Disclaimer: I don not own the Castlevania Series or any of its characters. All elements belong to Konami.
Notes: My first Castlevania fanfic, centred around one of my favourite characters Mathias Cronqvist. This is a multi-chapter offering, let me know what you think.
Bloody Tears of The Dark Lord
Chapter 1: Faith
Barely over thirty, Mathias Cronqvist already had garnered a well-earned reputation throughout the Christian world. Brilliantly intelligent in a world where the majority of the population were incapable of reading a simple book, Mathias' mind for strategy, social graces, and unshakable faith, had earned him many powerful allies, as well as the admiration and respect of all who met him. It was no surprise then that he quickly became a general when he decided to lend his skills in service of the Crusades. His zeal to force the heathens of the east to relinquish their claim upon the Holy Land was unmatched even amongst the ranks of the Crusading knights, being utterly unmovable in his belief that the soil upon which Christ stood belonged in the hands of His followers. This, coupled with his brilliance was why he had earned the respect of the other European generals, some of whom were fifteen to twenty years his senior. He always exhibited cunning far beyond his years and he was recognised as being one of, if not the most important factors in Christendom's attempt at reclaiming Israel.
"...and that, my friends is how we shall trap their armies." Mathias proclaimed as he held his pointer to a valley in the southeast corner of the large map that lay on the war room table, explaining his newest scheme to the other generals during one of their meetings.
"Brilliant as always Sir Cronqvist." Said one of the older generals who was seated across from him.
"It is quite simple actually." He replied, not with arrogance, but merely stating a fact. "One needs only to know ones enemy to develop a perfect strategy."
"And who will be leading this expedition?" Another general questioned.
"Lord Belmont of course." Mathias answered to the surprise of no one. "This will be a vital campaign, I would not trust anyone else with such a task."
"You place much faith in noble Lord Belmont Sir Cronqvist. But he is still but a boy." Mathias smiled a bemused smile.
"As am I." He said simply. "But Lord Belmont has proven himself time and time again. I would trust him with my very life, there is nothing I cannot depend on him for." The general looked unconvinced. "Rest assured friend, Lord Belmont will win us the day. As he has many others." Just as Mathias had finished speaking a lower ranking soldier clad in full armour entered into the tent.
"Forgive my intrusion." He started, placing a gauntleted hand over his heart and the cross he bore upon the breast of his garb. "But I must speak with Master Cronqvist." Mathias rose from his seat.
"Excuse me gentleman." He made a motion with his head toward them and followed the knight outside.
"What is so important? We were in the middle of something quite vital."
"My apologies sir, but you've received a letter from your hometown." The knight held a piece of parchment, rolled up and sealed with his family crest. Curious, Mathias took it from him.
"Thank you." He smiled. "You may take your leave." The soldier gave another bow and left Mathias to his letter. He broke the seal and began to read. As his pale blue eyes examined the script, his heart fell in his chest, his mouth grew dry, his hands began to tremble.
"Oh, my, O-Oh my God!" He looked around, panic gripping him. "I-I must make arrangements immediately!"
After arranging a coach and driver, Mathias immediately went into his private tent, furiously making ready his departure. Tossing a few of his essential personal effects into a satchel, he knew he had made a bit of a scene as he tore through the camp, and he was sure that his sudden frantic actions were already the talk of the camp. Just as he was getting ready to leave, a light shone into the darkened tent. Mathis looked over his shoulder to find a man he knew very well, silhouetted by the evening sun.
"Mathias, what in the world is wrong?" He asked as he stepped inside, concern evident in his voice.
"L-Leon?" Mathias said, his voice cracking. "Come, we shall talk on the way." He pushed past his friend who followed after him.
"Follow? Mathias, where are you going?" The young lord asked his friend as he tried to keep up with the older man's harried footsteps.
"I-I just received word not long ago. I-I need to return home."
"Return home?" Leon said. "But why? We have an important battle tomorrow." Mathias stopped and his shoulders slumped, he slowly turned around to face his friend.
"'Tis Elisabetha Leon, she has fallen ill, deathly ill I fear." His voice was cracking and his head was bowed with the weight of his worry.
"Oh my God!" Leon gasped. "H-How long?"
"However long it took the letter from her father to reach me." Mathias replied, clutching the cursed correspondence in his free hand. Before long he felt pressure on his shoulder, raising his head, he found Leon's hand upon it.
"Everything will be okay my friend, have faith." Mathias felt a smile tug at his lips from his friend's words of comfort.
"Thank you Leon." The Belmont nodded.
"God's Speed Mathias." Mathias nodded and was soon on his way.
The trip was a very long one, Mathias spent most of the time praying for the life of his beloved. Surely he had nothing to worry about, his faith in God had brought him much in life, even the love of Elisabetha, all he had to do was have faith and everything would be alright. This he believed with his whole heart and soul.
It was dark when he finally stepped onto the soil of his hometown, a small village located in southern Romania that fell under the jurisdiction of Leon's family. It was fairly well to do thanks to it's proximity to a major trading area used by Spanish and Chinese merchants. Most dwellings were modest, but well kept after. Mathias' own house lay atop a hill overlooking a beautiful lake. It was magnificent structure, being the largest within the town, and had an expansive garden behind it where Elisabetha would often go to practice her violin and tend to her flowers. Mathias would often sit in his gazebo whilst watching his beloved do whatever it was that she fancied, it was a good, simple pleasure, one he enjoyed immensely.
Had he not have been in such a hurry, he would have taken a moment to appreciate the splendour of his home, being gone for so long it was certainly a treat to gaze upon it again, but he had no time for such sentiments. Moving his tired and sore body as quickly as he could, he made his way up the stone walkway and into the house to be greeted by the maid Gertrude.
"Master Cronqvist, you're home!" The elderly woman exclaimed when she saw him.
"Yes." He replied. "Where is Elisabetha?" The woman bowed her head.
"The doctor is with her now." She said lowly. All the hope Mathias had built up within himself after speaking with Leon all but evaporated in an instant. Gertrude was normally a very cheery, energetic woman, especially for her age, it was only during very dire times that she acted this way.
"I-I must see her!" Almost pushing past her, the now terror stricken Mathias nearly fell up the stairs as he rushed into the master bedchamber. There she lay, her skin gaunt and pale, her blonde hair in tangles and bags beneath her blue eyes. The doctor, who had been sitting by her bedside, administering cold compresses to her forehead, stepped to one side when he saw the master of the house enter.
"Mathias, i-is tha-that you?" She croaked weakly, raising her heavy head as best as she could to look at him.
"Y-Yes my love, it is me." Mathias answered, nearly diving towards her. His heart was racing as he clutched her hand, her grip was week, her skin felt clammy and her breathing was very shallow. Despite all, Elisabetha smiled at him.
"Thank God you got here in time." She said.
"I-In time? In time for what?"
"I- I had pr-prayed that I c-could see you one last time."
"I-I am sorry Sir Cronqvist." Mathias heard the doctor say from behind him. He spun around, releasing Elisabetha's hand.
"What-What do you mean?" He demanded.
"I have done everything I can." The doctor answered simply. "Once more, I am sorry." Quickly a rage built up inside of him as he realised what it was both his wife and the physician were saying.
"What do you mean you have done 'everything you can!'" He shouted, tears forming in his eyes. "You obviously have not, or Elisabetha would no longer be ill!" The doctor shrank away from the Crusader's outburst and just repeated his earlier apology.
"Mathias..." Just as quickly, the weak sound of his wife's voice made him remember what was important and he turned back to her side, placing his hands upon the blanket.
"Elisabetha, please, please, do not leave me." He begged in a whisper, the words meant for her and her alone.
"Please, Mathias, do not be sad, I am going to God."
"But..." Elisabetha affectionately placed her hand onto the side Of Mathias' face.
"It is alright my love. I-I will never truly die, as long as you keep me in your heart." She smiled. Mathias instinctively grabbed her hand again.
"I swear it, I swear it!" He cried, tears freely flowing from his eyes. Content, Elisabetha lay back into the bed. Suddenly her eyes opened wide as her breathing became even more shallow.
"I-I can see it Mathias, I can see the Kingdom!" She said. "I-It it is so beautiful." With that, Elisabetha's breathing stopped altogether, and she died, a look of amazement frozen on her face. Mathias placed her hand upon her chest, and with his hand shaking, he closed her eyes for eternity. He let out a loud wail of sadness before collapsing onto her chest, where he would stay for the remainder of the night.
The funeral was a lavish affair, Mathias spared no expense and people came for miles around to the little chapel that was in the centre of the town, to pay their last respects. Mathias had not been the only one who loved Elisabetha, as her personality and loving nature simply drew people to her. It was nice to see so many people want to say goodbye to his beloved. Mathias sat in the front pew of the church, along with Elisabetha`s only other family, her father who had sent the letter to him. He was acting a pillar of strength and offered Mathias as much comfort as he could. But Mathias has always been wary of the man`s sincerity, as he had once tried to marry Elisabetha off to a count, and had only approved of his son-in-law after he had acquired his titles, so his attempts to act the caring father were less than believable.
After the hymns had been sung and the priest had spoken about Elisabetha`s life, the service was transported to the church cemetery, where Elisabetha`s mortal body would be laid to its eternal rest. Mathias just stood by the open grave as Elisabetha`s casket, filled with flowers from her garden, was laid into the ground. His head was bowed, no tears came from his eyes no matter how much he wanted to cry, no matter how much he felt he should cry. He had been bemoaning his fate ever since her death, the worst night of his life, he felt that he was being buried in that hole just as much as she was. He gave token smiles to those who wished him the best, but he kept his eyes solely on the coffin, the wooden prison that would contain her forever. And all the while one word kept repeating itself in his mind:
"Excuse me, Sir Cronqvist?" He lifted his eyes to find a young woman looking up at him, she had large brown eyes and a rounded face. The air of innocence and purity she radiated was enough to even make Mathias in his current mindset take notice of her. She shyly held her hand to her chest. "Sir Cronqvist, hello." She started. "I-I'm not sure if you remember me, but my name is Sara Trantoul." The name was familiar, it took him but a moment to remember where he had heard it.
"You are Leon's betrothed." He stated. Sara smiled and nodded. "He spoke of you often."
"Thank you." She smiled, though it was a smile with next to no happiness behind it. "I don't know if you knew, but while you and Leon were at the Crusades, Elisabetha was helping me get ready for my marriage." Sara said sweetly.
"No, no I didn't know that." He said.
"Elisabetha was so nice, she was such a good friend to me, even if I didn't know her that long. She would do anything to help anyone."
"'Tis true." Mathias answered.
"I-I just wanted you to know that if you need anything..."
"Thank you Sara." He said. "Could you, perhaps come see me from time to time?" Sara nodded.
"Of course." She chirped. Mathias smiled.
"I must be going, I must run some errands for father. God bless and keep you Sir Cronqvist." Mathias nodded.
"Same to you."
The next day it was raining, after a sleepless night, laying alone in his bed, Mathias found himself inside the church sitting in one of the pews with his head bowed. Slight light from outside poured in from the church's single stain glass window, which depicted the archangel Michael standing upon the head of Lucifer as he was cast out of Heaven. Normally, sitting here, in front of the large cross adorning the altar and listening to the rain dancing lightly on the wooden roof of the church would be enough to settle his soul. That was not the case though today, and that one word still haunted his thoughts
"Mathias, my son, whatever are you doing here today?" Mathias raised his head to find Father Isaachar, the middle aged priest who had lead Elisabetha's funeral, standing in the doorway.
"F-Father, Father, I need help." He said weakly. The priest, covered in rain, removed his hat and coat before sitting next to the downtrodden Crusader.
"What is the matter?" Mathias put his face in his hands. "I do not understand Father, I do not understand..."
"Do not understand what?"
"Why did God take Elisabetha away from me?" Mathias almost growled at the priest, who was taken back. Mathias, as if coming to himself, aplogised.
"I know it is hard Mathias, but you have to remember, all things happen for a reason." Isaachar said with his hand on Mathias' shoulder.
"What should I do Father, I feel, I feel so..." He took a deep breath to calm himself. "I feel so lost."
"Take heart Mathias." The priest smiled. "Elisabetha was a true handmaid of God, you know that she is now on the right hand side of Christ in Paradise, there is no reason to be sad."
"B-But I miss her so much!"
"I know, I know, and that is understandable. But remember, you shall be together again at the resurrection of the flesh."
"Thank you Father." Mathias said lowly. "May I stay here a little longer?"
"Of course my son, stay as long as you need."
Mathias stayed for an hour before returning to his home that now felt so very empty. He couldn't bring himself to go out into the garden, he couldn't think about looking at the area that had given Elisabetha so much joy. Instead he simply stayed in bed most days, barely eating, until he eventually grew ill himself from lack of nutrition and exercise. He slipped further and further into depression, finding it impossible to reconcile the fact that the good and loving God whom he had dedicated his life to, whom he had killed for, had taken his beloved Elisabetha away from him so early. Isaachar's words really hadn't done anything to help in fact, they felt hollow. The promise of a reunion at some far off point in history was not comforting. He wanted his Elisabetha back, God had no right to take her from him! He grew more and more angry as time passed, he completely shut himself off from the world, not even his maid was allowed into his bedchamber. For all intents and purposes, Mathias Cronqvist was dead.
It was just a normal night, Mathias lay in his darkened room, shut off. He was having a hard time breathing all night and he had become quite weak. He was sweating profusely, he had a fever and all his frayed mind could focus on was the terrible wrong that had been done to him. At the stroke of midnight the air grew even heavier than it had been. He could feel the presence of another in the bedchamber. He opened one tired eye and stared into the darkness.
"Gertrude, I told you not to disturb me." He barked. However, instead of hearing the apology he expected, he was horrified to find a pale, unearthly blue fire floating in mid air in front of his bed.
"Wh-what in God's name!" He shouted, fear gripping his heart. A skeletal face appeared behind the fire, illuminated by its hellish glow.
"God? This has nothing to do with God, boy." It said, it's voice was deep and menacing. "I am Death, and your time upon this sphere has come to an end!"
to be continued...