The White Witch
Evil Overlady ([email protected])
Summary:D meets up with a young companion... A nixie queen threatens a town unless her human lover is returned to her...
Author's Notes:Vampire Hunter D belongs to Urban Vision, Streamline Pictures, Hideyuki Kikuchi (Asashi Sonorama), etc. No copyright infringement intended. This fic is merely for the enjoyment of fans. This fic is mostly based off the first Vampire Hunter D movie brought out by Streamline Pictures in 1985. I know very little of the rules established in the original universe and have absolutely no earthly idea what are in the books that have yet to be translated into English, so any inconsistencies are either A) non-deliberate, or B) deliberate if I found the original material just way too depressing... i.e. D's not immortal for the purposes of this story. Long-living, yes, but not immortal. He doesn't go through horses like there's no breeding program, and I named the hand. ;) And for those interested, yes, I do intend to continue this as a mini-series. Mwah-ha-ha-ha...!! Anastasia Moonstone is my own character. "Llaw" means "hand" in Welsh and looks like "law" and his back story is my own creation. "Du" of course is the Welsh word for "black or bitter," which seems to fit D rather well. And the horse, Shadow Fright, is mostly mine, although I'm basing him off the one in the aforementioned movie. ...And I think that about covers everything.
Rating:Some material may touch on sensitive issues. Although I tried to keep it subtle. You may not even notice, but if you think you will, my advice is to either keep an open mind or don't read.
Either you'll love it or you'll scream. That seems to be the general division of my audience. But at least it's grammatically correct. :)
Additional note(s):The original version of this story was created Nov. 6 2002. On March 7, 2003, it has been modified. These are the modifications: I tried to get the voice of the hand right. Please, let me know if there are still errors in that regard. I changed the ending. I cut out some dialogue, and a bunch of little tidbits here and there. I hope it turns out to be a worthwhile read, even for those of you who read the original. This is my first VHD fanfic, so it takes some breaking into.
The White Witch
~ Prologue ~
No one knows for sure how the world came to be this way after the Final War. No one is even sure what the Final War was about or anything before it. Certainly if the vampire lords knew anything they didn't share.
Just another way of oppressing us mere mortals, I suppose...
Many of the libraries were burned down or seized by the upper classes. Books were a rare commodity. Essentially illegal. Only the supernatural were expected to read them. If you were human, well... you weren't. You were some servant of the Devil, demon spawn! Or, as many of the whispers around me utter, a witch. If you were literate you were one of them, a creature of the night to be hunted down and burned at the stake. If you drowned you were innocent... Ha!
I am a story teller, a healer, an herbalist with absolutely no magical ability whatsoever! Doesn't matter. I think too much, I'm a witch, plain and simple.
So I learned to keep my big mouth shut and be... subtle, drifting quietly from town to town, checking the local post office to browse the message boards filled with notes of what constituted the "official" language, full of spelling and grammatical errors, barely fragments of the languages of old. Barely languages at all. They were written in the vampire's tongue, scratched down by locals, beautifully scripted by the nobles to please their demon masters.
They'd even sacrifice their beautiful daughters to retain the undead's favors.
I reach up and lift the corner of a note with my finger to read the one beneath.
A pale hand reaches past me; a dark sleeve brushes me.
I gasp, startled.
"Excuse me," the man said softly and plucks a message off the wall, tack still in it.
I glance at the message briefly. "$12, 000? For a guy with a water problem? What? They run out of local plumbers?"
He eyes me from under a brimmed hat.
I look at the message I still have my finger on and drop my arms, shrug. "General store assistant. Yeah, pretty lame, but I might get a good deal on some herbs."
He watched me silently.
"I'm Anastasia Moonstone, by the way. You can call me Stacy." I hold out a hand.
"D," he answers, making no move to touch it.
"Just D? Isn't that kinda odd for a name?"
He ignores me and walks out.
I follow and catch up to him as he untethers a large black metallic cyborg stallion. "D?"
The horse snorts.
D steps off the stirrup to look at me.
I grab his gloved hand and press a bright orange-red stone into it. "For luck," I tell him, finally out of earshot of any eavesdropper. "To protect against water demons. Fire..."
"...Defeats water. I know." He nods. "Thank you."
"Well... I should probably get going, see about that general store job..." I start to walk away.
"It's short for Du."
I turn. He's already mounted.
"My name." He rides off.
The Welsh word for "black, bitter"?It was appropriate.
* * *
D watched the woman go, making her way down the sandy street to the general store with a stride that spoke of a well-worn traveler.
"Well, she seems... educated," commented his left hand from beneath the glove.
"Leave her alone..." D warned. The stallion tilted his head towards the dhampir, ears pricked forward toward their conversation. D could almost swear the animal cyborg understood every word that was being said. For the time D had it, from the time he was a boy to present day, Shadow Fright always seemed to act like it had a mind of its own.
Of course, who could say what its creator programmed it with before he died.
"You know the nobles outlawed witchcraft among the commoners," the hand warned.
"She's a healer."
"Then, she ought to apprentice to a doctor not a book."
"She's just tying to earn a living, as I am." D tugged on the reins and clicked his tongue to order Shadow Fright on.
"Ah, yes... Your endless quest to find your father... And what's a little vampire slaying on the side? I'm sure your father would be very pleased... to find you murdering your own kind left and right..."
"I am not out to please my father." His eyes flashed green. "He took my mother from me when I was but a boy."
"He's not an evil man, D."
"That's not for you to judge. I freed you from a sorceress's spell to lead me to him. It's not for you to question why."
"Going after a nixie seems a bit off-track."
"I have my reasons."
"Hm. As usual..."
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
The White Witch
~ Chapter 1 ~
"So you see, I'll pay whatever you want to get that sea witch off my back. Double the price even! I'll give you twenty-four - no thirty! I'll give you thirty grand-!"
D had been staring out the cabin's curtain-framed window at the crystal clear lake nearby, sunlight sparkling its waters like it was a magical place.
Which it was...
"When did you say this trouble all started, Mister...?"
"Oh, just leave this guy to be fish food...." the hand grumbled.
"Finnegan, Keefe Finnegan, and this is my sister, Melissa."
The shy girl nodded at him and raised the tray in her hands. "Tea?"
"No, thank you," D answered.
"Mel, why don't you get a start on tonight's supper? I'd like some time alone with our guest."
She nodded and took the tray away.
"You and your sister live here alone?"
"It's temporary. Till she finds a good husband... or a good job."
D nodded. "Mr. Finnegan..."
"Call me Keefe."
"Keefe... I need to know exactly what you did to anger this nixie."
"I didn't do anything-!"
He held up a hand for silence.
Keefe sighed. "I was walking along the side of the lake, minding my own business when this woman comes out of no where and starts talking to me, really dirty-like. Well, of course, I was tempted to spend, you know, a worthwhile night, if you know what I mean. I mean when she's dressed like that... but then the bitch tried to drown me! That was three nights ago." He shivered. "She's been hauntingly calling my name across the lake ever since. I can't leave my home! I sent Melissa to post the message at the post office."
"So you'll take the job? $30, 000 when it's completed, when you get that supernatural off my back!"
"We'll talk to the nixie and see if we can reach a compromise."
"We're negotiating?" the hand blinked.
"I don't wish to incite any unnecessary bloodshed."
"Whatever it takes. I don't care. Just get her to leave me alooonne..."
"Please, don't gush all over me. It's embarrassing."
Keefe straightened. "Sorry."
D grunted. Humans...
* * *
D walked along the edge of the lake as the sun began to set.
Shadow Fright followed of his own accord... as he usually did.
"Talk?" the hand repeated. "You want to talk? She's a water spirit. They don't talk. They drown people."
"If she wanted to kill him, she would have done so by now. I think there's something else going on..."
"Hmph! The horse has more brains..."
Shadow Fright snorted.
"You hurt his feelings," D reported.
"So, now you're getting sentimental? No wonder the other side hates you!"
"You could just leave."
D looked at him. "I see your point..."
"If you kill yourself this time, I'm not bailing you out."
D walked on silently.
"I mean it."
The stallion cyborg shook his mane and stopped, night sensitive eyes turned to the lake, ears pricked forward. He was silent.
The hand quieted, then whispered, "We're here."
A cool breeze blew and a melodic female voice carried on it. "Who trespasses upon my shore?"
A woman with ankle-long wavy silvery hair and a dress split to reveal her fair shoulders, the area of chest between her breasts, down to her belly button and flat, slightly muscled stomach. The rest of the dress cascaded outward in several layers of fabric of varying shades of blue, white, and silver. She held him with sky-blue eyes.
"I am D, the vampire hunter."
She laughed, a pleasant sound. "A little out of our expertise, aren't we, fearless hunter?" She gestured to her slender form. "As you can plainly see, I am no vampire."
"The pickings are slim these days. I've had to learn to... generalize."
"Your infamy has its disadvantages then. Why else would you be here? Tell me. Do you intend to kill me with that giant sword of yours?"
"If I must..."
"Not one for making friends, are you."
"I learn to get by."
"A pity. To ride all night and day with no one to keep you company but your mount. It must be very lonely..."
"I am not interested in companionship. I came here with a proposition."
"Leave the Finnegan family alone for the rest of their days and we'll part peacefully. Refuse or go back on your word..."
"You are in no position to make threats, hunter. You are in the realm of Mara the Nixie, and I do as I choose and claim who I will of any who would tread upon my shores or within my waters. Now you shall be the one leaving or suffer my wrath!" A long white fingernail pointed at the lake and a large bubble rose from its depths.
He went for his sword and a wall of water hit him hard, trapping him in the bubble, drowning him.
The cyborg whinnied outside with alarm.
This was it...
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
The White Witch
~ Chapter 2 ~
The water swirled around him like a whirlpool, trapped in the sphere with no where to go but around.
A hyperventilating trout passed before his eyes, swimming with all its might to no avail.
Reality hit home for D. He needed to get out.
One hand holding the sword, his free hand came upon the orange stone the woman in town had given him.
He grasped the stone hard.
A warmth emanated from his clenched fist and all at once the bubble popped.
D dropped to one knee before the shocked nixie.
"Impossible. No man has ever defeated that spell."
D coughed and sputtered. "I am no ordinary man." He used the sword for leverage as he climbed to his feet.
Mara stepped back apprehensively then stood firm. "We'll finish this another night." She melted into water and streamed back into the lake.
"Well, you sure showed her..." Llaw remarked.
Everything faded to black and nothingness.
* * *
D awoke again with a start, ready to fend off any attackers who would take advantage of his weak state.
"Well, it's about time..." his ungloved hand muttered.
"Easy," a familiar woman's voice interrupted him. Gentle hands pushed against him. Teal eyes met him beneath brown bangs parted in a heart shape.
"Stacy..." he breathed with recognition.
"Almost lost you there..."
"How did you...?"
"Your horse. Stomped right into the general store itself, practically bit my hand off trying to lead me back to you. Lucky he did. That nixie got you pretty good there, didn't it?"
"How did you know it was a-?"
"I told her," Llaw interrupted.
He nodded and relaxed. A strong scent flared his nostrils. "Cinnamon?"
"A representation of heat, the only one I could safely use considering your... less than human make up." She gestured to D uneasily.
She grimaced but tried to hide it. "I'm sorry. I have no right to discriminate, especially considering my own ordeals. It's just..."
D took her hands in his, and they trembled. "I would never hurt you."
"You don't know that. Being what you are. Vampire or half-vampire, the need for blood is as essential as life itself."
"Not for me."
Her eyes turned sad and sympathetic. "What power would drive a man to seek death over dishonor?"
"The power of a trembling young girl who will forever remember him for what he truly is, the power of a story teller." He got to his feet and moved past her for the stairs leading down.
"Wait a minute... How did you know I was a-?"
"You speak like a scribe," he called back.
"Mother of mercy," she muttered and followed. "Hey! Wait up!"
D waited for the healer to catch up.
"You know, you're supposed to be resting," Stacy reported in an anticlimactic tone.
"I've rested enough," he told her as she pulled on a lavender button down sweater over her green dress of yellow flower print. The only decent travelling gear she wore were a pair of deerskin boots and a worn olive-green backpack with bone latches.
Melissa came out of the kitchen, black hair long and recently brushed. "Mr. D! I did not expect you to be up so soon! Would you care for some tea?"
"Melissa, where is your brother?"
"He's in town, gathering supplies. Why?"
"Oh, no..." Stacy breathed. "You don't think..."
"By now he's discovered what we are," D confirmed. "He and the townsfolk are more than likely marching on this cabin as we speak."
"That's ridiculous! My brother would never..."
"Harm a supernatural?" D finished. "You heard the way he spoke of us. I lost the first battle with the nixie. In his eyes I've lost the war. Most likely there was no money to be had, just a con to rid him of a pest and then dispose of the exterminator however he saw fit. My being a dhampir makes his job that much easier."
"That's a lie! My brother would never do that!"
"Then why would he leave for town, when the nixie's still out there, relatively unscathed?"
"He knows Mara would never hurt him."
Stacy spoke up. "Then why would he hire a hunter?"
That silenced Melissa.
D put a comforting hand on the young woman's shoulder. "Melissa... I know you mean good. Help Stacy and me find a way through the mountains and we will do whatever we can to help you."
"There's nothing you can do," she answered sadly. "But I will help you. Follow me."
Stacy eyed D skeptically.
He ignored it.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
The White Witch
~ Chapter 3 ~
D and Melissa led the way along the shore of the lake towards the mountains, Stacy taking Shadow Fright's reins behind them.
Stacy eyed the lake nervously. "Isn't there a safer way?"
"This is the only way I know," Melissa told them.
Terrific...Stacy lit a match and chanted a protection spell.
The waters sparkling rushed up foamy to take human shape.
Stacy shouted out and stepped back, Shadow Fright sounding a started noise behind her. "D!"
D spun and pulled out his sword.
"Back for a rematch, hunter?" The nixie's eyes glowed blue.
"No! Wait!" Melissa rushed over to stand between them. "Mara, don't. Let them go."
"I will not lose you again, Melissa."
"You won't. I'm staying."
Stacy reached out to her. "Melissa, no."
An arrow whistled through the air and between Stacy's fingers, taking out the match.
Stacy gasped and withdrew her hand, checking for blood.
"She's had enough of your influence, witch!" Keefe shouted, a crossbow in hand, a crowd of townsfolk behind him.
"Uh! You think that I-?"
D stood in front of her protectively.
"Come away, Melissa," Keefe ordered.
The shy girl stood firmly. "No."
From behind D, Stacy told the girl, "Melissa, I think you better do what he says..."
"He has a crossbow!"
"I will not abandon what is in my heart!"
Stacy rolled her eyes. "Oh, brother..."
The nixie spoke up. "Your hunter has lost to me, Keefe. Give up the girl or give up your soul."
"You can't frighten me, Mara." Keefe readied his crossbow.
"No! Wait!" Stacy yelled out.
The nixie began to summon the ball of water.
Keefe fired the crossbow.
Stacy jumped out in front of them. "Wall of fire!" she cried.
Flame shot up briefly, turning water to steam and incinerating the crossbow bolt to ashes.
Everyone stared at her, and she slowly lowered her hands. "Wow..." She raised her hands again. "Okay. Nobody move."
"Step aside, witch!" someone yelled. "This is no concern of yours!"
"You've made it my concern. Now, what I say goes. Melissa, go back to your brother."
Stacy took her eyes off the crowd. "Melissa..."
Someone took advantage of the distraction and blackjacked Stacy across the back of the head.
"Stacy!" D shouted.
The mob was on top of her before he could act. There was very little he could do except possibly slice through the crowd.
"D, act quickly," the hand warned.
"Enough!" Mara shouted. A wave of water slammed into the crowd, knocking them off their feet.
D swooped in to wrap Stacy in his cloak.
She was unconscious but alive. "I thought you didn't care," D said softly.
"I don't," the hand answered. "...But you do."
D looked slightly surprised.
"Melissa," came the nixie's quiet, kind voice.
"Mara," Melissa answered in turn and slipped into her watery embrace.
D watched them. There was very little he could do to get between them.
The rest of the townsfolk were unconscious but slowly stirring.
"I have bought you a little time, hunter," the nixie told him. "Take your lady friend and leave. Follow that stream-" She pointed to a small brook. "-up the mountain. It will take you through. Three days ride from there you will find a town called Engleberg." She cracked a small smile. "I hear they have a vampire problem there."
D lifted Stacy out of the water and bowed his head at the nixie. "Thank you."
"I hope you find what you seek."
"What leads you to believe I'm seeking anything?"
She looked at him knowingly then caressed the girl. "Come, my love. Let us leave this world..." They melted into the water.
"I'll never understand humans..." the hand murmured.
D took up Shadow Fright's reins and climbed into the saddle, holding Stacy gently in his arms.
"Nor will I."