CastleVania: The Unfinished Symphony Chapter 4

A Look Back on Conquest

By The Dark Requiem

The year: 1460.

The place: Poenari Fortress.

Vlad III Tepes Dracula leans back on his gilded throne, sipping his fourth cup of wine, still savoring his new surroundings, and reflects on the events of the past year.

The castle is finished now. The tower of his keep soars high into the sky, as if pointing to some heavenly doorway, closely followed by the triple spires of his royal chapel, whose melodious bells seemed to play a dirge for the old aristocracy…a requiem for the gods whose time had passed.

His library, stretching long across the castle's rear side, is completely filled with all his favorite tomes, cradled in their great shelves, oh-so-beautifully decorated with wood carvings of every sort.

The great stone tower on the left side, the so-called "outer wall", for it stretches so far off the precipice upon which the castle rested, held to the fortress only by the rooms it is attached to, is already beginning to fill with fog rising from the river below. In fact, it is covered so much that the stones seem to be made of the stuff, a virtual tower of mist.

Yes, the castle is magnificent, truly a new testament to his power.

Of course, the castle is not the only accomplishment of the year.

There had been the matter of that pesky Danesti prince up in mountainous Transylvania.

Those Danestis were trouble not only to him, but also to all of Translyvania…and, for that matter, all of Hungary. He had managed to kill one of them, Vladislav II by name, shortly after he reclaimed his birthright four years ago. Numerous others had since dealt with remaining members of that family.

Then there was only two left…two brothers, one the official Prince Danesti, the other a high-positioned royal official.

So, while he awaited the completion of his fortress, Dracula made a foray into his mother's homeland.

After months of searching…and waiting…they discovered, in the middle of winter, that they were in a small Translyvanian town, hidden by their loyal citizens.

As soon as Dracula found out, he and his troop marched in.

The prince was captured.

His brother was captured.

All the town citizens…men, women and children…were impaled.

Dracula smiles, even utters a faint laugh, as he remembers the fate of the captured Danesti prince.

* * *

There he had been…

…covered in snow, falling from the sky with a fury…

…kneeling before an open grave, dug by his own hands…

…reciting his own funeral oration.

His brother, was forced to watch the whole ordeal, held fast by three of Dracula's finest guards, silenced by a tight cloth over his mouth, squirming to break free.

The prince's lips, blue from the bitter cold, turned the page with his frostbitten hand and read the last part of the requiem.

"LIBERA ME DOMINI de MORTE AETERNA…" (Deliver me, Lord, from eternal death…)

The executioner stepped forward, his black cloak blowing in the wind.

"…in DIE ILLA TREMENDA…" (…on that awful day…)

Each footstep seemed to echo as the freezing ground cracked under the pressure.

"…QVANDO CAELI MOVENDI SVNT et TERRA…" (…when the heavens and the earth shall be shaken…)

His eyes, under the hood, were focused on the task at hand.

"…DVM VENERIS IVDICARE SAECVLVM per IGNVM." (…and you shall come to judge the world by fire.)

He removed a great ax from under his cape.

"TREMENS FACTVS SVM EGO et TIMEO…" (I am seized with fear and trembling…)

He put his finger to the blade and it bled quickly…and he knew it was sharp enough.

"…DVM DISCVSSION VENERIT atque VENTVRE IRA…" (…until the trial is at hand and to wrath to come…)

He raised the ax high over his head…

"…QVANDO CAELI MOVENDI SVNT et TERRA." (…when the heavens and the earth shall be shaken.)

…and brought it down with great force across the prince's neck.

The head went flying into the grave as the body, deprived of life, slumped to the ground.

And Dracula had smiled at the sight, as the executioner kicked the body into the grave, and he finished the oration silently.


* * *

Yes, it was a great triumph for him, though it had its other side.

The brother, in utter horror of the act, managed to break free of the guards and escape from Dracula and his forces into the snowy fields.

Even now, Dracula does not regret telling his men not to chase after him. He was the last Danesti and the lesson had been learned.

And even if not, what harm could he do? He is nothing!

That is his last though before he passes unconscious on his throne, drunk from all his wine.

Yes…what harm could poor, poor Grant Danesti do…?

* * *

The castle stands against the moon in all it's stony glory, the towers jutting into it like swords. The winds blow hard through the sky, beating against the walls of the keep.

Dracula can hear none of it, of course. He is fast asleep in a drunken stupor.

However, if he could hear it, he would have heard much more…

He would have heard voices…voices warning him of a transgression of which he knew not.

The voices are carried on the wind and surround the stone wall of the keep.

Oh, if only he had known where those stones had come from…

The nobles, by their orders, had taken the stones from the nearby ruins…but what ruins those were!

The Romans were always purported to not have built temples to Hades, their god of the underworld.

But the same could not be said for their colonized Dacians, whose land this was.

And it was ruins from those temples…those storehouses of the dead…that Dracula's precious stones came from.

And the spirits of the dead were not pleased.

And neither was Death himself.


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