A/N- As promised, the prologue to the sequel of Trials (which, if you're just now joining us, is the sequel to Untested), has arrived! Now, I have a mega-crap-ton worth of WIPs that I need to be working on (and that's a precise measurement, by the way.). So it'll be a little bit before you see chapter one following this. But, obviously, I'm committed to this story that I'm taking my good ol' time to tell. So if there's a long wait between updates (pfft, if, haha), never fear! I'm simply working on other things and shall make my way back around. But I've got some pretty loyal readers with this tale, and for that, you have my sincerest thanks. Nothing makes me happier than reading your reviews, for good or for ill. Also, on a positive note, finishing Trials was one of my New Year's resolutions this year, so yay! Now I've gotta finish a couple more of my fics that I promised I would this year. Yikes. So, yeah… let's just get this puppy started, shall we?
Disclaimer- I don't own Castlevania. It all belongs to Konami. Believe me; I'm making no money off of this. This applies to all chapters.
It amused him to imagine the faces of his young students, should they happen upon his home. Of course, this would never happen. Being a centuries old alchemist came with certain talents that he had employed on his surroundings. If any of his history students happened to actually discover the address listed as Mr. Hamm's home address, they would only get so far before they were suddenly compelled away.
The Master Librarian of the (currently) crumbled Castlevania, chuckled, stroking his long beard. Yes, what a sight they would come upon indeed. The outside of the quaint little, two bed one bath home was nothing spectacular. White siding, black shingles, and blue shutters on every window. However, if one ever ventured indoors, they would find the space drastically changed. The rooms were dark, uncarpeted, and nearly every room had its walls covered with bookshelves that were just laden with tomes covering practically any subject. But the Librarian trusted his spells, knowing that no one without his invitation would ever make it past the front, white picket fence. So he had dropped his "Mr. Hamm" persona, making himself comfortable for the job at hand.
Runes and symbols were drawn all about the floors and walls, with a small end table standing in the center of the room. And on the table was drawn yet more symbols, with a large, pewter bowl standing in the center of the space. The Master Librarian approached the bowl, muttering in languages long dead and gone, adding ingredient after ingredient. Smoke rose up, curling toward the ceiling with each new addition, the only change being the color. It began as white, but now, several potion ingredients later, it was a deep purple.
He had been paid well to perform this spell, a dangerous one. His employer had given him quite a good item indeed, one that most would have difficultly acquiring. But this employer… he seemed very good at getting the things that he needed. And this job, request, whatever one might call it, was an odd one. Dangerous, but not obviously so. And the Librarian had not inquired as to why it had to be done just so. Like any good hired sorcerer, he took his payment and did as asked, no further questions necessary. Long, long years of servitude to Count Dracula had taught him that sometimes, one is better left unknowing.
"Ego vocant super te, Viator aut Tempus. Coram me, sicut ego praecipio."
He chanted the phrase over and over, adding more and more to the bowl on the table. Finally, with a finally command of "obedio," he threw into the bowel a lit bundle of herbs. Flames shot out of the pewter container, nearly licking the ceiling of the home. But they died down as quickly as they rose, and several feet away from the table, in the center of another symbol, a circle of light filled the room so blindingly bright that the Librarian had to shield his eyes.
When it finally cleared, the old man grinned. Standing in the center of the symbol was an oddly dressed man with long blond hair, white slacks, a red jacket, and a black top hat on… a look strangely reminisce of another time. Mostly, the Master Librarian just found himself reminded of a circus ring master. The new arrival looked genuinely perplexed as he surveyed his surroundings. Finally, raising a hand to his mustached face, his eyes landed on the Librarian.
"Why have you summoned me here?"
There was no malice in his words. No accusation at all. Just simple curiosity.
"I've done more than summon you here, Saint Germain. I've bound you to a task of my choosing that requires talents that only one such as yourself possesses."
Germain crossed his arms across his crimson jacket and huffed, a little incredulously.
"So you have. Foolishly so, perhaps, but I must do as you ask of me. What is this task you require? Do you wish me to pass a warning of some impending doom? Make sure something or someone is in the right place at the right time? Or at the wrong time?"
"Something of that nature. You see, my employer has a rather odd request, but a simple one at heart. You are to venture into the past, into the year 1797 to be precise. Before Young Master Alucard awakens from his slumber to battle his immortal father."
Germain's arms went a little lax, and one eyebrow arched.
"This involves the son of Dracula?" he asked.
The Librarian nodded. "Indeed. You are to move him from his current tomb, to this location."
He tossed the time traveler a tightly folded slip of paper. It just barely made it within his reach, but Germain caught it nevertheless. He unfolded it, gave it one look-over, and returned his gaze back to the man who had summoned him.
"Alucard is an integral part of the history of that year. What would you have me do once I have moved him here?" Germain asked, slipping the paper inside his jacket.
"Nothing. That is all my employer required."
"An unusual request, simple but deceptively dangerous. To interrupt the time stream in this way… Well, I assume you are aware of the butterfly effect?"
"I am. As is my employer."
"Then may I go on record as saying that this is a rather large butterfly? If something should happen, and the dhampire not awaken… the world of today, as well as the world then, would face mortal peril."
The Master Librarian crossed his arms. "You have your task, Germain. And I have bound you to perform it."
"As you've already stated," Germain noted. Raising a single, slender finger, he added, "But be forewarned. There are greater dangers of opening a tear in the time stream. I am not the only creature able to sense, and manipulate, it. There are others who would seek to do this world harm. By interacting directly with an important event, especially the one you've bound me to interfere with, I am inviting others to interfere as well. And they might not be as mindful of the damage as I."
"Again, something else my employer was aware of. He is prepared to deal with any consequences, but he does except your complete and utter caution. Really, Germain, you simply seem to be parroting him."
Germain huffed out a short snort of laughter. "Then perhaps his plan, whatever it may be, will work toward the greater good of the world as it seems he is not as foolish as I thought."
The Librarian grimaced. "To your task, Saint Germain. And return here once it is completed so that my employer may know."
Germain tipped his large, black top hat just ever so slightly. "Very well. Consider it already done."
Elsewhere, further back in the time stream, one such manipulator—the likes of which Germain had warned the Librarian of—became aware of the tear.
Locked in his watery cell, his white hair long and stringy from hours—or had it been days? Months? Years?—of simply sitting in a dark and dismal corner and plotting, the vampire known as Joachim Armster suddenly sat up, fully erect and attentive. He sniffed the air, rising to his feet as he began to circle his chamber—the chamber that damned Walter had locked him in—the hem of his blue coat sweeping up the dust into small swirls in the stale air. He continued to sniff and turn and circle for several more moments before his shoulders hunched just a little, and his movements became more like a man sneaking, searching.
Just as suddenly as he had begun his movements, the vampire stopped. A wide grin broke across his face as he did a single turn in place.
"Someone is playing with time," he said.
Quickly, he turned, facing the far wall of his cell. He conjured a spectral word and sent it flying from him. Moments before the tip of its blade were to collide with the wall, a flash of light appeared. A tear—something like a ripped seam in an article of clothing—appeared where the flash had taken place. Swirled colors—reds, blues, and hundreds of others—appeared beyond the tear.
"So long… It's been so long since I've had a stroll," Joachim said, walking—almost dancing—toward the tear. "Walter thinks he's so smart. That he's so powerful. Sealed me here. Starved me. Well, I'll just have some fun!"
Without a moment's hesitation, Joachim entered the seam.
It was a short walk, as time travels usually were, and Joachim suddenly found himself in an altogether different location. Thankfully, as seen through the small window that was just below the ceiling of the stone structure—the scent of death told him it was a mausoleum—it was nightfall, as the half moon shone as brightly as it dared. The sound of solid rock being drug across its like alerted him, and he leapt for the cover of the shadows behind a large, ornate statue of an angel. The angel had three more of its kind about the room, each at the corners, and their wings supported the ceiling while their bodies bent forward in prayer. Joachim sneered as he leaned as far out as he dared, searching for the source of the noise.
In the center of the mausoleum—which was lit by torchlight from two braziers at the entrance of the building—was a large, granite casket. A man dressed very strangely in crimson, black, and white with an over-large hat leaned over the open tomb. He swept his blond hair over his shoulder and tsked.
"The Librarian's employer must be a strange man indeed, to dare alter such an important event in the timeline. You know, I've always found it humorous, so to speak, that you—the son of Lord Dracula—played such an important part in things. And that you play so many parts in the time yet to come."
Dracula? This was a name that Joachim did not know. But he felt power—muted, but there nonetheless—from within that tomb. That was no dead thing inside, yet it was not one of his kind. Intrigued, the vampire listened on.
"A half blooded vampire, and the son of the self-made King of Vampires. Life is truly a funny thing. But you'll be safe here, Alucard—and I know you can't hear me. This is actually quite a secure location. I do wish I knew the Librarian's employer. A clever man, indeed, to have you moved from your original location to this. You'll be easily located… but not so much so to be in any danger."
With that, the strange man replaced the lid on the casket. He turned, tugging his hat down over his eyes, and muttered some words in Latin. Another seam tore open in front of him, but this time, Joachim did not follow. Once the stranger had disappeared, Joachim stepped out into the open, a wickedly gleeful grin on his face.
He sauntered over to the casket, sliding the lid off as easily as if it were made of nothing. He arched a brow as he gazed down at the slumbering man instead. He was dressed in regal finery, ebony hemmed with gold. His white-blond hair was splayed across a dusty pillow, and although he was in the deepest slumber, he appeared as if dead.
A half-blooded vampire? One scent of the man's blood confirmed it, but Joachim had not known that such a thing was possible. The vampire leaned over, so close to the half-blood that his own hair skirted the slumbering man's features. Suddenly, Alucard's gloved hand twitched.
"Alerted to danger. Clever, clever. I'll take care of that. Videre me non."
Joachim passed his hand over Alucard's face as he muttered the spell, and all signs of the half-blood threatening wakefulness disappeared. Laughing, the vampire turned and leaned against the open tomb.
"Wonder, wonder, wonder… So much to wonder!" Joachim said, clapping his hands.
The sound echoed loudly about the mausoleum, but he paid it no mind. With his little spell, and the scent of death all around him, he knew that there was no one in miles to hear the noise.
"Moved from your original home, were you, half-blood?" Joachim said, leaning back over Alucard. "Why would you be moved? To what end? And what are these 'important parts' that that strange little creature spoke of? Hmm?"
He grew silent for a moment, as if expecting Alucard to answer. After another moment, Joachim chuckled.
"Oh, yes. That's right. Well, never you mind, Alucard. I'm here to have a little fun. Starting with giving you another fun new home!"
Joachim covered the tomb once again, taking a seat upon its lid. Whatever this place was, whenever this place was… this was going to be a whole new batch of fun. Especially since dearest Walter did not seem to be the vampire of power any longer.
"My, my, isn't the future bright?"
End Notes: Nice beginning, isn't it? And I'm sure it's left you with plenty of questions. Which, I think, is how all good beginnings should be. As stated in the author's note, it'll be a while, but I shall return. Meanwhile, why don't I translate all that Latin I used this chapter? Also, for anyone out there who might have actually studied Latin, like in a class or something, I used what knowledge I had gathered over my years of fandom reading and Google translate. So be kind. Please review!
Ego vocant super te, Viator aut Tempus= I call upon you, Traveler of Time
Coram me, sicut ego praecipio= Appear before me
Videre me non= See me not