Castlevania: The Tragic Prince Scene 5
Out of the Ashes
By Dawn Wilkins
A young boy squat down on the grass and cried. He wept because his mother, misconstrued for a witch, was being burned to death by aggravated peasants. The flames blossomed in the not-so-distant distance while the shrieks of manic merriment savaged his little ears. Tears continued to stream his cheeks because he realized why this calamity was transpiringand the onus was on him.
"Mama...sob...I'm sorry...cough...sob...If I hadn't...sob...sob...told them about me...being a...vampire...sob...cough...sob...they wouldn't be hurting...sob...you...mama...sob..." These words, from a broken heart, were not lost on the tot's observers. They were three and an odd trio if there ever was one.
The one at the far right was a demon straight out of a nightmare. His lengthy silver hair flowed like water as he stared with sharp eyes. A cloak billowed from his shoulders, of expensive and gothic taste, only emphasizing the appalling pallor. To the left stood a ravishing woman with hair the color of the sun and a smile to match. White ruffles contrasted with her ebony gown. And in the dead center, a man that could have been, and WAS, another version of the child, watched with doleful metallic eyes as his own black garb fluttered in tune with his amber hair.
Alucard turned to his mother, voice splintering, "So, you know...I am so sorry..."
"Yes, Adrian. I wish you would face your grief and you have nothing to feel sorry for. You were a child trying to understand your heritage. It must have been hard to bear."
His father grimly added, "A terrible burden, indeed."
The vampeal's eyes flashed. "What does it matter to you!? I have never mattered to you!"
"No...Adrian...I do love you...in my own way."
Before the half-breed could protest his mother spoke up: "Adrian, we love you. Both of us. You've defeated your father but that doesn't change the fact of who you are."
Bitterness besieged his voice as he answered, unable to contain feelings he attained short moments ago. "Yes, I am a vampire...always will be...and so I am dead and that's the way it should be."
Both parents exchanged a look.
"You're not deadjust your vampire side is," explained the Elder Tepes.
"And now it's time you returned to the mortal world," his mother declared.
As if the mere mention of another existence were enough to bring it to life, the half-vampire's head spun and he collapsed to a knee. Was he dreaming again, in a bridge of life and death? Pondering this, Alucard struggled to stand. But he failed.
The wife of Dracula immediately caught him in her arms, oddly strong, and lowered him. Still within his matriarch's soothing embrace, the prince whispered, "...Mother...I don't want...to go...If I return, she is in danger." Even as the half-breed articulated this, grayness cluttered his eyes. His mother was shaking her head, gold strands crowning her brow. With your vampire self dead she is no longer at risk now. A sensation of nonsensation seized his body. He foughtfurthering the haze.
Don't you want to see your friends again?"
A second voice, now. "Then let go, Adrian, for you are yet alive." Though his vision was so poor that it would not permit him a view of his sire, the prince knew that Dracula was at his side. With a hand, the injured, Alucard gripped his father's arm. "I...am...sorry..."
"Don't be. You've won, my child, and I accept the loss. The battle has ended. I will enter the realm of death with your mother...you've earned my admiration and...love."
The darkness almost complete, Alucard murmured, "I love you..."
His mother smiled, "We love you, too."
And then the darkness was complete.
"I love you, too!" gushed a female voice.
Slowly, the prince's eyelids fluttered. Twice, there were false starts. Finally, he succeeded in opening his golden eyes and his sight resumed in time to catch a woman leaning forward and kissing him. His face comically contorted, shocked. It was a full kiss, a soulful kiss, a loving kiss. And, it was also Maria's kiss.
An electric jolt skittered through his body, more pleasurable than the sweetest wine. Very similar, actually, what with the euphoric feeling and the taste. Without thinking, he lifted his arms and encircled the huntress' slim waist. He had kissed women before, held them in his arms, but never had such rapture been the result.
Maybe because I've never allowed myself to feel beforenever taken pleasure in something so simple as a kiss, Alucard noted with a hint of joy.
"Yeah, he's okay, Annette. Boy, he's more than okay!"
Immediately, the two parted. Marian glared indignantly at her sister and brother-in-law and Alucard himself couldn't help but frown. Meanwhile, both Richter and Annette laughed at the romantic display. Then, the vampire hunter snatched his arm and helped him to his feet. Alucard immediately replaced his blade in its scabbard. Flushing like a schoolgirl, Maria stood also.
"Yes, I'm fine," replied the prince, a tint daring his cheeks. "Thank you for helping me. It is much appreciated." A more serious thought crossed his mind. "Maria, let me see your hand." Puzzled but obedient, the young woman extended it, half-expecting him to kiss the flesh.
When he detected the absence of his teeth-inflicted wound, Alucard decided to oblige. He drew his lips over the smooth skin and she giggled uncharacteristically. Richter and Annette both roared until the poor vampire hunter doubled over. "Getting any ideas, Ann?" asked the brown-haired man between coughing/laughing fits. The instant he uttered that, however, she gave him a sharp rap on the skull and he promptly silenced.
"Its time we went home," his wife declared. Snatching a fistful of shirt, Annette dragged her husband down the hall. Both stepped around Draculas body gingerly. The waters had receded to a decent, maneuverable level but a new line of curses came from the Belmont because it was not that maneuverable.
Are you coming, Sis? Alucard? She called over a shoulder as the two diminished in the distance. Soon, they were almost dimensionless, mere colors of gold, green, copper, and violet.
No, I am Alucard no longer...My name is Adrian and the man who can now face his mistakes and tragedies and doesn't need to hid behind his lineage any more. Out loud, his words were, "Call me Adrian. That is my name...Well follow...in a minute." After nodding, both husband and wife vanished.
Turning his gaze on the window, Adrian's eyes drank in the features of dawn. Before, he might have considered it a graphically pleasing phenomenon. Now, his eyes saw the true loveliness through the mixture of hues and shades and tints. Crimsons and pinks and golds made his heart ache.
How could he have stared at the dawn each morning and not seen the beauty of it?
The moment his eyes fell on another wonderful sight, that of Maria's, Alucard shook his head in pure amazement. For months now the duo had been side by side, struggling against the wickedest of evils, dependant upon each other for their very lives and he had rejected every one of her advances. And even when he, at length, returned those feelings the prince had been unable to balance his two halves, his two souls.
Now, with his vampire blood gone (and even mildly missed!) plus his emotions restored, the prince now had the opportunity to experience the highest of emotionslove. Not just that love for relatives since he knew he loved both his parents dearly. No, he could love a woman as only a man can.
"Time to head off," that woman announced. Tossing her blond locks aside the huntress shyly looked up at him. "Aren't you coming?" The wistful note was not lost on him. His eyes yet on the morning, Adrian breathed, "...Beautiful..."
She smiled. "Yeah, I've always loved the sunrise."
"I meant you."
"I love you."
There, he'd said it. Not for the first time and certainly not for the last. It just came so easily now. Her gleaming green pupils informed him such a declaration was more than welcomed. Maria grasped his hand, mocked the prince's own kiss, and lead him down the Corridor of Consecration. He followed gladly, enjoying the emotion called happiness.
For he was a new man. A new man with a new life and love.
And, a note.
Withdrawing the saturated letter with the hand releasing Maria's, the prince peered at it. The entire script was indecipherable. In fact, it wasn't much more than a lump of paper. But, he knew, it was far more than that. In it lay the words that spelled the end of his world.
As the huntress looked on, bewildered, Alucard ripped it up bit by stinking bit. Like the flakes in a snow globe the paper scattered onto the half-water, half-mirror floor. Some descended in the murky depths while others floated down the hallway. At once, the two resumed their departure from the church and into the morning's multi-colored greeting, hands clasped, laughter trailing behind.
It was a good day to be The Tragic Prince.
Author's Notes/Making Of
Dawn Wilkins' Fanfiction