A/N: Thanks to my beta, Olethros.
Erik: the Vampire Hunter - The Continuing Adventures
Thousands of years ago – by human measurement – a child was born on the European continent to an inhuman father and a human mother. The child appeared normal, yet could only satiate its appetite with blood from other living beings. It was gifted with the ability to turn another human into something akin to itself without the messy need for biological reproduction.
It had taken much effort from the humans to kill this particular creature, but eventually they had persevered. Its offspring still remained numerous, and humans found themselves battling for survival day to day.
After years of existence in the human world, the demon Sytri knew this story well. He had found a human female whose biology would be close enough to his own to bring forth a child. Her name was Madeline, and he had chosen her to incubate his spawn with the hopes of receiving similar results.
Alas, she had not been able to provide an offspring for him. He had worked past the implement she had requested him to wear and the chemicals she had ingested to prevent conception.
And yet, she remained barren.
As far as his calculations went, Sytri's spawn should have been within her by now.
But it was not.
The female was of no use to him.
He buried her body in a shallow pit three weeks later.
A hunched figure, looking much like living death, watched the scenes play before him in the mirror-like surface of the river Lethe.
Who were these people, and what importance did they have to him? Why should he care about a child who had never seen the light of day?
Who was this unborn child, and why was it important?
Underworld – Throne room
Hades watched the scene unfolding in the scrying bowl before him. "Look at this now, Orpheus – your friend is not only forgetting who he is, but it seems he truly believes he never existed."
The god of the underworld rubbed his long, cold fingers together, smiling cruelly. It was the most entertainment he had had since his wife had left to join her mother topside.
Hades' smile faded. He was missing his wife deeply. If lovely Persephone had been here with him now, he was quite sure she would find other things to keep him occupied.
Hades shook that thought from his mind. It only made his longing and frustration that much worse.
"Tell me, Orpheus," he began, tugging on the blond head at his knee. "Is Erik an animal lover?"
Underworld - River Lethe
More images. Or were they memories? The corpse-like figure wasn't sure. What was he seeing?
Who were these people? Who was this woman taking form in the waters before him? Her face was plain, and she seemed rather somber and serious. Hardly someone he would have thought twice about.
Antoinette Giry knelt beside her husband, his body unmoving, his clothing stained with his own blood.
She was in shock.
Hunters were known to fall in battle, but she never thought, never dreamed, that her own husband would be one of them. She could not stop the tears streaming down her face.
Meg. Her precious little Meg would be without a father now. And she wouldn't even be allowed to know the truth of it – that he had died bravely, giving his life to save her mother.
So distraught was Antoinette that she didn't see her enemy come up behind her until it was too late. Her weapon had rolled away.
Too far to reach it now.
Antoinette cried out, covering her head with her hands as she waited for her death.
It was long, painful, and purposefully cruel.
Megan Giry found herself staring at the dirty wall before her, imagining what her parents' deaths must have been like.
Meg was surrounded by smells that she would have rather not smelled. She heard sounds she'd rather not hear.
She briefly wondered what life would have been like if her parents had not been killed by what the police claimed was a random act of violence.
Megan knew the truth: She had found it out only three months ago, when she had found various private letters and files her mother had tried so hard to hide.
She refused to believe what was before her eyes and insisted on keeping herself in denial. Preferably for the rest of her life.
Meg had had dreams once. She had wanted to be a dancer. Her mother would have understood. Her mother would have helped her dreams come true.
Her mother had been a prima ballerina in her time, before she had injured her knee.
Megan smiled weakly as she remembered the lessons her mother had taught her. They were vague memories of a child, but they were memories nonetheless.
Shaking such memories from her head, Meg pressed the plunger between her fingers and allowed the chemical injection to make her forget.
Underworld - River Lethe
Why was he here? Did he have a reason? Was he on his way to do something?
If he could close his eyes and sleep, perhaps… perhaps his confusion would go away.
The tall, thin man looked at the muddy waters.
Why was this hideous death's face, those frightening golden eyes, staring back at him? Surely it was nothing human.
Perhaps nothing more than a phantom.
But then, something much lovelier took its place. Something he was quite sure he could stare upon forever.
An angel, surely. A beautiful angel.
Christine Daaé stood behind the beverage kiosk in the foyer of the opera house, desperately trying not to cry.
Beautiful voices filled the foyer as they seeped through the doors of the theatre proper. The latest production was playing to a packed house, and Christine only hoped that tonight's tips would be more than last night's.
Trying to put herself through art school was becoming increasingly difficult. She barely made enough to feed herself. She worried what would happen when she graduated. She would have to find a place to live. Could she even afford it? She had nothing saved up. Not anymore.
Christine knew she had the skill, but it was the passion she was lacking. Professor Giudicelli had made that increasingly clear. In fact, many times Christine had wondered if the woman was trying to detract her from her dream to begin with.
Christine needed a teacher who wanted her to succeed as much as she wanted to succeed. The fact that she had not found such a teacher led Christine to believe that something was missing.
Something she should have found long ago.
Underworld - River Lethe
The girl in the water turned her blue eyes towards the dark man looking at her, almost as if she were staring at him from the bottom of the river.
That name. Her voice. Why did it seem so familiar to him?
You promised you'd be back in time for our wedding. Remember?
The face of death blinked his golden eyes, his hand reaching up to massage his temples.
Erik, you're running out of time.
"Christine?" The living corpse spoke aloud.
Please, Erik. Come back to me.
The ghost of a man jumped to his feet, staring left, then right. There was somewhere he had to go. Something he had to do.
It hit him all at once. Who he was, what he was doing.
She was waiting for him. The girl in the water was waiting.
Christine woke up with a start. "Erik?"
She had seen him in her dreams. Or perhaps it had been more of a nightmare. He had forgotten her. Forgotten everyone.
And the world had forgotten him in return.
Almost, Christine thought. I didn't. I could never...
"Come back…" she spoke aloud to the room.
She knew he first had to finish his task. She knew she only needed to wait a little while longer. Erik would come back.
He always did.
The Underworld – the shores of the river Lethe
Erik froze when he heard the sound – a series of howls akin to the Hounds of Hell.
The unmasked hunter swore under his breath. No, not hounds, he realized. One hound… with three heads.
His ears perked up at the padding of heavy feet. The stench of raw meat assaulted what passed for his nose, and the hot breath on the back of his neck did nothing to quell his nerves.
Erik slowly turned around to come face to face with Hades' guard dog.
Surely the gods weren't this cruel. No man could have such a continuous rash of bad luck when attempting to do a somewhat noble, albeit underhanded, deed.
"Dinnertime!" Sytri laughed."Here doggy, doggy. He's a little bony, but I'm sure you'll find SOME meat on him!" The demon's mocking voice only annoyed Erik.
Cerberus snarled and snapped at the living corpse, white foam flying. Erik dived out of the way and whipped out his rope, throwing it up and looping it around Cerberus's neck.
Or rather, ONE of Cerberus's necks.
Now what? He thought, then glanced over to the river Lethe. He pulled the creature towards it, attempting to upset the animal's balance.
Unfortunately, Cerberus would not move so easily. The dog wrenched his neck around and yanked the rope from Erik's fingers, leaving the hunter's hands blistered and throbbing.
"A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen," Erik murmured aloud as he studied the large canine determined to turn him into dinner.
The dog stopped thrashing a moment, its large red eyes focusing on the man before it. It seemed to be waiting for something.
"Wonderful," Sytri muttered dryly, "The dog is a Sherlock Holmes fan…"
Erik raised an eyebrow – or would have raised an eyebrow had he one to raise. His hypnotizing voice took on the manner of a storyteller as he continued the passage. "Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame."
Cerberus remained still. Erik would have thought the animal was looking upon him with expectation, if such a thing were possible. How could he have forgotten the power he held in his voice? He only hoped it was enough to enamour Cerberus.
"Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog."
Cerberus released a whine and lowered itself onto its stomach, resting its middle head on its paws.
"No wonder you're such an angry thing," Erik spoke to the animal softly, "You are neglected."
Thinking the animal calmed, he attempted to remove his rope from its neck.
He was greeted with a low growl as Cerberus took to his feet once again, mouth forming into a snarl, bloody fangs bared.
"I do not have time to tell you a bedtime story, mutt!" Erik hissed.
My sweet pet lets no soul pass unless I invite them, but he is weak to music. A nice lullaby will put him to sleep. Perhaps Hades' Cerberus is similar?
Erik was quickly reminded of Hel's earlier advice.
"A lullaby, then," Erik decided, keeping his tone silky. "Would you prefer one in the same vein as the story?"
Cerberus seemed expectant again.
Erik began singing the first song that came to mind. A story about a hound dog that seemed to cry all the time.
The words sounded ridiculous to his ears, and he knew he was butchering the tempo beyond all decency in his attempt to make his voice soothing, but for all its ridiculousness, it seemed to be working.
Cerberus's eyes began to close as it lay down on the ground once again. Erik brought the song to completion and saw that the animal was now well and truly asleep, the sound of its snoring almost deafening.
"I didn't know you were a dog whisperer," Sytri muttered.
Erik chose to ignore the snide remark as he was finally able to reclaim his lasso.
With a deep sigh of relief, he continued along the coast of Lethe. He was not sure how long he had been walking when he came upon two large, black doors.
Carvings of suffering souls, living corpses, and gruesome deaths covered the ebony in a frighteningly beautiful narrative.
Before he could raise a hand to knock on the wood, the doors opened of their own accord. The angry voice that followed rattled the very bones in Erik's body.
"Monsieur, I bid you welcome…"
End of episode 21
Extra A/N: All of Erik's story passages come from 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle