The Silver Tower
No, not technically Castlevania, thought Adrian the bat as he flew through a crevice in the wall. The transformation back to "human" form tore a cry from him and it was over before his boots even met the stone floor. No telling what awaited him here in the cursed Clock Tower; the nobleman did not relish the idea of being caught in such a vulnerable state.
Tilting his head up, his mane of shining golden hair falling down his back, Adrian viewed the tower all the way to the ceiling. A silver staircase was positioned on both sides of the tower both ending at platforms. The platforms floated up and down, meeting only once. At the height of platforms' lift was single set of steps that eventually ended in a landing with an enormous clock handing about ten feet above.
There was no immediate sign of Trevor. In fact, no sign of any living creature aside from himself. Me? Living? Adrian thought dryly. That remains up for debate. Still; the former prince did not relinquish his vigilance, champagne-shaded eyes peering at the curtains high in the tower. Softly the nobleman called out to his son. As no one answered his voice became urgent, strained even.
"Trevor, it's…your father…I've come to see you, to save you from yourself...:" Adrian frowned, the expression distorting his marble facial features. "I see you will not respond….Very well…Then just listen…Richter was manipulated by Shaft, his mind enslaved….I have reason to believe you've been likewise controlled…Trevor! Where are you?"
Adrian's head lowered as he heard the crack of a whip.
As the nobleman spun around to the direction of the sound, black cloak swirling with the half-step, he caught sight of Trevor. Whip latched onto an overhead piper, his son swung at him and with his free hand tossed a vial of Holy Water at his father. Adrian froze for just a second. Then he twisted to the left, the burning liquid searing nearly the entire right side of his face.
Momentarily blinded in one eye, the former prince backed off. His mother's blade sprang in his hand like an extension of his will. A good thing too, else Adrian would have suffered another blow, this time from the lash of a whip. The blade deflected it, causing his son to dart aside from the counter-thrust of his father's sword.
Trevor did not take long to recover but it afforded his father enough time to hurry up the stairs on the right side of the tower. Adrian ducked and a thrown dagger struck the stone wall behind him. A second dagger followed the first; the third ended up mashed in the gears of the machinery above them.
"Trevor, listen to me! You are being controlled!"
The former vampire hunter ceased his assault long enough to laughed heartily. "More lies, father? Shame on you! You were the one who let my mother die! You were the one who deceived me, hiding my heritage…All to protect your dirty little secret!" Fueled on by his own words, Trevor came at his father with a vengeance, whip whirling.
Each strike of the whip forced Adrian that much higher up the steps, with only a little distance remaining to the floating platforms. He had no desire to ride one of those. "I'm sorry Trevor…." He parried a whip lash with the flat of his blade. He was almost on the right platform, one foot hovering over empty air. "I wish I could I have saved Sonia….Oh, god, how dearly I do…"
His son growled, hurling another knife. It missed the mark of his father's heart by mere inches, flying through Adrian's underarm. The nobleman felt like it had struck his heart, for the gesture did. Why won't he listen? Why do my words have no affect….? Despite the seeming futility, Arian kept talking. "I could never tell you about me….To do so could damn your soul!"
Trevor ceased his attacks, blue eyes blinking rapidly. Adrian rejoiced momentarily but that joy bled out of him when his son shook his head of brown hair and his face went hard. "No! You will not fool me again! Have at you!" Then the whip came up in a flash, slapping against the nobleman's chest. The force of the assault knocked Adrian off the platform.
The fall would not likely kill him—it was only about fifteen feet—but any injury now might his downfall.
Reaching out with the hand not holding his sword, Adrian grasped the edge of a floating platform on its descent. A knife sailed past and was destroyed by a large spiked wheel. Another just nipped his left shoulder, drawing the barest hint of blood. Gasping, the nobleman glanced up as the platform he held onto stopped briefly and then began its ascent.
There stood Trevor on the other platform, his own starting to align with his father's. He tapped the whip lightly on his other hand. Despair welled up in the nobleman as he gazed into Trevor's ice-cold eyes. As relived as he was to have his sight almost fully restored another disaster exploded in Adrian's mind.
The glasses…I forgot the Holy Glasses…!
"From son to father…Make peace with Death for I'm sure you'll have lots to talk about when you go to meet him!" With that, the former vampire hunter hauled out yet another bottle of Holy Water and threw it into the air. His whip snapped up and shattered it, raining down the particles and the searing liquid.
Both fell harmlessly to the ground for Adrian was not there; at least not Adrian the "human". The nobleman was not certain he'd be able to transform into mist. He had not since his last bout with vampirism. It didn't last long and so Adrian back-flipped onto his platform. He had less than a heartbeat to deflect a storm of daggers.
"Trevor! I don't want to fight you!"
"Then don't! Surrender and I shall make your end painless!"
Closer and closer the platforms came. Then, they aligned.
Blue to gold eyes met. So did their weapons, leather crashing against steel.
Adrian managed to block the first of son's strikes but eventually a few slipped past his defenses and drew blood. One struck the side of his head nearly throwing the nobleman off his platform. Another whip attack tore a sizable shred of sable cloth, exposing Adrian's arm. He had a few opportunities to retaliate but the former prince did not, dared not. How would he ever break the spell upon his son if he hurt him?
Damn my foolishness! Why did it not occur to me to take the glasses with me?
Eventually the platforms distanced beyond either man's reach of the other and Adrian took the chance to abandon his. Leaping onto the last landing, the nobleman raced up the stairs, his mind similarly racing with ideas on how to end this without harm to either Trevor or himself. One after another he discarded the options that came to him, desperation contorting his pale face.
Then clock hit twelve and the bells tolled.
If one of us must die…let it be me! Adrian's gaze left the sight of ascending Trevor to the massive clock. Then those eyes drifted over to the curtained window. Had he seen movement there? The wind perhaps…But no, the nobleman realized, it was not the wind. There was a robed man floating there, his head down, legs bent under him.
The dark priest did not seem to notice the detection, his concentration on the Belmont. His mutterings were too soft for Adrian to pick out the words, but the nobleman had no doubt of the power in them. Adrian glanced back down. His son shook his head as if to clear it. Then the hate in his face intensified like a fanned flame.
Adrian's breath hitched. Would slaying Shaft free his son?
Unfortunately there was no time to test that theory as Trevor came at him, whip whirling. His mother's blade darted up, blocking all but the last—it slashed his left leg. The nobleman's plan would be meaningless if he couldn't distract his son long enough to try. He'd have morphed into a bat and pelted Shaft with fireballs but both Trevor and the priest would likely kill before he'd even finished the spell.
Then, her voice, like the cry of an angel.
"Adrian, love, here! Catch!"
Stunned, the nobleman's gaze lowered to see Maria on one of the platforms; Richter was on the other keeping both Death and the Succubus at bay. When had all of them arrived? The vampire huntress hurled the glasses upwards, toward her husband. Kicking his son back, Adrian made a grab for them. In a single try, he claimed them.
And then Trevor struck him from behind.
And the glasses slipped from his grasp.
Like a snakehead from the Medusa, the whip wrapped around Adrian's throat so he couldn't try to retrieve the glasses or even see what happened to them. The nobleman gagged, fingers of his now free hand flying up to claw at the leather. It did not budge though, if anything the effort only weakened him and try as he might, the former prince could not keep a hold of his sword either.
In the background he could hear the sound of the glasses shattering. And with them Adrian felt a bit of his soul break. Oh, dear god, Trevor! No…How can I save you now….?
Slaying Shaft? He'd need to be free of the imprisoning whip first...
From the sounds of it Maria was crying out in anger; Richter had his whip in the air repelling attacks. The noise dimmed in his head as the nobleman became dangerously depleted of air. Brilliant stars burst before his eyes. Adrian was uncertain how much vampirism flowed in his veins but he didn't know if he could survive asphyxiation or not.
Thoughts of his heritage gave the nobleman an idea and he tore at the leather with his last remaining weapon: his teeth. Dagger-sharp they freed Adrian and he darted to the side anticipating his son's strike. Quickly he snatched up his sword in time deflect a second strike. His mind swirled chaotically, trying to formulate a plan to reach Shaft.
"Adrian!" Maria screamed.
Richter echoed her. "Look out, man!"
Distracted by despair, Adrian barely had time to blink before his son flicked his whip around the nobleman's left ankle. In a horrible slowness the former prince knew he was going down but couldn't react fast enough. Adrian let out a cry as the whip pulled and he hit the stone landing, hard, with his head. Again, his sword fell from his grasp as pain exploded in his head.
A shadow fell over his face. Trevor's shadow.
His son held a blade—Adrian's own—poised above his father's heart.
So this it…Father kills son, son kills father….When will the evil cycle end?
Adrian gasped. Trevor smiled.
"No, Trevor, stop!" Richter kept his whip whirling.
Maria's voice was choked with fear. "Please, don't damn you!"
"That's right, Trevor!" Shaft laughed. "Strike! Kill! Avenge your mother!"
Kill? Has Shaft no more use of me? Probably not, thought the nobleman. I resisted the evil flowing through my veins. But Trevor….Adrian gazed deep into the former vampire hunter's eyes, so much like Sonia's and yet, not. Hers shined with hope, determination; all Adrian read from his son's eyes was hatred.
Trevor's smile widened. "To death I consign you…Father!"
Adrian's eyes shut. "I…forgive you."
Like a bolt of lightning the blade pierced Adrian's chest, straight into his heart. Unbidden, the nobleman gasped, golden eyes flying open. Maria was shrieking; Richter was shouting. Blood poured from where his own blade was imbedded, staining the nobleman's fine clothing. Pain burned his nerve endings leaving him moaning…
And what was that he saw in his son's eyes?
Shock? Horror? Sorrow?
"Father?" Trevor looked like a lost little boy. His hands shook. When the former vampire hunter glimpsed the sword in his father's chest his mouth opened but no sound came out. Slowly he slipped the blade out, his other hand sliding immediately to block the flow of life. "What...What have I done!"
The spell? Is he free of the spell? One good look into his son's face told Adrian he was. In the background, the nobleman could hear the sounds of battle receding but for him, that moment, there was no others. Even as the blood pumped out his body, he rejoiced to see the hatred gone from Trevor replaced by confusion and grief.
"Damn!" Shaft threw his arms wide, the selves of his robe falling back. A sickly purple light expanded from him, slamming into the walls. At that, the hard stone quaked. Voices cried out—Richter's, Maria's, Trevor's. Adrian continued gasping, each becoming fainter than the last. As stone particles rained down, his son threw his own body as a shield to protect the nobleman.
Shaft had lost…and now he would be making his exit a dramatic one.
"What happened?" Trevor asked, his shoulder-length brown hair dancing as he glanced around at the crumbling tower. "Why am I here? How are you here? Why….?"
Pain flared in the nobleman's body making him feverish. He feared he would soon be delirious too. As his hands convulsed of their own accord, Trevor took one of them in his hands. The gesture heartened him and gave Adrian strength. "No time…to explain…Flee, my son….Get Richter and Maria out of here…" Here the former prince gagged as blood came out of his mouth.
Trevor's eyes flashed. "No! I don't know what's going on but I'm not leaving you like this!"
Consciousness was slipping from grasp but the nobleman held onto it a bit longer. He'd freed Trevor—or his son had freed himself—but all that would be for naught if he could not convince him to leave. And what of Richter and Maria?
"Please, Trevor…" His vision tunneled and the nobleman could no longer see his son, though he could still feel the heat of his hands. "I know…I am dying…Let me go…You must let me go…"
"No…" There were tears in that voice, Adrian knew.
For a moment longer, the hands held on. Then, slowly, they drifted away. Nearly drowned in darkness and silence still the former prince heard the footsteps on stone, Maria's protests and Richter's urgent shouting. Adrian managed a weak smile as he understood the implications of those sounds: Richter, Maria and Trevor were escaping the tower.
Bits of stone struck his body but he barely felt them. In the darkness a searing bright light burned. Such was the luminance that it hurt to stare at but Adrian could not draw his gaze away even if he had wanted to. There was naught but light now. So, is this death? Not the persona but the true experience…
A hand stretched out of the light.
"Love, I've come to take you home…"
He knew that voice! "Sonia?"
"Yes…Adrian. Come with me. You are weary…and I have missed you."
Smiling, the nobleman grasped her hand and then there was only darkness.
Author: First I'd like to thank all the people who supported this and the prequel, The Tragic Prince.
Kitala: Thanks for reading and enjoying the torture! smiles
Patricia: I'm glad you like it so much. And thanks for the PM by the way. Yes, I did play CoD and in fact some of it inspired this fic.
Sofasoap: Pleased to know you liked this story too. And yeah, I rather liked the line myself.
Sunflare: What are you doing here? You're suppose to be working on your own fic! smiles I'm glad to have your support from the sidelines…Always good to have a friend's comments.
Anyway, the Tragic Prince was not created to have a sequel—likewise neither was the Fallen Prince. However, just like Tragic I felt there was enough pull from Fallen and unfinished business that I have now in the works the third of the "Prince" series: The Living Prince. So, look out for it…Same vampire bloodthirsty channel…Some vampire bloodthirsty time…./lame joke.