Disclaimer: I do not own Castlevania.
A/N: This is an Alucard fic, so if you don't like him…You know the routine. Anyhow, this is about fifty years after Symphony of the Night. Alucard has awoken before his time, aware that his father and Castlevania have risen once more.
Chapter 1: Fallen Angel
Silver danced on black, patches of light through the canopy of snow covered branches moving like fae over the frozen land. And it was innocent, the night as clear of sin as the day. Mortals were always confused where that was concerned, finding darkness an evil thing when its only role was that of cover for the truly terrifying, the beasts who played with men's souls and fed from their life. No, night was only a scapegoat for the unwise.
If any factor was to blame, it was not the time of day's fault, but the child who was the tempter, a pawn like any other.
She took wide, clumsy steps, her wet green eyes dancing over the forest, suspicious of every shadow, and with reason. Congealed blood splattered her rosy cheeks, and her ragged, loose sleeping gown was damp and stiff with ice from the knees down. The child pulled her mother's cloak further up around her neck, though it did nothing to shorten the heavy length that drug behind her on the forest floor. Her bare feet, violet from their batter, made the slightest crunching sound as her journey took her out of the wooded area and onto the jagged rock that jutted out into the nothingness beyond the mountain.
A whimper escaped her pouting lips as she stepped to the mountain's edge, not daring to look over into the canyon.
"Mama," she whispered in a voice thin and high. "Where is my mama?"
Only one step more, only one step left until eternity. Her foot found the edge, toes curling over it as she leaned into death's embrace. Her scream broke the air, fear coursing through her veins as an arm wrapped around her tiny waist and pulled her back onto safe earth.
"Papa, please don't!" she cried, hiding her face. "Please, papa, I will be good. I am your Emma, please, I promise I am. . ."
"Calm yourself, child," came the cool reply. "I am not your father."
She revealed her bright eyes in a final act of hope, blinking up at the magnificence that held her shoulders. It was man, she first thought. With a shake of her head, she amended, "An angel."
The tall figure crouched, long locks of hair whipping his face in the wind, cold eye devoid of emotion for the moment. Alucard's grip on her arms loosened until only his fingertips grazed the fur cloak. He raised himself to full height, still looking down at her.
"You are of God," she said in awe. "You are here to fight the demon."
Her savior did not answer, instead his eyes turned toward the ominous forest. "I am not Heaven's creature, child," he said at last. He could almost taste the metallic tinge in the air. Alucard knew the answer but placed the question anyhow. "Where are your mother and father?"
Tears fell in streams from the child, dripping into the snow. "The demon," she said. "Papa. . . He had the demon's touch upon him. He did not see me—he did not see my mama. He said we were wrong. . . And then he took up his axe."
The child sobbed, falling to the ground. Her tiny body shook until Alucard joined her on one knee, pulling her cloak up so that it covered her entirely. Then he picked her up, cradling her as if she had been no more than an infant, and walked away from the canyon's edge. He lifted his head, following his senses.
"There is a hut not far away."
The girl looked up. "The Widow," she said, somewhat sobered. "None know her name, but Mama said that she was like any other woman, only sad and painted in black."
"Called Widow for her dark skin," Alucard stated. "Why did you not go to her if she lives so close?"
The child looked up, lip trembling in anger. "Because I want to know where my mama is! I want to be with her . . ."
Alucard stopped at the sight of the hut, sitting the little girl down. He could hear the old woman inside moving with short, pained steps toward the door. "I will find her for you," he lied. "Go to the Widow and stay by her fire. Do not come out again this night."
He turned, leaving the child staring after him. She would not follow; she could not, for an angel had told her to do otherwise.
The reeking smell of fresh gore met Alucard's nostrils. He had found the mother, or at least that body which most favored a woman in form. Crude cuts bore deep into bone and past this mess, an axe head, the simple tool of a woods' man with handle missing and sides blunted stood from its sheath of skull. For all of this, a fire still struggled to heat a full pot of stew and a bowl of hard common bread sat at the empty table.
Alucard walked back outside, shutting the front door behind him. He stepped toward the horse's stable, his entrance greeted by a nay of caution. He need look no further than the first stall to satisfy his curiosity. A body hung by a fine rope, the father presumably. The man was dead by his own crimson stained hands. Judging from the corpse's jolly pot belly and the upturned creases at his eyes and mouth, the man had not taken on the appearance of a murderer.
Alucard sensed that the child had been truthful in her words. This was indeed a demon's work, though which horror played this man against his family was another matter altogether. The half-vampire had faced many such evils in his long life, but that did not seem to help him with this battle.
His body, his sight, his smell, told him that there was no sinister force in the forest, but he knew better. It frustrated him though, that he could not fully sense the creature. That fact he could blame on his own father because it was the nagging knowledge of evil's rise that blocked him from devoting himself to any other creature. When he searched, he only felt Castlevania, every fiber of himself aware of it, so much so that it had awoken him from his self-induced slumber a night ago.
All of this and more, the demon knew as well.
Alucard turned to see the creature approaching at full run. The half-vampire arched his body, rising off the ground and unleashing his blade all in one swift motion. There was no time for him to study the demon's form for weakness, only a second for pure instinct to guide him.
The sickly green skin of the beast was a flash that swept beneath Alucard as he flew through the air. The half-vampire felt a tug on his foot and noticed too late that the demon had turned its head, one of its massive, curling horns catching his foot as he attempted a graceful landing. He fell into the snow on one knee, sword landing a few paces away. He dove for the weapon, taking an offensive stance.
It had been the wrong move. The demon had, instead of taking time to show its rage and defend itself, bent to mid-height and bucked at Alucard like a bull. The half-vampire slid back, his boots making two gullies in the frozen soil where he had attempted to hold his ground. Alucard held to the point of the horn that threatened to impale him through the gut and raised his sword with his other hand. He brought it down, lightening reaching for earth as it would seem to any spectator. But the blade did little more than ricochet off the obstruction, flaking back the yellowed surface of the horn.
Nevertheless, the creature cried out, tossing its head up. The very horn which Alucard had been gripping so tightly bound upward, smartly connecting with his chin. Neck exposed for that fraction of a second as the half-vampire literally saw stars, Alucard fell back, a stinging sensation ripping through his chest. He landed on a bank soft with snow.
The demon raised a set of talon-like claws to his mouth and slid his forked tongue over them, lapping at the blood he had just collected. Then his snout lifted, he smelled the night and ran in the opposite direction.
Alucard gripped his sword, planning to move after the creature. Instead, he rolled onto his side, wincing in pain. Long horizontal marks ran the length of his breasts, so deeply driven that any ordinary man would have already bled to death. But Alucard was anything but normal.
For that reason alone, he brought himself to his feet. Dizziness swept over him as his eyes searched the forest. Where had the demon gone? Why had it left him so suddenly after inflicting such a winning wound? There was no right answer, just as there was no proper reason for him to still be in such pain.
He stumbled toward the edge of the forest, unable to even sheath his weapon. Alucard held to the bark of a tree, keeping himself upright. His senses blurred. There were a thousand things which he could do aid himself, potions, medallions—spirits who would gladly serve him. But he could not bring himself to call for help, not for too much pride, but for his wondering mind, blackened by the maiming he had suffered or for some other, unnatural reason.
Alucard looked down, attempting to see the gashes over the layers of cloth. He found them with his gloved hand, touching them gently. They were tender, more so than even a harsh burn should be. The lowest one he could see clearly, his blood, fresh and bright spilling from him, dark around the ragged edges of pale flesh. And amongst the red were lines of green soaking into his skin, tiny emerald veins spreading through him.
"Poison. . ." the half-vampire muttered. As soon as he said the word, the meaning of it was gone to him, buried away.
He slid to the ground into a heap, eyes open in a glazed expression not entirely his own.