It is the year 1067. Humanity is at war with its oldest foe, the vampire. For over a century these two races have been locked in ferocious combat. The Vampires, confident that their genocidal crusade against all humanity will bring about a new world-order, are conquering the once independent human kingdoms one by one.
Now a vampire by the name of Rasferien has united the once independent vampire factions into an expansionist empire, hell-bent on the destruction of Humankind.
Humanities holds on its lands are crumbling beneath Vampire aggression and in-fighting between different human kingdoms. Many religious figures have damned humanity for its inaptness and preach that the gods are punishing their kind. These are dark times for humanity, who have experienced defeat after defeat at the hands of an unstoppable enemy, slowly but surely, exterminating their race.
Tyler, a young 16 year old servant, knows little about the war. He is but a lowly commoner working in his oppressive lord's manor. War is a distant thing, something that happens in far off lands, he merely makes war with spilt wine on banquet tables.
All is as it seems, until the war comes a lot closer to home.
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The mountains of Aeromere were dark with dull grey clouds. Rain and thunder lashed down on the wet grass, where hundreds of dead soldiers and horses lay. Lonely fire braziers provided some light as did the vampires who carried torches, stepping over human bodies.
Rasferien stood still, contemplating his victory. His mailed fingers held a goblet of wine. As he looked at the death and destruction around him he could not help but wrinkle his nose at the stench of humanity, that sickening stench that often made him want to hurry their campaign further and rid the world of these wretches. However, he knew he must be patient. It would take a few more years at least before all the human kingdoms fall, there were so many after all. That did not matter to him, he was immortal.
Rasferien was a young vampire, only two-hundred. His youthful face appeared to be no more than thirty in human years. Although pale as most vampires were, he was strong. His energy saw no end, his tenacity and belief in his cause drove him. He relished battle. His sword had tasted human blood countless times. Fighting, was what he believed, was his destiny.
As the howling wind picked up he drew his cloak tighter around his shoulders with his free hand. His pale face was tight in distain for this cold, wet land. His long black hair fluttered in the wind. The sooner he rid the humans here, the sooner he could move on.
Rasferien was interrupted from his thoughts by one of his vampire vanguard- Merith.
She was one Rasferien most trusted warriors.
"My lord" she said and knelt in front of him, her head low. "We have a human who says he can give us valuable information as to the whereabouts of the next human settlement."
Rasferien stroked his chin then smiled. "Very well, let him humor us." His voice was fluid and composed even over the howling wind.
The human soldier was kneeling on the muddy ground, looking up with pleading eyes at the vampires who stared impassively at him. They regarded him like a pitiful bug, a pathetic creature not worthy to be in the presence of higher beings.
When Rasferien arrived the soldier knew he was the leader because he made his way to the vampires' feet, on his knees and begged him.
"Please sir" he began, his nose running and his tears glistened in the dark. "I never wanted to be a soldier, I was conscripted. I love vampires, really…I do"
Rasferien folded his arms and looked down on the human.
"Tell me this human" he said "Where is the next human settlement?"
The soldier looked dejected. He knew he would have to betray his own kind to save himself. "Behind the next valley, a manor house which houses a nobleman, it is well hidden so they suspected defenses were not needed. They will not expect you and your army"
The vampire nodded, satisfied. Even if he was not telling the truth he did not care. In fact, he would welcome an ambush by the humans; it would speed up the process of eradicating the area.
"Very well human, you may get what you deserve."
The Soldier looked up at him with hopeful eyes.
"You mean, I can go?"
The vampire smiled down at him. "Yes"
Rasferien turned as if to walk away but drew his sword and sliced off the soldiers head in one quick movement.
The vampire let out a howl of laughter quickly followed by the surrounding vampires.
"Onward my brave vanguard. Our crusade continues!"
- - -
"Tyler get in here!" The cook barked at the servant. Tyler hurried into the busy kitchen.
"I'm sorry I was cleaning up-"
"The food you carelessly dropped" finished the cook. His face was red with frustration. He lashed out at the boy with his fist, landing three hard punches on his forehead.
"That's for dropping the food! Our customers don't want to be watching fumbling idiots, dropping their food. They are nobles not commoners, they don't eat dirty food!"
Tyler felt angry with himself when he felt tears prick his eyes. His balled his fists and started chewing the inside of his cheeks to stop himself crying. Most of all he hated the cook and the nobles at the manor. They looked down on commoners like him.
The cook shook his head at Tyler. "Go one. Off with you. I have to apologize for your mess."
Later that morning Tyler was at the lake. He always went there when he needed to be alone, away from the bullies at school and the rich children who pointed and laughed at him in the manor grounds.
Tyler had calmed down somewhat now. The lake was peaceful and secluded. He let his feet dangle in the cool water and lay back to look at the sky. His mother called him a dreamer sometimes. He never denied it. He often wished he could be a bird and fly away from the place. However he knew he had to take care of his mother, after father died of sickness he was left to care for his mother and little sister. He had to stay true to that duty.
Tyler didn't know how it happened but at some point he must have dosed off, because he awoke to a familiar voice.
"Guess who?" the voice teased. The person's hands over Tyler's eyes.
"Jane?" he chuckled.
Jane was Tyler's close friend. She was sixteen also and they shared a lot in common. She was one of the only people he could rely on. She chuckled herself and sat beside Tyler by the lake. She yelped when she put her first foot in the water.
"It's freezing!" she exclaimed. Tyler half-laughed half hiccupped. His eyes were red from crying.
Jane noticed and she also noticed the swollen bump on his head. She snuggled up next to him then laid her head on his lap and he stroked her hair gently. All that could be heard was the lapping of the water. They felt at peace there. Tyler wished they could stay like this forever, he loved her. Even with the mention of her name his heart felt lighter and his soul lifted. He wished they could leave this place, just run away. He knew that it was no option though. Tyler's mother and sister would be evicted and what little they had would be taken away from them. He could not allow that to happen.
The pair stayed there for over an hour before Tyler heard his mother call for him beyond the tree line. Tyler was reluctant to say goodbye. He had known Jane for a year but they had never confessed their love for each other .Tyler was not sure if she would feel the same way but he took a chance. He kissed her. She smiled back and kissed him.
Another call from Tyler's mother and he finally decided he had to go. He ran back with joy in his heart, he could not contain his excitement as he ran through the woods and back to his family's cottage.
Unfortunately for Tyler his joy would be short-lived for eyes watched him from the tree line. A vampire scout. He was sure his master would be very pleased at the discovery of these lands. So with that, the scout slipped back into the dense woodland and hurried back to the waiting army, poised to attack.