(Opening Theme – "Heaven in the Hell" by Mizuki Nana)
Prologue – The Lovers
500 years ago, two hearts joined under the coldness of the moonlit sky.
It was a time of blood and betrayal, war and conquest at every turn. The countries were at each other's throats, freely flaunting their egos for the sake of world domination. Love only existed at the end of one's blade, where it severed like melted margarine from the dying bodies of the common man.
There were those who took pleasure in seeing others perish; those that prowled the night, picking up the scraps left behind on the bloodied battlefields of the continents.
Their existence struck fear into those who've stared into their burning, carnivorous eyes… The people called them…vampires. Yes, the fabled children of the night of whom all in our present age believe to be characters created by campfire tales. They once roamed the darkness freely, and they were far more fearsome than the great minds of today believe them to be.
Why did they suddenly disappear?
Where have they gone?
What power could've erased them for the vision of the public eye?
Those questions and more run through the minds of those that believe; those that tread on dangerous grounds, looking into an existence that should be left alone in darkness… I am one of those people – a fool that grew up fascinated by the beautiful beasts that take human form. From the re-mastered tales of Count Dracula to the innovative dark love stories that drives humanity wild with fandemonium…I love them all.
What drove me to love the human beast was the stories that my grandfather told me, whilst bouncing merrily on his knee… One that I could never forget, "The Romance of the Tainted Rose".
A young townswoman arrived home late from an outing with the neighbors' children, daintily garbed in her best attire. The moon stood like a silver dollar amidst the night sky, beaming a cold glow upon her buxom frame. The nocturnal symphony haunted her, playing its tune with every step she took.
"The moon's high, miss", a hungry hiss mocked her with laughter.
"Who's there?" she jumped.
"Say your right words, and I will give you leave. Speak wrongly, and you will die."
"What do you want?" the young lady turns on her heel, her eyes greeting a foreboding figure of death.
"What do I want, you ask?"
"I will have you know that I am the daughter of a noble! My father will not tolerate such behavior!"
"Where you're going, my dear…there will be no need for such arrogance."
The cold figure parts his jaws, revealing hungry canines the size of nine-inch nails. The very sight of the nightwalker's stare freezes the young lady in her place, having her drop the parasol given to her on her 17th birthday onto the tiled streets… She watches her executioner embrace her curvy frame, being unable to move a single muscle from where she stands.
"What…have you done to me?" she shudders in fear.
"You're now mine to control, dear. You belong to me…and I enjoy abusing my playthings."
"No…release me, I beg of you!"
"Your kind refuses we, the children of the night, quarter in this world. To what extent does your arrogance delve, child? I come to you to play, yet you turn me away with harsh words? Threaten me with tattling? Hogwash! I shall take your life just as your kind has done to many of my own!"
The words that the bloodsucker chastened the young lady with were cold and ruthless, and somewhat human… She heard the pain in the beast's voice sounding intensively.
"Why are you so angry with me?" weeps the young lady.
"Shut your mouth…and die to me this evening."
His voice has lowered, but his eyes still burn with a vampire's bloodlust… His hungry jaws close in on her, being teased by the taste of blood dripping from his fangs.
"How lowly of you, my friend", a voice strikes the bloodsucker with a cold chill of fear, before unbearable pain explodes from his heart. The bloodsucker looks down, seeing an arm has pierced through his chest. "When you meet the Reaper a second time, tell him he needs to learn his children some manners. Tis such a shame that vampires prey upon women whom have yet to reach adulthood… Oh well, I grow tired of you. Goodnight, you nauseating, perverse bastard!"
The man's bloodied right arm is pulled out of the bloodsucker's chest, allowing the lifeless corpse to paint the streets with a ghastly shade of crimson… The young lady looks up to see a handsome gentleman of the evening tasting the plasma left behind on his hand.
"Mmm…this one was fond of those with the purest blood. Virgins…those who have yet to be touched… They make the best meal for my kind, but I…have other uses for them."
His eyes meet the young lady's frame, but do not burn like those of the murdered bloodsucker.
The stranger's eyes seem gentle…almost loving.
"Who…are you, stranger?" questions the curious nobleman's daughter.
"Lord Frederic von Alucard, at your service milady", the gentleman of the night bows respectfully to the lady of the upper class, showing her much respect. "I do apologize for that fool's behavior. You'd expect nightwalkers to behave with more…elegance than that."
"I thank you for your assistance, sir", the young lady fetches her parasol from the ground, turning her back to the vampire who saved her life. "You've done right by me, sir. I shall see to it that my family returns the favor."
"Before you go…" the words of the gentle-eyed vampire forbids her from moving forward. "…I would ask you to the ball, but I'm not sure if you'd wish to grace the floors with one such as I."
"You've shown me great fortune this evening, sir. I shall meet you there in my best dress."
"Good, good… Our next meeting shall be a joyous occasion."
"Indeed, good sir", the nobleman's daughter looks to the gentleman, but sees that he's nowhere in sight. She looks everywhere; to the left, to the right, the man is nowhere in sight. "Where the bloody hell did he run off to? Or…was that a dream?"
The dead corpse before her speaks of this night as being far from a dream.
She returned home in awe of the evening she's had. Her dreams were light and merry, despite the horrific events that fatedly befell her… The smell of blood was still fresh in her senses, but left when the morning sun graced the skies. Her entire day…was filled with visions of the night before.
The neighbors' children socialized with her as always, showing the nobleman's daughter a great respect.
"Lady Maribel, your skin is quite fair and soft", admires her lady friends.
"Yes, I would so love to know your secret."
"Oh please, Lady Maribel, you must tell me the name of your tailor."
"Girls, girls, please… I do enjoy you singing me praises, but give it a rest", she would modestly giggle.
Everything seemed normal to her, and the events of the preceding night escaped her memory. To the nobleman's daughter, Lady Maribel Newman, her heart wished the nightmarish events of late to be nothing more than a dream. Still, she could not live without the fear of being attacked once again.
"Lord Frederic" she whispered to herself.
"Did you say something, Lady Maribel?" questions her butler.
"No, Charles…not a thing."
"Lady Maribel, you've not been yourself lately. Is something troubling you?"
"Only your constantly nagging, old man."
"Oh, such abrupt defense is not of a lovely maiden's character", he chuckles, pinching her cheeks.
"Charles, enough with your mollycoddling of my image!" she drones in a blush, hugging the man that has become like her grandfather. "I swear, old man…life would be dreadful without you."
"I believe the same, my dear. I hope you enjoy your evening in the company of your associates."
"Thank you, Charles", she picks up her parasol and ventures into the crowded evening streets.
It took a few minute's gaiting to reach the palace, where she dined and dance with the highest of the town's aristocracy. The youth, the seasoned, the young and the old…all graced the polished floors of the famed Rutherford Chateau in celebration of the royal family's 23rd anniversary. Lady Maribel's beauty surprised even the queen herself, who paid respect to the young lady's elegant appearance.
"You're the spitting image of your mother, dear. I knew her quite well in our youth."
"I'm honored, your majesty", bows the nobleman's daughter.
"Please, do join me for a stroll."
"Yes, my queen."
The Queen of Rutherford and the nobleman's daughter walked the palace, arriving to a balcony on the outskirts of the chateau – a place where the moon beamed vibrantly with a silver glow. Lady Maribel's breath is taken away by the image of such a grand and heavenly body.
"I've never seen the moon shine so brightly before in all my life", awes the nobleman's daughter.
"This is where I come to think of days of the past…before I plunged into death."
"Plunged into death? What do you mean by that?"
"Do you know why my king and I never grace the daylight?" the queen looks upon the image of the nobleman's daughter, striking her with burning eyes. Lady Maribel has fallen into a trap, and her life is but a kiss's distance from embracing the white light of the hereafter. "My lover saw his death because of you, Daughter of Sir William! I have called you here to finish what he started…by taking your life!"
"Oh Lord in Heaven, and I didn't even get to dance with you yet!" drones the irritated voice of the vampire that saved her life, Lord Frederic von Alucard. The Queen of Rutherford gazes into her bedroom chamber, shocked to see the gentle-eyed human beast trespassing on restricted ground. "Your majesty, I would ask that you release that young lady…for it is I that you should kill."
"Frederic, what do you mean by that?"
"I was the one who killed your lover, you unfaithful, bloodthirsty wench! To take it out on a poor, defenseless human girl…I'd expect more from a lady of such high standards."
"You killed him? It was you? And you dare to set foot in my home?"
Lord Frederic takes a few steps forward into the moonlight, and stands face-to-face with the unfaithful vampire queen. Lady Maribel hides behind the distinguished vampire nobleman, shielding herself of the queen's murderous wrath.
"Queen Katherine, Daughter of King Edward, Descendant of the Master himself…would you give this young lady leave?" the gentleman of the night shows no animosity towards the vampire queen, showing her nothing but respect. Queen Katherine doesn't know how to react to such a mode of kindness. "She meant no harm… I was the one who slew Thaddeus, not her. I believe it to be retribution for our king, whom knew my father and my father's father. To what victory does infidelity lead to, your majesty?"
"Do not question me, Frederic!" the queen has grown tired of the vampire nobleman's concerns. She turns on her heel, shadowing her bloody tears from the man that slew her lover. "It was at best an impulse that I could not control… He wooed me, showed me the world – something that my husband never did for me. His death drew me mad with anger, for I'd lost those pleasures…and I blamed an innocent girl for it… Maribel, Daughter of Lady Miriam, would you find the kindness in your heart to forgive me?"
"Without hesitation, my queen", the nobleman's daughter bows before the vampire queen, receiving the blessing of the queen's embrace. "I would never wish to hurt you in anyway, Katherine. My mother was your friend, and I wish to always respect that…for you are my godmother."
"Oh…foolish me…" the queen takes the kindness of her human goddaughter to heart.
She did not wish to dance nor dine after this, instead choosing to return home...in the company of the gentleman vampire, Lord Frederic. They talked, found common ground with each other, and learned of the other's interesting life. Lady Maribel found Lord Frederic to be one that she could call "friend" and mean every letter of the word… Their nightly meetings increased, sparking the concern of her family and her associates.
"What is with these nightly outings?" questions her father, having her seated on the living room sofa.
"Father, I've met a friend."
"A friend, you say? Does this friend know the rules about nightly outings in this family? No more than two a week and that is final Maribel! How many times must I tell you this?"
"Father, please, he's a good man. He did save me from sudden death–"
"Sudden death?" her father outrages, turning on his heel in anger. "And you failed to inform me of this? What do you wish, an early grave for me?"
"Father, please, your weak heart…" Lady Maribel helps her ill father to a chair, nursing him back to a calm with her gentle words. "…I know that you wish me well and alive, but I'm all right. Fortune favored me that evening, and I do believe that I've found the man that I'm fated to be with. I wish you well, father; nothing more, nothing less… Father, I died to him just recently…I'm with child."
"You're with child at such a young age?" the nobleman looks into his daughter's eyes, seeing a gentle twinkle and an equally beautiful glow upon her fair skin. Lady Maribel is happy – she is to be a mother soon, and her fetus is barely a few days old. "Maribel, I wish to meet the man that blessed my child with his seed."
"As you wish, father."
"Forgive me for upsetting you in your time of nursing, my dear."
"Forgotten, father…water under the bridge."
News of Lord Frederic's joining with a human girl reached the ears of the king, Henry of Aldington.
The very act in itself is blasphemy amongst the races, and is considered the highest of sin against the natural order of life… Life and death cannot coexist; therefore, those who break this law are considered heretics – Lord Frederic being the heresiarch of such behavior.
"The king wishes you dead, my friend", reports a fellow bloodsucker to the vampire nobleman, hovering upon the wind before Frederic's bedroom window.
"Well, if it isn't the Irishman – Father Paddington O'Shay", recognizes the vampire nobleman, allowing the priest of the Hierarchy of the Moon to enter into his chambers. The Irish vampire sets foot on the flooring of the chamber, turning on his heel to see his friend closing his window. "I've heard of the king's anger, my friend. Did he send you here to relieve me of my inkling of life?"
"Not at all, fella. I came here of my own free will."
"For what purpose, Paddy? Holding some unveiled grudge against me…because I took a dip in the waters of transgression? Afraid of the spawning of a half-breed?"
"Far from them, my boy", the vampire priest rests upon his friend's study chair, pulling his hood back to reveal a head of fiery hair. "I've been a member of the radicals for over 200 years. The Infinity sent me here to deliver a message of alliance on your behalf."
"Infinity? You're affiliated with those murderers?"
"Not murderers, Fred – saviors that have pledged a revolt against the Church. We see no wrong in the two races joining, and we praise your efforts to show humanity that we are far from the nightmares and tales that they've grown to fear… People like Thaddeus, whom you dropped with your bare hands, are the epitome of those silly stories – ruthless, cold-blooded, scandalous, and shameful. Your liberating of that young girl sparked the admiration of many of our kind, placing hope of reclaiming a hint of humanity in the hearts of the masses."
Lord Frederic finds humor in all of this praise, tittering with wholesome delight.
"Who knew one night of pleasure could go such a long way?" giggles the vampire nobleman.
"What of the little lassie?"
"Maribel is in her fourth month. I met her father not too long ago. Good man he is – welcomed me with open arms, proud just to be a grandfather."
"When's the wedding, my friend?"
"Twenty moons from now", smiles the nobleman, staring out into the gentle glow of the heavens.
"That'd be the anniversary of your former wife's death. Why have a joining on such a tender day?"
"She'd want it that way", the nobleman turns his gentle eyes to his good friend. "I know you can understand this, Paddington… Gertrude was a good woman of eternal beauty, and it was her wish that I unite the races to break down the wall of lies between us. There are bad bloodsuckers, but there are also good ones – like you and I…and even our queen, Katherine of Rutherford. I shall marry this human girl not because of obligation, but because I've fallen in love with her. My mind, body and soul belong to her – a gift that I wish her to have forevermore… That is why I wish you at my side on that fateful day, my friend."
"You wish me to be your man of honor?"
"A holy man and a dear friend… No one could ever take your place."
"I'll have one of my men pastor your wedding", the vampire priest stands to his feet, hooding himself to conceal his face from the outside world. Father Paddington approaches the window, opening it to greet the night air. "I'll be there… I wouldn't miss this occasion for the world. May God be with you, my friend."
Father Paddington leaped into the nocturnal sea, his silhouette gracing the moonlight with mystery and majesty. Lord Frederic's heart has fallen into a vast ocean of love, and has somehow regained the humanity that he lost many ages ago. Just the uttering of Lady Maribel's name fills him with joy… To be with her is to be at peace with the world, and that is why she carries his child. In the blessed name of God, he wishes his blood to be carried throughout the generations in the pursuit to finally unite the races.
The nightmare must end…but a nightmare always has its beginning.
"Lord Frederic von Alucard, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
All other questions seemed null and void… He wishes to honor and cherish her for all eternity. He wishes to do right by her, never letting her down or allowing her to go astray. In sickness and in health, he will be there by her side as a God-given lover and protector. There exists no in-between, there exists no doubt – this is what he wants more than life itself.
"I do", he humbly answers.
"Lady Maribel Newman, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedding husband?"
The same goes for the lovely nobleman's daughter… She wishes to honor and cherish him for all eternity. She wishes to do right by him, obeying his word and will as the mother of his children – the love of his life. In sickness and in health, she will be there by his side as a God-given lover and supporter. There exists no in-between, there exists no doubt – that is her heart's greatest desire. To live a life with the father of her unborn child… It is a dream worth living for the rest of her mortal days.
"I do", she answers, looking into her fiancé's gentle eyes.
"Aah!" a woman's shriek upsets the entire ceremony.
The joining lovers look behind them, seeing their parties in peril! Bloodsucker assassins from the Church have surfaced, and are attacking the people – both human and vampire, not sparing a single person in sight.
"What is this hypocrisy–?" outrages the pastor, before his life is taken by a bloodthirsty set of claws.
"Aah!" the bride shrieks in fear, being escorted out of the chapel by her fiancé and the best man.
"Seize the heretic!" commands the leader of the vampire assailants.
"Seize the heretic!" cheers the other attackers.
Lord Frederic and Father Paddington help the nursing Lady Maribel into their wedding carriage, where the expecting mother meets the her godmother, Katherine of Rutherford.
"Your majesty? You're away from your castle?"
"Calm yourself, child", the loving godmother eases the young lady, looking out at the holy man and the nobleman. "Paddington, Frederic, we will meet you at the ship within the hour. Make sure to chase those fools off. The baby needs a father, and it would be nice if his godfather were around as well."
"Stay your heart at ease, my queen", valiantly wishes the holy man.
"These barbarians are no match for men of our expertise", agrees the nobleman, gently caressing his lover's cheek. He speaks lovingly to Lady Maribel, placing calmness in her heart. "Do wait for me, dear. I will be with you in no time."
"Return to me, my love."
"As you wish, Maribel… Be off now."
The queen nods her head to her driver, triggering the gaiting of the stallions.
The queen's carriage is carried off into the distance, escaping the forthcoming massacre… Lord Frederic and Father Paddington turn on their heels, staring into the many eyes of the hateful bloodsuckers of the Church. They are soon placed in a closed-off space, being surrounded by a horde of stigma and bias.
"Who would've guessed – a holy man accompanying a heretic?" teases one of the assailants.
"God did not place us on this earth to hate, but to love", the holy man sports his religious wisdom with a straight face, signifying brutal force if attacked. "Be away with you, lest you wish to meet God early…but, in your case, the flames of Hell await you."
"Your sharp tongue won't save you now, holy man. You and the heretic will die… And then, we will pursue and slaughter the queen, leaving only the human girl and the unborn abomination."
"Who are you?" questions the nobleman of the sharp-tongued clergyman.
"My name is Father Christian White – the one that the people of the Church call 'White Album'."
"White Album, Chanter of Elegies?" fascinates the nobleman, seeing the proof in the apparition conjuring of the vampire clergyman. Lord Frederic is honored to be in the midst of such a high-ranked member of the Church. "I see… The rumors of you are true. You are a man skilled in necromancy, but you forget one thing…"
"What is that, heretic?"
"…The dead cannot be killed by ghosts", with those words, the nobleman darts forward and thrashes the Chanter of Elegies in the core of his stomach with a brutal right upper!
"Such power…" fascinates the clergyman in fear, being rocketed away into the foundation of the chapel.
White Album's body crashes through the stone walling, as if it was bulldozed by a machine of the modern age or a legendary titan of the olden days… The fellow assailants of the incapacitated White Album shudder in fear of the nobleman's unforgiving fist, suddenly remembering how their fellow bloodsucker was killed.
"You'd do yourself good by leaving this place", the gentle eyes of the nobleman and the holy man burn with the hunger for blood. Still, despite the fact that their commander has fallen, the thought of running away would greatly shame the Church. The bloodsuckers attack, stirring the excitement of the two rebels. "You are all fools! Perish, all of you!"
"Lord, forgive us for what we're about to do!" the holy man excites, ripping his claws through the body of a single bloodsucker. He pierces a crucifix upon his chest with his left index finger, honoring the fallen body of the assailant. "May God see you in the afterlife, my foolish friend."
The battle wages on for several minutes, painting the streets before the church with the blood of the cowardly clergymen… White Album somehow awakens from his unconscious state, only to find the aftermath of a massacre. Lord Frederic and Father Paddington stand before the injured Chanter of Elegies with stone-cold eyes.
"February 22nd, 1511 – seventeen men of the Church of the Red Moon have fallen in the defense of a cowardly, genocidal king who wishes to have the races at war for all eternity", angrily announces the holy man, mortified by the actions of the Church. "One of the tenets of the Church is, "Let all be showered with favor amidst the eyes of God", for that alone labels us as brothers and sisters… The Church in itself is a massive hypocrite, and thus holds no power over the people. I can see why Katherine so easily found another, though he was no better than the man she called 'husband'. You may go on believing in your twisted ideals, for a fool shall always be a fool. I do not blame you, Chanter of Elegies, for your ignorance… I blame the Church, and that is why I have resigned my rights as a clergyman to join the ranks of a greater cause."
"You dare to betray the Church?" angers the clergyman, receiving a hiss of anger that sends him back into a mod of respect. "…You…won't get away with this!"
"Get away with what? Freedom? Peace? Tranquility? You speak nonsense, Father Sebastian!"
"I speak the truth! Humans are meant to be served as food to us – not to procreate an abominated race!"
"And it is that foolish talk that will pay our race an early extinction!" the holy man's truthful words silence the harsh tongue of the murderous clergyman. "Chanter of Elegies, we bid you farewell. A life of peace is all that we ask… Why jeopardize the life of a child that has yet to see its parents' face? Ask yourself that."
"May your life have good fortune, Father", with the departing words of the nobleman, the vampire rebels walk away from the incapacitated Chanter of Elegies, leaving him with his dignity.
A grudge was born on that night…one that will haunt the bloodline of the Von Alucard-Newman Family for ages to come. I do not remember the rest of the story, but I seem to remember at least that much. The only thing I know is that Lord Frederic ended up being killed… Still, I don't quite remember how and why it happened.
My grandfather did say that it was for reasons besides the nobleman's heresy.
There was something cold and sinister happening in the Church at the time. I've researched many books about the story, and never once found a single page that surpassed that large excerpt… It was as if the Churches of Rutherford rid the world of the truth, hiding it somewhere in a secreted record.
"So, what do you guys think of my story?"
"Stu, I hate the person who broke it off so soon!" my friends merrily giggle about the notion.
"Yes, I agree with that. My grandfather was a man of mystery, so his tales were always foreboding and enigmatic. The Romance of the Tainted Rose, strangely named but still impactful, is one of the oldest tales of Rutherford, England. I take pride in knowing my country has such mysteries under their coat."
"So, Stu…" my lover's curiosity grasps my attention.
"What is it, Sweets?"
"…Do you actually think vampires are real?"
"Expect the unexpected – that's what I say. You never know what could be hiding in the bushes. Why, I've a mind to say that there could be a bloodsucker amidst us right now."
"Okay, enough campfire tales", Nattie rises from her spot before the flame, stretching her drowsiness into a rough yawn. "I'm going to sleep. Coming to bed, love?"
"I'm right behind you", TJ joins his lovely lady, wishing Damien and I a good night's rest.
"What is it, Daddy?"
"We're all alone now – just you and me", I cradle against his finely curved frame, taking him in for a warm kiss. My boy came to me but a few months ago, and we've been climbing the ranks of the WWE ever since. We fell in love during those precious moments, and our relationship is public amongst our co-workers. The fans…not so much. "Mmm, your lips always get me going… Care to roll around a little?"
"Daddy, I'm not in the mood right now."
"Not in the mood, you say?" I giggle, tasting his sweet brown sugar skin.
"Daddy, you're going to leave a mark on me. That won't look good on national television."
"Let them see and know the truth", my persistence makes him blush and giggle.
Everything seems so grand in my life…
…One could ask for nothing better. My career is booming, I've someone that loves me and has like goals, and I've friends that support me. Save the rough-necked ginger that stayed behind, my circle of loved ones spans the countries. Many adoring fans cheer me on, though they know little about me.
It makes you wonder – Why the false affection from these so-called loyal followers?
We take to the affection with the utmost of regards, standing to give them a great show. It's rare that we ever meet their needs – selfish desires that come forth en masse. The very foundation of the business was built on a desire rooted in selfishness, and then blossomed into something that overflows with an opposing motive.
What was about to happen to me would open my eyes to the word "selfish", and would plunge me into the very depths of despair… I would soon learn the truth behind the fabled story, and why the rest of the story was never told to those outside of the Church.
It's safe to say this… Tonight will be the last good memory that I'll have to remember.
(Ending Theme – "Black Diamond" by Mizuki Nana)
(Up Next: Chapter 1 – Opened Eyes)