Castlevania: The Tragic Prince Scene 2
Into The Rain
By Dawn Wilkins
Massive blades of lightning cleaved the sky in two. It sliced up the velvety blackness with all the efficiency the vampeal himself could imagine. Ribbons of light illuminated the night like dawn come before its time, flashing against his molten hair and midnight-emulating cape. A second assault on the heavens. And a third. And still more razor-bolts rent the air while savage roars accompanied each blast.
One minute orb of water landed on the half-breeds cheek, feeling much like the tears he dared not shed. Should he allow himself to become consumed by his anguish, Alucard knew he would have no heart to persist in his decision. There was a time and place for sorrow and this was neither. He had committed the ultimate sinhed condemned the woman, the only person who could make his heart beat, to a fate worse than death.
His fate. The fate of a vampire.
But he could save her...at the cost of his life...
What a fabulous bargain, dryly thought the prince, as his golden eyes sought the building that was his destination. After having fled his keep, leaving Maria to her stunned distress, the half-vampires mind swirled with a dozen thoughts in the span of a breath. The only way an individual can be spared the life of the dead was if the vampire whod inflicted the wound died before sunrise. It demanded even less time to agree to the requirements than it did to accept the concept of death itself. HE was the monster who had done this ghastly transgression and HE would pay the price for his insolence.
Initially, the vampeal had considered a number of efficient demisessome of them quite unpleasant. Burn at a stake. Too reminiscent of the doom his mother suffered. Plunge his sword through his chest. Too bloody and it might rust the edge. Hed even contemplated exposing his body to the scorching blaze of dawn...Much like starvation...long, excruciating, and it granted no guarantee that Maria would be safe...Needless to say, finding a suitable, preferable less painful, death was not easy. Then salvation in the memory of a building came.
By the time he arrived at the terrain, the entirety of his apparel literally oozed liquid. Rotating nearly three hundred and sixty degrees, he finally caught sight of the construction. A rather unimpressive cathedral, one might note, with one-color-scheme walls (plain brown paint, at that!) and a maltreated door. The left portion of the not-so-holy basilica had partially caved in due to the infestation of rats. Alucard was aware of its presence only because Richter, Maria, and he had passed the building when returning from the defeat of Dracula. For some reason the whole structure summoned vague memories to the surface but not any sure idea as to its familiarity. It had the only humane self-extermination he could consider performing.
Proceeding through the threshold, Alucard shut the facet of his emotions off. They had never benefitted him the past and he doubted they ever would. He passed the decrepit hallways and cob-webbed rooms with scant a peek. Oddly enough, he could not locate any crosses the distance of ten paces. Mildly, this irritated the prince. His attention was temporarily distracted by the tug against his step, as if a current bound him. Glancing down, he noticed his cloak dragged in the dust-filled flooring and, with a graceful yank, there was a slight rip noise. The garment no longer hindered him.
Once his champagne eyes lifted, he noted a fork in the chapel. Down the right route led to a meager room while its rival extended the length of several flame-lit corridors. Its reflective nature drew the prince like the smell of blood, very tantalizing to a vampire! Cape undulating, native to the bats that plagued this cathedral, Alucard continued through that path. Though expressionless, he couldnt help but feel awed at his core. Beautiful, he muttered wordlessly.
Twin obsidian pillars beckoned him at regular intervals. Torches flared in iron scones. But his alluring pupils only dilated at the mirrors that engulfed this area. Save for the aforementioned furnishments, his gaze fell only on the mimicking material. A thousand Alucards stared back at him, from a thousand dimensions and a thousand shades and a thousand angles and a thousand...the half-vampire immediately opted to halt his repetitive revelations. Suffice to say, he had entered a fairly speculative passageway.
The Corridor of Consecration. read the platinum sign.
Finally, he completed the journey up the sanctified aisle. Halting before a structure, his boots ending the symphony of walking with a shuffle, Alucard peered up at a holy symbol. And a holier symbol there could not be. Duo wooden rods, crossing one another, was hefted about some distance off the mirror-like groundeye to eye with him, in fact. A variety of jewels had been encrusted in the surface, glittering with the soft flamelight. They seemed like eyes glowering back at him. At his sins.
This was the holiest of artifacts that transcended even his fathers time.
A cross. Exactly what the vampeal had been looking for.
Death, he cried silently in the dark regions of his soul. More lightning scintillated, heralding another onslaught of rain. Each of his reservations, he grabbed in his mind with a firm grip and flung back into his subconscious. True, this self-execution was explicitly humiliating but Alucard endured it. With the fingers of his left hand, he peeled the glove of his other hand off. This much and more he would sacrifice for his beloved Maria. Once he lay in death, who would know or care?
He lifted his right hand to the cross.
He laid five fingertips on the surface.
He rested the remnant of his hand and waited.
But death did not come. Normally, when malevolent flesh came in contact with such a relic of God divine lightning would be activated, then the unholy skin would transmit a fatal bolt to the heart. He should be dead. But there he stood, unaffected. His delicate tawny eyebrows knit. What manner of mischief was afoot? Inwardly shrugging, knowing only that he must unearth another method of suicide, the vampeal retracted his fingers. Or attempted, anyway.
And thats when the pain began. Slowly, like a cancer, it seeped into his senses. First mild, next moderate, then extreme. A gasp expelled from his lips. Any attempts to remove his hand proved fruitless. His flesh warped into ribbons from the sacred flames that immersed his hand. It became so excruciating, it nearly blinded him. He couldnt even scream.
But something did. His name. Not once but twice, in succession. A voice like an angel come from the heavens to relieve the prince of his immortal torment. Alucard! Alucard! Almost in too much pain to see straight, he lifted his face. There, in a huntress green outfit and glimmering gold hair, was Maria. A thousand Marias bolted down the corridor. All running toward him.
Spears of lightning flickered over his face, merging with the firelight and the shadows offering his face an ungodly appearance. The murky cast in his eyes told the story of pain, mental and physical. I must keep her away from me! howled his wordless voice. Stay away! But the command from Alucard only confused the huntress. After a brief stop, she continued her advance.
A cliched saying once said, desperate times call for desperate measures, and Alucard realized how true the proverb was. To salvage his love hed be forced to banish love, once again. With his unscathed arm, the vampire snaked it at the far wall, detected the fractures in the surface and cried:
True to its name, the flames of Gehenna burst from the vampeals hand, some brilliant orange-saffron-crimson spheres, others waves of heat, and slammed into the wall. Already under the relentless persecution of the downpour, it gave way to the forces of nature and magic. A grand boom reverberated down the hall. The structures whole left side exploded. As expected by Alucard, a curtain of water gushed through the aperture. It instantly besieged the marble flooring. Soon, water up to the vampeals knees had invaded with still more on the way.
Willing with fortitude only a vampire could muster, Alucard forced placidness into his voice. Maria, you must leave! Depart at once before we both die.
But the huntress would not be curbed from her course. Emerald eyes blazing, Maria strode speedily to him. From the set of her jaw, he could tell she was quite angry. Water continued to stream through the cavity. She reached the prince in short order, observed with eagle eyes, then produced a thin dagger. As she set to task to free his arm, words spilled in offended disarray.
I supposenever mind what I think!you think...that you can run offdamn this wood!
He sighed. The only emotion he permitted even in this maimed state. Words as hush as the whispers of the wind, Alucard spoke, You should not have followed me. Tis dangerous. I will be the death of you. After having liberated his hand and wrapping the palm with a shred of his cloak, the huntress merely glared at him.
I should say so...all this chasing after you will bed-rid me for three days!
Leave now. When the waters flood this place it will be ended.
No way, Alucard! Youre going to listen to me for once!
Now, Maria. Rare was it that the prince raised his voice, but when he did it had the desirable affect of jarring his opponents. The words aligned the huntresss spine. Her lips parted. Her eyes widened. His mouth opened to add more force to his statement when Maria silenced him with a simple gesture.
This time, however, he had the drive to desist
No, not this time. You will depart. Expecting some sort of resistance, was the half-vampire ever startled (not visibly, of course!) to note that she did not struggle when he drew back. Instead, the huntress merely rested her head against Alucards chest, listening to his throbbing heartbeat. Her heat, even in this damnable cold, felt reassuring. And he would not say as much to her or anyone else. Especially not Maria herself.
In the vampeals inhumanly ardent arms, Maria gazed up with a rare serenity. If you let me stay with you while you die then I promise I will leave. The water was not entering at such a speed as to make this request another ruse to force him out of his decision.
I have your word? In the world were integrity was fast becoming yesterdays news, the prince gripped his all that much harder. When humanity lost its dignity thats when it was needed most. And he knew, in the span of her heartbeats, that Marias thoughts were mutual.
A sigh of appreciation was all the half-vampire extended in response. Encircling her in his arms, reminiscent of Alucards earlier embrace, his smile briefly divulged to Maria his authentic feelings. Now that he was dying, with no chance to endanger her with his reflections and fantasies, shouldnt he strip the barriers from his soul? Imminent death lending him courage no other disaster could offer otherwise, he spoke:
Yes, Alucard? His words seemed to suck the very air from the huntress lips. She gripped hishand in a grip he thought only vampires had as if Maria feared, should she release the prince, he would die.
...I love you...I think.
His proclamation promoted a gasp. Emerald eyes sought his gaze and snared it. Having been convinced that such a statement would be impossible to impart, the prince was eternally relieved with its liberation. Too long, hed frozen all his sensitivities and slain them before first breath. I...I dont know if Im capable of loveif a vampire is capable. You deserved to know, though. As Maria remained silent, the vampeal elected to continue, ...When I was little my mother claimed I could love...but she died and Ive felt no such emotion...but can I? I mean, can I love?
The confession and candid manner shocked Alucard himself. He had not intended to be so forthright. But it just flowed so easily...like his vampiric sensations...unharnessable. Soon, his history poured out of his mechanical yet passionate heart. Startled and pleased, the huntress gently squeezed his wounded hand with hers. She lifted both to his heart. The vampeal noted a bite of chill on his palm but, since coldness permeated this place, he assumed it was the result of the steadily-gushing water.
After having expounded on a variety of topics on his life and she on hers, their voices failed them again. A sole issue existed that Alucard wanted to discuss but the toll of his past weighed against his heart. Only his vampiric nature spared him tears, momentarily. ...I want to love!...And to be loved!...But I just dont have the heartI havent since my mothers death. Watching her die, burning at a stake...it was too much...I havent cried since...
Maria did not comment and the only voice save his own was that of the cascading water, an almost peaceful hiss. I havent...cried...until...now... His eyes glistened with brimming tears. No longer did the huntress gasp alone. He, too, breathed heavily. Dry fear rose to his throat; too late, the emotions flooded him as surly as the waters flooded this damned cathedral.
The huntress eyes softened. She might have been a trying creature but he noted another dimension to hera courageous, loving woman not unlike his mother. Her constant fascination with touching his heart (figuratively and literally!) both enthralled and unnerved the prince.
And the waters continued their march.
Alucard, why do you feel you must die?
Those words gave the vampeal the resolve to contain his tears. It was an action native to him. His father, the infamous Dracula, had little patience for vulnerabilities. The weak perish; the strong survive. But wasnt surrendering to the maniac passion to drink anothers blood exemplifying weakness?
Ah, the constant dilemma of his war-waged soul!
You know that wound I inflicted? When she didnt respond he assumed the huntress understood. Though his insides twisted like a dish rag, his cool manner concealed it. If I dont die...youll become one of us...
On an unspoken word, the two noted the latest level of the waters. Like the lost city of Atlantis, soon, too, would this structure discover home beneath the pounding of massive waves. Already, it had surpassed both waistlines and wouldnt be long before the waters threatened their sternums. The waters were not transparentby no meansbut staring into the murky depths permitted a distorted view of the underneath; that of their mirrors. Their features, reflected, contorted into a number of shapes, never ceasing, never the same look twice.
The vampeal gently shoved Maria aside. Her face disfigured with sorrow. Oh, how hed loved to hold her...just a moment more...but the waters beckoned. All any vampire needed to do was dive into water, no matter what type, and immerse his/her heart. Soon, one less vampire would walk the earth...that one less being him.
But the huntress refused to remove her hand. The five fingers tightened over his heart, laced with his own hand. There was his watery grave, summoning; there was his grip on life, pleading. Easily, one such as the prince could liberate himself, but, something in her soulful green eyes gave him pause.
Please...let me hold your hand...and heart...as you...go.
His thin blond eyebrows lifted dramatically.
Please...you can go...under...just let me...
For more precious moments the half-vampire lungs locked with ambivalence. Never before had Maria been so emotional, not in such a mournful fashion anyway. She, an unending storage of astonishment. He assumed it was a rare display of vulnerability. Very well, but then you will leave. Understood? It wasnt the faint, sensitive voice of a friend; it was the firm, authoritative voice of a prince.
A slight incline of the head satisfied Alucard. His champagne eyes lowered to his liquid demise. Tormented, melancholy eyes gazed back at him. Am I so transparent? Is this the way it is all suppose to end? he wondered. This is itmy last note in the song of life.
He plunged in.
Again, mortality did not claim him.
The next few moments blurred through his senses. Only the cold blazing in his palm through Marias hand seemed real. Whats happening? he voiced minus words. Cold liquid pressed in on all sides, as if it would wrap around the half-vampire and drown him. The prince could still feel his lifebeat, pulsing through his and the huntress fingers. With no death in sight, he immediately surfaced.
Whats happening? cried he in a note below a scream. His penetrating eyes narrowed and by mere will the rest of Alucards face remained neutral. Golden bangs dangled over his deathly visage and he banished them. He was positively drenched.
One diminutive smile crept into Marias lips, commencing at the corners and finally seizing her face in a fit of laughter. His eyebrows lowered in displeasure. That erased the grin. Finally, she gestured to their clasped hands, yet over his sternum, and indicated a glimmering object.
A marble cross...unquestionably, of water protection.
At first, Alucard did not recognize it for what it was. In his weakened state, all aspects of reality became indistinct. Though he did eventually identify it and was undoubtably furious, the prince couldnt tell whether his inhuman heritage or his exhaustion which prevented him from raising his voice. Ms. Renard, that is completely unforgivableI had your word.
She flushed but surrendered no ground. Finally, the prince had to cede defeat; if only for the moment. His head swam like the churning liquid below. Why, he didnt know, but the vampeal hauled his undesirable savior to his chest, in a crushing hug. Maria did not resist. His heart wept the tears his eyes would not. Nothing makes her understand! he bemoaned. But she must!
As if the great earth itself clove asunder, the wall and others beyond, fully detonated. Fragments scattered. Water spiraled. Dust soared. The explosion tore his beloved from Alucards grasp. He, himself, sailed off his feet and flattened, hard, into the opposing wall. A fount of pain erupted at his temple and lightninged down his spine. Slowly, he began to slid into the inviting waters...
NO! STAND UP, ADRIAN! screamed a voice into his subconscious. Without hesitation, he obeyed. Struggling with unwilling limbs and unforgiving waters, the vampeal managed to straighten up. Had he not, the prince realized, hed be dead (really dead, not undead). Yanking hairs from his cheeks, Alucard instantly scanned the area for Maria. The huntress lay, face down, floating in the ever-increasing waters. A thin streak of sickly pink diffused from her. His heart nearly cracked a rib from the smell of blood, the coppery tang, but he tolerated it.
Oh, dear God, no...
Sucking in a breath, the half-vampire waded through a violent current towards her. Though he had little concern for his own welfarehe was suppose to be dead, was he not?Alucard knew that, should he perish, Maria might as well. It was an agonizingly slow process to reach the huntress while avoiding submerging his chest. Each step brought him closer to her and her closer to perhaps death.
Once he arrived, his ashen fingers probed her neck. Blood continued to pour down from a head wound as steadily as the liquid filled this damned temple. It played havoc with his mind. His vampire sensations went berserk.
He shut his eyes against the craving, much like a drug making the unthinkable, thinkable. Only the princes love of her prevented his fangs from tasting flesh again. That and the knowledge from a pulse, which claimed Maria yet lived. His eyes opened slowly. A thankful murmur passed his lipsand became a vicious curse, one inappropriate for his position, as a huge wave soared at them. Even his fast-as-thought speed could not aid Alucard as the two were flung down the corridor. Water crashed from everywhere as well as debris. His hand clung on Maria with a vice-like grip and he fought to force his chest afloat.
As easily as one might toss grass, the duo sailed through the hallway. Water rushed in his ears, seeming to come from a dozen directions as they rode the wave. He fought and fought and fought. And still he fought, until his stamina nearly failed. Thankfully, a crease in the flooring snared his cloak and prevented him from going under. Ironically enough, it was the same mar that had irritated him earlier.
As they passed the passageways entrance, Alucard had enough presence of mind to see the room to their left, the one he had declined to enter in favor of the Corridor of Consecration. Almost like a entity foreign to his body, the half-vampires gloved hand erupted from the watery depths. It latched onto the doorhandle. His other hand held Maria aloft.
Pain...so much pain...must...save...her...Only these words ran through Alucards mind, as if they were the sole words hed learned. A grunt came from his salt-licked lips as he forced both himself and the huntress into the room. His injured appendage blazed without fire and sweat beaded his creased forward, as he slammed the door shut. Pressurized fluid rammed the wooden frame and slipped under the threshold. It would not hold forever, but the prince prayed forever was not how long hed be here.
Sliding down on his seat, Alucard dimly glanced about. Certainly not dry, the chamber at least looked serviceable, currently, without a dangerous level of water. Neither was it a spacious room. He surmised it was a storage room, what with the crates and bins and all. A single window permitted enter for more water, that of rain, and provided the only light, that of lightning.
The vampeal slithered over to Maria and ensured her head rested comfortably and safely. He could not determine the precise area of her wound and was forced to bound a godly surface. His black and now tattered cape proved an excellent dressing. Satisfied that she was safe, at least momentarily, Alucards eyes drooped. He needed restdesperatelyand damn the situation...
His eyes fluttered open and his heart seemed to halt.
Adrian, fly as a bat. Get help for your friend. Return, posthaste.
Sweat, water, and maybe even tears streamed down the half-vampires cheeks. Could that be...mother? But, that was silly. His mother had been dead for nearly four centuries. His champagne eyes trailed to Maria, in his arms. He did not wish to leave her so vulnerable, but the vampeal also knew that he could not carry her to safety. Whether it was his mother, his father, or his own insanity calling, Alucard had no choice but to heed the words.
As the transformation commenced, pain signed his nerves. A feral scream emitted from his lips. His muscles, organs, and skeletal systems reformed. Both eyes narrowed and wings sprouted from his shoulder blades. All clothing and equipment merged with the vampeals new skin. His old self melted away into a hunter of the night.
Lightning still savaged as the bat glided gracefully through the sole fracture in the window. Rain pounded on his wings, as if determined to keep him from his destination. And, meanwhile, in the nameless chamber, an inconsequential cross glittered.
It mirrored a face.
The face of Dracula.
Dawn Wilkins' Fanfiction