The Golden Era
Hello my beauties! Welcome to the sequel to The Brighter Side of Death: The Golden Era! I have quite a few things to say, so read the chapter before you come read all this bullshit. If you have not read TBSOD, I strongly, highly recommend you do. You may be able to discern what is going on without doing so, but to truly understand all the connections and back story, you really should. If you have one or two easy questions, leave them for me in a review or private message (Is that what they call them here on ?), but I won't be providing long explanations. I did that already. In the prequel.
OC Warning: I usually strongly dislike OC's. They are all archetypes or serve only to make the main character more emo or more Mary-Sue. Is that still a thing you kids use to describe fanfics? I feel like I've been out of the game for a while :)
But all the fun characters from VH are dead, so I have to do something to continue on the story.
I said this about TBSOD, and the same applies to TGE: Good stories have a story arc, or at least a beginning, middle and end. This is my personal story that I'm writing so that when I'm finished, I can read it all. I wrote/am writing this because I couldn't find the fanfic that told the story I wanted to read. This is not a good story. It goes on and on and on in my head, and I will continue to write it as long as I want to. So there will be OC's from now on. I am concerned sometimes about whether or not my OC's are merely self-serving or if they really add anything to the story, but I think the fact that I worry about it makes me careful to develop their characters adequately. I do my best.
Last Time on Gabey and Anna Trying To Lead Normal Lives [Premise]:
Gabey and Anna are engaged and living together in Vaseria. Drac kidnapped Anna, made her a vampire, boned her, and after something of a mental episode, Gabey and Anna get really mad and kill him and his silly brides as a thank you. They hang out at Vaseria and re-cooperate, fall in love, and try to keep from jumping each others' bones before the wedding night. Sexiness and serious Anna drama ensue. But, they need a priest to marry them, and eventually crown them king and queen of the gypsies, so they go to Budapest to find one. Please just read TBSOD. I know the first few chapters are annoying, but that stops after a while. And its so much more juicy than this lame-o summary.
I stare out over the street as my fiancé argues with a waiter in German. I have never seen streets so wide. The sidewalks themselves are bigger than the little dirt roads in my village. Our village. I suppose when we get married I will be queen and he will be king. Or perhaps the queen's consort. Perhaps only a gypsy can be king of the gypsies.
As I turn back to the bickering, Gabriel rises from his chair and mutters, "We're leaving."
With one last disgusted noise, the waiter follows us out of the restaurant and locks the front door behind us. "What the hell was that?" I ask, but Gabriel has already started down the street. I can hear his heart beating just slightly quicker than usual.
"I told you to wear a dress."
"They wouldn't serve you because of my trousers?"
He pauses before answering, "Yes."
I scowl down at the wide sidewalk as we briskly walk deeper into Budapest. He had told me to bring skirts and dresses before we left. Don't be silly, I had said. No one cares about clothing.
"Have you ever been to a large city?" He'd asked skeptically.
"When I was a little girl."
Despite his strong suggestion, I packed my standard uniform. Running in a skirt is horrendous.
"We should try a tavern." I comment, pulling my coat tighter around me.
"Places like that will have vampires."
"You have to eat somewhere." I pull my head up to look around at the dark buildings. They were getting taller the further we walked. Big, magnificent brick mountains with more details than a cathedral.
"I would rather find us a room for the day." He slows in his walking and turns to a large glass window. A poster in the window features a dashing image of a man, a kerchief tied over his face and a wide brimmed hat covering his head. I cannot read the Hungarian words.
"That could be anyone." I comment, trying to sound unconcerned.
"But it's me." He exhales.
A clock ticks inside the shop and I glance at the time. "It is still early. We have time to find what we need."
He nods. "A good innkeeper will know where we can find a meal."
"Then we should find an inn without a dress requirement."
With a sideways glance and a smile, he takes my hand and squeezes it briefly before putting his hands back into the pockets of his overcoat. "I would offer you my arm, but we should walk quickly. I do not like being so conspicuous."
We start down the walkway again, "There are still some people out." I look over towards a group of well dressed drunkards stumbling and laughing into each other's faces.
"Yes, there are still some. Drunk men and the women they've hired for the night."
We do find a room. And, after giving the slimy innkeeper a significant tip, we are pointed in the direction of a "café" just a few minutes away. Gabriel's frown grows every step we take toward the dingy café. I take some coins from my pocket and slip them into his hand. "If it will make you less worried I will wait at the hotel. You can eat in peace."
"You are not to leave my sight for the duration of our travel."
"Even if I must bathe?" I ask, trying to tease a man I know to be wholly uninterested in joking. I wish he would smile. That might undo the nervous knot in my stomach.
"Especially if you bathe," He replies, opening the oddly discolored door and allowing me to enter first.
Moments later, I find myself watching him eat a bowl of stew. As he starts to devour a pile of dinner rolls and a mug of beer, he looks up at me. "Are you hungry?"
I shake my head. That is not entirely true, but I can make arrangements for that later. Or can I? I'm not entirely sure how I will satiate that burning hunger when the sun sets tomorrow. I push my hair out of my face and learn back in my chair, my sleeves hanging off the armrests.
I smile, "Finish. You'll catch some awful disease just sitting in here." I can see a fine layer of dust resting on the table between us. The fine establishment is full of exactly the sort of people Gabriel predicted would still be out at this hour. Or people dressed as though they were well off gentlemen and women of ill repute.
The front door creaks open and closed behind me. A new group of loud male voices and heavy shoes make the room even more cacophonous. There is something odd about this group, but I do not turn to inspect them. Gabriel looks over my shoulder to see the new guests and immediately sets down his mug. My eyes narrow as I realize what is wrong. None of the newcomers have beating hearts. As my mouth opens to suggest we depart, Gabriel murmurs, "Don't sit up. Do you see the door behind me?"
"Yes." I answer instantaneously.
"Go through it. Go now. Don't run. Find a church and stay there."
Resisting the impossibly strong urge to look at the entryway, I casually stand up and walk toward the door. My boots sound unusually loud on the creaking wooden floor. I slip the fingers of my right hand around the firearm resting in the pocket of my coat. I use my left hand to open and close the back door quickly. As if just now recognizing the gravity of the situation, a jolt of fear spreads through my entire body, and I find myself climbing over a brick wall before I even decide to climb it. I fling my legs over the wall and run as soon as my heels touch the ground. Seconds later I find myself on the street. The familiar sensation of lugging a maddeningly slow body through thick, unyielding air does not come. Instead of running, I feel as though I am gliding. My clothing and weapons do not weigh down my movement. I shoot down the pathway faster than I ever ran when I was alive.
A shout bursts through the quiet night air behind me and I race faster, dodging the handful of strangers staring curiously at me. Usually a church is the tallest building in the city, but every building seems to touch the sky. And how will Gabriel find me in this concrete jungle?
"Stop!" shouts a man's voice. He sounds as though he is directly behind me. My heart almost stops. I pull my revolver from my pocket and swing my arm out in a wide arc. Our eyes meet for a brief moment. He is one of the well-dressed men. Just slightly taller than I am, with brown hair and brown eyes. Incredibly handsome. He stops running at abruptly as I did.
"I will not harm you." His accent is unrecognizable.
"I would have no trouble harming you." I point the gun to his head.
"I must take you to my master."
"Get the hell away from me." My gun clicks as I pull the hammer back.
"My master will not hurt you."
For a split second we stare into each other's eyes. I pull the trigger, but, somehow, his hand has pushed the weapon up over his head before the bullet leaves the barrel. The loud shot rings in my ears as I pull my left hand back and form a fist, ready to strike his torso. Seeming to appear from nowhere his hand closes over my fist and suddenly he holds both of my wrists, leaving me only my legs to repel him. Without thinking I kick my boot into his kneecap as hard as possible. A sickening crack accompanies his grunt of pain, and I find myself free. I stumble as I immediately try to run backwards, watching him groan as he doubles over in pain.
A hand grabs my upper arm and jerks me up from my crouched position. "What have we here?"
My body is suddenly flung into the side of a monumental building. Another man, this one taller, shoves me up against the wall with his body, pinning my arms to the bricks.
"And what is your name?" He asks lasciviously, pressing our bodies together firmly. I try to push him away, but his torso is as strong as steel.
"Lazarus! Enough!" The shorter man snaps.
"What have you done to her?" asks my captor, his face alarmingly close to mine. "Her heart is beating like the wings of a little bird that longs to be free." His chest is as hollow as Dracula's had been on All Hallow's Eve.
Turning my face as far from Lazarus' smirk as I can, I try to force myself to be calm. My heart, for some ungodly reason, continues to beat, and they can read my emotions as I can read Gabriel's through the movement of his blood.
"Our colleagues successfully detained Van Helsing and he will be joining us shortly." Lazarus murmurs.
"Let go of me!" I snarl, trying to disguise my increasing heart rate as anxiety over my well-being and not Gabriel's. An overwhelming sensation of defeat begins to broil in my stomach. What have they done to Gabriel? What do they want with us? Who is his master?
The handsome man crosses his arms, "If he does you will flee."
Becoming truly panicked, I find myself speaking very loudly into Lazarus' face, "Release me at once."
"Are you not comfortable?" He chuckles, shifting his weight to apply pressure with his hips.
"Lazarus." The other man chastises him quietly.
Before I can blink, my captor rips me away from the wall and spins my body into his, one hand over my mouth, one hand pinning my wrists to my chest. With my back to Lazarus' front, I am perfectly capable of kicking his companion, but another one of his amorous murmurs persuades me against it, "Now here is a threat for you. If you bite me, or are anything but perfectly silent, I'll ravish you right here on the street."
The other man glares at Lazarus darkly before turning to glance up the road.
"Spare me your scowl, William. Had I not come to check on you, she would have disappeared."
William shakes his head. "And someone else would have found her in an hour."
Why do they need to find me? How can I possibly mean anything to anyone of importance?
"Look what we've found!" A voice behind us laughs.
Gabriel, escorted by two other men, glances at me briefly as he approaches. Both giant men have pistols pointing into Gabriel's coat, which explains his rather subdued compliance. The men all exchange words in a language I do not know, and Lazarus whispers into my ear, "I will release you now, but if you do not listen to us, we may have to hurt Mr. Van Helsing." I nod, wincing at his utterly nauseating demeanor.
His hands slither away from me, and William grabs my forearm, "Please come with us."
Gabriel does not look at me during the carriage ride, which does nothing to alleviate my anxiety. The carriage is quite lavish and quite small. My knees almost touch Lazarus' long legs. Except for commenting that his "associates" would go ahead of us and alert their master of our arrival, William says nothing, content to silently point two revolvers at my fiancé, who sits across from him and diagonal to me. Lazarus, conversely, never ceases talking. He asks me about what I enjoy in bed, if I would be interested in staying with him during my time in Budapest, and several other subjects that make Gabriel's face turn red. Gabriel and I join William in his perfect silence. It is a very odd carriage ride.
"At least tell me your name." Lazarus insists, perfectly happy with his one-sided conversation. It is difficult to reconcile the fact that Gabriel and I are in the process of being abducted by a degenerate and a mute with the topics for discussion one of the abductors continues to propose.
"No." I say blandly, watching a large gate close behind the us through the glass windows of the carriage.
"Well, perhaps I can guess. You are either a gypsy or a prostitute, judging by your attire."
It becomes suddenly much more difficult to keep my eyes from glaring at him and my mouth from saying something that would give him an excuse to take liberties with an unruly captive. He continues as the carriage rumbles to a halt, "Either is certainly a step down for you, Mr. Van Helsing. No man can blame you for having a woman in every port, but gypsies are pagans, and usually thieves. I should think God would—"
His sentence is cut short when my fist collides with his nose. A spurt of blood erupts from his face, and I am instantly yanked out of the carriage. William forcefully guides me toward the stairs of a gigantic mansion. I am taken aback momentarily by the incomprehensible size of the estate, and I jerk my head around to see the sweeping lawns and long road leading up to the main house. I have never seen anything like this.
Gabriel and Lazarus exit, and the latter's coat is covered in the blood from his broken nose. Said nose, now healed, is covered in smudges of blood where its owner tried to wipe it clean. Lazarus swears profusely, roughly pushing Gabriel in the back with a pistol and cocking the gun out of rage. William takes my elbow and escorts me through the mansion's entrance hall and main hall. The house is brimming with gorgeous men and women, all pale as the moon and all staring listlessly at me as I am marched up the stairs. The scenes we pass by look like portraits one might see at Castle Dracula. The ladies all wear flowing evening gowns, their hair all piled high into curly coiffures, and jewels glittering from their ears and wrists. The men wear fine suits and offer the ladies champagne flutes filled with rich red…oh God. I am in a house full of the undead. Gabriel is in a house full of vampires. He will never leave this house alive.
"Please have a seat." William extends an arm toward an ornate armchair. The room he led me to appears to be some kind of sitting room. I decline the invitation and watch him as he walks to the back wall. Though I cannot see what he does, I hear a small noise, and soft light brightens the room. Gas powered lights. My father had told me about them, but it was almost as though they were a myth. William's eyes turn back to me, and I meet his gaze as he walks back over to me, his pace slow and somewhat ominous.
"What is your name?" He asks softly.
"Why does it matter?"
"I would like to be able to tell my friends about the woman that finally gave Lazarus the broken nose all women wish to give him."
Under normal circumstances, I would have smiled. Though, I cannot think of a context in which this conversation would be considered normal. "I thought you were to take me to your master."
"He has been informed of our arrival. I am to wait for him here."
I turn from him and walk across the rug covering the glossy wood floor. How can I believe him? How can I know our abduction is not merely a whim of a group of brash vampires? And what of Gabriel? He could be dead already and I would not know. My throat tightens at the thought.
"What are you?"
I glare at him. "I will be the last thing you ever see if anything happens to myself or to Van Helsing." The threat sounds unconvincing even to me.
Shaking his head, he walks toward me again, "Your heart still beats, but your appearance is similar to ours. You run faster than an average woman, but you were unable to evade being detained. And the part of you that would tell me seems to be missing…"
A hot, burning sensation crawls up my body, and my still beating heart feels as though it has grown twice its normal size. That creeping, unstoppable beast that had been forced into me had all but disappeared after Dracula had died. William's contemplation of it was equally terrifying and embarrassing. That potent monster had indulged its darkest temptations and rejoiced as my mind was destroyed. I hope it suffered the same fate as its creator. "Tell me about your master." I ask quickly, trying to refocus his thoughts.
"Tell me your name."
I pause for a moment. "How will you know if I am truthful?"
A small smile appears on his handsome face. He seems very young. I could be a few years older than him.
"Who is he?" I ask.
"Matthias. The master of Budapest."
My gaze jumps from his eyes as I try to see into my memory. Matthias. I remember that name. It was hissed into my ear. Whomever it was, the memory is not a good one.
"Listen to me." I lower my voice to emphasize my urgency. "I will give you anything you could ever want if you see to it that Van Helsing leaves this place immediately."
William's face remains neutral. "I have an obligation to my master to bring any persons of note to him."
"I will take his place."
"You have nothing to fear from my master. And there is nothing you have that I want."
For a moment, the thought of the silver knife tucked into my boot passes through my mind. Though if I am attempting to barter for Gabriel's safety, violence may not increase my leverage.
"Why would I have nothing to fear from Matthias?" I ask more out of irritation than genuine curiosity.
"He does not harm those who have not offended him."
Several moments of silence pass between us. William's proximity to me should be unnerving, but if he had wanted to harm me, it is likely he would have already done so.
"What would he want from me?"
The doorknob turns behind us and William steps back, turning to face the doorway. Matthias enters, and my memory of him floods back into my mind. He had seized my arm at the wedding and snarled to Verona about my behavior. She had said I should not cross him. He is the spitting image of every man I have ever seen. Dark hair, dark eyes. Thin, but not gaunt. Tall, but not irregularly so. His only distinguishing feature is his almost incandescently white skin. Plain and easily forgotten. Matthias. The master of Budapest.
Matthias looks to William after inspecting me as thoroughly as I inspected him. William instantly walks to the door and exits, glancing back to look at me with an odd, empty look in his eyes.
The door closes, and I am, again, left alone with a very powerful vampire.
Aww snappp. Anna is a creepy old vampire magnet. I guess that's what happens when you get engaged to a guy that likes to kill creepy old vampire. Dumb Anna.
Leave me a nice review! If you're going to be mean, save yourself some time and me some mental anguish and just go read another story. Bad reviews make my corazon hurttt.
Also, tell me what you think about the formatting. I like the little baby paragraphs because I think they're easier to read. But maybe they look like am immature way to structure a fanfic. I don't know. I don't know anything.