Leaves fluttered down to the water-filled ruins. White marble pillars glistened with the water rippling down them. Sunlight cut through the trees, illuminating all within.
Dhampires have no love of sunlight, and Alucard was no exception. Still the half-blood strode among the pillars, his golden hair fitting in with the beautiful scenery while his dark cloak did not. His cat-like eyes hunted the ruins, waiting for traces of either his father or his captured maiden. Which mattered more? At this point, he knew naught.
A green-robed woman caught his eye as she stood up from a pillar's stump. The hood hid her face, but it was but a heartbeat before she drew it back, revealing her face to him.
It was Lisa. It was his mother.
How could this be? She was dead. He'd seen her die.
Yet the dead did not stand, at least not by their own accord.
Alucard let out a low moan between his teeth. They stood staring at each silently like two graven images, cast motionless for the rest of time. It was she who moved first, backwards, against another pillar, and she whimpered, looking all about for what he could only assume was an escape. But he could not have that.
Though inside the dhampire was churning, burning with thoughts, questions, emotions, his face betrayed none of that and neither did his voice. It was a simply-spoken command, with neither inflection nor tone. Yet it held her to her ground as if he'd bespelled her and Lisa whimpered again.
"I'm not going to hurt you." Alucard took a tentative step forwards. She recoiled. He held his stride. "You sit in the sunlight; you must not be changed." Now he did take another step, and she mirrored him, away from him. "So why do you follow him?"
Indeed, why would his mother follow such a man, his father? Love? Loyalty? Lies? Or was she really a prisoner? Yet, staring at his mother who was seemingly bereft of guards or captors and her desire to be away from him told another story. It was a story that Alucard didn't want his mind to linger long on.
Her feet took flight when his moved, but she merely made sounds when he talked so Alucard decided to keep talking, partly to quench his own curiosity. "Last night in the carriage you called out his name...why did you call for him?"
Her face softened at the question. "I suppose they haven't told you I'm in love with him."
Tell your father I will love him for all eternity...
Alucard shook his head almost angrily. "You know what he is. You can't be in love with him."
Now she was the angry one, face flushing red. "Well, I am. If only knew how good he's been to me. I love him, please believe me, no one else will."
He was taken aback. The dying words his mother uttered came swiftly back to him. How did she not know him then? Did she not remember anything? How, for that matter, had she returned to the land of the living? He'd seen her die...or had he? She was not undead, that he knew. But nor could she be alive...
"I believe you." How could he not? It was plain on her face.
That face filled with joy. "Thank you. Now, please, go, before his bodyguards come to hurt you."
"I can't do that."
His words came out incredulous. "Do you not know? Don't you remember me?"
Lisa's silence told him she did not.
Unable to resist it any longer Alucard crossed the distance, his boots making slight splashes on the pools. Any disturbance at all indicated his urgency since the dhampire could walk like shadows, his own shadow mere afterimages of his beautiful form. With a hand he took her arm and pulled her close to his face.
"How can you forget this face, my face....Mother?"
When the address returned her ears Lisa stopped struggling and repeated the word, mystified. "But, but I have no son..."
"I am your son!" Normally Alucard's voice never rose above a cultured conversational tone, but with having the woman who gave birth to him denying her very affiliation with him tore his heart asunder. He was past the point of being a dignified aristocratic man like she'd tried to teach him all those years ago. He was a boy, angry, frightened, demanding to be acknowledged.
Like he was burned the dhampire released Lisa, head snapping over to see Maria standing where he had stood but moments ago. She had that look on her face. Trapped between the two most important women in his life, Alucard could but stare. And then that stare became a glare her at her audacity to interfere. This was his task, his mother, his affair.
"Stay out of this." And with that the half-blood returned his gaze to Lisa who was huddling against the pillar, seemingly too stupified to take flight. Not that she'd have gotten far with how fast he could run with his paranormal blood.
"Alucard!" Alucard was about to yell at her to go when she added, "...Above you!"
The warning came a word too late as a spidery vine clutched the dhampire around the neck and lifted him. Immediately a hand flew to his sword and drew it, cutting the vine and sending him plunging back down into the water below. He wasn't within the pool for more than a mere second before the dhampire bounced up, cape swirling dramatically behind him.
But a second was too long as fortune favored his enemies again as he caught a glismpe of Lisa being scooped up by Death. He made a leap for the two but another vine slapped onto his ankle, dragging him away from her. Twisting, Alucard saw the Succubus perched on a tall pillar, toying with her webbing with Maria and with him.
The dhampire glanced back. Lisa and Death were already long gone. Letting out a snarl, Alucard sliced his leg free and lunged at the Succubus, his blade cutting a fine line before him. Succubus spun around and jumped off the pillar, leaving Alucard to make his own escape as it crumbled beneath him.
Maria was rendered unconscious immediately after the monster slammed her against the pillar stump. A quick glance at her chest told Alucard she was still breathing and with his mother missing and the Succubus running Alucard decided to press his advantage. Or to just press anyways, as the monster was quickly become quite the formidable meance.
His blade took a chunk out of a tree the Succubus sought to take refuge in. It forced her to jump to another and that, too, he took a swipe at and left more than indentations. Tree to tree she leapt, and so he followed her, determined to take her down this time, for the final time.
Again fortune decided not to be kind and Alucard felt a wave of heat drown him. Letting out a loud groan the dhampire clutched his throat and stumbled to his knees. With a finger he summoned Demon wanting his opinion on something he'd already surmised but rather hear any sort of differing opinion on.
"What's wrong, master?" The creature fluttered around. Then he clucked his tongue. "Too much sun! I tried to warn you about the heat but you just won't listen...!"
Heat syndrome. If that were his affliction he was in serious trouble...
Without even seeing a shadow of her webbing Alucard rolled out of the path of what would have imprisoned him again. This time he suspected she would not leave him dangling off some cliff, but rather a mess of bones at the bottom of it. Or perhaps she would make him prisoner as she did so often to any other man misfortunate enough to cross her path...
It was not a thought that he relished.
Spinning over and over and down the side of a grassy hill, the half-vampire took shelter in a set of pillars that partially blocked out the sun. It was little good now he knew since the dhampire-only illness known heat syndrome was already too advanced to be swiftly stiffled by reduced sunlight. His throat was locking up. All of his muscles were twitching painfully. His eyes, especially, were suffering and he had to squint to stare around for any sign of his adversary.
Destorying her would force him out into the open and into the path of sun. No sunlight at this stage wouldn't stop the rapidly worsening symptoms, but any more would certainly heighten them so that his very life was at stake.
And yet Alucard sprung out of the shelter the moment his keen ears caught the Succubus prowling through the bush. His blade flashed out like a line of moonlight burning through the foilage and cutting into her throat. The monster's bat-wings twitched and curled around her and she disappeared in a spray of silvery dust.
"You must get shelter, master! You need to bury yourself in cold mother earth!" Having his own knowledge repeated back to him now was a nusiance but Alucard didn't have the strength or presence of mind to dismiss Demon.
With most of his mucles refusing to function properly the dhampire crawled, hands and knees, to a copse of trees. In the area of the deepest, thickest trees he began to dig into the earth. Every second hastened his own death yet he remained calm even as the energy fled his body. It was going so slowly, too slowly for him to have enough hollowed earth to burrow into. Even with Demon frantically helping with his spear it was not enough...Alucard knew he'd been defeated.
To perish in battle against a formidable foe was one thing; it was quite another to die because of his cursed blood.
But then perhaps it was fitting since it was also the reason for his life. Or so Alucard mused before his consciousness fled him and left him in the waiting arms of darkness.