As the summary says, this is a crossover of Trinity Blood, Hellsing and Vampire Hunter D, and the plot is based on the Star Wars trilogies. This story follows the general plot of A New Hope, in case the title didn't give it away. I've already started posting chapters of the story that follows The Phantom Menace (Blood Wars: The Last Nosferatu) on deviantart. I don't think you need to know Star Wars to enjoy this series. This is technically AU, but it tries to keep to the canon of Hellsing, TB and VHD as much as possible. Please leave your thoughts in a review, even if you think the story stinks. Hopefully it won't, though. ;) Thanks!
Blood Wars: New Dawn
The town of Bridgewood lay right on the cusp of the Wildes. Like most of the other hamlets in northern Albion, Bridgewood consisted mostly of a tiny commercial main street, several scattered houses with farms, and many square miles of untamed wilderness. Such low-population areas knew none of the technological advances of the southern cities, except advancements in farm equipment. The northern counties were not habitations suited for the timid. They marked a new frontier for Albion which it had not known prior to Armageddon. The towns and farms faded into the unbridled terrain at the fingertips of human civilization. Few people dared to venture beyond this threshold.
Since the Armageddon, fantastic tales of unimaginable horrors haunted the frontier districts. The effect these stories had on listeners waxed and waned with the fashions of superstition and skepticism, but it was never absent. From time to time, a small band of nomadic herders or hunters passed through the villages and spun their yarns of encounters with monsters so strange and terrifying that listeners who did not faint remained captivated. Most couldn't believe such creatures existed, and dismissed the stories as imaginative chatter. These men only craved attention, after all, and to be rewarded for their mettle with a drink and a place to sleep. Maybe a swooning girl or two, too.
Still, as the centuries passed, no one could wholly throw out the notion that unnatural beings dwelled in the lands beyond the human settlements. Perhaps that was why the tracks of uninhabited forests and moors were eventually termed 'the Wildes.' People who lived on the very edge of the hamlets would swear they sometimes saw herds of ghoulish beasts moving through the night in the distance. Whatever the beasts were, they claimed the darkness, and villagers kept vigil in their homes. No one stayed outside the homestead after dark. Even straying too far from home at sunset was asking for trouble.
On occasion, mysterious disappearances would occur, and over time disappearances began to look suspiciously like abductions. Nothing could be confirmed, though, and no one could be brought to justice. 'If a wolf killed a child,' the local authorities would say, 'what would be the use of hunting down one miserable wolf and killing it? Wild beasts could not be expected to understand right from wrong. The time to kill an animal is in the act, and only to protect one's property or fellow man.'
Some inhabitants accused the lawmen of cowardice. Others simply sighed or shook their heads, resigning to the truth: this was the law of lawless lands. Justice could not be served on a silver platter; it had to be pursued at one's own risk, if at all. And sometimes tragedy had to be accepted and left to rest.
"I'm sure Cade's around here," Bailey called back to her father as she ran further ahead of him. "C'mere, Cade! C'mon, boy!"
"Bailey! Don't get too far! It's getting late. We can look for Cade tomorrow."
"No! He won't last the night! You know he won't!"
"We can't stay out much longer. Maybe he went back to the house."
"Please, Dad, just a little longer. Just ten more minutes, please?"
The tall field grass was becoming more and more tangled as the pair approached the edge of the Howling Wood. Labon could feel his knees beginning to quake. He didn't want to say anything to his daughter, but he would never have dreamed of coming near this place except to save one of his children. Just looking at the large, black-barked trees and the thick, menacing foliage turned his fingers cold with fear. He'd be nervous coming here to save a child, let alone a stupid dog. How could Bailey, just fourteen, have so much courage?
Perhaps ignorance as well as courage played a part. She understood that the Howling Wood was dangerous, but she didn't know why. She had never faced the danger herself.
When he suddenly heard a dog barking in the nearby underbrush, Labon couldn't tell if he was relieved or shocked. He nearly stumbled as he tried to catch up to Bailey, who had recklessly dashed into the line of trees. He grimly observed the now evident slope into the wood. What if Bailey tripped? What if the dog was stuck in a mud pit? What could be waiting for them down there, hungry for its evening meal?
Before Labon reached the trees, he heard Bailey scream. He nearly dropped his rifle. His heart stopped. What happened? What got her?
"Bailey!" he yelled back.
"Dad, come quick! Cade found somebody!"
"I think he's hurt! He's too heavy. I can't pull him up!"
Labon nearly regretted throwing down his gun before ducking through the low branches toward his daughter's voice. What the hell was someone doing out here? Was he even alive? There was still the threat of wild animals to be considered. He hesitated a moment, wondering if he could double back for the gun. Only the words "Dad, please hurry!" forced him to press forward. He quickly prayed to any supreme being who could hear to protect him.
To his surprise, Bailey hadn't gone very far, only five yards or so ahead of him. She knelt by what appeared to be a tall, pale young man with long dark hair. His clothes were torn and bloodstained. Cade, a medium-sized yellow Labrador, held what remained of the man's right sleeve in his mouth. Bailey looked up, her eyes wide and cheeks colorless. "Hurry, Dad! He's barely breathing!"
Labon approached them and dropped to the ground. He first put his ear to the man's mouth. The tiniest tingle of breath came out. He then checked the man's heart. A beat could barely be detected. Judging by the clothes, this man had definitely been attacked.
"All right," he sighed, feeling his daughter's tortured eyes on him. "Let's get him to the house. Quickly!"
Night had nearly fallen by the time father and daughter reached the stoop. Cade, abandoning all original thoughts of flight or play, followed them closely back home. He pawed at the door as the pair carried the man up the porch steps. A ten-year-old boy opened the door.
"Dad? Bailey? Where have you – crikey! Where'd you pick him up?"
"In the wood," answered a breathless Bailey before Labon could speak. "Cade dug him up or something. Look, he's all covered in dirt."
"Wow!" The boy eyed the man over in fascination. "Is he staying here?"
"Just for a while," said Labon as calmly as he could. "We need to tend his wounds." He grunted as he maneuvered himself and the body through the door and made the last few feet to a wooden bench. "We'll put him in your bed, Tack."
"Really?" the boy moped. "Does that mean I have to sleep with Bail?"
"We'll work that out later. Bailey, get his shoes off. I'll look at his wounds."
The two worked swiftly to unburden their guest of the majority of his attire. Labon suspected he would have to bind the wounds before putting him to bed, so as not to ruin the sheets. As he peeled off the clothes, he was in for another surprise.
"Bailey," he said quietly, "do you see any cuts? Bruises?"
The girl jumped to her feet and came to her father's side. She looked over the man's well-toned form. His skin was flawless. There wasn't a stab wound, bite or abrasion in sight. Not even a bruise. "No, none. How can that be?"
"I don't know." Labon hated not having an answer. A rancher needed to be certain of things, to know what he was facing in order to make the right decisions for survival. "He couldn't have just been lying there for weeks like this."
"What should we do?" asked Tack.
Labon looked over the man's clothes. They, unlike the man who wore them, were beyond repair. They were ancient rags. So ancient, in fact, that the edges disintegrated between Labon's fingers. The man would need new garments.
"Kids, take off the rest of his clothes and toss them in the fireplace. I'll get some things out of my drawer."
He felt a buzzing in his head before he could open his eyes. The buzz turned to a ringing in his ears as light filled his vision. The light was unbearable at first. He couldn't see anything. After a second, the blur slowly receded to just two corners, changing from sheer white to dim yellow-orange. The blur of darkness above him eventually sharpened to sloping wooden planks.
The ringing started to die down. He sat up a little, then sank back down. Why was he numb? What happened to his body? Dizziness arose. He turned his head to the right. There was nothing but a wall. That was a start. He remained that way for a minute, waiting for the dizziness to stop. To his minor relief, the wait also brought about a return of feeling in his limbs. He wanted to move his hands just to see if he could in fact do so, but he resisted. Where was he? Who was he with? Were they trustworthy? More slowly than before, he turned his head around until he looked to the left. Surprised, he blinked.
A man with graying hair and a peppered mustache sat in a chair next to him and the bed he was in. He leaned back in his seat, an open book resting in his lap. His head was also back, and a soft snore emitted from his nose. One light, a small desk lamp, sat burning on a child's desk standing against the wall.
There was only one dangerous thing to consider. A rifle stood between the man's legs, resting against the left thigh. Was he being held captive? Or was the man keeping it for his own protection?
He didn't want to move, partly because he feared waking the man, and partly because he still felt very tired. What time was it? Early morning? He thought he could see the first tints of dawn through the only window in the room. It could have been dusk, though. But then why would the man be asleep? No, it must have been dawn. He could feel it in his marrow. He just wanted to turn over and sleep. Just pretend he was home again.
He tried to imagine home. His mind rooted for some trace of memory. His thoughts stopped. A staggering and depressing realization came to him. Suddenly he felt like an empty, abandoned shell. All at once, the room became a frightening place. He curled up under the blankets, not noticing that he had regained control over his extremities.
A spasm wracked him when he heard the door open. He heard the man in the chair start, too. The footsteps were soft – barefooted.
"Huh?" grunted the man. "Bail? You're up?"
"Sorry, Dad," whispered the intruder. "I just wanted to check. I . . ."
She trailed off as both she and her father looked at him. He stared back.
"Well, looks like we're both up," said the father. "How are you feeling?"
He looked from him to the girl, then back. His lips pressed tightly together.
"You needn't be afraid of us," the man assured him gently. Then he noticed his firearm. "Oh, I'm sorry if this scared you. I just never rest easy if I don't have it at all times." He laid the gun on the floor. "If you're still tired, we'll let you be."
He thought it over. "I'm . . . not tired." His throat felt rough and dry.
"Are you thirsty? Hungry?"
He realized he was thirsty, though not for what they thought. "Water."
"Sure. Bailey, could you get him a glass?"
The brunette nodded, then looked at him for a moment. Her gray eyes glittered in the lamplight. Just an innocent farm girl, he thought with a touch of guilt.
"We threw out your old clothes," the man explained after the girl left. "Hope you don't mind. I'm guessing you were attacked."
Attacked? Was that what happened? "Where did you find me?" he muttered.
"In the Howling Wood. My daughter found you, really. And our dog. You were in pretty bad shape, so we brought you here."
Pushing the covers down a bit, he looked at himself. The top half of him was covered in an old work shirt with a few light stains. His trousers were way too loose around the waist.
"We can adjust anything that doesn't fit. You kind of caught us off guard. I have to say, though, you didn't give us trouble in the way of injuries. You looked fine."
"No . . . wounds? Are you sure?"
"Quite sure. Maybe someone just tried to take your clothes off you while you were unconscious. But that wouldn't explain how you got there."
He looked down again. "No, it wouldn't." He shut his eyes.
The man leaned toward him, his sharp eyes narrowing a little. "Do you remember anything of how you got there? Or what happened before?"
The sky grew lighter. He would have preferred to hide under the bedcovers for a while than face all this. Still, the man's gaze was demanding as well as sympathetic. "I don't," he finally answered. "I don't remember anything at all."
"Not even your family? Your name?"
He shook his head. The man sat back. "I'm sorry about that. Well, then, we'll let you stay here for a bit longer, until you're back on your feet."
Even without a memory, he was certain he couldn't stand living at this good man's expense without some proper agreement. "I . . . I don't want to burden you. I shouldn't. If there's anything I can do . . ."
"Oh, well, we do live on a farm, but it can be hard work." The man paused and briefly eyed his shoulders and arms. "Would you be up to it?"
"I'm up to anything within reason," he answered without a thought. Did his mouth usually run away from him like that?
"It'll be a just few chores, and it won't be for forever. You're free to leave any time you wish."
Looking at his hands, he saw he was clenching the covers. It seemed too good, too fortunate . . . a blessing. Blessing? Why did that sound familiar? All of his memories must have been bouncing around inside his head somewhere; he just couldn't grasp them. They kept slipping away into the farther, darker niches that his conscious mind couldn't reach.
"My name is Labon, by the way," said the man. "Labon Sherdale."
He wanted to return the gesture, but his brain still drew a blank.
"It's fine," said Labon. "Give it some time. We'll call you whatever you want us to."
He didn't think of a name until a few days later. Tack and Bailey were sitting down to breakfast. Labon had already gone out to check on the horses and cattle and let them into the pastures. He was heading out to feed the chickens.
"Are you still doing homework, Tack?" Bailey nagged her brother as she took their dishes to the sink. "You're going to make us late!"
"Hold on, I'm almost done!" Tack shouted as he carefully inscribed another letter onto his slate.
He happened to be passing behind Tack when he caught sight of what the boy had written. It was a series of letters starting with capital A, each letter represented with its capital and lower-case form. Tack was on capital F. It was the last pair of letters on the top row that held his attention. The capital in particular pinned him. There was something about it – painful and incredible – that made him unable to erase it from his mind. Not while he fed the chickens, or cleaned out the barn, or washed the lunch dishes, or clean and carry equipment from the tool shed to the barn. He saw it in nearly everything he turned his eye to. It was the key to what he had lost, and he was ready to guard it with his life. Late that afternoon, when Labon returned for a short respite before rounding up the cattle, he approached him as casually as possible.
"I've thought of a name for you to call me."
Labon gave him his full attention. "Good. What is it?"
The rancher tilted his head slightly. "That's it? Just a letter?"
"That's all I need to have an identity."
Labon let his question hang for a moment longer, like a gardener who examines a seed to decide whether it can sprout or not. He then sighed. "Very well. D it is. Now let's go. I know you like to work toward the end of the day, so let's not waste time and get those cattle in."