Disclaimer: MaiHiIME is not mine. "Scilicet is superis labor est, ea cura quietos sollicitat." In other words, there are so many of these fanfics, I doubt Sunrise is really going to come after me with pitchforks.
Water slowly slipped from a great rent in the cavernous stone ceiling.
Voices grew stronger from on the other side of an enormous door, heavily carved with horrific scenes, banded in pitted iron.
The heavy doors squealed open at insistent prying and pushing until, with a resounding crash, three men stumbled into the large chamber. Straightening, they gazed about the room. Torches still lined the walls, though they had long since ceased bearing light. Darkness clung to thick, squat pillars, Romanesque in style. The vaulting above soared with hints of Gothic architecture, but the shadows lingering there dragged it downward until it loomed menacingly over their heads. One of the men craned his neck and whistled, admiring the sight.
"How long you think it's been since someone was in here, Doc?" he asked, directing the feeble rays of his flashlight around the ceiling.
"I imagine a good six or seven centuries. Thereabouts," another answered. While the other two were broad-shouldered and tanned from years of labour and exposure to the elements, this man was tall and slender with long fingers usually smudged with ink, and rimless glasses perched upon his aquiline nose, framing a thin, pale face. Chalk still adorned his sleeves. His academic occupation was readily apparent.
The other workman grinned at his counterpart, "Should be some good loots then, eh Davey?"
Davey grinned identically back, "Oh, aye. There'd better be, Alex. There'd better be."
At this they both eyed the doctor who, inspecting the ruins, seemed oblivious to the danger lurking directly behind him, "The grave should be here somewhere..." he muttered to himself.
They continued through the room, flanked by pillars and shadow. Statues of saints lined every niche, their blank eyes following the intruders in their course through the sepulchre. The last room in a hidden mausoleum, this chamber was suspended deep underground, surrounded by many other winding hallways designed to ensnare and trap people such as these in their hollow depths so that the secret they guarded would remain undetected. Years of research and exploration had accumulated and resulted in this moment. The doctor could feel the hope rising within him, and he stifled it only so that the disappointed might not be so great were this yet another dead end. For the two ruffians, this was merely another bust and they expected to be paid regardless of their findings.
A large stone tomb rose from the ground at the end of the room, twin angels of wrath and ruin were poised on either side as though to strike what was contained within, as though was contained within could clamber out at any moment. If the grave robbers had not been blinded by avarice, they would have detected a chilling finger run down their spines, making the hairs on the backs of their necks and arms bristle. Atop the sarcophagus was the carving of a woman, sleeping, as was the custom of the Medieval Ages when burying kings and queens or other forms of royalty. Upon closer inspection, her ageless face was stretched in a fanged snarl and her hands twisted at a stake lodged in her breast. An inscription ran all along the outer edge.
"Hic resquiat ater draco, natus taedibus cruentibus. Numquam adsurgat..." the doctor read aloud slowly.
"What the hell does that mean?" Davey asked, leathery brow furrowed.
Excitement lowering his voice to a reverent whisper, the doctor replied, "Here lies the black dragon, born of bloody torches. May it never rise."
"Well, that's just lovely," grunted Alex, spitting over his shoulder, "Let's crack this thing open."
The doctor stood back and watched as the two stuck crowbars in the small space beneath the lid and heaved. Faces screwed up, they pushed and wedged all along the rim until, at last, they lifted the weighty top and carefully deposited it beside the tomb. Within was a black lacquered casket, richly decorated in gold. An embossed aureate coat of arms adorned its front, bearing three horizontal teeth lying parallel to one another circled by a dragon biting its own tail: the seal of Violàsz of Ecsed. (1)
Hands trembling, the doctor unclasped the sides of the casket, its golden locks snapping open as though they had been forged last week instead of last millennium. The lid lifted easily on soundless hinges and they stared down at its contents with baited breath. A woman lay inside, completely bare but for a white silk shift. Inside, the casket was lined with creamy velvet and crushed chiffon.
"Beautiful," the doctor breathed.
Alex scowled, 'Ain't she supposed to be, you know...falling apart?"
"Decomposing?" Davey supplied.
"You've never heard of the Legend of Šizsur Violàsz?" the doctor smiled at their blank expressions, "Countess of Hungary, she was called The Blood Countess, and was the beginning of the modern vampire myths," his smile turned to the smooth, ageless visage lying in silent repose beneath them, "It is no legend, gentlemen."
"Woah, woah. I didn't sign up for this shit!" Alex backed up, hand reaching for the gun at his hip.
"Relax, Alex," Davey laughed, "It ain't real. The Doc's just pulling your leg. Right, Doc?"
The last words turned to churning gurgles as the doctor calmly reached out and slit Davey's throat with an ornate silver dagger. Holding the man over the casket so that his fluids ran all along the woman within, the doctor replied, "Oh, I can assure you, it is quite real."
With a strangled cry, Alex fumbled for his weapon and fired, but the doctor moved the draining body as a shield. Shaking, Alex pulled the trigger until empty clicks filled the damp air around them.
"All my life, I have been waiting for this moment," The doctor's eyes were wide and held a maniacal gleam.
He tossed David's corpse aside and strode forward. Still frozen in place, staring at where his friend had fallen, Alex did not react until the doctor had grasped his arm and began dragging him forward. Yelling and struggling, he could not escape the iron clasp of the tall doctor's clenched fist, "No! Please! NOO-!" His shrieks were silenced by the same blade that had dispatched his friend and for several long minutes nothing could be heard but the wet slosh of hot blood upon silk and skin.
Latin, spoken in a low chant, rumbled form the remaining man as he knelt before the grave as though before an altar, spattered and smeared with unholy libations. The earth gave a great groan and gnashed its bouldered teeth, straining at its eternal chains in response to the rebirth of this timeless evil. As the last phrases faded away, the ground stilled once more. A bloodied arm reached from within the casket and slowly lifted its owner from her resting place. Dark, auric hair, slick and matted with blood, clung to marble cheeks stained with rivulets of red. Delicate nostrils flared, breathing in the scents of the living for the first time in centuries, and a tongue darted out to taste the offerings running over her lips.
"Countess," the doctor began in Latin.
She interrupted him, voice husky and dry from disuse, though still strong and sure, "What year is this?"
"The Year of Our Lord 2011," he dared to raise his head slightly in order to drink in the sight of her, miraculous to behold, this dark mistress.
At last, those eyes opened. A gaze the colour of blood, deep as wine-dark waters, turned upon him, still prostrated before her, "I have slumbered long, it seems," she mused, "Tell me, why did you wake me?"
"For what purpose did you think it fit to raise the devil from her sleep?" Her words were cold and her gaze merciless.
"O-only to serve you in all your glory," he stammered, lowering his head once more.
He flinched at the hiss and was going to defend himself, inform her of his unerring loyalty, when he was suddenly lifted from his place upon the floor.
"Groveling suits you," she sneered, now standing, holding him aloft, though she had made no move that mortal senses could detect. Her grip upon his throat tightened and he gasped for air, weakly beating at her strong arms, "You are not worthy to be my subject."
Fangs flashing through the gloom and shadows, she latched onto the throbbing artery at the base of his neck until he moved no more. Flinging him aside like a rag-doll, Šizsur Violàsz glided forward, bare feet unsullied by the damp stone beneath them, and ascended to the world above once more.
(1) : I'm basing this loosely off of Bathory of Ecsed, linking our dear Shizuru to an actual Countess by the name of Erzsebet Bathory of Hungary. Although Erzsi was living in the 16th century, I'm dating Shizuru to the 13th and 14th in order to follow the rise of the Ottoman Empire and the consequent wars in the Balkans which Shizuru will have played a role in when she was still "living".