|Side Stories from Strange Aberdare
Author: Kreia PM
Underneath the town of Aberdare, there lie miles and miles of tunnels and caves, caverns filled with forests, with seas, with deserts, with villages and towns, caves filled with fire, chambers filled with treasure, deep underneath the ground evil is stirring and it won't stop until it has conquered allRated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 21 - Words: 32,461 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 02-08-13 - Published: 05-15-12 - id: 3022699
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Timeline: four years before the start of the main story
Content: it's in the title so you know expect blood and death, oh yes and a bloodbath, torture spree
Keen is a nice place to live, most of the time that is. It is a small village, only thirty or forty buildings in total, total population just under one hundred men, women and children. They survive by fishing the local lake and harvesting the mushrooms and fungi that grow locally. The tiny village is remote, not even on most maps but the people there are content for the most part. It is far form most trade routes and suffers relatively few monster attacks.
Resting on a small hill above the tiny hamlet of Keen is a small, ruined castle. The castle itself is built into the walls of the very cavern it stands in, in fact several of its chambers were built into the back of the cave making them extremely secure and safe from attack.
Who built it is uncertain. If you were to ask any of the regulars of the White Hart pub you would certainly get at least a dozen different answers. A local (but alas lost to history) Lord one would tell you, no another would say it was made by Dwarves, don't be silly another would laugh its too tall for a Dwarf building, no, no, humans made that, impossible look how long its been here elves made it they make things to last. And so it would go on until someone changed the conversation or a drunken brawl would start and distract everybody. Of course there was a simple, easy way to find out, you could ask the structures sole occupant for his opinion, in fact if rumours were true he had been around since it had been built. However no villager would dare go up to that building (well, no older villager would, several of the village children would dare each other to see how close they could get but of course few ever reached the castles great door before turning around and running in terror) and if they did meet its mysterious owner would have plenty of things to cry out, asking who built the castle wouldn't have been high up on that list of course. More likely they would say something along the lines of: Help! or don't kill me! or I have a wife and three little ones, take them instead!
Now few villagers of Keen had seen the Castles reclusive owner and those that had wished that they had never laid their eye upon him. He was (but of course) a vampire and few people, few sane people anyway would socialise with a vampire unless forced to of course and in a way the villagers were forced to tolerate his strange presence. After all there only choice was leaving their place of birth, their homes, a major upheaval, a massive undertaking or killing him and killing a vampire is a massive undertaking in its own right, not to mention very, very difficult to pull off.
Oh yes killing them isn't too difficult, as long as you catch them off guard, while they are sleeping or in the middle of feeding, but vampires are, well not exactly social they are mostly solitary but they do tend to have friends, vampire fiends, friends who if they learned of his passing would make life very difficult for the poor, innocent, premeditated, planning and plotting villages of Keen.
So they did nothing after all this vampire wasn't some glutton like the Old Ones, he was content to sneak in and suck only a few drops of blood per month. Their were hardly any deaths, maybe one or two every year or so when he fed to deeply from a villager too young or old to recover.
Naturally the villagers weren't to happy with this and were simply waiting for the old demon to drop dead, vampires may be long lived but they weren't immortal, this village said the villagers will outlast this beast. Only a few more years they would say a few more and he would drop dead, clutching at his black, withered heart.
One day, not so long ago, a carriage came into town. Now this was an uncommon experience to the villagers. Most, the younger villages mostly, had never even seen a horse (although at one point the village owned a small herd of horses, as records will attest, most had been sold over two decade ago during a particularly bad year when the village had been forced to purchase food and medicine at much cost from Bridgetown).
The carriage did not stop at the town pub as was expected but instead it slowly went up the hill to the castle gates.
The village folk not wanting any trouble had an early rest that evening, they went into there homes, locked the doors and didn't come out until the morning.
'Ah, Marcus' Marius said 'so good to see you after all these years'.
The short, black clad vampire elder embraced his younger, taller counterpart. The contact was brief but not unfriendly. 'Come' Marius said as he escorted the younger vampire into his domain. 'What brings you here?' the older vampire asked. 'Straight to the point' Marcus said 'you haven't changed a bit'. Marius laughed. 'Isn't that the point' he said.
Marcus said nothing. Eventually they reached a rather small but cosy sitting room. There were two chairs and a small table with crystal decanter and two glasses ready. An old fireplace gave out a cosy little light, enough for them to conduct their business. A small but ornate timepiece on the mantelpiece gave the time of ten past ten. 'Sit' Marius requested and his fellow vampire did so. Marius poured out a small amount of the clear liquid.
Marius raised his glass up high. 'To old friends' he said. Marcus nodded in approval.
Marius sat down in his chair. 'So old friend' he said 'you still haven't told me why you are here'.
Marcus stared down at his glass and swilled the liquid around and around.
'No reason' Marcus lied 'why can't I look up an old friend?'
'We haven't spoken or seen each other in fourteen years' Marius said.
'Then' Marcus said 'isn't it time we did?'
'Get to the point' Marius said 'you know how it bores me when you labour me with small talk'.
'Fine' Marcus said. He took a big gulp of the liquid. Some of it had congealed to the bottom of the cup. 'Do you still have that old chessboard?' he asked.
Marius looked surprised. 'But of course' Marius said 'not that I have played a game recently, is that why you have come here, you want a rematch?' he smiled. 'Oh' he said 'Marcus, you are a funny one!'
'No a match no' Marcus said 'do you remember what you said the first time we played, when you taught me the rules?'
'Yes' Marius said 'if I recall it wasn't long after your…. conversion'.
Marcus nodded grimly. 'You said that we were like King and Queen pieces, powerful and ruling over all and that all others were just pawns and others pieces, to be used and discarded when ever we saw fit'.
'I am so glad it made an impression on you' Marius said. 'It helped me through a… ah, very difficult patch' Marcus confessed.
'Get to your point' Marius said 'sermons and parables do bore me so, especially these days'.
'I have met someone' Marcus confessed. 'A woman?' Marius asked 'a Wife? Is that why you are acting so strangely?'
Marcus shook his head. 'Not like that, but she is….' He paused looking for the right word to use 'incredible'.
'You want to initiate her then?' Marius said 'make her one of us?'
Marius took a small sip from his cup. 'You would hardly need my help in those matters' he said 'wouldn't you?'
'I have joined her cause' Marcus said. 'A cause?' Marius said 'that is not like you, what is it, some local politics?'
Marcus shook his head. 'No, my friend you do not understand' he said 'her cause is my cause, my cause is her, it is everybody's and everything's'.
Marius laughed. 'You have become philosophical in your twilight years' he joked. It was Marcus's turn to laugh. 'Twilight years' he said 'I have many decades left in me'.
'I have come here' Marcus said 'to ask you to join me, to join her and her cause'.
'Join a cause' Marius said 'without meeting this incredible benefactor of yours, without an idea to what she represents or wants, why Marcus would I want to do that?'
Marcus stood now; so sudden and violent that Marius almost went on the offensive. When he spoke he did so slowly, carefully: 'I have come here on a mission, sent my liege my queen as a messenger, she wants this town wiped off the map, why and for what I do not know, it is her wish and so her will be done'.
'Destroy this town, what for?' Marius said. He sounded outraged.
'Sacrifice this town to show your allegiance to her' Marcus said.
'Why would I do that?' Marius asked.
'If you do not she will destroy you' Marcus said 'anyone who is not with her will be swept aside, destroyed'.
'Will you do this?' Marius asked. He was baring his teeth now such was his anger, white, flashing, and terribly sharp teeth.
'She knows how close we are' Marcus admitted 'she will not ask it of me, although if she did I would do so, solemnly and without joy but yes, I would obey her'.
Marius looked at Marcus as if he had never before met him in his life.
'She means that much to you, this woman?' he asked.
'She is much more than that, my dearest friend' Marcus said and then, only then, did he explain.
The light in the fireplace was all but gone by the time they had finished. The clock had stopped its ticking, frozen at ten to eleven, an omen perhaps.
'I can't' Marius said. He was slouching on his chair, clutching at the armrests for support. What little colour he had in his face had all but drained out of him.
'You must' Marcus said 'it is the only way for you and our kind to survive'.
'But' Marius said 'to ally ourselves with, with…'
He was lost for words. 'It is the right thing to do' Marcus said 'we all, every one of our kind, owe allegiance to her, and her alone'.
'Yes' Marius said dully 'she is our…. Mother, in a way I suppose'.
'She is all of our mothers' Marcus corrected.
'But I can't' Marius said ' I've protected this town, I am its lord and master, I can't…'
'Protected?' Marcus said 'you've feed on it, grown gluttonous, greedy on its rich, rich blood, but no longer can we do this, no longer can we be masters over all around us, not when she is amongst us again'.
'I can fight this' Marius said 'we all can, I won't let her take it from me, I've worked too long and too hard to lose it all, not now, to ever!'.
He was on his feet, eyes flashing, fangs bared.
'Get out!' he roared 'go back to your, your whore and tell her I refuse'.
Marcus walked slowly over to him.
'Do it, you can't face her, none of us can, you'll die and I will not shed a tear for you, not over your stupidity' Marcus said.
'These people owe their allegiance to me, I protect them from the beats that dwell out their, in the darkness, I've protected this village for almost half a decade' Marius said in despair.
'It is to he we owe our allegiance, the dark one, our goddess, our Queen' Marcus said 'they must be killed, cleansed, a new wasteland, this site must be wiped clean, memorised as a new Golgotha'.
It was only a month later, when traders came to the hamlet of Keen that they discovered the bloodshed, the slaughter. Whatever had claimed the villages lives must have come I the night, when people were in their homes, were they should have been safe, in there beds, when their was no one to give the alarm or fight back.
Men, women, children almost all of them found dead in their beds, there were a few signs of struggle, a blood splatter there, an overturned pot there, some scattered cutlery.
The wounds were mostly inflicted upon the victims' necks, a sure sign of a vampire or an Old One. After all there were stories about this place, about the lord that lived in the castle that overlooked the village. Blood was found, stored in jars and pots, congealed and collected for some sort of diabolical rite, some unknown purpose.
Some victims had shown signs of being tortured devilishly; only a fiendish mind could have perpetrated such an attack.
The village elder was found impaled upon his walking stick; he had died in agony from internal tearing. The owner of the inn had been drowned in a barrel of his own ale. The local priest had passages of his church's holy writings stuffed down his throat, his orders holy symbol scratched into his flesh.
Whoever had done this had wanted attention, to be noticed, to be infamous for this deed. A message had been sent, a reply would have to be formulated.
Marius and Marcus are both good vampire names (e.g. they are named after vampires from other stories/medias)
This story was going to link to another side tale I was writing about a vampire hunter (the classic tale, girl meets man, man is vampire, girl falls in love, they elope, vampire hunter is dispatched, - ah, true love!)
Anyway this story is just setting up background details for the main bad guy(s).