Two souls driven by vengeance and hatred do battle. Only one will be left standing.
|*Chapter 1 is located here:*|
In the last chapter, Devin Soldado, a resourceful and talented mage descended from the White Lotus clan, confronted Count Krueval, the maniacal vampire responsible for the murders of Devin's mother and brother. After a drawn out exchange, Krueval had backed our young hero into a corner until Devin resorted to a black magick ritual to bind the tenacious vamp. All Devin has to do now is finish the ritual and Count Krueval will be no more, but things aren't always as simple as they appear to be...
Veiled moon light shined through the hole of the mansion’s roof, illuminating the room with a sinister glow.
The Count snapped with a harsh tone, “You’ve committed quite a serious offense by invoking dark magick to bind me. I hope you can live with the consequences.” His body still bound by strong spiritual forces.
“Yes, I can.” Devin’s affirmation was half-hearted at best, the gravity of the situation still weighing heavily on his mind.
“Even now the darkness is seeping under your skin and into your soul,” The bloodsucker continued, fully aware of Devin’s weakening resolve. “Kill me and the taint you place upon your essence will never be erased.”
“I don’t believe you!” A noticeable quiver was present in Devin’s voice.
“Let me guess, you’ve been using cleansing rituals to hide your practice of dark magick from the rest of your clan.” Krueval arched his eye brows as he accusingly stared Devin down.
Devin was in shock, the Count read him more easily than a children’s book.
“Judging by your body language, and that preposterous look on your face – I can safely assume I’m right, aren’t I?” Krueval felt the terrified mage’s spell weaken with every passing second. “Your cleansing rituals won’t work this time. Murder is far different than a minor curse or hex. Once you cross that line you can never turn back!”
Devin’s mind races with distressful thoughts. “What’s if he’s right? What if I can’t wash away the darkness of my soul this time?” The mage shuddered as he came to an unsettling realization. “What if I’m caught and forever cast away from my clan, my home, and my family?!” Suddenly, the silver string around Krueval’s nail disintegrated into dust. Devin trembled as he looked up to meet the Count’s looming glare.
“I told you the effectiveness of such magicks are determined by the user’s will power.” Count Krueval dusted off his sweater once more, and checked the manicure on his rigid claws. “Your determination faltered, and as a result so did the spell,” he continued, “But, now that I’m free, what do you suppose will happen next?”
Devin’s eyes widen as the Count’s hand propelled towards his face like a fiercely thrown javelin. The young man knows if he doesn’t move out of the way at that very instant, his head will be ripped clean off his shoulders. A spray of scarlet gushed out into the cold winter air, as Krueval’s claws scraped along the side of Devin’s cheek. The wily mage barely managed to evade the full brunt of the attack, but not without receiving a considerable gash on his face in the process.
“What’s the matter? No more trump cards? No ace in the hole to bail you out this time?” Krueval taunted.
“Just one,” Devin pulled out a vial of holy water and flung the liquid into the Count’s cruel red eyes. The vampire screamed out in searing pain, as the fluid melted its way into his retinas.
Devin limped towards the exit in an attempt to put distance between himself and the furious Count. “I only have one chance left to finish this.” He carefully aimed the needle at the center of the nail, and began to bore a hole into it. Krueval felt an intense heat at his chest, the location of the pain mirroring the spot where the needle was penetrating its victim.
The blinded vampire frantically sniffed the air, searching for the scent of the injured mage’s blood. After a few moments he had found his target. A frightful trembling came over the mansion, as Krueval pumped his legs with inhuman speed, rushing full throttle towards the unsuspecting mage.
A cold, undead hand locked its fingers around the back of Devin’s head. “Now die,” Krueval grimaced as he shoves the young boy’s face into the wall with shattering force. He usually took great pleasure in inflicting horrific pain on another living creature, but he had become so infuriated in his battle with Devin that the only thing he could manage to feel at that moment was an all-consuming rage.
Devin’s needle skidded down the nail. Krueval pulled the mage’s head back for one final impact unto the wall. The only thing certain was that in a few moments the fight would be over.
“Push damn you. For mom, for your family… hell, for everyone who ever mattered to you - push!” Devin mustered his every last bit of strength and impaled the nail with the needle as hard as he could. A loud piercing noise rang through the halls of the mansion. Tiny fragments of vampyric nail were scattered in the wind. Devin felt the Count’s grip on the back of his head loosen, and then release completely.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!” Krueval howled in unadulterated agony. A large portion of his body was completely incinerated by the holy magic of the needle. Devin turned to see his bitter enemy’s appropriately agonizing demise, but was mortified to find his spell had not worked as he intended - Krueval lived.
“Oh no, what went wrong?” Devin thought to himself as he gazed upon the severely charred Count. Instead of the vampire’s chest and heart being struck by the hex, it was only Krueval’s lower body that had been affected. Suddenly, it became crystal clear, “When the needle skid from the center, the hex’s area of effect was altered.”
Krueval tried to crawl away. Although the ritual did not succeed in destroying him, it still managed to severely drain his energy. “If I just had a bit more time, maybe I could manage to…” His thought was interrupted by Devin’s foot landing directly in front of him.
“You’re not getting away, I don’t even care if I bleed to death,” Devin positioned himself as an unpassable wall in Krueval’s path. “You will not leave this place alive.”
Krueval looked up at the determined magus with a cold sweat streaming down his forehead. He sensed his ancient life span may soon be at an end. Silently, he asked himself, “Is this fear?”
Devin kicked the side of Krueval’s face with such tremendous force that it literally turned the Count on his side. Devin then pins him down and pulls out a fine wooden stake. “This is for my mother, who you slaughtered for your own depraved amusement. This is for my brother who stood against tyrants like you as a moral man, unafraid to die honorably for the greater good.”
Krueval sneered, “I suppose that makes him a better man than you, dark magus.”
The vampire’s words struck Devin like a dagger to the heart. His brother did die honorably, following the ways of the White Lotus clan. Devin, on the other hand, broke with tradition and practiced dark magick – an act his clan considered to be a blasphemy of the highest order. The thought of the dishonor he had brought upon his family caused Devin to waiver for an instant.
Krueval saw his opportunity and seized it. “You shouldn’t let your guard down!” The vampire lunged at Devin’s neck like a mad viper. His fangs dug deep into the boy’s tender arteries, transferring the vampyric virus into Devin’s bloodstream within moments of the bite.
“Get off of me!” Devin violently shoved Krueval off of him, but by then the cunning vampire had already accomplished his goal. The mage’s eyes were already beginning to morph into a dark shade of red, a genetic trait shared by all vampires. Devin raised the wooden stake high into the air and struck down into the Count’s exposed chest.
“Too late,” Krueval turned into mist just seconds before the stake would’ve pierced his demonic heart.
“You coward, come back here and fight!” An exasperated Devin yelled out.
“Why should I when I’ve already won?” The thick, foggy substance made a slow exit out of the mansion, with the Count’s cackling laugh still echoing through its halls.
Meanwhile, Devin fell to his knees and began to convulse. The cursed vampyric plasma coursed through his veins, rapidly turning him into the very thing he despises most. “My blood feels as if it’s on fire,” Devin pounded the ground with his fist as his heart beat grows louder and faster with each passing moment. “If I don’t do something soon, my heart is going to explode…”
Devin crawled over to the messy pile of books. Slowly, he dug through the heap, searching for his precious Grimoire. “I need you, please if you can hear me, reveal yourself,” Devin called out for it again and again, but his efforts were in vain. An overwhelming nausea soon came over him, and not long afterwards, his vision was affected as well. At first it blurred, and then it gradually blackened until he fell unconscious on the cold marble floor.
<To Be Continued>