This is a Castlevania fan fiction that I've been brainstorming for a while with my partner, but have just finally got around to putting in text. I hope you enjoy the read!
Summary: A sort of alternate story neatly slotted into the Castlevania timeline, detailing the return of Dracula and Castlevania to a Europe where a Belmont does not rise to stop them. Not to mention a host of other surprises!
Featuring: Dracula, Death, a number of references to lesser characters/monsters (here's looking at you mermen), and a cast of original characters!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Castlevania! That's all Konami's bag.
CHAPTER 1 - Castile of the Damned
Lightning split the air, the clap of thunder coming not long after. Thick clouds, devil's smoke roiling and flowing through the air. It had built up and up, threatening a downpour, but seemingly too afraid to spill its water on such unholy ground. But yet its cobbles were slick; blood covered the ground, too dark and black to be fresh, trickling into gullies and painting the moat.
Sir Renard could scarcely breathe. Every breath brought the horrid stench, tangible and grotesque, of death. The sickly-sweet smell of his brothers' gore. He couldn't even tell who had saved his life, whose bulk lay between him and death. He was sure he had known the man in life. But... he could identify no man whose neck ended in a stump, and whose raiments were sodden with their own blood, obscuring all familiarity.
Still... Sir Renard got a hand around the man's armor, pushing, rolling the corpse off of him. He crawled then, a knight on his hands and knees, but it was hard to do anything else. His breast plate, so proudly emblazoned with the cross of his order, had been crushed, and now restricted every breath but the shallowest, but no man could breathe too deeply of this evil air... He got a hand around the straps that held his plate to chain and leather jerkin, and with a gasp at life the plate came off, clattering on the stone. The leather jerkin and iron mail were battered, but could stay.
He'd had no idea just how this could go wrong. A full detachment of the Knights, the Knights Hospitaller... cut down in mere moments. The sun had scarcely had time to flee beyond the horizon, and they had made their strike at sunset. It was... worse than anyone could have imagined. This horrid thing more than lived up to its name, as a demonic force... the castile of the damned... Castlevania.
"Hello? Anyone? Rally to me, brothers!" he called to the courtyard. If you are there, he thought to himself. But his cries fell not on deaf ears, but ears lost to the grave. Around him, he could make out the occasional face. Pierre DuMont, Gilles Favre... even the youngest of the recruits had not been spared. Luc, Gerard, Vincent... men so new and so green that he had not even had the opportunity to learn anything but their most familiar names. Not even Knights in the service of their Lord yet. Mere squires... and they had fallen, too.
Sir Renard peered into the velvet night. They had come to the courtyard, had started to establish a siege... when... The swish of a cloak, behind which bony hands had struck the death knell of the entire Order. Savage beasts had arisen from the ground itself, and even as some fell, they arose mere moments later, hollow-eyed and sallow-fleshed, feasting on their own. They had since shambled off into the castle, their forms twisted and broken, jerking away as if on the strings on a sadistic puppeteer. But... how had they missed him?
He moved through the pile of his former brothers like a shade in a still world. The bridge had been drawn behind them, cutting off their one escape. Some had flung themselves into the moat, trying to swim for safety... but... but... unknowable things had lurked within. Horrid malefactors with webbed, clawed hands.
No. From this wretched hell, there was no escape.
"What justice is this?" he asked of himself, of anyone who could listen just then. If there were no way out of this place, no reprieve from this hell... he gazed up at the castile, stretching into the sky. One could say it scraped the heavens, but what divine ideal would this cruel manifestation no? A mockery. An insult. But if it were true, if there were no way out...
From the wreckage of his brotherhood he found a breastplate, close enough in size and undented, and with trembling fingers he undid it. Ignoring to the best of his ability the hollow eyes that stared at him, through him, and the blood-soaked and cold lips of what had once been a steward, Benoit. "Rest, my friend," Renard said, closing the reedy man's eyes, and donning his armor in turn.
From another he gathered a halberd, anointed in blessed water from His Holiness himself, but of no use to a man who had been tusked long before he knew what had hit him. He hefted the weapon, his own having been gnashed between the jaws of a fanged horror. Whomsoever had shielded him, he owed a debt. A debt, he hoped as he surveyed the wretched castile, that he meant to pay in full.
Well. That was no good. She had arrived at the horrid gates an hour past, the entrance to Castlevania... but the bridge had already risen, and locked in place. Locked in the screams of terror she could still hear the echoes of. This truly was the citadel of all that was evil in this world. And also where... no. She couldn't think of that right now. Just... it was already done. Her fingers twitched at her side, thumbing the binded leather of the whip, a comfort to her.
The whip snapped around the tree branch, holding tight to it. She would not be stopped by something like this. Giving the whip a tug or two to make sure it held tight, she stepped backward. Taking a steadying breath... she ran, and then she flew.
Renard started within the castle's walls. The voice of another human? Or... the call of some other foul beast? He was a man of God, a knight who budged before no man, after all this... he could not keep from shaking, and the halberd clattered in his gauntleted grip.
"Gah, finally," came that very same voice from over the wall. While the castle itself was immaculate black stone and spires, the wall showed disrepair, and several stones gave way and fell into the moat below, from which those amphibious horrors snapped and roared. First a hand appeared over the parapet, and moments later a booted leg. And finally...
A lady? No, not even that. She could scarcely have reached womanhood, Renard thought to himself.
A shock of pure red appeared, framing the thinly-lined face of what appeared to be just a regular young lass. Well... perhaps not regular, if she were capable of scaling a sealed castle with nothing but her hands and a whip, but... She dropped off the other side, into the battlefield. Followed very shortly by a gasp.
"What the hell happened here?" she asked aloud, punctuated by a crack of her whip. "It's just... like Wallachia," she said, her voice tinged with hurt and worry. Her eyes were puffy and red, but not a tear spilled over. She had spilt the last hours ago.
"Who goes there?" came the voice of a man, and from the gore stepped a knight, brandishing a halberd, clearly shaken and shaking from what had happened here.
Cecilia snapped her whip again, eying the knight. Just... what exactly happened here? she wondered. Banners, tattered and worn, still blew limply in the breeze. The sign of the Knights Hospitaller. They had just been there, a week before. In Wallachia, looking for recruits. Luc had managed to get out of the town... but even he had fallen in the end. To... to all of this. She bit back a dry sob.
"I'm not an enemy! I'm here to help!" Cecilia called, not dropping her whip, but coiling it up and attaching it to her belt. Showing she meant no harm.
The knight visibly relaxed, but did not drop his halberd. "Who are you? I am..." Were the Knights still... the Knights? He was the only one in the country now. Would it be presumptuous to call himself the commander? Or... "I am Sir Renard. Warrior of the Knights Hospitaller. I am..." It killed him to say it. He almost couldn't. "... the only survivor."
Cecilia winced. It seemed... it seemed that already they had something in common, didn't they? "My name is Cecilia Lambert. I'm from Wallachia. It's... Dracula's reach is far," she said quietly.
Renard paused for a moment. He knew what all that implied, and could feel her pain. He had felt it all too keenly this night. "If you've come to stop Dracula. Then... the door lays wide open," he said. He hefted his halberd, and pointed it blade-first at the gates. They stood ajar, and from within, any sane man could feel the call of darkness. Wretched evil swirled and writhed within.
Cecilia was jerked out of her own thoughts. Dracula was here, too. But that wasn't her only target. "Yeah... yeah, you're right," she said, swallowing her sorrow. It... it served no purpose. She undid her whip again, and held it loosely in her gloved fingers. "Let's... let's go, shall we?"
Author's Note – Hey, I'd really like to thank all of those who've read thus far. I've really enjoyed writing it, and if you've enjoyed reading it, please drop me a review! I'm always up for any sort of constructive criticism, and it really is appreciated. I just want to make the best story I possibly can.
I'd also just like to thank ya for over 500 views from over 100 separate visitors!