A group of bandits on the run take shelter in an abandoned castle, however they find that the complex is not as empty as they thought... What happens when they wake and anger a slumbering monster? ...
The Greer siblings were not famous, to be sure, but their reputation as a ruthless band of thugs had spread through their sector of the frontier fairly rapidly. There were four of them, three brothers and a sister. Lorcan, the eldest brother, followed by Rowan, the second eldest brother, then Maeve, the Greer sister, and then Bran the youngest. All four of them had prices on their heads, but they were rarely forced to put down a bounty hunter. The sort of attention that warranted being avidly pursued was saved for criminals who preyed upon towns. Bandits, such as themselves, who primarily targeted travelers were generally ignored, especially since most frontiersman didn't trust travelers to begin with.
Despite that common understanding, the four found themselves in a rather precarious situation. It seemed that their last heist--a rather profitable one at that--was unfortunately the wedding party of a nearby mayor's daughter. Of course, the siblings had slaughtered the group, taken the girl's dowry and ran. And so, now they found themselves a few notches higher on the bounty priority list.
Not especially wanting to give up their lives so soon, the four decided to run south, past their normal stomping grounds. After all, the frontier was fairly large, and most bounty hunters would not travel terribly far for a purse, unless said purse was particularly large.
It had been days since they started out, and it seemed like they hadn't come upon a town in at least a hundred miles, something strange even for the frontier. What made matters worse was the fact that it had been raining almost non-stop for the last day, and now, approaching sunset (not that they could actually see the sun), the rain was coming down in icy torrents.
"Oiy, Lorcan!" Rowan called from his mount some ten feet from his brother. "Where the hell are we? Shouldn't we be coming up on something by now?"
"Aye," Lorcan Returned from the front of the line. "The road's turned to cobbles, 'aven't you noticed?"
"Well whatever it's turned to, we need to find some bloody fucking cover or we're going to be dinner for some nasties," Bran shouted from the rear of the group. "I can already hear the ruddy fuckers flowing us!"
"I See something up ahead," Maeve's voice rang out. "Looks like a building."
The four urged their mounts into a gallop to close the half mile distance between themselves and the mystery-complex before them. As they drew closer it became apparent that the building was more of a castle--built of stone and standing at least four stories tall. It was surrounded by a ruined gate--the metal of the bars twisted into impossible angles. They crossed the threshold, their cyborg horses huffing after the sprint. They circled their mounts in the courtyard, studying the complex through the torrents of water.
Maeve spoke first, "Shit... I don't like the look of it. There could be anything in there..."
A screech from outside the gate startled the horses, two of them rearing up with their riders.
"Ya, well I'm not so sure I want to wait to see what the hell has been following us," Bran said, pulling his shotgun from the holster on his saddle and cocking it. There was another screech, followed by a long howl.
"Right," Lorcan said. "Well, first, let's see if this place has any defenses up." He pulled a hunter's knife from his belt and with a strong throw let it fly at the building's main door. There was a crack as the knife hit the wood and stuck. There was not barrier, no laser cannon. Hell, there wasn't even an alarm.
The animalistic sounds were becoming louder, the numbers increasing. Dozens of glowing red eyes could be seen by the four bandits through the rain and the darkness.
"It's some sort of bloody pack!" Rowan cursed. The beasts started to move in. Bran aimed his shotgun down the path they'd taken through the ruined gate and fired. The shot echoed off the looming complex, and the creatures backed away at the thundering boom of the gun.
"I say we're going in," Lorcan said. "I'll take my chances in an abandoned castle rather than be eaten alive by mutants."
He forced his horse up the the main stairs of the building, the other three following him. The creatures advanced further as they approached the doors. Lorcan dismounted, pulling at the door. It swung forward easily.
"Not even locked," he muttered, pulling his knife from the splintered wood. "Go on, get in there!" she shouted. The other three rode their horses straight into the building. Lorcan gave his own horse a slap on the rump to get it to follow the others.
He heard a rustling behind him and turned to see the pack of beasts running at him--some kind of misshapen hairless dogs. He grinned. "Too slow ya bloody gits," he said, closing the door firmly behind him. There were several thumps as the animals rammed the door, but the barriers were made of thick, strong wood and the impacts didn't even cause them to shake.
"Oiy, someone got a light?" Rowan called in the pitch darkness.
There was a brief flash of flame before Maeve successfully held up a lighter.
"Here's a flare," Bran said, tossing it to her. She caught it and lit it, bathing the room in a bright red glow.
"What the fuck is this place?" she asked, taking in the surroundings. To say the room's contents were boggling would have been an understatement. It was like they had stepped through a time portal. There was no technology whatsoever to be found in the room, save for unlit electric lights. Even the simplest of frontier buildings had at least a barrier system in place. Unrecognizable artifacts and flags surrounded them. Weapons, very similar to those that they carried, but almost archaic models in comparison, decorated the walls.
"It's like some sort of bloody museum," Rowan muttered.
They dismounted, each in turn lighting their own flare and beginning to walk about the room.
"I bet some of this shit might actually be worth something," Rowan said, taking a sword from the wall."I think this blade is made out of silver--or at least plated with it!"
Maeve hadn't moved much. Although she was as hardened and cruel as her brothers, something had her particularly bothered by this place--almost to the point that she would have preferred to be out with the mutants. A chill went up her spine. She felt like she was being /watched/. Deciding that the chill was from her drenched clothing, she hurried to keep up with her brothers. Although she didn't particularly want to explore this place, she also didn't want to be left alone in it.
Lorcan led the pack up the main stairwell that stood some thirty feet before the front doors. At the top of the twenty stair flight, the case curled in opposite directions. He took the left for his own superstitions. The building was not all that impressive as far as castles went. The corridors were primarily bear, and the rooms they peaked in were very much similar, appearing more as small offices like those of a town's main hall than anything else. One thing about this place, however, there were weapons seemingly everywhere, displayed on the walls like trophies. Archaic rifles that appeared to shoot bullets rather than lasers, swords that appeared to be made of silver. The impracticality of some of the blades lead them to believe that the castle had been the abode of vampire or werewolf hunters. After all, a weapon made of such weak metal would not due well for regular combat.
The quartet found their way to the third floor. The number of rooms decreased dramatically. The doors were sparse, and when they found one, inside was a bare room with an enormous oak table, surrounded by high-backed chairs. Some sort of meeting hall. There was nothing of value inside, so they continued on.
The three brothers carried on with gusto, if anything had them spooked they didn't show it. male bravado at its finest. Maeve, on the other hand, could not shake the feeling that/ something/ was watching them--watching /her/. It didn't help that this new corridor on the third floor was lined what oil paintings, portraits of middle-aged and elderly men staring outwards at them, giving her a start every time she turned.
"I think these name plates might be gold," Bran said, tapping the rectangle posted under one of the portraits."What do you suppose this language is? Some of the characters look familiar, but I can't place it. "Who cares?" Rowan answered. "You're right, they're gold. Pry 'em off and we'll pawn 'em later." Rowan and Bran began working at a few of the name plates, Lorcan continued down the hall.
"Holy shit," Lorcan murmured, "Maeve, check this out."
She had been moving slowly down the hall, but she hurried forward at Lorcan's voice.
"What is it?"
"Look," he said, pointing up at a particularly large painting. "Looks a bit like you."
She gazed up at the portrait, met by a stern, cold glare. It was a woman--though wearing the same formal attire as the men in the other paintings. She could see a bit of similarity in the hair and eye color, but the woman in the portrait had a very angular face with thin lips and glasses. Maeve had a more rounded face and perfect vision. Even so, considering how nervous this place already had her, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed look-a-like didn't help.
"Yeah, does look like her," Bran said, going to work on the portrait's name plate.
A chill went up Maeve's spine as he began tinkering with the metal. She could have sworn that the building just /growled/. Part of her wanted to stop the desecration of the woman's portrait--but the other part of her did not want to be made a fool by her brothers.
"Well, this looks important," Rowan said behind her. Turning she saw huge looming doors directly across from the portrait. "Let's see what's in here."
Rowan pushed the door open. The same chill swept over her. "I'm not going in there."
"Oh don't be a chicken-shit, Maeve," Bran scolded, grabbing her upper arm and dragging her through the doorway with him as he followed Rowan and Lorcan.
As soon as they were through the door and Bran's hand left the handle it swung shut again of it's own accord. As it clicked shut, Maeve's eyes focused in on the contents of the room, illuminated by the dim red glow of their flares. Her breath caught as she saw before them--the room was mostly bare, but a conference desk sat directly before the door, a few feet before the opposite wall, tall windows leaking light from the storm outside. A tall sthriathgt-back chair sat behind the desk--and a person sat in it.
"Oiy!" Rowan barked, pulling a laser revolver from his utility belt. He aimed at the figure. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Hey, answer him," Bran said as the person remained silent.
Gooseflesh rose over Maeve's body--they shouldn't be there. She finally realized what the feel of this place was...
Beside her, Lorcan drew his own pistol, cocking it and walking toward the figure. "Oiy," he said. "You even alive?" He rounded the desk and stopped at the figure's side. It was a man, dressed in black, tongs of leather encasing his chest and limbs--however the tongs upon his arms and legs were ripped and hanging loose, as if he had been strapped to something and pulled free. The figure was covered in dust--it appeared that he had been in the same position for years.
"It's just a corpse," Lorcan said, poking the dead man in the shoulder with his pistol. "Been here for ages I'd say." The corpse was seated with it's hands folded over it's leather-bound stomach, it's feet propped on the desk. As he looked on the corpse he saw a dull glint. Clasped between its folded fingers was a shape make of silver in the shape of a "t".
"Well, dear friend, "Lorcan said. "You won't be needing this anymore."
As she saw her brother reach to take something form the corpse her blood ran cold. Don't touch it! she screamed in her mind, but could not find the breath to make it audible.
He wasn't sure what happened--but he heard something that sounded like snapping wood, and then lightening pain shot up his arm. Lorcan screamed as he registered the gloved hand of the corpse clamped around his own wrist, the bones being crushed further and further by the second. He continued to scream as the corpse lowered its legs from the desk and slowly stood. Dust fell from him in clumps as he came to his full height, towering over Lorcan. Burning red coals, almost brighter than their flares, met Lorcan's terrified visage.
"And what mongrels come to disturb my solitude?" he rasped as if he had not spoken in years. His face was both emotionless and furious at the same time.
Something clicked in Lorcan's mind. "Shoot him!" he shouted. "What the fuck ar you waiting for!?! Shoot him!!!"
Brand and Rowan had initially frozen in shock, but at their brother's panicked words aimed their respective weapons at the animated corpse and began firing. Each shot hit the thing's body, but it wasn't phased. They saw the lasers and the buck shot rip into the creature's body, causing blood the spray in ghastly amounts--but still it remained standing.
"Foolishness," it growled before literally throwing Lorcan across the room toward his siblings. It turned to the occupants of the room. "A dog cannot kill me," he snarled, fangs glinting from his drawn lips. "It has always been humans who kill monsters. You mongrels don't fit the bill."
"It's a fucking noble!!!" Rowan screeched, turning and bolting for the door. His hands gripped the handles, both his flare and revolver forgotten on the floor. He jerked on the doors, but they would not budge. A high squeal escaped his throat, a sound he didn't even recognize coming from himself, as he pulled in frustration. He gasped in horror as the doors melted into palpable tendrils of darkness before dozens of glowing red eyes appeared in the shadows, connected to nothing. Rowan jumped backward from the wall of eyes, only to realize the darkness was on the floor and the other walls. He turned to see his siblings encased in the same darkness-their flares swallowed and the only light coming from the now hundreds of glowing eyes that surrounded them in this encasement of shadow, centered on the pitch black figure of the vampire who stood before them, his own eyes the brightest coals among the others.
"A 'noble'?" he growled. "So the surviving trash dare to call themselves 'nobles'? Pathetic." He approached the siblings in the darkness. Despite their hardened nature they were all frozen in terror. "/This/ is the power of a true nosferatu," he snarled, raising his arms like the conductor of some hellish orchestra.
Suddenly dozens of solid, sharpened shadows shot from the floor--the Greer brothers impaled, each dozens of times by the curling viper-like strands. Their dying screams were blood-curdling, but brief, their warm blood drenching the living shadows and soaking into the darkness. The vampire made a quick sweep of his arms and the brothers' bodies were thrown into the air, only to come crashing down with a sickening squelch on three pikes that quickly rose from the floor. The vampire let his arms drop, staring coldly forward at the one remaining living being in the complex.
Maeve stood frozen in the swirling shadows, the bodies of her brothers surrounding her, their blood splattered on her face and body. She stared in horror at the vampire before her, her entire form shaking, wanting to run or defend herself, but to terrified to do so. Between her light skin and hair she was like a glowing beacon in the darkness.
The vampire moved toward her--seeming to glide through the shadows. Her eyes widened as she heard his voice in her head.
It was a name. She heard it whispered to her mind again. The blood drained from her face as the ancient vampire loomed over her with merely a foot of space between them. She shivered as she saw his right hand--now barren of the gloves she had seen before--reach toward her, a strange circle branded on the back. His cool skin made contact with her cheek and she wanted to scream. Frightened tears sprang to her eyes as she stared into the monster's face.
"Integra..." the name escaped his lips in a low murmur. Maeve shook more violently as the vampire's hand moved into her hair and balled into a fist at the base of her neck. He forced her head back exposing the column of her neck, and her knees buckled.
The vampire caught her dead weight with his opposite arm and lifted her. She screamed protest in her mind as she felt his breath on her neck, and gasped at the fire that erupted as his fangs sank into her tender flesh.
A wave of erotic pleasure swept though her as he drew on her life blood. It was dizzying and she couldn't help but moan. Her fear was forgotten in her swoon, her physical body forgotten even as her life was drained away.
Integra/, the vampire's voice whispered to her. /Will you finally come to me? Will you finally be my bride?
In her current state, Maeve would have agreed to anything--to let him kill her, change her, fuck her in the pooling blood at her feet. Anything for him. "Yes," she moaned, her weakened body swimming with blood loss and psychic influence.
Cool lips crushed against hers, sharp teeth gnashing her lips. Her mouth was forced open and thick liquid ran into it, coppery and pungent. She was forced to swallow even as another draught entered her mouth, the flavor, at first repugnant, becoming robust like aged wine. She drake hungrily, moaning when she felt the vampire's tongue swipe into her mouth, more of his now sweet, powerful blood spilling from it.
She whimpered as he pulled away, his fangs striking the other side of her neck. She moaned as the pleasure returned, and gasped as she felt her clothing ripped from her body, icy flesh pressing against her rapidly cooling body.
And then the first wave of pain hit her, every muscle of her body tensing like a vice. She screamed, clawing at the vampire's body. His chest rumbled with a growl as she struggled, his mouth still clamped on her neck. She was dying, her insides feeling as though they actually curled inside her, liquid fire shooting through her veins.
The vampire had lowered her to the ground, pinning her with his marble body.
/My Integra. Finally mine/, Maeve heard his voice in her mind though the haze of pain. She cried out as he entered her. /Mine/.
As he began to move inside her, the pain began to die away, along with her sense of feeling and her consciousness, until her body lay lifeless below him. He continued to slowly thrust inside her, finally releasing his hold on her neck. He pulled back and stared into her lifeless eyes.
"Come back now, my Integra," he purred to the dead woman beneath him.
Sensation began to return to her, warmth pooling between her legs. Energy boiled into her body. She wanted to scream for the sensations his thrusting was causing in her, but it wouldn't reach her limbs and lungs.
"Come to me, Integra," he growled, crushing his lips to hers.
Her energy overflowed and her limbs and voice came back to her. She moaned, her arms and legs snapping up to encase him. She both heard and felt the vampire's deep laughter. She was overwhelmed by her senses--everything had become so acute that she felt driven to the point of madness. She screamed, the sensations of their coupling driving her over the edge, her head flung back, lips drawn to reveal her newly developed fangs. She heard him laugh again.
"Now, take my blood on your own, Integra."
Her head spun as he lifted her until she straddled him over his kneeling legs, their bodies still connected. She stared heavy-lidded at him, a fanged smirk spread across his face as he tilted his head back to expose his own neck. /Take my blood, Integra/.
The fangs that had extended from her jaw throbbed, and she gripped his shoulders, leaning in and ripping his flesh with the sharpened canines. His powerful blood filled her mouth again and she drank greedily. She felt his hand grip her hips painfully as he pumped into her, the sensation of her bite bringing him to climax, his cool seed emptying into her still warm body.
As his movement stilled she felt his teeth at her neck again--and her head spun. He broke her skin again and was pulling on her blood at the same time she was his. It was dizzying and all she could do was cling to his shoulders, searing heat seeming to pass through her.
And then she saw images before her eyes--of the vampire--and the woman in the portrait outside the room. She saw a war, the woman a commander, the vampire her weapon. But they were more than that--she saw them as lovers--and there was a son, a dhampir--and then another war--and the woman's death...
Maeve screamed as her flesh was rent at her neck and she crashed to the floor. She looked wildly up at the vampire--no, he was her sire now. She turned on her knees and gazed worriedly up at him. He had released her so violently that he had torn a gash from her neck, and now he stood, towering over her, his face twisted in anger.
She moved slowly forward on her hands and knees, cautious and submissive. She reached out to him, his body somehow clad in the same tongs of leather he had been wrapped in before.
"/Don't touch me/," he snarled.
She dropped her hands and stared up at him. "What do you wish of me, my Master?" she whispered.
His face twisted into a fanged grimace.
"I am a fool," he whispered before looking away from her. "You are just a cheap imitation--a spineless mewling cow..."
She saw a flash of red as he moved, his eyes a pair of coals. There was pain--but from where? As Maeve looked down she saw what appeared to be the vampire's forearm sticking out from her chest.
/How odd/, was her last thought as she died for the second time that night.
The No Life King tore his arm from the newborn draculina's chest, letting her carcass fall back into the blood pooling in his shadows before it turned to ash. Closing his eyes he pulled his power back to himself, taking the remains of the four intruders into his own void. He stood motionless in the dark room, his madness swirling under the surface of his consciousness.
He had her. For a brief few minutes, he actually had her--His Master. His Iron Maiden.
Anger filled him and his physical form erupted into a mass of shadows, rushing through the compound to the front door, the dark tendrils colliding with an invisible barrier that he could not cross. An inhuman wail echoed through the stone building as the vampire pushed against the ethereal force with his own.
Miles away a dark-haired youth buckled forward on his mount, his heart suddenly racing.
"D, what is it?"
The youth was silent as he clutched his chest, using his willpower to push back against the force that caused the uspurge in his heart's tempo. /You will not be free/, he chanted to the force. He actually heard the No Life King's frustrated snarl as he relinquished his assault on the seals.
"What happened?" the same voice asked.
"Something has stirred /Him/. He was testing the wards," the youth answered, straightening in his saddle.
"Oh Christ, does this mean we're going back there early?"
"Yes," the youth answered, steering his mount around.
"I think I'm going to cry," the voice answered.
Back at the complex, the No Life King's shadows melted away from the door, the tendrils curling about as he slowly dissolved into nothing. His son would be returning soon now. It was only a matter of time. Perhaps it was time for him to break free... He would think on it a while... and perhaps act when the dhampir arrived. One way or another it didn't really matter. A low growl echoed through the stone building as he re materialized back in the office and returned to his place behind the desk. Whatever happened, he would be waiting there when the time came.
/Disclaimer/: Vampire Hunter D/, (c) Hideyuki Kikuchi, /Hellsing (c) Kouto Hirano. I own nothing and am making no money from this...
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