❯ Castlevania: Heir of Darkness – The Lady Belmont ( Chapter 5 )
CHAPTER SUMMARY: The players are coming together, the forces of good gathering as more and more about why Dracula�s resurrection was so early…
WARNINGS: Violence, Language, Mild Sexual Situations
CHAPTER FIVE: THE LADY BELMONT
The Province of Walachia, Transylvania, Dracula�s Castle, The Villa
May 1856, 6:05 a.m.
Draco was snoring.
Cornell stared at the dhampire whom was sleeping sitting up, propped up against the back of the sofa with the pillow given to him by Carrie cushioning his head and neck, his cloak being used as covering. The snores were soft and breathy, a result of his current posture; even in repose, he wasn�t fully relaxed.
The former werewolf knew the dhampire has distorted the truth earlier about why his chest was bound, but Cornell wouldn�t call him on it�yet. His gaze shifted to the bed where his youngest pup slept; she was facing the wall and was still except from the steady rhythm of her breathing. The odds of an incubus lurking about the Villa were slim, but the silver-haired man wasn�t the type to leave one of his pups� welfare to chance.
Shifting in his seat, he turned his gaze back to the door to wait for the older male pups to return�
Reinhardt was, for a lack of better words, confused as hell. The ice maiden had spotted him but raised no cry of attack and he was certain the skeleton at the harpsichord knew he was there�but did nothing aside from continuing to play and the undead couples did nothing but dance. He tensed as the latest song came to an end and watched as the couples stepped back to bow at one another before they straightened, turning their eyes towards him.
�Welcome. Are you another of those adventurers come to defeat Dracula?� asked the male vampire; he was tall and dark-haired with a hawkish nose, while the eyes that regarded the Vampire Killer didn�t seem to have homicidal intentions�
�Another adventurer?� Reinhardt echoed, a niggling feeling that had been mostly dormant in the back of his mind after meeting up with Draco awakening once more. �Has someone else come from before me then?�
�Oh yes, three others from what we�ve gathered,� one of the male ghosts answered, his voice a whispery echo in the now quiet room.
�There was a misunderstanding in the foyer with the first pair, while the third just ignored us since we weren�t acting hostile towards her,� the female vampire said ruefully, adjusting her long skirts and patting stray dark pink curls back into her chignon.
�What sort of misunderstanding?� Reinhardt asked cautiously.
�Well the first pair, a male and female, thought we meant them harm when we went to see who had entered the Villa; we didn�t at all � we�ve made this Villa our home, before the Castle came that is. Now all sorts of horrible creatures roam around�� one female ghost wailed in her distress as she turned and buried her incorporeal head in her partner�s shoulder.
�And that nasty gardener tried to take poor Jacques�s head off!� Agreed the female vampire, giving the male vampire�s hand an affectionate squeeze; he smiled down at her lovingly, and for a moment Reinhardt was struck by how the undead couple reminded him of he and Rosa�
The Vampire Killer forced his train off thought from his dead wife; now was not the time to be overcome by the memories of his beloved, deceased wife.
�I see. Well, so long as you don�t intend anyone any harm, then we have no quarrel with you. Hopefully we�ll have Dracula defeated shortly so you can return to your peaceful existence,� the red-haired Hunter said; normally he�d attack first, but after Rosa and Cornell, he knew not all �dark� creatures were what could be considered evil, just as not all humans were pure and good. If these before him proved to be genuinely peaceful, he�d not bother them.
The sudden, unexpected rush of gratitude he received from them was overwhelming, but he managed � barely. After they calmed, he bid them farewell before exiting into the stairwell that led down to the garden maze entrance.
His armored boots seemed to echo loudly with every step despite his attempts to be quiet; Reinhardt could vividly remember meeting Renon at the base of these very steps and he couldn�t help but wonder if the demon was lurking about�
The light of the full moon shone down trough a break in the heavy clouds onto the cloudy waters of the lake that surrounded the castle and a crisp breeze stirred the magic-user�s blue hair; garnet eyes narrowed as she stared at the open double doors that lead to the throne room that had been the site of the battle with the vampire they had originally thought was Dracula the first time around.
�You shall not have her, Vlad. She�s smarter then I was. She�ll not fall for your spell like I or even Lisa did so long ago,� a hard voice stated, the female soprano echoing in the throne room and out the opened doors to Carrie.
Licking her suddenly dry lips, Carrie peered through the open doors; just faintly she could make out the silhouette of a woman, her hair up-swept and garbed in a gown with billowy skirts. The woman�s posture was rigid and her hands were clenched in the voluminous fabric of her skirts.
�You are not fit to speak my wife�s name, succubus,� a male voice snarled, low and harsh; Carrie�s heart clenched at the voice, the tone different from the almost seductive purr he�d used before, but it was still voice she knew too well, one that still haunted her nightmares�
�Lisa was a good woman. I do not think she�d love the monster you�ve become, Vlad. I do not think you can make the young sorceress love the monster I see before me; the werewolf and her protectors will not let her be deceived with any lie you come up with to use on her,� the woman, the succubus, declared with a ringing conviction in the strength and fortitude of the humans that the Vampire Lord reviled.
The bluenette�s stomach fell to her knees when she realized the woman was speaking about her. Carrie drew in a sharp breath, her body trembling; why was Dracula after her? And why would this woman, a succubus, even care? Care enough to stand up to the monster that was probably her master on the human sorceress�s behalf?
�Silence!� Dracula roared and the shadows of the throne room shifted as the Dark Lord stirred; if Carrie could move, she�d charge in right now, demand answers�but she was trapped, only able to listen and watch, but not act.
Skirts rustling, the succubus suddenly sprang to the side to avoid the Dark Lord�s sudden attack; she landed in a deep crouch and Carrie could see the shadows shifting as the woman�s arms spread out, her form dissolving into mist and her voice ringing out: �You shall not have Carrie Fernandez! The Draco Clan declares it!�
Heart pounding loudly in her chest and inhaling sharply, Carrie�s eyes snapped open to stare at the moth-eaten canopy above the bed of the Villa�s Master Suite. For a split second she panicked, her eyes darting around to take in her surroundings until she caught sight of the sleeping archer�s profile and the faint shadow of her foster father�s on the floor from one of the room�s few lamps.
The frantic pounding of her heart calming, the bluenette forced her hands to unclench from the bedspread she lay upon. Her eyes flickered over to the Archer again and saw his silver eyes focused on her, the inhuman color glinting in the dim lamp light. Draco nodded his head slowly, up then down, his eyes never leaving hers in a gesture of silent acknowledgement. She was struck by something the woman � the succubus � had said in her dream�
_�The Draco Clan declares it!�_
Draco Clan. Come to think about it, he�d never given them his full name and his belt buckle, along with his quiver and scabbard had a stylized D on them, complete with dragon motifs on the pommel of his sword and his bow. Was the Archer from the Draco Clan of her dream�her vision? And if he was�
�was he there to protect her?
Or kill her?
Henry was beyond cold; his breathing was laborious and his very heart beat sluggish. Truthfully, he could no longer feel his extremities bound to the legs of the chair. He shuddered reflexively from the chill of the ice maiden�s lips trailing over the faint stubble of his jawline and even through the layers of armor, padding, and cloth he could feel the burn of her arctic touch on what of his torso wasn�t numbed by the cold.
�S-stop�� he stuttered out between numb lips, his teeth chattering loudly in the stillness of the study. He was so cold he didn�t even care how pitiful he sounded�
�Why would I, my love? You�re so warm�please�I�m cold, I need you�� she crooned, her hands trailing over his broad, armored shoulders.
Faintly he could heard the study door being forced open, the thin layer of ice sealing it shut cracking and breaking away with the sound of shattering ice mixing with the outraged wail of the ice maiden piercing his numbing mind. A split-second later, the deafening boom of a firearm being discharged echoed in the enclosed space of the study.
The ice holding him in place suddenly shattered and gave way, dumping him unceremoniously to the floor, his numbed body unable to support him. His vision swimming, Henry could faintly make out the shadow of a slender form kneeling over him�
He was near hypothermia and unconscious. Not good, not good at all. The slender newcomer slipped hands to catch the comatose blond man underneath his arm pits despite the frigid state of his armor making the contact painful and with a faint grunt, began to drag him from the horribly cold study back into the dining room before being forced to drop him due to his greater weight and the burning cold of his armor.
The wooden shutters covering the fireplace beneath the shattered mirror had to be forced open and scraps of wood were gathered along with scraps of torn canvas and wallpaper. Within moments the dry materials were crackling in the fireplace, more being heaped on until there was a roaring fire pouring its heat onto the shivering blond man. Biting down on her lower lip, the slender adventurer tried to remember what else to do to warm him up.
The wet armor and clothes definitely had to go and she hoped he wouldn�t think her too forward when he found himself naked if — when — he woke up. And who was he anyway? Could he be one of her Belmont cousins or was he descended from one of the other clans that had fought against Dracula before?
With a sigh the young woman knelt beside the blond and began to undo the dark leather armor covering him; she really hoped it wouldn�t shrink as it dried, otherwise he might be left with ill-fitting protection or no protection at all against the dark forces dwelling further inside the Castle. The wet, cold ties made it difficult, but she was determined and managed to finally undo the ties and straps. Prying the chest and shoulder armor free, she tried waking him again.
�Hello? Wake up!� she pestered him, slapping at his still white cheeks in an attempt to rouse him. �I�m talking to you!�
A soft groan escaped the unconscious man as he shifted closer to the heat of the fire. Biting back the urge to curse, she went back to removing his wet armor and clothing.
�Well, never let it be said the life of a Belmont was boring,� she thought glumly.
There was a pair of silvery-blue armors flanking the door, the one he recalled from the previous time gone. The red-haired Vampire Killer stood at the base of the staircase, a hand on the hilt of his whip; his eyes scanned the small room, which seemed to be barren aside from the suits of armor and there was no sign of Renon�s contract lying about. Letting out a breath, he stepped towards the door.
The same second the heel of his boot was on the marble floor, both suits of armor straightened, one spinning its pole-arm, the other hefting its massive broadsword. As he shifted into a ready stance, skillfully snapping his whip to its full length, the pair of armors faced him fully.
They were larger then he, slower and mindless; the tight quarters could have been a problem had he been less trained, less skilled. Shattering a small vial of holy water, he sprang backwards onto the stairs as the water slowly evaporated to form a barrier of white flame between the possessed suits of armor and himself. In the back of his mind he could hear Cornell�s voice, lecturing him as though the Hunter was going through one of the former werewolf�s training exercises.
_�When you face something big, slow, stupid, and stronger then you, keep as much distance between you and it as possible; go to high ground or someplace it can�t get to and weaken it with holy water or whatever you have on you at the time��_
Reinhardt watched as the armors walked through the holy flames, taking note of the rate they decayed as they slowly marched through with a coldly clinical eye; he backed up, shattering another vial a couple steps before the suits of armor as the holy flames lessened while the holy water from the first vial evaporated completely.
Almost absently, his body on autopilot, he side-stepped the swing of a pole-arm while observing the pattern of the armors. Eyeing the pair of possessed armors, he flicked his whip several times in rapid succession, striking at the empty helms as he retreated back up the stairs in a low crouch to avoid the swings of the pole-arm and broadsword; they were almost in position�.
From the appearance of their sabatons, their elaborately armored boots, they probably wouldn�t be able to navigate the narrow stairs, leaving them only able to poke at him with the longer reach of the pole-arm. If that was the case, then he could dump another vial of holy water on them and strike them down with his whip while simultaneously avoiding the pole-arm. Taking a deep, calming breath, the Vampire Killer readied himself�
The pups were taking too long for just a sweep, Cornell decided as he straightened up. From the corner of his eye, he saw Draco�s head lift and turn in his direction; their gazes locked and the Archer tilted his head towards the occupied bed in a silent inquiry. Cornell gave a negative shake of his head and stood; he raised a hand to halt the dhampire as he began to rise from the love-seat. Draco froze immediately, in an awkward half-standing and half-seated position.
�Stay. I�ll hand this. Watch over Carrie while she rests.�
The archer dropped his weight back onto the love-seat, a plume of dust rising as the frame groaned slightly. �Be careful.�
�I always am,� Cornell said as he approached the door to the Master Suite and he pretended he didn�t hear the unladylike snort of derision that came from the bed as he headed out the door�
As the door closed behind Cornell, Draco turned his eyes towards the canopied bed to meet the sorceress�s garnet gaze; she stared back at him, her eyes narrowing contemplatively as she scrutinized him.
�Draco. Is that family name or something else?� She finally asked him.
�It�s my Clan�s name,� the dhampire murmured. �You should be resting.�
�I keep having the most peculiar dream,� the bluenette stated as she sat up fully on the bed, her eyes never leaving his. �Of a confrontation between Dracula and a succubus��
�A succubus who speaks on behalf of the Draco Clan?� the dhampire inquired almost lazily.
�So she showed you the threat against you�� Draco mused, seeming to speak more to himself then to her. ��how interesting, so many things falling together and so many players starting to fall in place��
�The threat against me?� There was a sudden sharpness in the sorceress�s voice that drew his attention fully back to her.
�Dracula seems to require your powers,� he elaborated. �Perhaps it is his wish to augment his own gifts with your own, to keep himself from being forced into hibernation, to become almost unstoppable, in a manner similar when he stole your foster father�s gift of transforming into a werewolf so that he could awaken stronger a few years later through reincarnating himself��
�So why is a succubus so concerned?� she asked him, frowning slightly.
�Lady Draco�s reasons are her own and not for a mere soldier in her Clan�s ranks to speculate upon�not if they wish to keep their heads firmly attached to their shoulders, that is.�
�What will you do if Dracula manages to take me, to steal my powers?� Carrie asked, her voice rising slightly with her growing unease.
�I will fight to save you with everything I have and if it, combined with the rest of your family�s strengths, are not enough�� he trailed off, a look of discomfort visible on the Archer�s pale face.
�If it�s not enough�?� she prompted him to continue hoarsely.
�Then I am truly sorry,� he replied, honest sorrow in his voice along with a resigned resolve, �but I may be forced to kill you.�
The first of the armors collapsed upon itself, a heap of moldering, rapidly decomposing scrap metal at the base of the stairs; the armor�s twin was looking worse for wear, the almost acidic effect of the Holy Water having caused massive amounts of pitting and decay in the once gleaming suit of armor. Reinhardt reared back, his whip cracking about him; with a skilled flick of his wrist, he struck at the weak spot in the chest plate created by his bombardment of Holy Water.
The armor collapsed on itself with a faint groaning sound, much to the Vampire Killer�s relief; he�d always held a disdain for the possessed armors, feeling them to be a mockery to the noble Knights they resembled. Carefully coiling his whip, he cautiously made his way back down the stairs; one never knew what was lurking around the corner inside the Dark Castle.
Slowly he approached the double doors that headed out to the Garden Maze, straining his ears for any hint of the familiar, terrifying sounds of the Frakengardener creature and his pair of stone pets coming through the doors. As he reached for the door knob of the right hand door, the left-hand door suddenly opened to reveal a regally garbed man wearing the well-tended and finely crafted clothing of a century past, his white hair cascading over his shoulders and down his back, stark against the black of his cape and clothing; his skin was pale and the tips of his ears pointed.
The sunlight peering through the cloud break washed over him without doing the non-human harm and giving his white hair and skin an almost unearthly glow. Immediately Reinhardt was struck by the man�s resemblance to the descriptions of the legendary Alucard�
�and how much he looked like Draco�