A/N: This story is a sequel to Shadows of Agony so if you haven't read that yet, I highly suggest you do so that this story will make more sense. Sequels of anything can be really iffy... I hope you enjoy this one :)
"Cristian where on Earth are you going?" Liliana pulled on her robe as she hurried down the stairs. "It's in the middle of the night!"
"We're going to the castle. He is there and he is alone, we're certain of it." Cristian buttoned his coat then checked his satchel one last time to be sure he had all of his supplies. "We're going after him."
"Cristian please, enough with this vampire nonsense!" Cristian looked up from his satchel and glared at his wife, causing her to take a step back.
"It's not nonsense. We've been watching the castle for so long and the only one who ever came out during the day was that cripple." Cristian picked up his satchel and walked to the door with Liliana following close behind. "The cripple has been gone for years, ever since my father was a part of our group, but while we used to see others come and go during the night, for months now we haven't seen anyone."
"It doesn't mean he's a vampire. Why can't you just leave the man alone?" Liliana tried to grab Cristian's arm but he pushed her away.
"What about all the people from our village that have disappeared over the years?" He asked her. "Do you expect me to forget about them?
"You have no proof this man you're going after had anything to do with all of that. Besides, it's been months since anyone has gone missing. Surely if he was responsible there would have been more." Liliana followed Cristian outside onto the front steps and shivered in the chilly night air.
"You're just a stupid woman," he snapped. "What do you know? Shut up and get back into the house."
"Please Cristian, just come back to bed," Liliana called out but Cristian got into his car and drove away.
Von Krolock stared into the empty fireplace and absentmindedly stroked the cloak that was draped over his lap. She had worn it when she first showed up at his castle; it was old then but newer wear marks caused by the vampire's own hands had appeared over the years as he continued this nightly ritual.
"I don't love you..."
He brought the cloak up to his nose and inhaled deeply. Her scent had long ago been replaced by mustiness of the castle air but it did nothing to dull the memory of how sweet she had smelled to him. Closing his eyes, he rested his head against the back of the chair and sighed. Thirty years was nothing to a vampire, but these had been the longest thirty years Von Krolock had ever lived through.
"Let her go! Let her go, Papa! Let her go!"
He closed his eyes and the image of Anneliese's dead body within his arms flashed through his mind. Why couldn't he have just let her go? He leaned forward, resting his head on her cloak which was now bunched up on his lap, and cried.
"You're absolutely positive he's in there alone?" Ivan stared up at the gloomy castle. It had always seemed dark and creepy but it had looked cared for when he was a child. Over the years it had fallen into a state of disrepair; broken windows had merely been boarded up, the detailed ornamentation on the walls and along the edge of the roof was either chipping away or had fallen off completely, and ivy-which at this time of the year was dry and leafless-was growing over the walls and even over some of the windows.
"I'm certain of it." Cristian handed each of his two friends a cross and a little glass vial of water he had had blessed by a local priest. "No one has come out of there in almost six months now." He reached into his satchel one last time and pulled out an iron stake.
"I thought you said we weren't going to kill him," Ivan said.
"Yet. He said we aren't going to kill him yet," Peter reminded him.
"Then what is the stake for?"
"It's just a precaution." Cristian started walking toward the castle and Ivan and Peter followed close behind. "I'd rather keep him alive but even with three of us against one of him... well, better to be safe than sorry."
"How are we going to get in?" Peter asked when they reached the castle. "Should we try the back?"
"Let's just break one of the windows," Ivan suggested and Peter laughed.
"That's real smart," he teased. "If you toss a rock through a window the sound of the glass breaking will echo through every single hallway. He'll hear us and we'll all be dead before we even make it inside."
"Why don't we just try the obvious first?" Cristian said as he reached for the door. This time Ivan laughed.
"Do you really think he would just-" Ivan went silent when the door handle turned easily in Cristian's hand. He gave the door a push and it swung open.
"Well, this shouldn't be too hard," Peter muttered. "This vampire must have a death wish."
"Or he's expecting us." Cristian stuck his head inside to make sure no one was there then motioned for his friends to follow. They switched on their flashlights as they entered the foyer, swinging the beams of light all around the room to take in their surroundings. The marble floor was dull, there was a thick layer of dust on every flat surface and there were cobwebs hanging everywhere. "You..." Cristian pointed his flashlight at Ivan. "Go through that door. And you," he pointed at Peter, "go in there." They looked in each room on the first floor to find it empty so they made their way up stairs, checking each door on each floor until they reached the top.
"There!" Ivan whispered. The other two men looked in the direction he was pointing to see a door half open at the end of the hall. A soft light was flickering inside the room. They crept slowly down the hallway and once in front of the room, Ivan carefully looked inside. The room was lit by a few candles and out of all the rooms they had seen it was the only room that looked inhabitable. In the middle of the wall directly opposite from where Ivan stood in the doorway was a large fireplace and in front of it stood a tattered wing-back chair. From his angle all he could see of its occupant was a pale, thin hand resting on the armrest. He pushed the door open carefully and then three men stepped inside.
"Anneliese..." Leaning over his lap, Von Krolock held the soft fabric of her cloak against his cheek and sighed. "I'm so sorry," he whispered. "I should have let y-" Suddenly Von Krolock was struck against the back of his head, the force of the blow pushing him off his chair and onto the floor where he landed with a grunt. He touched his head and when he felt the blood he tried to roll over but was overcome with a burning pain. He looked up to find three men standing around him. He tried to say something but before he could get the words out, one of the men sprinkled drops of water over his face and he screamed as each little drop seared into his flesh.
"Go on, put the chains on him!" The man holding the vial of water said to the others. One of them tried to grab Von Krolock's hand but Von Krolock quickly rolled onto his side and swung his fist at him, making contact with his jaw. The man fell to the floor and Von Krolock tried to get up but another splash of holy water hit his neck and he collapsed back to the floor.
"Get out of my home or I'll kill you!" Von Krolock shouted as he clutched his burning skin. He reached for one of their legs but he was hit on the head by something hard that burned so badly it tore a layer of skin right off. They continued to pour the holy water over him, kicking him as they emptied their bottles until he had curled into a tight ball in an effort to protect himself. He caught sight of Anneliese's cloak and tried to grab it to cover himself but one of the men snatched it away from him. The instant the burning drops of water ceased, Von Krolock jumped to his feet and lunged toward the man but was stopped when he pulled out a cross and held it before him. Von Krolock backed away, shielding his eyes with his hands and hissed. The other two men held out their own crosses and within moments the three of them had Von Krolock backed into a corner.
"What do you want from me?" Von Krolock shouted hoarsely. "I've done nothing to you! Get out!"
"Ivan, get the chains on him." Ivan reached for Von Krolock's arm and the vampire moved to bite him but pulled away when the other two men pushed their crosses dangerously close to his body. "Go on Ivan, do it." Ivan tried to grab Von Krolock again and once again Von Krolock tried to bite him. The men pressed the crosses against his chest and Von Krolock groaned loudly as he was forced down to the floor. They eventually pulled away from him but before Von Krolock could stand again, something crashed against the side of his head and everything went black.