Old Blood - A Kingdom 800 years prior to Candegron

Hayle

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He was the last of the soldiers, the only one standing between the king and this monster. Many in the court had seen Gavus as just a symbol, not a warrior. He had been strong and powerful in his youth, taking the favour of many ladies by winning royal tournaments. He reflected on that for a few seconds before steeling himself toward the horrid threat in front of him.

What stood before him was a vampire, a creature of legend. The great hall was scattered with shredded pieces of plate mail, chain mail, body parts, and blood. The vampire looked like a young woman, it was an antithetical appearance to what he had just witnessed. She wore some kind of dark ball gown that was soaked in blood that dripped to the floor as she walked. She couldn’t be far out of her teens. Yet she had killed the entirety of the royal guard after carving a path, by herself, through the royal army. Though several of the remaining soldiers had tried to attack her, the piles of corpses kept the rest of the onlooking soldiers at bay. It was clear they could do nothing, and those with half a sense of self preservation had already fled.

“Oh, and here I was thinking the king would have more potent handlers, I guess I was wrong.” Her voice was breathy and had a shrill quality to it that couldn’t quite be described as such.
 

Hayle

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The king remained still on his throne, his teeth were clamped together, and his eyes narrowed. The white and grey hair that came out from under his ornate crown didn’t quite reach his shoulders. The sleepless eyes he looked at her with were still piercing, but against such a foe he may as well have been trying to stare down a pack of wolves. This monster had been tormenting his nightmares for weeks. It was as if she merely wanted him to suffer, like she was just playing a game.

Gavus tightened the grip on his sword after noticing that his hands had become too lax. The girl kept coming, the vampire kept walking toward him and his lord. He didn’t bother with any utterance, she was closing the distance. Her approach, her presence drained all of the hope from him. He found his vision tunneling as she walked, still closing, as though all around her was darkness. He was stuck, trapped within his own mind when she reached him. He could not even move. She paused for a moment and gave him a wink, she had no shame, she had no reason to feel shame. The power she exerted, he knew, was beyond anything he could have tried to contest.

He still couldn’t move as she walked outside of his vision, which he felt fading further.

Before he blacked out from whatever miasma was clouding his mind, he felt the sharp sting of her wicked fangs piercing his neck. He was not wearing armour, against an opponent such as this, it would have done no good. In fact, nothing would have done any good. Regardless of what they had done to prepare, nothing could have stopped her.

Then, he heard the shattering of glass from behind him, and the screeching of his molester.

He barely managed to turn, regaining precious little cognition. The king stood, pulling something from his pocket.

“They told me you would come!” he roared, and Gavus felt pride for the man he served.

Gavus was having trouble keeping his eyes open however.

“You bastard! I would have brought an everlasting peace to this land!” the vampire shrieked, he noticed that she was on fire.

“What good is peace when only the dead can live in it!” he replied, hurling something else at her, shattering just as the first object had.

The darkness had almost fully engulfed him, and all he heard were muted sounds and voices.

The flames, and the form they were attached to grew more ferocious and violent.

“You will die with me!” was the last thing Gavus heard before passing out. Though his mind was so addled he did not know which of them had spoke the words.
 

Hayle

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There was a thrumming. In addition to that there was darkness, well not darkness, more like a dull red. The thrumming was something he felt more than heard. His ears picked up a sound he recognized after having been in enough battles and sieges. Rubble was shifting, something very near him was collapsing, something big.


The ground shook, and he shook with it. He suddenly noticed the taste of dried blood in his mouth, as if it wasn’t there before. The world around him rumbled violently for barely a couple of moments before it calmed down. The sound of clacking rocks stuck around for a few more seconds, and then it was over. Then the wind swept across his face.


He opened his eyes, there was sunlight inches from his head. It was bright enough to burn his eyes after barely beginning to open them. This wasn’t strictly abnormal, but it must have meant he had been asleep for quite some time. He forced them shut and rested his head back on the ground. There was a dry crunch like a footstep on sand at the contact. His body was lying chest to the ground, and his head now faced away from the beam of light.


“Uuuuungh”, a dry, parched breath escaped him as he slowly got to his feet. Something pulling on him made it more difficult than he felt it should have been.


He tried to look at his surroundings, but opening his eyes more than a squint brought tears of pain out to blur his vision. His mind swam with questions. Prominently, he wondered over the state of the king, but other questions flooded in. What had the last words he had heard before passing out meant? What had happened with regards to the army after the rest of the horde of creatures had breached the castle walls? Why, why was he so thirsty?


“Hello?” his general question barely came out as more than a choked sound, after which he began coughing. The question was too quiet to elicit a response, but the coughing brought echoing replies from the surrounding room.


A weight fell from his shoulders and back, and it sounded as though sand were pouring from him onto the stone floor.


He shuffled forward a few steps before tripping over something and barely arresting his fall with the armoured gauntlets he was wearing. The pain of catching himself and the surge of falling brought some of his clarity back. It felt as though he had caught himself with bare hands.


It was at this moment that he began to realize what the gritty feeling in his hair and all over his body was. The taste of blood in his mouth wasn’t blood, it was iron. It was rusted out iron. It covered his entire body.
 

Hayle

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“You see, Septas, I was covered in rust because I had been comatose for several decades, perhaps centuries.” I said, the look on her face was as grim as it had been for the previous hour. “Honestly I’m sure I could have figured it out at any point in the last four hundred years. But I feel as though the mystery is something I need in my life. Of all the things I have done to get here, I leave that one question hanging over my head. It is as though it means what happened to that man was just some dream, before I came into being.”

I walked around her chair and toward the fireplace, leaving her behind me. She would still hear me just as well as before, regardless.

“After I woke up, I mean, truly woke up, I decided I would need a new name. There was nobody around for miles and miles, jesus I was thirsty as hell. I’m sure you know what for, you’ve heard it before, water wouldn’t help.”

I picked up the poker next to the fire. It was a simple piece of wrought steel about three feet long with a right angle at the end that lasted about two more inches.

“The worst part, I have to say though, is that none of the aches and pains I had during my life ever went away. They don’t hinder me, but they’re there. The pain sometimes is almost unbearable.”

Sparks flew up the flue as I shifted the logs in the fireplace. The dancing light show that once could have captivated me now held no interest from me.

“The old feelings that I used to have, for anything, they’ve mostly been replaced with boredom. Do you know what it’s like, living for centuries? No no, don’t bother answering, I know the answer anyway. It is excruciating, do you understand? It is pain that just continues without cease. I wonder over and over, what creates the monsters. I don’t mean those sentient beasts you fools fear, I mean the creatures of the night. The likes of which your people have scant encountered to the point that their legends have become myths. Further, those myths become jokes that any drunk harlot or wenching bastard would callously toss about. They have no fear for the things that skulk in the shade, those beings just out of sight. Why should they fear what cannot harm them after all?”

I had been talking for a while now, I put the poker back onto it’s hanger and walked back over to the bound and gagged form of a tribal woman no younger than thirty.

“Septas, you poor girl, if I could cry I swear it be so that I would. I am afraid, you see, that I have simply lost the emotional capacity. I’ve grown so very distant from all of this. Why should I keep containing my urges, limiting myself to the status of a feral creature that hunts stragglers in the woods? Some small part of me, and it is indeed such a small part of my soul now, has held me back from this for so incredibly long. Now I just don’t see the point.”

I bit into her neck, it wasn’t glorious, it wasn’t refreshing, it was just another meal. While I drank, a twinge of curiosity crossed my mind. I stopped before she died. Stepping back, I wiped away a stray rivulet of blood from my chin.

“You’d think after four centuries I’d have gotten cleaner about that.” I mumbled to nobody in particular. “I think you will be my first...” I thought for a few minutes, after all nobody was around to interrupt me in this cabin in the woods. “Bride, perhaps?” I thought about it a bit more. “No that won’t do, let’s just call you my first citizen.”

“Oh right, by the way, I decided to name myself Desh.” I said out loud. Talking to myself had become a habit the last couple hundred or so years. “A nice, modern name.”
 

Hayle

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I’ve got to say, the fact that since I died there hasn’t been any technological advancement beyond mages becoming a bit more potent is a little bit disheartening. Waking up in a collapsing keep covered in overgrowth and having to tear myself up out of a bunch of tree roots after a section of roof collapsed wasn’t exactly the most thrilling idea either.


Yet here I am making the most of it.


I was sitting on top of a haphazard pile of stones that a peasant might incorrectly call a monument. A couple of my thralls were working on dragging the stones out to make short walls around what I was hoping would be my new keep.


You know, having thralls is pretty great, they just go and do what you tell them, no complaining, no breaks, and they just keep going. I mean they really keep going, and they’re even stronger than they should be. I think normal people have some sort of limit to them, and when I release them from life, it releases their limit. Of course, over the past few decades of experimentation that started with one tribal woman, I’ve figured out a few things.


The first is that they’re essentially undying, forever, they can be killed easily for sure, but while they’re living it’s as if they are true monsters. The second thing I’ve discovered, is that there are degrees with which I can enthrall people that I take. What I mean is, I can leave them with some or most of their previous life intact. They’ll still have the thirst though, they’ll need blood. I happened to take the time to figure out how long we can go without blood once. Turns out it’s a surprisingly long time, and the tests were also inconclusive. You see, after a month, they begin going so utterly mad that they either break free or manage to bludgeon themselves to death within their confines.


Sure, I tried strapping them down, but then they would use those unlimited muscles and tear out their own limbs in rage. They needed the blood so badly it made them stronger, I think I can use this, in some way, but it’s probably more danger than it’s worth.
 
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