Gone Batty II: Eclipsed
Chapter 1: Prologue
"By Fortune's adverse buffets overborne
To solitude I fled, to wilds forlorn,
And not in utter loneliness to live,
Myself at last did to the Devil give!"
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Faust"
A gentle stream glimmered in the bright sunlight deep within the vast forest of British Columbia. A lone doe gently trotted across the powdery snow and bent her delicate neck down to take a drink. After a short moment, her head shot up and her ears flicked cautiously, sensing a disturbance in the water. Her instincts proved true as one winged hand flung itself out of the water- startling the deer. She bleated in distress and jumped backwards before turning tail and zipping away.
A mangled up giant bat wheezed as he pulled himself out of the river, his muscles straining with the effort. He coughed and spat out the water that was lodged in his lungs. His body protested with every movement, the cold slowing him down. Goth was a horrible sight to behold indeed. His left eye was swollen shut with a raw red line marring his face down from the brow and to his chin. His once glorious wings were frostbitten and torn. His body was bruised severely.
'Not yet…' Goth's chest heaved heavily and he dragged himself onto the snow. 'I will not die. Not like this!'
The broken prince roared as he forced himself to his feet with his body bent over, clenching in in pain. Step by staggering step, his raw anger and immense will to live was the only thing that kept him moving. Frost coated his damaged wings, shining like white sequins on dark silk. He looked back at the river and trailed back from where it flowed. Goth had been carried far. There was no trace of the waterfall that housed those insufferable silverwings.
He dragged his feet for hours, not knowing where he was going. Goth knew that he had to go south, back to his homeland. He would not survive long without warmth and sustenance. His wings were wrapped tightly around his body, trying to retain what remained of his body heat. Despite shining brightly above him, the sun did nothing to warm his shivering body. Goth felt the nagging pains of hunger and he grew more irritable. His ribs were beginning to show beneath his fur. He had not eaten for two days and his body was thinner than it has ever been before. The lack of preserved fat made Goth more susceptible to the cold.
Goth stopped when he heard the sound of a distant chopper in the sky. His good eye narrowed and he growled.
Humans… they were nearby. If he got caught by them again, chances were that he would never see his kingdom again. Having no choice but to fly, Goth took off into the air. With every flap of his wings came a searing pain but he did not stop. With every beat, he urged warmth to return to his body, for the feeling to return to the tips of his wings. He hid in the shadows of the tree and waited until the whirring sound dissipated. Only then did he continue on his journey.
As he flew, something caught his eye. Something small and furry ran across the snow- a mouse. Goth's hunger flamed to life and without a second thought, he dove down after it. In his haste, he could no longer mask the sound of his wings, but he still managed to catch the rodent by surprise. Snarls and squeaking filled the air before it finally became still.
Goth drew his head back with a sigh, feeling somewhat better. A thin mouse was not nearly enough to sustain him, but it kept death at bay. He wiped the blood off his snout and he continued to fly aimlessly until day turned to night.
This went on for several nights. Goth used what he had learned from Shade about the northern stars and teetered south. He hunted whenever he could and avoided humans. Humans that he recognized. He knew by their scent that they were the same ones that had shot him down back in the jungle. They knew he was here and were tracking him.
He offhandedly wondered if Throbb was still alive or if the owls managed to tear him apart. The lack of persistent whining was a blessing, but the solitary silence made Goth feel uneasy. He never expected that he would miss having another bat for company.
As time went on, Goth's health continued to deteriorate. His head was swimming and his stomach burned. Prey was becoming increasingly more difficult to catch as the weather grew steadily worse. The tips of his wings were flaking off as the frostbite ate away at them like a parasite.
It wasn't long until Goth could go no further. Weak, feverish, delirious and in more pain than he could handle, the prince slunk inside a nearby cave just as the sky began to brighten. With no strength left in his body, he collapsed onto the earth- not even bothering to roost. He breathed slow shallow breaths and his thoughts gave him no peace. Goth cursed Shade and his pesky friends for tricking him. For embarrassing him. Goth coughed and closed his eye. Like a vengeful spirit, the memory of Melody appeared in his mind like it has done many times before. Goth growled weakly. He hated her like he hated no other. Goth cursed her for being human. He cursed her for being aware of his true nature from the very beginning. Most of all, he cursed her for being so damn beautiful. As much as he hated to admit it, he desired to hear her sing to him- to see her alluring smile. He craved the warmth of her soft small body that seemed to fit so perfectly against his own. He longed to crush her. To feel her break against him. To hear her cry.
Zotz, how he wanted her.
"Loo-li lai-lay… loo-li lai-lay…"
Melody's voice whispered in his head soothingly like a mantra and his muscles grew lax. The pain began to numb into insignificance as Goth felt himself drift to sleep. He knew that he wouldn't wake up again if he fell asleep now, but the temptation was too great. Even when she wasn't here, the siren's song was coaxing him into death's sweet embrace. With whatever shred of defiance that Goth had left, his final thoughts went to Cama Zotz and he prayed:
'Give me another chance at life and I'm yours to control.'
The song ended.
Darkness. Goth knew that he was no longer awake for he could move around with ease. Looking around, he noted that he was inside the same cave- only it stretched on and on with no exit. There were different forks inside that led to who knows where. Goth felt the air move around him, giving the illusion that the cave was breathing.
Goth turned his head at the eerie whisper that echoed throughout the cave. He squinted into the darkness but he couldn't see anyone. Was he imagining things?
He felt his fur stand on end when he heard it again, this time louder. The voice was like a cold wind that howled in the night. "Who is calling me?" Goth growled, he refused to be intimidated.
"You know who I am," the voice insisted in a serpentine hiss.
Goth frowned. He was certain that he did not recognize the voice, however… the feeling of dread and a bone-chilling fear had settled in the pit of his stomach. His gut told him exactly who was speaking to him.
"Say my name…" the voice commanded him, seeming to come from nowhere and everywhere.
Goth hesitated. Was this just another trick? A hallucination caused by a fever dream? Or was he already dead?
"Say my name!"
The air noticeably grew heavier and oppressive.
"Cama Zotz," Goth caved in with a shudder. No. This wasn't some echo projection. He felt the immense power surrounding him and it could not be questioned.
Suddenly, the prince froze. Staring right down at him were two giant red eyes glowing from within the shadows. "Good," the voice purred, pleased. The figure in the darkness moved towards him and a monstrous bat towered over him, filling the entirety of the cave. Goth fell to his knees in terror. It was his god.
The image that Shade had envisioned could not compare to the real thing. Cama Zotz's body resembled that of a bat's corpse. The flesh on his head had decayed, leaving an ancient cracked skull in its wake underneath fiery red hair. Jagged yellow fangs protruded from his jaws, not fitting entirely in the mouth. Zotz's ribs stuck out from his sunken old brown flesh, sinking in and out from the holes with every ragged breath. His gigantic black wings were corroded yet powerful with bony spikes at the end of each tip. His tongue was long and forked like a snake's.
Goth was petrified. He collapsed before his dark god and bowed- pressing his head to the floor.
"Now tell me, why have you summoned for me?" Cama Zotz demanded.
Goth couldn't speak. He only managed to let out a strangled gasp but no words came.
Zotz's eyes narrowed into slits at the kneeling bat before him. "I suppose my true form is too much for the likes of mortals to bear." Flames shot up and engulfed his body causing Goth to jump. The prince watched as the flames ate away at his god, shrinking him down to size. When the flames died away, a formidable looking spectral bat stood before Goth. He had thick dark brown fur, and a long mass of red hair that spilled to his ankles. His arms were crossed, cloaking his buff body with black wings with an ashen undertone. His pupiless glowing eyes were yellow instead of red- and Goth knew that this was still his god.
"Does this form appeal to you?" Zotz asked, his baritone voice now that of a mortal's, losing the echo.
Goth slowly got up, stunned. Zotz still towered over him for Goth only came up to his shoulder-height. Realizing that his god was still waiting for an answer, Goth stuttered, "Y-yes, this...this is good, oh great and horrible Zotz. Your magnificence is overwhelming in whichever form you choose."
Zotz smirked, "flattery. How becoming of you." The dark bat began to circle around Goth, bringing both his clawed hands together. "Now then, what is it that you wish to ask of me? I assume that living is the bare minimum of what you truly want."
Goth lowered his head in respect, "I humbly ask that I may return to the jungle so I may raise an army and seek vengeance on those who have insulted me."
"I see," Zotz mused, rubbing his red beard. "You wish to use my powers for the sake of your selfish desires and wounded pride. Could you be any less predictable?"
"Frankly my dear boy, I don't give a damn about your grudge against the silverwings."
Goth bristled, "the silverwings have blasphemed against you, Cama Zotz! They deserved to be punished!" He jerked back when the dark god's face leaned before his.
"And they shall," Zotz promised, his eyes momentarily flashing red. "However, that is hardly reason enough for me to help you."
Goth shivered. Even though Zotz continued to speak calmly his tone was tight. Goth knew he had to tread carefully. "What reason would be good enough?" he begged. "I am the most loyal of your servants and desire nothing more than to serve you." His eyes widened when Zotz seized him by the cheeks.
"You are a funny one," the god sneered as he pinched Goth roughly and stretched the skin back and forth, "more so because you actually believe your own lies. It's endearing really." None too gently he let the bat go, causing Goth's cheeks to slap back into place.
Goth rubbed his sore face, confused.
"It only takes a stubbed toe for you to curse me and don't think that I haven't noticed you making false promises in my name either. 'Loyalty' indeed." Zotz turned away and began to walk back further into the cave. "Out of everyone, I question your so called 'loyalty' the most."
"But I… but they…" Goth began to trip over his words in a fit of trepidation. Goth had always prided himself in his worship to Zotz, so hearing the god rebuke him in such a way irked the vampyrum prince. "If you question my loyalty then why show yourself to me at all?" he finally snapped.
Zotz stopped and was silent for a moment. He slowly faced Goth, "to offer you a chance to prove yourself. I will not deny that you have served me well and offered many glorious sacrifices to me in tribute. It would be a waste to let you die tonight."
"Then give me that chance!" Goth replied as he approached his god. Zotz raised his eyebrows and Goth quickly lowered his eyes, remembering that he was in no position to make demands. He gave a deep bow and uttered a soft, "please."
"Very well." Zotz raised a hand and waved it across the air with one solid motion. The air rippled and shifted. "But before I do, there is one thing I need to look into."
Goth watched in fascination as the cave around them has disappeared and images began to flash by as if played in fast forward. Goth saw himself get captured by humans along with Throbb. He saw the jungle-like cage that they were kept in. These were his memories, but why was Zotz interested in them?
"I don't understand."
"There has been a disturbance in the world not long after you were taken from your home. Some sort of anomaly- a hint of power that I have not felt in a very long time. Ever since I have been confined to the Underworld, my vision of the surface has been greatly limited," Zotz searched intently through Goth's memories. "I can smell that you have come into contact with that anomaly and I am very curious to see what it is."
Goth turned back to watch his memories. He was curious as to learn what this...disturbance was. What could have possibly perked Zotz's interest? He watched as the vile kidnappers experimented on him and then banded him. He watched as he escaped his prison with Throbb and their mutilation of pigeons. Finally, he saw himself saving Melody from an owl. Goth's chest tightened and he grit his teeth in anger. If only he was allowed a do-over of that night.
Shockingly enough, Zotz paused the memories and suddenly, they were on top of a building in the human city. The figures of Shade, Marina and Melody were frozen, staring back at them with fear and amazement. This was after Goth had saved the human's life. This was when he and Throbb had offered their 'protection' in return for a guide.
Goth looked over to Zotz, not understanding the importance of this particular moment.
Zotz was rigid. His chin twitched as he clenched his jaw. Seeing the disbelief on the god's face made Goth even more curious. Wordlessly, Zotz snapped his fingers and the images of Shade and Marina vanished, deemed unimportant. This left Melody standing there alone, frozen in time; vulnerable, scared and uncertain of the vampyrum brothers' intentions.
Zotz walked over to Melody and leaned down close to stare deeply into her wide unblinking eyes, as if scanning for something. Whatever he was looking for, Zotz had clearly found it because a slow corrupt smile spread across his face. His shoulders began to shake. Goth watched in confusion as Zotz threw his head back and laughed as if someone had just told him a very funny joke. The god tucked his deadly black claw beneath the memory's chin and tilted her head upwards so she was looking up at him.
"Oooh, how very clever," Zotz crooned as he stared down at the girl. "Nocturna, you sly old harpy. Out of all hiding places you could have chosen, you went and stuffed that brat of yours into human flesh." He reached out his hand to touch her but stopped short of doing so when a change started to happen.
Something sparkled against Melody's chest and Zotz frowned. Whatever this was, it was not his doing. Around her neck appeared a silvery crescent shaped moon that cradled the gem of the night sky. The bat god scowled, recognizing his sister's sigil. Zotz sliced his claw down, ripping Melody's image in half, turning her to smoke. He straightened up and regained his composure. "No matter," he said in a testy manner. "I always win in the end."
"Cama Zotz?" Goth asked.
The memory disappeared and they were back in the cave. Zotz turned to Goth with a pleasant smile on his face. "Nevermind that. Let us return to business. I will help you, just as you have asked of me and more. You want revenge on the silverwings? You've got it. I'll even throw in the owls as a bonus, how does that sound?"
Goth breathed in relief, "gracias. I am forever in your debt."
"Ohoho, you have no idea, niño," Zotz chortled and placed an arm around Goth's shoulders and began to lead him through the tunnel. "Now listen carefully, Prince Goth of the vampyrum clan. You shall return to the jungle, but in order to do so, you must first let the humans recapture you."
Goth was disgusted by the idea. "Have myself be captured by those infernal humans?! They are the enemy!"
Zotz's eyes turned red and his god-like voice boomed intimidatingly, "You dare question your god?"
Goth shrunk away, frightened. "N-no…"
"Did you or did you not say that you are mine to control? Or am I to question your loyalty once again?"
"F-forgive me, Cama Zotz," Goth got down on his knees before his god. "I did not mean-"
Zotz continued angrily, "You will allow yourself be captured and then- and ONLY then will you return back home. Follow my orders precisely and I will make you KING."
"King…" Goth was struck speechless. Him...king?
"Once you have returned to the temple, I will instruct you further on what I have planned. Take heed of this warning, Goth; if I learn that you have strayed from me then your punishment will be severe. Now wake!"
Goth felt himself get thrust back by an invisible force. With a gasp his eyes shot open, and he sat up sweating. He looked around. He was alone, awake, and still in the cave. He looked over his shoulder and saw the stars twinkling from the crevice opening. It was a dream. He shook his head, no. It was not a dream. Cama Zotz had appeared before him. Standing up, Goth realized that he was in no pain. He could see from both eyes and felt strength seep into his muscles. Goth flared open his wings. He felt stronger than he had ever felt before!
Goth laughed joyfully. His god had healed him and in doing so, Zotz made him even more powerful. Flapping his wings, Goth flew out of the cave and instantly sensed humans nearby. His green eyes narrowed but he dared not defy Zotz. Ignoring the instinct that insisted on going the other way, Goth deliberately flew in the direction of the humans.
A/N: WELCOME BACK LADIES AND GENTLEBATS! I am proud to present the very first chapter. Since it is a prologue, it's going to be considerably shorter than the regular chapters- so no worries, it's a one time thing. I admit, I'm writing as I read- so… yeah. I need to get a bit more reading done before I continue. Anywho, I hope you are as excited as I am to tackle this sequel to Gone Batty.
Yes, this is going to be a Goth x Melody pairing, just like I promised.
Yes, there will be Shade x Marina in here as well, obviously.
UPDATE: REWRITE IS IN SESSION! WOO!
A big thank you to my Beta Readers. You are making my life easier.