, and when he led them to the lower floors he turned around and smiled. "Master Alucard shall see you now," he said and opened the doors.

    The crowd was herded in by the parsiath, and what they saw inside made them scream. The entire room was covered with candles on every surface, and in the middle of the room was a giant black coffin. Inside, Dracula lay with his eyes closed and his hands folded over his chest. He looked fast asleep.

    At the sound of their cries, Dracula opened his eyes and sat up. People gasped when they saw their blood red color. "What's wrong, my friends?" Dracula asked softly. "You thought of me as dead once before, what's stopping you now?" He smiled, revealing a mouth filled with sharp fangs.

    The villagers screamed and tried to get out, but suddenly they were attacked on all sides by the parsiath who hungered for their blood. Soon rivers of red spread out along the floor, and Dracula himself soon partook in the killings. Some of the villagers escaped, however, and to get rid of the demons they took the candles and started burning everything in the house. Of course, it took quite a while for the place to burn, and all of the parsiath escaped. And if you remember your other tales of the parsiath, you'll hear a lot of people mentioning that they sleep in coffins. This is actually not true, and stemmed from this little trick that Dracula played on the humans.

    A few interesting things happened after that, the most shocking being that Iodocus and his wife producing a child. And this is what divides the made parsiath from the lamia—the born parsiath, the lamia can produce children. The lamia are all descendents of the original group that became immortal, and are usually stronger than the made parsiath. Another interesting fact is that lamia are not born with the animal insanity that the made parsiath have to deal with. Now, usually when a parsiath makes another of his own kind, he'll stay around to help the parsiath regain his sanity and become a vampire, usually by telepathic means. Or if they're cruel they'll leave the parsiath alone and let him or her either find sanity in their own way or just let them run amok in the wilderness. Dracula is said to have built another castle after that, although no one knows where. Iodocus and his family would later go on to build Castlemoor, where his later generations would rule. No one is quite sure about what happened to Dracula today, for he has not been seen or heard in centuries. Many say he was killed by the werewolves or vampire hunters, but the vampires are adamant that their lord still roams in the darkness, hunting his innocent prey when the moon is at its darkest.

    ((*Saruren - A creature that commonly inhabits the forests of Ercovea. It resembles a lion, but with a dark brown mane and pale yellow fur.))
     
    #12 Chibi, Nov 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2013
  13. Hee hee, squalling red things that female humans give birth to...that's my view as well. :p

    I have liked this story. This interpretation is dark, violent, and keeps in line with traditional vampire mythology.
     

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