A/N: Well, this didn't take long at all, did it? No? Well, that's because I finished it...while I was still working on Kindred Spirits...Anyways, here it is, the new story and the sequel to Night Warriors! Whoooo!
I know I didn't give people a chance to review, but I will thank Kairi's-twin for sending in a review. Thank you!
Disclaimer: I don't own Van Helsing. I own anyone you don't recognize...except Matthias...he belongs to my good friend, Damper(Fop Huntress) and she's kind enough to let me borrow him...
Chapter One: Death Will Bring Life
A warm spring breeze rustled a few of the, green leaves that clung tightly to trees. A crescent moon, a shining silvery sliver, gleamed high overhead. It was a perfect night, even in the land known for its nightmarish environment.
His boots came down softly on the dirt, barely leaving an imprint. His long cloak swished around his ankles as he strode boldly yet carefully, his stride announcing confidence and fearlessness, yet thoughtfulness to exactly where he was. Keen hazel eyes darted back and forth beneath his hood, taking in his surroundings.
Finally, he came across a small cottage, nestled deep in the woods. A small spiral of smoke curled from the chimney, while a soft golden glow lit the windows. He stopped before the door and gently knocked on it; it creaked open the tiniest bit so an eye could peek out.
"Who goes there?" a soft feminine voice with a thick Transylvanian accent whispered.
"It's me…Gabriel…" he whispered softly, pushing his hood from his head as he spoke. A delighted gasp came from inside, and the door swung open all the way, revealing the cozy interior of cottage, as well as a lovely woman standing at the door.
Long, messy black hair fell down around her youthful face and shoulders, ending around mid-back or so. A faded and frayed burgundy ribbon held back the hair from her eyes, which were a deep, warm brown and sparkling with excitement. Her pale pink lips were twisted up in a loving smile at the sight of Gabriel. A well-worn white dress, worn under a laced burgundy bodice and a moss-colored skirt clothed her young, slender frame…though it failed to conceal a slightly-bulging stomach underneath.
"Gabriel…" she said softly, pulling him over the threshold and into the cottage's small, cozy interior.
"Alana…God, I've missed you…" he said. Their lips met in a tender yet passionate kiss. Alana's arms wrapped around Gabriel's neck, her slim fingers weaving into her lover's dark, messy, shoulder-length hair; his one hand rested on the small of her back, while the other drifted to her stomach, resting on the small bulge. He felt the life stirring within her…the life he had helped create…
They broke the kiss gently, and he smiled lovingly at her. "How have you been, love? It feels like ages since I last saw you!"
She gave a small laugh. "It's only been a little over a fortnight…but I've been doing just fine. I missed you terribly, though…"
"And I, you. How has the child..?"
Her hand joined his, resting gently on her swollen belly. "Same…just fine. This child kicks like a stubborn mule, though! They'll have your stubborn spirit, that is for certain! And how have you been?"
"I've been fine," he said. "I'm surprised, though…I've barely had any trouble these past few weeks. Only a minor incident with a few werewolves last week…"
"That's to be expected…" Alana said with a sly little grin. "I cast a charm of protection over you and your dear sister to keep you safe."
Gabriel gave a grin and gently tapped the end on her nose. "I thought I smelt burnt incense…" His smile faded slightly as his expression grew more serious. "But Catherine is becoming a little suspicious…you know how she feels about magic…"
"I know," Alana sighed. "But I have a feeling that your sister and I shall become closer once she gets to know me better…and besides, I'm sure being an aunt may change her feelings towards me…"
Gabriel smiled softly and stroked her cheek with his free hand. "My little optimist…"
His lips brushed against hers, and they kissed again…but, just then, there was a loud noise from outside. The couple broke apart, and watched as the door suddenly came flying off its hinges and crashed in a corner of the room, upsetting a pile of haphazardly-stacked spell-books. Alana screamed in fright and buried her face in Gabriel's chest. He wrapped his arms around her and shielded her, protecting her and her unborn child from whoever-or whatever-was outside.
A few people-both men and women-entered the cabin, wicked grins distorting their faces. They all wore aristocratic clothing under thick black cloaks that were embroidered with some sort of unfamiliar emblem. Their pale skin and unearthly ice-blue eyes identified them as vampires immediately; Gabriel reached into his own cloak, his hand closed around a yew-wood stake.
"What do you demons want?" he growled, turning to face them. Alana slipped behind his back, pressing her small, quaking frame against his back.
"Well, look who we have here…the great Gabriel Van Helsing," a male vampire with shoulder-length blonde hair sneered. "At last…I think everyone here has been simply dying to meet you…"
All the vampires chuckled at his joke and closed in around them in a tight circle. Alana gulped and clung to Gabriel even closer. He glared at the approaching vampires. "Didn't you hear me? I asked you what you wanted!"
The blonde vampire spotted Alana cowering behind Gabriel. "Take the girl," he ordered. "Leave the hunter."
The vampires all sprang into action, charging towards them. Gabriel pulled the stake from his cloak and thrust it into the heart of the nearest vampire. He pulled it out almost instantly, then attempted to impale another vampire's heart on it. But there were too many of them for him to fight off alone…He kept fighting, though, refusing to back down.
"GABRIEL!!" Alana shrieked. Through a crowd of vampires, he saw the blonde vampire scoop Alana up into his arms. She struggled and tried to push herself from his arms, but he clutched her tighter, stilling her movements, then transformed into a demonic hell-bat and flew through the roof, leaving a large hole in the thatched straw.
"ALANA!!" he called after her. A brunette vampiress he was battling with took advantage of the hunter's distraction and grabbed the hunter by the back of his cloak, heaving him into a nearby wall. Pain flared in the back of his skull, while black stars danced before his eyes. He collapsed to the floor, on the very fringes of consciousness.
Forgive me, my love…he mentally beseeched Alana as his consciousness slipped away, despite the fact that she couldn't hear him. I tried to protect you…
I honestly tried…
Alana whimpered and glanced around in fright as the blonde vampire carried her into a large, darkened room. A single candle flickered on a large desk, casting strange, dancing shadows on the walls. A silhouette of a tall and reasonably curvaceous person-most likely a woman-could be seen against a large bay window. The person glanced over their shoulder at Alana's whimper.
"Ah…that will be all, Matthias," a cool feminine voice drawled. "You are dismissed."
Matthias unceremoniously dropped Alana, causing her to land jarringly on the floor, before bowing respectfully and slipping out of the room. The woman turned away from the window, and Alana's arms instinctively wrapped around her belly, hoping to protect her unborn child from harm.
The mysterious woman knelt before Alana, placed a hand under her chin, and lifted her head. By the faint candlelight, Alana could just barely make out cold sapphire eyes set in a delicate face as white as snow. Thick, dark-red hair fell around the woman's face.
"Miss Tremarie…" she purred. Under rose-red lips, Alana could see long, ivory fangs. "Please…do not fear me…I intend to cause you no harm…"
"Who are you?" Alana whimpered. "What do you want with me? What did you do to Gabriel..?"
"My name is Lilith. Lilith Freniere," she said soothingly. "And trouble yourself not…my thralls have left your lover alive…for now…"
"But why do you want me?"
Lilith smiled and gently stroked Alana's cheek. "Because you, my dear, are special…you have a wonderful knack for magic, do you not? Yes…I know about your witchcraft…white magic, very strong white magic. You have a gift, Miss Tremarie, a wonderful gift. Never let anyone-especially those hypocritical Christians like the ones of your old village-tell you otherwise. Now…the reason I brought you here, Miss Tremarie, is simple…I see a promising future for you with your magical abilities. I shall give you a choice: You can stay here, become a member of the Drakebane coven, and become my apprentice…or you can go. I will not stop you from leaving." A wicked grin crossed Lilith's face, causing her to bare her fangs. "However…I caution you…choose wisely. If you choose to leave, neither you nor Mr. Van Helsing will have the protection of the coven. If you leave, not only will Mr. Van Helsing be fair game, but you-and your unborn child as well-will be, too. So…what will your choice be, Miss Tremarie?"
Alana was silent as she thought it over for a moment, then, her answer came, barely more than a whisper. "A-All right…I s-shall j-join y-you…"
Gabriel sat in the dark back corner of a crowded tavern, hardly aware of anything that was going on around him. His bloodshot hazel eyes stared blankly into an empty wooden tumbler he clutched.
He heard footsteps approaching his table, and, a moment later, Catherine slipped into the chair across from him. She was clutching two wooden tumblers in her hands, and she placed one in front of Gabriel before taking a sip from her own. Gabriel gave a grunt of thanks and took a deep swig from the tumbler, feeling the familiar fire of absinthe carve a burning path down his throat, all the way to his stomach. It only burned for a second, though, before thankfully dulling the deep sorrow in his soul a little.
Catherine traced her finger around the rim of her tumbler, peering up at Gabriel through long, dark lashes. "Gabriel…I know how you feel…about what happened to Alana…"
"You know nothing of my pain, Catherine," he growled, his voice roughened from absinthe and sobbing.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do, Gabriel," she replied. "I know how your heart mourns for Alana. I have mourned for her, too…"
"No, you haven't," he interrupted. "You haven't mourned for Alana. You hated her, so don't even pretend. You're not fooling anyone, least of all me."
"I never said I hated Alana," Catherine countered logically. "Now, I wasn't too overjoyed that she practiced witchcraft, but…More to the point, Gabriel, you should be out there, looking for her…"
"What good would that do?" Gabriel growled. "It's been two months since those leeches stole her away. No doubt she's long dead, along with the child she carried…"
"But do you know that, my dear brother?" she asked. "She could be dead, yes. But she could still be alive for all you know. There's a chance she could have survived, and her unborn child as well…"
Gabriel slammed his tumbler down on the rough wooden table, slopping absinthe on the surface and attracting a few curious stares from nearby patrons. "No, I don't know if she's alive-"
"And there's my point!" Catherine said, standing up and eyeing her elder brother angrily. "There's a chance the woman you love-and your first child- are still out there and still alive, and what are you doing? Sitting here in the back corner of a tavern, drowning yourself in absinthe! You are Gabriel William Van Helsing, the last hunter of the esteemed Van Helsing lineage! The Gabriel I knew would never give up so easily-!"
That was the last straw for Gabriel. He stood to his feet quickly, ready for a fight. Anger seemed to radiate from all parts of him…his eyes in particular. Catherine took a nervous step backwards, feeling how angry her brother was.
"You think I didn't try looking for her?!" he snarled loudly. Several in the tavern turned their heads to watch the spectacle. "I searched endlessly for days, Catherine! DAYS! And guess what? I found nothing-ABSOLUTELY NOTHING- of the woman I loved or the soul-stealing, sun-shirking vampires that kidnapped her! And here you stand, daring to question me on this matter?! You dare to question how much I loved Alana?!"
"Gabriel, I never said any such thing-" Catherine tried in vain to defend herself against her irrational brother.
"I LOVED HER TO THE END OF DAYS, DAMN IT!" he roared at her. She flinched. "You hated her because, God forbid, she practiced witchcraft! I loved her and you have the audacity to question HOW MUCH I CARE ABOUT HER??"
There was a flash of a hand, the sound of flesh on flesh, and Catherine stumbled back, her hands pressed against the left side of her face. She lost her balance when she stumbled over the uneven wood floor of the tavern and she fell; tears sparkled in her shocked blue eyes. When she fell, her hand came away from her face, and several people nearby gasped at the large, hand-shaped mark on her face, with a small cut from where a ring had met her skin.
Gabriel stared down at her for several minutes, still seeing red and panting angrily. Then, as his temper cooled, he realized what had happened, what he had done…
He had hit her.
He had struck Catherine…his own little sister.
A look of genuine shock and sorrow crossed his face, and he gently reached out a hand to help Catherine to her feet. "Catherine…I'm…I'm so sorry…I…"
She let out a low, scared-sounding whimper, then pushed herself up to her feet, shuffling away from her brother. The tears started spilling over onto her cheeks; she fled the tavern, sprinting up the stairs to the rooms above the tavern.
Gabriel sighed and slumped back in his seat, his heart now twice as guilt-laden. The patrons of the tavern slowly went back to their activities, though they all continued to cast Gabriel looks.
What kind of man am I becoming? He asked himself.
The last few rays of sun shone through one of the windows of Drakebane Manor, warming the splintery wooden lid of the coffin. From inside the coffin came a small groan, signaling that whoever was inside had awoken.
As soon as the very last rays of sun had vanished, the lid of the coffin creaked open noisily. Alana sat up, running her hands through her tousled black hair before leaping out of her coffin and moving to stand sentinel at the large window. One hand unconsciously drifted to her belly, which was greatly swollen now that she was nine months pregnant.
She heard the door creak open behind her, but she ignored it. The only thing that would remove her from her window was the sight of Gabriel, riding up the long, winding dirt road on the back of his powerful black stallion, Tempest, coming to take her away from the vampires, to a place where their child could be born and they could raise it in peace.
"Alana, my dear protégée, you really should be sitting down," Lilith's drawling voice whispered in her ear in a motherly fashion. "Or, better yet, lying down. You're so heavy with child, I fear you could go into labor at any moment!"
Alana shook her head. "No, I'm not going anywhere. Gabriel will come for me." She gently cradled her swollen belly with one hand and gently rubbed it with the other. "He will come for me, and for our child. I know he will…"
Lilith shook her head, rolling her eyes. "Still clinging to that hopeless dream, I see. Alana…it's been three months now. If Gabriel were coming, he would've come months ago. He's not going to come…"
Alana shook her head, not even looking at Lilith, but continuing to stare out the window. "You're wrong. He will come. He loves me too much not to…"
Lilith sighed and turned away, heading back towards the way she'd come. "All right, then-believe what you may; I cannot argue against your beliefs. If you wish to come join us, however, come seek us out. If you need anything-or if that child starts to come-just call for me and I shall come…"
She left, closing the door behind her. Alana's gaze never left the window; she simply continued to stare out the window, waiting for her lover to come. A soft song, barely audible, escaped her lips:
I wish I had an angel
For one moment of love
I wish I had your angel, your
Virgin Mary undone
I'm in love with my lust
Burning angel wings to dust
I wish I had your angel tonight
-looks around and sighs in content- It's just me again. It's just me and myself and I. This is kinda nice...-reclines and puts in headphones-
Gabriel: -yelling from downstairs- Catherine, I said I was sorry! Come on! I didn't mean to hit you!
Catherine: -yelling from downstairs- Yes, but you still hit me! You moron! I told you not to drink so much absinthe, but you didn't listen to me again!
-shakes head- I spoke too soon...-goes to top of stairs- OI! YOU TWO! KEEP IT DOWN! I'M TRYING TO ADDRESS AN AUDIENCE HERE!
Gabriel: Audience? -comes thundering upstairs- Don't tell me. You-?
Catherine: -follows- She did. She started the sequel! Ah, this calls for a party!
Well, I do like parties...ah, what the hell? I'm off to party with Catherine and Gabriel! Please review and let me know what you thought! And, by the way, that song that Alana was singing is "Wish I Had an Angel" by-who else?-Nightwish.